Archive for November 19th, 2010

Review Catch-up

I have been falling a little behind with my reviews lately so here is a catch-up:


Based on the three-issue comic book series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner, Frank Moses’ (Bruce Willis) is struggling to handle retirement, this in itself is nothing unusual, but frank was a CIA black-ops agent. He spends his days ripping up his pension cheques to give him an excuse to talk to Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), who works in the call centre working for his pension office. When a hit squad attempt to kill Frank he soon realises Sarah may be in danger so kidnaps he to protect he (as you do!). Along the way he picks up Joe (Morgan Freeman) from a New Orleans retirement home, paranoid Marvin (John Malkovich) from his hideout in the Florida Everglades and Victoria (Helen Mirren), an assassin turned B&B owner. They also enlist the help of an unlikely ally, former Russian adversary Ivan (Brian Cox).

The plot is a little on the thin side and with no real twists or surprises but the characters are more rounded and likeable than you would expect in the genre. The true test of a movie like this is how it lives up to its contemporary competitors, and in a class that includes The Expendables, The A Team, The Losers and Knight and Day, Red is probably the best.

Three Stars out of Five 


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The Kids Are All Right

Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening), are a lesbian couple who live in California with their two children Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). It transpires that both woman conceived a child via the same anonymous sperm donor, when Joni reaches eighteen, her brother Laser talks her into contact the sperm bank in order to make contact with heir biological father, Paul (Mark Ruffalo). Despite being keen to meet his farther it is it is actually Joni who forms a bond with him. As he gets to know the family the cracks begin to appear, but they are the cracks of a couple who have been together for a long time. From a prospective of sexual orientation the problems the family have to deal with are no different to those of any other family and leads to a great scene where the mom’s are concerned that Laser may be gay.

The thing that really stands out about the movie is how great the acting is, in the presence of Julianne Moore and Annette Bening it would be easy for the younger actors to get lost but Josh Hutcherson does a decent job and Mia Wasikowska is excellent. A film that can’t decide if it wants to be a comedy or a drama it is brilliant as both.

Four Stars out of Five

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Let Me In

Los Alamos, New Mexico in the early 1980‘s, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a 12 year-old boy, bullied at school and living with his mother after his parents marriage brake up. He forms a friendship with the new girl next door Abby (Chloe Moretz) who is also twelve but has been twelve for “a long time” and has a taste for human blood.

Whilst lacking the gravitas of Let the Right One In, this movie looks as good as the original and conveys the same story to a wider audience. Taken on its own merits it is intelligent and supremely well made, I just can’t help feeling there is something missing, a feeling I didn’t get from the original. Hopefully it will point a few more people towards the brilliant original.

Four Stars out of Five

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Another Year

Set over the course a year and split into four segments representing the four seasons. Tom (Jim Broadbent), a geologist, and Gerri (Ruth Sheen), a therapist, are a happy couple in their sixties. Unfortunately their friends and family are less stable and well adjusted and rely on the couple’s support and friendship. The most significant of these is Gerri’s work colleague, Mary (Lesley Manville).

Basically the title tells you everything you need to know about the movie, it is just about another year in the life of an ordinary family, to put it simply nothing much happens! This isn’t a bad thing, the movie is a very realistic and hugely enjoyable. I was amazed on leaving the cinema to discover that it was over two hours long, the time flew by.

Four Stars out of Five

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We Are What We Are

When the father and head of a Mexican family dies another member must take charge and provide for the family. Unfortunately they are cannibals and providing for the family means finding people to eat.

Telling the story from the point of view of the family it is dark, disturbing and grim but also funny at times. There are also subplots involving the family that help ground the movie but in doing so it becomes even more disturbing. The subject matter and the slow moving narrative make the movie far from easy to watch or to truly enjoy but one you can’t take your eyes off. I get the impression the movie is supposed to be a satire on poverty and society, but it all gets a little lost in translation. I think it’s a movie that different people will take different things from. I really liked it.

Three Stars out of Five



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