Film Roundup – February 2012

Bit of a delay on the film roundup front again. Sorry about that. Guess it’s becoming a bit of a regular thing now. I’ve been exceptionally busy but I’ve finally got round to this! A mere 17 films this month. Bit low given it’s winter but there’s been some not bad TV of late which has distracted me.

1st: The Ghost: I’ve seen The Ghost a couple of times before but that’s how much I enjoy it. It’s focused on the corruption of power and a certain passage of recent history in the UK and it’s very interesting. Ewan McGregor does a weak accent as usual but otherwise he’s sound. As a rare change, Pierce Brosnan discovers the ability to act and plays a very slimy politician. It walks that often welcome path of being quite intelligent but not to the point where you feel mentally drained by the end of it. Just enough to get the brain cells ticking along a little bit.

2nd: The Change Up: Unlike The Ghost, The Change Up isn’t very bright, but it is great fun. Happy waster Ryan Reynolds and uptight family man Jason Bateman swap bodies. Chaos ensues. Fortunately, both actors do a great job of riffing off their usual routines and it’s a great way of spending a couple of hours. A film I’ll certainly be buying when it’s a little bit cheaper on Blu-ray (this one was a rental).

3rd: Crazy, Stupid, Love: Ryan Gosling can do no wrong at the moment. I think we’ve all established this. Crazy, Stupid, Love could have just been a regular rom-com that tested no one and was utterly forgettable. Great turns by pretty much everyone in this film (and it’s a decent cast with Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone) ensures the script is very sharp and witty, while maintaining a comfortable level of sentimentality (but never too much). Another one, I’ll be over once it drops in price a little (I’m trying to cut back on purchases and focusing on rentals).

4th: The Debt: Good pedigree in terms of writers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, and directing courtesy of John Madden. Pity it’s not a very good film. Too many stupid things occur in this film about Mossad agents hunting down Nazis that mean it’s just not very good. Great idea and all that. Poorly implemented.

6th: 30 Minutes Or Less: Short yet sweet, 30 Minutes Or Less is all about a pizza delivery guy (Jesse Eisenberg) having a bomb strapped to him by Danny McBride and being forced to rob a bank. It’s less than an hour and a half long but it’s a fun way of spending that time even if it’s hardly testing material for the cast.

7th: The Guard: I think I did The Guard an injustice. I was doing something else while watching it, and I think it deserved my full attention. It’s deeply, deeply dark and also pretty funny. Brendan Gleeson is fantastic as ever. Do watch it and pay attention (unlike me).

9th: Hanna: A friend raved about this. A lot. As in, it was one of his favourite films of the year alongside Drive. I wasn’t impressed. Again, it felt like there were too many strange decisions made and I suffered from disliking the main role far too much to care, as I suspect I should have.

10th: 4,3,2,1: My Mum saw this a while back and recommended I saw it. Not my usual thing (or hers either), I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. Noel Clarke’s always seemed pretty talented and this film has proven that to me. It’s one of those films where, if it was placed in the ‘correct’ order, it’d be pretty average, but the cutting is what makes it so gripping. It’s fast paced and keeps the viewer entertained throughout. It also features some exceptionally well written female roles which makes a change.

13th: Fright Night: This is the remake of the 1980s film. I’ve not sen the original. This film isn’t very good. I’ve seen worse but it’s lacking in humour for too much of the film. Colin Farrell does a decent enough job, David Tennant appears to be doing an impression of Russell Brand. Make of that what you will!

14th: The Muppets (cinema), Warrior: One of these films is my film of the month and will almost certainly feature in my Top 5 of the year. No, not Warrior. I didn’t like that. I’m talking about The Muppets! The Muppets is fantastic. A friend described it as a year’s supply of Prozac in film form. He’s right. It’s fantastic. Within seconds, even the grumpiest of person will smile like a loon. It’s just utterly wonderful. So free of cynicism and smart remarks, yet not excessively full of sugar coated ridiculous glee. Just see it. Amazing.

Warrior: I didn’t like. I switched it off halfway through so maybe it improved. I suspect that it just wasn’t for me. The fact I disliked all the main characters didn’t help at all.

15th: Blue Valentine: I wasn’t impressed by this. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling act reasonably but I struggled to become engrossed in their tale of breaking up. It was a film that reminded me of just how well (500) Days of Summer deals with the same subject. Watch that instead.

18th: Mission Impossible: I don’t remember buying the Mission Impossible 1 and 2 boxset but clearly I did at some point. As I loved Ghost Protocol, I thought I’d return to the series. Mission Impossible 1 isn’t great. It’s incredibly slow and not overly interesting. Best just giving this a miss really.

21st: Captain America: Got this on Blu-ray for Christmas. About time I watched it! I saw Captain America originally at the cinema. It was fun. It still is on the small screen too. Not much else to say really. Enjoy comic book films? This is a decent one of those.

24th: The Woman in Black (cinema): Hmm. I had a bit of a problem with The Woman in Black which wasn’t the film’s fault. I had the worst example of kids at the cinema I’ve had in years (and given how often I go to the cinema, that’s a lot of visits). Sitting directly behind me (it was a busy cinema so I had no chance of moving), they kept talking loudly throughout the film and also kept laughing at every other moment in the film. They did quieten down in places (mostly when either myself or the security guard who came in every now and then glared) but it was a pretty bad experience. Having said that, I’m not convinced I’d have liked this much anyway. Every jumpy moment was telegraphed to the point that I could predict it all. It didn’t build suspense enough for me to be drawn in so much that I stopped thinking about what was going on and just went with the flow. Still, Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t as bad as I thought he’d be so that was a blessing.

27th: The Reality of Love: The TiVo box picked this one up as it had Bradley Cooper in it. Well done TiVo box. You were quite smart. Unfortunately, this film was dire and I switched it off within about 30 minutes. It’s a very bad TV movie. The kind that you know the actors only agreed to do because they were desperate for money. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

28th: One for the Money (cinema): Went to see this as my Mum loves the Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich and she was keen to see it. It was pretty bad. She reckoned it was nothing like the book and I just thought it was a bit rubbish with wafer thin characterisations and a sense that two of the leading men should have been sexy but really, really weren’t. Give it a miss.