Six-Month Report Card Part Two

In which I complete the cataloguing of my cinematic experiences for the past six months.

A superb directorial debut from Richard Ayoade (Moss from The IT Crowd), adapting a coming-of-age novel set in Wales (in the recent past). Quirky, funny, moving, cinematic, individual, stylish, charming – Ayoade does a great job, with an interesting soundtrack (from Alex Turner) and good performances from the two young leads and support from Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine (hilarious as a ridiculous self-help guru). DAVE

An efficient thriller, with a dash of sci-fi in the form of a pill that makes the brain work better (the scenes demonstrating this are very good), but it prefers the thriller aspect to understanding the full implications of the concept they have used for the story. It is also made annoying if you have seen the trailer (and have a good memory) because there are scenes in the trailer not in the film and scenes in the trailer switched around to give a completely different interpretation from the film. DVD

Sucker Punch
I’m so sorry I saw this. Zack Snyder makes the ultimate YouTube mash-up – the fight scenes are beautifully shot cut-scenes from a computer game done as pop videos, where our cosplay heroines fight giant Japanese demons, clockwork/steam-powered World War I German zombies, killer robots, and orcs and dragons – but the gender politics and the implications of fantasy-within-fantasies being escapes from institutionalised rape make this a very disturbing film to watch, so you probably shouldn’t. DA

Source Code
A really good film that uses sci-fi ideas intelligently to make for an engaging, smart, emotional and gripping story. A good script, good direction (the second film from Duncan Jones, who made the excellent Moon), and good acting from Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan as the leads. DAVE

Already reviewed: see here.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec
Already reviewed: see here.

13 Assassins
An enjoyable samurai drama from the prolific Takashi Miike – it’s a long film, with a slow build, but then the last third is just pure action. It’s like a modern version of The Seven Samurai, as 13 samurai attempt to kill an evil lord (who is protected by loads of samurai), and it’s really good. DVD

A curious but enjoyable B-movie actioner with poetic visuals by Joe Wright, director of Atonement and Pride And Prejudice, with Saoirse Ronan excellent as a girl raised by her father (Eric Bana) to be an assassin with no concept of the real world, chased by an evil queen figure (Cate Blanchett) in a film that parallels fairy tales but is its own thing. Some great supporting turns from Tom Hollander, Jason Flemyng and Olivia Williams. DVD

Attack The Block
Already reviewed: see here.

Another curious film: an adaptation of a police detective book set in London about a cop killer that feels like a British Dirty Harry filtered through an American cinematic approach, with Jason Statham in the lead and a supporting cast of top British actors (David Morrissey, Aidan Gillen, Paddy Considine) in a film with an ending that really fitted the preceding narrative. DVD

X-Men: First Class
Already reviewed: see here.

Kung Fu Panda 2
Beautiful visuals, a great voice cast (including Michelle Yeoh as a soothsaying sheep and Gary Oldman in fine form as the villain), and a moving story combine to make this an equal of the very enjoyable first film. The fight scenes might have been slightly better in the first film and this film misses the spark of the relationship between Po and Master Shifu, but it’s a great sequel that was equally ‘awesome’. DAVE

Green Lantern
Already reviewed: see here.

A very funny film that mixes gross-out humour with believable characters and a simple story, which just happens to be about women. Kristen Wiig stars in and co-writes a film that is full of laughter but without it resorting to the frat boy humour or characters having to shout the punchlines – everyone gets a look in and the film has an emotional resonance that rings true. DAVE

[Explanation of my updated film rating system]

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