Synopsis: Adapted from author Philip Roth’s novel The Dying Animal, director Isabel Coixet’s elegant tale of obsession explores the relationship between a highly respected professor, David (Ben Kingsley), and an impossibly gorgeous grad student, Consuela (Penélope Cruz). As their relationship deepens, the professor finds his ego challenged by the girl’s enchanting beauty.
I’m not sure what it was, but I feel like this movie should have been better than it ultimately was. It was finely shot, had a nice musical score, and solid performances, but the overall film left me feeling underwhelmed nonetheless. There was something missing from all of the above and I’m not 100% sure what it was. I guess I just didn’t find the characters compelling enough to care about.
One theme that was handled well was the idea of jealousy. When Consuela asks David how many women he’s slept with, she asks if the number is over or under 50 and he says over. She brushes this off, but when he asks her how many men she’s slept with she says 5 and he becomes instantly jealous. Who were these men? How old were they? What did they do? I thought it was a great look into the psyche of men and the contradictory feelings men have towards women.
There wasn’t anything in this film that was outright terrible, but there wasn’t anything that gripped from from the start to truly care about this story. And it’s not that I need action or melodrama to keep me actively engaged in a movie, I love movies that are slow burns, but Elegy was just missing something I can’t quite put my finger on.
I was honestly not that excited to see Green Lantern. When I saw the trailers it looked like yet another superhero origin story. There was nothing really to differentiate it from the dozens of other superhero films we’ve seen in the past; it just looked kind of generic. Another strike was casting Blake Lively over my homegirl Keri Russell for the Carol Ferris role (although it looks like Keri dodged a bullet by losing out on the role lol). The only thing that really held my interest was that Martin Campbell, a man who’s successfully rebooted the James Bond franchise TWICE, was directing. I’m a big fan of the work I’ve seen from him and I was certainly interested in seeing him tackle a superhero story.
Unfortunately it seems like this film was made entirely by the studio intent on spending a lot of money, appealing to as broad an audience as possible, and creating a multimillion dollar franchise. All this instead of people who had a vested interest in telling a good story, crafting believable characters, and giving the audience a good summer blockbuster. The entire movie has a made by committee feel to it. Let’s throw in an action beat here, an emotional beat there, some flashback scenes here, a little romance there, etc. It felt like the studio was trying to just appeal to make a four quadrant movie and in doing so they removed any uniqueness from the movie.
The only highlights were the special effects and some inventive use of powers for the action scenes. That being said, I don’t think that the special effects were top notch. It might’ve been because I just saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which has some of the best special effects I’ve seen in a long time, but Green Lantern looked kind of bland at times. When Ryan Reynolds enters Oa, it feels too obviously green screen. There’s no weight to any of the movement of the CGI creations.
I did dig the way the Green Lantern used his powers. That was the only little bit of originality in the film and even that didn’t feel like it was taken advantage of to the fullest extent. That last action scene was legitimately good, but that’s all you get from this movie. That and one showdown between Green Lantern and Hector. Everything else was just kind of blah
I need to single out Mark Strong as Sinestro, who easily gave the best performance of this movie. Mark Strong is pretty much great in every single movie he’s in, but he’s really so good in this movie. It’s such a shame that such a wonderful actor and performance is wasted on a film this mediocre.
Back to flaws of the film, the biggest problem of the movie is that it feels so bland. The movie feels designed to take people’s money by creating a superhero blockbuster that will appeal to all ages and demographics. Instead of taking chances and creating something memorable, we get something that we’ve seen a million times before in movies. Truthfully, there’s really only like six different kind of stories out there for movies to tell, but the way you tell it and what you bring to those formulas is what separates the crap films from the great. Green Lantern has almost nothing distinctive about it.
Ryan Reynolds is basically just doing his typical Ryan Reynolds schtick, which is somewhat enjoyable, but nothing we haven’t seen from him before. Blake Lively is essentially a non-entity in this film. It’s hard to believe this is the same actress who gave such a great performance in The Town, although honestly, she’s not given much to work with. Peter Sarsgaard plays yet another terrible villain in a terrible movie (which he’s been doing a lot of recently). Tim Robbins, who is supposed to be Peter Sarsgaard’s father in the movie, looks like he could be his brother. Hell, as old as he looks, Peter Sarsgaard looks like he could be Tim Robbins’s father in this movie! Apparently the characters Reynolds, Sarsgard, and Lively play all grew up together but Sarsgard is older than Reynolds and Reynolds is about a decade older than Lively. In what conceivable universe are these characters all the same age!?
Which leads to my biggest gripe about the film, none of these characters seem to have any relationships with each other outside of Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris. Hal and Carol have exactly two scenes where they are in the same frame as Hector Hammond, and that’s ALL you get to develop any kind of “bond” or “relationship” between them. The film could’ve worked if you played up this angle of a Hal/Hector relationship where Hector is jealous of Hal basically having life so easy and Hal throwing it all away. But instead, you get NOTHING and the film basically has no dramatic weight to it.
Movies like Green Lantern destroy my young idealistic hopes that blockbuster movies can be fun entertainment at the least. When movies feel like they’re being made just so studios can make a boatload of money and not because they’re trying to tell a good story or be creative with the film medium, I just can’t support that.
While I don’t think that Green Lantern is unwatchable by any means, I will say that I was looking at my watch several times during the film and thinking “when is it gonna end!?” I don’t think I need to tell you that that’s not a good thing when it comes to seeing a movie.
I just finished An Education which came in from Netflix yesterday and that movie freaking blew me away. AMAZING movie, simply amazing. Definitely worthy of all the praise that it received, in my opinion it deserved more. There’s like so much of that movie that I want to talk about but I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t. But mannnnnnn… it just brings up some real world shit that makes you think. Class status struggles, material wealth, the importance of money, talent and how it’s used, and of course education itself. I love how the title of the film can play into so many different themes and interpretations. I’m seriously shocked that Peter Sarsgaard and Alfred Molina got no love from the Academy, and even more appalled at Sandra Bullock winning that fucking Oscar with people like Carey Mulligan and the other nominees in the running. Ugh… definitely go see An Education anyway that you can, it’s a brilliant film that should be seen by as many people as possible!