Alien³ - ★★★☆☆
For years, we called one of our friends "35" because that's how tall he guessed a hundred foot flagpole was. But it was also kind of a reference to '85' in this movie, which had just come out, I think. My point is Alien³(: Director's Cut) was much less bad than I was led to believe. It's a big left turn from the previous entry, but as far as James Cameron followups go, it's way less damaging to the series mythology than Terminator 3.
Plus, three movies in, we had a good time playing 'guess thesynthetic,' which isn't much of a game in the Terminator franchise.
The Big Sick - ★★★½☆
I thought it was an interesting choice for this movie to be set in the past, but not in the year the actual events took place. Like, Kumail is an Uber driver, and his car has the old Uber logo, so you know it's not NOW, but also Uber wouldn't exist until a few years after they got married.
The supporting cast is great, but Kumail kind of makes the same face for 'touched, deep sadness' as he does for 'flirty and aroused' as he does for 'indignant and frustrated.'
Water & Power: A California Heist - ★★½☆☆
Attended a free screening and learned about just how badly California is being screwed over in the name of ubiquitous pistachios. Like a lot of message docs, it wanders a little bit somewhere in the third quarter, but it's still impressive how impassioned the movie is, given how detached the director seemed to be.
Wonder Woman - ★★★☆☆
It feels like it would be very unpopular to not gush over this, but I thought it was kind of average.
I mean, obviously, we're all grateful they didn't do that "I am no man" thing again, and like any good superhero movie there were some terrific moments, but as a story it's pretty unsatisfying. Like Circle, this is a movie where the main character is just correct about everything from the get go, and so she doesn't learn or grow in any appreciable way. I think the story would have been a lot more powerful if there were no Ares, just... men, and the world turns out to be more complicated than it seemed.
However, if we can't have that ending because all DC movies must end in a fantastic show of light and noise, it would have been really nice if Wonder Woman had triumphed through the application of some skill or lesson or something that we'd seen at any point earlier in the movie, instead of random magic. When all the shrapnel takes off in her direction, I was engaged in the action. I didn't know exactly how she would weather the attack– had we seen evidence that her skin was Superman-tough? But if the solution is just going to be 'she uses brand new powers we didn't know about,' why even bother creating the danger?
Certainly, it seems like there was some other ending originally planned, because I can't believe that moment where Diana forgets her sword and has to be like 'oh, uh, wait here a moment, okay?' to the baddie while she goes back for it was anything but a patch, hilarious though it may be.
More generally, it seems like Marvel has had such a lead on DC that DC should be able to easily spot things that happened in a similar Marvel movie ten years ago and then not do those things. Why does Steve Trevor have to have the Steve Rogers ending to the war movie? For that matter, why is Steve Trevor so useless? I guess it's neat that, unlike Diana, he remembered something he saw earlier in the movie when he wants to give her a boost, but honestly? The four foot of height he gives makes that much difference to her 60-foot vertical? (Which probably should have smushed them when she leapt?) I'd like to see Chris Pine become the Sean Bean of his generation, as long as his characters' deaths in each movie always stem from their own clumsiness and ineptitude.
I'm not sure that the idea that all of the men are ineffectual to highlight Wonder Woman's strength really tracks through the whole movie. Maybe if Dr. Poison (!) had been the villain. Or even if she'd been Ares.
Anyhow, I'm looking forward to the Etta Candy and Sameer spin off movies.