As a film, Godzilla is perfectly adequate. But that’s the nicest thing I can say about it. It’s always disappointing when a breakthrough director like Gareth Edwards catches the eye of a big studio only to be hired for rote product. Big blockbusters like this tend to swallow filmmakers whole and render them more or less anonymous (see also: J.J. Abrams‘s Star Trek, Guillermo Del Toro‘s Pacific Rim). Edwards’s Monsters was a distinctive movie with real characters and story. His Godzilla is more expensive, but less of a movie. There’s nothing in it we haven’t seen a million times before.
Dir. Woody Allen
(2013, PG-13, 98 minutes)
When Blue Jasmine starts, it seems like a comedy about class: the title character (Cate Blanchett), a former New York socialite, loses everything and is forced to move in with her working class sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), in San Francisco. Their strained relationship at first is like a clash between the haves (superior, condescending) and have-nots (suspicious, resentful) in miniature.
Dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga
(2011, PG-13, 120 min)
Cary Joji Fukunaga‘s film is my first exposure to the story of Jane Eyre, and like many other female characters from the period I’ve seen and read, its protagonist is a strong-willed woman of intelligence and dignity; knowing such characters existed in famous fiction of the 19th century, one can’t help but feel embarrassed for an era that churns out Katherine Heigl movies at regular intervals.
Dir. Mike Leigh
(R) ★ ★ ★
Poppy is so upbeat even her name sounds like a celebration — or like an opiate, if you will, and that comparison might be just as apt, depending on your perspective. She’s unflappably chipper, and you, like I, might be waiting for the other shoe to drop: some tragic twist that would reveal that her relentless positivity is a facade, or a symptom of a greater problem. Perhaps that says more about me than it does about her. Perhaps the viewer is his own litmus test; he learns who he is by whether he wants to hug her or have her committed.