films

Review Of 2015: The 10 Most Resolutely Meh Films Of 2015

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By now you’ve probably had your fill of end of year lists. If you’re anything like me then you’ll have digested, pored over and tutted at list upon list of people’s personal film choices of the year. Most of these lists will be people’s top film choices of the year, and occasionally they will – as I did – also pick out their least favourites. But I always like to go the extra mile here at The Movie Evangelist, so I once again bring you my ten Most Resolutely Meh Films Of 2015.

That’s exactly what you’d expect: the ten films I felt most apathetic towards once I’d left the cinema. They’d occasionally excited me, sometimes appalled me but more often than not left me checking my watch and wondering if a toilet break may be more interesting. They’re the ones neither good enough to grace my Blu-ray collection, nor terrible enough to be appearing in a bargain bin near you within a week of release. While I spend an average of five hours a week in a cinema, these are the films that made me wish I’d found some paint to watch drying or perhaps had paid significantly more attention in cutting my toenails.

Here then are the ten films most likely to induce a cinematic coma from the past twelve months.

10. Birdman

Birdman

Ooh look, it’s all clever and it farts around inside and outside a theatre and looks like it’s a single shot even though it’s a conceit that neither really stands up not adds anything to the story. It’s also a very actorly film, with actors ACTING and being INTENSE and it hoovered up a bag of awards because most of them are voted for by actors. But it’s actually tiresome and trying and made me want to punch other people in the cinema in sheer frustration, and I’m not a violent man. Michael Keaton saved it from being truly terrible, and it has a couple of nice moments, but for a film that was supposedly the best thing since a sliced Steadicam it’s deeply unfulfilling.

9. The Night Before

thenightbefore

Dante famously described in the first part of the Divine Comedy, Inferno, nine circles of Hell. Having passed through the gate marked “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”, he then described a room covered in endless TV monitors. On each, there is another Seth Rogen / Evan Goldberg comedy, all now totally indistinguishable from each other, where occasionally a joke can be glimpsed from the corner of your eye, but where that joke remains tantalisingly, tortuously out of reach. Then the poet Virgil appears and reminds you that Superbad was actually quite funny but it was eight years ago.

8. Black Mass

Black Mass

For Christmas, I received a game which featured on the TV show Dragon’s Den. It consists of two piles of cards, one containing phrases and one containing accents. There is a game which you are supposed to play, but we found it much more entertaining to pick up a phrase card and an accent card and to just say the phrase in the accent, and hilarity generally ensues. This film is like that game, except all of the accent cards have been replaced with “Unconvincing Bostonian”. My girlfriend’s sister spent twenty minutes attempting to convey South African, but I reckon she could have had a better stab at a Boston drawl than Benedict Cumberbatch. Not only that, but Johnny Depp’s film career seems to have turned into a bizarre fetish dressing up party that we’re all invited to, and someone’s locked the doors so we can’t get out.

7. Everest

Everest

The world’s highest mountain, standing just short of nine kilometres above sea level where the wind chill can reduce the temperature to -60ºC, where the air is only one quarter oxygen and which the Tibetans call “Mother Goddess Of The Universe” and the Nepalese call “Forehead Of The Sky”. Sounds majestic and imposing, doesn’t it? But if I tell you that the first tweet was sent from the summit in 2005, somehow that dulls the magic, doesn’t it? Everest is the film version of that tweet, a dramatic retelling of a massive mountaineering tragedy that consists of people dying slowly in the cold and has no idea how to make any of it dramatically compelling.

6. Southpaw

southpaw-film

Sorry, Jake Gyllenhaal. I thought you were exceptional in Nightcrawler. You were fascinating in Prisoners. You were charismatic in Source Code. You were compelling in Donnie Darko , and powerful in Brokeback Mountain. You grounded Zodiac, and even made End Of Watch watchable in places. But even you couldn’t save this turgid mess from its narrative cul-de-sacs and tedious riches to rags plotting. Even the fight scenes were about as satisfying as trying to eat a blancmange by falling asleep in it face first and hoping for osmosis to kick in. Southpaw isn’t terrible, but if it was on TV late at night you’d be channel flicking in half an hour.

