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…”
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!”
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…
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.
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.
Hesher lacks a sincere end, it’s too contrived and the film as a whole suffers. It is black and comedic though, which is something a lot profess to be without really hitting their marks.
The film is indie and it’s quaint and Gordon-Levitt is great as the sociopathic title character (nb. title character yes, but not who the film is actually about). Unfortunately for Brochu, whose character the film is about, he becomes someone for everyone else to act around. It’s a shame, he’s not bad, it’s just the way things pan out. Portman, Laurie and Wilson do well too with very little in terms of script. It’s worth noting Portman also produced and seeing her returned to attractive and quirky undoubtedly helps this flick along.
Overall it’s close, but not quite there.
It would be easy to talk about The Selfish Giant in terms of it being very like Kes and how it’s mostly northerners being abusive toward one another. And it is both these things.
That said it is also tonally magnificent and perfectly simple. It’s a story that matters, there is an important connection between audience and actors. This film is despair and beauty, it’s a powerful mix.
I hadn’t seen Riding Giants since its release, which coincidently was roughly a decade ago. As documentary filmmaking goes it’s exceptional. What floors me most is the archive footage Peralta has included, especially of the pioneer big wave surfers in 60s, notably of Greg Noll… possibly the coolest man on the planet.
Aside from the technical and historical stuff this film is about what makes a big wave surfer. Listening to these guys talk about their experiences is a privilege, and a joy. Their enthusiasm and love for what they do is unbridled and uplifting.
And if that wasn’t enough, you’ve shots for days of dudes riding 50 foot waves. Holy shit it’s intoxicating. I have no doubt the gromit in Point Break was right, surfing really is ‘the source’.
Loved American Hustle. The show is stolen though by Jennifer Lawrence, her housework sequence will be referenced for forever and a day. Louis C.K. and Amy Adams’ dramatic plunging necklines do run her close though.
It might lack a little weight in the final act, but it’s easy to forgive. There’s too many excellent sequences, lines, outfits and hairdos set to a killer soundtrack not to be smitten right from the feet up with this movie.
This is a solid film. Prisoners feels like Mystic River crossed with Zodiac. Jackman and Gyllenhaal are dynamic different types of brutish, the individual versus the institution. The movie drips religious symbolism and a fair bit of Masonic iconography too as morality is questioned. Or more accurately assaulted in an interrogation room.
Stylishly it is unrelentingly bleak. A town pounded into the earth by driving rain and cold, all of which is morbidly shot with achingly slow zooms and tracks. It’s a quality even paced thriller with a finale to match. The ending, the very final shot, is absolutely on the money. No rising crane angles here…
At the core of The Purge is a brilliant idea. I can see the pitch now, executive eyes tearing up as they are given the coveted ‘high concept’. Unfortunately that’s all they got. The film itself is plagued by characters who are imbecilic and woeful exposition. Frustrating.
I thought Now You See Me was going to be awful, but it isn’t. It’s quite the thriller. This is thanks mostly to Mark Ruffalo who is in a different acting league to the majority of the cast. Think of it as David Copperfield going rogue but with less fake tan and hairspray and more Isla Fisher.
I don’t want to criticise, but The World’s End falls short quite considerably of what we’ve come to expect. It’s not bad by any stretch, it’s just not in the same category as Shaun Of The Dead or the near perfect Hot Fuzz. There are great moments, but it just feels like less time was spent on it than was necessary if it was going to be the fitting end to what has become known as the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.
Laurence Anyways is the story of a successful teacher in his 30s deciding to start living as a woman. This obviously has quite an impact on his life, especially his relationship with his girlfriend. Essentially a musing on love, the power of societal norms and the pressure that comes when falling outside what is commonly accepted. This film is a potent tale acted with strength and finesse.
Knowing only the minimum about the Linda Boreman (Lovelace) story will still, if you’ve half a brain, give you an idea what is going to happen in Lovelace. Of course being the most famous pornography star of all time is glamorous, sexy and financially rewarding… No wait. It’s actually miserable, abusive and dehumanising. It might not be the best film you’ll see this week, but it’s solid and does feature spectacular seventies facial hair.
There are the signature shots but Pain & Gain doesn’t feel like a Michael Bay movie. It lacks the action, mainly because the story is based on actual events and in reality miners don’t drill asteroids and terrorists don’t take over Alcatraz. What’s great is this story is so stupid it kind of has to be true, and it is marvelling at the levels of idiocy from the three main characters that really holds the interest.
