Movie Review — Titanic

Is there any movie more touching and exciting than Titanic? And the first time you watch it, it’s completely unexpected. I didn’t even want to see this in the theater, and resisted for months. Fool that I am, I figured, “Yeah, it sinks. I know what happens. Why see it?

I was never so glad to be so wrong. The hype was deserved. The small, interpersonal story is so damn good you even forget the ship is going down forever, that thousands of people will die in sub-freezing water for no other reason than White Star Lines’ vanity. Man, I sobbed for the entire final act at my first viewing. Some scenes — like seeing the old couple, terrified, holding each other in bed as the waters rise — still make the tears flow. And I hold my breath as Rose and Jack do on the far stern, when they are sucked into the ocean. (We’ll just call that my 4D interactive experience. I do this in The Abyss too.)

The heart of the story is Rose and Jack: actors DiCaprio and Winslet exhibit charming charisma, chemistry, and commitment to their forbidden inter-class love affair.

The sparkling James Horner soundtrack helps, as well as the indelible visuals of the gigantic, “unsinkable” ship. The big screen viewing’s sense of scale draws you right now. DVDs don’t do it justice.

Bill Paxton’s framing story adds the perfect storytelling device, bridging past and present in a poignant way, making the heroes, villains, and tragic deaths more meaningfully real. The old decayed ship on the sea floor morphs into the Ship of Dreams, where the “the china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. ” You just get chills. It’s a storytelling triumph: James Cameron went to extraordinary lengths (and expense) to film the actual submerged remains, bringing us to that forbidding, painful, fascinating setting.

This sh!t happened. A cascade of small mistakes, human hubris, and major design oversights led to over 1500 people dying horribly, unnecessarily, in the far North Pacific on April 15, 1912.

Through the fabulous medium of movies, at their best, you get to feel and care for real history, even if the two main characters here are fictional. I love this movie so much that I now devour any books, movies, or museum exhibits on the Titanic. Yes, I do.

Does this movie need RunPee? Um, do sharks swim? YES. It’s really really really long. Loooooong. So long that it needs two DVDs to play on a home theater. If Titanic came out now, we’d probably have to have four or more Peetimes…a human bladder can only go so long. (But my heart will go on…)

Movie Grade – A+

Movie Review – The Darkest Hour

There’s really no need for anyone to show up for the Oscars, except for the talented artists involved with *Darkest Hour*. This was by far the best movie I’ve seen all year, and I’ve seen a lot of good (and bad) films.

I’m going to stick my neck out and predict that Gary Oldman will take home the Oscar for Best Actor. The first time I saw Oldman on screen was in JFK, where he played Lee Harvey Oswald. I knew then that here was an actor destined for greatness.

The movie itself could possibly take home the Oscar for Best Picture. The writing was expertly done, and the inclusion of Mr. Churchill’s wit and wisdom gave another layer to this film. The production values and cinematography were brilliant.

This is a movie for everyone who cares about the history of world. You may not know a lot about Churchill, but don’t let that stop you. By the time you leave the theater, you’ll have a burning desire to get to know this remarkable man more intimately. Don’t let the opportunity pass to see one of the most spectacular movies of a lifetime.

Movie Grade: A+

Movie Review – DunKirk

Be forewarned, this movie can be insanely confusing. There are three vignettes operating during this film: a pilot trying to keep the Luftwaffe at bay (while rescue attempts for the waiting soldiers on the beach are being made), a private citizen and his sons, who are lending a heroic hand to the survivors of sinking ships, and a small group of soldiers who are young, frightened, and only wish to get back home.

Time doesn’t run linearly during the many battle scenes. We know this, because one scene can be taking place at night, and the following scene is during the day. I understand this is the trademark of a Christopher Nolan film.

Dialog is sparse, and frequently can’t be understood because of the external sounds of war. The movie seems to depend on the facial expressions of the frightened men to know what’s going on in their minds – and it works beautifully.

I might add that if you’re not familiar with the Battle of Dunkirk, you may want to read a short article in Wikipedia that will help you gain insight into this dreadful event.

If you’re a fan of Christopher Nolan, you won’t be disappointed.

Movie Grade: A

Review – Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

This is a slow character tale about how the Wonder Woman comic came to be. While seemingly a superhero origin story, it’s really a drama about how an unconventional threesome bucked the odds of their time to create a gentle — and mostly uncomplicated — love story.

Was Wonder Woman a part of all this? She’s background and foreground simultaneously. It’s honestly not her film. It’s a true-ish tale of a man and two women, who have love amongst all three. Yes, even in our time, this is hard to understand and accept: imagine how it might have been more taboo in decades past, in the golden age of comic books. And now, in our ‘enlightened’ era, the topic still makes people uncomfortable.

Yet it’s not an uncomfortable film. It’s sweet. You root for the characters and want their happiness. It helps that they are super smart people, but they also have an emotional intelligence that doesn’t often accompany intellect alone.

It works as an historical piece, and fills in the gaps of anyone wondering WHERE exactly a superpowered woman took her place among such luminaries as Superman, Batman, The Flash, Captain America, and Aquaman. The film makes it clear that Wonder Woman was an aberration, and difficult for people to accept.

In our modern age, we have Xena, Buffy, River Tam, the Bionic Woman, Black Widow, Sarah Connor, Starbuck (the Kara Thrace version), female Terminators, and a whole lot of modern a$$ kicking women. But it had to start somewhere. Burning Wonder Woman comic books was a thing, in the day.

Movie Grade: B