5. American Sniper

American-Sniper-Movie

Clint Eastwood is 85. That’s a fantastic achievement, but his films give the impression that he’s at least twenty years older. His direction has become fundamentally flawed, squeezing the interest out of almost every scene, to the point where he couldn’t even be bothered to disguise an obviously fake baby. But I wish that was the worst crime that the film had committed: for a Republican, Eastwood has made some surprisingly liberal films over the years but rather than making deep and meaningful points about the nature of war and the politics of the conflicts concerned, American Sniper is content to simply muddle through to its tacked on ending and to hope no-on cares.

4. Mr Holmes

Mr-Holmes

I’m a sucker for a hot dog; if I wasn’t currently dieting to shed the Christmas pounds then I’d probably be feasting on one instead of dinner every time I visited the cinema. But imagine a hot dog with no dog: no matter how good the artisanal brioche bun might be, how good the finest ketchup or mustard slathered across the bun are, without the sausage all you’re doing is eating through a whole lot of uninteresting bread. In the latest of my series entitled “Obvious Food Analogies”, Mr Holmes is that hot dog bun and mystery solving is the sausage, because this is a film about the world’s greatest literary detective where he does barely five minutes of detecting. About as dramatic as watching Gary Neville go shopping for slippers.

3. Suite Française

200813SH_126.nef

Nope, this was so dull I really can’t remember much about it at all. I can remember Kristin Scott Thomas, but I’ve slightly cheated because I looked at the picture above. It doesn’t help that Michelle Williams and Mathias Schoenaerts both have faces that default to a setting so expressionless that you can feel your own emotions being slowly drained out through your eyeballs, your soul clinging desperately to their coat-tails so as not to have to sit through any more of this bland dollop of a film. It’s the kind of restrained, stiff upper lip film that feels allergic to emotion and would like very much to see if you can catch that allergy too. Good heavens, Kristin looks miserable, doesn’t she? I know how she feels.

2. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The Man From UNCLE

Do they make Hollywood stars from pouring botox into moulds these days and then stuffing in a monotone voice box, like a Build-A-Bear Factory for actors where you then get a choice of more expensive outfits? That surely is how they came up with Henry Cavill, but he’s so teeth-clenchingly dull that if he was ever cast as James Bond I’d spend the rest of my life trying to invent time travel so could go back and force Ian Fleming to write “Henry Cavill must never play Bond, he’s duller than toothpaste” in the front of every one of his novels. I’m not sure that anyone knows what the point of Armie Hammer is any more, either. I very much enjoyed a lot of Guy Ritchie’s earlier work, but this is a steaming pile of nobody cares that’s been rounded into an amorphous blob and polished until you can see your own tragic, despairing face and the hand holding a ticket for this film reflected in it.

1. Spectre

The paragraph below the picture contains moderate spoilers for Spectre. If you’ve not seen it, you’ll probably go and watch it now, but don’t blame me, I tried to warn you.

christoph-waltz-spectre

What happened? Like waking up on Christmas morning to discover that all of your presents are just large boxes filled with sticks, Spectre promised a lot – not least from the excellent trailer, the high calibre cast and a returning director who did remarkably well on his debut – but delivered a film so lacking in genuine incident and spectacle after the opening titles that it almost beggars belief.

From a car chase where none of the gadgets were installed and the hero spends most of it on the phone to his boss’s secretary, to a sidekick who sets a world record for the shortest ever time being chased by bad guys, to a hunt for the villain that gets so lost it has to sit and wait to be collected, to a lair in which the villain that attempts to look menacing by employing a small room of people who could all be auditioning for a sequel to Steve Jobs and a finale whose action scenes are a man running around a building to zero effect before he briefly fires a small pistol at a helicopter before he doesn’t do anything else at all, Spectre is a catalogue of underachievement and failure from (ten minutes after the) start to finish.

Spectre became so hung up on nostalgia that it coasts by on past glories, rather than giving us anything to set our pulses racing anew. Even worse, it spurns golden opportunities to liven up otherwise dull, unimpressive sequences such as the plane chase with a dash of Bond theme. For achieving unheralded and unwanted levels in the fields of boredom and frustration, Spectre is my most resolutely “meh” film of the year. Double oh no.

