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Entries in Adam Arkapaw (1)

Friday
Sep 02 2016

Quickie Reviews: The Light Between Oceans and The Jungle Book

by Nathaniel R

Apologies that there's no big review this weekend but I do hope you'll check out the Fassbender & Vikander flick.Here are two quick takes on movie options this weekend.

IN THEATERS

The Light Between Oceans(Derek Cianfrance)
Story: A war veteran (Michael Fassbender) takes a position as a lighthouse keeper where he falls in love with a local girl (Alicia Vikander).Their lives change irrevocably when they discover an orphaned baby in a boat.
Review: A pop quiz.Which is more ravishing?

  • Real life romantic chemistry that translates intact to movie screens.
  • Romantic dramas that don't stop at sexy but get across how comforting and life-changing love and companionship can be.
  • Picturesque rocky islands and lighthouses softened at their edges by grassy tenderness and the windswept beauty of two definitely cinematic brunettes.

Trick question -- they're all super ravishing!I've heard the complaints thatThe Light Between Oceansis "dull"or "has no edge"and it's definitely soggier and lacking in the instantaneously memorable moments of Cianfrance's previous outingsBlue ValentineandThe Place Beyond the Pines.But I kind of loved it while I was watching it.At least the first half.It loses its way a little in the third act as the tragedy stretches out and the film shifts to Rachel Weisz but it's uncommonly gorgeous to gaze upon and cry through.
Grade:B+(maybe B towards the end)
Oscar Chances: Perhaps it's not potent enough to hold on for months to win acting nominations -- though Fassbender & Vikander are both excellent -- but I'm crossing my fingers for Best Cinematography.Take a bow,Adam Arkapaw.(His previous credits includeMacbeth,Lore,andAnimal Kingdom).It also feels like a possibility for Score (Alexandre Desplat) though that's a little overbearing.

JUST OUT ON DVD / BLURAY

The Jungle Book(Jon Favreau)
Story: You know this one already.A boy is raised by animals in the jungle.No,notthatwhite one with the apes.The little Indian boy raised by wolves and panthers and bears,oh my.The problem: a tiger wants him dead.
Review: Can you believe we never reviewed this?Though it's somewhat ravishing to look at as a technical achievement,in truth I was not particularly fond of it and found it difficult to write about.The problem was that it doesn't have an identity of its own to discuss.Favreau trusts that fond memories of the Disney animated classic it apes (pun not intended) will win your love.He and his team trust in this so completely that they even graft on two and a half highly uncomfortable musical numbers despite the fact thatthisJungle Book definitely doesnotself-identify as a musical,it's one characteristic that immediately sets its apart from the original.Until it doesn't.Great voice work by Idris Elba as Shere Khan.
Oscar Chances: Most definitely.At least a visual effects nomination.Perhaps sound as well?
Grade:C/C+

P.S.If you liked it more,I'd love to hear why.Its long legs at the box office indicate that it wasn't just brand recognition but actual audience love that made it an enormous hit.