go postle.

pardon my dust. i'm turning it into glitter.

Hi, I'm Chris. If you subscribe to the MBTI, I'm an INFJ. I put myself through school for a seemingly useless English/Creative Writing degree, but writing is my passion and that's what I want to do when I grow up. Still figuring out what comes next, and pretty much everything else, so I'm feeling kinda adventurous. And yes, that's exactly how my OkCupid profile starts out. Why mess with a good thing, eh?

The site's a work in progress. I'll be adding content over time, and hopefully eventually it'll evolve into something halfway interesting. I'm glad you're still reading, though. Usually by this point I have to show a little skin to keep 'em interested.

Filtering by Tag: film review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Ben Stiller directs and stars in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

       So today I went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Along with The Desolation of Smaug (which I'll probably not talk about here because I'm too much of a fanboy), Mitty was one of my more highly anticipated movies of the season. I've always had a soft spot for characters who get lost in their own little fantasy worlds, notably Zach Braff's "J.D." on Scrubs or Calista Flockhart's titular Ally McBeal -- they're neurotic and sad and I very much identify.

       When leaving the theater after Mitty I overheard one little old lady comment to her two little old lady pals, "I didn't like the beginning much, but it got better" which strangely helped me organize my feelings about it. For about the first half you would have seen a look of horror on my face as my hopes and dreams for the film were slashed to bloody pieces: the writing was terrible. The jokes fell flat, the fantasies were utterly bizarre (the fantasies from the source material would have made much more sense, but apparently the film had to be stripped of anything at all resembling Thurber's original story), and there was a schizophrenic bleed of fantasy into reality (mountains crumbling to reveal text messages) that completely lacked any sort of charm.

       Even the cinematography, which briefly captured some truly stunning views of Iceland and Afghanistan, failed to let us linger in the beauty of those moments -- a central theme of the film. I remember very specifically one scene in Afghanistan where Mitty is hiking up the Himalayas and the music builds to this great crescendo a la The Return of the King when the beacons are lit, and we crest over one ridge to this gorgeous panoramic view of the mountains only to be drawn down with barely a glimpse of the beauty to Ben Stiller huffing and puffing up the trail.

       Some of the plot points -- like the sale of an old piano -- just don't make sense, and the oodles of product placements were annoying as hell (eHarmony probably financed half the damned film for an entirely pointless subplot, and the gushing over Cinnabon was laughable), but what did help to save the movie for me in the end was the adherence to and borderline overstatement of the fictional Life magazine motto about following your dreams and the purpose of life or some such sentimental bullshit, but it worked. It tied the film together and left us with a vague sense of having been inspired that lasted approximately until we reached the parking lot.

       Is it worth seeing? Sure, if you're bored, but don't have your hopes up too high. Netflix? Maybe, but the natural beauty that we're able to glimpse might make the cost of the big screen worth it. Better yet, let's take a trip to Iceland instead. I'll read you the short story on the way -- even it's not that great but it will only take about ten minutes.

Cumberbitchin.

         After far too long a wait for this trekkie, with blame going equally to laziness, busy-ness, and speeding bus-drivers that zoom by my stop about 5 minutes too early when I'm only about 100 feet away, I was finally able to go see Into Darkness yesterday. It was the first movie I've been able to see in a theater since The Hobbit back in January, so it was kind of a special treat, and it didn't disappoint.

       Especially for an action/adventure flick, I thought the pacing was well-balanced, which I couldn't say for its immediate predecessor. Films like these often get too carried away in their break-neck speed then have boring little interludes mixed in as an attempt to even things out. It doesn't often work, but my attention was never diverted here by thoughts of "oh-my-god-this-is-too-much", nor did I want for a fast-forward button. It was kept tight, but not too tight.

 <minor spoilers>

       My only real complaints about the film included the gratuitously alien planet in the beginning that was far too stylized to be believable and the reliance on "Spock Prime" near the climax. The former can be forgiven, but the latter is starting to get old. I love Nimoy, of course, and his appearance in the first film was thrilling and it worked. Here, though, I think it drew a bit too much attention to the fact that this was a rework of the original sequel, The Wrath of Khan. 2009's Trek, with its diversion into an alternate timeline, was a great way to both reboot and continue the series, but it's not much of a continuation if you start retelling the same stories over again. With all of the remakes flooding the film industry I, for one, am starved for original material, and while I did prefer this rework to the original Khan, it also left me hoping that they'll come up with something new for the next installment. Given the significant switch at the end of Darkness that upends the story arc that would otherwise have been the next two films, I'm optimistic.

</spoilers> 

       Now to the point: I do have to admit that I squealed a little (just a little) when I heard that the formerly titular character would be played by my übercrush from BBC's Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch. The man is just so gorgeously British that he would melt any Anglophile. And I'm copying directly from the Into Darkness Wikipedia page here to drive that point home, but "Jonathan Romney of The Independent specifically noted Cumberbatch's voice saying it was 'So sepulchrally resonant that it could have been synthesised from the combined timbres of Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Alan Rickman holding an elocution contest down a well'." Considering he just named three of my favorite British men, you might begin to understand my excitement. But the man just ran away with the show. We already know he can play the genius, but he was such an awesome villain that I found myself wanting him to win. I love a good villain, especially those you can sympathize with: those whose actions are understood to a point where you're forced to reflect on whether you would chose the same if in their position. Their motivation isn't some evil madness or blind revenge, but some very applicable situation. This shift from the original Khan was a stroke of genius, and Benedict's portrayal left me even more hopelessly than before his Cumberbitch.

Copyright © 2019 Christopher Postlethwait