In Time is a dystopian thriller in which no one ages after they turn 25 years old, but then they are given only one extra year to live. In order to stay alive, the poor must live on a day to day basis to accumulate more time, while the rich stay rich and keep inheriting a nearly infinite amount of time.
This is a film that I had been anticipating for a while. While Andrew Niccol hasn’t always been consistent with his filmography from a critical acclaim standpoint, he has always given us unique films with interesting themes and ideas. The Truman Show is a masterpiece and while I found Lord of War middling from a storytelling/narrative standpoint, it did explore the world of guns in a cool way.
With In Time, Andrew Niccol created a world that was a perfect allegory for the current dilemma of our time, the rich vs. the poor. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer and there seems to be nothing to help unbalance the equation. The themes of this film are very relevant to the present day.
There’s a popular post on Tumblr about having a bank account filled with 86,400 dollars a day (go google it, I don’t want to type in the whole thing lol) and In Time essentially makes that post a reality, giving these characters only a limited amount of time each day to live and possibly gain more time to keep living. That is a scary world to live in, don’t you think? I’ve always said that the reason we keep doing the same things over and over is because we’re about 99.999999% sure we’ll be alive the next day. What if you never knew which day could be your last? This is the world that In Time contemplates.
Unfortunately, this is In Time’s biggest strength and also its greatest weakness. The concept of the film is so bold and original, but the film itself fails to capitalize on the potential of this world as a whole. The concept sets up the stakes, but the movie never really allows the viewer to fully become immersed in this world. This becomes especially evident by the end of the film. Whereas The Truman Show offered us a glimpse into a reality where the entire world is captivated by the life of a single ordinary man living an “ordinary life,” In Time fails to illuminate about any singular topic other than “live life because it’s precious.”
The social commentary is about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the noggin, but I didn’t really mind that because just hearing about the premise, it’s obvious what allegory Niccol is trying to represent by using time. I do wish that they explored certain themes more instead of just mentioning them and never showing anything else about it.
I found most of the cast appealing. Amanda Seyfried was better than I thought she’d be, but she was definitely better in the first half of the movie before her character changes. I’m a fan of Justin Timberlake as an actor (although I wish he would release more music) and he does solid work. Alex Pettyfer… I fuckin’ hate this guy, but he was somewhat tolerable here. Vincent Kartheiser was pretty great playing a similar role to the one he plays on Mad Men.
The one actor I want to single out is Cillian Murphy, who is one of my favorite actors, because he was fantastic in an absolute nothing role that, in my mind, represented all the problems of the movie. His character had no real clear motivation. What was his purpose? Was he trying to maintain the system? Did he sympathize with the main character’s plight? I have no idea what this character was trying to do or what meaning any of his actions had.
In Time is a decent sci-fi action thriller that has weighty themes that will resonate with today’s audiences. I still think that Andrew Niccol is a talented writer, but he has trouble getting the most out of the fantastic premises that he creates. Maybe he needs someone else to direct his concepts to get the most out of it (like Peter Weir did with The Truman Show). In Time is watchable enough and I enjoyed it to an extent, maybe give it a rental once it hits video.
I will be making an all spoiler post on In Time because there’s just so much about this movie that I want to go off on.
Cowboys & Aliens could have easily become one of those films I hated before I saw it. I saw the trailers for this movie at least (no fucking joke) about 20 times before I finally saw the movie. Seeing a trailer that amount of times usually means my interest is killed before the movie comes out, regardless of whether or not the movie is any good; examples of this include Hamlet 2 and The Soloist. However, I really dug the trailers for Cowboys & Aliens, so I didn’t mind seeing it so many times. The movie has garnered mixed/negative reviews from most critics.
I think that whether or not you have a good time with this movie depends on your expectations before coming into the movie. Are you expecting a masterpiece of blockbuster filmmaking? Or are you expecting a fun popcorn flick? If you are expecting the former and not the latter, you will be sorely disappointed.
It is hard to NOT think the former though because this is a film starring the likes of Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Adam Beach, and Paul Dano, and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1 & 2, Elf, Zathura). Not only that, but it’s written by Orci & Kurtzman, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Look at it from THAT standpoint, how could this NOT be the next great summer blockbuster?
Cowboys & Aliens does a lot things well and some not so well. I’ve read reviews that say that Jon Favreau is to blame for the film being bad, but I highly disagree. I’m not the biggest fan of the Iron Man films, but I always felt like Favreau’s direction was standout in those movies. He has a great knack for old school filmmaking blended with today’s modern technologies. I love his use of practical effects combined with CGI to create a more tangible feel to his films.
