Third Monday Movie Day

Movie of the Month: The Escapist (2008, Rupert Wyatt)

So, I loved this movie...I think. It's got a great atmosphere and mood (not happy ones, but effective ones) and the acting is superb - Brian Cox leads, and is supported by Joseph Fiennes, Damian Lewis and Steven Mackintosh, among others. It's an Irish film about a man who decides to break out of prison when he learns his daughter is dying, and the narrative is told in alternating scenes of the breakout and what it took to set the breakout into motion; there are another four characters, all interesting themselves, involved as well.

I figured the dual narrative would annoy me at some point, but it really didn't. Pacing often dies when films go into flashback mode, but this one was effective in giving us pertinent information every time we delved into the past.

The film is tense and the viewer never feels comfortable with the question of whether or not the breakout is going to work, which is what I want out of any movie (this is the reason I don't watch a lot of blockbusters; if I know the good guys will win, a part of me disengages from the film).

Now, the only thing is, it's tough to talk about this film without discussing the ending, which in a way, nullifies the entire film that came before it, or at least half of the narrative. I can't decide if it killed my adoration for what came before, or if tied the film together perfectly. I think, perhaps, it was both. So, if any of you would be so kind as to see this one and talk about it with me, that would be appreciated.

What have you seen?

66 thoughts on “Third Monday Movie Day”

  1. Saw Punch Drunk Love and was actually sort of 'meh' on it. I realize there's a lot to like about it, and there are cfertain parts which are just great, but too many times during the course of it, I found myself disconnected from the main plot and not really caring what happened to the characters.

    My friend was dismayed when I gave a tentative thumbs up to Prometheus, instead of the expected overjoyed gushing. Fassbender was great, Elba was awesome, and Theron strangely didn't annoy me. Everything was very pretty, especially the planetside shots.

    That's about all. I did see a trailer for Django Unchained which made me very much want to travel forward in time at an accellerated rate, view it, then travel back in time to tell my present self how awesome it was.

  2. We saw Moonrise Kingdom and if you are a Wes Anderson fan, you will love this movie too. Very quirky and fun. It really is its own world upon itself. The attention to detail in the set designs is exquisite. We also saw The Avengers. Talk about a study in contrast. I do want to see Prometheus. Not sure when I will be able to get to it however.

    I have heard Rock of Ages is cheesy fun. Even though I loath that music genre, I think we will get it on netflix when it comes out. Not going to drop $10.00 ticket to see it in the theater.

    1. I'm not a huge Wes Anderson fan, with the exception of The Royal Tenenbaums which is probably in my top 10 movies. I very much want to see this one though. It looks awesome.

      1. I'm not a huge Wes Anderson fan, but The Fantastic Mr. Fox is awesome and if he turns to animation, I will become a huge fan.

  3. After watching The Avengers, I've been on the Avengers Initiative:

    Thor -- would Kat Dennings get any work if her voice were less annoying unique? Idris Elba is a bad @ss.

    Captain America -- not bad. Most impressive FX were the ones that made Chris Evans into a 90lb weakling at the beginning of the film. Eerie.

    MIB III -- totally did not recognize Jermaine Clemente. On par with MIB 1 and 2. Funny how a "KHAAAAANNNN!" moment bothers me as much as it does, but sorry, sound doesn't travel in a vacuum.

    Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind -- the Hisaishi soundtrack didn't grab me at all, and the film was entertaining enough but still doesn't touch Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, or Howl's Moving Castle

    1. I watched Thor this weekend as well, on Netflix. It was worth the marginal cost. But making the shift from "real" gods of mythology to super-advanced aliens who dress and behave like characters out of norse mythology was ... unsatisfying.

      Plus

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    2. would Kat Dennings get any work if her voice were less annoying unique?
      after watching the entire season of (the rating success story of the year!) '2 Broke Girls', my conclusion is that Kat Dennings is a one note actress. She can play cynical pretty well.

          1. Yeah, I know a lot of girls with huge racks that don't get work constantly. In fact, huge racks sometimes work against Hollywood, which loves the skinny girl even more than it loves the voluptuous girl.

    3. I think I'm surprised that you didn't like tha Nausicaä soundtrack. IIRC, sounded very Sakamoto/Yello Magic Orchestra-ish and I thought you'd like it.

  4. Finally saw Marvel's The Avengers yesterday with the older two kiddos. While it was a fun popcorn flick, I'm getting bored with all these over the top, "let's see how many enemies and explosions we can fit in a frame", movies. It was still fun 'n' all and had some funny lines and cool moments, but I get the feeling that others liked it more than I did. Might've helped if I had seen some of the predecessors, too. I have yet to see a Hulk film, Thor or Capt America.

