Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mini Movie Reviews: Bulk Hit No 15

That's right. More.

Clash of the Titans
If I think of this as an action flick, I am satisfied. I was entertained while I sat and watched. If I think of it as an adaptation of classical texts or a work of art, I could nitpick for hours. So let's leave it as an action flick, shall we? Attending on my burly husband's arm, it was fun.

The Invention of Lying
Disappointing. Super-disappointing. I thought this was going to be a riot. I enjoy Ricky Gervais - especially when he's not cursing (which he isn't, in this particularly movie). There are also so many other big-name cameos...and yet, it disappoints. From its awful opening through to its pessimistic and anti-Christian conclusion, the disappointment grew. What a let-down, I thought this was going to be a ripper.

The Young Victoria
Tasteful, exquisite to behold, and well-acted. This film is just lovely. I do so enjoy a strong period drama, and this is a fine example. With a few poetic adjustments, the true-ish story is beguiling, and leaves you in great spirits. Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend are excellent. Did I mention "tasteful"? If you want royal court politics and partisanship without the sex, skip The Other Boleyn Girl and rent this as a pleasant and enchanting alternative.

Like 2012, this film has the advantage of belonging to a genre I am predisposed to giving a chance. I always enjoy SF's critique and interrogation of our humanity and "human-ness". I also like Bruce Willis, in spite of myself. Unfortunately, this film's delicious premise (the synopsis had me licking my lips - it was all I could hope for from SF) isn't quite realised. It's a little flat...and feels like a good piece of television instead of something from the big screen.

Last Chance Harvey
Worth seeing, although it's not all bright and cheery. It won't leave you down in the dumps (see Goya's Ghosts, for that). It's hard to resist picking the case up with two oscar-winning leads, and the prospect of something different. Different it is. Prepare to make an emotional journey with this one (not a light-hearted escape), but it's one worth taking.

Couples Retreat
Tainted with innuendo and awkward and overt sexual content (pretty much sex with clothes on), this film is otherwise an average comedy, with a few funny moments, and a few surprisingly thoughtful ones (who knew Vince Vaughn was capable?). Although it grasps after a worthy moral, it falls short. Not all bad, but there are much better things to watch if you're after a romantic comedy.

Sabrina (1954)
Worth watching. It has that wonderfully irresistable 50s humour. For example:

David Larrabee: I've been trying to write her a poem, but I can't seem to finish it. What rhymes with "glass"?
Linus Larrabee: Glass... Glass... [snaps fingers] "Alas."

Oh, 50s. A "before and after" / makeover-type-thing is central to this film's narrative; Audrey Hepburn is meant to blossom from plainness to striking and impossible to ignore beauty. This is the film's first flaw. From the moment I saw Hepburn "before" / plain, I scoffed. I also agree with the majority of critics and fans alike who felt the casting was off the mark. It was difficult to watch actors who seemed to be there before they were famous and not because they were right for the part.

Which leads me to...

Sabrina (1995)
This is a gem. A rarity among remakes - in that I prefer it to the original. Some portions are 100% true to the 1954 story, and the changes to alter the story for a modern setting and audience are justified. I really, really enjoyed watching this. I think it helps that Harrison Ford is in it, and perfectly cast, I might add, as are all the co-stars - solving one of my major beefs with the first film. And...Julia Ormond's "before and after" is one of the best I've seen. If you fancy an older (but timeless) film now and then, I recommend this title. I also recommend popping it into your player without viewing the case's stills - as it will make the transformation all the better!
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