Monday, May 06, 2013

April Film Highlights

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Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Joey King. Dir: Sam Raimi.
Oz the Great and Powerful 50 Word Film Review

An unscrupulous carnival magician is whisked away to the land of Oz and sent to kill a witch. CGI is colourful and sometimes beautiful – but not magic. Lacking in wit and inspiration, this is an expensive but bland runaround, which makes not much sense and is hard to care about.


The Poseidon Adventure (1972) Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Carol Lynley, Roddy McDowall, Stella Stevens, Shelley Winters, Jack Albertson, Leslie Nielson. Dir: Ronald Neame.
Posiedon Adventure 50 Word Film Review

When a boat capsizes, a group of passengers must band together to survive. Something of a classic, even if the script’s clunky and the characters are hopelessly one-dimensional, veering between irritating and unintentionally hilarious. It’s an impressive production nevertheless, and dramatic enough to keep your attention.


The Birds (1963) Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Suzanne Pleshette. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock.
The Birds 50 Word Film Review

A socialite chases a man to a secluded town where the birds start turning nasty. Effects may have dated, but an impressive technical achievement. And it never makes you giggle, tone’s too serious and arguably the sound’s what’s most frightening. Hitch’s most horrific, psychologically complex and full of unexpected danger.


In the House (2012) Fabrice Luchini, Ernst Umhauer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner, Yolande Moreau, Denis Menochet. Dir: Fran├žois Ozon.
In the House 50 Word Film Review

A teacher takes an interest in a student who writes about his visits to a middle-class home. Clever tale about storytelling, its pleasures and pitfalls, and what our subjectivity reveals about us, our needs, desires and envies. A little contrived, but witty, funny and devastating, with ambiguities that’ll prompt discussion.


The Aristocats (1970) Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Liz English, Gary Dubin, Scatman Crothers, Dean Clark, Sterling Holloway, Roddy Maude-Roxby. Dir: Wolfgang Reitherman.
The Aristocats 50 Word Film Review

A cat and her kittens are kidnapped but find help from a streetwise tom cat. Admittedly rather slight, and pilfers liberally from past successes, but it’s so adorable you can’t help but love it. The characters are irresistible, the music infectious and the animation gorgeously rendered.


Side Effects (2013) Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw. Dir: Stephen Soderburgh.
Side Effects 50 Word Film Review

A suicidally depressed woman experiences a shocking side effect from her new medication. Gets less interesting as its plot twists and turns; what starts as a drama examining a culture of industry-driven pill-popping turns slowly into a big-reveal, plot-twist thriller. Perfectly watchable, but less than the sum of its parts.


Vengeance is Mine (1979) Ken Ogata, Mayumi Ogawa, Rentaro Mikuni, Mitsuko Baisho. Dir: Shohei Imamura.
Vengeance is Mine 50 Word Film Review

After murdering his superior, an office-worker goes on the run, murdering and thieving as he sees fit. Deliberately avoids easy answers; history, society, upbringing and religion –they’re suggested, but none really explains Enokizu’s evil. Presumably that’s the point. Occasionally beautiful but mostly bleak and intentionally troubling viewing.