Next week I’ll be back on the radio (I’m seeing Kick Ass 2), so I thought I’d make a little summary of the stuff I’ve watched over the summer.
Category: dice roll: 2
Kosmorama Recap + Trance review
Kosmorama was as wonderful as last year, and I saw some fantastic films, and some god awful ones, which is inevitable. Here are a few of the highlights, for better or worse.
In many ways a “typical” cute French film about people who are all slightly off. A young girl lives with her parent and grandmother, and must navigate her way through adolescence. It sounds like pretty standard fair, but it manages to balance beautifully between comedy and tragedy. If your heart isn’t swelling and your eyes tearing up, you’re not human, basically. One of the absolute best films at the festival!
The best film of the festival – or at least closely tied with Stoker, which I mentioned in my last post. The film is set in North London in a cul-de-sac with three families, all broken in different ways. The main characters, a young girl nicknamed Skunk, is amazing for a child actor. In fact, all of the children are, and with big names like Tim Roth and Cilian Murphey backing them up, the acting in this film blew me away. It will make you cry and laugh, and stick in your head aftewards. Very highly recommended!!
This is a documentary, but you wouldn’t guess from the way it’s filmed. It consists entirely of poorly hand-held shots of a fishing boat out in a stormy sea. Most of it is very dark, and the rest is filmed in extreme close-up. If you don’t get sick from the constant movement – ironically I don’t get seasick when out at sea – you will want to bang your head into a wall about halfway. There is no dialogue, there is no “plot”. Some might say the visials are interesting, but only – I have to assume – if you’ve never been near a fishing boat in your life. I sat there wondering if I should be disgusted by these images of fish and scallops, when all I felt was a growing hunger for seafood. It was like an episode of Deadliest Catch only the crew had lost the cameras and attempted to film it themselves. Avoid at all costs.
I have to comment on Trance, though I would rather not, simply because it was the opening film of the festival. We had a bit of a spirited debate on our radio show last week about it. One of my co-hosts hated it with a passion, and the other thought it was a “meh-to-decent” movie. I was then sent out to watch it and be the tie-breaker.
As I sat down, I tried to be as open as possible. It has everything I knew I should like. James McAvoy in a Danny Boyle film about a heist! It sounded so good on paper. And the opening narration was smooth and fancy, and my hopes rose. Then we started falling under the hypnosis, and the film became something very different. It is not as smart as it thinks it is. In fact, it is not as deep or pretty or well-scripted as it thinks it is. You feel the weight of the “look how mind-blowing it all is”, but you don’t see the results on screen. Instead you are met with predictability to the point of annoyance. And a love-triangle that made my skin crawl with its lack of chemistry.
Most of this is because the characters are all just uninteresting. McAvoy can play any part with gusto, but when neither his character nor any of the other actors are engaging, it just drags on. I guessed about twenty minutes in exactly how it would end, and when it happened it just pissed me off. The least it could have done was not meet every prediction I had. It tops it all off with a horrible Inception-esque ending where everyone goes on their merry way into the sunset.
Trance will appeal to a lot of people, and I wouldn’t dream of saying they are wrong to enjoy the hell out of this film. To me, and my now very smug colleague, the film tipped its hand at the very beginning, and never recovered.
I’m posting my Iron Man 3 review next!
My Two Lincolns
Since most of the crew were busy catching up on work related stuff after Easter, the radio show was still on hiatus last Thursday, which meant no review from me. Instead, I decided to spend the weekend catching up on some Oscar nominations. First on my list was Spielberg’s Lincoln. I was very keen to see this since American history films is my area of study. Little did I know about what the universe had in store for me.
On Saturday, I was set to finally see Life of Pi, but my friends invited me over for a movie night and out of all the random movies our host could have picked, she decided on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Don’t worry, I have no intention of attempting any sort of comparison here. The protagonists aside, they are movies on opposite sides of the Hollywood spectrum. Instead, I’ll review them in order of viewing.
