Sunday, September 1, 2013

Movie Week

Over the past several days I've seen three very different movies. One was about a whale named Tilakum that killed his trainer, another about a girl who discovers she's a shadowhunter, and the third about a woman with a Jane Austen obsession. So, which would I recommend? Let me give you my thoughts on them, then I'll tell you.

Black Fish

This is one of the most interesting, eye-opening, heartbreaking documentaries I've seen. This is not a fictionalized version of a horrible event, and has no actors, only people who've been involved with whales or this case in particular. Dawn Brancheau was the trainer of Tilikum, an Orca, or killer whale, at Sea World. This documentary goes back 40 years to find the answers as to why he killed her (she's the third death he's responsible for, not the first). I feel bad that I ever gave a single dollar of my money to Sea World based on what I learned from this movie. Orca's are extremely intelligent, emotional, and family oriented. Calfs live with their parents for their entire lives. And yet Tillikum, as well as many other whales in now captivity, were captured and ripped from their mother's sides (and even still calves are taken from their moms to be sold to other marinas). Then they're forced to live their lives in unnaturally small tanks with other whales who are not only strangers, but who don't even speak the same "language" as one another. Black Fish is enlightening and heart wrenching.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

I read this book quite some time ago. In fact, it was long enough ago that I didn't remember much from the book. I remembered the basic storyline, but not specific details. I liked the movie. Other than Lily Collins' distracting eyebrows (can someone get that girl a pair of tweezers, please?), I thought she did a good job and captured the spirit of Clary. Jamie Campbell Bower, probably best known as Caius from the Twilight movies, is sexy and mysterious as Jace is supposed to be. Simon was pretty different than I remember him from the books, but I thought the actor playing him (Robert Sheehan) was a perfect balance of nerdy and hot. I have a bit of a crush on Jonathan Rhys Meyers so I'd be hard pressed to find anything wrong with him. The movie had far more action and fight sequences than I remember the book having, but not to the point of distraction. Overall, a really good movie.


I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read Austenland by Shannon Hale, in spite of the fact that I'm a fan of hers (love Goosegirl). Therefore I wasn't really sure what to expect when I walked into this movie. I kind of expected a cute romantic comedy - and I ended up getting so much more. This movie is hilarious. I should have known based on Shannon's particular sense of humor, and the fact that it's directed and co-written by Jerusha Hess (Napoleon Dynamite). Not to mention that it co-stars the always funny Jennifer Coolidge, who's at the top of her game here. Keri Russell is charmingly obsessed with all things Jane Austen, and books a trip to Austenland, where women go to slip back in time and basically live a Jane Austen novel. Unfortunately she's given the faux moniker of Jane Erstwhile, and is booked into the servants quarters (she only purchased the basic package). There were times in the movie when I couldn't hear some lines of dialog because the audience was laughing so much. JJ Field and Bret McKenzie are both swoon-worthy, and Georgia King and James Callis are hilarious side characters. And can someone please tell me how Jane Seymour still looks so beautiful at 62? I can't wait for this one to come out on Blu-Ray.

I promised I'd give you my recommendation for which of these to see, and here it is: I recommend all of them. If you can't swing seeing them all (movies are ridiculously expensive at $10 per person) then here's what I say:
If you want to see something deep, moving, and thought-provoking, then see Black Fish.
If you want to see something dark and mysterious with lots of action, then see City of Bones.
If you want to see something lighthearted and funny that will make you leave the theater with a smile on your face, then see Austenland.

Still can't decide? Then I'd recommend Austenland, simply because it makes your day a little happier.

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