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Being without the internet for so long has made blogging a bit difficult. So far since moving to London I’ve been to see eight different films at Cineworld and I’d love to give full reviews to all of them but that’s a lot of posts and I don’t think I can remember the earlier ones well enough for that so here’s one post for all of them and a whole heap of mini reviews.

But first a few updates. Astarico is here, we’re a threesome at last! I haven’t seen a cockroach for a few days, the mice are gobbling up the poison happily, the foxes shriek a lot all night and rumours surrounding Nintendo’s next home console are doing the rounds setting up what promises to be another deliriously exciting E3. Now that that’s out of the way here’s some reviews.

Source Code

It’s nice to see Jake Gyllenhall starring in something as smart as his ability deserves. This thriller casts him as Captain Colter Stevens, a helicopter pilot repeatedly reliving the last eight minutes of the life of victim of a terrorist bombing of a train in a plot that mixes Groundhog Day with Quantum Leap. The story unfolds slowly, withholding important exposition and values thought patterns and characterisation over brainless action and corny one-liners. Yes it’s possible to poke holes in the logic ofthe high concept but the layered script and acting discourages such.

Sucker Punch

Zack Snyder proves he’s better working with adapted material with this incoherent action fantasy. Emily Browning plays an insane asylum inmate who delves into her imagination, projecting a brothel into the asylum and launches an ambitious escape attempt with a handful of fellow prisoners. The apparently extraordinary dances she uses as diversions are metaphorically presented as CG heavy action sequences designed to cater to thrill junkies. The premise is confusing, the acting and script weak, the action scenes all about style over substance and the speciall affects and stunts overdone. If you switch your brain off you might find something to enjoy even if it’s just the eye candy but don’t expect a classic.

 

Rango

This very offbeat animated western features the voice of Johnny Depp as a pet chameleon who passes himself off as a tough desert sherriff striving to solve the drought problem of a small town of anthropomorphic wierdos. The grotesque character design wouldn’t normally  be my thing but the glorious detail in the animation and totally original approach to animated storytelling and endless ideas completely won me over. It’s the kind of film that will find a more enthusiastic audience among adults than kids but it’s so refreshing to see animation studios taking some risks.

Winnie the Pooh

The 51st animated feature in the Disney canon plays out like a sequel/remake of the 22nd. Aimed squarely at the youngsters A A Milne’s instantly recognisable and very likeable cast of stuffed toys trundle through a handful of loosely connected adventures that sees Eeyore search for a new tail, Owl warn the others about the monstrous Backson that has kidnapped Christopher Robin and Pooh perpetually seeking out a delicious pot of honey. It’s gentle and soothing but not without invention as the storybook conceit is played beautifully with characters bumping into letters and hopping from illustration to illustration. Anyone who likes animation will be entertained but everyone in love with the characters, which is pretty much everyone, will be in bliss.

Your Highness

Danny McBride plays a sweary, inept prince who joins a quest to save his brother’s wife in this potty-mouthed fantasy comedy full of low-brow humour. The presence of Oscar-winning Natalie Portman and Oscar-nominated James Franco underlines how many shades of terrible it all is and makes you wonder why they look like they’re having so much fun. If sexually perverse wizard puppets and horny minotaurs make you laugh you’ll be in for a treat. The rest of us can debate whether or not it qualifies as ‘so bad it’s good’.

Rio

This 20th Century Fox animation sees Blu, a spix macaw and last male of his breed leaving the comfort of being a pet (or rather companion) in Minnesota for the brightly coloured carnival of Rio de Janeiro and a would-be mate called Jewell. It’s just about the only animated kids film in which sex is an important part of the plot but any fornication is forestalled by the pairs birdnapping at the hands of a shady and stupid gang of smugglers and their psychotic cockatoo. As an animted feature it does nothing you wouldn’t expect but retreads the same old formula with humour and spirit.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-sec

Adapted from a popular French comic Luc Besson gives us a delightful period comic romp in which the titular Adele, a journalist goes to some incredible archaeological lengths to save her comatose sister by first attempting to resurrect a mummified ancient Egyptain doctor while the Parisian authorities try to get to the bottom of a series of mishaps perpetrated by a recently hatched Pteradactyl. The film is carried along by a breezy style and the ensemble cast pull it all off without any weak links among them.

Thor

Adapted from the Marvel comics, in turn adapted from Norse mythology, Thor is another superhero flick that places the scandinavian gods in Asgard, a distant realm that holds a shaky truce with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. When their infiltration of Asgard interrupts Chris Hemsworth’s Thor during his ascension he and some mates break Odin’s law by taking the fight to the CG antagonists, prompting Thor’s banishment to earth. It’s a bit of a mixed bag this one, the action and CG aren’t bad, the acting fairly token (even Anthony Hopkins underwhelms) and the 3D is barely there. The film is at it’s best when indulging in some fish-out-of-water comedy but it’s entertaining enough fare to hold the attention.

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