So yes, my holiday was great in terms of my film intake. You may find this somewhat disappointing considering I went to JAPAN but please bear in mind that it takes 12 hours to fly there and I really didn’t have a desire to read. Also there is the fact that the night life in Tokyo seemed to only fall in a few categories whenever I went looking: Too expensive, too creepy or full of business men. On those grounds, I went back to the hotel and watched some more great films! Which films? I hear you ask?
The latest CGI adventure can’t get the tone right for one moment in this confusing romp. There are moments where I feel like we are experiencing direct passages from the comics (or at least, someone is trying very hard to recreate them) and yet the realistic style of the film doesn’t gel with the lighthearted madness that is part of this world. Add in a weak story arc and confusing narration (it’s suggested for a while that the captain can’t remember the big secret because he’s been drinking himself into a stupor ever since but then it’s decided he must be drunk in order to remember….) and it’s easy to see why this film didn’t do so well.
A weird premise that works, everyone now lives on time rather than money. Far more literally though as we have a countdown on our arm that starts working its way down the moment we turn 24. If it runs out, your dead, but if you manage to keep it up then technically you can live forever. Justin Timberlake is given a wealth of time by a rich business man who’s grown tired of living. He begins to distribute time to those in the slums and starts to gain the attention of those who’ve worked hard to create the latest status quo. It gets silly towards the end and I’m sure economists would raise their eyebrows about certain aspects but it’s better than I thought it was going to be and has some great elements that have clearly been thought about very hard.
A dark comedy about cancer, this film gives you laughs quickly followed by a kick to the guts. A 27 year old is diagnosed with cancer and looks up his odds of survival on the internet: 50%. His friend encourages him to use this to his advantage, particularly with women and add a relationship that was still in early days when he received his diagnosis and you have a film that is enjoyable and crushing all at once. 50/50 does not shy away from the details and it’s obvious that the writer has experience of cancer, I doubt they could have written it unless they had. An important film, if not necessarily funny in places.
Dark but never treading into the tired tricks of apocalypse horror, Contagion tells the story of a new virus that begins to infect the human race. Highly contagious, initial symptoms resemble the flu, followed by inability to focus, seizure and then death. The film doesn’t focus around one “main character” but instead has several characters that each have an important role in representing different aspects of the changing world to the audience. Matt Damon loses his wife and step-son in the first few minutes of the film and spends the rest angrily protecting his daughter from the threat of infection. Medical researchers, Drs and health officials all show surprisingly well how the USA would react. What I love is that it never bothers to have those big “This is an apocalypse” moments; it doesn’t need to. We see this culminate and slowly this film’s world becomes unlike ours in the worst ways: quieter, more distant, more frightening and far more dangerous.
Dreams of a Life
In 2003 a woman died in a London bedsit. Her body would sit there for two years before being discovered, leading to a public outcry about how this could possibly happen in such a modern world. Dreams of a Life seeks to find those that new Joyce Vincent and attempts to answer questions about how someone can become so detached from others. A very sad premise but I disliked how much was speculation from those that new her, with very little actually being facts that documented her life. There’s very little narration at all, which gave me the uncomfortable feeling of gossiping about someone’s death. I think the director was aiming for that to show inconsistencies in how she presented herself but I would have preferred more documentary and less interviews.
Oh my God so SLOW! Ended up changing the channels, probably shouldn’t even bring it up.
The King’s Speech
Already knew and loved this film about the hectic years in the British monarchy before WW2 and a Prince who never expected to be king. You know it’s wonderfully acted and the script is amazing, you know this. I don’t need to sell it.
Puss In Boots
I fell asleep during this film, you can already guess most of it before I even tell you a thing. It’s silly and still can’t seem to get the funny back that made Shrek 1 so charming.
Lars and the Real Girl
This film blew me away, which was amazing considering I usually hate films that are focused on awkward situations. This is the most awkward of all, where a man in a small town buys a sex doll and proceeds to treat her exactly as a living human being. This extends to purchasing her a wheel chair, talking with her at length and having her stay with his brother and sister-in-law due to her religious feelings about them staying together. What makes this film more than just awkward and a pity fest for Lars is that the town decide to support his delusion, treating “Bianca” as a real person as well in order to help him. The doctor who talks to him (subtly) about the problems he faces and Lars himself are remarkably well played and turn this bizarre story into a seriously great watch.
I usually really dislike action films with Tom Cruise but he is so right for this role. A taxi driver has the misfortune of picking up a hired assassin who plans to kill five people over the course of one night. The driver and assassin are both so single-minded about what they want and for a film that predominantly features two men, they play off each other very well. Cuise is excellent, playing a character who’s seemingly secure but a step from madness at all times. Jamie Fox is brilliant as the driver, though as the pace of the film increases to break-neck thriller I couldn’t ignore the few plot holes that started to pop up. Despite that, a surprisingly great romp to watch and genuinely intriguing in places.