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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Roundup of films released between end of April and mid May 2012

Catch up time. To be honest, there's not a lot here worth bothering with so these will be hopefully short and to the point. I should say that I still need to see Dark Shadows and Shame but if and when I do, I would imagine that they will both deserve full reviews. 

One Life: Beautiful nature documentary but you have to wonder why this, of all documentaries, deserved a cinematic release. (?/10)

The Cup: Unassuming and underwhelming sports drama that belongs on the small screen despite the presence of the always great Bendan Gleeson. (4/10)

The Grey: Actually rather good, if increasingly nihilistic survival drama with a very strong performance from Liam Neeson. Less fun than it looks, but more interesting than it could have been. (7/10)

Battleship: One of the most dull films I've seen in a cinema since Paranormal Activity 2. Exactly what you'd expect of an alien-invasion film based on a pen-and-paper game with ZERO inherent narrative. This makes Transformers 3 look like The Avengers. (1/10)

Coriolanus: A very ambitious and valiant attempt to bring one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays to the big screen but, because it has none of the timeless simplicity of a Romeo and Juliet or a Hamlet, the language barrier is a problem. It's something of a political drama based on a political system that is entirely alien to modern audiences and it never gets past this, even if both the direction and performances constantly impress. (5/10)

Lessons of a Dream: Essentially a clone of those School of Rock/ Mr Holland's Opus/ Dead Poet's Society type high school films, only in German and with football. Despite this, it's quite charming and I did get a bit of a laugh out of the underlying, if sub-textual and possibly imagined, message that if only the Germans stuck to the loose-rebelliousness of soccer over their militant sense of obedience, Nazism might never have happened. And Daniel Bruhl, who seems to be in every German-language film released in this country, is once again very good.  (6/10)

Think Like A Man: This would be nothing but a shameless piece of almost epic product placement for the titular self-help book by Steve Harvey, if not for the fact that the conclusion of the film basically says that honesty is more important than some gimmicky self-help book. It's pure, unadulterated crap on every level that doesn't even succeed as a crass and thoroughly tasteless commercial. (1/10)

The Vow: The somewhat soapy amnesia plot is actually more engaging than it might seem on paper and Rachel McAdams is in typically wonderful form but is let down by a miscast Channing Tatum, pathetically one-dimensional supporting characters and an overlong running time. (5/10)

One for the Money: Perfectly OK as a pilot for a rather rubbish, low-rent, light-heartedcrime TV show but it really has no place being in the cinema. On the plus side, it does allow Katherine Heigl to be far, far more likeable here than she has been in all those awful rom-coms that we have been bombarded by over the last few years. (4/10)

Wuthering Heights: An ambitious attempt at a more down and dirty adaptation of a much-adapted literary adaptation but the shaky, in-your-face shooting style is obnoxious, the characters are barely drawn and the melodrama and gritty realism do not good bedfellows make. A nice try but a serious pain in the ass to sit through. (3/10)

And that should bring us up to date for the time being. Hopefully upcoming weeks will be more promising but, based on the last few screenings I've sat through, I sadly seriously doubt it.  

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