Snapshots - #10

The movies...

The Jungle Book (♦♦♦♦): Mowgli is a man-cub who has been raised by a pack of wolves. Despite working hard to assimilate the law of the jungle, he realizes that he is a liability to his adopted family when a disgruntled tiger sets its sight on him. Little does Mowgli know that he will have to tap into his resourcefulness and intelligence to survive in a world determined to turn its back on him.

The Jungle Book is a Disney production directed by Jon Favreau (of Iron Man fame). The dynamic camera work reveals the superhero roots of its director; the sweetness—without being too overtly sugary—, the playing mood with lighting effects, the happy ending, and catchy, danceable songs are Disney studios trademark. The combination of great cinematography, special effects, and a stellar cast lending their voices to mesmerizing animals—cons and villains alike—make this film a must-see for the whole family.

Demolition (♦♦♦♦): Financier Davis Mitchell loses his wife in a car accident from which he walks off unscathed. During his visit in the ICU, he inserts coins into a vending machine that doesn't deliver the product choice. Outraged, Davis writes several letters to the vendor's customer service department pouring his heart out. Karen Moreno, the customer service representative from the vending machine company, reads the letters, is saddened and intrigued, and makes contact with Davis. What ensues is a journey of healing and self discovery for both.

I'm having such a great streak with movies this year, that I don't know if lately the quality has increased along with the amount, or if I'm being more selective and getting lucky. Either way, I have rated three and a half stars or higher more movies this year before award season than in the past. Among the last film-lot I saw and liked very much was Demolition starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Chris Cooper in the leading roles.

Gyllenhaal's performance in Demolition is one of the best ones I have seen from him. He is a recent widower on a mission to reestablish honesty in his life, so he starts by admitting to a stranger that he didn't love his late wife, and goes from there. It is in his "destructive" journey where the power of this movie lies, for he seems disconnected from his emotions and sets on a path to breaking things (literally) to understand how they work. The movie is not a comedy but it made me laugh out loud almost to the end, when he ends up discovering that he had more of an emotional connection with his late wife than he ever realized. Supporting characters deserve accolades as well, but it is really Jake Gyllenhaal that makes this production a must-see.

Comments

  1. I haven't seen this Jungle Book, although I remember an earlier version from long ago, but I have fond memories of the book that was a favorite of my kids when they were little. They love it still.

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    1. The prior version is from 1967, I think. I don't know if I have watched it and forgotten, but this one has some elements of the book, and new themes, according to what I read in IMDd. I found it very entertaining.

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  2. I have gotten mixed reactions from friends on Jungle Book, but you have added so many good movies to our queue that I have grown to trust your ratings. I am putting both of these in the queue. And I think this has been quite a good year for both movies and books!

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    1. Thanks for the trust, Judy. I hope I'm steering you in the right direction. ;-) I thought The Jungle Book was done well, and I loved the songs. I think the entire cast did a superb job.

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  3. I enjoyed Jungle Book - if I had to choose between this and the original animation I would probably go back to the original - or would I?? Mmm, probably for the sake of nostalgia - but I do think the new one is very well done.
    Lynn :D

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  4. I really want to see The Jungle Book!

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    1. I hope you like it very much. I did.

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  5. Jake Gyllenhaal seems to be on a roll lately. I haven't seen Demolition but have liked him in other things. You're picking some good ones.

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    1. I know; I have been watching more indies lately, and some have been quite good. You are right about Gyllenhaal; he does seem to be on a roll lately. I hope that doesn't change. He is a very good actor.

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