Weekend Roundup: THOR rewatch and IN TIME review

Happy Presidents Day, folks!

I’ve got a day off today which is always nice. Well, I skipped the cinema again today as there just isn’t anything worth spending $10 bucks for. So on Friday night my hubby and I opted to finally open our THOR Blu-ray disc and re-watch it. As I’m anticipating The Avengers this coming May, we might re-watch the individual Marvel superhero movies before that, and THOR has not one but two of The Avengers‘ major players… the god of thunder himself AND the group’s nemesis, Loki.

This is the third time we watched THOR as we saw this twice on the big screen and I still love it. I must say I REALLY enjoy watching Tom Hiddleston more and more as Loki and am thankful to Kenneth Branagh for choosing him as the villain. I could see how at the end of this film Loki has become so disillusioned with who he is and his place alongside his brother… he already had such a major identity crisis in the beginning and by the end of it, Thor’s return to Asgaard will finally push him into a full-blown sinister villain hellbent on revenge and destruction. So yeah, Thor definitely earns its place amongst my Top Ten Favorite of 2011, check out my full review.

IN TIME (2011)

Most of the time, I watched movies because of the cast but this one is one I actually watch despite of it. What appeals to me most about this movie is the sci-fi concept of time as means of life force AND currency. Set in an unspecified period of the future, people stop aging at the age of 25 but are engineered to live only one more year, that is unless they have the means to buy their way out of that situation to have a shot at immortal youth.

The protagonist is Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) who lives in a ghetto-like society where people are constantly dying as they literally run out of time. Everyone has a ‘digital body clock’ in their arm that tells them exactly how much time they have left down to the last second. Coffee costs four minutes of their life and a bus ride is about 1 hour or two. It’s a fascinating concept to see people pay and getting paid in their jobs by scanning their arm into a certain device that would deduct or put the number of hours. Unlike blood transfusion that would mostly have to be done at a medical location, people can transfer their life force in a matter of seconds in this futuristic world as all they have to do is put their arms together and the hours/minutes is transfered immediately.

Tragedy hits Will at the beginning of the film when his 50-something mother (Olivia Wilde) ran out of time on the way of meeting him. Wilde is actually younger than the 31-year-old Timberlake by 3 years in real life but that is ok as she looked about 25 in this film. It’s even more devastating as Wil just inherited over a hundred years from a stranger he saved from a bar, a 105-year-old Henry Hamilton (Matt Bomer) who’s burned out of living forever. It’s not exactly clear how Henry obtained that enormous amount of life force however, but he ended up transferring most of his life force to Will with only minutes left for him to commit suicide by the bridge.

Will then moves to a different ‘time zone’ New Greenwich, a city where the upper class live and the millionaires here have hundreds and even millions of years to their time to live as they please. It’s eerie to see that everyone is so young, Phillipe Weis, a time-loaning business tycoon introduce his mother in-law, his wife and daughter to Will and they all look merely a couple of years apart. The 90-year old Phillipe himself looks barely old enough to be a college freshman.

Will ends up being on the run as the Timekeepers (led by Cillian Murphy) think Will killed Henry and stole his time. But just before he is arrested, he managed to kidnap the Phillipe’s beautiful daughter Sylvia and the two runs off together in Will’s newly-acquired fast luxury car. Will is hellbent on fighting against the injustice of the system and against the ‘for one to live forever, few must die’ philosophy of the rich, fostered by billionaires like Weis. The rebellious Sylvia is more than happy to trail along with Will as the two become lovers on the run.

Whilst the whole thing is quite a novelty idea, there are tons of issues that keep this from being a great film. For one, the storyline is quite predictable. In many occasions I could predict what’s about to happen next. The high-paced action and car chases are fun to watch but there’s no sense of real danger to the protagonists and apart from the scene between Will and his mother, the elements of surprise is almost non-existent throughout. The set pieces are quite nice however, I especially like how the vintage-futuristic cars, if there is such a thing… they have futuristic elements but the design is made to look like 60s/70s automobiles.

