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I flew to the other side of the world yet again a few days ago (some day I’ll get to stay home… some day), and I watched a whole lot of movies, and I’m going to give my impressions of them. Last time I flew from Austria to New Zealand, I watched seven movies; this time I watched nine. I actually jotted down a few notes this time, so what I remember for my movie reviews will depend less on how sleep-deprived I was at the time. I was flying Air China (a perfectly nice airline, except they don’t give you that little care package with sleeping socks, an eyemask and a travel toothbrush that I’d come to expect), whose in-flight movie guide isn’t loading for me right now, so I won’t put up their descriptions of the movies. I went straight for the ‘New to the Skies’ section, figuring that I’d had plenty of opportunities to see the others.
This movie has a lot of things I love in it. The future! Kennedy Space Center! (At least, it sure looked like one of the launch pads at KSC, though they called it Canaveral.) Robots! Hope! The neat thing was I saw this while on an amazing flying machine heading toward a land where it was in fact already tomorrow, and I started off wearing a Back to the Future cap from the future (the year 2015) and then switched to a NASA beanie. I’ve never had such appropriate headwear for a movie.
One of the movies in my last mid-air movie marathon also had ‘Tomorrow’ in the title. I guess it’s always good to watch where and when you’re going.
Relevant song. This movie also has a lot of things I like. A ball pit! Space! Cute aliens that talk in a mixture of lolcat and turns of phrase I could imagine Sheldon Cooper using! Partway through, I remembered seeing Jim Parsons’ name in the credits and realised that the main alien did in fact have Sheldon Cooper’s voice.
This movie was similar to Tomorrowland in many ways; it had the Eiffel tower as a great antenna (which is also true in the real world) surprisingly young girls who drive, and a world where only one young lady still has hope, hope which ends up saving the day. Also, I watched it while flying toward a place that some people say is my home, so that’s neat.
This is a movie about a woman who miraculously stops ageing, so I don’t expect it to be believable, but two things about it seemed really far-fetched:
- Defibrillating a heart which is, as far as I can tell from the preceding narration, not fibrillating. They could’ve used a more vague term such as ‘jump-start’ and we’d have believed that that worked in the magic situation in this movie, but instead they used a term which doesn’t even apply, because they figured the audience wouldn’t know what it meant.
- A maths major who becomes a millionaire by doing mathematics. Okay, an Abel prize would almost do it, but real maths majors make their fortunes writing software for physicists.
Still, it was an enjoyable movie. It has libraries and secret identities, so it might appeal to Batgirl fans. There’s a joke in it that I still don’t get whose punchline is ‘Who ever heard of a horse pitching?’ There’s a man named Ellis. There’s the line, ‘They took the time to create the constellations’, which I challenge you to use as the first line in a story.
This had some things in common with the previous movie, in that it’s about someone (a vampire) who no longer ages, and love between the mortal and the immortal. It also includes a man named Alice. While there’s no ball pit, it has the biggest, most wonderful balls.
Just like Dark Shadows, in that it involves people in black and white makeup in destructive relationships, and blood. It’s as if all these movies were sequels to each other! Only this one seems to have been the result of a challenge to get the most kinds of disturbing into one movie. I lost count of the trigger warnings I intended to put in this review; dermatillomania was one. Probably not the best movie to watch just before a 17-hour layover when I’m already about tired enough to hallucinate.
17 hours in Taipei, which I might write up in a separate post. There was ice cream.
I kept seeing this in the list but skipping over it because it seemed a bit too much like another boring love/destiny story, but there was also some amnesia and later in the trailer which I thought might add some interest. It wasn’t so bad… another one about love and mortality and people being alive without aging for far longer than they’re supposed to. I must have microslept for the part where he actually ‘learns that he has the gift of reincarnation’ as it said in the description. There doesn’t seem to be any reincarnation in the movie at all, unless ‘reincarnation’ means ‘long after you die, someone else is born with the same fairly common hair colour’.
One of the movies in my last mid-air movie marathon also had ‘Winter’ in the title. In this case I actually was heading toward winter.
I saw this on offer during the last mid-air movie marathon, but didn’t watch it, and then wished I had when I saw that the sequel was out in theatres when I arrived. This time I could watch the sequel immediately on the same flight, so I figured I might as well. I thought it might be just another one of those movies about how great it is to be different, special, well-rounded, and to not fit in, just like everyone who’s viewing it. It turned out to be all those things, but also about how useful lucid dreaming can be.
The sequel to Divergent. I watched them back-to-back and don’t recall where one movie stopped and the next one started. I enjoyed them, even though the ending was pretty predictable.
Several short documentaries comprised of even shorter segments
There wasn’t quite time for another movie on this flight, so I learnt about how artists’ canvases are made (in Taipei, as it turns out!) how stinky tofu is made, how refillable Dutch beverage bottles are processed, what happens when we dive, and a weird rolling bamboo thingy to explode land mines, among other things. I’m a little confused as to why they take care to fix up discoloured patches on the canvas before covering it in two layers of white paint.
An hour or so in Sydney while they refuelled the plane.
Relevant songs. Last flight; last movie. By this point I was watching any movie I vaguely remembered hearing something about. I remembered this one being mentioned in an article about the way ‘female’ AIs are so often sexualised. I couldn’t remember what the article said, but I remember thinking that although ‘female’ AIs (like female humans) may well be sexualised in a lot of movies, this isn’t a movie about AIs, it’s just a movie about the troubles of interspecies relationships, or yet another angle on relationships between mortals and immortals. When it’s a movie about relationships, not a movie about AI technology, it’s okay to treat the AI as a romantic partner. It’s actually better than a lot of relationship movies because you know that the human male character, and indeed, the viewer, is interested in her personality rather than her looks or genitalia. I did wonder if the same thing would have happened if he had chosen a male voice for it, assuming he identifies as straight.
I think the article might have been this one.
“Her is playing on the fact that the audience knows what [Scarlett Johansson] looks like,”
Well, okay, then. I didn’t know who the voice actress was, though I did note that she had a very nice voice. While the name ‘Scarlett Johansson’ does indeed bring to mind people drooling over how sexy she is, I don’t personally know what she looks like. I just did an image search, and she didn’t even look familiar; from the name, I’d been imagining a brunette for some reason. I guess I’m not the part of the audience that Her is playing on.
Now sometimes I can feel which one’s the bravest way,
like: do I vaunt my head or write my heart?
Outcome, I’m gearing up to tell you this today:
I don’t know which is bravest: leave home, leave job, or restart?
Continue as things are, I’ll have to transfer, flee
the only home I’ve made; time, brain, backbone
gone into now-familiar things that anchor me
weigh anchor, sail away to sunsets, fun fêtes and unknown.
Or change things, follow heroes who have dared to quit,
start new in the surroundings I’ve enjoyed,
arrange things so this country lets me stay a bit
for study? One more contract, endless? Centless? Self-employed?
I’ve hemmed and hawed and ranked and scored and felt and thought and swung my sword, delayed, ignored, gone back and forward, and this is all it’s led me toward:
Whichever path is scary (therefore good)
The bravest cut their own paths through the wood.