Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Well it's been a hop, skip and a jump since I posted. I haven't been consuming too much to write home about, but I did catch a couple movies recently.

Before we get to that, though, I wanted to give a shout out to Brian who is supposedly blogging over at Thingz I Consume. I meant to start this blog with my brother years ago, but I couldn't muster the time. Now I drink coffee. I was getting more serious about actually putting some words to screen when Brian told me he was going to do the exact thing I had been meaning to do. Well, I couldn't let that happen. Instead of having him killed, though, I decided to just go ahead and start my own blog.

It took a while for me to get a name I liked. I was going to do Life Review, but that's been taken (and dormant) for years now. Anyway, I feel like A Critical Life sounds more legitimate and less Web 2.0ish - but not in the (non)sense of terms such as Meebo, Orkut or YouMeo. That's all a round about way of saying, hey, go check out Brian's blog, and leave him the comments you don't leave me.

So a few days ago I watched Hereafter.

I had heard pretty decent things about this movie. I'll admit, Matt Damon is the only actor in the film I had heard of. I'm not a big Damon fan, but he doesn't ruin an experience for me. The real breadwinner here, though, is Clint Eastwood directing the film. Not only that, but Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Last King of Scotland, Frost/Nixon) wrote the screenplay. There is certainly a pedigree here, so I hoped it would all click.

I will admit, though, I picked this movie up in order to complete my Visual Effects category for the Oscars. I was certainly intrigued with the thought of an Eastwood film being nominated for visual effects, and hoped that it might be the best of both worlds. Alas, it was not to be.

Hereafter was an okay film. Average, perhaps. It plodded along between three different storylines, one of which in French, all tied together by characters dealing with death. The premise holds promise, but the film simply fails to execute. The plots are slow and rather tired. The characters fail to hold much real interest. The acting is generally okay. You almost feel for Damon's love life. You almost feel like the movie might mean something. It doesn't though. It's okay, and not a bad way to waste a night, but I didn't feel like I gained any benefit from the movie.

The visual effects were very bare - a tsunami to start the film and Damon's ability to commune with the dead. The tsunami was impressive, but other than that, there just wasn't much there on an effects front. Hereafter certainly wouldn't have factored into my Oscar decision.

Pretty much everyone is better at their craft than they displayed in this movie. Here we suffer whatever it is that seems to happen when too many skilled performers get together - a mishmash of disposable media. Eastwood might do better without special effects and Morgan might be better off writing about national leaders.

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