This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It's full to overflowing with heart, humor, wit, wisdom and an abundance of joy. I feel like the idea of wandering around on the lam, living one day at a time and being free in the wilderness is something that seems impossible to genuinely achieve in this modern era but it is something with an intrinsic appeal. I know that it struck a chord with me personally. The feel good vibes reverberate perhaps strongest from a buddy adventure movie and little satisfying plot points are riddled through the narrative. Our two protagonists bonding as they face the dangers and just have fun together and the very personally satisfying development of the straight laced lady being taken along for the ride make for a happy go lucky and fun atmosphere. This film had the uncanny ability to infuse every second with fuzzy warmth while still putting in a strong undercurrent of serious themes. Zak missing a family who left him at birth, Tyler feeling empty and guilty after the death of his brother which it appears he caused and Eleanor knowing Zak's situation is not desirable but trying her best to make his circumstances in the nursing home better. One example of this beautiful blend of heavy sweetness is when Eleanor finally catches up to Zak and Tyler. Tyler asks Eleanor "What do you want for him?" to which Eleanor responds, "are you trying to buy him from me?" Then Tyler says "No, what do you want for his future?" that exchange sprinkles some light humor into a question that comes to define the stories and motivation of both Tyler and Eleanor as Tyler comes to fully realize his friendship with Zak as finding a new brother and Eleanor realizes the value of letting Zak be free to follow his desires that are as real and genuine as anyones. And of Zak himself, he is the heart and soul of the film, the tie that binds all of it's parts together in a bow of unparalleled sweetness. He has a genuineness to everything he does, written and acted entirely transparently until the wonderful young man is all that shines through. His straightforward, dogged determination and the wonderful friendship he has with Tyler are some of the most heartwarming stuff I've ever seen in a movie. I really loved how quickly Tyler, Eleanor and even The Salt Water Redneck warmed up to Zak though I guess I shouldn't be surprised. There's only outside evidence of any discrimination that sometimes shows in Zak's attitude about himself. It's a great thing to see Tyler come fully to his support saying that there's stuff Zak can't do but that's true of everyone. He can still be a hero. I thought that this film couldn't help but show how they think best to live with someone with down syndrome and they walked a tightrope with Tyler's free and encouraging attitude and Eleanor's protective and caring one. The final word? Both together. This film is just a beautiful portrait of what friendship and family is all about. The simple support that Tyler and Zak show towards each other, the understanding and the laughs and the dangers that they go through, that may be an idealized version of friendship, but it is the ideal friendship as well. I was touched deeply by the ending scene where without saying it out loud, it is clear that Zak is entirely free to pursue his dreams because Tyler and Eleanor have become the family that he never had. From the filmmaking standpoint I thought this movie felt small budget in a good way. It had a simple, homespun feel that only contributed to it's atmosphere of sweetness. The cinematography was simple and deliberate, making use of the beautiful landscapes and the soundtrack was pitch perfect every time. Add to that some actors who usually get a bad wrap getting to show that they're good at their craft and what you get is a unique, quirky gem of a film that will make you fall in love with life.
This film can only be described as a highly enjoyable, heartfelt trial by fire. I think that the main reason this movie is as funny as it is, as gut-wrenching as it is, and as special as it is is it's blend of chill buddy comedy and romance after breakup story under the solemn shroud of looming cancer. I was struck by the absolute futility, the despair that Adam must be feeling. The scene before the day of his definitive surgery, after fellow cancer patient had recently passed away, after he has expressed how tired of being sick he is, he wants to drive, he angrily kicks Kyle out of the car and calming down he calls Katherine finally saying wistfully "you would've made a good girlfriend". After the build up in the first part of the film that wanders through the ever worsening prospect of Adam's life with humorous, sweet and sad predicaments, this moment of despair, this realization of his loss of hope is heartbreaking, what could be the last night with his best friend to end in a fight, to have to leave the prospect of a good relationship, all of this, developed with the air of light comedy and romance, makes for an emotionally crushing window into the inferno that is terminal illness. I'm sure to those who have gone through similar this movie rang true as well, I have been in surgery and I had the same fear as Adam of waking up before the surgery was over. That along with the high emotions the main characters and we feel coupled with the completely normal procedure carried out by the hospital hit hard. But what makes this movie a highly enjoyable window is that it doesn't just show the sorrow of Adam's struggles, it shows the good that a trial by fire can do. Adam is driven down the path of not only bettering his life, but finding the good things he had all along. The moment where he sits next to his mom and asks her how here day was, when he sees the book that Kyle was reading about cancer, he lets go completely of his relationship with Rachael. All of these are poignant moments of growth for the better, but they were hard to come by which makes them all the better. While I choked up a lot in this movie, the parts I loved the most were the genuine moments with Kyle. His bumbling around (and his being played by Seth Rogan) make it seem like the character is just some comic relief that also just brings out the "friend" aspect in Adam, getting into misadventures together. I love that he's more than just that. That Seth Rogan got a great character to play, that there's a friend who I know genuinely cares about his buddy to the very end even when they fight and get on each others nerves they're there for each other. That's the kind of friend I want to be. Add to the performances Joseph Gordon-Levitt making the most of every frame with evident anguish under the surface and Anna Kendrick's uncanny ability to look nervous and awkward and there's excellent performances all across the board. Overall this movie was the good kind of rollercoaster, there were some slow and straight sections for sure but they were eclipsed fully by the ups and downs around them. I laughed, I cried, it moved me.