Now, let’s talk about the casting. I’ve always thought that Timberlake has talents but not exactly a capable leading man material. He was good in The Social Network but it was more of a supporting role and he simply had to rely on his charm and confidence to make it work. In this one, he’s serviceable and even sympathetic at times, but lacks a certain depth that would make his character someone we could truly connect with. I think Seyfried is a promising young actress, she’s definitely got on-screen charisma, but she’s not given much to do but look alluring in a short dress and sky-high heels. Props also for her ability to outrun the police in those stilettos, not to mention keeping her perfect bob always looking so smooth and bouncy. They make a nice looking couple but neither have the edge to make me think they’ve got it in them to be society’s ‘savior’ who steal from the rich on behalf of the poor. In fact, they seems to be a clumsy amalgam of Robin Hood + Romeo & Juliet + Bonnie & Clyde.

Director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, S1m0ne) seem to have a penchant for ridiculously beautiful people. This film is chock full of them! In fact, Timberlake seems to be the only the more ‘normal’ looking one amongst supermodel-types like Seyfried, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer and Olivia Wilde. Now, I’m probably the only one who’d notice this, but even Sylvia’s bodyguard is played by a the gorgeous Ethan Peck, the grandson of my beloved Gregory who obviously has the tall, dark with a deep voice genes on his side. Perhaps the director is trying to emphasize the ‘fountain of youth’ aspect of the story but I feel like the gorgeous cast actually becomes a distraction instead of serving the story.

The massively-talented Cillian Murphy with killer blue eyes is always watchable as the chief of the Timekeepers, but I don’t think his talent was fully utilized here. When I first saw the trailer, I actually thought what this movie would look like with Cillian as the lead and how a capable director Christopher Nolan or Ridley Scott could take this fascinating time-based currency concept to new heights.

Final thoughts:

As I’ve said above, this movie is worth a watch largely because of the fascinating concept. I probably wouldn’t even rent it if I weren’t a big fan of this kind of sci-fi films. Thankfully, despite the flaws, it’s not a complete waste of time either, which would be ironic indeed 🙂

3 out of 5 reels

So what did you watch this weekend, folks? If you’ve seen this movie, I’d love to hear what you think.

40 thoughts on “Weekend Roundup: THOR rewatch and IN TIME review

  1. I’m looking forward to the Avengers. I think it is a good idea to rewatch the individual movies before the premiere. I hope Iron Man has a big part in the movie. Downey, Jr. adds so much to his character. I’m gonna check out In Time too.

    1. I’m gonna watch Iron Max in the next few weeks. Yeah I think Stark is gonna have tons of screen time in the Avengers, I mean he’s featured prominently in the trailer.

  2. Fine review Ruth 🙂

    you know how I feel about the movie…I don’t like it and not planning on seeing the full movie ever again. I will see it in fast-forward way, meaning when there is no Cillian I fast forward the movie 😉

    I hate predictable movie, that is the major reason for me to dislike the movie. And also how incredibly worthless the police are, it really has no gripping moment.

    Ha!! I didn’t know the grandson of your boyfriend is there. Amazing how you notice him

    1. Ahah, yeah if Cillian isn’t in this I figure you won’t even watch it. I thought the premise saves this movie from being an utter waste, but I’d like it a lot more if Cillian had been the lead.

      Yeah, I noticed Ethan even though he had dark sunglasses on. His deep voice is instantly recognizable. I actually gasped when I realized that, ahah. Here’s a photo where he looks just like Gregory, it’s amazing how his bone structure, lips and eyes are just like his grandpa! http://flixchatter.tumblr.com/post/17926402100/just-saw-in-time-where-ethan-had-a-small-part-his

      1. I honestly don’t remember seeing him in the movie. Hehe I was busy with my mobile, the cimena was only fill with 10people, while watching in time unlesS Cillian shows up.

        1. Oh no, I don’t think you would, I probably wouldn’t either had it not be for my love for his grandpa 🙂 He’s actually pretty cute though, the only one in his family that actually got Gregory’s looks.

  3. I re-watched An American in Paris, Jane Eyre (2011) and caught the season finale of Downton Abbey (had previously seen it but did not mind viewing again).

    I also caught The Bodyguard, which came on Saturday. In the wake of Whitney’s funeral and Costner’s kind words during the service, it seemed quite poignant.

