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Old July 13 2013, 09:29 PM   #372
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Location: Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Re: Movies Seen In 2013

46. Lincoln (A-)

The first of two movies watched on my trans-Atlantic flight home a couple of days ago. In this case, a rewatch. The movie holds up fairly well, though it remains a bit bloodless, and the criticisms about how it should have ended shortly before it did are pretty accurate. Day-Lewis' performance remains astonishing.

47. Beautiful Creatures (C-)

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to watch this -- I guess to take a look at the Twilight film knockoffs. I knew of this series from previous discussions with one of my friends who works in a bookstore's YA section. She wasn't a fan, and I can see why. The special effects here didn't look great, though that may have been the screen I was watching it on.

In any event, this is kind of the liberal answer to Twilight in many respects: Stephenie Meyer has gotten flack for covert Mormon propaganda about abstinence, etc.; this film is pretty overt in criticizing small-town rural Southern culture. Despite the fact that I agree with much of the critique in theory, the effect of this is a bit off-putting, because neither the authors, nor the director, nor the main actors are from the South, nor have any experience with it; and while I don't subscribe to the idea that that's a prerequisite to write about something, in this case there's a strong flavour of inauthenticity here, like this is a Southern town imagined by people who clearly haven't any experience with one, and don't accord much dimension to their depictions of it.

It also doesn't help that the movie is rather hypocritical, in that it's very contemptuous of conservative Christianity, but at the same time the central conceit of its mythos is that at age 16 female witches (or 'casters') either turn evil or stay good, based on what feels like completely arbitrary "true nature" -- like the female lead's cousin, whose turning evil immediately leads to acting like a vamp. And we're explicitly told that male casters don't have this, and can choose to be good or evil. There's some halfhearted attempt to get away from this Madonna/Whore stuff at the end, but it's muddled. Not to mention, the film's depiction of the witches' dilemma depicts evil like flipping a switch on or off.

For all that, the movie isn't without its better points. Principally, the leads, who have decent chemistry. Alice Englert (Jane Campion's daughter) is very likeable as the female lead, Lena.

Cinema: 11
Home Video: 32
Computer: 4 (+2)
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