This is a bold piece of cinematic art but I did think it a very avant-garde piece of art. It paints its picture, sets its scene, tells its story and explores its themes in very broad terms even with its minute premise. That is part of the reason for the heavy yet confusing impact. The story is all encompassing with a treatise on man's relationship to nature and to each other, a story of will but also of what we are willing to do for the common good, yet the cinematography, setting and small cast make for a claustrophobic feeling even in the midst of the glory and vastness of the sun and space. One note on the plot, I came in expecting a movie sort of like The Lighthouse where somehow or another, an isolated group tears each other apart. At the beginning it looked to be shaping up that way. It was once Chris Evan's character dismissively said to Cillian Murphy about lost humanity that I knew for sure that this wasn't exactly where we were headed. Once they docked with Icarus I the intrigue started again as it morphed into a hunter/hunted situation and then finally a desperate race against time all with the fate of humanity in the balance. This ability for the film to sort of slip under common sci-fi tropes makes it stand out thematically though it also makes for an experience that's really far out there. I think that the stark and startling originality and downright beauty of the visuals would be the common reason to acclaim this film and indeed, it is its strongest point. The film just attacks you from the very beginning all the way till the end with a whirlwind of kaleidoscopic angles, lens flairs, extremely hard lighting techniques, still frames and jump cuts that sucks you into a whole other world and doesn't let you out until it comes to a sudden end. The floods of light that all else must fight against to find a footing in the frame stand as the example of what I discerned to be this films central conflict: man vs natures inevitably. It's the power of the sun that gives fuel to this film though the excellent performances, tight scripting and genuinely tense situations tie it together to make for a scintillating, if somewhat baffling, cinematic experience. If none of that made any sense it's because I don't know how to quantify this film but it's definitely worth the watch.
Shmaltzy, overly long, ridiculously well crafted and disarmingly heartfelt this movie is just larger than life. I think it's pacing problems are best summed up by the very first scene where Bill Paxton's character essentially does the same gag twice with the exact same reaction from his crewmember. Everything that is done in the present day in this film is essentially useless and definitely provides the most unnecessary though not the only element that makes this movie as grandiose as it is. I was ok with it all, but it made the film seem redundant in a lot of places. Do the present-day scenes add to the film? Yes, but only incidentally, it does put us in the frame of mind of the impending tragedy in a very delicate way and makes for a very meaningful and lovely ending scene but all of that was accomplishable in much less time-consuming ways. After all, the love story is the heart of the film, it would have been perfectly acceptable to keep it to just that. What happens on the Titanic is what really sets this movie apart. At it's core this is a romance and that's what gives the wide appeal of the film but in general terms, this is an absolute masterclass (and I can't stress that enough) in disaster film. I got the feeling that that was what drew James Cameron to the Titanic as a potential film, the slow sinking of such a lavish set piece, the impending and ever nearing doom as the water chases after our heroes as they struggle to survive. It is in the disaster elements (and in the glorious shots of the Titanic before that) that the film is entirely justified in it's longevity. The scale of such a disaster demands a film of such scale and Cameron was certainly the filmmaker, perhaps the only filmmaker, who was truly up to the challenge of giving the Titanic justice. So in terms of destruction, this movie absolutely floored me not even mentioning the staggeringly large scale and lavish set design. The scenes in the engine room particularly gave off a visceral sense of largeness and power that was awesome to behold even on my computer screen and the shots of the Titanic's propellers rearing from the water literally took my breath away. Its like this movie's sets are beefy. That's the word that came to me while watching it, I don't know why but that's what I thought. Of course, no amount of excellent cinematography, special effects, set design, music or sound editing will make a complete film and since we all know the story, a genuine personal touch was necessary for this movie to really excel. Well, I won't call it genuine per se but I will call it just as larger than life than the ship it took place on. I don't think it's a secret to anyone just how melodramatic this movie's nuclear romance between poor artist Jack and unsatisfied rich girl Rose is. I suppose it's also cliché to a point but I didn't really mind (it helped soften the cliches when James Horner's score just leans into the schmaltz with full force) I think the film does a good enough job with building up it's emotional center and it sprinkles in enough universally pitiable scenarios (the musicians, the babies, the families) to make it personally devastating as the long, slow burn of the Titanic's destruction unfolds in all of it's glory. The story didn't really hold any long-lasting meaning, but I don't mind that either, it was just a story aiming to be a crowd pleaser and a white knuckler at the same time, and it succeeded really well at both. I liked the whole "jump together" motif. Somehow, I didn't see its payoff coming and old Rose throwing the heart of the ocean into the sea really spoke some volumes about something… I don't know, it was emotionally resonant at the time. Came for the destruction, stayed with the romance long enough to actually get to the destruction and enjoyed the sweet, admittedly pretentious ending.