Friday, 25 March 2011

Film-a-day: Week 4: 6-12 Feb 2011

More Film-a-day from the past month, kicking off with a double header from the Glasgow Film Festival.

Boy (2010) ****/
This is actually my second time seeing this New Zealand based gem from Taika Waititi, and it was just as good as the first time. I absolutely love all the character and the way they interact with each other, especially in regard to Waititi as Alamein, the Boy in question's father. The relationship between the two is interesting to say the least and gives the film some of it's finest moments, although either of them could hold the film in their own right, which is a great compliment to James Rolleston who played Boy. Not only was this his first acting experience, but he was only picked from a cast of extras when it turned out that their first choice had grown up too much since the casting. He has a wonderful comic timing and is downright perfectly cast, and does an incredible job of playing the lead at such a young age. Boy is an insightful, lovely, funny, sweet, surprising and touching film that should be seen by all. So go see it, egg!

Paul (2011) ****/
My lovely fiancĂ©e and I caught this at the festival too, and found it to be a hilariously entertaining film, which adequately filled up my geek quota for the week, as I thought it might. It's puts Simon Pegg and Nick Frost back together again, this time with director Greg Mottola instead of their usual cohort Edgar Wright, and sets them off on a road trip through points of extraterrestrial importance. The relationship between the two is, yet again, wonderful and helps carry the film when it hits the tiniest of dry spells. Don't worry though, they don't last long, and even the highly annoying Kristen Wiig is brilliant here, so something must be going right. The whole film is an utter triumph that solidifies the bond between the two actors as a vital double act that should work together in every second film. Even though separately one is definitely stronger than the other, together they are unbeatable, and this film proves that even without the incredible Wright directing they are still a force to be reckoned with.

After the cut: Mean Girls, Cop Out, Fanboys, The Informant! and Knowing.
Mean Girls (2004) ***/
This was exactly how I should see every film I really enjoy watching. In a cinema with hundreds of other people who like it too. Another film I caught at the film festival, this was pure indulgence, as the 11pm screening rolled just as folks were sipping on their second glass of wine and ready to shout out all of the best lines, and have a good time. Back To The Future was decidedly a better second watch at the cinema, no doubt about it, but Mean Girls still had it's charm brought forth in this audience. If you ever get the chance to revisit your favourite films in their original homes, I highly recommend that you do, as it is an experience to be cherished.

Cop Out (2010) ***
I am a big Kevin Smith fan, so when this came out to bad reviews, I was disappointed. However, I wasn't really expecting much from it either, which is why I waited until it was on DVD to see it. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the critics went way overboard, and that Cop Out was in fact good fun. Of course, it's not perfect by any means, in fact, half the time when the film relies on Bruce Willis to bring the goods, it falls flat. But every single time Tracy Morgan gets a line, he relishes the opportunity to crack wise and make a fool of himself, and it works wonders, as the film comes alive. As for the background characters, I could take of leave them, but in the few scenes where Willis is good, he is great. If he had just tried harder, maybe this could have had a sequel.

Fanboys (2008) ***/
What a lovely love letter to all things Star Wars. Four friends band together to break into Skywalker ranch and steal a copy of 'Episode 1: The Phantom Menace', and no matter if it did turn out to be a rubbish film, it was the journey that mattered. To me the original premise sounded a little flat, so it's good that there's a deeper story too. One of the the four friends has cancer and probably won't live to see it in the cinema, and a friend who fell by the wayside comes back to help him achieve his dream. It turns out that not only is it a very fun film filled with homages to being the films and to being a Star Wars fan in general, it's also a heartfelt thank you to Lucas. It doesn't even touch upon the fact that most fans thought The Phantom Menace was terrible, which is nice, since that's all you hear about that film these days. One thing to note, the trailer doesn't ruin all of the funniest bits of the film... instead it shows you the least funniest bits... probably why it didn't make much money, then.

The Informant! (2009) ***
Matt Damon is a bit of a champ. He's tackled being a next generation Bond in the Bourne trilogy, he's done the dramas, and he's even tackled comedy. The Informant is the latter in case you were confused. It's slightly silly, and the character is possibly slightly wackier than he needs to be, but it's an entertaining look at one of those crazy stories that seems to have come from almost nothing. It doesn't come close to what Burn After Reading did for that kind of insanity, but it does show that Damon has the chops to give it a go at least. Not to mention it also has a supporting cast full of champs, unfortunately most of them play the straight men of the intelligence agency's though, so don't expect very comedic performances there.

Knowing (2009) ***/
Another Nicolas Cage film, but this time, he actually manages to keep his cool for a high percentage of the running time. Aside from that, this is actually a really interesting film, which uses the idea that someone has predicted disasters in the future to mask a storyline in which the world is going to end. Both storylines could be films in their own rights, and have been tried to varying degrees of success in the past, but here they neatly tie the two ideas together with a third strand. For me, it's a brilliant example of a mainstream Hollywood film which strays from conventions and I have a personal soft spot for films which do that. While the film may not be perfect, it is damn entertaining, and deserves at least a watch.

Total Films: 27

More soon,
Carl England

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