Movie Reviews August ’16

I can rarely sleep on planes, so I usually spend the time writing and watching movies…

The Revenant
Oh my… Leo suffering for two hours. He did deliver a great performance, yes, granted, but that doesn’t make the movie easier to watch.
I wonder how they shot the scenes where the grizzly made minced meat out of him.
Another main character in the movie is the landscape, which I found to be utterly uninviting. What a ghastly, unforgiving and lonely place. Fascinating how you can steer the impression people get. It could have been breathtakingly beautiful but it was shot so that it all looked ugly, uninviting and desolate.
The more I see of Tom Hardy, the more I admire the guy. He is one damn fine actor. While I’m a great fan of Mad Max Fury Road and watched it some five times already, I won’t be watching the Revenant again, too tough. Even if sleeping inside the corpse of a horse to keep warm during a snow storm is a new thing that I haven’t seen before.
Granted, the fellows portrayed in the movie were tough as nails but any normal human being would’ve died ten times over faced with the fate of Leo’s character. That disbelief made the movie watchable, but if I were a real and true Leo fan, I guess I would’ve passed out at some point 😉
If you’re in for gritty “realism” and survival movies, this is your deal, but I’m not planning on exposing myself to this again.

Mr. Holmes
There is a lot of Sherlock going on at the moment with the BBC series and even a movie with the Cumberbatch Freeman combo, but there is also the Sherlock Holmes movie with Ian McKellen. It portrays an old Sherlock who struggles with dementia and whose last unresolved case is haunting him. Intertwined with that is the story of Holmes’ housekeeper and her son who is taking a liking to the old man and a weird side story of Holmes visiting Japan and a Japanese admirer and their visit to post atomic Hiroshima. The movie focuses more on Holmes’ relationship to the young boy and the Japanese admirer than on the unresolved case and was a nice piece to watch, though I found the Japanese insert out of place and a bit hard to believe. There was no plot reason for why it had to be Japan. Ian McKellen is always good though and his display of an old man whose mind and body are failing him was way more real than Leo’s sufferings in the Revenant. A must see for McKellen and Holmes fans, but more an art house movie than a big screen one.

Carol
Carol is the portray of a forbidden love between a girl in her twenties and an end thirties woman in New York in the fifties. Both women are excellently played by Mara Rooney and Cate Blanchett. The movie is a bit slow at times, but it also needed the slowness to portray the unspoken and for that time unspeakable and unthinkable desires. Frankly, I thought the resistance that the two women face would be much fiercer. Female homosexuality in the fifties in the US or anywhere else going more or less unpunished? That Carol (Cate’s character) only looses the rights to visit her daughter and goes free and no consequences for Mara’s character but an upset boyfriend seemed not realistic to me. That said, Mara and Cate are a pleasure to watch, I find especially Cate very sexy. The happy end though gives the whole thing an even more unrealistic touch. I doubt that their choice was an option in those days.

Black Mass
Johnny Depp plays an Italian mafia boss. This thing is apparently based on a true story and goes down in Boston. Every few moments someone is tortured and/or killed. There have been too many mafia movies already and the story is very much “seen it all before”. The only thing remarkable is the looks of Johnny Depp who is hardly recognizable with thinning blondish hair and colored contact lenses. He plays the cold, restrained and sometimes freaking out Mafiosi quite well. The quiet, scary build up before a freak out is nicely underplayed and thus makes him even scarier. But all in all this is a movie as unremarkable as its title. Something that will soon be forgotten and that even Johnny fans won’t be too fond of I guess, since he looks pretty damn ugly in that movie 😉