Last Month in Movies – March 2018

Arrival – A science fiction movie about aliens but also not about aliens. It’s really about the main character, who just happens to stumble into a situation that involves aliens.

We open up to linguistics expert Louise, who has apparently recently lost a child to cancer or something, and then she is scooped up by the feds when alien ships start appearing around the world. Her job is to find a way to communicate with the extra-terrestrials, who look kinda like massive squids. Over the course of the film, she is teamed up with Jeremy Renner as they race against the clock to discover what the aliens want before other countries decide to declare war on the alleged “invaders.”

I want to say that this movie blew my mind -and it sort of did- but I couldn’t help feel that I’d seen this story before. And then I realized that it’s more or less the same story as… you know what, I can’t tell you what novel it rips off without giving everything away. Obviously it has plenty of unique plot elements, but there is an undeniably strong similarity to a very well-known novel. Regardless of this, I really enjoyed Arrival. It poses a number of interesting moral questions, and Amy Adams is just excellent. It made me think and feel, and that’s really enough to get a passing score from me.

Lovesick – My family nearly always gets together on Saturday nights to have dinner and play board games together. One week, my brothers abandoned ship, and my parents and I were left to find something to do. My mom decided we would watch a movie together, and this happened.

Lovesick is a story about how Matt LeBlanc ruins any meaningful relationship he has by getting super jealous and creating wild fantasies about how his girlfriends must be cheating on him. Otherwise, he is a perfectly well-adjusted adult and a highly respected member of the community. So his jealously is written off as him literally being insane. I don’t know if this jealousy psychosis is a real thing or a terrible plot device, but it made for a very by-the-numbers rom-com. The most unexpected thing that happened is that they cast Chevy Chase as the perverted old neighbour. Come to think of it, maybe that’s not so unexpected after all. Anyway, this movie is terrible. Obviously. Don’t watch it.

Justice League – I honestly had no idea what to think about this one going in. I mean, I’m going to watch all the superhero movies with my dad, for better or for worse. But the pedigree is so mixed. Batman v. Superman was pretty bad, but Wonder Woman was fantastic, so.

It seems like in this case, at least, it turned out pretty well. Justice League isn’t exactly on par with Wonder Woman, but it’s definitely moving in the right direction. And that direction, I’d like to point out, is levity. While DC has mostly put all their money on grimdark serious superhero movies up to this point, Justice League is pretty funny. Ezra Miller as the Flash was hilarious, and Gal Gadot is as charming as ever. The constant pokes at how useless Batman is against bigger threats than your average super-criminal were a nice touch, too. Not because I dislike Batman, but because I can’t wait for them to retire crappy ol’ Ben Affleck.

One thing that drove me nuts is that I’m pretty sure the whole movie was in CG except for the actors, like 300 or Sky Captain. But in a way that everything had to be wildly exaggerated, rather than just doing it for the sake of artistry. It was like, at some points I wasn’t even sure if some of the characters’ costumes were real or CG’d on in post. At the very least, it was a resplendent film for the most part, filled with so much colour and vibrance that I really couldn’t be that put off that it was all fake. Regardless, after watching Justice League, I’m more interested in the DC cinematic universe’s future than I have ever been.

Tomb Raider – My experience with Tomb Raider to this point is minimal. I’ve played the first few hours of the original game and Tomb Raider: Legacy. Never seen the previous movies. In fact, I don’t even know how many there are. Two? Seven?

This new movie, I didn’t even know existed until several days before it released. I don’t know if it’s just me who is totally out of touch (likely), or if there was a severe lack of marketing for it (also likely). It’s based on the 2013 reboot of the game series, which I’ve never played, despite having owned the game for like four years now. So I knew very little about it. And guess what, I think that made me like the movie more than I would have otherwise! That’s not to say that I thought it was especially great, but it’s absolutely on the short list of Good Video Game Movies.

I was a little confused when they spent the first 40 minutes or whatever in London, establishing that Lara Croft is a poor bike courier. Except that she is actually rich, she just doesn’t want to accept her inheritance because it means she’s accepting her father’s death. But then she sailed off to a mystical island and met a bunch of bad guys and then they all raided a tomb. Like you do. The one thing I strongly disliked about this film is that it builds up a potential for magic all along and then completely deflates it. And that makes me sad because if magic doesn’t exist in this world, then the potential for tyrannosaurs is significantly lowered.

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