The Hurt Locker

The other day I went to see “The Hurt Locker“.  There was plenty of hype around this movie – 6 Oscars, 73 other award wins, and 47 nominations for more awards.  Not to mention that the director is Kathryn Bigelow, who is, among other things, an ex-wife of James Cameron.  (And as we know, in many cases, you are who you are married to, and if so, it’s extremely helpful in this case).

Anyways.  Obviously, with all that noise, I’ve heard quite a bit about the film, and I saw the trailer, and I had a slight idea on what it was and how it was.  I went prepared. Or so I thought…

The film turned out to be totally different from what I was expecting.  Actually, I think it turned out totally different from what anybody were expecting.  And that’s a good thing.  Surprise!  Somehow this film is very different from pretty much everything.  It has action, but it’s not an action.  It has drama, but it’s not a drama.  It’s supposedly has documentary, but it’s not documentary.  The storyline is very vague and doesn’t seem to stand out or lead anywhere, but on the other hand the film is rather long and I didn’t get tired of it at all. It’s very natural.

The way it works, I guess, is that this film is using atmosphere to tell the story, rather than dialogs, powerful music, and impressive shots.  As I said, at times you don’t really know where it goes and if it goes anywhere at all.  But yet somehow it all makes sense.  Also, one other thing that I really enjoyed, and which I thought was a cornerstone of this film is simplicity.  The whole situation in Iraq is not simple.  There are many sides to it and many points of views.   But this film drops down to a very simplistic view of the whole picture from the eyes of a few American soldiers.   There is no propaganda, there are no high-flying ideas.  It’s just that simple – a few guys at war.   It’s not about why they are there.  It’s about them actually being there.

The film is not very entertaining, even though it has a few hilarious bits and quite a few action sequences.  It’s simple, and yet deep.  It doesn’t force ideas upon thee, but it does make you think.  And as I said, it’s different from most films I’ve seen, and yet very similar somehow.

Overall, I’ll give it a 4 out of 5, and I would highly recommend it.

Clash of the Titans

Last weekend I watched “Clash of the Titans” with a bunch of friends.  I was insisting on watching it in 2D, since it was widely known that 3D in the film was added in post-production and hence won’t be anything remotely similar to the real 3D, but my arguments weren’t convincing enough and we went to 3D cinema anyway.  Don’t make the same mistake.

As I expected it, 3D really sucked.  Do you remember those bulky CRT monitors that we used to have with our desktop computers, back when everyone wasn’t a happy laptop owner?  If you do remember them, then you probably remember the horrible experience when such a monitor was configured for a low refresh rate, say 60 Hz.  The images on such a monitor were flickering, there was no sharpness, and your eyes and had would start hurting pretty soon.  That’s very similar to the experience of the pseudo-3D.  Horrible experience in other words.  In fact, it was so horrible that we kept taking glasses on and off constantly.  One could watch this film totally without 3D glasses, but in certain places it was easier to have them on.

So, was pseudo-3D the only thing that spoiled my experience?  Nope. I felt that the movie was very shallow in pretty much every aspect – acting, story, special effects, drama, scale, and so on and so forth.  Just to give you some idea with a little spoiler – there wasn’t much of a clash in this film, and there were no titans.  About 40 seconds of screen time were given to a rather large creature, which many might confuse with a titan.  But when we are in Greek mythology, a word “titan” actually has a very particular meaning.  So, no titans.

And yet another something else that didn’t help my perception of this film was a fresh memory of “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” – another Greek mythology action movie that was released recently.  And as much as I didn’t want to watch “The Lightning Thief” it turned out to be quite a nice flick.  And it happened to be way better than the titans with no titans.

Overall, I’ll give the titans a 3 out of 5.  Skip it and you won’t miss much.  If you really want to see it though, make sure you watch it in 2D – save yourself some money and a headache.

P.S.: I only now realized that I forgot to review “The Lighning Thief”.  I will correct this shortly.