Thursday, 1 September 2011

Film Roundup - August

Welcome to the August edition of film roundup!

I’ll try and link each film title to a trailer on youtube that you can peruse if interested in said flick. Because you are lazy and I am kind like that.

First up we have Nicholas Cage’s bad hair appearing yet again in Season of the Witch. While looking adequate (the production design, not Cage’s hair – still dodgy) this supernatural medieval romp remains fairly lacklustre up to its disappointing conclusion.

The blaxploitation parody of Black Dynamite is a good idea in theory but is ultimately a one-note joke – something that should have been a five minute sketch instead of being drawn out for an hour and a half.

Similarly, A Town Called Panic is commendable for its charming rough animation style but there’s only so much shouting and squawking in French one can take before it starts to severely grate.

Also on the animation tip is Gnomeo and Juliet, which despite having the most amazing british enemble cast this side of a Harry Potter film, just ends up being a bit yawnsome and by the numbers. Unfortunately, the star-crossed lovers don't both commit suicide in the end – oops, did I spoil it for you?

Another CGI film out recently is Rango – and whilst the characters and setting are inspired (Johnny Depp as a gangly chameleon with the gift of gab in a western), you cant help but feel this movie was destined to flop as it was marketed to children but is presents itself as more adult-oriented in its occasionaly dark themes, jokes and weirdly grotesque characters.

Next up we have Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut Submarine. Whilst being a sharply observed and lightly humorous coming of age drama, the unlikeability of some of the characters somewhat undermines the audience’s ability to really care about the outcome. Those looking for appearances of underwater vehicles will be sorely disappointed but this film is worth watching just for Paddy Considine’s character and his extraordinary mullet which should receive a screen credit in its own right.

Taking it back to the old school, 1980 to be exact - where we have Bob Hoskins being gangster – literally! He plays a likeable mob boss in The Long Good Friday, which although seems a bit dated now, is still a thoroughly engaging and recommended watch. Hoskins, Helen Mirren and Pierce Brosnan – they all look so young! The music is pretty good too.

Moving into horror now, British flick Wake Wood is an interesting story of pagan rituals to bring back the recently deceased. Despite its great cast you can’t help but feel that this was destined more for TV than as a feature film.

The Wolfman, the
remake of the classic Universal monster icon is kind of the opposite. Despite the odd casting choice of Benicio Del Toro, I liked the gothic atmosphere and Stan Winston’s werewolf effects are great. Anthony Hopkins is solid as always (when isn’t he?) – just make sure you see the Director’s Cut if you can as its reportedly far superior to the regular ‘theatrical cut’.

Finally, we have the monumental disappointment that is Cowboys and Aliens. I really wanted to like this film, I really did. Although the right ingredients were there, the film just didn't gel together as a whole and by the end of it I found myself not caring. The story holds no surprises, the alien design is uninspired and Harrison Ford (grumbling his way through the entire film) and Olivia Wilde are both sadly wasted.

Daniel Craig does get a plum role as a badass amnesiac cowboy but its not enough to lift the film beyond being a thoroughly mediocre affair.

That’s it for this month’s film roundup. Until next time!

1 Sep 2011


  1. Theres a lot of negativity in this post mate, doesn't look like you've been enjoying much film lately.

    I for one loved both Black Dynamite and Cowboys and Aliens. Black Dynamite did a brilliant job of imitating the various errors and ridiculous mistakes film makers used to make back in the day, every thing from doing every thing as a single shot despite props failing or actors incompetence, to people verbalising their scripted actions as speech or even the boom mic falling into shot. The story was over the top, the action tongue in cheek and we all enjoyed it a whole lot.

    And looking for something more in a Sci Fi Western than six shooters, space ships and gravely voices is just asking for trouble dude. I sat down in that cinema, switched my brain off, and just allowed the whole experience to simply wash over me, and i enjoyed the ride no end :)

  2. lol yeah i know - i realised whilst writing it that I was cussing out most of the films - just being honest is all.

    As for C&A, I guess i just expected a bit more going in there from Favreau & Co after the Iron Man films yknow? You had all these great actors such as Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano that werent given much to do.
    I think it was just a case of overhype for me.

    Black Dynamite also - loved it for the first 15-20 mins or so but I feltit was just too long for the concept. Darkplace did a similar thing but worked because it was in the format of a TV show.

    Thanks for the comments though - keep 'em coming!

  3. I like what I read here Seb. Thorough and insightful criticism of the films you've covered. What I'd expect from an individual with a background in English Literature.

    You creating so much output is making me think I should ramp up what I'm doing again (although I wonder if my eyes can take it?)

    Will keep on reading as long as you keep on posting :)

  4. Dude, you can change in the settings so you can have the last 5-10 posts summarised at the top.

    Can guide you to where you can make the changes if you want...