A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017)

Saïd Taghmaoui, Chris Pine, and Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman
Diana: Gal Gadot
Steve Trevor: Chris Pine
Hippolyta: Connie Nielsen
Antiope: Robin Wright
Ludendorff: Danny Huston
Sir Patrick: David Thewlis
Sameer: Saïd Taghmaoui
Charlie: Ewen Bremner
The Chief: Eugene Brave Rock
Etta Candy: Lucy Davis
Dr. Maru: Elena Anaya

Director: Patty Jenkins
Screenplay: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Jason Fuchs
Cinematography: Matthew Jensen
Production design: Aline Bonetto
Film editing: Martin Walsh
Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams

For much of Wonder Woman, Patty Jenkins directs Gal Gadot and Chris Pine the way Howard Hawks directed Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant, keeping the romantic tension and witty byplay at the fore. But this is a superhero comic book movie, and eventually the demands of the genre force romantic wit to be subsumed in pyrotechnics and CGI. Still, for much of the film, Wonder Woman is as entertaining as you could wish. Gadot is the perfect embodiment of the Amazon demigod, carrying herself with regal power but also allowing the human vulnerability to show through. Pine seems to have become everyone's second favorite Chris: The others -- Hemsworth, Evans, and Pratt -- wound up in the currently dominant comic book universe, Marvel, whereas Pine got stuck in the second-tier DC universe. But he's probably the most talented of the four, having demonstrated his musical gifts in Into the Woods (Rob Marshall, 2014) and his dramatic ones in Hell or High Water (David Mackenzie, 2016). So although Steve Trevor meets a fiery end in Wonder Woman, Pine is too valuable a performer to let go entirely, and besides, Trevor always had a way of coming back from the dead in the comics.

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