    1. Woo hoo! Can’t wait to read your review of An American in Paris!

      It’s been ages since I saw The Bodyguard but I quite like that movie. Kevin was quite swoon-worthy actually 🙂

  4. Haven’t had much time this past weekend, organizing the AM Movie Fantasy League and doing some grunt work on the back end 😉 I only watched one movie, the mediocre Columbiana. I still have A Better Life waiting for me so that’s probably what I’m seeing tonight.

    Your review of In Time pretty much sums up my feeling of In Time (I haven’t seen the movie). Great sci-fi concept but poor casting. This is screaming MTV crowd when it could have been so much classier…

    1. Ah, the AM League, I should check where I’m at right now. Meh, I don’t think I’ll watch Colombiana, A Better Life on the other hand I’m curious about. I hope you’ll review that one, Castor.

      I think if you like sci-fi, In Time is still worth a watch. It’s got enough going for it to keep it from being a complete waste of time.

  5. I had a pretty hard time getting through In Time and I really wanted to like it. There was just too much nonsense for me to overlook I guess. Did you notice that terrible car crash in the film by any chance? It looked like a toy car rolling down a hill and I felt like the only person in the theater that was outraged hahaha. Great review though, I can definitely feel where your coming from and how the movie hit you a lot differently.

    1. Ahah, now that you mentioned it, it kinda does look like a toy car. That’s why I said that the characters never seemed like they’re in real danger. I think it’s worth a rent but not much more. Thanks Lindsay.

  6. Your fine pair of reviews has me scheduling a re-visit with my ‘Thor’ BD (that I’ve yet to open) and placing ‘In Time’ in the old Netflix queue. Well done, Ruth. Thanks.

    1. Ahah, so you bought the Thor BD too? Y’know my hubby actually played the DVD version by mistake ahah, but we saw the Special Features on BD and it looks spectacular!

  7. Ted S.

    I’ll probably rent In Time, when I first saw the trailer I thought Niccol remade his own film, Gattaca, which has similar premise and cast full of young good looking actors. Gattaca has the young Ethan Hawk, Uma Thurman and Jude Law. I enjoyed Gattaca but I thought the execution was lacking and sounds like he came up short again on this film. Also, this film was shot by the great Roger Deakins so it’s going to look beautiful no matter what. Deakins is also shooting the new Bond film with Mendes, so I know the new Bond flick will look specular.

    I watched The Firm and Heat over the weekend, was in the mood for some 90s thrillers. Love Heat, still Mann’s best film; I also like The Firm quite a bit, I just hate the way they changed the ending from the book, had they stuck with the original ending, it could’ve been a great film.

    1. I can’t remember much about Gattaca but I remember it has tons of beautiful people in there too. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the cinematography, it’s beautiful surely, just like the cast. Wow, that’s cool that he’s also shooting Bond 23 as well.

      Wow, those are two GREAT films, well HEAT more so than The Firm but Cruise was quite good in it. You mentioned about the TV show based on The Firm a while ago, it’s probably gonna be canceled pretty soon.

      1. Ted S.

        I’m pretty sure the TV version of The Firm is canceled, haven’t seen NBC promote it in a while. I watched about 2 episodes and I couldn’t take it anymore, it’s so bad. It’s similar to The Event where they kept flashing back to something that happened to the characters and then flash forward again just to try to keep the audience attention. I can’t stand that. NBC needs hire some good writers for their shows, The Event, The Cape and now this one, all crappy shows. I know you enjoyed The Cape but I thought it was awful.

  8. FUNK

    Most excellent review, and you’ve given me the idea, to watch Thor just before The Avenge’s is released. Thor was a goood one and my favorite super hero movie to date.
    I think In Time is a movie I can greatly enjoy.
    Didn’t watch any movies this weekend, I have though started watching the BBC production of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, again, and boy-O-boy, is it so gooooood, for some reason I like the BBC version alot lot more than the movie.

    1. Hi Dave, I’m glad you share my feelings about THOR. Did you like Loki too? I’m just curious as some people said he’s a weak villain which I disagree.

      Give In Time a rent, it’s not a great film but not terrible, which is surprising given the cast, ahah.

      Oh yeah I’ve heard lots of great things about the BBC version of Tinker Tailor. I haven’t got a chance to review the film version yet but suffice to say I wasn’t in love with it.

  9. Nice review, Ruth. That’s too bad that In Time doesn’t make full use of its concept. I may give it a rental, but I don’t have high expectations.

