Monday, January 28, 2019
Three Movie Reviews
Not a subtle movie, this. It has some nice scenery and good human and canine performances, though some of the animal business seems to have been handled with CGI. The connection between Bella and her boy Lucas is adorable. If I was expecting something quite as poignant as A Dog's Purpose, I was disappointed. But I don't recall feeling disappointed. Visually appealing, with a nice journey story-line for the hero dog and a hard-won happy ending, it left me nothing to complain about. Three things that made it for me: (1) The scene in which the avalanche guy rejects not only Bella, but his own dog after they both saved his life. Ouch. Sad as it is, a lot of the pathos in this scene is sold by dog body language. (2) The recurring theme of Bella being tempted to stay and become part of a family where she's at – both with another dog and with a wild cat. (3) Grizzled Wes Studi's resolution of the standoff with the gung-ho dogcatcher.
That's enough to go on with. Three things that made this movie for me: (1) The whole "defending the school" sequence, in which they somehow train the entire student body in swordplay in a couple of hours, while at the same time rigging the gym with anti-demon booby traps. (2) Alex belatedly explains everything to his mum, then proves it's all true by summoning the lady of the lake – in the bathtub. (3) The recipe for Merlin's power-restoring tonic. However, I must add one thing that somewhat un-made this movie for me: All that hand-jive stuff young Merlin does, way too many times during the movie, to execute spells. It really got irritating.
My dad and I had an argument after seeing this movie. There was a scene where the cartel guys caught up to Clint and were about to kill him, but when they realized why he had gone AWOL they questioned their orders and considered maybe just roughing him up, to teach him a lesson. Clint is all, "I'm ready to take my medicine." Then the scene cuts to him driving down the road with a truckload of drugs and getting caught by the law. Asked how he came to look so badly beaten, he says something like, "I only got what I deserved." I took this at face value: the cartel guys took pity on him and only gave him some bruises and scrapes, then let him continue on his run. My dad, however, is positive that "between the lines," Clint killed the cartel guys and that later, when he pleads guilty on all charges, the murder charges are due to their deaths. I just assumed the murder charges had to do with the court throwing everything at him because he was the only member of the cartel they had to charge with stuff; and if anyone dies in connection with a felony you're committing, you get charged as if you killed them. So, on at least this point, the film is open to multiple interpretations.
Also co-starring in the movie are Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Andy Garcia, Richard Herd and Loren Dean. Three scenes that made it for me: (1) The one in which Earl's (Clint E.) controller, who has gradually warmed to him, is basically forced to tell him they're not friends anymore in front of the new thugs who run the show. Perhaps meaningfully, they never see each other again. It puts salt on a previous scene in which Earl tells the young guy he should get out of the business and find something else that he loves to do. Too late for him, right? (2) The scene in which Clint bamboozles a Texas state trooper into leaving without interfering any further, after he stops him along with the two cartel guys tailing him and starts to give them a hard time. For a minute, you're sure the two Mexican guys are going to waste the trooper. They're pretty sure, too. (3) Clint sings at the wheel of his truck, not caring what the cartel guys who have him bugged think about it. I love the scene in which they start to sing along with him.