Friday, 12 August 2011

film reviews, from 30,000 feet

Hollywood
With my recent travelling, there was a chance to see a few more movies. My previous experience is that comedy and action work best on planes, rather then anything deeply clever. Here's my capsule reviews:

Limitless: : I really enjoyed this story of a slacker writer Eddie who accidentally acquires a stash of smart-drug brain enhancing tablets and changes his life. I'm not even sure that this was released in the UK, but its just out on DVD this week and well worth a viewing, for its dead-pan narrative as Eddie reacts to increasingly wild situations. Cleverly shot and with some photo-gimmicks that actually work (I actually watched it twice). (4 stars)

Fast Five : Yet another car chase with Vin Diesel. You get what it says on the tin, although I was surprised the franchise was already at Five. Totally generic plot-line and predictable moves, with some hints of sentimentality in this one which took it away from a Saturday Morning Pictures format. Loud enough to keep awake on a long plane journey. Forgettable action flick. (2 stars)

Source Code : US military helicopter pilot is beamed into a Chicago train scene to figure out who bombed it. Improbable quantum effect on future premise. Quite like a 'flames and action' version of Groundhog Day which paid a few dues to the 'earthling' parts of Avatar. Played out predictably although there was a bit of a bolted on ending which I missed because of landing. (2 stars)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows V7 Part 2 3D : I watched this in the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood which, inside, has a very high-tech screen and sound system. It was also in Real 3D which worked very well. Strong last part to the Potter franchise, which has got darker as the series progresses. Alongside the action, there's some cheesily contrived "kissing scenes" and a montage that is used to summarise probably 100 pages of the narrative for people like me that can't remember the story. Genuinely entertaining, although I do prefer the humour and light and shade of the early films. (3.5 stars)

Hanna : Revenge thriller about teenager Hanna raised in isolation in Finland then leaving the snow to go finish some family business. Cate Blanchett is the villainess in this and alongside the sometimes cartoonish story I was very taken with the filming and soundtrack which elevated a probably lowish budget movie to something quite special. I'd class it as a modern and dark fairytale rather than an action movie. (3.5 stars)

The Adjustment Bureau : I like the variety of films that Matt Damon does and this one was about a Senator and ballet dancer (you know the old joke) who were not supposed to meet. Then the fates intervene to replot their lives so that they can both become super-duper at their professions. It becomes a chase and there's a few Bourne lines thrown in by way of acknowledgement. Its one of those where it might have been better without a Hollywood ending, so that we could have walked away appalled rather than glowing (2.5 stars)

The Lincoln Lawyer : Lawyer hired to sort out something but its all more of a conspiracy than expected. Nothing compelling in this so I decided to sleep instead (0 stars)

Battle for Los Angeles : C'mon. Aliens hit LA again with hand-held battle sequences. No light, shade or discernable structure. District 9 was so much better and more original. This film is not needed. I switched off (0 stars)

Paul : Gentle comedy where two sci-fi loving Brits touring the South Western USA give a lift to a worldly wise alien. Loved it. Simple bordering on slapstick humour. Many references to other movies and use of (eg) Spielberg lighting techniques. Moves at a good pace and genuinely funny. (3.5 stars)

Brighton Rock: Remake of the Graham Greene story, this version set in 1960 mods and rocker scooter-filled Brighton. Well acted story telling and compelling to watch the slightly squalid gang of crooks going about their business. There's still some Catholic sensibilities in this version, but played down and offset by the pragmatism of other characters. Enjoyable adaptation (3 stars).
Limitless Trailer

Hanna Trailer
Paul Trailer

2 comments:

Teena in Toronto said...

I enjoyed "Limitless" and "Paul".

rashbre said...

Teena: Me too!