Friday, May 17, 2013

Some blockbusters and some not so blockbusters

BFI Fiilm Library
A few weeks back after Tribeca I ran a bunch of short reviews of some big budget or highly promoted films that I had seen. In the interest of showing that we do watch more than the off the beaten path films I present more big studio capsules.

SIGHTSEERS- A socially awkward couple with personal issues leave her controlling over bearing mother and travel across England only to begin a murder spree along the way. Black as night comedy is fused with a British comedy of manner/errors to make what is being hailed by many as one of the best films of the year. I wouldn't go that far, I'd say it’s a very good film that did quite work click for me. For me things are a little too rigid and after a certain point I never felt that anything could happen, which was what I felt at the start. Definitely worth seeing but I suspect you’ll like it more than love it.

SIMON KILLER has a college kid getting away from it all in Paris after the breakup of a five year relationship. Falling into a relationship with a prostitute things are fine for a while until it all begins to spiral out of control. I had a ticket to this back in February at Film Comment Selects but ended up selling it because the previous movie was five intense hours- and looking back selling the ticket was the best thing that could happen. Deep slow moving pretentious thriller will either thrill you or bore you silly…I was bored silly. Watching this on IFC in Theaters I was scanning through chunks of it.

SCARY MOVIE 5- not as bad as you might think send up of recent horror films suffers in that after four previous entries the series has stopped being funny and it has become something you watch in order  to see where they are taking each movie referenced. Cable fodder

TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION is a painfully dull film. Far be it for me to pick on Perry, who I actually do like both as an actor and a director, but he really has to stop making 15 films and 37 TV series a year since the more he vomits out the duller his films become

DEAD MAN DOWN- Confused and confusing mob revenge film starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace. I admire all of the intense acting and strong action scenes, I just wish there was some sort of plot line to tie it all together. In a related matter it's becoming painfully clear that Ms Rapace is a very good actress but she has a limited range.

A HAUNTED HOUSE is a crappy comedy sending up the Paranormal Activity films.

IDENTITY THIEF is a weak TV sitcom on the big screen.You asking us to pay for this crap?

ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH- Okay juvenile animated film about aliens trying to escape from our planet and go home. Unremarkable but not bad.

CROODS-I can't believe that Chris Sanders directed this. The jokes are stupid, worse they are obvious and repeated to the point of annoyance. The characters are jerks...this is a good looking but badly written film that makes me understand why some films have been pulled away from him (Bolt aka Family Dog).

PAPERBOY- I missed this at last years New York Film Festival- thank god for small miracles. This is an awful film about trashy people you wouldn't want to .. on. Yea the performances are good but the rest of this film should flushed

GAMBIT Cohen Brothers written remake of a Michael Caine film concerns an art heist that goes side ways. The cast ( Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Cameron Diaz and Stanley Tucci ) are great. Sadly the script is too affected and the direction too stiff.

Having at last seen it, I can now say MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS disappointed. Looking like a film that is some kid's idea of a way cool martial arts film (mixed with a gangsta epic) it takes too much pleasure in the cool shots of the wire work and not enough in the story. Give the film a partial pass since it's clear that in cutting the film down to 100 (theatrical)or 110 (extended) minutes hurt the film (there are bits in the deleted scenes on the DVD that are referenced in the finished film plus the rough cut ran allegedly over four hours).  It does have some great moments and a great performance by Russsel Crow, but it still is draft or two away from being something.

HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2 GHOSTS OF GEORGIA well acted, competently made the film collapses almost from the get go by insisting on having scares and shocks from the first second. We never get any real chance to know anyone except when they are under stress. Things are always  at a fever pitch so there is no scares only shock jumps. We are never in the film, we are always outside it.

I got GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY on VOD and finished it. I say this because I saw the first half at Tribeca and walked out because it wasn't grabbing me and After 9 days in the dark I wanted to be in the sun. For those who don't know the film is the story of son Jeff Buckley trying to connect with his dad at a concert in Tim's honor. The short answer is the film has great performances and great music, with the the concert itself being a stunner, but the rest of the film feels unfocused as if the filmmakers were just killing time until they could get to the music. Wait for cable or better by yet buy the soundtrack.

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