A bizarre ‘true story’ about a gay con man gets the Carey treatment in I Love You Phillip Morris and is helped along by a very camp Macgregor. In fact the whole film is a little ‘musical theatre’ in it’s presentation, with everything being overplayed and not that much of it hitting the mark, though this doesn’t detract significantly – this film works because the real story is intriguing and the two leads are good at their jobs.
Done many times before, in many better ways The Strangers is one of least original and most tedious horror flicks I’ve seen in a while. Liv’s face does mean that there is usually something on screen worth looking at, but aside from that it’s by the numbers – there simply is not enough happening aesthetically, emotionally, psychologically, thematically, narratively… I could continue this. For ‘not enough’ read ‘nothing’.
Unfortunately Legion doesn’t really leave you that satisfied. Firstly Bettany is seemingly doing nothing but paying his rent… add to this the distinct lack of avenging angels for the majority of the screen time, a misguided didactic tone on the plight of mankind and Tyrese Gibson, the odds against it begin stacking up. Nevertheless there is a possessed old lady – unfortunately for everyone concerned it was in the trailer.
Happy-Go-Lucky is a sort of Amelie, but done in the style of what one would call kitchen sink realism, if you wanted to follow a trend. While certainly a comedy, there is beneath the surface oddness and things that aren’t funny at all threatening to engulf the characters as thematically what it is to teach is discussed with insight. This is the case particularly for the brilliant and beautiful lead character Poppy Cross played by Sally Hawkins, though Marsan is also worth a mention as the frighteningly frustrated driving instructor Scott. Happy-go-lucky is certainly the way forward.
The Last Victim is a film that doesn’t do any justice to the real-life relationship it focuses on, that between serial killer John Wayne Gacy and college student Jason Moss. Instead of compelling it comes off as a misplaced homoerotic tale with the actor Jesse Moss thinking he might be next Sean Penn (the reality being his career highlight so far has been pissing blood in Ginger Snaps). All this is a shame because the facts displayed as inter-titles before the credits roll indicate how interesting this film could have been.
Definitely, Maybe isn’t awful, but sat here now I can’t really remember anything worth mentioning.
Salt is a joke. Not only is Miss Jolie miscast spectacularly (it is evident that it has been a while since Ang was the can-do-femme Lara), but the direction is so heavy handed the only thrill comes from waiting for the next moment of cumbersome ineptitude. A highlight, where we as a presumed imbecilic audience are being led to believe Salt is Russian, are treated to a sequence where she dons what can only be described as a ‘Russian’ hat – it’s offensive, to the viewer and probably most Russians.
Being a righteous sort I wanted to bemoan how this film isn’t an amoeba on the flea of the original, however, I’ve not seen the 1974 version. So all I can offer is that The Taking of Pelham 123 is very Tony Scott, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t helped by John Travolta being a bit ridiculous and looking like a village person. Denzel on the otherhand is Denzel, and we all know his shit don’t stink. It all kind of balances out to averageness.
Amelie is colour and happiness in the form of a film, with it’s profound simplicity hidden in it’s quirks. Each character is distinctly interesting, individual in almost endless ways… the exact opposite of way too much film making. And if I were to pick a favourite I ‘d have to go with Amelie’s father who is constantly troubled by his travelling gnome. Quiet genius.
There is something deeply unpleasant about The Brave One, a sensation that is created entirely by the craft of Neil Jordan and the on screen prowess of Foster. There are brilliantly smooth canted camera angles as Erica’s world distorts and the tale of revenge gathers pace, though if a tale of payback was all that was going on, it wouldn’t be nearly as unsettling as it actually is.