Monday, 25 February 2013

February: Hit Miss or Maybe

I know February isn't over just yet but I know I won't seeing any new films until the weekend, at least, so I'm jumping the gun. Behold! February films!

1. Antiviral

I had read about this film made by Brandon Cronenberg (son of THE David Cronenberg) and had almost booked a ticket for it at the BFI London Film Festival back in October, but I resisted as I had a sneaky suspicion that it would be on later. The story didn't catch my eye but it is disturbing to read about and eventually, watch. Syd March works for a company that harvest diseases from celebrities and for a price, they inject them into their fans, the really crazy fans. They believe that sharing the same diseases brings them closer to the object of their desires. But Syd March has a job on the side, injecting new diseases into himself and selling them on the black market. It all goes wrong when he injects a disease of a celebrity that dies soon after. The story is a thriller, slightly sci-fi mystery, rather than body shock horror which is the way it has been described. Horror put me off but the real reason I went to see it is because of Caleb Landry Jones. What I've seen him in, I liked so I was intrigued by this actor who first appeared in No Country for Old Men as one the boys right at the end. I say watch this space, he's going to be in more things, I hope. It's a good film, its not horror, but there is plenty of blood thrown around, I found that a bit too much.

2. Hotel Transylvania

Anyone who knows me well, knows I hate Adam Sandler, I do not like ANY films he's been in and pains me that one of my favourite actors of all time, Steve Buscemi works with him. Saying this, I loved this film. You don't see Sandler's face anywhere. Also I love this whole old monsters revival thing going on. It's been happening a lot. It's not so much the fact films are making monsters children friendly it's because I see them as homages to the old black and white films in the 50's and before. The story is simple enough too, Dracula want to protect his daughter, Mavis so he builds an amazing castle hotel. It is a refuge for all monsters to stay in whenever they feel the need to come out of the shadows. Of course no humans are allowed but one gets through, Jonathan, who is not phased by the monsters but causes problems for Dracula when Mavis takes a fancy to him.  I love the monsters and the story doesn't get too sentimental, not until right at the end, but other than, go see it. In 2D, 3D is NOT needed, once again.

3. Ruby Sparks

Story about writer's block? Imagination comes to life? Real life couple playing a couple? Yes, yes I'll watch this thanks. Written by 'Ruby' herself, Zoe Kazan for her boyfriend Paul Dano who plays Ruby's creator, Calvin a young novelist trying to recapture his form success. He starts to write a character and yes, she becomes real. Anything he writes about her, comes to life. It's a brilliant concept and I think, well executed. It is also an incredibly sad story too. But I don't want to go into as I think you can discover a lot more when you haven't read so much about it. I don't say this often but the two leads make a very cute couple, on screen and off. The ending is perfect, plus there is dog called Scotty, named after one of my favourite novelist, F.Scott Fitzgerald, that's just an extra bonus. 

4. Wreck-It Ralph

I know nothing about videogrames, but I did go to arcades when I was younger. I only played air hockey but still, I loved this story. Pixar gets you everytime. Just to mention that the short, Paperman, was beautiful and also an Oscar winner now. Wreck-It Ralph is about the 'bad guy' in a video game and how he's treated when the game switches off. The fantastic support group scene could have been a short all by its self, in fact I hope they do make a short of just those sessions. The fun begins when Ralph decides to leave his game after being snubbed for the hundredth time by the people in his game. He tries to win a medal in Heroes' Duty and then crash lands in Sugar Rush where he meets his soon to be partner in car racing in sugary sweet cars, Vanellope. I don't agree when some people have said, its just like Toy Story but videogames or its just a series of references, it's not, its friendship and survival and finding out what the hell happened to Turbo Man! Pixar Hit indeed!

5. Hitchcock

Hitchcock is one of my favourite directors. I am a huge fan of Psycho and appreciate it much more now that I know more of its origins. But, Helen Mirren almost ruined this film. She was badly cast as Alma Reville, Hitchcock's wife. She was not playing a character, she was playing Helen Mirren. The scenes when we get to see the actual 'making of' Psycho were great. I wanted more of that but instead it was more sugar coated rubbish about the Hitchcock's marriage. I wanted more 'film' Hitchcock and unfortunately I didn't get that. The film isn't a 'miss' because I scenes I liked were worth watching, as well as the fact I thought Anthony Hopkins did a fantastic turn as the Master of Suspense. The best scene is near the end, when Psycho is released on the world and the public watch the infamous 'shower scene'.

6. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

I had been dying to see this film for ages and when it finally came on TV, I couldn't believe my luck. I was very disappointed. I thought it was an adventure film, it wasn't. The heroine, Adele Blanc-Sec, adventures for about 15 mins of the film, the rest is spent trying to wake the dead to save her dying sister. Sorry, but that is dull and not what the trailer said. The story is about Adele, author and adventurer. She is trying to wake Ramasses ll mumified doctor so that he can save her sister who is comatose after a strange a tragic accident. That's basically it. The fact it is written by Luc Besson makes me think twice, but I truly was expecting an adventure, no melodrama. But there are plenty of others who disagree with me.

7. Four Brothers

A reworking and loosely based on the John Wayne film, The Sons of Katie Elder, Four Brothers is set in Detroit, Michigan. The random murder of Evelyn Mercer brings the four boys she adopted back to where they grew up. Each of them have been living their own lives until now. They set out to find her killer and avenge their mother. I didn't pay much attention to this when it first came out back in 2005, but this film is brilliant, so many twists and turns and an excellent, if ultimately predictable, conspiracy at the heart of it. Oh and people die, quite a few people die. Based on a western, it plays out like one which is better view to take on it than 'just another gangster/action film'. I highly recommend this film. Plus for any Good Wife fans, Will Gardner (Josh Charles) makes an appearance.

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