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Monday 7 January 2013

Recent Movie Playbook: Thoughts on Stuff I've Seen

Just saw 'Pitch Perfect' and loved it. For two hours I was able to believe acappella singing is the centre of the universe.

A good film does that, draws you into its world. You shut down the majority of your brain and body and let the cinema magicians take you on a magic ride.

I didn't get that ride with 'The Impossible'. I somehow didn't read the opening credit which mentioned that it was a 'true story'. So I spent the whole film in a liberal-idiot-rage, wondering why we were telling somebody else's story with white English people? 

And then at the end, I realised it was a true story.

That being said, it was still way too white and western. English people, Americans and a couple of Germans. The only moment when the locals got involved was to drag Naomi Watts across the broken town in a helpful yet scary way, with the camera lingering on Naomi to show her fear as this strange person from a land unknown dragged her around.

Helen Hunt has always been one of my favourite actresses, so it's delightful to see her in 'The Sessions' where she plays a sexual surrogate who comes across an unusual case; a man with polio who spends his time in an iron lung to keep him alive.

The film does things at its own pace, slowly gliding you into the story, keeping you glued with strong performances and the slow burning entanglements of the characters. And it's quietly funny, too.

'Silver Linings Playbook': I loved the performances. When was the last time you saw De Niro this good? Sure, a large part of it is the material -- but let's credit the man himself. His performance was full of vulnerability, it was almost scary to see our beloved De Niro like this. That's why it's easier to sell out and keep making 'Meet The Parents', because when you do roles with real depth, you put your legacy on the line, because there's every chance you'll be terrible and people will see the fraud that you are.

But De Niro is no fraud, he's the best there is. And Jennifer Lawrence is utterly compelling. Bradley Cooper is the perfect modern leading man. He's at his peak, and his next few films are crucial. 

I had big hopes for 'Hitchcock', but it's average at best. The icons of cinema are so intriguing to us all; that's why they make films like 'Chaplin' and 'My Week With Marilyn'. When these films are good, they get us a little bit closer to our cinematic heroes, whereas 'Hitchcock' plods along without having much of a point of view. Dare I say it's all a wee bit bland. 

I loved 'Argo'. Riveting! Who'd have ever predicted that Ben Affleck would turn out to be such a great director. 'Gone Baby Gone', 'The Town' and now 'Argo'; all fantastic!

Still haven't seen 'Beasts of the Southern Wild', and I was meant to see 'Life Of Pi' a few days back but the girl I was going with cancelled. Chances are she'll probably recover from the flu and then drag me to see it, so I'll let you know what I think. 

Final Thoughts:

  •  Glad to see Helen Hunt with lots of upcoming projects. Seems she went quiet for a few years, I'm excited to see where her career takes her. 
  •  Although I wasn't overly taken with 'Hitchcock', there is one masterful scene when the cinema audience are watching the first screening of 'Psycho', and he's waiting just outside the auditorium. I won't say no more, because I want you to see it, because it's a magical moment. I have no idea if it really happened, I sure hope it did!
  •  Naomi Watts is a fantastic actress. 

  • Is 'Silver Linings Playbook' really Best Picture worthy? For me, the performances are an A*, but the film overall is not quite up to that level. 
  •  I'm taken with 'Pitch Perfect'. It was a blast! Just pure fun and silliness. My experience with it in the cinema was great! I was three rows from the front -- there were maybe twenty people in the cinema. Anyway, the things that I found hilarious were the exact things that three or four guys towards the back on the right hand side also found hilarious. Don't you love that, when only part of the audience loves the same stuff you do? It would be boring if we all laughed at the exact same moments. 


  1. I went with a group of women to see Pitch Perfect. We all laughed unendingly. Whisper girl was a riot and I can't look at Rebel Wilson without laughing...hard! Great movie. I, too, saw Silver Lining this weekend. While I'm not a huge Cooper fan, I thought he nailed this and Jennifer Lawrence was compelling and incredibly hot (I'm not trying to be creepy but just noticed). I loved what came out of her mouth (from the writers) but her delivery was fantastic. And DeNiro was fabulous and I thought it might be a cheesy role for him but it wasn't. He inspired the most laughs from us. It's a touching movie as well.

    I'm loving Affleck lately for the movies you noted. Argo is probably my favorite from last year and I hope it/he makes a haul at the awards. The Sessions has been tricky for us to find here in Chicago because it hasn't been showing on many screens. Too bad because I'm dying to see it.

    Great reviews!

    1. Thanks Gina, seems we think alike on many of these films. Really glad you liked 'Pitch Perfect'.

  2. Affleck is doing some fab work at the moment. Still think my favourite film from his is Gone Baby Gone. Argo is a close second. He's done well reinventing himself as a credible director.

    All the praise for Pitch Perfect has me intrigued. Very intrigued. I didn't think it'd be so well received.