Ten Tiny Reviews, Volume One.

Transcendence (2014):

5/10

If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ve got a good idea of what the film’s like. Johnny Depp is great as always but he can’t save this one. It’s a huge concept, treated poorly, without care or consideration by the script. Plot holes and inconsistencies left me thinking – if I’d have presented this script to my high school english teacher she’d have said ‘great idea, now rewrite the draft ten times and then we’ll have a script’.

August Osage County (2013):

8.2/10

This will not be everyone’s cup of tea but I really liked it. Brave casting places Benedict Cumberbatch as a southern American, and puts Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney back together in a totally different context to the last film they were in together (My Best Friend’s Wedding -1997). All performances are outstanding. It’s a great stage to cinema adaptation. The plot is enthralling, the drama is very tense and is really effectively broken up with a little black comedy. It’s visually beautiful and painstaking realistic.

Frozen (2013):

8.1/10 There’s a lot of hype around this one and it lives up to it. I found the songs annoying when I heard them out of context but they really work in the film. It’s a great modern take on the disney fairytale, and not in a contrived way at all. The characters are fun and endearing and the plot is engaging and surprising. Definitely worth a watch.

Pitch Perfect (2012):

1/10

Words cannot describe just how bad this film is. ‘Juvenile’ does’t come close to describing the lack of taste and intelligence in the ‘humour’, I didn’t laugh once. The characters and plot are so paper thin and the production is plastic. The dialogue and plot are like a slap in the face. I don’t have much else to say other than that I hated this film. Disclosure: I actually didn’t finish watching ‘Pitch Perfect’ – I was home sick and so I rented it. I got half an hour in before I decided I couldn’t take anymore and turned it off. Then when I couldn’t find anything else to watch I thought ‘how bad can it really be? I’ll just put it back on’, 15 minutes later I turned it off again.

X Men: Days of Future Past (2014):

6/10

I really wanted to love this film, but didn’t. They so obviously wrote the screenplay around which cast members are the most popular at the moment (Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage…). I’m happy to suspend disbelief and forgive plot inconsistencies in this type of film, but DOFP goes way too far. It makes references to some, but not all, other X Men films, asking you to remember some bits and forget others. And even as a self contained piece it’s so ludicrous that it lacks tension because it’s almost impossible to really engage in the silliness. I didn’t totally hate the film, but I wanted to love it so I was disappointed. It has a great look and some exciting moments, particularly with the character Quicksilver – played by Evan Peters and aided by some great visual effects.

Lions For Lambs (2007):

5/10

Just like Robert Redford‘s most recently directed film ‘The Company You Keep‘ (2012), this film had a lot of promise (starring Meryl Steep and so on), but unfortunately the best way to describe it is BORING. It’s three loosely intertwined stories, the one about the soldiers stranded in the middle of a battle in Afghanistan was interesting and was quite a raw and unique depiction of war. The other two stories lacked any depth or interest and the film felt weirdly like watching a play.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014):

6.2/10

I didn’t want to watch this film, I’m not a fan of Keira Knightley or Chris Pine, but I was pleasantly surprised. Kenneth Brannagh plays a good Russian and does a decent job as director. The action is fairly contained, the characters have depth, and on the modest level that it aims for – it works. I enjoyed the film for what it was.

The Butler (2013):

5.3/10

Watching ‘The Butler’ feels like watching a tele-movie. It’s glossy but not too impressive, some of the performances are not good while others are fairly convincing (Mariah Carey doesn’t set things off to a good start). Probably the most interesting part is waiting for each new president to arrive on the scene so you can see who has been cast in the role. The film brings almost nothing new despite the great true story behind it. It’s not particularly interesting or exciting, it’s just okay.

Shoah (1985):

8.8/10

If you’re in the mood for a nine hour holocaust documentary then this is the film for you. Shoah is a really unique approach with interesting interviews, some revisiting sites, reenacting journeys, with some even filmed by secret cameras. It’s transparent and self aware – even featuring an argument between the director and a translator over the accuracy of the translation. It’s confronting and fresh in it’s perspective. I watched ‘Shoah’ over three sittings. It’s a big ask but I’d really suggest everyone watch it at least once in their life time.

The Artist (2011):

9.8/10

I went to the film with high expectations and I left very happy. This film has so much charm, the cast are absolutely brilliant, the black and white and mostly silent nature of the film work so well and are not pretentious or contrived in the slightest. It captures the feel of Charlie Chaplin films all over again and I think that is so exciting to see in a contemporary film. ‘The Artist’ is so engaging and so endearing, it’s really a cinema gem.

BONUS REVIEW! Closed Circuit (2013):

6/10

Watching this film I said, ‘I can’t tell if Eric Bana‘s acting is bad or if the script is bad’, the reply I got was: ‘I think it’s both’. It’s not a terrible film, again it feels a little like a tele-movie, but it holds interest and has some moments of tension – notably the height of the drama just before the film ends, quite a heart wrenching scene. It’s not the greatest movie you’ll ever see, but it’s fine for a friday night thriller.

Agree, disagree, have something to add or another film to suggest? I’d love to hear from you, so post a comment below.

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