Saturday, 30 April 2011

Thor 2011

Yet another film that does not deserve a real review!

I went to see a comic book superhero film, based on a Norse myth, so I expected plenty of computer-generated sets and dramatic dialogue, along with some good old-fashioned 'kapow'. What I did not expect was the Asgard scenes to be so unnecessarily theatrical in a Shakespearean style (never forget your roots Kenneth Branagh, even when you should), the earthly romance to be so trite and the comedy in the God-meets-humans scenes to be so forced. Watching Thor was like watching 3 scrambled films - the Asgard scenes were shot in a slight Tron: Legacy (2010) crossed with Troy (2004) manner; the Earth scenes were shot in a War of the Worlds (2005) crossed with Iron Man (2008) manner; and Thor's time with the humans had the farcical feel of a Coming to America (1998)! If I don't sound impressed, it's because I really am not. I didn't put up with the constant drone of comic book geeks for months, to receive this half-baked attempt as consolation. And I'm getting especially tired of being told that this film leads to the next big series of films (heard it when The Incredible Hulk, 2008, came out, heard it again when Iron Man 2, 2010, came out and heard it yet again when Thor came out). I wish they'd concentrate on making one decent film at a time and quit worrying about launching the next big thing - at least then I'd remember not to get excited when Jeremy Renner shows up for one scene, which is supposed to be the introduction to his character in The Avengers film (2012).

'it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness'

Over the past couple of months, I have seen some very average films - the kind of films that were not even inspiring enough for me to give them bad reviews. It has been very frustrating.

So, I have decided to give them all a collective review here.

127 Hours (2010), despite all its accolades, failed to impress me. I can't fault the script or the director or, for that matter, the actor. But the story itself, as true and harrowing as it was, was just not strong enough to warrant a 94-minute-long film. It has been beautifully executed, but I found myself feeling listless and bored pretty quickly.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011) is one which has inspired a number of different reactions in me. When I first watched it, I thought it was interesting and somewhat different, albeit a little predictable. As time goes by, the fond memories are fading rapidly and I now remember it as yet another useless blip of film.

Battle: Los Angeles (2011) - Please torture me no more by reminding me that I watched this painful film...

Rango (2011) - ...or this one, for that matter! Having watched pretty much every film that Johnny Depp has done since Cry Baby (1990), I don't regret watching this one - but it was a difficult task. With lots of cute references to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and various Clint Eastwood films thrown in to 'spice' it up, the film remains flavourless and unappetising. Definitely not a kids' film, it barely qualifies as a grown-up film and is one of the crazier stunts Depp has pulled since Dead Man (1995) - besides The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), of course!

The Rite (2011) - Tries too hard to be The Exorcist (1973) and does not manage to come even close. Creepy, at best, but generally just tedious.

Sucker Punch (2011) - While I really can't recommend this film, it was oddly entertaining. The cinematography and post production special effects are exquisite (can't expect any more or less from Zack Snyder), the story is adequate for a film of this genre and the actors all deliver what is required of them. I feel compelled to not complain about and not praise this one.

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) - Nothing extraordinary or surprising about this film. It's an average thriller, with decent performances from Matthew McConaughey, Ryan Phillippe, Marisa Tomei and William H Macy. The 'twist' isn't too unfathomable, but not too obvious either, and the film isn't especially bad.

Limitless (2011) - This one surprised me. Again, not an extraordinary film, but it's well-shot, well-scripted, well-directed and well-acted. And the story is a bit unusual too - with its part-fantasy, part-sci-fi idea. Bradley Cooper is impressive, in that he is never boring...there's a bit of Craig Schwartz (John Cusack in Being John Malkovich, 1999) about his look, which is later replaced by Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale in American Psycho, 2000) and he carries both with equal aplomb. Impressive.

Source Code (2011) - Disappointing. After Moon (2009), my expectations from a Duncan Jones film were sky-high, even though my expectations from a Jake Gyllenhaal film have been massively lowered over the years (he disappoints me on a regular basis) - so this was an unpleasant surprise. The film has enough of a Vantage Point (2008) styling for it to be extremely annoying and just not enough of the sci-fi storyline that I had gone to see for it to compensate for its pitfalls. A very bleak effort.

Red Riding Hood (2011) - Surprisingly entertaining. Yes, it's Catherine Hardwicke at the helm, so let's not expect great performances from the actors, but she has definitely improved since Twilight (2008). The visuals are stunning, the pace not too slack and the film generally holds the audience's interest. A twist here and a turn there and the final product is fairly decent.

All in all, these haven't been the best of months, but they haven't exactly been the worst either...and I live in hope for May...