Its that time of the month again to look back at my past months cinema viewing and pick the best.
Safe House: Enjoyable but unoriginal action thriller. Denzel Washington is as good as ever but completely unchallenged. I could have done without the overused and unoriginal grainy photography and shaky camera.
John Carter: A hundred years in the making and frankly not worth the wait. An unnecessarily convoluted plot, overlong runtime, lacklustre action scenes and pointless use of 3D make for a huge disappointment. The only positive, it does look good.
21 Jump Street: Buddy cop movie and high school comedy in equal parts. It works as both a homage and a pastiche of the original TV show on which it is based. The real revelation is how funny Channing Tatum is.
Contraband: Routine but enjoyable action/drama/thriller, a remake of the Icelandic Reykjavik-Rotterdam. The big problem, Mark Wahlberg is a far less interesting performer to watch than the supporting actors: Ben Foster, Lukas Haas, Diego Luna and Giovanni Ribisi.
In Darkness: The true story of a man who hides a dozen Jewish refugees in the sewers of a Nazi-occupied polish town. It seems less manipulative and more honest than bigger profile holocaust movies, this is enhanced by the claustrophobic environment end the more intimate story.
The Hunger Games: A perfectly cast and well balanced adaptation of the phenomenally successful book. It handles the difficult subject matter and the potential wide audience demographic perfectly but the greatest achievement is that it works for both fans of the books and people with no prior knowledge. Already a hit, parts two and three are sure to follow.
Wild Bill: Being a farther to his two sons is the last thing on Bill’s mind, but when he returns home after being released from prison on licence after eight years, but he is forced to make a choice when he finds them abandoned by their mother and fending for themselves. A great directorial debut by actor Dexter Fletcher.
I am pleased to report that I haven’t seen a bad movie all month and half of what I have seen are contenders for movie of the month. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and 21 Jump Street were both far better than expected. In Darkness came very close and The Hunger Games looks like a clear winner, however the last movie I saw Wild Bill just edges it. Not only is it at least as good as the other contenders but it came out of nowhere, I had never heard of it until a day before I saw it. Although not totally original it does avoid may of the pitfalls and clichés of your typical London gangster movie. It also manages to be a funny and engaging story of dysfunctional family without being saccharine sweet. Less an urban western than the title hints at, but the final showdown doesn’t disappoint.