Feb 8, 2015: Movies watched this week

Here are the movies I watched this past week:

The Cold Lands (2013)


Link: The Cold Lands

Summary: After his mother dies, a young teenager runs away in an attempt to keep his independence.

Thoughts: I’m not sure what they were aiming to create with this film. It felt meandering and pointless. The film begins with a mother and son, living in poor conditions in the boonies. While the mother is strict to the point of unbelievable ridiculousness (“You want a TV? No, haha! A violent video game? Of course not!” Wow, what believable writing!) and obviously has some issues, it’s also clear she means well and is trying her best. When she dies, so does all semblance of a story. The remainder of the film features little more than the kid wandering around the forest before meeting up with an older rogue-mentor who arbitrarily takes the kid under his wing, attempting to train him in the ways of the rogue-mentality, but the relationship has very little story substance, so no nuggets of wisdom are ever really offered between the two of them. And with some pointless nudity in the mix, we have a pretty waste-of-time movie here.

Clandestine Childhood (2011)


Link: Clandestine Childhood

Summary: A child attempts to have a normal childhood despite his parents being secret guerrilla soldiers who are attempting to battle Argentine’s military government.

Thoughts: Since the film is from the child’s point-of-view, we never really get much of the politics his parents are fighting for. (One familiar with Argentina’s history in the late 70’s and early 80’s would probably understand the conflict better, but I’m not one of them.) But one need not understand the political conflict to understand the child’s struggle to find and keep friends while never being allowed to reveal his real name at school, or use the phone at home, etc. Much of his story begins to revolve around his relationship with a girlfriend whom he realizes he can’t be completely honest with. The film does its best with the elements it includes, but by the film’s end, it unfortunately doesn’t feel like much. Overall, it’s an OK film, but I don’t think it stands out; there’s no strong theme to glue all the elements together, at least not one I saw.

Annabelle (2014)


Link: Annabelle

Summary: A member of the occult dies with an ugly creepy doll in her hands, which then becomes possessed and haunts its owner’s family.

Thoughts: A red crayon rolls out of a room; upon entering, the words “her soul” and random scribbles are written in red crayon all over the ceiling. It’s that kind of cheesy ridiculous laughable horror film cliche that this entire movie is made of. It’s not scary or even thematically interesting. The attempted jump scares don’t even make you jump. And yet this film had a budget of $6 million and made $256 million. That’s the most horrific thing about this film. Clearly the horror movie business is the business to be in.

Lucy (2013)


Link: Lucy

Summary: A woman is drugged with a drug that allows her to use ever-increasing percentages of her brain! As a result, she gains various super powers, which she uses to… do action movie stuff!

Thoughts: If one can forgive the ridiculous science of the premise, there’s not really much of a story besides action film action with super powers. Or at least I couldn’t understand what the story was supposed to be. Lucy sets out to stop the bad guys, who were injecting people with the drug for what purpose again? The film also tries to be profound about the profound truths about nature, but none of it really seems to make any sense, as far as I can tell. For example, after becoming super-smart (supposedly), Lucy says: “Humans consider themselves unique so they’ve rooted their whole theory of existence on their uniqueness. One is their unit of measure, but it’s not. All social systems we’ve put into place are a mere sketch. One plus one equals two. That’s all we’ve learned, but one plus one has never equaled two. There are, in fact, no numbers and no letters. We’ve codified our existence to bring it down to human size to make it comprehensible. We’ve created a scale so that we can forget its unfathomable scale.” Ah! How profound! Um… what the hell are you talking about?! And how do your profound insights make your super-powers possible? Eh, maybe I can’t forgive the ridiculousness of the premise; in trying to think about how I would fix it, I think I’d have to change the premise. It just doesn’t fundamentally make sense for these super-powers to be naturally inherent in every human brain, just needing drugs (or profound understanding?) to unlock them. Not that I don’t believe the human brain doesn’t have abilities humans have not yet unlocked (we do not yet understand how intelligence works); I just don’t believe these abilities include teleportation, time-travel, telekinesis, etc. The film does have some fun action sequences and some humor (wish there had been more), but not much else. And the Samsung product placement is really subtle, you probably won’t notice it, especially with what little portion of your brain you’re using.