Sunday, November 06, 2011

October Film Highlights

Have you visited the 50 Word Film Reviews blog yet? Well have you?

The Three Musketeers (2011) Logan Lerman, Ray Stevenson, Luke Evans, Christoph Waltz, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen. Dir: Paul W. S. Anderson.

The Musketeers must stop Richlieu from provoking war with England. Challenges you to suspend your disbelief further than you've suspended it before. Sherlock Holmes was far-fetched but that had a sense of proportion - and wit. All the energy and enthusiasm isn't enough to stop you thinking "what the f**k?"


Our Hospitality (1923) Buster Keaton, Joe Roberts, Ralph Bushman, Craig Ward. Dir: Buster Keaton, John G. Blystone.

Buster inadvertently reawakens an old family feud, but his enemies can’t kill him while he’s a guest in their house. After practicing with feature-length in Three Ages, Buster hits his stride. A little slow off the ground, but enters into a level of sustained silliness, culminating in a gob-smackingly dangerous climax.


In Time (2011) Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Vincent Kartheiser, Olivia Wilde. Dir: Andew Niccol.

In the future time is currency and lifespan depends on your wealth. Good concept wasted – clumsily draws allegories to capitalism, but all exposition falls flat, so throws excruciating puns at you instead. Timberlake’s a character looking for a personality and Seyfried looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Rubbish.


Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) Katie Featherston, Chloe Csengery, Sprague Grayden, Jessica Tyler Brown, Brian Boland. Dir: Ariel Schulman,Henry Joost.

Footage of Katie and Kristi’s first encounter with the paranormal. Not bad for the third entry in a franchise, and an improvement on the previous. Fun’s had tricking the audience’s expectations, though attempts to invent new ghostly events miss as often as they hit. You’ll never believe it’s the 80s.


Batman (1989) Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Michael Gough, Jack Palance. Dir: Tim Burton.

Batman must fight the Joker while developing a relationship with a photographer. Uninvolving and lacking in suspense. Nicholson’s good, but has no motives and never seems a real threat, while Keaton has very little to work with. Lots of set pieces, no character development. Handsome, but quite shallow.


Howard the Duck (1986) Chip Zien, Lea Thompson, Tim Robbins, Jeffrey Jones, David Paymer. Dir:Willard Huyck.
A talking duck from another planet is accidentally transported to earth. Not deserving of its reputation. It's clearly trying to parody friendly creature features, it’s just that it gets caught up in the action it’s supposedly making fun of. And some mis-judged adult material feels uneasily out of place.


Drive (2011) Ryan Gosling, Brian Cranston, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks. Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn.

A stunt and part-time getaway driver gets into trouble when he helps a neighbour he’s in love with. Atmospheric, cool car noir that’s less about thrilling chases (there are some) and more about a man’s loneliness. Some interesting casting choices and a killer soundtrack help makes this an exceptional thriller.


Island of Lost Souls (1933) Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Leila Hyams, Bela Lugosi, Kathleen Burke. Dir: Erle C. Kenton.
On an uncharted island, a mad genius has created a race of evolved human/animal creations. Edgy for its time and still pretty dark - and pervy. Laughton’s never been slimier as the despicable scientist, who gets comeuppance in a startling sequence as his creations drag him to the “House of Pain”.