Double Radio Review: Hotel Transylvania + Dredd
Another week, another double radio review! Follow the links to the full reviews at RadioRevolt.no
Hotel Transylvania 3D: They’re monsters, but they’re actually really nice! Not the most original of concepts (I remember reading about nice vampires in first grade), and not very well executed. The animation is far from inspired, and the jokes are either out-dated or just not that funny. The film has some warmth, but just let your kids re-watch Monsters Inc. if they want nice monsters.
Dice roll: 2
Dredd 3D: Based on the comic, not the Stallon-movie, Dredd offers up more than its fair share of blood and gore. It’s a ballet of slow-motion carnage as Judge Dredd fights his way though a Mega-Skyscraper ruled over by the deranged “queen-pin” Ma-Ma. I had mixed feelings all the way through, but it’s the lack of any sort of irony that made me roll my eyes just one time too many. Watch it if you’re a fan of pure, unadulterated action with the thinnest of plots.
Dice roll: 3
Double Review: The Decoy Bride + Christopher and his Kind
First things first: I have over the course of about a month become a massive Doctor Who fan. This has been on my to-do list for as long as I’ve been a geek, which is close to two decades now. About three seasons in, I was already massively “in obsession” with David Tennant, which was no surprise considering how much I enjoyed him in Casanova. I didn’t think anyone could top him, but Matt Smith managed to not only fascinate me, but make me love Eleven just as much as Ten.
So, as per my tradition whenever I find “new” actors to obsess over, I immediately started going through both of their CVs. As a way to find new films to watch, I love this technique. Although it means I have to watch a lot of movies that might not be really good, they are always films I never would have come across otherwise, and even if I don’t enjoy the films themselves that much, I can still enjoy the acting.
I picked one from each Doctor’s past, fairly randomly. The Decoy Bride (2011) from David Tennant’s filmography, and Christopher and his Kind (2011), starring Matt Smith. Both coincidentally from the same year – the first one with a 5.7 rating and the latter with a slightly higher 6.8 on imdb. No big hopes for either then, but with middle numbers like that you never know. Let’s see how they did!
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Radio Review: Elena
This week’s radio review is of the Russian film Elena, a rather drab and sad attempt at an arty, “lingerings scenes without purpose” type of film. I don’t have anything against arty films or lingering scenes, it should be said, but Elena needs a translator of some sort, because they were all speaking Greek to me.
Dice roll: 2
Trondheim’s International Film festival is at an end, and I had an absolutely fabulous time. I watched a lot of movies, though I wish I’d seen even more. Here is a list of the movies I saw, with links to the reviews posted on radiorevolt.no! The dice rolls are in parenthesis, with a short explanation after.
Radio Review: The Devil Inside
This week I had the not-so-pleasurable experience of watching yet another pseudo-documentary style scary movie. Unfortunately, The Devil Inside is not even in the same league as The Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity (1, 2 or 3 for that matter) and as for the exorcisms: in a word, tame, compared to its 40 year old predecessor, The Exorcist. It’s a dice roll 2 for this one, and I’m being nice.
The Taller they are, the harder they flop
Movie: Tower Heist(2011)
If you go to this film’s imdb page and look at the “People who liked this also liked…” list, you’ll see such gems as Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Big Momma’s House and Cop Out, but also, for some reason, real comedic gems like Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Rush Hour (well, at least the first one was kinda funny), and also, for some reason Luc Besson’s Taxi movies, which I personally think is a crime. So, where does Tower Heist land on this spectrum of comedic law enforcement shenanigans? Not anywhere, really, because Tower Heist‘s only brush with such shenanigans is a drunken FBI agent (played by Téa Leoni) who’s clearly having a mid-life crisis.
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Swing and Miss
From what little I’ve come across about this movie, I’ve gathered it’s a love it or hate it kind of experience. I admit I had a few love it moments during the course of my viewing, but in the end this movie failed to draw me in. It also confused me needlessly without the usual corresponding fascination that deliberately confusing films tend to strive for. I’m also very sorry, for I can never ignore a good pun: it’s a swing and miss for Sucker Punch.