Previous year:

The 10 Most Resolutely Meh Films Of 2012

Other specialist charts:

The Top 10 Old Films Of 2014

Top 20 Most Brain-Achingly Stupidly Idiotic Films Of 2013

The Top 10 Gingers Of 2011

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For April 2014

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Another month slips by, another month when I’ve managed to watch films in the cinema but not to do very much about telling you about them, dear reader, so apologies. My ever demanding job has allowed me to see eleven films in the cinema this month, clumped into three or four groups when I could spare the time, and has spanned both a triple bill in Norwich (90 mile round trip) and a late night visit to Ipswich (80 mile round trip) but it’s been a mixture of late screenings, with just one film seen on a midweek evening (when normally I’d manage one a week).

In all that time, I’ve not had time to write any blog posts, which is even more of a shame given that the overall quality of the films I’ve seen in the first four months of the year. The graph below shows my average rating for films in the first four months of the year over the last seven years. This year I’ve managed only 35 films in the first four months (compared to a peak of 51 in 2011 and 39 by this time last year, but the overall average rating – both by me and by all users of IMDb, to prove it’s not just my own personal taste) have reached a satisfying peak.

Half Dozen April 2014 2

But sadly I’ve been so busy for work I’ve not had chance to tell you that Under The Skin was completely strange, utterly bamboozling and I’m still thinking about it nearly a month later; I’ve not found the time to tell you that Calvary was a devastating and though provoking follow-up to John Michael McDonagh’s superb The Guard, but with a much darker sensibility. You won’t have heard me say that while Asghar Farhadi’s The Past was more drawn out with a slightly weaker ending than his last three features, it’s still better than the output of the majority of western directors and he’s shown he’s as capable outside Iran as he is within it.

Nor have I been able to tell you how much I thought of Richard Ayoade’s sophomore film The Double, or that The Raid 2 ups the stakes on its predecessor, with something resembling a serviceable plot this time and actions scenes that will blow your mind, the car chase alone worth the price of admission. You could at least find the latest Bums On Seats podcast at Cambridge 105 or on iTunes and hear me rave about Joanna Hogg’s thrilling and slightly eccentric Brit flick Exhibition. But you might have to wait until next month before you get an actual review from me – I’ve got a half written one for Transcendence I hope to share with you, along with my crushing disappointment, very soon.

But despite getting to 11 films this month at odd hours, I’ve still managed to miss out on a few that looked interesting. From the Biblical epic of Darren Aronofsky to the latest from Xavier Dolan and a series of James Dean re-releases (never seen any of them, to my shame), these are the six films I’d love to try to catch either in May or before the year is out.

Noah

Tom At The Farm

The Lunchbox

We Are The Best

Wrinkles

Rebel Without A Cause

Review: Oz The Great And Powerful

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Oz The Great And Powerful

The Pitch: We’re off to make the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz.

The Review: Origin stories are a curious phenomenon. It seems you can’t start a comic book franchise without first explaining how characters have obtained their superpowers, as if some justification is required for otherworldly abilities rather than just plain, old fashioned story-telling. The question will always be if these stories are worth telling: no one has yet decided to put pen to paper to attempt to explain whether the Three Little Pigs had endowment or repayment mortgages, or wondered whether The Three Bears sourced the home furnishings that so aggrieved Goldilocks from IKEA or some other home furnishing store. But Sam Raimi has seen a gap in the market: how did the man behind the curtain get behind the curtain in the first place? Is the wizard’s story as compelling as that of Dorothy, or indeed any of the other characters outlined in L. Frank Baum’s fourteen novels based in and around the land of Oz?

As with any venture which calls on well-known or beloved characters, there’s a risk of going too far to either extreme; if you don’t use the existing characters enough, then you’ll alienate the core audience, but fail to include freshness or originality and your purpose will seem false. The restriction that Raimi and Disney had to work under is that Baum’s original novel is now in the public domain, but the original Warner Brothers adaptation from 1939 isn’t, so elements introduced by that adaptation were strictly off limits. This still leaves a pretty open playing field, as long as you don’t want to be wearing ruby slippers (originally silver in the novel), but since this is the wizard’s story, not Dorothy’s, there’s less conflict than you might think. Some excised or ignored elements from the source do make an appearance here, including a land made of china cheekily renamed Chinatown – but this prequel errs on the side of the familiar rather than the fresh.

