The Rundown is not to be confused with the Van Damme vehicle Welcome To The Jungle, which was the title of this film after it was changed from its original title Helldorado and before they finally settled their minds on The Rundown. Nevertheless it still hangs about under its previous name in some territories, which might be worth knowing if you decide to give it a viewing.

Is it any good? It isn’t bad. A cross between Midnight Run and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider… sort of.

The Rundown Dwayne Johnson

In Thor: The Dark World Natalie Portman spends the entire third act running around London in red wellington boots. It makes no sense, much like the entire film. And unfortunately this really detracts because the action isn’t thrilling enough to make you not care about why it’s occurring.

Thor The Dark World Chris Hemsworth

I realised while watching Iron Man 3 that I haven’t seen Iron Man 2, not in its entirety at least. I don’t think this really mattered though.

The third instalment is predictable hyperbole and throughout this the best thing on screen is Paltrow, that is until the final sequence where she saves the day and in doing so is consumed by the nonsense of it all. Honestly Tony Stark could have been absent for the runtime and it would have made no difference to anything, a few less quips maybe. Quips that I hasten to add aren’t nearly as good as those in the first film, which I thought was excellent.

Iron Man 3 Gwyneth Paltrow

Bernie is an odd film. Linklater has certainly done a ton worth of more compelling work and although this flick feels like it might have an edge, if it does it never really finds it.

What it does feel like is that this fiction reality would have actually benefited from being a straight forward documentary. The interest in the story is as the title suggests Bernie, a lovely man by all accounts who one day killed a little old lady. Unfortunately having Jack Black play him as a character diminishes the interest in and impact of the story.

Bernie Jack Black Shirley Maclaine

Soderbergh delivers with Magic Mike. When does he not hit his marks? It might have the look of Step Up (especially in the marketing material), but its simple stripper with plans plot has enough drama to keep you glued in.

Tatum’s dialogue is always snappy, and his exchanges with Horn are some of the films best. And of course it would be remiss to not mention McConaughey… So I just did.

Magic Mike Channing Tatum Cody Horn

There is in Prince Avalanche a beauty. It comes mostly from the setting, but also the quiet contemplation of it all. It’s almost as if the four characters are ghostly inhabitants of the isolated scene they inhabit.

Emile and Paul capture a sense of renewal and rebirth and recognition in a location that does the same. And it’s created without grandeur too, there is no glib philosophising. In this movie there is only a pleasant and restful harmony.

Prince Avalanche Emile Hirsch Paul Rudd

Leviathan is a documentary with barely any speech and absolutely no commentary. It’s shot in low res and every single shot is tight, too tight. Claustrophobically zoomed.

And it’s all shot aboard a trawler. If you want your fishing unromantic, this is it. Witness destructive, violent harvesting followed by profound amounts of blood and guts. This is grim. And raises the question, “Am I ever going to enjoy seafood again?”

Leviathan

Thanks to Maniac I now know what it’s like to be a serial killer with a mannequin fetish. I don’t think this is knowledge I needed to or wanted to have.

Having not seen the original I don’t feel well placed to judge this movie. Maybe I’ll get back to you. That said I won’t be viewing the 1980 version anytime soon as I found this Elijah Wood vehicle a rather distasteful experience if I’m honest. Must be going soft in my old age.

Maniac

I revisited Sin City in light of A Dame To Kill For being released in the summer. It’s good. More gruesome than I remembered and I’d forgotten it was a series of vignettes, but it’s good. Miller’s lines and imagery lose little being transposed to screen, “She smells like angels ought to smell…”

Clive Owen as Dwight is brilliant. It’s all so insane and over the top. His lines to Dawson’s Gail are outrageously ridiculous, but I love it.

The problem with Passion is it lacks substance. There’s no believable or rational reason why these people do what they do, or indeed stay in the situation they’re in. Is a job in marketing really so good as to forego any chance of a sane and criminality free life!? It’s cinephile friendly with canted angles and a load of references to the the italian thrillers of the late 70s, but it has no charm. Everyone in it is unlikable in very mundane ways and therefore you care little about their plights and the outcome.

Also that outcome lurches so sporadically out of nothing in the third act as to smash into oblivion any suspension of disbelief you’d actually managed to cultivate. Shame, it looked so good, but felt so bad.

Passion Rachel McAdams

The Way, Way Back is good, really good. It has this delicate hand guiding it in terms of the sentiment and emotion, yet simultaneously manages to be clever and laugh out loud funny.

