Recent Rentals

So things have been kind of tight on the money side of things lately, meaning I haven’t been to the movies in two months (although November will be a different story!). To help fill the movie void, I’ve been borrowing some from the library. Here are my thoughts on them.

Much Ado About Nothing- I spoke about this one a bit before. Weeks later, my feelings are the same. Much Ado About Nothing is a delightful, Whedonesque take on Shakespeare with strong acting all around. Granted, finding people who enjoy both Joss Whedon’s work AND Shakespeare is pretty tricky, but if you fall into that narrow category, you will enjoy this contemporary spin. B+

From Up on Poppy Hill– From Up on Poppy Hill may suffer from some pacing issues, but this gentle, romantic tale is head and shoulder’s above Goro Miyazaki’s (son of the brilliant Hayao Miyazaki) disastrous first outing, Tales from Earthsea. From Up on Poppy Hill possesses a likable cast of characters, Studio Ghibli’s trademarks aesthetics (gorgeous, hand drawn animation and soundtrack), and a handful of genuinely touching moments. If you’re a Studio Ghibli fan, this is worth your time. B

Millennium Actress- And now, a rewatch! I first watched Millennium Actress just shy of ten years back when I was in college, and it still comes across as one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen. Written and directed by the late, great Satoshi Kon, Millennium Actress tells the story of two reporters who are interviewing a famous actress at the end of her life. During this story, the lines of reality are blurred. The roles shes played often bleed into real life, just as the present slips into the past. This unique take on chasing after love is highly unappreciated and I wish more people would see it. A-

Europa Report- An flawed, yet worthwhile indie film that tackles the topic of space exploration. The potential for life has been discovered in Europa, and a small team has been sent out to observe it first hand. This is a film that requires some patience, as there are moments in the beginning that really drag, but it ultimately pays off. It seems like some effort was put into having the scientists actually act like scientists (unlike say, Prometheus, which I felt had characters acting completely ridiculous either for no good reason, or just to further the plot). Their eyes on history changing discoveries, they fail to see that the light in the darkness is a Will o the Wisp, leading then further to their doom. I just wish they had developed the characters a bit more. Don’t get me wrong, you get to know them well enough to feel bad for them (and the actors do quite well), but they never come across as strong as they should. B-

So all and all, some pretty good movies here, although I would recommend some over others.

4 thoughts on “Recent Rentals

  1. I found EUROPA REPORT to be pretty enjoyable. I like it more the more I think about it, if that makes sense. I was rather hoping to get more of an in-depth analysis of it by Carrie Vaughn, who is hyper-critical of SF movies, but she basically said it was another one of those “stupid characters doing stupid things,” which I find to be a bit disingenuous… because given who each of the crew members were, I thought things MADE SENSE.

    An aside, I really want Vaughn to write a space opera, just so I can see what she’s really wanting out of those films. Though she loves James S.A. Corey’s EXPANSE series, so there’s that….

    • Yeah, I agree with you. Given who the characters are, their decisions made sense. Also, I didn’t find them to be all that stupid. Maybe it’s because we like to surround ourselves with these hyper intelligent, see ten steps beyond everyone characters like Sherlock, but in real life, smart, rational people do dumb things too.

  2. I’ll have to check out Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare and Whedon sounds like an awesome combo. If those two were contemporaries, I could picture them collaborating on projects.

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