    Also watched Courageous on Saturday night at a church event. Enjoyed it the second time. Has a strong Christian message, but I like that sort of thing. Also very appropriate for the Father's Day weekend.

    Really really really need to see Breaking Bad Season 4. The spoilers are out there lurking and I really don't want to be spoiled. That's one series I've tried my best to stay out of spoilers. Now that the DVD is out, I'd like to just buy it, watch it and sell it. But I know that they'll be on Netflix by the fall. Decisions, decisions. (first world problems y'all)

  5. It's been a few weeks now, but some half-remembered thoughts on Game of Thrones:

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        Anyway, I'm re-watching the first season because I didn't take the most moral upstanding route to watching it. It looks much better through a DVD on my tv.

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  6. My friend and I finished up the first season of Justified last week. I'm really loving the show. I feel bad for waiting so long to get into it. I'm hesitant to start the second season since I have no idea when the third season will hit Blu Ray.

    I went to Prometheus on opening weekend. It was decent. I think I'd like it more if I watched it again, but it definitely had problems. As nibbish mentioned above, the film was absolutely gorgeous.

    J's good friend/former roommate came to visit this weekend, and we all went to Snow White and the Huntsman. Everyone in the movied yelled a whole lot. One of the main antagonists had a tragically bad haircut. It was something else.

    I have designs on seeing Moonrise Kingdom, Brave, Magic Mike and maaayyyyybe Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter in the movie theater before the month is over. I can't remember the last time I saw multiple movies in the theater in a month, probably high school?

    Most importantly, my copy of The FP is en route to my house. I cannot wait to watch it. Do you blame me?

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK-Fbj_FV2I

    1. Dude, dude, don't worry about when season 3 comes out, just watch season 2 anyway. Season 2 blows season 1 out of the water. (and I hear season 3 is even better. I haven't watched it yet either, because I'm waiting for it to be available on the Netflix.) Pretty much everyone is more awesome season 2, especially Boyd. Dude totally steals the show.

      1. I'm pretty sure we'll blast through it as soon as we have some time. I'm heading down to visit him this weekend, and if our other friend can't make it I would not be surprised if we watched the entire season.

        I'm not surprised about Boyd stealing the show, Walton Goggins was incredible on The Shield, and I've enjoyed Boyd thus far.

        1. I've still only seen the first disc and didn't love him in it, though I'm sure he's expanded considerably as the series goes on.

          I've only seen the first episode of Justified and really, really dug his performance. Granted, he was given a lot of focus, so that's probably the difference.

          1. Yeah, his character definitely takes some time to get fleshed out. I'm probably a bit biased because the last two seasons are the most fresh in my head, and that was when he really shined. His performance was fantastic in those seasons in particular.

            I'd really like one of these shows Shawn Ryan gets involved in to stick. I'll definitely give his new show on ABC a chance, but I'm guessing it only lasts one season.

      2. I just got the first disc of season 2 in the mail, but Directv had a free Showtime weekend so I recorded the entire first season of Homeland and I feel like we'll be watching that for awhile.

  7. Rewatched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy last night. It was much better the second time through. Still doesn't hold a candle to the book. Largely because it just seems to be a loving tribute to the book, instead of its own thing.

    Watched Hugo and Cowboys and Aliens a week or so ago. Both were strange and awful. Things appeared and disappeared and new characters were added at strange points, etc. Do not watch either of these movies (I knew that about Cowboys and Aliens going into it, obviously, but it didn't stop me.).

    1. wait, what?? You are saying Hugo was awful??!!

      I was thoroughly enchanted by it. The kids were good, the cast of oddball characters was charming, and the love letter to Georges Méliès was, well, lovely.

      1. I don't have time to go into all of the wrongness but... I didn't think it was particularly well acted, the whole thing was a study in "impossible probabilities," the pacing was interminably slow, everyone lacked motivation, things that were important were abandoned (the notebook, the need to not bring up the past), and the entire conflict was essentially non-existent and evaporated into a love letter to Méliès that was otherwise entirely unrelated to the rest of the plot.

  8. Went to Madagascar 3 at the Cottage View Drive In on Saturday night.

    The good: nice evening, no bugs, sipping beer in my lawn chair and eating popcorn.
    The bar: a wretched piece of dreck on the screen.

    But, the daughter and her friend were entertained, so it's all good.

    I cannot believe that this franchise is solid gold (both of the first two over $500 million at the box office).

    1. Yeah, both times the trailers started for the sequels, I thought, "Do they deserve one?" Then I checked box office reports and was horrified to see that they did. Oh well...they are marketed to the most forgiving demographic.

