Showing posts from March, 2018

BPM (120 Battements par minute)

A Tragic Romantic (yes, both in caps) set against the backdrop of the AIDS epidemic in early 90s France. And unlike the American (read: mostly Hollywood) interpretation of the subject, BPM was a less showy retelling of the brave actions of the ACT UP activists, mixed in with a dose of European sensibility and arthouse auteur-ness. However, of course it still did have it cliches and was an unabashed tear jerker, but at least the cliches served a purpose and the tears were well-earned. The film was long but it never really felt the full 140 minutes and director Robin Campillo has smartly intersected the film with breaks to give the audience brief breathers to reflect and ruminate and recollect. A superb cast all round and our two leads had great, palpable chemistry that felt honest and real, which was crucial to the inevitable - but yet still cathartic - climax. The music was apt throughout and the choice to close the credits with no accompaniment was apt. After that ending, it was more…

Ready Player One

An absolutely fun and excitingly nostalgic film that was very apt for Easter with lots of great (80s) pop culture references and laugh out loud moments. Although thinner in complexity and character development then Ernest Cline’s brilliant source novel, Steven Spielberg’s vision was richly drawn and thrillingly executed...except for the slightly drawn out second act. However, Spielberg’s version of the OASIS was as exciting as one would imagined from the book and he would be one of the few living directors who could get all the rights of the 80s throwbacks and pop culture references and put it on to the big screen in a way that worked and spoke to the audience. And obviously things would have to be changed when translating from the page to the screen, and some things worked (that whole homage to “The Shining” bloody good!!!) and some did not (why is the villain really after them again?). Tye Sheridan was well-cast as our protagonist but Ben Mendelsohn and Lena Waithe stole the sh…

Tomb Raider

Alicia Vikander is the only reason to watch this reboot although Vikander lacked the natural charisma and screen presence of her predecessor Angelina Jolie. In addition, Vikander's Lara Croft is a disappointment in this post-Wonder Woman era, with her Croft being a more reactive "heroine" rather than a pro-active, action star. This could have been an attempt by director, Roar Uthaung, and writers, Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, to ground this video-game franchise in some sort of reality, however, there are better ways to write your central character, and the plot, without having to sacrifice realism. This origin story had a good, "grounded" first act, but the middle act was too dragged out with simple logic utterly abandoned, and ended with a short, Indiana Jones/The Mummy-esque fun third act and an epilogue that laid the groundwork for a - no surprise here - franchise. 

There were no memorable moments, action or CGI sequences, in this film unli…

Pacific Rim: Uprising [IMAX/3D]

This was an entertaining, albeit highly silly, ridiculous and narratively incoherent, piece of fluff film that felt a lot more like a high-budget, Sunday morning entertainment à laThe Power Rangers or a live-action Voltron wannabe. It lacked the visceral action, visual panache, characters/actors chemistry and high-stakes value that made the original Guillermo del Toro film so memorable and, retrospectively, exciting (despite its also clunky plot). The over-pandering to the Chinese audience was also intrusively blatant and really affected the overall enjoyment. That is what you get when Wanda bought over Legendary.

The plot made sense in a very loose sort of way. This was one of those films where you just got to check your brains and logic and sensibility at the door, and just go with the flow. Take things as they come, accept the plot contrivances for what they are, and then it will be much more enjoyable. Don't question the logic. That is the simplest way to enjoy this film.