A congressman (Matt Damon) who’s a rising star on the political scene finds himself entranced by a beautiful ballerina (Emily Blunt), but mysterious circumstances ensure that their love affair is predestined to be a non-starter. Screenwriter George Nolfi (The Bourne Ultimatum) makes his directorial debut with this romantic adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s classic sci-fi short story “Adjustment Team.”
Rating: 8 out of 10
I have to say that on the surface, I thought this was just another government conspiracy movie. While it’s still a conspiracy flick, it’s a darn good one.
Not unlike “The Matrix,” where they contrived a believable world out of unbelievable circumstances, this film succeeds. The world is completely controlled, well mostly. It sort of takes away the whole free will theory for most people, or at least important people. The entire concept that drives the movie is an adjustment bureau that can control your life. They have a person assigned to you who can guide your thoughts and actions by influencing you with experiences. The love story at the center of this movie, which really compels the film, was such a controlled circumstance. They meet, hit it off, and fall for each other instantly. But the bureau has other plans, despite Damon’s characters pursuit of his lost love.
The movie takes some really interesting twists and turns, with a climactic ending that is satisfying and entertaining. Definitely a solid sci-fi film with a compelling love story, good performances, and a nice pace and tone. It’s patient enough to develop characters while throwing in some intrigue and mystery that propels the film with action and drama.
The Hunger Games
In a dystopian future ruled by a totalitarian regime, resourceful Katniss and her partner, Peeta, represent their district in the lethal Hunger Games — a televised survival competition in which teenage contestants fight each other to the death.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Have you ever sat and thought about what you thought the future might be like? Will we be driving flying cars? What kinds of video technologies and modern conveniences will change our daily routines? Will we travel to distant planets?
I’m pretty sure your idea of the distant future wasn’t a split society where one half was the “Grapes of Wrath” where poor people hunt their dinner with bow and arrows and the other half was a technologically advanced group of drag queens that all wear makeup and can’t wait to watch young people kill each other in a boring game of “Lord of the Flies.”
The ideas in this film are so derivative of other, more original films and books that executed their material better. It takes the games of survival from “Battle Royale,” the split societies from “1984,” and the TV audience from “The Running Man.” It’s all wrapped up in a package that is completely devoid of any suspense, interesting characters, or drama. I was also shocked at just how bloodless it is. Here we have a gladiator game of survival put together as some form of half-ass peace treaty between two societies that had a war. The idea is to put different members from tribes into a survival game in a world that looks like the dome from “The Truman Show” — another film that Hunger Games rips off. The Truman dome in this film is populated with explosives, bows and arrows, knives, and spears. But somehow, we almost never see any blood. This film is so cowardly and money driven that it sanitizes the material to earn a PG-13. Instead of having a dramatic game of “survival at all costs” we end up with a stupid love story without chemistry. Why?!?! Did the writers not realize that every man for themselves was interesting on its own? Did they also not realize that a sense of danger could have been created by upping the violence? I’m not saying gratuitous violence, but make me feel the hopelessness and despair that this situation would cause. It also doesn’t even get to the games for almost an hour and a half!!! We spend time watching the characters walk around their poor town, talk, get recruited for the games, talk some more, hear about their mission in the games, talk, and talk and talk…….ABOUT NOTHING! There is not ONE piece of memorable dialogue in this crap fest.
I would rate it even lower but the director does execute what’s on the written page well. Also, Jennifer Lawrence is a very capable actress and has a wonderful screen presence. It’s a shame that they weren’t given better material to work with.
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