    2. I enjoyed the spinoff TV program the Penguins of Madagascar while we had cable.
      Haven't seen any of the movies, though. CER & HPR just saw #3 as a friends' birthday party, and CER skipped out the last half-hour or so. (Which isn't that unusual, she's still got a low threshhold for suspense.) HPR said he liked it which probably means fighting or fart jokes. I watched Porco Rosso with him a few weeks ago and he really dug that lots, so there may be hope. He's made of tough stuff, I could probably watch Grave of the Fireflies with him.

    3. Wait, I thought I read that drive-in closed. If it's still open, Sheenie and I might be bringing the dog to a date night.

        1. Nice, we saw The Dark Knight and Wall-E there a couple of years ago with our previous dog.

  9. I just watched an episode of "The Phantom" on Sci-Fi. It was awful to say the least, and not even in the "So bad it's somewhat entertaining" way either.

  10. The Cabin in the Woods: Very fun. Ranks right up there with Shaun of the Dead for me.
    Nine Dead: So nine people have been kidnapped, and they're all in a room. Every ten minutes, one of them gets killed. Interesting concepts, poorly executed. Melissa Joan Hart is the lead and is awful. There's a couple interesting performances, and the story is above average, but the script is wretched.
    The Repeaters: Three teens in drug rehab wind up repeating the same day, a day they're supposed to broach acceptance from people who they've hurt and have hurt them. Great cinematography. Acting is passable. Story kind of bored me after a while.
    Risky Business: Pantoliano and Pinchot are fun, but Cruise was absolutely the wrong actor here. Not that the script was great, but Cruise pretty much ruins it.
    Children of the Corn (Remake): It was so fascinatingly bad I couldn't turn it off.

    1. Some nice Tangerine Dream music in Risky Business. It was kind of humorous that Rebecca De Mornay's father had a late night LA conservative "combat TV" show at the time, and here her daughter was playing a prostitute.

  11. I finally got around to watching A Study in Pink this weekend. The leads were all excellent, but I thought the story was a bit thin. The villain was just an ordinary psychopath. And really, Sherlock couldn't figure out the cabbie part of it???

  12. My favorite movie genre is comedies, so its not really a shock that I went on a comedy bender the last couple of weeks.

    Crazy, Stupid, Love. If you havent seen this movie, you should move it to a high slot on your priority list. Every main actor in this film kills it.

    Bridesmaids. I finally got around to see this, and while its not the greatest comedy to come along in the last 10 years, I laughed pretty hard during parts of this movie. But I can see if you dont like Kristen Wiig on SNL, you probably wouldnt like this movie.

    The Sitter Not the greatest movie, but I chuckled along. The movie had a great premise (loser college dropout babysits some kids, but really has no interest in babysitting) but then kinda falls into a typical comedy and you can see the jokes a mile away.

    Dinner For Schmucks I guess I have been on a Steve Carell kick lately. I thought in this movie he played a dumber version of Micheal Scott from The Office. I generally liked it, but the scenes with Carell and Zach Galifianakis
    were pretty darned funny.

    I am now started disc one of a 3 set collection of the great WB cartoon Pinky and the Brain (narf!) I am buying the 3 set collection of the zany Animaniacs next paycheck.

    1. Every main actor in this film kills it.

      Can't argue here. The film is barely memorable. I can't tell you a single thing I laughed at, though I laughed a lot. But I remember enjoying myself the entire time and it's because the leads are all infectious.

      1. heh, i'd seen it years ago, but somehow it ended up in some recommended list on netflix a few months back and i thought, what the hell? glad to see i got to it before it was gone.

        It had its moments, but suffers from genre confusion.

        yeah, that's about right. but it's also got con stapleton, which was one of its moments.

      2. I have not seen it, but felt like I should, genre confusion be damned.

        I watched Tucker and Dale instead. Alan Tudyk is just the best.

        1. Yeah, They Live is still a fun, stupid ride.

          I liked Alan Tudyk in that one, but that's about all I can really say for it. I was disappointed.

          1. I think I had remembered you saying that, so I went in with lowered expectations and came away entertained. I laughed at a good deal of it and thought the idea of hillbillies look like brutal killers because college kids are idiots angle was pretty funny.

  13. Just finished watching The Descendants. Excellent movie, great job on the emotional side of things. Needed to clean up some dialogue issues. Probably one snappy rewrite short of legitimate best picture territory.

  14. Saw The Five Year Engagement - had some funny moments, but dragged for about 20 minutes that didn't need to be there.
    On Battlestar Gallactica

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    Have rewatched all of Arrested Development since the werewolf game.
    Saw the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm which had its moments, but on the whole was the worst season. The arguments and psychoses were more forced than usual.
    Finished the first season of Veronica Mars and enjoyed it.

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