Mini Movie Reviews: April

PerksAs a result of going down to one blog a week, combined with me constantly finding things to talk/rant about, and an increase in movie going following the Post Oscar Lull, I am going to squeeze three reviews into one blog, plus give you my inside scoop on what is coming up soon that looks exciting. So with the minimum of fuss and zero further ado, here goes:

Perks of Being a Wallflower: The best way I can describe this coming of age film is as a Breakfast Club for the 90s generation. It has a very similar feel and vibe to it – outsiders in high school bonding over their outsiderness and trying to cope with the various pitfalls and perilous activities that the social navigation of teenagedom requires. It also has a fantastic soundtrack. The story centres on Charlie, played in a restrained but impressive fashion by young Logan Lerman, who is dealing with his first year at high school after some ‘trouble’. This ‘trouble’ is never really fully explained, but you get enough to know he is just doing what he can to get by – one day at a time. Things improve greatly when, after thinking his English teacher (Paul Rudd – in a serious rather than comedic turn) is his only friend, he falls in with a flamboyant older student Patrick (Ezra Miller – scene stealer) and his step sister Sam (Hermione! I mean, Emma Watson). The movie is their story really – and they are a fun group to hang out with for a few hours. But it isn’t just about the fun. There are some really serious issues dealt with in this movie, and for once a Hollywood film chooses not to deal with them with over the top melodrama and angst, but to just let them be part of the story – rather than take it over completely. And it works well. Loved this film, and post-Hazza P Emma Watson was a revelation. 4 multi-coloured M&Ms.

You will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: I guess there is a point when you become such a famous director and writer than people will give you funding for anything, even if it sucks the big kumara. And Woody Allen clearly reached that point some time ago. I cannot think of a more hit and miss director than Mr Allen. Midnight in Paris was simply brilliant, whereas his follow up – To Rome with Love – was very patchy. And this ‘new’ one – You will meet a Tall Dark Stranger – is very very very not good. I say ‘new’, because it was actually made before the other two films I just mentioned, but is only getting a kiwi release now. Very odd, especially since it just isn’t a good film. I can think of many other films (Cabin in the Woods, people!) which were far better and didn’t get a kiwi release…but I digress 😉 Why isn’t this film good? Mostly it comes down to the supreme unlikeability of the characters. We are meant to feel something for these people – played by big name actors – Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Frida Pinto – but none of them made me even slightly care about their plight. Such as it was. People trying to find love in all the wrong places is generally something I can relate to – but not here.  You need at least one character as your ‘way’ into the story, and I couldn’t find one at all amongst this motley crew of self-involved and angsty Londoners. 1 (slightly mouldy) M&M for this one.

The Host: for Twilight fans lamenting the end of that franchise last November, The Host was seen as a potential new crush – a replacement for the Edward/Bella/Jacob love triangle with a Melanie/Wanda/Jarrod/Ian love quadrangle (yes, it’s possible – kind of…). The Host is based on a book written by Twilight scribe Stephenie Meyer, hence the Twilight connection. But there are no vampires and werewolves here. Instead, the earth has been invaded by an alien force that has colonised the planet by implanting ‘hosts’ – replacement souls – in the bodies of almost all humans. As a result the earth is peaceful, less polluted, and apparently far more fashionable. However, there are some hardy human souls who refuse to give up the fight for the planet. One of these is Melanie – played by Irish star of The Lovely Bones and Hanna, Saoirse Ronan. She plays a human, Melanie, who has a new soul – Wanderer – implanted, but refuses to give up – hence Wanderer and Melanie are co-existing in one body, and fighting over what they get to do with it. The concept is a pretty novel and interesting one, and the book was actually a really good read. And kiwi director Andrew Niccol (In Time, Gattaca) does a great job creating this post-invasion world, and conveying some complex ideas pretty simply for a mainly teen audience. Where the film fell flat for me though was in the love quadrangle aspect – and it is a Stephanie Meyer story so the romance part is key. There just wasn’t any chemistry between Ronan and her two male leads (nice to look at as they were), and the scenes where she was struggling with who to choose between just seemed silly as a result. It’s a shame – but as often happens with movie adaptations some things fall through the cracks. That said though – a really interesting premise and the film LOOKS amazing. So a solid 3 M&Ms.

In terms of upcoming flicks that I am already diary scheduling: Warm Bodies – the first ever zombie rom-com, opens this Thursday; Iron Man 3 – which I hope will be a return to form after the dire Iron Man 2 – opens 24 April; Star Trek into Darkness, which I am also hoping is better than it’s predecessor, opens 9 May, and DUM DA DA – the one I am MOST excited about, The Great Gatsby, opens 6 June. Baz Luhrmann dropped the ball massively with Australia, but we must remember the fantastic Romeo & Juliet and critically acclaimed Moulin Rouge. Gatsby – starring Leo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey McGuire and Joel Edgerton – looks and sounds amazing in the trailers and I hope it isn’t just an example of great trailer making. I am feeling confident that it isn’t, and that this film is going to knock my socks off. Fingers crossed anyway! 🙂





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