Sunday, 13 July 2008


Over the past week or so I've had the opportunity to watch several films, but rather than writing a long film review of each one I'm going to have a go at doing some snappy one-paragraph reviews. This is due in part to the fact that I feel my film reviews are a little long-winded at times, coming out lengthier than I intended and not saying an awful lot, and also because for a few of the films I don't have a great deal to say.

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Hancock [director: Peter Berg; stars: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron] - A thoroughly enjoyable film which never drags. Smith creates a believable, finely crafted and funny hero in Hancock, and Bateman and Theron support well. The script is sturdy, although it occasionally feels a bit out of its depth within its own mythology, especially during the second half of the film. The film presents an original concept and for the most part carries it off very successfully. Verges on the over-sentimental towards the end; any faults are minor niggles however in what is a very good film.
"The bastard offspring of...": Superman and The Big Lebowski

Eagle vs Shark [director: Taika Cohen; stars: Loren Horsley, Jermaine Clement, Joel Tobeck] - This film had me smiling from start to finish. Regularly very funny with superbly crafted comic characters. Clement and Horsley have fantastic chemistry throughout and bring a great deal of depth and heart to the characters of Jarrod and Lily respectively. The quirkiness of the film's execution, coupled with the fact that it is firmly rooted in geek culture and proud of it, gives it an incredibly authentic feel and helped me to buy into the story's universe. Crafted and scripted to near perfection. Excellent.
"If this film was having a dinner party it would invite...": Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine and The Royal Tenenbaums

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford [director: Andrew Dominik; stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell] - Consistantly excellent from start to finish in every way. Slow moving all the way through which requires a level of commitment by the audience, but the steady pacing benefits the film overall giving it a highly polished and epic quality. The scenery and settings are captured beautifully throughout adding to the quality of the film. The cast as a whole are fantastic, but Pitt and Affleck give outstanding performances from start to finish, with Affleck in particular giving what is surely a turn that will help to define his career as a superb actor.
"If this film had to name its top three favourite films it would say...": Unforgiven, The Godfather Part II and Hamlet (Branagh, 1996)

Persepolis [director: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud; stars: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Sean Penn, Iggy Pop, Gena Rowlands] - Very interesting in its presentation of the historical, social and political background and landscape of Iran over the past few decades. Despite this potentially loaded storyline, the film never feels like it is preaching nor does it slip into the realms of propoganda. The animation is very stylish throughout and was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film. The point upon which the film as a whole hangs is that it is essentially the life story of one person; there is little indication as to whether Marji's experiences are typical or unusual compared to what others would have been experiencing. That said, as a biographical film it is entertaining and well made.

Seraphim Falls [director: David Von Ancken; stars: Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Angelica Huston] - Consistently above average, but never much more, and never really attempts to raise the bar in what it aims for. Brosnan and Neeson both do well throughout, but I've seen both give stronger performances in the past (however I couldn't help but wonder why they had cast two Irish actors in two unquestionably American lead roles - their accents were commendable, but never perfect). The vast majority of the rest of the cast never have enough time to develop past one-dimensional characters who I cared very little about. The script ventures into the over-sentimental once or twice, but remains fairly rigid apart from that. There are some interesting ideas introduced towards the end of the film, in particular Angelica Huston's character, but these aren't given nearly enough time to develop into anything meaningful and end up feeling like wasted opportunities. A very watchable Western film; enjoyable, but nothing spectacular.

Kung Fu Panda
[director: John Stevenson, Mark Osborne; stars: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Ian McShane] - The key to this film's success for me was its simplicity. The story never gets tied down in over-complex plot tangents, with a definite beginning, middle and end. The plot never gets dull and never lingers, meaning there was no chance to get bored of any part of it. The character of Po the panda is well crafted and the vocal talents of Black fit superbly. Master Shifu is also a fantastic character voiced ably by Hoffman, who makes the character seem incredibly real. The rest of the characters provide a fun and lively backdrop to Po's journey. I would have liked more depth included in the Furious Five - only Tigress receives any form of backstory, and this is only a glimpse - but including more would have lengthened and probably slowed down the pace of the film. The script is not laugh-a-minute, and the comedy comes mainly from slapstick and action sequences, but there is enough humour to keep the film firmly and satisfyingly entertaining.
"The missing link between...": Shrek and Kill Bill Vol. 1


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Let me know what you think about doing film reviews in this fashion and how well you think this has worked as a blog entry. I feel that the shorter style of film review has worked better for me in condensing what I want to say down to the essentials without rambling on.

1 comment:

TheTelf said...

Good stuff dude - I intended to do this kinda thing with my last couple of reviews, but ended up wanting to say too much.

I think the condensed style works well, and as long as you don't feel like you're specifically leaving out anything in order to compress it, then go for it.

Makes it easier to both read and write the reviews too, which is a bonus. :D