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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Catching up

So, with my regular paying jobs, I've fallen a bit behind on the blog. I have actually managed to cover most of the major movies, but there were still a number of other films that deserve at least a few words said about them, whether good or bad. 

First a couple of slightly longer short reviews...

About Time: I really hate that I overlooked this little gem as it is easily the best film to date that Richard Curtis had directed and is one of the year's most charming, funny and seriously moving cinematic pleasures. It's true the time travel dynamic in the centre of the film is barely thought out and that people who don't share Curtis' unabashedly sentimental outlook have really taken against the film, but honestly, I just absolutely love this movie. I love how the film uses admittedly loose time travel to explore romance, family relationships and the importance of living life to the fullest. I love the performances, I love the script and I love how warm and funny it is. Rationally, I probably shouldn't give it so high a rating as it is long and t is flawed and I understand how it could rub people the wrong way, but this time I'm going to allow my subjective feelings on the matter to totally override my critical judgement. And I doubt I'll be the only one to do so. (9/10)

This is the End. I'm really kind of pissed (in the Americna sense of the word) that it looks like the concluding part of Pegg and Wright's "Cornetto Trilogy", The World's End, probably won't be making it to cinemas in this country, so I guess we're just going to have to make do with this apocolyptic comedy instead. To be fair, This is the End is not without its own considerable strengths. I am, for a start, tickled by the idea of a couple of Jewish boys diving head first into a very literal take on the very Christian view of the Apocolypse. I also really enjoy watching movie stars gleefully taking the piss out of themselves (see Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras and William Shatner in general), rather than going the icky Oceans 12 route and Michael Cera and James Franco especially dive head first into making themselves look ridiculous. Unfortunately, the film is not as frequently funny as it should be and, maybe it's just me, but I feel the utter lack of a real female presence in the film to be very much to its detriment - a fact made especially clear by Emma Watson's awesome but all to brief extended cameo. And there really is no getting past it, I just can't stand Danny McBride who has never struck me as even remotely funny and is consistently the worst thing about otherwise good movies (see Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express). It's a mixed bag then, but it certainly has its moments. (6/10)

Now for some very quick thoughts about some other pretty decent movies and not so decent movies that I just happen to have not as much to say about them.

The Conjuring. If you're looking for originality then avoid this like the proverbial, but I would be lying if I said I didn't find it genuinely creepy and even a bit scary. The Excorcist it ain't, but it is easily the best horror flick to come along in ages -certainly from the US. (7/10)

A Late Quartet. This is yet another movie about old or middle aged people and the way music affects their lives (see Song for Marion, Young@Heart, The Concert, The Quartet) and though its utter lack of humour and overly developed sense of melodrama puts this squarely at the bottom of the heap, it's spectacular performances (with an especially wonderfully quiet turn from Christopher Walken), healthy portions of emotion and subject matter (I'm not even remotely sick of this well-recycled theme) make for a good, solid music-driven drama. (7/10)

Turbo. Even kids will find this idiotic tale of a snail that takes part in the Indianapolis 5000 (no, really) hard to take seriously. Essentially a mixture of Bugs Life and Cars, even Turbo's nice visuals can't save it from being a truly wretched digital animation in an already fairly underwhelming year for the genre. (3/10)

Prisoners. It's way too long and because it is far more effective as a drama about parents dealing with the kidnapping of the children, the rather rote final act is certainly a disappointment, but it is otherwise a gripping, moving and intelligent crime film with perfectly pitched icy atmosphere and some very strong performances. (7/10)

Arbitrage. Now this is how you do a corporate-espionage-driven drama! A fiercely intelligent, seriously morally complexity, character-driven drama this is one rapturously engrossing drama that I never saw coming that also happens to feature a superb cast, led by Richard Gere in a possibly career-best performance. I really never saw this one coming. That's a very high... (8/10)

Runner Runner. Stupid Stupider. (3/10)    

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