May was a crazy month for me and this last week has been the craziest, hence the lack of work on here. Uni commitments and adding a new part time to my ongoing full time gig meant even less time for writing here and commenting on everyone else’s stuff. Somewhat surprisingly I still managed to see a fair few films though. And even more surprisingly, I was in a pretty good mood as this is one of the very few months (only the second ever maybe) that everything I saw was deemed ‘worth watching’. So instead of the usual film for you to totally avoid, you get two to make sure you check out. Share your thoughts on these films below.
- Iron Man 3 (2013), Shane Black – Wow what a cracking return to form for this series after the rubbish that was the second film. Helped along by some stellar performances, Ben Kingsley and Gwyneth Paltrow chief amongst them, this is a shedload of fun. The humour actually works this time and against all odds, a buddy relationship between Stark and a young boy is delightful and quite hilarious. One of the best big mainstream flicks of the year.
- Oblivion (2013), Joseph Kosinski – I have a lot of issues with this film, but it just manages to scrape by, mainly because of the visuals. A fair bit of the narrative direction they take it is pretty naff and the ending is a real head scratcher. It’s also not as mysterious or deep as great sci-fi should be. Much is excellent though. As well as looking fantastic, it has some interesting things to say about memory and plenty of very satisfying action sequences. Imperfect, but worth your time.
- Lockout (2012), James Mather & Stephen St. Leger – Or Space Jail as it’s effectively known to some. Set in 2079, Guy Pearce is a former CIA op who has to venture into the universe’s highest security prison to save the President’s daughter. Yep the plot is daft, but here it is realised with a great sense of humour – James Bond quips, but more adult. It’s all terribly silly, terribly over CGI’d and clunkily scripted, but it is also so just so much fun if you can turn your brain off. Pearce delivers his hilarious lines brilliantly and overall really makes this too much fun to ignore.
- Prophets of Science Fiction (2011), Ridley Scott – Incredibly, delightfully geeky stuff this is. It makes connections, often challenging ones, between classic literary sci-fi and real life science. It’s not perfect – the voiceover occasionally veers into Unsolved Mysteries territory, the connections are sometimes stretched a little too far and Ridley Scott’s contributions are a little egotistical. But overall it is mind bending and always explained clearly. Nice recreations too, that serve to give an insight into the creators behind the works.
- Funeral in Berlin (1966), Guy Hamilton – This sequel to The Ipcress File is just as good as the first. A whole lotta Cold War intrigue, complete with numerous twists & turns as well as too many character names to remember. But the core narrative is a cracker and Michael Caine is simply fantastic.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010), Thor Freudenthal – Despite the book’s comic style, this manages to parrot the visual style of the source quite well. It also has a quite original, occasionally absurd, sense of humour and the whole thing is entirely charming. It does unfortunately buy into many of the traditional notions of popularity. But as a super stylishly shot kids film with good performances all round (Chloe Moretz!) this is a whole lot of fun.
- The Hangover Part III (2013), Todd Phillips – I was definitely not a fan of the first two, but for some reason I didn’t mind this film. Plenty of Ken Jeong, which is always a good thing for any self respecting Community fan like myself. And at least the storyline is moderately different to the first two. I even found Zack Galifinakis’s character enjoyable, whereas usually he is infuriating. Overall this is funny enough, without being anything too special.
- Snitch (2013), Ric Roman Waugh – Much of this is your typical The Rock action flick, semi-trailer chases and all. But absurdly and utterly awesomely, it also takes a political stance on the truly fucked up nature of American drug laws. Tis great to see an action film, even if it is not the greatest one, trying something different. Ironically though, at one point, The Rock does take advantage of America’s lax gun laws to combat the shitty drug ones.
- Star Trek into Darkness (2013), J.J Abrams – In a month of cracking big budget releases, this one takes the cake. I’ve never seen an episode of Star Trek, but this is one of my favourite films of the year so far. The final third is searingly intense, emotional and exceptional. The JJ bandwagon shows no sign of slowing down and if there is a better actor in the world at the moment than Benedict Cumberbatch, I don’t know about them. The emotional depth and heart on the sleeve, especially well done through the nuance of the relationship between Spock & Kirk, is rare for sci-fi.
- The Art of Fighting: Mark Hunt (2013), Karlton C Akari – UFC fighter Mart Hunt is notorious for his two word answers in post-fight interviews. So it is great to see him speak in detail about his craft. He even quotes Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid! This made for Australian telly doco looks awesome and is a really well put together film. Sharp as.
If you only have time to watch one Star Trek into Darkness
If you only have time to watch two The Prophets of Science Fiction