The really great thing about Life of Pi is the most incredible job of computer generation you’ve ever seen, a tiger you simply will not believe is not the genuine furry article; after all, do the end credits not say that the Humane Society saw to it that no animals were harmed during the making of this picture? Well, maybe the Humane Society looked after the hyena and the orangutan and the big fish. But the tiger, improbably named Richard Parker, was computer generated, and so astonishingly well generated that I tremble that the day is at hand when human actors will be replaced by machines and we may not even notice.
Killer Joe is one of those movies about a family so dysfunctional that it makes you feel satisfied with your own. Emile Hirsch, the central character and the son, is probably as normal as any son who has ever hired a professional to kill his mother, and Juno Temple is doing not badly for a girl whose mother tried to suffocate her. The father, Thomas Haden Church, is extremely unintelligent, and Gina Gershon, his second wife, is a bit of a tramp, if I may revive a term pretty much abandoned now. And none of them has what I would regard as anything like a normal moral sense.
Frankenweenie had several strikes against it before it even came on, so I consulted with no less than eight people about it after it ended, and must report that nobody, including me, rated it at less than three stars out of a possible four, with half giving it a maximum four. I don’t like Tim Burton’s stop-motion puppets because they are either spherical heads with tiny pyramidal noses or grotesque but too traditional caricatures. But you have to credit Frankenweenie with effective emotional expression whenever emotional expression is attempted. But only the caricature
Time magazine says Ben Affleck wants to make “serious movies for serious people,” by which, if we can judge by 2010’s The Town and this year’s Argo, he means movies of the old genre type, especially semi-documentaries and films noir, featuring straightforward storytelling without a lot of emphasis on internal action and flashbacks, clear and relatively simple plot lines but a lot of suspense, characters that do not need a lot of introspection but do behave in understandable ways for understandable reasons, and in general a clear resemblance to the world we live i
Maybe I’m just getting acclimated to current movies, or maybe I’m just tired of griping about movies that don’t make consistent sense, but Looper seemed to me to hold together as well as you expect a time travel movie to hold together. A lot of the mysterious elements appear at the beginning and the explanations tend to appear a lot later and I’m not sure all the initial elements are covered or that all the explanations hold. But I wasn’t frustrated or otherwise unhappy as to Looper making sense.
The Master is this year’s Tree of Life, the movie critics rave about in spite of the fact that David Thomson in The New Republic says, “I have the gravest doubts as to whether it is about anything,” Lisa Schwartzbaum calls it “enigmatic,” and Cary Darling in the Eagle describes it as “easy to admire but harder to love.” I beg to be excused from either activity.