My main concern before seeing The Wolf Of Wall Street was the running time. As it happened three hours flew by.
The first two thirds are as comedic as they are offensively brash. Jonah Hill and Dicaprio are immense and Matt M. is a scene stealer, up there with Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, “Fugazi, Fugazi. It’s a wazy. It’s a woozie. It’s fairy dust.” Honestly, it’s hilarity from one line/situation to the next as Jordan Belfort inside trades his way to millionaire.
Then it gets even better as you’re reminded you’re watching a Scorsese flick and violence busts through and the vile degenerate status of the characters is paraded. All this though is nothing to the power contained in the carefully constructed moral ambiguity of the final sequence and it’s impact on an audience. Clever and despicable simultaneously, this film is as good as $26,000 worth of sides…
ps. Rob Reiner… Superlative.
I saw the trailer for The Broken Circle Breakdown a long time ago and thought it looked not only first-rate, but my sort of thing. It is both of these in spades.
It’s a film about a romantic atheist cowboy who fronts a bluegrass band and falls in love with a religious realist tattoo artist. She joins the band, and everything is sweet as apple pie. Roll on seven years and things are a little more fraught, due to their young daughter not being in the best of health (an understatement) and the subsequent conflicts that arise. Also the whole thing is made and set in Belgium.
This film is about the music, tragic loss and a terror that emerges as true love fades. Remarkable, emotional and eloquent. If this story, told as beautifully as it is, doesn’t resonant deeply then your soul is made of stone.
If you’re a fan of the Coogan character then Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa isn’t going disappoint. It’ll do more than that too, it’ll make you feel warm inside and a little bit nostalgic. “We’re asking, what is the worst monger? Iron, fish… rumour… or war?”
About forty minutes in I was thinking adapting Cloud Atlas was a bad idea, by the end I hadn’t reneged, but was pleased they’d tried. It feels ambitious, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in years to come this movie gains a following.
Walking a line between visionary or risibility is dangerous, and having actors play numerous roles doesn’t help. Hugh Grant is so different from one moment to the next and polar opposite to anything you’ve ever seen from him before it’s jarring, even though what he’s doing might actually be superb. Maybe the strongest praise I can give is that the film feels like the The Fountain, which can’t be a bad thing.
- #788 – Love And Basketball
- #787 – Sunshine On Leith
- #786 – In A World…
- #785 – Warm Bodies
- #784 – Another Earth
- #783 – Liberal Arts
- #782 – Horrible Bosses
- #781 – Byzantium
- #780 – Post Tenebras Lux
- #779 – Her
- #778 – Hesher
- #777 – The Selfish Giant
- #776 – Riding Giants
- #775 – American Hustle
- #774 – Prisoners
- #773 – The Purge
- #772 – Now You See Me
- #771 – The World’s End
- #770 – Laurence Anyways
- #769 – Lovelace
- #768 – Pain & Gain
- #767 – The Wolf Of Wall Street
- #766 – The Broken Circle Breakdown
- #765 – Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa
- #764 – Cloud Atlas
- #763 – World War Z
- #762 – Trouble With The Curve
- #761 – Like Crazy
- #760 – Argo
- #759 – Manborg
- #758 – The Last Days Of Disco
- #757 – Road To Perdition
- #756 – Mademoiselle C
- #755 – Party Monster
- #754 – To The Wonder
- #753 – Two Lovers
- #752 – Trucker
- #751 – Fast & Furious 6
- #750 – The Chaser
- #749 – Gwendoline
- #748 – Happiness
- #747 – Before Midnight
- #746 – Tape
- #745 – The Yellow Sea
- #744 – Hard Eight
- #743 – The Bling Ring
- #742 – The Kids Are All Right
- #741 – Tell No One
- #740 – The End
- #739 – I Give It A Year
- #738 – The Kings Of Summer
- #737 – Dead Man Down
- #736 – The Place Beyond The Pines
- #735 – Gravity
- #734 – 2LDK
- #733 – Aragami
- #732 – Exam
- #731 – Breathe In
- #730 – Sleuth
- #729 – Oblivion
- #728 – Captain Phillips
- #727 – Trance
- #726 – A Hijacking
- #725 – Arbitrage
- #724 – Mama
- #723 – Rush
- #722 – Behind The Candelabra
- #721 – Spring Breakers
- #720 – Sabrina
- #719 – Punch-Drunk Love
- #718 – Cockneys Vs. Zombies
- #717 – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
- #716 – Roman Holiday
- #715 – Tower Block
- #714 – Jackie Brown