July 22, 2017

Dunkirk

Chris Nolan dazzles with his complete mastery of film craft with this stunning chapter of World War II history.  Some viewers feel Dunkirk is not a complete success because it's a war movie that's not "about" anything. I admit I left the theater thinking "yes it's masterful moviemaking but what for?" The theme of the movie is "war is stupid and pointless and inhuman" full stop. Nolan felt this history needed to be shown on the big screen, and in 2017 he has the clout and tools to do it. Perhaps he feels that justifies its existence alone, and perhaps "war is hell" is enough of a theme. My Stub Hubby Grade: A (Somerville Theater, screen 1, in dazzling 70mm, with Adam)

Also By Chris Nolan on Stub Hubby

July 7, 2017

Baby Driver

I hoped and expected to love this movie.
I am a big fan of Edgar Wright, and I enjoy fast driving heist movies, so Baby Driver should have been a slam dunk.
Something about the movie just didn't click with me.
Maybe the movie is too self-indulgent? Wright has always tightly integrated pop and rock music into his movies, in a deeply thoughtful Scorsese method, but this obsession with music-as-soundtrack is foregrounded here. Baby listens to music on his earbuds all day long, and literally choreographs his getaways to specific songs.
The title walk-dance-lip sync sequence (perhaps an homage to Shaun's walk to the shop for a Cornetto in Shaun of the Dead?) isn't as charming as Wright hopes it will be.
My other problem with Baby Driver is Baby- he's an essentially passive protagonist, entangled with a Mob boss who won't let him quit driving.
Ironically the guy who specializes in escaping from crime scenes cannot escape from his career as a getaway driver. It was hard to emotionally engage with such a lame hero who's escape plan includes saying "no" a couple of times, glowering, and sneaking away in the middle of the night.
Maybe I would have liked it better if it were funnier- it was easily the least comic project I've seen from Edgar Wright yet, and I did not find the gun battles, fight scenes, or car chases as innovative as I hoped for.
(Somerville Theater Screen 1, by myself because the sitter fell through)

July 4, 2017

Cars 3

Thanks to my son Hawkeye's obsession with vehicles, I may have seen Cars 1 more than any other Pixar movie. He likes Ratatouille, Nemo, Toy Story 1, and Bug's Life too, but there was a time when Cars 1 was his favorite. He doesn't watch it much anymore- thankfully that phase has passed - but I learned to hate Cars 1 a few years ago, which wasn't hard because it was my lowest-ranked Pixar movie from the first time I saw it. (I truly despised Cars 2, but thankfully I only saw it once.)
So I was not thrilled to see Cars 3 on Independence Day, but taking my son to the movies is a sweet Dad Job so I was still happy to do it.
Cars 3 surprised me. It's got a great heart, some surprises at the end, and it's visually gorgeous, easily the best-looking Pixar movie yet. It's not great moviemaking like Ratatouille, Nemo, The Incredibles, or Toy Story 2, but Cars 3 is better than Cars 1, and can stand on its own too. You could see it without seeing Cars 1 with no problems - they pretend Cars 2 never happened and you should too!
My Stub Hubby Grade: B-plus.
Moviegoing Notes: My son Hawkeye is seven and a half, so he's old enough that I take him to the movies regularly now. This is skewing my movie-going history, not in a bad way per se.
I've been to the movies about 800 times in the last quarter century, but this is only the fifth time I've seen a sequel in a movie theater unless I saw the original in the theater too. This is only the second time I've seen a Part 3 in the theater without seeing Part 1 or 2 in the theater first.