Indeed, some of the performances feel as if they’ve been lifted directly from 1939, not least James Franco’s cheesy, surprisingly lively interpretation of the titular Oz. Franco’s often gravitated to withdrawn, offbeat roles and it’s certainly the latter, if absolutely not the former in this case. His performance might be an acquired taste, but it’s just one of a number of broad turns which include the witches three (Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis) and some motion-capture LOLs from the wizard’s sidekicks (Zach Braff and Joey King) that stop just short of pantomime. The overall feel is very much in the same vein as Tim Burton’s recent Alice In Wonderland, from the neon brightness of much of the CG backgrounds to the typical Danny Elfman score, but with Raimi, as he so often did with the Spider-Man films, just occasionally adding his own specific flourishes.

What unfolds over the slightly bloated two hour plus running time can be broadly broken down into three phases; the opening twenty minutes, shot as the original Oz was in black and white before unleashing the colour, and featuring some faces of the key players in both narratives; then the tornado lifts Oz and his balloon and it’s practically a theme park ride until Oz encounters other characters in what at first appears to be a sparsely populated land; and finally we settle into the actual story, where Oz looks to understand who he really is. If that sounds like the sort of hackneyed moral that normally underpins middle of the road animation, then it absolutely is, but the gentle humour and the simple characters actually serve to elevate it. It’s hardly revolutionary, but there’s a certain amount of charm in watching how the various elements of the original story fall into place, and while it can’t compare to the 1939 Wizard adventure (or indeed, even the dark charms and originality of the almost cult classic Eighties sequel Return To Oz, which did a better job of drawing on the source material), it’s an entertaining ride that just about justifies its existence.

Why see it at the cinema: Raimi goes big on the visuals and throws in a few trademarks, including POV shots, and there’s no shortage of spectacle or detail, all of which make this a worthwhile experience to make the trip out for.

Why see it in 3D: You’ll notice that the title of this review doesn’t have a “3D” suffix as I saw it in 2D, but I’m going to strongly recommend that you see it in 3D if you can based on what I saw. Not only does Raimi have a good go at two different styles of 3D, including the waving-stuff-in-your-face and also the layered perspective mastered so well by Ang Lee in last year’s Life Of Pi, but seemingly to compensate for the brightness issues of 3D the day-glo aspects have been ramped up, and there were a couple of scenes which cut from darkness to bright sunshine quickly which caused my corneas to attempt to retreat into the back of my head. Even now, the next day, I think there may be images of flying baboons seared onto my retinas, so if you can see this wearing sunglasses – frankly in 2D or 3D – I’d suggest it’s the better option.

What about the rating? Rated PG for mild fantasy threat. The key line is in the BBFC’s extended classification info, where it states that “a PG film should not disturb a child aged around eight or older.” I would just advise a little caution if taking children younger than that, as it’s an occasionally dark film that might trouble the very young.

My cinema experience: Saw this at the Cineworld in Bury St. Edmunds, where I was instantly plied with chocolate – a combination of a two for £4 offer on bags of chocolate and our Unlimited Premium discounts meant I got a large bag of Maltesers for effectively 75p – and a sparse and talkative audience thankfully seemed unfazed by the first twenty minutes being in black and white, Academy ratio. (I know at least one other Cineworld has been tweeting this out regularly to try to avoid complaints.)

The Corridor Of Uncertainty: Tidy. Just three trailers and a meagre selection of public service announcements meant that it was a mere 21 minutes between advertised start time and actual film start time.

The Score: 7/10

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For January 2013

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It’s January again, and all of a sudden film becomes just that shade more worthy, as we prepare for the regular gatherings of the good, the bad and the utterly shameless to congratulate each other with shiny trinkets. (If you’re a new reader, then welcome to The Dis-Enchanted World Of Awards Apathy.) Since everyone’s handing out awards at this time of year, I’m going to follow up last January’s inaugural MUTA (Made-Up Trailer Awards) nominations with further appeals For Your Consideration at this special time.

