The Kid Brother - ★★★½☆
A lot of my viewing experience with silent comedies is with Buster Keaton, so I was not expecting the sheer volume of acting Harold Lloyd does, all over this movie. So much acting! I think a lot of movies like this (including other Lloyds, like The Freshman,) show the hero as put-upon, reacting to crazy circumstances and overwhelming odds, but in The Kid Brother, although Lloyd's character is nominally the underdog, he seems incredibly clever. He's always one step ahead and so much of the humor here is about the sleights of perception he pulls on other characters and the audience. Another movie would have made a whole scene out of outsmarting a guard dog, but clever Harold Hickory's got that one in the bag. I also thought it was interesting that there is almost no set dressing in this movie. If an object is in the scene, it's almost certainly a prop, waiting on its mark to support another gag.
The Freshman - ★★★☆☆
In contrast to The Kid Brother, this felt a lot more like what I've come to expect from a silent comedy: the low status hero, the structuring to accommodate what's mostly a series of sketches - where it differs from, say, a Keaton, is that it's pretty wordy for a silent movie. There are stunts and sight gags and physical jokes, but Lloyd doesn't really compete on physicality, so he makes up for it with the sheer volume of jokes of all sorts. The Freshman isn't so jaw-dropping as Sherlock Jr, but it packs in more laugh-out-loud moments.
Feast - ★★★★★
Pretty great! Right up there with Partly Cloudy as a lovely, funny, and touching short film.
Big Hero 6 - ★★★☆☆
I didn't like this as much as I expected to. I still liked it, just, less than my twitter feed did. It seemed like there were a lot of setups that didn't bother with payoffs, and the supporting cast was pretty thin. (Does TJ Miller ever play another character?) I thought it was interesting that Hiro makes everyone's supersuits and doesn't give himself the biggest best and baddest.
The Q&A after my screening had one of the writers talking about how a superhero movie is only as good as its villains are bad, but this movie isn't really driven by its villain. The bad guy here is doing his own thing and mostly can't be bothered with or isn't aware of our heroes. I think the writer was correct, but not in the way that he meant.
Interstellar - ★★★★★
I bought my IMAX ticket out of something like obligation - the ads looked lousy, but it's Nolan, and shot in IMAX, so I went - and it turned out to really work for me.
The Filmically Perfect podcast used to say that a perfect movie defines the world it inhabits, and then sustains that world, and on those fronts, Interstellar delivers. I think a lot of the folks that walked out unhappy have been upset that the movie did not live up to ideals it never actually promised us. Sure, there's more science explained in here than in Star Wars, but it's no surprise the reviewers sticking it with the 'hard sci-fi' label are tearing it down for not actually being hard sci-fi. I wouldn't even give this a regular 'sci-fi' shelving. Ideally, I'd label this as a movie in the 'weird fiction' genre, but since we're a century too late for that, my second choice would be 'horror-fantasy.' Even though we're in space a lot (and that's a big plus: if you're going to make a movie about being in space, actually be in space!), I think Interstellar has just taken a place among my favorite lovecraftian horror movies. I really liked the sanity-blasting effects of the adventure upon the investigators. We also see man's infinitesimally small place and stature among the stars, and an ending that fits right in with every other movie in this narrow genre.
I can award a few demerits for the first act, where Cooper gets saddled with all those lines they wanted in the trailer, but there's even something a little bit satisfying to me about how easily he finds himself on the ship's crew. An adventure had to begin, otherwise it's not going to be much of a movie. As a technical aside, I thought there were some moments that were just amazing visually, regardless of whether or not that's the IMAX talking. I don't know what the audio problem folks are complaining about actually is, but it was kind of nice to hear the whirring of the projector in some of the film's silent moments.