April was a relatively quiet month for me on the Worth Watching front, at least in part because I was so busy writing in-depth reviews for the site. The watching on the side tended to focus on political docos for whatever reason. Overall it was all pretty positive and even the one film I don’t think is worth watching is not a complete write off. As always, love to hear your thoughts on these in the comments section below.
- The Lego Movie (2014), Phil Lord and Christopher Miller – Whilst I like this film overall, I think that a lot of people have been too willing to overlook its shortcomings. The first 20 minutes is a blast – subversive, hilarious and a touch political. But for most of the runtime the plot is pedestrian which leaves the whole thing never as subversive as advertised. Just see the treatment of the film’s only female character Wildstyle. However it is one of the most beautifully designed films I have ever come across and the detail in the world-building is great.
- Capitalism is the Crisis (2011), Michael Truscello – This is really informative and relevant if you live in the States, Australia or any similar ‘Western’ country. The film is really slick and well put together which is great for a doco on a topic such as this. Sometimes it does feel a touch academic and hard to follow as the ideas jump around a bit. But you get used to that and begin to grasp key nuggets of info. As our systems seemingly become more and more impervious to the power of those they exploit, films like this will hopefully help to play an ever more important role. Well worth a watch.
- Home Alone (1990), Chris Columbus – Like seemingly all of my childhood favourites, this one holds up cause the script is really damn good. Such a great sense of life to this film. The soundtrack, all the performances especially Culkin’s and a simple yet fun story all help to make this so much fun. Not to mention the deservedly iconic (and really brutal) battle of wits at the ending.
- The Grand Budapest Hotel (2013), Wes Anderson – One of the director’s more accessible films, it remains delightfully almost entirely style over substance. And that is more than alright given I can think of maybe one other contemporary director with a style as unique in a visual sense (Malick). The story is straightforward and playful with plenty of humourous absurdity. Great performances from a huge cast as well, led ably by Ralph Fiennes and newcomer Tony Revolori.
- Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), Michael Moore – Perhaps not his best film, but Michael Moore can really put a film together with the best of them. His use of popular music is probably as good as any director working these days. He is also exceptionally clever and able to distil information in a way that some find glib but I find inspired. Annoying how much of this, especially the interconnectivity between the public and private sectors, is highly relevant to Australia at the moment. It is a real shame that this is Moore’s most recent film. We need voices like him working and bringing this relevance to major audiences.
- Noah (2014), Darren Aronofsky – I can see why some have rubbished this (giants!), and the flaws are plain to see, not the least of which is a number of weak performances. But this is also a big budget film more rich in ideas than any I have watched for some time. Ideas from the biblical to the very contemporary (and some that are both). Aronofsky’s visual vision comes though and pretty much all of those flourishes, a bunch that shouldn’t work, really do. Russell Crowe carries the film, just as his Noah carries the weight of the world on his shoulders in the film. Also his beard is phenomenal.
Not Worth Watching:
- Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism (2004), Robert Greenwald – I had heard a lot of really good things about this film. So I was pretty surprised to finally watch it and see that it is all a bit cheap looking and unfortunately does not really teach you anything you shouldn’t already know. The cheapness of the film is actually a little distracting it is so prominent. There are some good points in here about the blurring of the lines between news & commentary and the fact that Rupert Murdoch is essentially Elliot Carver. All in all though it is a little boring, un-dynamic and more than anything, obvious.
If you only have time to watch one Noah
Avoid at all costs Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism