Worth Watching March 2011

Worth Watching:

  • Kung-Fu Panda (2008), John Stevenson, Mark Osbourne – Kicks off with a wonderful traditional animation intro. From there Jack Black, who has a voice made for animation, and the really crisp animation make this one of the better of recent animated films. The keen sense of style in the training and fight sequences being the highlight. However it does include probably the worst DVD extra in existence. This:

  • The Informant (2009), Steven Soderbergh – Matt Damon is excellent (isn’t he always lately?) as a deluded, paranoid whistleblower. This is a strange film which treats some very serious content in a very light-hearted way. A contrast which may possibly explain its rather weak following. But it’s never less than intriguing, and the quirkiest voiceover I can remember hearing is worth watching this for alone.
  • Adjustment Bureau (2011), George Nolfi – Philip K. Dick’s short story has been expanded into an at times clumsy, but overall intriguing sci-fi love tale with Wings of Desire (1987) overtones. Damon is surprise surprise, excellent while Emily Blunt showcases the unfamiliar talent of being able to seem like a real person.
  • Twelfth Night (John Gorrie), (1980) – The BBC Shakespeare adaptations improve to 1-1. This film clarifies the play and delivers a low budget but very funny and very very well acted version of Shakespeare’s comedy. Captures a fantastic sense of fun.
  • The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (2005), Robert Rodriguez – After reading his book recently, I have set myself the challenge of watching every Rodriguez film. This is one of the best family films I have watched in a long time and Rodriguez brings a bold, heavily stylised visual style to bear on the material adapted from his son’s dreams and drawings (awww). All the performances are good (even from that Twilight dude), especially George Lopez hamming it up.
  • Accattone (1961), Pier Paolo Pasolini- Pasolini’s first film is incredible. Confronts social issues such as prostitution and violence against women in a disturbing, sinister atmosphere. A tale of the lengths that poverty drives people to, a message still relevant today.
  • X-Men (2000), Brian Singer – This comic book flick’s evolutionary ideas give it a nice boost. As does Jackman’s charismatic turn and Paquin’s interesting one. Whilst a little silly on occasions, this builds nicely, and if anything could have done with more of the great fight scenes with the characters powers.

Not Worth Watching:

  • The Hangover (2009), Todd Phillips – I’ve become pretty sceptical of contemporary comedy recently. This is a pretty run of the mill effort, except for a really good performance by Bradley Cooper, and the Mike Tyson cameo.
  • War Inc. (2008), Joshua Seftel – Some quite good films, for one reason or another go straight to DVD in Australia. This is not one of them. Oh man this is bad. Nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is and about as subtle as a baseball bat to the spine. I can sum up why you should not watch this in one sentence: Hilary Duff, playing a Middle Eastern popstar, is the highlight.
  • Paycheck (2003), John Woo – A brilliant Philip K. Dick short story is turned into a far from brilliant film. The sci-fi setting of unknown times is kitsch, and the whole experience is cringeworthy. It took my girlfriend all of 15 seconds to start pissing herself at how bad this is. I fell asleep for the last half an hour, but she assures me it does not get any better.
  • Mrs Dalloway (1997), Marleen Gorris – The style of Woolf’s novel doesn’t exactly scream “cinematic adaptation”. The film is very obvious, which comes from trying to externalise what was internal in the book. Bad hammy acting and a fumbling of the novel’s flashback structure add to the pain.
  • Knife in the Water (1962), Roman Polanski – Film’s don’t have to have likeable characters to be enjoyable. But having two that are as big pricks as these guys makes it difficult. Drab, washed out visuals are pretty at times. But nothing can save the waaaay to slow narrative of this attempted psychological thriller. Far too ponderous.

If you only have time to watch one Accattone

Avoid at all costs War Inc.

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