Film Brief: Pet Sematary [u]

Boring, yawn.  A story seed riddled with holes of both logic and execution.  On the other hand, I suppose if you’ve never seen a supernatural horror movie, you might be impressed.  I’ve seen one or two, so I’m not.  I can say I did like the cat, and I always enjoy John Lithgow — but boy he could be doing so much better stuff than this and I wish he would.  I think he should team up with Tim Robbins.

Upon watching this movie in Yuma, I had a note on convenience versus convention, but can’t remember it now.  I think both apply to Pet Sematary.  2/10

UPDATE 7/1/19: 2/10 is low.  It wasn’t that bad.  3/10

Interstellar: Up and Down

Interstellar - poster

Interstellar has been compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so let’s get one thing out of the way: I know 2001.  I love 2001.  And Interstellar is no 2001, any more than Dan Quayle is Jack Kennedy.  Nor even is it Gravity, and reaching under the sea nor is it The Abyss.

Interstellar - text block 1I mostly agree with the Rotten Tomatoes consensus, except for the part about expectations from Nolan, which I’ll get to in a moment:

Interstellar represents more of the thrilling, thought-provoking, and visually resplendent filmmaking moviegoers have come to expect from writer-director Christopher Nolan, even if its intellectual reach somewhat exceeds its grasp.

Critics are sharply divided over this movie.  Some are calling it a must-see masterpiece, which it certainly is not, while others have panned it.  Joe Morgenstern for the WSJ:

Christopher Nolan’s 168-minute odyssey through the space-time continuum is stuffed with stuff of bewildering wrongness.

That had me laughing!  I’m in the middle.  Lots of holes share space with entertaining, well acted sequences and moments of true wonder to fill this overlong movie.  But there’s a lack of clear, penetrating vision here, and we can blame only one person.

Interstellar - still

Interstellar - text block 2



Christopher Nolan does not have the ability to construct a cohesive narrative.  I thought Memento completely implausible; Insomnia let the raw power of its concept and acting talent slip from its grasp; I remember little about Inception other than not liking it.  And when it comes to Batman, although I appreciate the darker, more authentic shading of the Dark Knight tales, I’ll take Tim Burton over Christopher Nolan any day of the week.

After all that you might think I’m saying thumbs down to Interstellar.  But the good parts outweigh the bad, if barely; so I give it a marginal recommendation.  To all the normal caveats add a theater with a very good sound system, good enough to shake the walls and your seat during those extra-loud moments.  6/10

ALTERNATIVES: If you’re in the mood for some truly outstanding science fiction, check out my post Sci-Fi Do or Die.

Love Is Strange; this Movie Not So Much

Click for Larger

Click for larger

A great Rotten Tomatoes score (97%) and the chance to see John Lithgow, one of my favorite actors in — gasp! — a movie! — motivated me to see him in the story of of an aging gay couple, Love Is Strange.  The last — and only — John Lithgow movie I can think of him in was the terrific Terms of Endearment.  I’ve always loved him though, especially in the work most associated with him, 3rd Rock from the Sun, the most exuberant sitcom ever made.  He’s a brilliant actor, and I wish he had done, and will do more movies.Love Is Strange - text block

But alas, this project finds him saddled with a visionless, pedestrian script that makes you appreciate the genius of Woody Allen.  The performances are good enough, though the best job here is by Marisa Tomei, always the consummate pro.  Nothing is exceptional on any level, and the plot, script and overall production are straight out of amateur hour.  3/10

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Comparison Notes: Both highly recommended, much better alternatives: The Visitor, House of Sand and Fog