Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Avengers ready for action. That’s Hawkeye in the background, which is where he spends a lot of the film….

There is a huge threat to Earth – an alien force led by the trickster god Loki, and the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) must assemble the Earth’s greatest heros to save the planet….

This is a very good action movie but when I saw this at the cinema (in 3D), I did find the first 30 minutes a little dull, and that was something I found again here. Once the film gets going though it’s great. There’s some very sharp one liners and amusing interactions between the heroes. I am not a big fan of the Iron Man films – I thought the second one in particular was terrible, but in this film Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) is one of the best characters, adding a lot of charisma to the group. The Captain America film wasn’t particularly good either but here he fits in nicely as the ‘straight man’ and it works well to have an old-fashioned hero in the group.

I particularly enjoyed the scene where Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) tricks Loki and you can’t fail to enjoy Hulk smashing things (and Loki!) up. Tom Hiddleston who plays Loki –  although unavoidably looking slightly ridiculous when he first appears –  acts his part well, and hams it up nicely as the villian.

Bad points: the design of the aliens is somewhat generic – they looks like rejects from the videogame Halo and ride around on weedy jet scooters (think the Green Goblin) hardly scary! Also since this is mainly an action film and with six heroes to represent, it does end up being a little shallow as a result. However the finale in new York is very special as an action sequence and if you are a comic book fan you will be in heaven seeing your heroes fighting together. It’s not quite as good as the Thor film in my opinion but.. it is still one of the best superhero films you will see. 7/10

How would you cope if you had killed an entire family?

A very arty film, with a sci-fi backstory. It begins on the night a second version of The Earth appears in the sky. Seventeen year old Rhoda (Brit Marling) while drunk driving hits a stationary car and kills a whole family. After leaving prision 4 years later she discovers that the father survived and she goes to find him….

The backstory is actually largely irrelevant as a science fiction piece and it’s really there to make you think how another you on another planet might have made different choices, or even would you have made the same ones? the same mistakes?

It’s a very good film in some ways –  especially adept at showing subtle displays of emotion, and lead actress Brit Marling is particularly good at this. The camera is actually on her face for most of the film and a lot of the time she isn’t saying anything. Slightly less skilled in this respect is fellow lead actor William Mapother who plays the father. He can sometimes comes across as slightly wooden and doesn’t always quite nail the intended emotion that a scene requires.

So a well made film, a little oppressive at times, and like many arty films not a lot tangible actually happens. Well chosen music adds extra emotion to many of the scenes and I will say that I did like the ending. Many art films are left open-ended but here an event occurs that answers at least some of the questions posed earlier in the film. It gets an average mark but actually it’s very good in some ways but then unfortunately below average in many others…shame  5/10

Brad Pitt looks massively like Robert Redford in this film

Moneyball tells the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) who despite a tiny budget uses a system of statistics devised by himself and Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to take a no-hoper baseball team to the top of league and almost to a World Series. There is a long standing cliche associated with sports films, where a team of no-hopers gets a new coach and then goes on to win the title. This seems to be a cliche the film is actively trying to avoid since it really focuses in on the bad times and arguments but then as soon as things go well, events are skipped or glossed over. There is no real payoff, no ‘I told you so’ moments to all the people who doubted Beane, and during big wins you just get lots shots of Brad Pitt sitting by himself in the dressing room. It doesn’t make this a worse film, but given this is largely a success story, it does seem a little strange at times.

It’s actually very well made, has well defined characters and it’s interesting too, although I would say it’s not *that* interesting. Beyond the baseball and statistics there is just something lacking to make it a great film. It’s possibly extra emotional depth in the human relationships, not helped because Beane by his nature is quite an uncommunicative character. Beane’s relationship with Brand is actually very well realised but then there are a number of scenes with Beane and his daughter which seem to have been included especially just to add a little emotion depth. These while genuinely touching at times, do also feel a litte tacked on, especially since his daughter (beyond a phonecall and song at the end) is then largely absent for the final third of the film. It’s a good film though and definitely worth watching. 7/10

The view that 90% of the planet’s inhabitants see shortly before their death.

I was apprehensive about watching this since it’s an animation and I assumed it would be aimed at children, but actually it’s not bad at all. After a slightly dodgy opening where Hulk is exiled from Earth by some random superheroes, he finds himself on an alien planet. Here he is captured by the hostile inhabitants, and is forced to fight for his freedom alongside some other prisoners.

Hulk must take part in a series of arena battles and really this is a thinly disguised version of Gladiator, with Hulk taking the Russell Crowe role. That makes it sound terrible, but actually it’s made very enjoyable just by Hulk’s sheer rage. When you think he can’t get any more angry – he does – swelling in size and jumping inside a huge alien creature and ripping it apart from the inside.

There is an overarching plot which means Hulk and his ‘friends’ (Hulk doesn’t have friends) must ultimately help to overthrow the evil dictator (again more strains of Gladiator), but this is welcome because it means the film isn’t just about fighting. It also gives you a chance to get to know the personalities of some of the other characters, which adds some depth where Hulk’s surly personality cannot.

I was surprised I enjoyed this and I want to seek out more animations like this – although I doubt they will be as good. 7/10