Quick Hits on Jane Eyre – Cary Fukunaga (2011)

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-I’ve never read the novel, and the only previous adaptation I’ve seen of Jane Eyre is the one from the 40s with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles in the lead roles. It wasn’t intentional, but I couldn’t shake the idea of how much better this film could have been with this cinematography and art direction but populated with Welles and Fontaine.

-I did like Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in their own roles, but was left a little dry by their lack of chemistry in the scenes they shared. Fassbender had plenty of strength of character and an immense screen presence to occupy a role that Welles made his own, though he was maybe a little too good looking to play Mr. Rochester.

-I get excited every time I see this kind of understated-yet-lush, deep-grained, autumn-colored cinematography. This is the second time Fukunaga worked with Brazilian director of photography Adriano Goldman, who also worked one another film I find to be incredibly beautiful, Cao Hamburger’s The Year My Parents Went on Vacation. The two last teamed up on the gang/immigration drama Sin Nombe, which, again, was beautiful almost in spite of its subject matter. It’s getting increasingly rare to see this style of shooting with the mass exodus to digital. Grain structure is so important to the way light (that is, the image) shows up on film, but it’s not something video does well, because it’s not designed to. It’s designed to look sharp. Which looks like shit.

Quick Hits on X-Men: First Class – Mathew Vaughan (2011)

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-As CGI makes more astounding advances, movies end up getting more dull and lazy, and that’s never been more true with any movie genre as it is right now with comic book movies. The computer was a helping hand to the story in the first X-Men, but by the third X-Men, it was all computer based story. There is very little innovation left to be found in CGI movies, just more levels of technical achievements, which is fine and all, and someone, someday will put these to amazing use (no, probably not you, James Cameron), but for now I’ve seen enough shit flying to not need a “OH MY GOD I’M FLYING” slack-jawed grin of amazement every time it happens.

-Jennifer Lawrence deserves and will get the benefit of the doubt because of what the movie is and how bad her lines were, but it’s really hard to reconcile the fact that this was the same actress from Winter’s Bone. This was a rough one for her, but no one does their best work under these circumstances.

-Are we still really doing the whole kill the only black guy thing?

-The only thing about X-Men: First Class that works is the fledgling chemistry between Michael Fassbender and James Mcavoy. It’s an uneasy chemistry at best, never developing beyond the hope of a real chemistry before the finale tears down that hope.

-Overall, I was left with the impression of watching something that was made for TV, but with better explosions. Every above the line technical aspect fell short, and as an added bonus it really cannibalized the ideas and history of the first two X-Men. They just don’t fit together, puzzle-wise. It hardly seems to matter anymore. I’m sure the franchise will be rebooted again and again, something at which comic book movies are uniquely suited for. I choose to blame it all on Bill Jemas and the Ultimate Marvel line (even though that’s not the first reboot in comics history). Mostly Bill Jemas. Okay, all on Bill Jemas. Just because.