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Showing posts from February 9, 2014

Review: Wreck-It Ralph

John C. Reilly provides the voice of the title character, the big, lumbering villain in a computer game called ‘Fix-it Felix Jr.’, where the hero is a goodie two-shoes plumber...er...carpenter voiced by Jack McBrayer from “30 Rock”. But Ralph isn’t such a bad guy after all, and he’s sick of playing the bad guy, longing to be accepted by his co-stars who don’t socialise with him when the game isn’t in use (I should probably point out at this juncture that the video game characters, like the toys in “Toy Story” are ‘alive’ to an extent). He wants to be the hero, just once. Not being invited to an anniversary party for the game is the last straw, as Ralph decides to enter a different computer game, ‘Hero’s Duty’ (a “Gears of War”-like shooter game) to win a medal and be the hero. After that, though, something goes awry and he ends up in a “Mario Kart”-like go-cart game called ‘Sugar Rush’, and his medal is ‘borrowed’ by Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman, surprisingly perf…

Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The bizarrely named Quvenzhane Wallis stars as the equally bizarrely named Hushpuppy, who lives in Louisiana bayou country, a place she calls ‘The bathtub’. Hushpuppy’s father (Dwight Henry) is a troubled, sometimes violent man who frequently abandons the girl, due to an unnamed illness he is being treated for. It’s an ugly and almost post-apocalyptic existence, full of poverty as the land they occupy is pretty much sinking around them, but they resist the call to evacuate. Hushpuppy is also having apocalyptic visions of giant wildebeests that look like something out of a Vincent Ward (“Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey”) film.

Based on a play by Lucy Aibar, this is unlike any American film I’ve ever seen. It feels like a foreign film, and yet it’s American and in English. Directed and co-written by debutant Benh Zeitlin, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it and the camerawork by Ben Richardson is appalling, but it’s too odd to be dull I think. I don’t really think young Quvenzhane W…

Review: Like Crazy

Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones play college kids who quickly fall in love. He’s got designs on being in the furniture-making business, she’s a British exchange student who shares his love of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’. Graduation comes and out of sheer, stupid laziness, Jones allows her visa to have expired. So after spending time back home in the UK, she finds she is unable to gain entry into the US. With Yelchin now having his own furniture business, he is unwilling to move, and Jones wouldn’t think to ask. So the couple attempt the long-distance relationship route, hoping one day that Jones will be cleared to travel. In the meantime, they understandably find themselves being offered more convenient romantic options (Yelchin with Jennifer Lawrence, Jones with Charlie Bewley). But it just isn’t the same. And yet, if Jones’ travel issues were sorted, would things still be the same as when they left off? Or would the moment have passed?

I could probably count on just one hand the numbe…

Review: Blood Simple

Cuckolded husband and frankly unpleasant bar owner Marty (Dan Hedaya) thinks his wife Abby (a young Frances McDormand) is cheating on him. And she is, with Ray (John Getz), an employee of Marty’s, no less. Marty, enraged, hires a scumbag PI (M. Emmet Walsh) to first spy on, and then (when he has photographic evidence) kill them both. But in this film full of shifting motives and flawed characters (did I mention that the PI is a scumbag?), things aren’t that simple. But then, murder is never simple is it?

I’ll never be confused for a Coen Brothers fan, and although their 1984 low-budget debut (directed and co-written by Joel, Ethan serving as co-writer) is a bit overrated, it’s still a pretty easy watch I must say. I’d been wanting to see this one for about 20 years, hell I would’ve gladly traded this for some of their crappier films I’ve seen up until now. It’s a bit too slow and hardly up to the standard of their two best films “The Big Lebowski” and “True Grit”, but it sure as hell …

Review: A Christmas Story

Set somewhere in the 1940s, Peter Billingsley is young Ralphie, whose only wish for Christmas is for Santa to get him a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. Yes, a BB gun that will surely put his eye out. But Ralphie is nine, and nine year-olds don’t care about stuff like health and safety and good vision. He drops various hints to anyone he can, be it his mother (Melinda Dillon) who is indeed concerned Ralphie will put his eye out, his hard-working father (Darren McGavin), and even his school teacher. Meanwhile, we are witness to typical tropes of being a kid like swearing in earshot of your parents, despicable school bullies (Zack Ward’s thoroughly obnoxious Scut Farkas. Yes, Scut Farkas) and double dog dares that seemed like a good idea at the time until someone (Scott Schwartz, take a bow) gets their tongue frozen to a pole in the middle of winter. Will little Ralphie get his prized Red Ryder BB gun come December 25th? You’ll have to watch and see for yourself.…