Short reviews of airplane movies
I’m not usually worried about my personal safety aboard commercial airplanes, but I was briefly afraid that Four Christmases could be the last movie I’d ever see. I was very relieved once they started showing the next movie without crashing into the Pacific ocean.
On a 747 bound for Sydney, they actually had enough time to show four movies, twice each. On the way home, I rode in a much more luxurious 777 with in-seat entertainment, so I could at least pick and choose how I wanted to while away the hours. Here are some micro-reviews of the movies I can still remember watching on those flights:
Aboard United flight 863, non-stop service from San Francisco to Sydney:
Four Christmases -
Already reviewed, but that was some amazingly lazy story crafting. Apparently directed by the fellow who did King of Kong
, which you should actually see. Our otherwise excellent flight attendant thought it was hilarious.
500 Days of Summer - I saw most of this twice, but missed the beginning both times. I expected to hate it for being a romantic comedy, but it turns out that it’s not really. The non-linear storytelling kind of won me over. Cute and well crafted, but I’d probably never admit that in public.
The Time Traveler’s Wife - A naked guy copes with being naked in Chicago in winter. With few exceptions, I hate stories about time travel, but I’ll give it this: at least no one was able to affect the future. Raises interesting logistical questions about Clare the time traveler; lots of the movie is about Eric Bana breaking into stores or beating up people for clothes, does 8-year-old Clare manage the same?
Up - Oh, I guess they showed some movie about talking dogs, but I’d already seen it. I guess it’s nominated for Best Animated Pixar Film of 2009?
Aboard Air New Zealand flights 104 and 8, service from Sydney to San Francisco through Auckland.
Valkyrie - The good Germans have British accents, the evil Germans have German accents. The good Germans are trying to assassinate Hitler. I wonder if they’re going to succeed? (No.)
The Informant! - Poor, poor Mark Whitacre. Like watching a train wreck (being artfully filmed by Steven Soderbergh). The non sequitur voice overs are great. Most bizarre is that the real Mark Whitacre is currently the chief operating officer of a biotech company. Fun, but Soderbergh has done more fun.
Zombieland - Heartwarming! Unclear why the remaining four non-zombied humans are quite that distrustful of one another, but why worry about that when there’s a plot that needs advancin’.
Surrogates - Premise: human beings are isolated from physical effects by surrogate robots. By circumventing all negative physical consequences of their actions, crime is somehow eliminated. Everything leads up to the not-very-climactic scene, where all of the robots are disabled over the internet. Why do these Luddites keep destroying my textile factory?
Inglourious Basterds - There is more tension in a scene about a glass of milk than there was in all of Valkyrie. The not-exactly-good Americans are trying to assassinate Hitler. I wonder if they’re going to succeed? (Oh, Quentin.)
Sunshine Cleaning - A down on her luck single mother wants a better life for her down on his luck son. She gets an idea from her boyfriend, a down on his luck married cop, to start a crime scene cleaning business. She enlists the help of her down on her luck sister, and they go to work cleaning up after suicide victims (which reminds them just a bit of their mother, who committed suicide when they were kids). Meanwhile, the sisters’ down on his luck father fails repeatedly at small time business schemes. In the end, everyone comes together for a milkshake and pizza. Also, the sister isn’t very good at being a lesbian.
I guess it’d be worth discussing the actual trip to Australia, and not just the in-flight entertainment. I’ll have pictures up soon! Really!