The Impossible

Ewan McGregor for Best Actor Getting To Put On An Accent Fairly Close To His Own

Producers Álvaro Augustin, Belen Atienza, Enrique López Lavigne for Best Exploitation Of A Natural Disaster That Will Look Really Cool In The Cinema

Small Boy for Most Fake Looking Being Swept Along In The Wake Of A Tsunami

Repulsion

Repulsion for Most Intriguing Looking Re-release of January 2012

Also nominated: lots of other Roman Polanski films. He’s not dead, is he? Or 100?

Les Miserables

Do You Hear The People Sing? for Best Song That Appears To Have Taken Up Permanent Residence In My Head And Now Haunts My Every Waking Thought, Please Send Help I’m Begging You

Russell Crowe for Best Use Of A Beard To Help Him Look Distinguished

Anne Hathaway for Most Likely Dead Cert To Win An Oscar (1/6 at time of writing. Everyone else, you may give up and go home now.)

American Mary

American Mary for Most Interesting Looking Horror Movie That I Can Guarantee Won’t Play Within 50 Miles Of My House

American Mary also for The It’s Out On DVD In Less Than A Fortnight Anyway But That’s Not The Point Cinematic Frustration Award

The Sessions

John Hawkes for Best Actor From Oh, What’s That Film, No Don’t Tell Me, Ooh That’s Going To Bug Me Now

William H. Macy for Best Hairstyling

Helen Hunt for Best Actress Playing A Role That Seems Tailor Made For Helen Hunt

The Last Stand

Arnold Schwarzenegger for Best Retired Politician That Probably Should Never Have Given Up Acting

Johnny Knoxville for Best Actor That Probably Should Never Have Given Up Being Repeatedly Kicked In The Balls

Luis Guzman for Best Supporting Actor From Oh, What’s That Film, No Don’t Tell Me, Ooh That’s Going To Bug Me Now

Bond Legacy: Quantum Of Solace

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Bond’s idea of a night on the tiles hadn’t gone exactly to plan.

Wow. Is it really only nearly two years since The Incredible Suit first had the idea of watching, and blogging about, a Bond film a month until the new one came out? That long ago, all we knew was that more Bond was coming, and we didn’t even know that it would be called Skyfall. Happier times. (Still don’t like that title, but seeing the film may change my mind. We’ll see.) When the twenty-odd bloggers embarked on their mission, many were providing their own take on the films in the form of a review; I sought the option to provide a different angle, so chose to look at the impact that the Bond films have had on both each other and on popular culture. But how do you assess the legacy of a film which only came out four years ago, when you haven’t even seen its successor yet?

Quantum Of Solace is a tricky beast, in that it not only bears the hallmarks of a history of nearly five decades of film making, but also that the legacy of that era was in turn now also starting to have an impact on Bond. The last decade had seen the emergence of two other high profile government agents with the initials JB in popular culture, and Jack Bauer bore all the same hallmarks of the Craig bond, but with the added ability to hack off people’s heads or shoot his boss if the need arose. It’s the other one, though, that had the most direct influence on this Bond, with second unit director Dan Bradley having also performed the same duty on the two Greengrass Bourne films, and here leaving his mucky paw-prints over all the action scenes.

That has, in the mind of many, left Quantum Of Solace feeling like warmed-over Bourne, when it’s actually just warmed over Bond in most respects. I really enjoyed Quantum the first time I saw it, and although that enthusiasm has waned over time, I can still see what drove it; Daniel Craig’s performance at the heart of the film remains as strong as it was first time around, and if anyone is going to be able to put together a run of consistent films to challenge the common perception that Connery / Dalton / Moore (delete as appropriate) is the best Bond, then Craig has two strong personal entries, in one excellent and one reasonable Bonds.

There’s still a lot to like, if not to love, including reasonable Bond girls and some exotic but gritty settings. The two weakest elements are the script and the bad guy, the former left horribly confused by the credited writer being on strike and by an uncredited writer performing re-writes on the day and the latter just a little weak and anaemic. If the Bond Legacy has proved one thing, it’s that your bad guys do need some distinguishing feature, even if it’s a personality.

