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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Movies: The Next Three Days and Cloud Atlas

Caroline Bonarde Ucci [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The Next Three Days
One of us is always looking for good (not mindless) action films to watch on Instant Netflix, because that's about the only genre her dad ever wants to watch, and he always wants to watch something. The Next Three Days got lackluster reviews from just about everyone, so we didn't expect it to be any good. Still, it looked better than most of the other action movies on that site, and the trailer was interesting. While Elizabeth Banks and Russell Crowe are probably too good to be associated with this movie, it was a lot better than we thought it was going to be. It was, unfortunately, a little unrealistic at times. Other than that, it was entertaining, and we loved the second half. When the movie stumbles, it keeps going, and it was pretty good at building suspense. It's worth watching, but we're glad we didn't see it in theaters.
Movie grade: B

Cloud Atlas
There's a lot about this movie that we liked: The visuals, the cast (except for Jim Sturgess, who has no charisma. Stop trying to make him happen, Hollywood), the makeup, the way the movie juggled so many story lines without being confusing, the spirituality, the fact that the filmmakers were reaching for the stars, the originality, the concepts, the messages.... Sadly, this had to be one of the most boring movies we've ever seen. Clocking in at over two-and-a-half hours, this film took us right to that line between "care" and "don't care," and then it crossed over into the brain space that was screaming, "Just kill them all. I don't care about these characters!" None of the story lines managed to build enough individual suspense to carry the entire movie. The phrase "hot mess" applies.

You can't just throw a TON into a script and hope something sticks emotionally. Hitchcock's rule was "have three great scenes and no bad ones." This movie had plenty of bad ones and none that will stick in our memories. We heard this movie was based on a very good book. What was needed was depth, insight into the characters' minds and motivations, and, you know, other things that make you invested in the outcomes. Some smart people loved this movie, including people who are close to us, so you may disagree as well. We suggest going after a full night's sleep, with a good amount of snacks, and a comfortable sweater if you want to make it through to the end. Settle in.
Movie grade: D

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