At The Movies With Matt Zoller Seitz On His Birthday | MZS

by -102 Views

2014: “Birdman.” Another movie that everyone agreed to see but nobody seemed terribly excited about. My son, then 10, liked it a lot more than I’d expected him to, considering it was about a middle-aged actor’s existential crisis, not really about superheroes in any meaningful sense. He later told me he enjoyed it because he could never predict what was going to happen from one scene to the next, and most of the movies he tended to see (mainly superhero films, action films and so forth) weren’t like that. The preceding day, on Christmas, he’d asked to see Angelina Jolie’s movie “Unbroken” because it was based on a true story and he’d heard there was a scary scene involving sharks, and so I took him. He liked that one, too, although he later read about the real story and agreed, along with my daughter, that what happened to the hero of “Unbroken” after the final credits was way more interesting than anything else in the film.

2015: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Second time in a theater. I am quite aware of everything that’s wrong with this movie and I don’t care. It has a good heart and compelling characters, and it’s the only film in the entire series with real acting in every role. Plus there’s something to be said for the extra-dramatic thrill of seeing a sequel to a film you saw as a kid with your kids.

2016: “Moana,” the Disney animated film. Saw this one with the extended family in a theater mainly because the household had developed a bit of a Lin-Manuel Miranda fixation due to the success of “Hamilton” on Broadway, and he contributed songs to the soundtrack. This is somewhat above mid-level Disney animated production with an agreeable overall tone and some good numbers, including “You’re Welcome” and the bad guy’s big number “Shiny.”

2017: “The Greatest Showman.” Saw this one with Nancy, who wanted to see it because she loves musicals. A very strange film, in terms of tone as well as the liberties it takes with P.T. Barnum’s biography (making him out to be something like an early progressive force when he was closer to the opposite). Carried by the sheer enthusiasm of leading man Hugh Jackman as well as the relative dearth of filmed musicals that year, it because a surprise hit.

2018. “Mary Poppins Returns.” Another musical, and an inevitable one: both Nancy and I loved the original “Mary Poppins,” as did the kids when they were younger, and everyone enjoyed the sequel, perhaps somewhat to their surprise, given the elapsed time and complete recasting and new story. Dick Van Dyke, the chimney sweep from the original, has a small role here as the rich old man who solves the problems of the less fortunate out of the goodness of his heart and a sense of justice, increasingly a cliche that’s harder to believe in than the existence of Santa Claus. Van Dyke dancing on a desk is one of the best reasons to see it, along with the lead performance of Emily Blunt (channeling a performance style from another century) and the traditionally animated creatures.


No More Posts Available.

No more pages to load.