Quantum Of Solace does tick off a number of firsts, including the first Bond not directed by a subject of Her Majesty’s Commonwealth, a Bond that premièred in India before the US, the first Bond film with an actual car chase in the pre-credits sequence and the first Bond released in a year that ended in eight. Mark my words, I predict there will be more Bond films released in years that end in eight. It’s also the first Bond to be a direct sequel, and I also feel that it mightn’t be the last. But what could the lasting legacy for Bond be from this, most recent, film?

1. All those vodka martinis finally take their toll

Bond had been nursing his martini since Casino Royale, desperate for a pint but not willing to let his image slip.

The one consistent element throughout all of the Bond films is his love of a drink. What we’ve not seen until Quantum is Bond actually starting to get a bit squiffy. I’d be fascinated to see this taken further in later Bonds, with a bearded, bedraggled Bond raging through the streets, Special Brew in hand, firing off his Walther at pigeons that look like they might be doing a double take. Or, possibly a more serious explanation of how a man who drinks this much hasn’t completely screwed his internal organs by now. Anyway, it was nice to see that enough cocktails can make even the great man a little worse for wear.

Next time: I’ll be taking a look into the far future, to examine the legacy of Skyfall. Before that, a review of the film itself and my breakdown of the Bond films, ranked into order.

Previous Bond legacy posts: Dr No / From Russia With Love / Goldfinger / Thunderball / You Only Live Twice / On Her Majesty’s Secret Service / Diamonds Are Forever / Live And Let Die / The Man With The Golden Gun / The Spy Who Loved Me / Moonraker / For Your Eyes Only / Octopussy / A View To A Kill / The Living Daylights / Licence To Kill / Goldeneye / Tomorrow Never Dies / The World Is Not Enough / Die Another Day / Casino Royale

Go deeper for the full BlogalongaBond experience, courtesy of The Incredible Suit.

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers for July 2012

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Life’s a bitch, ain’t it? As of yet I’ve not won the lottery, so I’m resigned to a life of actually working to pay the bills, rather than getting to sit in a cinema all day, write reviews and generally evangelise about how great cinema is. Consequently, with work demanding rather more from me than usual at the moment, I’m left with two choices: write the blog, or go and see films. As I’d not have much to write about if I didn’t go and see films, I’ve followed the logical option, but I’m now desperately trying to find time to squeeze in blogging.

So this month’s trailer picks will be a masterclass in efficiency, as I attempt to describe each trailer in ten words or less. To be honest, my mind’s only on one thing anyway: next Saturday I’m making my annual pilgrimage to the BFI IMAX in London. Two years ago, I double billed Inception and Toy Story 3 and last year it was Mission: Impossible: Ghost: Protocol: Colon, and this year it will be a follow up to the first film I ever saw in IMAX: The Dark Knight. Next Saturday, Batman will rise and, Nolan obsessive that I am, I’ll be sat in row F, having a giant Nolangasm as discreetly as possible. I’ve rated the last four Christopher Nolan films 10/10, so TDKR has a lot to live up to, but based on early word of mouth, I have every right to be excited. Squee.

Anyway, here’s six upcoming films, five of which could be improved with the addition of Batman. Probably.

Marina Abramović The Artist is Present

Apologies for the nudity, apparently it’s art.

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Her off Community might be the female Steve Buscemi. (Funny looking?)

Detachment

Still never seen American History X. Sorry, Tony Kaye.

Nostalgia For The Light

Is it Batman time yet?

The Dark Knight Rises

As I said earlier, squee.

Searching For Sugar Man

I might see this. I might see Batman again. Batman.

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For April 2012

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Before I start, a word of apology to any regular readers (who I think are coming close to numbering in double figures now; I feel like I should send you all a Christmas card at the very least). Sadly I don’t have the luxury of being a full time blogger – although I do keep buying those lottery tickets, just in case – so at times when work, other obligations, other interests or all of the above call on my time, it’s the blog that has to suffer. We’ll overlook for now the fact that I saw four films last Sunday afternoon and evening and haven’t written any of the reviews yet, I’ll just say I’m sorry I’ve not been around for the last couple of weeks and I hope to make up for it in spades in April. So hopefully the blog won’t end up looking like this:

