Sunday, August 07, 2011

July Film Highlights

The 50 Word Film Reviews blog demands your readership.

Basil, the Great Mouse Detective (1986) Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin, Vincent Price, Susanne Pollatschek, Candy Candido. Dir: Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, John Musker.

When a girl's father is kidnapped she seeks help from the world's greatest detective. The character designs and their voices are wonderful, but there's no one to identify with and the real plot arrives too late. Hard not to like though and there's pioneering CGI in the climax.


Senna (2010) Dir: Asif Kapadia.

The rise, success and tragedy end of F1 champion Aryton Senna. Enthralling documentary that constructs a narrative through only archive footage so you really see events as they unfolded. Unsurprisingly has pro-Senna bias, but ably demonstrates who he was and his impact in a way that engages even non-face fans.


Dracula (1959) Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling. Dir: Terence Fisher.

When Jonathan Harker dies trying to kill Dracula, Van Helsing fears Harker’s beloved will be next. Hammer’s adaptation does away with gothic shadows, and swaps them for watercolour shades, emphasis on red. With a strong pacey storyline, it’s not gothic or spooky, but does make for an entertaining raunchy romp.


The Lady Vanishes (1938) Margerat Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, May Whitty, Naunton Wayne, Basil Radford. Dir; Alfred Hitchcock.

No one believes a woman when she claims an old lady has disappeared, because she has had a blow on the head. Next to North By Northwest, Lady Vanishes is Hitchcock’s most delightfully entertaining film. The dialogue is cracking, the plot enthralling, and the cast absolutely superb. Terrific fun!


Pom Poko (1994) Maurice LaMarche, Jonathan Weiss, Tress MacNeille, J. K. Simmons, Tress MacNeille. Dir: Isao Takahata.

Japan’s raccoons attempt to prevent urban development with a mixture of mischief and sabotage. A clever and funny preservation fable; we destroy natural habitats, but relate also to the lazy raccoons initial complacency that allows it to happen. There’s a lulls in the downcast seconds half, but it’s frequently hysterical.


Submarine (2011) Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Constantine, Noah Taylor. Dir: Richard Ayoade.

Teenage Oliver Tate must learn how to handle his first girlfriend and his parent’s marital problems. Wittier than your average teen flick; this endearing look at lives on the precipice of adulthood thankfully steers clear of the tedious teen sex romp clichés and is directed with energy and creativity by actor Ayoade.


The Garbage Pail Kids (1987) Anthony Newley, Mackenzie Astin, Phil Fondacaro, Katie Barbari. Dir: Rod Amateau.

A kid knocks over a magic garbage pail and releases the Garbage Pail Kids. Monsterous goblin like creatures who spit, vomit, piss and wave knives – how the hell anyone thought this could be appropriate for kids is unimaginable. Repulsive, incompetent and mind-bogglingly mis-judged; it’s the stuff of nightmares!


Super (2010) Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon. Dir: James Gunn

When his wife leaves him for a drug dealer, a cook starts fighting crime as the Crimson Bolt. Tone varies jarringly from oddball silliness, to dark comedy, with irritating indie movie clichés. The end which brings positives out of carnage is preposterous. A shame - Wilson and Page are terrific.