Where this movie falters is with the script which contains numerous plotholes, a plethora of unnecessary side characters with lame arcs, and relatively little answers to the mystery elements of the film. Orci & Kurtzman have had their fair share of hits, but their writing has always been hit or miss. Damon Lindeloff (Lost) also helped with the story and I’ve never watched Lost, but as Devindra Hardawar on the /Filmcast review of Cowboys & Aliens said, “Damon Lindeloff giving us a mystery he can’t answer? Gasp!”
A small nitpick from a movie nerd like me is that the sound mixing/editing was pretty atrocious in this film. When you watch a movie, oftentimes you don’t think about what you’re hearing even though that’s a big part of the movie. It’s usually because hearing something happen on screen is just second nature, but it plays a huge part in encapsulating us in the world of the movie. Cowboys & Aliens had some really poor sound effects, especially with the weapons where the six shooters sound like BB guns and everything just sounded so damn muffled. A great example of sound mixing would be Avatar where even though we’re in a completely 3D world, everything that moves, shoots, or makes a noise is implemented perfectly with the dialogue and action going on screen. You don’t think about how a gun shooting or a person running on gravel makes a sound, because you just automatically assume it’s going to be there. Movies add in those effects after the fact because they can’t record the sounds perfectly on the day they shoot. Once again, minor nitpick but it definitely affected my enjoyment somewhat.
What I dug the most about this movie, and the reason I was able to overlook most of it’s flaws, was just how fun it seemed. Sure, Daniel Craig gives off this brooding intensity throughout the film, but for the most part Cowboys & Aliens felt like some good old fashioned B movie fun. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are infinitely watchable movie stars, period. The film is far from great but there’s enough here on a popcorn level that I really enjoyed.
Cowboys & Aliens doesn’t completely live up to the premise or the talented personnel involved, but it is certainly enough fun as a B movie popcorn flick. There’s enough action and thrills to satisfy your average movie goer for sure. Just don’t go in expecting greatness and I’m sure you’ll have a blast at the movies with this one.
First official trailer for In Time directed by Andrew Nicchols. I will always have love for Andrew Niccol for writing the brilliant, and eerily accurate, The Truman Show. Definitely want to see what kind of social commentary on society that Niccol has for us this time around (no pun intended lol).
I just hope the fact that they had to cast really good looking people doesn’t backfire on them the way it did in Surrogates, where the people were beautiful, but the acting was atrocious. Even though we only see her for a bit, Amanda Seyfried sounds awful. Her line deliveries are just so off-putting. I absolutely loathe Alex Pettyfer, but I have to say, in the Comic-Con footage we saw, the two lines he delivered seemed all right haha. I’m actually a fan of Justin Timberlake as an actor, so it’ll be interesting to see how he pulls off the action hero bits of this film. Cillian Murphy is one of my favorite actors and he looks pretty good in here as well. I like the casting of Vincent Kartheiser from Mad Men as well.
Really looking forward to this movie!
Tron: Legacy- 3/10, I’ll start by up front saying WOW what a train wreck of a film. Almost every aspect of this film was terrible. Let’s start with the minimal good. Great special effects (save one aspect, I’ll get to that later) and a good score, that’s about it. The young Jeff Bridges looked TERRIBLE. That’s about as uncanny valley as you can possibly get, WTF was that thing? The world looked good, but it wasn’t interesting at all. Some people are pulling Avatar comparisons to this film, GTFO with that shit. I mean at least Avatar had great world building, a ton of kick ass action, and great pacing in addition to beautiful visuals. Can anyone tell me what the point of Tron: Legacy was? Dad goes away for a long time, son goes in and does a bunch of bullshit, and for what? I watched it in Blu-ray so the film was gorgeous to look at but it was sort of like a really vapid hot chick, she might be good looking but there’s nothing there.
The Dilemma- 5/10, Maybe it was just because I’d seen Tron: Legacy right before it, but I thought The Dilemma was actually decent. I don’t think that the blend between comedy and drama is incorporated well enough, but there are some laughs to be had. I thought Vince Vaughn, who has become unbearable as of late, was actually really funny. He has a lot of great moments in this film. The other three main leads get totally shafted though which is disappointing to see. The movie has such a strong and interesting premise that it doesn’t completely go all the way with, but it’s intriguing enough to hold your attention for the most part. There were also a lot of unnecessary subplots and meandering moments. The movie runs at almost 2 hours long and I feel like it would’ve been a lot tighter at 90 minutes. Could be a decent rental if you want a rom-com with a slightly different angle.