A lot of the humour stems from Sam Rockwell. His performance and delivery of genuinely great lines opposite the dead pan state of Liam Jones is perfect. The short sequence at the Pacman machine is sublime. It has the jive of Kevin Smith’s dialogue from the 90s, but with considerably less cynicism, making it an uplifting combination.

And there needs to be credit given to Toni and Steve. There’s a very subtle needy desperation in Collette’s performance as the mother, she’s the reality. As for Carrell? You don’t know the meaning of asshole until you’ve seen his turn as Trent, “I think you’re a 3!”

The Way Way Back

Scepticism goes hand in hand with viewing musical films regardless of reputation. Sunshine On Leith was no different. After the first fifteen minutes of awkwardness things settle down and everything’s okay. Admittedly, as it’s all based on the music of The Proclaimers, you do spend the entire run time waiting for the inevitable I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) finale, but that’s fine. It arrives on cue, complete with jaunty boy vs. girl dancing, “But I would walk 500 miles…”

Sunshine On Leith

In A World… manages to do that beautiful trick of being both comedic and dramatic, with very little jarring between to the two. Lake Bell who writes, directs and stars has created affecting characters that you like despite their flaws. It’s a nice film and tightly paced, easy to watch, and yet it still delivers a serious punch in its final act regarding the greater and real life relevance of the tale being told. It’s smart and sharp.

In A World Lake Bell

At the beginning of Warm Bodies I was in the mind set that I prefer my zombies brainless, flesh hungry and being killed remorselessly. This opinion hadn’t changed by the end of the flick, however I hadn’t had a bad time watching it either. The internal monologue of Hoult’s zombie character R is funny and the film also subverts a few classic cinema tropes and I like that sort of thing a lot.

Warm Bodies Nicholas Hoult

There is something distinctly intriguing about Another Earth. Its lo-fi indie edge keeps you following what is a deeply sad story to its question raising conclusion. And if you haven’t guessed, it’s all brought about by there being another Earth encroaching on our bit of space.

Another Earth Brit Marling

My expectations for Liberal Arts were low. This was a good thing. It’s not an unpleasant experience watching it, but neither is it very fulfilling. The revelations in the plot relating to the ‘growth’ of the characters are simplistic and offer insight on a level similar to that of early AM come down teenage philosophy.

The sad thing is there are real issues at play in the story and challenging ones too. This flick though tips full tilt to a light hearted touch rather than gripping tight, squeezing hard and seeing what comes out…

Liberal Arts Elizabeth Olsen Josh Radnor

Horrible Bosses isn’t the worst comedy you’ll ever see, neither though is it the best. Bateman’s dead pan humour is as always on the money however and the supporting cast elevate proceedings considerably… “Life is a marathon and you cannot win a marathon without putting a few bandaids on your nipples!”

Horrible Bosses Jason Bateman Charlie Day Jason Sudeikis

The problem with Byzantium is there are many flaws, mostly in the plot that is like swiss cheese in script format. It is stylish though and they’ve done their best to cover up the faults by having Arterton’s cleavage literally bursting forth in every single scene. Clever…

Byzantium Gemma Arterton

If you watch Post Tenebras Lux prepare to be baffled. Honestly, I don’t know what it’s about, a man in crisis… maybe? Fractured and peculiar spring to mind, which aren’t necessarily bad things but here they are challenging. As in they challenge you to not turn off and watch a film that at least makes a shred of sense.

Post Tenebras Lux

The Spike Jonze filter is in full effect during Her, what does he do to make his movies look like they do!? Criticism as follows: it’s too long for the story it tells, there isn’t enough to sustain it and this results in too many ponderous moments where Joaquin is staring off into middle distance. But that’s all that’s wrong with it.

There’s been too much made of its sci-fi element, apart from high waist bands and glorious production design it really isn’t about technology or the future. Good sci-fi is never about science or fiction, and this movie at its heart, a very human heart, is about romantic loss. The pain of not sharing your life and the fear of isolation. It is also deeply sad as it lays bare the disconnect of modern living. Consider it depressingly beautiful.

There is a non-to-subtle image of Joaquin in front of a video screen of an owl taking its prey that needs to be mentioned. It is out of this world good despite the obviousness of it all. These few frames are a striking endorsement for the power of cinema. Amazing.

And finally I can’t decide whether casting Scarlett as Samantha’s voice was clever or a bit of a cheat. An audience knows the visual the voice comes from and that undoubtedly adds to the Operating System’s charm. It’s sort of necessary I suppose because she is essentially a sexy version of Windows. Nevertheless it’d be interesting to know what difference, if any, having an unrecognised actor voice Samantha would have made.

Her Joaquin Phoenix