Typical, you wait around for ages for a stupid over the top action… MoreTypical, you wait around for ages for a stupid over the top action mess about the White House being taken over by two dimensional terrorists and then two come along at once. The scene in which Roland Emmerich name checks one of his own films was enough to make me want to throw things at the screen, the fact that he kept having to remind us that the president was Black was something else. I'm surprised he didn't have him save the world while incorporating a magnificent basket ball slam-dunk (he was wearing the right footwear after all!). Some have pointed out that this isn't technically a disaster movie, I have to disagree, it's one of the biggest disasters of 2013.
Much like me at the gym, Pain & Gain runs out of steam very quickly… MoreMuch like me at the gym, Pain & Gain runs out of steam very quickly and never really recovers. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it buckles at around the 20 minute mark. It's based on a true story, indeed at the end of the film we actually see mug shots of the real people the actors are portraying. They don't look alike at all and for the first time ever I will say that it might have been of benefit to the film to have been lenient with the truth (or more so) to jazz it up a bit because the film chases it's own tail for a good 40 minutes at washing machine speeds. It's an incoherent mess, which is a shame because there is a good story to be told in there somewhere. Kudos to the actors though who are all very good.
I'm not used to using the word delightful, it doesn't really sound… MoreI'm not used to using the word delightful, it doesn't really sound right when I say it but I can think of no better word to describe Starbuck. It's got nothing to do with expensive or sickeningly sweet coffee but probably has something to do with Moby Dick, the sperm Whale rather than the character. Starbuck is 42, unsuccessful but a good sort. His life is turned upside-down when he discovers that thanks to an administrative mistake at his local sperm bank, he is father to 142 people, most of who now want to meet him. The interesting premise could lead to all sorts of possibilities, Ken Scott's version is tender, subtle and very funny indeed. Like all good non-English language films, the Hollywood remake came just 2 years later. The sure sign of success. Just make sure you see this one first!
An interesting musing on the author W.G. Sebald but mainly… MoreAn interesting musing on the author W.G. Sebald but mainly concentrated on his most popular book, The Rings of Saturn. It works pretty well as a companion piece, imitating it's mysterious but somehow simple symbolism and hidden references. It's a book that has slowly grown in popularity since it was first published in 1992 and is now regarded by many as a modern classic. I won't review the book, all you need to know is that it is something quite remarkable and that you should read it. The film offers a critique to the audience and points out things the reader may have missed and puts picture to word for those unable to visit the sites in question. This is all done exceptionally. Who knew the meaning of life could be found in East Anglia!
Cutie and the Boxer is quite a unique 'portrait of an artist'… MoreCutie and the Boxer is quite a unique 'portrait of an artist' documentary in that it is a portrait of two artists, both married to one another. It's quite a personal insight to a small closed off family, Ushio Shinohara often coming off as the villein (which he is in many ways) and Noriko Shinohara coming off as a the naive victim (who is now fighting back), which is hard to comprehend or find sympathy for after 40 years of life together. I do wonder if they realised how their only son would come off after the film was released, seeing as they pretty much show him as a ghostly alcoholic whose alcoholism is acknowledged by themselves as their fault but shrugged off as just 'one of those things'. I like the art and can see its appeal, the film highlights the fleeting success an artist can experience in their lifetime and the repercussions it can have on their lives, although this is very much about the Shinohara's rather than artists in general. You can take it all with a pinch of salt too, seeing as the conclusion is a financially successful New York gallery show. We all have tough months, I'm not sure why we would think artists, celebrities or those who were once more successful than they are now would be immune but this is an entertaining enough example of just that. Don't expect an art lesson though.
A long forgotten classic British comedy. I can't help but think it was… MoreA long forgotten classic British comedy. I can't help but think it was inspired by the original 1945 version of Brewster's Millions although you could say it has similarities to some Bible parables but for Christ's sake don't let that put you off. The four main stories are all very good but the Alastair Sim and Guy Middleton plots raise the most laughs. Director Mario Zampi worked frequently with terry Thomas, with no disrespect to the very capable Guy Middleton, I wonder whether he ever considered him in the role of Simon Russell instead. The script is as good as you'd expect and while the ending might seem a little bit of a let down, it's really not about what happens in the end but what happens during that counts.
The Conjuring is a mix of similar horror sub-genres which works well… MoreThe Conjuring is a mix of similar horror sub-genres which works well as far as story goes but it's nothing we haven't seen before. Horror films are remembered for the fright scenes, the real talent comes in making the most of the scenes in-between. The Conjuring goes so far in doing this successfully but doesn't go far enough. What is nice to see for a change is some proper character development, both Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as the Warrens adding an extra element to the dimensions of the classic haunted house story. The fright scenes aren't really worth the wait though unfortunately and there are so many cliches its just not funny (or scary, obviously).
Father and daughter (in real life, possibly in the film) play con… MoreFather and daughter (in real life, possibly in the film) play con artist partners during the great depression. Moses isn't used to nor does he want the constraints or responsibility of a young partner/daughter but when he realises it could be to his financial advantage he goes along with the idea. A heartwarming but never schmaltzy road trip ensures. It's the lack of schmaltz that is key to the films success, to succumb would have been cheap and easy, everything that this film isn't. It is beautifully shot in Black and White to great effect, the image of little Addie sitting on the Moon on her own is heartbreaking though. A really lovely film.
The quality and excitement it stirred up by Batman: Year One hasn't… MoreThe quality and excitement it stirred up by Batman: Year One hasn't been this intense since Mask Of The Phantasm. It's a relief to find that it is a faithful adaptation of the graphic novel too, I'm really glad they got Selina right too as I thought she was one of the best things about the comic. Bryan Cranston worked well as Jim Gordon but why Ben McKenzie was considered for Batman is still a mystery to me. I think I'm most pleased about them getting it right because if they hadn't we probably wouldn't have had The Dark Knight Returns, which is far superior.
School for Scoundrels is classic British comedy at its very best.… MoreSchool for Scoundrels is classic British comedy at its very best. Terry-Thomas's depiction of the ultimate Cad is reason enough to watch but you've also got the wonderfully eccentric Alastair Sim and the discreet charm of Ian Carmichael, who is nobody's stooge. Great performances and great scenes, it's one of those films that's hard to forget after just one viewing and is sometimes embarrassingly quotable. It's not all performance though, it's the brilliant script that is at the core of its success. It's hard to pick a favorite scene but it would probably be the immortal image of Terry-Thomas's aggressive tennis match. Hard cheese old boy.