21 Grams (2003) is a nonlinear movie – i.e., events are not presented in chronological order – about the lives of three individuals (Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, and Bernicio del Toro) before and after a horrible car-pedestrian accident. This artsy movie was directed by artsy Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who recently won an Oscar for Birdman. Although I almost gave up on the movie early on, I stuck with it and ended up finding it very satisfying. All three lead actors did a good job, and two of them – Watts and del Toro – received Oscar nominations. The Rotten Tomatoes scored the movie at 80% and the audience liked it even better at 86%. I’m not that generous and give it three stars out of four. Incidentally, the title of the movie comes from the scientific theory that a body loses 21 grams when it dies, and some have suggested that this is the weight of a soul leaving the body. Interesting.
Fury (2014) is a violent WWII movie about a group of guys in a tank trying to survive the last few weeks of the war. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus:
- “Overall, Fury is a well-acted, suitably raw depiction of the horrors of war that offers visceral battle scenes but doesn’t quite live up to its larger ambitions.”
I’m not sure what those “larger ambitions” are. The acting is good (Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal), and so is the production, but none of the characters is worth caring about. The Rotten Tomato scores are almost as good as 21 Grams, with 77% from the critics and 85% from the audience, but I give it only two stars out of four.