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movie thoughts: The Art of Getting By

This one.

I’ll admit, I’m totally drawn to this type of movie: quirky, indie, down to earth, not much rah-rah action– hopefully just a good story that’s well acted and with characters that I can become emotionally invested in. And The Art of Getting By does that… well, mostly.

This isn’t going to be my favourite movie ever, but I’ll happily say I enjoyed it and had many positive aspects that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to my friends. It’s a teen movie (yes, the make or break factor of child actors come up again) and I thought both Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts were great. They didn’t ever make me cringe because of acting (so thumbs up).

The movie itself is relatively quiet, it tells the story of George- a smart, sensitive and artistic student who contemplates the meanings and intricacies of life, yet cares naught for school- in his senior year. The girl he’s crushed on for years suddenly becomes part of his life as their stories come together for a dance then move apart, only to leave him feeling alive for the first time– and it’s cliched and predictable and yet… lovely. I loved the character of George and the way he was portrayed, but I didn’t care much for Sally. I really liked the role of the secondary characters and subplots, particularly that of George’s parents and less than perfect marriage. I thought it was realistic and well done.

These high school characters I didn’t find particularly realistic, yet I found their faults refreshing. The attitude George has for school is believable, as is Sally’s own need to escape her town, but I thought the extra bits– the philosophical side to George might be pushing the boundaries (or maybe I just need to meet more people like him). That said, I found him a sympathetic character and capable of carrying a movie such as this one.

Overall: B

In a scribble: Not exactly the most original thing out there, The Art of Getting By is kind of what you would expect and doesn’t disappoint: a thoughtful look at two teens growing up and discovering the ups and downs of life and love.

Bookish tie-in: definitely a contemp YA, I’d probably recommend Paper Towns by John Green — quirky and thoughtful 🙂

movie thoughts: Real Steel

January 11, 2012 3 comments

This one.

I think this is the type of movie in which there is so much that could possibly go wrong, you’re almost intrigued to how much of a train wreck it could be. And I’ll admit that the premise, I was totally on the fence about (I mean, boxing transformers-esque robots? seriously?) but I’m willing to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did.

The premise of Real Steel is that basically in the near future, people box with robots, and Charlie Kenton is one of the people who participate in the ‘sport’. One day he finds out his ex has died and he has an 11 year old kid to take care of for the summer, and they bond over the sport. It’s not exactly predictable but not exactly super-original either (minus the boxing robots, that is).

But I feel that’s the crux of it, and the people who made the movie didn’t lose sight of it. It was a movie about father and son, and the idea of redemption and determination; you throw in some guts and a really sympathetic underdog story, and it’s like you’ve it gold. I thought the heart of the story and the tentative to dependable relationship between Charlie and his son, Max is what kept this movie from going overboard. The pacing was also something I really liked, because you’re always afraid that the movie will rely too much on fight scenes and either bore you to death or cringe you to death in between. I’m happy to say that I found that these more developmental parts of the plot did neither, and really carried the movie along without it feeling as if the pace was slowing down.

But of course, you’re probably interested about the fight scenes, and I’ll say– I was impressed. And I’m also extremely impressed that it wasn’t overdone (OHEY THERE MICHAEL BAY AND TRANSFORMERS 3) and while it served as an exciting backdrop, it wasn’t overwhelming and was indeed entertaining for me. Some of the matches I was genuinely excited and kind of on the edge of my seat, so to say. I was lulled into this futuristic world easily and I think I avoided the whole “wtf this could never happen, *eyeroll*” possibility, which definitely added to my enjoyment.

There were definitely a few weak parts– the romance factor comes to mind, mostly because it feels as if it was just thrown in there for good measure because “hm, there should be a romance”.

Okay, now here’s a make or break factor (YES, it is a make-or-break): the child actor. Max (Dakota Goyo). Make? Uhm… yeah. I’ll give it to him, but just barely. Because he had some awesome scenes, but he also had some *facepalm* scenes and when finding out the net-win, it was on the positive side… so yay! And I should add I’m kind of unfairly mean and judgemental about young actors because they really can ruin a movie with shitty acting, and I really can’t stand them sometimes. Max does a dance entrance with the robot Atom and yes, it was cheeky and lame but kind of cute.

Maybe, just maybe you’re a female and you want a different make or break factor: Hugh Jackman. More specifically: his arms. Damn, there are some very fine shots in there 😉

Overall: B+

In a scribble: Combining the underdog story and a touching father and son relationship extremely well, Real Steel really is a fast paced, entertaining movie that will please a little part of everyone.