Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick Takes: "Wrath of the Titans", "Single Man", "Serenity"

"Wrath of the Titans"
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman

We didn't need a "Clash of the Titans" remake. We didn't want a "Clash of the Titans" remake sequel. We got both, but in the latter's case, things aren't so bad as they might have been. Go ahead and beseige it for all its idiotic dialogue and dishevelment of Greek mythology, but "Wrath of the Titans" was a damn bit of fun. Obviously we still don't care about Sam Worthington, or the subsequent son he bequeathed. What do we care about? Crazy creature battles, Edgar Ramirez as the unappreciated Ares, Rosamund Pike giving a great deal of spunk to proceedings, and Ralph Fiennes just being amazing as per usual. It's cool. Nothing special, or worth putting your neck out for. Hell, it's really stupid. But I wasn't out for blood this time.

"A Single Man"
Directed by Tom Ford

I'm taking a sociology class on consumption, and until I revisited this film, I didn't really know what I wanted to write my final paper on. Obviously this isn't the sperm of consumerist culture, but positional consumption and experiential consumption do play an at least dissectable role. But my viewing didn't come out of search for a proper film for class. It came out of deep heartache to be reunited with one of the sweetest, most gorgeous, and subtly heartbreaking films of the past couple years. Colin Firth had much deeper emotional waters to traverse in "A Single Man" than he did with the lackluster and irritating "The King's Speech".

Of course the film was generally overlooked by the Academy in 2009, namely in terms of Julianne Moore's devoted and forever self-effacing performance in tucked pastures of the film. Nicholas Hoult may have devastated his own reputation by taking part in "X-Men: First Class", but he finds real curiosity and sweetness in this project. And who could possibly forget Tom Ford, the man who brought so much vision and passion to the project, and it so clearly shows. It'd be a shame to see the man never return to the director's chair after this one project, but the offering is not merely appreciated.

Directed by Joss Whedon

You might have guessed from the hint in this past week's TOP 10 SHOTS list that this was the film I planned on dissecting for this week. Needless to say, that didn't quite pan out, due to outside circumstances truly beyond my control. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't have some kind of say on Joss Whedon's fantastic sci-fi thrill ride that's equally entertaining for those fresh to the film as it is for fans of the original series. The film's plot doesn't steer clean and accessibly to those just entering into the fold. The protagonists are a group of hired guns who are willing to kill if they have to, kind of shattering the heroic stereotype.

Nathan Fillion in particular is fantastic in a role he has pretty much lived all his life, so much so that you almost consider his cutthroat attitude part of that demeanor. Everyone else on deck does their parts well, though Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau particularly rise about the woodwork with aggressive charisma and high-tapped strangeness, respectively. The action is haphazard, as it pretty much has to be given the film's constrained budget, but you could have fooled me. The final battle sequence is one of the most grand orgies of chaos and destruction you'll see in a sci-fi film these days. "Serenity" doesn't exactly break all the rules, but its refusal to play it so safe as the rest puts it more than slightly ahead of the rest.

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