A Slough of Reviews

I’ve been on airplanes a lot lately, getting caught up on my movies-to-watch list. ūüôā

The Maze Runner –¬†Garbage¬†: I was excited for this one since mazes are such a rich subject in fiction, there were so many places for this film to go.¬†The premise is really cool – kids keep appearing (by elevator) at the gates to a huge maze with no memory of¬†their purpose, and there’s a kind of lord-of-the-flies maze-cult society that emerges.¬†I hate giving a bad rating because there were lots of things I really liked about this film, but the big twist reveal at the¬†end was so, so¬†incredibly bad that I felt it ruined the whole thing.

Guardians of the GalaxySuper Fun : If you haven’t already seen it, I thought this was the best spectacle film of the summer. The writing is snappy and fun, the action sequences are well thought out and hilarious, and the visual effects are bombastic. There’s a bit of material in here that I’d be hesitant to show to a young kid, but it’s pretty intelligent humour and there’s some real heart in the film.¬†Hollywood take note: this is the first example of a comic book film I can think of where the origin story of all of the characters doesn’t take up the first hour – we’re willing to take a talking tree, bipedal raccoon, warrior princess and beserker at face value (and even care for them). Please please stop retelling the origin of Spider-Man.

The Italian (L’Italien) –¬†So good : This is a very clever French fish-out-of-water situation comedy about an Algerian muslim man who, in an effort to avoid discrimination, pretends to be an Italian while living in France. The¬†ruse gets tricky to maintain when his father, from his hospital bed, begs him to observe Ramadan. For a film that has something serious to say about racism, this is way more fun than it ought to be. ūüôā The writing is hilarious, and the situations he gets into are totally absurd. Loved this one. Really good.

The Imitation GameReally great : This Hollywood adaptation of Alan Turing’s contributions to decrypting the Nazi ‘enigma’ codes was surprisingly watchable. Even as an¬†secret code¬†enthusiast I was expecting the material to be a little dry, but Alan Turing was such a compellingly eccentric character that there was lots of human story to tell. The film had a more than a few hollywoodisms – this shouldn’t be considered a bio-pic so much as a dramatization of events that really happened. But it was well put together, especially neat to see the replica¬†Cryptographic Bombe machine running.