23 April 2016

The Spectacular Now, 2013 - ★★★

I thought I'd like this a lot more than I did and perhaps on a different viewing I would get more from it. It just didn't click into place for me and Teller's character is an even bigger dick than Ferris Bueller. Maybe I'm just getting old.

April 23, 2016 at 05:58PM

22 April 2016

The Jungle Book 2016 -

This shouldn't work, and in many places it doesn't, but when it does it's absolutely wonderful. Opening on a traditional "hand drawn" animated Disney castle which segues into a computer generated jungle with a nod to Bambi reassures you that this is a director who
knows and loves Disney. Unfortunately the problems start straight away, the opening action sequence is too fast to work effectively in 3D and many scenes are too dark even in Imax 3D.

In the slower paced, brightly lit scenes the 3D looks fantastic and I'm starting to not instantly dismiss 3D as a format (although maybe only Imax). The next problem is perhaps the biggest, there is a disconnect between the voices and creatures; both are impressive but there's something uncanny about how they work together. I managed to adjust and got used to it and certainly by the time Baloo turns up it was no longer an issue. Or maybe it was just because Bill Murray is just so fantastic as Baloo.

Once the bear and man cub team up I was completely on board and loved what follows. During development I wondered if the songs would be included, the trailer hinted they would be and the musical references throughout tease the classic songs. It's probably no secret (or spoiler) that some of the songs do feature and the fact they work so well is one of things I loved so much about the film. To make songs work in a non-musical photorealistic animation (because this isn't really live action) is an amazing achievement. Versions of the songs also feature over the end credits which feature another wonderful piece of animation, I wanted to force the people leaving back into their seats to stay and watch.

There may not be much to the story (I remember being disappointed with the animated version when I watched it recently) but this is so much more than the technical showcase I was initially expecting. Great performances, numerous nods to Disney, oodles of charm and great music.

April 22, 2016 at 12:47PM

18 April 2016

Electricity, 2014 - ★★★

An impressively made film with an equally impressive lead performance. The special effects are used wonderfully to serve a purpose and presumably made with a low budget so put hollywood fare to shame.

Aside: This was shown on the now-online-only BBC Three and as a result I suspect not many people will see it which would be shame. It doesn't look like it received another on-air broadcast which I thought the BBC were supposed to still do, perhaps not for films.

April 18, 2016 at 08:07PM

Rango, 2011 - ★★★

Beautiful to look at and has more depth that lots of modern animation but the interesting setup falls apart so the story doesn't fully deliver.

April 18, 2016 at 08:00PM

10 April 2016

Goodnight Mommy, 2014 - ★★★½

Talented horror film makers often seem to fall back on the things they like doing rather than the things they seem much better at. This shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing but it often means that the final film has a split personality and it's unclear who it will appeal to. The first part of Goodnight Mommy is incredibly creepy, well made, atmospheric, slow and intriguing. The only real twist in the film is that it becomes a gory sadistic horror towards the end. Some people will like both aspects but I imagine most people will only like one part and be put off by the other. It's a shame because there's a lot of depth to the story, a lot of which I didn't realise until the next day and I suspect may be overlooked by people because of either the slowness or the gore.

Disclaimer: It was another late night screening and I'm getting too old and tired so some of the film may have been lost on me at the time.

April 10, 2016 at 05:22PM

Pitch Perfect 2, 2015 - ★★★★

No, you got too emotionally involved during the finale. I think this is a huge improvement over the already great first film. Fat Amy feels like a real character this time instead of somebody wandering over from a different film. There's none of the unnecessary gross-out humour that soiled moments of the first. The same problems do exist though; it's entirely predictable and many parts of the story make little sense but none of that really matters because it's all so much fun.

A bigger problem is the casual racism, not from the commenters who remain the real highlight but the unfunny, entirely unnecessary, comments made by the new(?)) Guatemalan Bella. The trip to Copenhagen also throws out a bunch of unnecessary stereotypes which just come across as tacky. I had no idea the Danes were supposed to have an obsession with eating fish and I've been to Copenhagen. It's more disappointing because the Danish Birgitte Hjort Sørensen plays the leader of a rival German group and could've had a word with somebody. Speaking of Sørensen, I was left almost as confused as Beca as that's not my Borgen's Katrine and it was disappointing that what could have been the only non-obvious plot point was just left hanging (surely the boyfriend hardly featured for a reason).

I enjoyed it a lot and the finale did move me (although I did wonder if that clap routine would be audible on a festival stage). One of the legitimate uses of Letterboxd Like heart, although I was also considering giving it more than 4 out of 5.

April 10, 2016 at 05:10PM

05 April 2016

Prologue, 2015 - ★★½

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:24PM

Catch It, 2015 - ★★½

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:24PM

The Loneliest Stoplight, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:22PM

The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse, 2015 - ★★½

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:22PM

If I Was God, 2015 - ★★★

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:20PM

We Can't Live Without Cosmos, 2014 - ★★★★

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:19PM

Bear Story, 2014 - ★★★½

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:18PM

World of Tomorrow, 2015 - ★★★★½

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:17PM

Sanjay's Super Team, 2015 - ★★★★

Watched on Monday April 4, 2016.

April 05, 2016 at 10:16PM

03 April 2016

Hail, Caesar!, 2016 - ★★★★

A wonderful celebration of both the golden age of Hollywood and the Coen's varied back catalogue. It's worth seeing just for the films within the film, all exquisitely made and left me longing for a full release. It's a shame that the central mystery that attempts to hold everything together isn't stronger but it's also great that even those scenes start to become pastiches as well.

April 03, 2016 at 07:16PM

02 April 2016

Janis: Little Girl Blue, 2015 - ★★★

A perfectly fine documentary.

April 02, 2016 at 01:59PM