Archive

Monthly Archives: June 2015

“For the next 134 minutes let’s not say much to each other”. “Yep”

I have to be honest -while not (knowingly at least) homophobic, a film about two gay cowboys tending sheep on a mountain just didn’t appeal to me. So it was more with a sense of duty than anticipation that I started watching this. It is hard work at first – it starts slow. Yes beautiful scenery but still slow and I initially saw both Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as actors pretending to be cowboys rather than real cowboys. However give it 20 minutes or so and it gets better, there’s more interaction (not just that sort) between the leads, and you begin to settle into the story. Somewhat ironically given the title, it only really gets going and becomes interesting as a film when the two come back down from Brokeback Mountain. 

Four years later and forced into ‘normal’ lives by the expectations and the always present threat of violence from society – both are now married with children. Deep down though neither is happy. Ledger tells Gyllenhaal during an rare meeting that they can never properly be together and have to keep living their sham lives – he recounts a horrific story from childhood about 2 men who lived together on a ranch and how one was “beaten by an iron bar, and dragged around by his d*ck until it came off and left to die”. You get a real sense of the tragic hopelessness that came with a homosexual relationship for a cowboy at this time. (the film begins in the 1960s)

Despite my initial misgivings both actors are actually very good in their roles and Ledger especially shines as the more masculine and monosyllabic of the two. He manages to convey an amazing amount with just a few facial gestures and words. The film is also a hell of a lot better than many movies about straight cowboys.

Interesting and touching but should have been heartbreaking too (things falls down a bit here with a far too detached portrayal of a very dramatic event late in the story) 7/10

Advertisements

Two of the best things about the film: The Invisible Girl (Jessica Alba) and The Silver Surfer (Laurence Fishburn).

It’s easy to say that this film isn’t great but it’s much harder to work out exactly what’s wrong with it. It’s not terrible. I think it’s just that nothing is taken seriously enough to allow you to become fully immersed in the story and as a result you don’t feel much emotion or tension. It’s stuck between a comedy and an action film but is not funny enough to be the former or serious enough to be the latter. So you smile weakly and are only slightly invested in the action sequences.

There’s not doubt however that as in the first film, Chris Evans is great as Johnny Storm – his ego-driven, narcissistic personality here a mile away from his more subdued and honourable, but just as impressive performance as Captain America. Jessica Alba definitely acts and looks the part as The Invisible Girl. In the film she is frequently described as “The Hottest Girl on Earth” and it’s hard to argue with that description. Ioan Gruffudd is merely ok as Mister Fantastic. The role would have better been filled by an actor who has more weight and charisma. He is the FF’s leader after all. The the less said about The Thing’s cheap lumpy polystyrene-looking make-up the better – it’s just as well his girlfriend is blind.

One of the better things about the film is the Silver Surfer – an alien who er.. flies about on a surfboard scouting out planets suitable for his master Galactus to consume. He is both earnest and enigmatic. He has chosen the Earth as Galactus’s next target. In doing so had made himself an enemy of The Fantastic Four and at the same time become of great interest to their usual enemy Dr Doom (Julian McMahon).  Galactus – I have no opinion on although I know it annoyed comic fanatics that he is represented here as a galaxy eating cloud. But you know… maybe an alien on a surfboard is ridiculous enough? without adding a huge purple guy who can eat planets to the mix?

I struggle to say whether this is better or worse than the first film but it felt to me a little worse – it certainly seemed to end the franchise. There is however a reboot with new cast coming very soon.

A very average pre-Thor, pre-Avengers superhero film. 5/10