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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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Movie Reviews: A Dae and a Day on a Plane

Posted by gck Friday, March 2, 2012

I recently flew to China and back on Hainan Airlines, a 5-star airline by someone’s rating system. Nice thing about Chinese airlines? They always serve food! Even on a two hour flight that leaves after 11pm, you get food. And on the international leg from Seattle to Beijing, I got their sparkly personal in-flight entertainment system, full of movies and other things on demand. Sadly, on the way back, the movies were still the same, so I had to look harder for what I wanted. Many international movies weren’t options because, as a Chinese airline, subtitles were in Chinese. I don’t like to watch really good movies that I’ve been looking forward to seeing on planes because of poor viewing quality and the potential for “the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign” interruptions. I did find a few things to keep me entertained, though.

Bran Nue Dae
Australia, 2009
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Coming-of-Age
Watched: Airplane
Rating: *** (out of 5)

This was one I considered watching at SIFF a few years back, but it didn’t make the cut due to lukewarm reviews. I feel like that was an accurate assessment of the film, but it was still fun to see, and the plane was a good place to see it. It’s a romantic comedy/musical about two Australian aboriginal teenagers who are obviously going to end up together, but they face a few bumps in the road first. Her good singing voice leads her to a bad boy in a bar, while he tries to get an education from a mean priest in the city but ends up in a van with hippies. The ending is so ridiculous that you can’t believe they got away with it. But the whole thing is a lot of fun, and the main characters are pretty charming. The main song is easy to get stuck in your head: “There’s nothing I would rather be/ Than to be an Aborigine/ and watch you take my precious land away.”

One Day
USA, 2011
Genre: Romance, Drama
Watched: Airplane
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5)

So here’s what happened. I saw the preview for this movie, rolled my eyes at Anne Hathaway’s British accent, but looked up information about the movie anyway. The ratings looked pretty dismal, but I discovered that it was based on a book that was rated a little better. So I read the book. I disliked the main male character a lot but enjoyed the way the book was written. And I’ve known for awhile that I wanted to watch the movie, going in with low expectations. It was hard to convince myself to use two hours of my home time to see it, so I was excited to see it on the plane’s list of movies. One of the main review criticisms was Jim Sturgess’s casting as Dexter. Maybe it wasn’t quite faithful to the book’s description of Dex, but I was actually okay with him because he was a lot less obnoxious than Dex in the book! Of course, they cut a lot of it out. Of course, the scenes weren’t as poetic and observational as they were in the book. But it was okay. It was a decent portrayal of two characters and the way they and their relationships morphed over time.

Other films I watched on the plane and will not bother to review: What’s Your Number (mildly entertaining), Chalet Girl (better than I expected!), I Don’t Know How She Does It (didn’t even get halfway through, this was so bad).


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