This movie should have been better than it was. It's based on actual people, it had a good cast, for the most part, and it looked awesome, meaning it had good cinematography, costumes, color, and setting. It just wasn't engaging enough to be great. Tom Hardy was a highlight. We swear, that man has a different voice for every character he plays, and we're not just talking about accents (although we've seen him do about four, and he hasn't been in that many movies yet). His surly, tough character was our favorite. Poor Mia Wasikowksa didn't make out so well. We've loved her since In Treatment, when she played a young gymnast getting therapy. She was the best Jane Eyre in movie history, and she can be really pretty. She's a good actress too. Sadly, she didn't get much to do in this movie, and they hardly ever let her put her hair down, so she didn't look that great either. The men we watched the movie with just kept complaining about how she wasn't pretty and was "anorexic." It made us feel bad, since we like her and think she's gorgeous in a different sort of way.
Gary Oldman hardly gets anything to do, but it's the best we've liked him in a while (he was hideous in The Book of Eli). This was beneath Jessica Chastain, especially given her role. Shia LaBeouf did a much better job than we would have predicted, and we're pleased to see him at least trying to get into good movies. He's grown. We were also happy to see Dane DeHaan, who we recognized from Chronicle. He's a great new actor and a little cutie to boot. Guy Pearce has the meatiest role. Parts of the movie are a little slow, and it feels listless. We felt uninvolved when we were watching it. even in the parts where we were entertained. The film lacked both tension and heart, and at least one of those is key in movies like this. In the end, the best thing about this movie was the violence. If you like brutal, slightly creative, and gleeful violence, this is the movie for you. It's not constant, but when it's there, it wakes you up.
Movie grade: B
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Once again, the cast is the draw here. Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, and Maggie Freaking Smith. Yes, please. We ended up liking Bill Nighy's character the best. This movie had a boggy middle, since there was little in the way of firm plot. We didn't know where it was going. The characters' main goals were...wait for it...to enjoy retirement. Hows that for a story? Seven old people set out to enjoy their retirement, BUT WILL THEY SUCCEED when it's in India, and they find the country weird and the hotel a bit run down. We didn't care about one of the major love stories. Dev Patel's character was funny. That guy was so positive that if someone pooped on him, he would say, "Ah, yes, I can eat that and it might have some nutrition."
The movie is sweet, and it has a few good lines and chuckles. We expected more though, especially because of the cast. This movie was wise not to exceed two hours, but we wanted to see more of India and the more interesting aspects of the culture there. We wanted more jokes and fewer cliche plots. The actors save the script. We were a little annoyed at some of the portrayals of women in this movie. All the villains were women (even if their villainy was light), and we watched this movie with a guy who got a chance to throw around the world "bitch" a lot. We're sick of women in movies being negative nags, shrewing around. This film didn't totally work and will end up being forgettable. If it weren't for the cast, it would probably have been a complete waste of time.
Movie grade: B-
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