Accountants, Arrivals and Other Strangeness

I got caught up on a few movies the past couple of weeks.  I thought I’d try to gather my thoughts about all of them in one place rather then single posts about each.  YES, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

THE ACCOUNTANT — this was almost a good movie.  it wasn’t horrible, but it went completely sideways in the final third.  When it was about an autistic child then man trying to cope in the world, and when it was about forensic accounting it was really interesting and well done.

And then it became a study in studio notes.  I felt like I could hear every script meeting that took place and I expect some of them occurred while they were actually shooting the film.  They kept pasting things on in the hope they would stick.  The geeky girl — maybe they can have a romance?  Whoops, no, that isn’t working.  Forget her.  Abusive dad?  Or maybe he really loves his sons and they love him?  We could never decide you, audience, try to figure it out.  The treasury department agents — woman with dark secrets, boss who is a bad guy, or maybe a good guy.

I was okay with our hero not only being a math savant, but also a bad ass with a gun and in physical combat.  Dad was a crazy military dude so okay, but when they had his nemesis be his brother?  That was when the shark was well and truly jumped.  They couldn’t even figure out that relationship.  Did they hate each other?  Love each other?  Brother blamed our autistic hero for dad’s death, but it seemed like dad wanted to go to mom’s funeral.  And if the brother was going to be a big deal then he needed to be feathered in a lot more gracefully than he was.

There was one nice surprise at the end of the film, but that relationship was also short changed so they could try to make the abortive romance work.  Ben Affleck did some nice work, but it ultimately ended up feeling desperate.

DR. STRANGE —  It’s a Marvel movie.  Upper middle of the pack I’d say.  Enjoyable.  I liked it better the second time.  I am struck by how these lesser known titles are turning out to be really charming movies — Ant-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy which I adore, and now Dr. Strange.  Cumberbatch is very appealing and seems to be having fun which meant the audience had fun too.  I also quite liked the fact they took the curse off the cloak (cloaks always look silly in modern day) by making the silly thing a character.

My biggest problem is that I share the arrogant doctor’s attitude about mystic mumbo jumbo.  Start offering to balance my aura or telling me about Uri Geller and I’m likely to get a blank stare and a polite but frozen smile.  I like the Marvel universe when it’s about aliens and infinity stones.  They dealt with the Asgardians by saying they seem like gods, but their not really gods.  Now we have magical powers.  I share Thor’s desire to drown his woes in beer.

THE ARRIVAL — What can I say?  It’s elegiac.  A science fiction movie built around linguistics.  A theme that life, no matter what tragedies it may hold, is worth living to the fullest.  It’s also a beautiful celebration of smart people doing smart things.  You know… the elites using their education and their brains to solve complex issues as opposed to people setting off a bomb to fix a perceived problem.  I want to see it again so I can really study the structure and the nuance.

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