Anyway, to April, the season of anticipation which traditionally mixes the early blockbuster fodder of the summer with a mix of reasonable quality art house material. That said, it’s been three years since I’ve seen a genuine classic 10/10 film in April – that being 2009’s Let The Right One In – so I go into the month without the highest of expectations. It’s looking to be a pretty decent April this year, given the quality of what’s not made the list, including:

  • Sean Penn going all Robert Smith before going on an epic journey across America in This Must Be The Place, which has an unremarkable trailer for such a remarkable transformation
  • Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature French film A Cat In Paris, which has trailers available in both English dubbed and subtitled version and so consequently split the vote
  • Convention-busting horror movie The Cabin In The Woods, about which you should know as little as possible before going in (apparently – the trailer does feel quite spoilery; I’ll be able to say either way in a few days but I’m taking no chances here)
  • Iron Sky, the Nazis on the moon film which you may have heard about, for which it seems based on the reviews that the trailer is better than the film
  • Marley, documentarian Kevin McDonald’s latest on the behind the scenes difficulties in bringing the Owen Wilson / Jennifer Aniston / labrador film to the big screen (not really, but that’s the first link I clicked on when looking for the trailer)
  • The Cold Light Of Day, which looks to be reaching a new low in terms of action movie effort expended (a moment when a foreign character says – about Madrid, in English – “You’ll never survive in this country, you don’t know the language”) and has Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver dialling in performances

Well, maybe not the last one.

Le Havre

I grew up on the Kent coast, so asylum seekers probably ought to be an emotive issue for me. But now, living out on the Fens, surrounded by fields of vegetables being picked by hard working, honest Polish workers earning money for their agriculture studies, it couldn’t be further from my mind. Regardless of your views on people trying to get into this country, this comedy set in the Normandy town looks delightfully off the wall.

Headhunters

It’s always slightly unnerving when the “From the…” credit starts to become more abstracted from those at the coal face. “From the writer / director of…” seems fair enough, unless it’s the director of Axe Murderers In Hell XIV bringing you the new live action Bambi remake, but I start to get slightly nervy at the “From the producers of…” credit. Were, for example, the producers of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo the same producers of The Girl Who Played With Fire? If so, you’re not filling me with confidence, guys…

Jeff, Who Lives At Home

Maybe it’s just the name, but I always imagined mumblecore would have more actual mumbling, even though I could see that conceit wearing quite thin before the end of the actual film. It seemed like mumblecore was going to break into the mainstream a couple of years ago, but so far the Duplass brothers’ Cyrus remains the most prominent example of the genre. Mark and Jay are back, with a cast even more impressive than that last effort, so maybe this year is going to be the year of the mumblers. (Jason Segel and mumbling though? Just doesn’t seem likely.)

The Avengers

It’s called The Avengers, and any attempts to convince me otherwise will end in failure. When I see this at the cinema, I will be asking for a ticket to The Avengers, and will withhold any attempts to be corrected on that subject. Anyone managing to confuse this with either the Patrick Macnee series or the Ralph Fiennes film deserves to be made to watch the Ralph Fiennes film again, just to teach them a lesson. So to sum up, The Avengers. On general release April 26th across the UK. No assembly required.

Being Elmo

It only feels like yesterday since BlogalongaMuppets finished, but one of the few flaws in the triumphant last film The Muppets was the failure to include any Sesame Street Muppets; Big Bird and Oscar’s appearances in the first two Muppet films were both highlights and it’s a shame that contractual obligations put an end to any of them popping up in the 21st century incarnation. So to compensate, this documentary on everyone’s favourite red fluffy Muppet seems the ideal tonic.

Strippers vs Werewolves

Not so much fulfilling the “interesting” brief as being fascinating in the same terrifying way as watching a road traffic accident unfold before your very eyes, this is the kind of trailer normally affixed to the kind of low budget horror films that I favoured as a student, mainly because at the time very few people were making high budget horror films. But don’t worry that it appears to have gathered most of its cast by grabbing them at the stage door of the National Soap Awards and bundling them into a waiting van, it’s got Robert Englund in. You know? Off of A Nightmare On Elm Street, and Wishmaster, and Urban Legend, and Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, and Zombie Strippers, and oh right.