This was a week to play catch up on a few movies. A few years back my daughter on a flight had watched The Book Thief on an airplane, and when it finished she had felt cheated. She had felt manipulated and cheated with the voiceover. Having seen this movie now I can concur with her assessment. This is a simple story and it has a good cast with Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson. The newcomer is the young girl who plays Liesel (and despite my best efforts, every time I heard her name I thought The Sound of Music). But never mind. She incidentally is adorable, and did a fine job. Set in 1940s Germany, a young girl and her brother are going to a foster family since Mama was found to do something bad in that time and place (like be a Communist or suchlike). Brother dies on the way. Brother buried and girl carries on. She begins with new Papa and Mama (Rush and Watson). Watson could not be more stern, and grumpy. Midway Papa feels the need to house and hide a young Jewish boy. He stays for a time. Things happen and then the voiceover comes at the end. In many ways the story ends rather abruptly and you scratch your head about ultimately what the whole point was. Once I complete this review, I won’t think on it again. There are other films set in this time in Germany that tell similar stories and tell then better. Perhaps it humanizes the Germans who too often are caricatures, and we see that they had families and children and suffered loss. It wants us to cry and feel…but it wants it all just a little too much. So I cannot recommend.
Sunday I went with three kids and girlfriend to see Doctor Strange. They are the superhero movie fans really, and not generally. I finished this film and immediately asked for an explanation of what I had just watched for two + hours. Really. Yes, there were some very nice special effects, many borrowed from other movies like Contact, and Inception, and Interstellar. I like Benedict Cumberbatch, and I like his films generally. I don’t like him with an American accent. It seems forced and unnatural. It became a distraction. Our baddie is the Casino Royale bad guy Le Chiffre. Any time a movie messes with space and time and talks about alternate dimensions, it needs to be careful. Careful because time stuff, turns back on itself so much that a fading Marty McFly trying to strum chords on the guitar shows you some of the difficulties. Using time as a weapon (or a bargaining chip) with a Pacific Rim monster (well kind of) just sends my mind to TILT mode. My brain fried, eyes bugging up into my forehead I simply have to ask “WTF did I just see?!” If you can explain it, I welcome the insight. I still will be asking about The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and why she didn’t manage to figure it out, while newbie Ben has all the answers. Thanks Sherlock!! It’s elementary!! NOT!!!!