Sunday 14 October 2012

Thoughts on Recent Cinema Releases

'Untouchable' is the best film I've seen this year.

And how great is Emma Watson in 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower'? It's one of those films that you think is going to be just another teen high school movie, but it ends up being so much more. 

'Liberal Arts' is immensely watchable. Probably because Richard Jenkins is in it. Does that guy ever do bad work? 'Killing Them Softly' is probably his least interesting role in ages, but Brad Pitt? He OWNED that movie. 
And it's great seeing Scoot McNairy getting such interesting roles. Look at how far he's come since 'In Search of a Midnight Kiss'. 

'The Perks of being a Wallflower' really sticks with you. For the most part, it's only pretty good, but the ending is masterful. How to describe the movie? I think if you mash together 'Starter For Ten', 'Adventureland' and 'High Fidelity', you'd get an idea of what this movie is.

It has great insight. That's what separates the great movies from the average. 'Ruby Sparks' is a fun concept, but that's all it is, a concept. There are some laughs, purely because of the situation (a writer's invention comes to life), but nothing resonates with you.

Yet every moment of 'Untouchable' rings true. The great thing about French films is that they're really films -- they tell a story that's dictated by the story; and not by the genre or by some toy that the film studio wants to sell. 'Untouchable' is hilarious, it's uplifting and it's liberating, but it's also painful and upsetting. You'll love it from the opening sequence.

'Killing Them Softly' was a good movie, some great moments-- but it was so obvious about its intentions. Nearly every scene had a TV in the background with an Obama or Bush speech talking about messed up the economy is. That was how the director pushed his theme on us. But 'Untouchable'? It just told the story. One character was rich, white and disabled, the other black and poor--- yet it didn't spell it out. It went for a more subtle approach. It's great when a movie doesn't treat its audience like a four year old.

'Liberal Arts' was a great watch. Nothing out of the ordinary, it's just one of those 'Garden State' movies; a few white people fall in and out of love with a cool soundtrack over the top. But it had the needed ingredient: insight. The film is immensely inviting. You don't want it to end because you're having such a blast hanging out with Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen and Zac Efron.

Zac Efron is hilarious in this movie. 

And we need to talk more about Emma Watson. It's not easy to be a great actor after being known for such a huge franchise. And honestly, she proved me wrong-- she's got talent. I saw 'My Week With Marilyn' and thought she would be forever reduced to bit parts, but now I want to see her in everything.

But I want to see her do interesting stuff, the indie films. Don't just put her in a Twilight reboot.

As for 'Ruby Sparks', the trailer is enough. A funny concept, ha ha, but spend your hard earned cash watching something else.

But I must say I've become a big fan of Chris Messina. Funny how opinions change. I used to find his performances lacklustre, but now I enjoy everything he's in. He's worked with Nora Ephron, worked with Woody Allen, and did you see 'The Giant Mechanical Man'? A must-watch film for anyone who is a romantic but close to losing heart. 

My favourite moment in 'To Rome with Love' is when we first see Woody's character. Allen hasn't been on the screen since 2006's 'Scoop'. But no-one saw that, so you could say he has hardly been on screen since the turn of the millennium.

But his intro in this movie--- we hear him talking, moaning about the flight (he's on a plane), but we don't yet see him. The camera gentle rolls past each row until, finally, it reveals little Woody Allen--- it's like the reveal of a superhero. But instead of Spiderman...

..We get Woody Allen. And I loved it! He's hilarious in this movie, but perhaps only if you're a fan. The dialogue is so throwaway that half the audience don't know he's joking --- while the other half laugh more than they have in years.

Is Woody's recent output as good as the glory years? No, but there's still gold in there. Woody is like an old relative that everyone in the family loves--- he's not as lively as he once was but you still cherish him. 

I guess I should see 'Taken 2' and 'Paranormal Activity 4', but why? We already know what happens. What I love about movies is that a whole new world gets invented. But sequels are just made to sell some tickets. Liam Neeson kicks some ass again -- do I really need to give up two hours to witness it?

I can't bring myself to see 'On The Road'. I love the book too much. Usually I'd give it a go, but not this one --- the version of 'On The Road' that I read, which lives in my heart, is too precious to me to be influenced by a movie version. Don't get me wrong, I'm massively tempted! I just can't do it.

Care to share?


  1. I can't wait to see Killing Them Softly. It's one of my most anticipated movies of the year.

  2. Short but good is how I would describe this post :).
    I love Untouchable too, it's been hyped a lot so I wasn't sure whether it could live up to the expectations, but it totally does.
    I also watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Liberal Arts when I was in London (actually just wrote a post on both) and perhaps loved them more than you did. I really, really loved them both.

    Guess I should see Killing Them Softly. Have you seen Looper?

    1. Mette -- I loved both 'Wallflower' and 'Liberal Arts' - I don't think my post really reflects that. When I came out of the 'Liberal Arts' screening I was positively buzzing!

  3. only killing them softly has released in India and its A :(

  4. I really loved The Untouchables. And as you say - the opening is just great. When that was finished, I knew I would be in for a wonderful ride.

    The only thing that irked me about it was the somewhat dated view on women, who primarily were there as sex objects. It's sadly what I expect from French films, but still...

    Apart from that - excellent!

  5. Love it Kid. All of a sudden I have stumbled upon a plethora of good films. Strangely (said sarcastically) they are all original stories, low-budget works of art (and love) where all involved give their all to deliver something that moved me. Yesterday I finally found a cinema in Melbourne showing 'Beasts of the Southern Wild', an absolute gem of a film. It was basically the only place screening the film in the whole state - population approx 5 million people! How sad, that a big chain multiplex is screening the latest blockbuster 10 times a day but can't find room for a film that could end up being the best film of the year (in my humble opinion).
    I am definitely glad though that you are back at the cinemas and enjoying film again, even if the good ones are slightly harder to find.