Writer / Director Charlie Kaufman has a reputation for off-beat, unusual movies but I’ll admit I’ve only seen one of his – Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (which he wrote) that I remember liking for its surreal themes and imaginative imagery. So checking out the trailer this looked like it had a similar quirky vibe. Lucy, a young woman is on a road trip with her boyfriend Jake to visit his parents. However she’s struggling with uncertain feelings about their relationship and is considering breaking up with him. However during their journey and stay at the parents farm, Lucy’s neurotic uncertainties cause various strange things to occur.
This was an odd experience. It’s initially a relationship drama but quickly tumbles down the rabbit hole of surreal imagery, time-jumps that seem to only be happening in Lucy’s head and plenty of pondering on life, mortality and relationships that gets a bit ‘much’. Occasionally the movie seems to hit pause for long inner monologues from Lucy that get rather pretentious, reciting poetry and insecurities that made me rather frustrated with her character. She came across utterly self-absorbed. Also occasionally the (admittedly clever) surreal moments seems to be there just to be odd and wacky (the dog that keeps shaking, disappearing and reappearing), which would have been fine if the movie had more of a sense of humour. Instead we get an overly pessimistic tone that doesn’t shift, and ultimately goes nowhere. David Thewlis and Toni Collette turn up as the patents, playing their characters at various ages, which did prove a highlight.
I’m sure theres plenty of meaning hidden amongst the oddness, and realise it’s all about life, ageing and the passage of time. However overall this lingered too much on the mundane and shy’d away from a potential to be more fun instead of just depressing. Disappointing.
Despite many people’s misgivings about Batman V Superman, few could argue that Gal Gadot’s sensual Wonder Woman was a particular highlight. Her appearance kept viewers eager for more, and so we have this origin story that focuses on how Diana (who funny enough is never referred to as Wonder Woman) came to be involved in a mission during (interestingly) the first world war. Quickly we’re introduced to Diana’s fantasy world of Amazonian warrior women and a loose connections to Greek mythology. There we have ConnieNielsen (Gladiator) as the reining Queen and also Diana’s mother, as well as the queen’s gutsy sister played by Robin Wright (House of Cards), who despite seemingly a departure for the actress, proves a good fit. However their peace is soon interrupted when an American pilot Chris Pine (Star Trek) crash lands at their shore, and Diana comes to his aid.
This plays mostly like a fish-out-of-water adventure with some well observed comedy and sharp dialogue, helped immeasurably by the chemistry between Gadot & Pine who spark wonderfully off one another. The WWII backdrop also means we get plenty of action and thrills within a fun ‘dirty dozen’ escapade. When Diana gets to kick ass too, its a sight to behold, superbly choreographed and well, she’s very appealing to the eyes (where did they find this beauty?). The movie is a tad over-long and degenerates into typical over-powered villain verses overpowered hero showdown, and well some of Wonder Woman’s super-human powers aren’t fully explained (she can easily toss a tank aside with one hand). Add to this an avalanche of CGI where some acrobatics began to look a bit cartoonish once people are flying around left right and centre.
However this has it where it counts; with colourful characters that work well with each other, a decent script with plenty of humour and some excellent set-pieces. DC seem to have turned a corner with this one, so on such evidence, I can’t wait for Justice League!
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