Star Trek 7:
Up until now I had only seen movies 1-4 and 6. My experience with anything other than the old series was the first season of TNG and maybe one episode of DS9. I never really liked TNG or the others, although I couldn't exactly say why. It might have been because the new series were too slick. All of those antiseptic looking digital space shots, generic looking bridge shots, and so on. They looked exactly like every other sci-fi movie and series. They looked like the set from V. And the characters were either idiotic or generic, as well.
Seeing ST7 after first reviewing ST1-6 opened my eyes a little. I had never realized how poorly the old series actors were, even as I liked the characters. ST7 presented a whole slew of new actors that could actually act well. Yes! Good acting. A pity that I really didn't like the characters. Nor the story.
Yes, the actors who play Georgi and Data are good actors; much better than the actors who played Kirk and Spock (although Shatner was the best of them). But I can't stand seeing them on screen because I don't like the characters. Georgi waltzing around like a wuss? Data singing and laughing? What kind of sci-fi show is this?
The old set of characters were military; flawed, but military. The new set, even if they follow protocol more exactly, look like they're at a perpetual cocktail party for Shakespearian actors.
The story was kinda ok in grand scale, but it completely unraveled halfway through. Now, I have no problems with paradoxes in time travel, in general. ST4 had lots of paradoxes that didn't bother me. But this one made no sense.
Kirk and Picard are supposed to have died, or at least been sent into a vortex where they can in their minds travel to any point in time. In their minds, not in reality. How does it make sense for Kirk to come back, not to some place in history within his own mind, but in reality? And if he did it, why aren't there two Picards? And if they can go anywhen in history, why not Germany 1938 or any of a million other times? Heck, why not relax for 10,000 years first and then do it?
Sorry, none of it made sense to me.
Still, the general idea was enjoyable, and finally the acting was, although I didn't like the actual lines from the script all too often. I would rank it higher than either 1 or 5, and probably higher than 6.
That makes my current ranking: 4, 2, 3, 7, 6, (5 and 1 which are both the same and horrid).
And for the record, and to annoy the legions of fans, my current Star Wars ranking is: 5, 4, 2, 6, 1, 3 . And SW > ST.
The Double Life of Veronique:
This gorgeous film by the same director as Three Colors: Red, White, Blue, is loved and as highly regarded as his other films, but failed to satisfy me.
Every scene and shot is beautiful, I will admit that. Krzysztof has a brilliant ability to capture things on film. His use of imagery captures all sorts of mystery and holds such pregnant meaning. Every item gives rise to thought: a hand, a leaf, a shadow. Unfortunately, the movie itself doesn't seem to have any particular point.
Two women live in Europe and briefly pass each other once. One of them dies soon thereafter from some sort of consumption or cancer, and the other continues to live. The parallels between their lives hold no particular meaning or mystery other than their being parallels. These same parallels are explored, in my humble opinion, correctly in his later films Red, White, and Blue, but here they seem to be merely a sketch that hasn't been developed.
I would still recommend it, as anything so beautiful and lovingly done is worth watching, but don't expect to feel satisfied afterwards.
Unlike ST7 which is flawed, but watchable, or Veroniquie, which is beautiful but flawed, this movie contains no major flaws. It was quite good, even great, although short of top tier excellency.
You all know the basic story: two guys fall in love, and try to lead normal lives anyway, but eventually begin seeing each other secretly over the course of many years.
The sweep of the years is well done, and gives a grand feeling to the story. The story is less sweeping; it is told leisurely and lushly, but rather straightforward. Ennis's wife and daughter, and the original employer all present strong characters, but they are kept firmly on the sidelines of the story.
All of the actors do excellent jobs, and the screenplay holds up very well. I was not wholly convinced with the first coupling that occurred between them, but I'm willing to suspend disbelief with that. And the ultimate fate of Jack seems too much like a Hollywood designed fate - oh, it's believable, but it's just a little trite.
An amusing point about the movie is that despite it being the "gay cowboy" movie, any real nudity in the movie is of women; apparently Hollywood still has its limits.
I don't see many movies, so I can't tell you if this is one of the "best" from last year, but it's good. Of course, if you can't sympathize with men in love with each other, you should probably avoid it.
[Pictures from IMDB]