Sunday, 20 March 2011

Film-a-day: Week 3: 30 Jan-5 Feb 2011

I've really neglected this over the last month, so I figured I'd get caught up with the notes I've got for the films I've seen. As usual, the best is at the top, the rest follow after the cut!

Con Air (1997) ****
I don't know if I mentioned, but I am currently on a bit of a crusade to watch all of Nicolas Cage's films. One of which that came most highly recommended was Con Air, and I had a great time finding out why. From the outset, it's one of the dumbest films I've ever heard of, but that is its charm, and why it works so darn well. The whole cast are at their nutty best, and the whole two hours is spent ramping up every situation to it's most ridiculously plausible conclusion. The fact that a sequel is in the works to help Cage fund his IRS problems is superb.

After the cut: The Rescuers, Sherlock Holmes, Extract, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science and The Other Guys.

The Rescuers (1977) **/
I've always told folks I'm not a big fan of animated Disney films and to an extent it's true. The Jungle Book is an utter classic of course, but there are too few that do even half of what that does. The Rescuers is light and fun, but never comes alive like you want it to. The big baddy is affecting but won't stick in your mind like she should, and the setting was never the best for stories to be told from, which could be why they moved the action to Australia in the sequel. The two lead mice are entertaining, but I never felt connected enough to the characters to need them not to die in perilous situations, which isn't how you want to see a Disney film is it?

Sherlock Holmes (2009) ****
This is just a fine and dandy movie. It's really big and it's plot does well at presenting itself in the Holmes style while still feeling like a more modern adaptation. Although I can sing it's praises, I still saw the Holmes fighting sections as possibly unnecessary as we can already see he's different, that could be too extreme. Having said that, the way the fights were cut together were brilliant, and Holmes' precision here made the scenes worthwhile. Otherwise, Jude Law seemed slightly out of place in some parts but had won me over by the ending, but the film still didn't reach the heights of the brilliant BBC production of Sherlock from 2010. We will be seeing a return from Robert Downey Jr's Holmes long as well as Cumberbatch's too, late in the year, at which point the true comparison can begin!

Extract (2009) ***
I've only recently just started watching the films of Mike Judge and while Extract is the least enjoyable of the two I've seen, that is only a small detriment. Extract is sweetly funny, highly absurd and at times downright stupid. Lovably so, in fact. If anything doesn't work here, it's that I think both Ben Affleck and Mila Kunis are both mis-cast for their roles and in fact detract away from the story and the path that Jason Bateman's character follows. Had these been better played or more-fleshed out characters, the film could have survived past three stars very easily, but as it is, it isn't what it could have been.

Sixteen Candles (1984) **/
I've also taken a keen interest in the films of John Hughes of late, having dismissed the majority of them previously as 'not my kind of thing'. However, I've already found that I may have been correct, as one of his most loved films, Sixteen Candles, did not fit my bill. Well, at least not entirely. There was some humour to be found in Anthony Michael Hall's performance, and it was nice to see John and Joan Cusack in one of their earliest roles, but it just wasn't the classic 90 minutes it has been built up to be.

Weird Science (1985) ***
However, I found a lot more enjoyment when watching Hughes' odd little film 'Weird Science' which brand of fun and insanity was much more up my street. Boys seem to have just went wild with this film, which is why it works so well, even if it is just a certain point. There's no point in arguing that this is much more of a boys film than a girls, I would think that's pretty clear from the outset, but what isn't clear from the trailer is the fact that this is a pretty insane film. The amount of absolutely ridiculous and nonsensical things this film gets away with is brilliant, and needs to be seen to be believed. It also makes it a reason not to love it, as it operates on a level that a second viewing would be to spoil what it was the first time around, as a sound mind would begin to question everything about it. Still, a brilliantly fun film nonetheless.

The Other Guys ****
Sometimes a film will manage to be ridiculous and pull it off though, and The Other Guys is a perfect example. I think the best part about this is that you should just watch it as if it's a buddy cop film, and let the rediculous stuff come as a surprise. Even if you put yourself into the comedy mindset before going in however, it should still manage to surprise you, especially for the one scene which I will never be able to scrub out of my mind forever. When you see this one scene, it's almost too unbelievable, until you realise that this has really happened. I had to rewind the scene and make sure what I saw had just happened, and then I had to pause it to laugh for a solid 2 minutes. It's brilliant, but I pity the poor folks who had to see it in the cinema without the aid of a pause button.

Total films: 20

More soon,
Carl England

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