Sunday, 30 January 2011

Film-a-day: Week 2: 23-29 Jan 2011

Another week passes and I didn't even made it to the required seven films I set myself, I only got to 6 and even that was a push! Bad Carl! Still, I'm sure I'll make it up to myself and any readers that feel ripped off by this week's instalment! As with last week, the best of the week is here, and the others follow after the cut!

Up (2009) *****
A geniune classic of modern cinema, and there's no two ways about it. Up joins Wall-E as the best Pixar films so far. It's my third time watching it and I was still in tears for the opening scene, and my worst blubber scene, when he looks at the adventure book again. Of course, it's incredibly funny like the majority of Pixar films, but also quite emotionally affecting, which sets it hugely apart from every other animation studio out there, including their owners, Disney. One of the most powerful parts of the film is truly the score, as Michael Giacchino continues to build an impressive back catalogue of the best soundtracks you will ever hear. If you haven't seen it, it's more than just worth getting a hold of, as it was definitely one of the best films of 2009.

After the cut: Black Swan, 300, I Could Never Be Your Woman, MacGruber and Pokemon: The First Movie.
Black Swan (2011) ****
It's a shame that Darren Aronofsky's work has been as under-appreciated as it has been until Black Swan, as it's certainly not his best. Both The Fountain and The Wrestler were more deserving of the attention that Black Swan has received. Still, that being said, Black Swan is a very impressive film, which only expands the world in which Aronofsky has created so wonderfully over the years. The dark and light in the film play a huge part not only in character but also in tone and visual style, and  Natalie Portman embodies both incredibly well, adapting to whatever scenes she is presented with superbly. The film is a complete success and while some scenes may baffle you, once you come to the end, your mind will sort the pieces of the puzzle quite easily.

300 (2006) ***
300 is a really interesting film. While there is almost a solid hour and a half of major posturing and stabbing people with massive spears, the film doesn't spend to long away from it, and that's to it's credit. With a lot of epics they spend a lot of time talking about how good the fight shall be, but the Spartans only lead with the speech and back it up with stabbing lots of dudes. It's gory, it's over the top and it's actually kind of stupid, which makes it really fun. It's an enjoyable film which bobs along at an impressive pace, and while I never felt for any of the characters in the film it was highly entertaining.

MacGruber (2010) **/
Interestingly enough, this film is massively dumb (didn't see that coming, did you?). One of the dumbest, and most fun thing about the film is fact that when an explosion happens, you hear a cougar roaring for absolutely no reason. It's only unfortunate that while Will Forte fills his title role very well, Kristen Wiig is a little too limp when it comes down to it, and Ryan Phillippe seems to have no comedic bones in his body, and is really the Zeppo of the film. Val Kilmer is a little wooden as the 'hilariously' named baddie Dieter Von Cunth, but keeps his scenes ticking along without too much boredom. While there are some ridiculously funny scenes to be found here there are some vast patches where barely a laugh goes by, but if you don't take it seriously, you'll have a good chuckle anyway.

I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007) ***
From the front cover of this film, I should have zero enjoyment in watching this film. It has that look of a really terrible romantic comedy (and trust me the ratio of bad to good romantic comedies is very top heavy) and it could have easily plodded into that territory, but it doesn't. If there is any problem with it that could account for why this is the first time you've ever heard of it, it could be that even although it was made in 2007, it feels like it was made ten years earlier, which actually works in it's favour. Also, maybe because it never came out in cinemas. Paul Rudd was seen as someone who couldn't pull off the male lead in a rom-com but in this he channels a late 80s/early 90s Bill Murray. Which is perfect, even if he must seem older than his years in which the situation is that he a much younger man than Michelle Pfeiffer. If anything doesn't work it's that Pfeiffer's character talks to mother nature, for some bizzare reason. But if you ignore that it's an enjoyable 90 minute film in which Rudd shines, and an oddly British supporting cast (David Mitchell, Sarah Alexander, Graham Norton and Jonathan Ryland) give some good performances alongside Fred Willard, Jon Lovitz and Stacey Dash.

Pokemon: The Movie (1999) *
No. No, it's not good. I fought with my friends to watch Evil Dead 2 or Monty Python or even just playing the N64, but no. We watched Pokemon, and it was shit. I spent half the film reading facts about it on Imdb and I found something huge which I had no idea about. There's a section of the film in which Ash realises that fighting is wrong and it's so not in keeping with the entire ideal of the series that it makes no sense. It turns out that that moral attitude was added in by the American studio and from that point on the film is completely different from the original Japanese film. Now that I know that, I really want to see it! Oh wait no, it's still going to be shit for the majority of the film, and even that ending will still be shit won't it? And I'll have to read to understand what's going on... Fuck that, sometimes I barely want to read in good foreign films! Fuck it to fuck. FUCK.

Total Films: 13
Carl England

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