Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is, as you know, a widely anticipated movie with some mixed reviews, but mostly good, just like this one. If you don't know what the enigma machine is and what it did, well, you are poorly educated and shouldn't go to movies at all because you will think everything you see in every movie is true anyway. Here is what is true- Alan Turing was brilliant with a dose of functional autism and his invention, a computer that cracked the enigma code, saved millions of lives and shortened WWII. Mr.Turing was also a homosexual at a time when that meant jail or a "chemical castration" with estrogen shots. Alan Turing was one of those  British boys who did not do well at boarding school with the bullies and dumbasses that seem to frequent those places. The movie doesn't side step that. It is told in flashbacks. Now, you should read up on what the machine is and why it and Turing's work to solve it were important before you go, because that is what gives the film the minimal suspense it has. The movie takes liberties with the roles of the others at Bletchley though. It adds a few characters and gives one a job as Soviet spy (which did not actually exist). I sort of resented that since it was totally unnecessary to add that to the movie- Hollywood is incapable of sticking to the story in biopics. Dumb. Now people who can't read will think that really happened that way. And, somewhere in heaven, Joan Clarke is looking down and marveling that Kiera Knightly is playing her. If they make a movie about me, I'd say "I'll settle for Kiera Knightly"- especially since someone FINALLY broke her of that annoying pout she'd make to show emotion.  It is a very touching film. You'd have to be a tad cold in spots of your heart not to shed just ONE tear at the end. Not because Turing was gay- but because it really must be a special hell to be brilliant. I'll never know.
Anyway, the movie can be slow in spots. It is the last half hour that really is best. And the other moral question about who lives and dies, well, it is a sad dilemma indeed.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Anyone of a certain age may remember the way things unfolded for John E DuPont in 1996. I thought everyone knew, because it was such a big story- but it was clear that at the end of Foxcatcher, the audience was surprised. So I won't ruin it here, and it is up to you to ruin it for yourself looking it up.
You can also check online for the accuracies and inaccuracies if you want, but in general, except for a few things (like 7 years of time missing), it is more accurate than most Hollywood "based on a true story" films are.
At first, Steve Carell looks just odd. Why would they try so hard to make him look like John DuPont if most people have no idea anyway? It's not like Carell didn't all ready HAVE a big nose. Oh well. I found it a distraction to make his face look so odd. A haircut and some dye would have been okay by me.  He might win some awards, but if you are aware of how really crazy John DuPont was for YEARS, you don't get the aura of insanity off of Carell that you should. You know he's weird, and that he is strange and a little crazy, but not schizophrenic and unpredictable.  He should have channeled more of that. Even without it, the audience knows something is terribly wrong with the guy.
Then there is Channing Tatum playing an Olympic gold medal winning wrestler. He is really amazing. This is a highly physical role, and he really makes it believable. Unfortunately, though his character graduated from college, he is played as if he were an idiot meathead. It is hard to believe even OU would give a degree to someone who was that much of a dolt.  That's not Tatum's fault. The director made it that way.
But the big surprise here is Mark Ruffalo. He plays the Olympic gold medal in wrestling brother of Channing Tatum. At first it is natural to go " oh no, it's Mark Ruffalo being Mark Ruffalo acting like Mark Ruffalo does again". And yep, for a short time, that's true. But then he morphs into the star of it. He comes into the movie late, and he changes everything.
Why? Well, because this movie starts out as a snoozer- no kidding- if it went any slower you'd be watching backwards. And it goes on that way for over an hour.  I have no idea why. Maybe if they'd spent a little time with some action showing how damn crazy DuPont was, there'd have been some action. If you see it, you'll know what I mean.
I'm not going to give it 3 stars because the script was really not that good. I'll give the actors 3.5 stars. But the movie itself gets a 2.5.