Archive for March, 2013

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G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Jon M. Chu, 2013)

March 28, 2013

GI-Joe-Retaliation

The latest blockbuster sequel to a mildly profitable first film that doesn’t actually have an enthusiastic fan base, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is admittedly not on the same level of terrible as its Stephen Sommers-directed predecessor. It is still an awful film, but in a different way. Some may have enjoyed elements of 2009’s The Rise of Cobra for an apparent sense of knowing silliness and a relatively light tone, but Retaliation, while still possessing things like RZA playing a blind ninja master, permeates a joyless sense of self-seriousness…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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The Croods (Kirk De Micco/Chris Sanders, 2013)

March 22, 2013

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2010’s How to Train Your Dragon is arguably Dreamworks Animation’s creative high point to date, and was directed by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, the team behind Lilo & Stitch, one of the best hand-drawn animations from Disney since their 90s renaissance. DeBlois is steering some Dragon sequels solo, but Dreamworks’ latest all CGI film – their first released through 20th Century Fox – marks the latest effort from the increasingly reliable Sanders, co-directing here with Kirk De Micco. The Croods, an awkward blend of bland sentimentality and cartoonish humour, marks an end to Sanders’ winning streak…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Compliance (Craig Zobel, 2012)

March 22, 2013

Compliance

Compliance opens with the words ‘Inspired by True Events’ in giant lettering and later reveals that incidents similar to those it depicts have occurred over 70 times in various US locations. The film concerns itself with a scenario in which a prank caller, posing as a police officer, persuades fast food staff to interrogate an innocent young employee through demeaning methods, instructions they comply with. What director Craig Zobel forgets is that regardless of the story’s baffling but accurate details from the most notorious of the real-life incidents, depicting authentic material outwith a documentary format renders it fiction, entirely dependent on directorial execution to convey believability…

Full review for The Skinny

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Don Scardino, 2013)

March 15, 2013

The-Incredible-Burt-Wonders

Throwing in James Gandolfini as a hotel chain owner, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone has a group of talented performers on game, appealing form. This is important to note, because the film is only tolerable rather than torturous because of its cast’s charisma. TV veteran director Don Scardino and the film’s multiple screenwriters (including Freaks and Geeks star and Horrible Bosses co-scribe John Francis Daley) frequently fail to set up the comedic material in an effective manner, and virtually every joke in the film is a stale miss. The screenplay also has real problems with focus, with a tone of cloyingly bland sentiment present from the beginning, but then being crudely interspersed with a more extreme, farcical brand of comedy more akin to something like Anchorman. The two styles just don’t flow well in unison…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Onibaba (Kaneto Shindô, 1964)

March 8, 2013

Onibaba-1

Onibaba is an often harrowing and always interesting examination of how people can be corrupted, and particularly how society can break down during times of war. Part of the gloom of the piece is present in the brutally unsentimental, oft-animalistic actions of its characters. The relentless of the women’s stripping and robbing of their victims particularly recalls the way certain insects act; the elder of the women, meanwhile, often expresses ferociousness akin to that of a woodland mammal. The gloom is also present in the film’s environment, nature turning on the characters with the ruining of their crops by unexpected frost in summer. Read the rest of this entry ?

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GFF 2013: Much Ado About Nothing (Joss Whedon, 2012)

March 6, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing

Shot at the director’s home over twelve days amidst post-production for The Avengers, Joss Whedon’s version of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was rehearsed and honed during various afternoon reads over the years. It’s a stylish take that cleverly transposes the text into a contemporary-seeming world of Californian house parties and cliquish gossip, while remaining a credible version of the comedy. The tone of the source material has echoes of Whedon’s own trademark banter, and that play’s witty words are kept intact for this latest transition to the screen…

Full review at Sound on Sight

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Gambit (Michael Hoffman, 2012)

March 5, 2013

Gambit

Though they have not directed the end result, Michael Hoffman having taken care of that, marketing material for Gambit has been centred on the film having been written by the Coen brothers. The timing of the pair’s script submission happens to coincide with the production of their two worst efforts, Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers, the latter also a comedy remake. While those two films were misfires that still retained recognisable Coen mannerisms, there is virtually nothing in Gambit’s dialogue or rhythms that make it feel like it could have come from those writers. Their name is retained, but one hopes the screenplay was just brutally disfigured during that lengthy stay in development hell; the possibility that this final draft really was their handiwork is a frankly depressing notion. Gambit is not just a bad comedy, it’s a catastrophic disaster…

Full review at Sound on Sight