The Monuments Men: Not So Much a Review as a Sketch

It is late o’clock and I need to go to bed, but I just finished watching The Monuments Men.

I think it was a little weak in character development at the beginning–I was still trying to get a handle on who everyone was (beyond “Bill Murray” and “John Goodman”) when [major event around which plot eventually coalesces] happened–the emotional impact of said event was powerful, yes, but with just a bit more exposition/time to get our feet under us it really could have been as gut-wrenching as the later [major event] was.

Which, given that that’s my only complaint, really isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Mostly I spent a fair amount of time with my blanket half-pulled in front of my face, trying desperately to judge the timbre of the scene based on the (fantastically classic) soundtrack, feeling incredibly tense and worried about what was going to happen to everyone and everything. On the one hand, WWII movie; on the other hand, mostly sad and gentle and ultimately triumphant story about old men trying to save art. (There is something to be said here about how Clooney’s restraint in showing gore added to the tension, and the sadness, of the violence. Probably something related to how lingerie is sexy and nudity is not. Another post.) On the one hand, it was a soothing reminder of how important art is to everyone; on the other, it was an urgent reminder of the depths to which the mob mentality can sink.

And how happy was I to see Jean Dujardin? Happier than I could ever possibly express. The Artist is a perfect movie and I would like to see more of him, yes I would.

I cried for art burned and I cried for art saved and the people who were able to view it; I got chills when I saw pieces I recognized, pieces I’d seen, was overcome with the realization that in some ways standing on the beaches of Normandy and standing in front of the Mona Lisa are the same grateful thing.

Part of me was a little broken-hearted for my country, which hasn’t been able to find such a clean fight since.

The message was a bit heavy, perhaps, but so beautifully expressed (both in phrasing and in voice) that I didn’t mind at all.

My parents described this as an adult movie, or a movie for adults, especially in terms of cinematography; I also saw it most in the scenes with James and Claire, which were wonderfully refreshing. Teenagers think one-night stands in Paris are romantic and freeing. Adults understand otherwise.

Writing this is making me miss Roger Ebert.

And bedtime has come, and off I go; this is a movie I would show anyone before they went to Europe.

Oh! And the language barriers! And human communication! And all the little moments of hilarity scattered throughout, telling you that although parts of the story are serious and sad, it’s still okay to laugh; it’s good to laugh, and it doesn’t just have to be gallows humor.

I feel tucked in and safe, at least for tonight; I’ll see y’all in the morning.

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Pacific Rim: A Review

THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS though obviously I’m the last person on earth (well, my husband and I) to see this movie so I don’t know how much that matters.

I should note for starters that the only real reviews I’ve read of Pacific Rim are a couple of scientific critiques and this, which I’ll talk about later in greater detail. It’s my habit when I know I want to write about a movie or book to avoid other mentions of it until I’ve had a chance to get my thoughts down. I welcome links if you have them!

That being said, I have a Tumblr account, and thus I saw a lot of hype for this movie and many, many gif sets of Mako Mori. Again, more on that in a minute.

Also, I missed like half the character names in this movie, so, uh, be on the lookout for other identifying makers.

I enjoyed large parts of this movie, and I thought that cinematically speaking it was well-shot, edited, etc. (except for one cut towards the end with the escape pods). It’s definitely a solid B- movie (that space is there intentionally); it’s too pretty for a C+, but there are too many

for to it to be a solid B movie. I know people like to say “it’s a movie about giant robots facing giant aliens you just have too little imagination” or “it’s an homage to anime/Japanese pop culture/mecha/etc.,” but suspension of disbelief has less to do with being able to accept premises (giant robots vs. aliens) and more with how the story treats the fallout from those premises.
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