Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What We've Been Watching: Wordplay, Lego Movie, and The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wordplay (2006 documentary)


A thoroughly enjoyable look at crossword puzzles, both those who create them and those who solve them including Will Shortz of the New York Times and those who compete annually in the national crossword tournament.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)


There is a plot about a will, a painting, a looming war, and several murders. But they are all an excuse for this delightful froth of a movie, accented by charming details which take the viewers into a fairy tale which somehow references a history that we all know.

Underlying the whole thing is the mentorship and friendship that grow between a master hotel concierge and a lobby boy. This is a movie which will reward repeated viewing simply to take in all the details, if not to enjoy the effervescent story.

The Lego Movie (2014)


Both my husband and I had heard interviews with the directors talking about this movie. Hence our interest in viewing it since we have no little ones to drag us to it.

Overall it was clever enough and the voice actors definitely delivered, especially Will Arnett as Batman. However, we both understood why a movie executive, after seeing the first draft, told the creators that it was fun and full of action but had no heart to ground the story.

The solution they came up with, which I won't spoil here, was creative and worked perfectly in my estimation. It turned an entertaining enough movie into something solid. I also appreciated the message about creative teamwork instead of simply falling back on the ubiquitous "you're special, you can change the world" message.

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