    On that note, I still haven’t seen Thor. I need to take a weekend to just catch up on 2011 movies I missed out on: Thor, Captain America, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, etc. So many movies, so little time!

    1. What what? You haven’t seen Thor and Captain America? Well you better get right on that before The Avengers man, guaranteed to make you anticipate that a lot more 😀

  10. I was actually intrigued by the casting in In Time and was anticipating it until it started getting dismal reviews all over the place. As for me i saw Tree of Life, which i ended up liking more than i thought i would. I really liked the family dynamic presented in the film, as it in a way paralleled my own(Though with the genders reversed, as my mom is the more authoritative parent in my family)

    1. I’d still give it a shot if you like the cast Julian, you might end up liking it more than I did.

      That’s cool that you enjoyed Tree of Life, there are a lot to be admired about that film so even though it wasn’t a cohesive narrative, it’s still enjoyable.

        1. Well I don’t think Malick’s vision was a straight family drama. I actually thought the creation sequence was intriguing though perhaps a bit indulgent on his part.

  11. I am pleased you enjoyed In Time… a lot more than I did.

    I thought it was an interesting idea, but poorly executed and stretched FAR too far for it to be a success. It lost all of it’s legs by the final act.

    probably a 1/5 from me. I am happy you enjoyed it though

    1. I was feeling rather generous about this, I guess I really like the concept so it wasn’t a total bore. I do think the Bonnie & Clyde rip-off at the end is just silly as I just didn’t really buy those two as that kind of characters.

  12. Think I shared the same thoughts as you about In Time. It was an interesting concept – the idea of being able to live forever and as a 25 year old – not a bad feeling. The cast was very, very pretty. Amanda Seyfried did some brilliant work in Big Love. She hasn’t really had a chance to shine on the big screen like she did on the small.

    Did you start counting how many times “time” was mentioned? I did and I knew I shouldn’t have!

    1. They really are pretty aren’t they? But it really was more style over substance. Ahah, no I didn’t count how many times ‘time’ was mentioned, I’d probably give up anyway after 10.

  13. I just can’t bring myself to watch a film starring Justin Timberlake. I do however like the concept of this film and your review definitely intrigues me Ruth. Good piece!

  14. I’m glad to hear you’re still enjoying Thor. I need to pick it up on DVD, I loved it at the cinema 😀

    I enjoyed In Time though it did lack something. I was pleasantly surprised by Timberlake and Seyfried, Timberlake especially.

    I watched the French film Potiche at the weekend, and absolutely loved it. Catherine Deneuve is my new favourite actress!

    1. I actually just bought the THOR Blu-ray recently and was excited to see it again. Anthony Hopkins was so brilliant in it as well.

      Timberlake is a bit better than Seyfried in this I must say, but nothing groundbreaking. I just wish Gregory’s grandson had a bit bigger part than just the bodyguard, ahah. I don’t think his grandpa ever played a part THAT small!

      Oooh, Catherine Deneuve is a goddess! I remember my mom sometimes brought some fashion magazines that had her Chanel ads, she’s so beautiful!!

  15. Russell

    I think the plot of this movie also suffers a bit from the writers’ intentions to make a big social statement. The effort I think they put into making the movie mean something would have been much better spent on making the movie a fun sci-fi flick.

    Great review!

    1. I actually didn’t even think the filmmakers is trying to send a significant message here, since they seem to be more concerned with the more superficial stuff. So maybe the problem is that the writers and the director just can’t agree on a vision, ahah.

  16. wow! 3 out of 5 still seems a bit high for In Time. I thought you’d for sure give it a lower score. 🙂

    CM was great in the film, although, like you said, underutilized. I liked Timberlake in it but, yes, he was better in The Social Network by far.

    Glad you pointed out all of the ridiculously good looking people. There are tons now that I think about it.

    1. As I said to Scott, perhaps I’m feeling generous when I’m reviewing this. Could be the Ethan Peck factor, ahah. I’d have given it a 5 if Gregory had been in this film… he..he… just kidding!

      Well, my rating is more for the concept and I do think it’s pretty cool.

  17. In Time could have been so much better than it actually was. In that sense, I find Niccol’s films frustrating. They seems so close to being great but suffer from writing flaws.

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