I’d like to be able to give full reviews to every film possible but the backlog has really been building up lately which can only mean one thing, roundup time and four mini-reviews for the price of one.
I saw this one with Ryan and Tom’s sister Harri, or rather most of it as I confess we were rather late to the cinema, our bus having not stopped where it was supposed to. Ralph Fiennes, who I’ve always greatly admired for his performance as Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List stars and for the first time directs a lesser-known Shakespearean tale about a Roman war hero who struggles with the position of power he is given. Removed to the modern day and a vaguely eastern European setting that fits the story well the film’s triumph is in making one of the Bard’s obscurer plays extremely easy to follow, understand and appreciate. Fiennes is as intense in the title role as you’d expect from him, Vanessa Redgrave soars as his fierce and loyal mother and the supporting cast are all on fine form. Gerard Butler’s never been better.
A Monster in Paris
This fairly unambitious French CG toon makes good use of clean animation and some catchy musical numbers to elevate the 1910-set story about a cocky delivery driver and his timid cinema projectionist buddy’s accidental creation of a giant singing flea. Vanessa Paradis voices glamorous nightclub singer Lucille (who goes straight into the cute animated ladies hall of fame) and literally takes centre stage casting the flea in her musical show. A likeable bunch of characters and decent script give this one some credit and there are some great sequences to accompany the tunes but it’s not ultimately that memorable. Nice though and one animation connoisseurs like me should definitely give a look.
Interstella 5555 – The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem
My surprise Christmas present from my cool flatmates turned out to be a DVD copy of this unusual film that combines two of my favourite things, anime and Daft Punk. The French house band approached their favourite Japanese animator Leiji Matsumoto to create a sci-fi silent film for their album Discovery. The story follows an alien music band who are kidnapped and brought to Earth to be a maniacal record producer’s next big thing while loveable spaceman Shep sets out to rescue them. Some of the story sequences fit the thumping tracks better than others, the standout would be Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger but there are plenty of other highlights. As a film it’s an interesting curiosity that works reasonably well but is unlikely to demand any repeat viewings among casual audiences. If that’s you subtract a star. For anyone like me, who loves both animation and Daft Punk it’s a tremendous treat.
Having reviewed this film’s sequel A Game of Shadows HYPERLINK #1 not took long ago it seemed a bit redundant to give a full review to the original too so here it is in the roundup instead. Robert Downey Jr’s Holmes and Jude Law’s Watson successfully apprehend Mark Strong’s satanic Lord Blackwood who is hanged for his heinous crimes. But when he seems to rise again from his tomb London is gripped by paranoia and history’s most famous consulting detective must put an end to his chaotic plans. The character chemistry and CG recreation of Victorian London charmed audiences and the film remains better than the recent follow-up.