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Monday, May 16, 2011

New Movies Release Roundup for 13 May 2011

Yup, there are still two movies to talk about that I haven't reviewed for Artslink or Channel24. Shock and horror, neither of them are the best of the week!

 Beastly is a very easy to pick on and, to be sure, it mostly deserves it. It's a totally pointless attempt to"update" the story of Beauty and the Beast for modern tweenage audiences and the results are pretty much what you would expect. Alex Pettyfer is rubbish once again in the lead role and its only really in comparison to him that Vanessa Hudgens looks like a competent actor. It's also unbelievably corny; with a scene of the two leads reading poetry to one another as the seasons pass being the particular low mark. And ultimately when you have the classic Disney animated version from 1991 recently re-released on DVD, you do have to ask what the point is of such an inferior version. Here's the thing though, yes it's total rubbish but I do wonder if it will actually work for its intended audience of 12 year old girls. I have a sneaking suspicion that it actually will. It's very sweet natured, the main actors certainly look better than they act and the story is pretty indestructible. Plus it has a typically enjoyable supporting turn for Neil Patrick Harris so it can't be all bad. (4/10) 

 Constant comparisons have been made between Your Highness and The Princess Bride and Monty Python and The Holy Grail. This is patently unfair. Those are two stone cold classics that remain to this day at the top of the heap of the fantasy/comedy/adventure genre and expecting this to be anywhere as good is to do nothing but to set Your Highness up for failure. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop Your Highness from still totally sucking on its own terms.

The basic idea of tackling the very straightforward sword and sorcery genre with a stoner/ gross-out-comedy aesthetic was a good one and it certainly had great acting talent on its side, with the likes of James Franco, Toby Jones, Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman (yup, her again - this is indeed the fifth film she's appeared in this year) making for one impressive supporting cast. The problem is, though, that it simply isn't funny enough.

It's not as bad as some people say, in that it's basically an enjoyable enough romp and I am more than willing to watch Natalie Portman in anything but almost all of its humour falls embarrassingly flat. Danny McBride is apparently very good in the TV show, Eastbound and Down but I have never been impressed by him in any of his cinematic roles. He was by far the weakest link in the otherwise hilarious Tropic Thunder and I have trouble remembering him in anything else. And believe me, this ain't gonna change that. As both co-writer and lead actor, he constantly had me groaning where I should have been laughing and sighing when I should have been smiling.

Profanity, drug references and crude sexuality are all well and good but if you don't have some good gags underlying them, they just come across as pointlessly and crudely juvenile. And until McBride takes heed of this, whatever comic confectionery he comes up with next will be similarly stale. (3/10)    

In Summation: 

Best film of the week: The Way Back. And easily at that. But Winnie The Pooh is good too for the young 'uns.
Worst film of the week: So much to choose from but it has to be Priest for being an unbearable piece of shit on every possible level.

Anyway, that's it for this week's cinema releases. Coming this Friday: Pirates! Lots and lots of pirates! 

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