2013 Movie Recap

By Kersley Fitzgerald

This is turning out to be a fantastic year for movies. I haven't seen all of them, but since Dev and I love movies, I have seen quite a few. Here are some recaps.

Olympus Has Fallen
We saw this with another couple. The wife didn't grow up watching movies; although she's making up for lost time, she's still a little sensitive. She spent half of Olympus Has Fallen with her arms over her head, hiding behind her knees. I almost don't blame her—I have never seen a movie with so many close-range shots to the head.

On the other side of me was Dev. Dev with 20 years in the military, including several working with nuclear missiles. I am sure the people behind us wanted to take a couple of shots, themselves. Between Dev grumbling about military inaccuracies (and I added a few, as well) and my friend screeching and hiding behind her knees, I spent the entire movie giggling. Terrible, tragic, violent movie about bad guys (North Koreans, of course, because the only acceptable bad guys these days are North Koreans and zombies) taking over the White House and killing scores of people, and I'm giggling. Probably not the effect the producers were going for.

One good thing: Melissa Leo (who I watched faithfully in Young Riders) was an excellent Secretary of Defense. She was scrappy and brave without being unrealistically tough. Aaron Eckhard played a good president, and Gerard Butler was much less annoying than usual. I can't say that I can recommend it, though, because of the language and the extreme violence.

Admission is an interesting movie. It stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, but it isn't that funny until Lily Tomlin shows up. Tina plays an admissions officer for Princeton, and Paul works for an alternative high school who wants her to accept one of his students. There's a good message in the movie, but it's not a movie I'd get the DVD for.

Iron Man 3
When Tony Stark says, "I am Iron Man," it may as well just be RDJ saying the words. Who else could be so cocky yet openly wounded and talk so dang much? I'm not a very critical judge of Iron Man just because I love the character so much. My friends swoon over Thor (lunkhead) and Captain America (self-righteous), but I like IM's emotional honesty, his love for Pepper, and the intelligence of the dialogue that so easily lends itself to humor.

Plus, how often do engineers get a super-hero role model?

Star Trek Into Darkness
Someday I'll give this movie the review it deserves. Or, not even the movie, but the character arc of Kirk. Very well done; did not want the one character to die; still don't understand the hoopla over Benedict Cumberbatch. Much has already been said about the gratuitous shot of Alice Eve, but both the director and the producer have admitted the scene was poorly done.

The movie also includes the usual Kirk-involved bed scenes—which is more annoying than, perhaps, the average joe would think. Because while I could cover JT's eyes during those two scenes, I wouldn't be able to do that if he wanted to watch it at home. So, at almost-12 and well able to see 99% of the movie, he still can't watch it on his own (although he did not like the head-squeezing scenes, even though they were off camera).

Man of Steel
Believe it or not, I still have not seen the new Superman movie, but the boss did. You can read his review (of sorts) here.

Monsters University/Despicable Me 2
The GQKiz.org site will have a more comprehensive review out later, but here is my synopsis. MU was a kids' version of Revenge of the Nerds. All of the message, but with half the laughs. It was well-done and jam-packed, but I don't think JT is going to be asking for the DVD anytime soon (although today he did say he wanted to go there for college).

DM2 had a quarter of the plot MU, but four times the jokes. All of them were stupid, but I still laughed through the whole movie. Good female role-model, too. And Dev still jokes about getting a tortilla sombrero with guacamole moat.

World War Z
I'm not a big fan of zombies, although I am a Browncoat, but I thought this movie would be more interesting because it handles zombies on a macro, worldwide scale, instead of a few survivors claustrophobically trying to stay alive.

To a large degree, it had a nice balance of both sides. Things got a little disjointed, however, when the producers changed the plot to allow for sequels. The large climax (apparently a huge battle in a Russian subway) became a quiet, intense showdown in a Welsh WHO research lab.*

I liked it. The resolution wasn't terribly satisfying. Or logical. It was interesting to see the various reactions to the infestation—ships, walls, and the North Korean dental plan. Dev did not see it, and he will not. I wound up going with four male friends who liked it, too.

I only checked the back of my car for zombies once.

The Heat
Do not see The Heat. I don't care if you think Sandra Bullock hung the moon. It is the crassest, most vulgar movie I've seen in a long time. The fact that I laughed through the whole thing does not matter. It's a terrible (terribly funny) movie that you should not watch.

Lone Ranger
For pity's sake, why is the Lone Ranger getting such poor reviews? Because Johnny Depp's Tonto isn't quite as manic as Captain Jack? I just don't know. I loved it. It's a solid tribute to the TV show with added surreal twists, which just made it awesome.

No matter that I'm now afraid of the bunnies that hop past my office window…

Red 2
Marvin: If there's one thing I know, it's women and covert operations.
Frank: Marvin, that's two things.
Han Cho Bai: No, grasshopper. It is not.

I was worried that Red 2 would turn out like Ocean's Twelve (not because of Catherine Zeta Jones). But it was a solid movie. Half action, half mystery, half relationship counseling. Byung-hun Lee's Korean assassin was a good addition, and Anthony Hopkins, as always, was perfect.

I think John Eldredge will not be too long in adopting this movie into his curriculum. Women like to be delighted in, but they also want to be part of the adventure--something that Marvin recognizes while Frank doesn't. At the same time, men love to live adventure with their woman. Sometimes the most romantic gesture in the world is to buy your girl a gun.

The Wolverine
I'm almost as big a fan of Wolverine as I am of Iron Man. This was a good flick, but I can't say too much about it without giving away the plot. One thing we couldn't figure was how could Logan remember Yashida if in between the present day and World War II he was shot in the head by Stryker? But Dev figured it was possible he was just going along with things; he didn't show any serious remembrance until he got to the place where he'd met Yashida, and it's likely he was just starting to remember then.

The romance was…interesting. There was a nice resolution to the Jean Grey thread, but I don't quite get the rest. He fell for both Jean and Kayla when all he knew was they were pretty—before he found out they were also powerful. But Mariko was soooo young-looking (the actress is 28) and spoiled, I couldn't understand why he fell for her so hard and fast. Or why he even had to go there. It would have worked just as well if she were Rogue's replacement instead of Jean's. But my confusion with that part may be the fault of the editing more than the story itself.

Between now and the end of the year, I'm looking forward to The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, possibly Elysium, Gravity, and Thor. But they're all minor diversions before the final three finally get here: Ender's Game, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Yes, a very good year for movies. Which was your favorite?

* Delightful irony: the actor who played the W.H.O. doctor who turned zombie has just been named the new Doctor Who.

Published 8-6-13