John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum
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This movie doesn't offer anything compelling or original in storyline, but Sandrine Bonnaire is very good as Helene. That's about it. All the other characters are at best (and only occasionally) two-dimensional. But Bonnaire infuses Helene with a quiet dignity and determination.
Fairly predictable, but come on, it's a comic book movie. If you're looking for convoluted storylines, try some actual literature.
This movie didn't need to be nearly as long as it was. Most of the airborne happenings were extraneous and not very believable, frankly. They didn't add anything to the plot or the character development, and frankly it feels as though some stuff hit the cutting room floor that might have better explained why we spent so much time there, though I doubt it would ultimately justify that time.
Obviously trying to provide a modicum of backstory for each of the characters takes time, and future installments of the franchise won't have to do that as much. But for this first movie, it takes up a lot of time without a great deal of payoff. There isn't enough character development to really connect, yet it's time consuming still.
Theologically, this movie was interesting for its portrayal of the gods, and particularly humanities abilities to outwit and outmanuever them. Thor and Loki as demi-gods clearly are not vastly superior to the abilities of the avengers. They might be impressive enough and overpowering enough for ordinary humans, but for the cream of the crop, they're marginal at best. Hulk summarizes it best with perhaps his only line of the movie - "Puny god."
While Captain America provides at least a head-nod to the Judeo-Christian God of an America past, that God is otherwise non-existent in this film, and in particular in the lives of the various heroes. Humanity is alone in dealing with this other-dimensional threat. The demi-gods of ancient civilizations are not enough on their own to save us - we have to do this for ourselves. It would have been interesting to see this played out a bit more explicitly, but this probably isn't the forum for it.
It's an interesting premise, but the very design of the premise renders the whole experience suspect at best.
Joe intends to live off the kindness of strangers for 31 days, by subsisting solely on connections and opportunities he can arrange via Craigslist. Joe sets out with nothing but the clothes on his back, a laptop and a cell phone.
And a cameraman.
This is where things get complicated. Joe is not simply arranging to survive himself for a month. He's arranging for himself and a buddy. We aren't clued in as to whether the cameraman is bound by the same stringent limitations as Joe himself. Nor do we see how Joe advertises or responds to advertisements on Craigslist. More than once, it would seem that he uses the fact that he's filming a Craigslist documentary to make connections happen. Several of the folks that appear throughout the film seem mainly there for the free advertising. Would they have accepted Joe without the promise of such exposure? One wonders.
Certainly, Joe might not have chosen to travel across country in the middle of winter storms to the East Coast if it was truly just him on his own.
The film is not without touching moments, though few of them seem to coincide with Joe's moments of greatest emotion, and there are several of those. Joe tears up repeatedly, which is nice in some ways because by and large Joe is not a very expressive guy.
So the premise is interesting but the logistics are flawed. There are some very touching moments and some that feel contrived, even though they probably aren't. As a viewer, there doesn't seem to be the idea that I could duplicate this, because I don't have someone covering my back (literally), nor do I have the carrot of filming a documentary to lure folks to respond to my advertisements or inquiries. All of which leaves the film's premise and conclusion somewhat in doubt.
The movie would have been stronger with more insight into the various people Joe encounters on his travels. It is a fascinating glimpse into the myriad lives that exist right around us, all the time. But the glimpse is more often than not too brief and superficial to really develop empathy.
Joe's conclusion that his experience shows him that we really can take care of one another seems not entirely honest, at best. People undoubtedly can be quite generous, but they are also more likely to do so when there's the possibility of ending up in a movie.
Yes, Bill Murray is a master of understatement. But unless you're a fan of somewhat obscure French film, this is going to be an excruciatingly slow movie for you.
Don is an aging Don Juan (a pun driven home repeatedly through old movie clips and a helpful neighbor in case you miss the play on names). Led to suspect he has a teen son he never knew about that might be looking for him, Don reluctantly sets out on a journey to visit the women he remembers being with roughly 17 years ago. While it's never clear what made the taciturn Don so appealing to such a broad variety of women, it's clear that the passage of time has not dulled their obsession with him, for better or worse.
We meet four different women with varying responses to Don's unexpected turnup in their lives. While it's interesting to watch the characters and interactions play out, there isn't much to carry the movie. No real standout performances here (didn't even recognize Sharon Stone), and the gratuitous nudity is just that.
The movie doesn't say much. Towards the end, Don tries to provide some wisdom to a young man he suspects might be his son. It isn't very profound, but the idea that the past is irretrievable and the future is forever elusive, leaving us precariously in the present is something the movie hinges around. It just took a looooong time to say it.
The film is dedicated to Jean Eustache, a French director from mid-last century. I'm not familiar with Eustache's work personally, but I'm assuming that this film utilizes some of his techniques.
I like this film, but only because I have an apparently unorthodox interpretation of the film's sequencing.
Frank is an aging cat burglar dealing with advancing dementia. The film explores the developing relationship between Frank and a robot caretaker, who Frank retrains as his partner in crime. The film offers a refreshing reinterpretation of some of the robotic laws presumed for many years (first postulated by Isaac Asimov), and separates the robot's primary function from the distinctly human concepts of morality. Langella is engaging and while the robot clearly is a human in a robot suit, the whole setup works.
However the ending makes absolutely no sense the way it is presented. Hugely unsatisfying after an otherwise nicely crafted little film. Nothing spectacular, but a pleasant surprise. Except for the ending. Did I mention the ending? It sucks.
My interpretation is to assume that the film is trying to convey some of the confusion that dementia patients encounter, by deliberately rearranging the events of the movie. We perceive things in a certain order, because that's the way Frank perceives them. However I don't think this is the actual order of the events. I believe that the early experiences of Frank and his robot assistant actually take place, chronologically, in the second half of the film, rather than the first. Another explanation is that the events of the last 20 minutes or so of the film don't actually occur. Frank imagines them, and because he thinks they're real, they are presented to us as real. A final possibility is that almost the entire film is one long imagined set of events, which Frank is unable to distinguish from reality.
Any of these options would at least allow the film's ending to make sense. Watch the movie and come to your own conclusions. The first 3/4 of the film are quite enjoyable.