This is the End – Mini Review

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This is the End is a moderately funny movie that thinks it’s a lot more clever than it actually is. It’s a movie for Hollywood, by Hollywood. Film stars are popping in left and right to make fun of their public personas, some more successfully than others. The cameos littered throughout the early portion of the film provide a few laughs here and there, but it begins to establish the film’s major flaw of feeling self-indulgent.

As anyone who has seen the trailer knows, the main conceit of the film is a bunch of movie stars left behind on earth during the biblical apocalypse. The plot doesn’t really get more complicated than that. This is primarily a film with six actors saying: ‘Look at me! Isn’t it cool how I can poke fun at myself and my movie roles?’

There are some genuinely funny moments throughout the film, but they only really serve to highlight how dull and predictable the rest of the film is. I wanted to like the movie, and kept hoping it would get better, but it never managed to rise above ‘meh’.

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Einstein and Eddington – Mini Review

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It’s hard to imagine a time when Einstein wasn’t the most famous scientist in modern history, but Einstein and Eddington takes us back to a time when Newton was the be-all and end-all when it came to our understanding of the universe.

The main problem with this film is that it can’t really decide what it’s about. Albert Einstein rails against the German scientists creating horrible weapons of war, Eddington struggles with his homosexuality as well as fighting against the pro-Newton establishment. Einstein’s marriage is breaking up and he starts breaking another woman’s heart as soon as he arrives in Berlin, and – somewhere along the way – Eddington manages to prove Einstein’s theories and change the world overnight.

This is an incredibly fascinating period of history, and it is a disservice to try and tell all the small details in a 90 minute movie. While both Andy Serkis and David Tennant put in great performances, this really feels like someone cut the best bits out of a miniseries and stuck them all together in a film, leaving it to feel like a series of vignettes rather than a coherent movie. I hope someone can take this subject matter and give it the breathing room it deserves in future.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Mini Review

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a touching little film that appeals to the dreamer in all of us. I’m sure everyone can recall at least one occasion where they’ve escaped into fantasy to avoid boredom at the office, or to imagine a far better version of an encounter with a potential partner.

While the film does a good job of slotting Walter’s fantasies into the story, his real world adventures feel a bit too easy. It’s nice to imagine that we could pick up and leave our lives to go skateboarding across Greenland or hiking in Afghanistan, but there doesn’t really seem to be any real consequences that Walter has to deal with.┬áThe ending also feels a little too easy, but this is Hollywood after all.

Visually, the film is a treat; perfectly capturing the beauty of the various lands that Walter has to journey through. This adds a great deal to the film, and allows us to feel as if we are on the journey along with him. The supporting cast puts in some great performances in the little time they have, but Ben Stiller really carries this film, and carries it well.

Overall, this is a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

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Paranoia Review

An entry-level employee at a powerful corporation finds himself occupying a corner office, but at a dangerous price: he must spy on his boss’s old mentor to secure for him a multi-billion dollar advantage.

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Paranoia has to be one of the most poorly titled films to come out in recent memory. The trailer promises all sort of intrigue and betrayal – and with a cast including Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, and Richard Dreyfuss – it looked like we were getting an interesting thriller to tide us over until the Christmas release season. What we get instead is a dull, predictable, paint-by-numbers movie that fails to deliver on any of the promises made by the film’s marketing department. Continue reading

Esoterica – Outland

Two words: Sean Connery

Do you really need anything more?

Outland

Year: 1981

Writer/Director: Peter Hyams

Starring: Sean Connery…and seriously who else do you need!?!!?

In the years following the 70’s, sci-fi cinema had a fairly steady audience, what with the meagre contributions made by flicks like Star Wars (have any of you seen that one?…not bad). As such, it became a reasonably good way to ensure that people would pay for a ticket if your next romantic comedy also featured some manner of shape-shifting alien. Continue reading

Cash Cows – “…I’m Batman” Part 4

Right. If we’re being honest (and this is the internet, so of course I expect we all are) this particular slice of the Batman saga has been pretty much talked out to exhaustion. I seriously doubt there is much new insight I can lend that hasn’t already been discussed by legions of highly qualified, incredibly discerning, articulate and level-headed online fans.

So we’ll be somewhat brief today. And we will start with this:

Joel Schumacher is a good director.

And not a half-bad muppet either.

We’re jumping a little bit ahead, so before we get too deep into this potential quagmire, go and check out his IMDB page. Let that list of films percolate in your brain while we get into Batman’s cinematic adventures – or as the suits at WB call them “CHA CHING CHA CHING CHA CHING!” Continue reading

Esoterica – Cube

Cube

Year: 1997

Director: Vicenzo Natali

Writers: Andre Bijelic, Vicenzo Natali & Graeme Manson

Starring: Maurice Dean Witt, David Hewlett, Nicole de Boer

It is a rare treat for me when I get to come to a film completely fresh – without any hint as to what will unfold over the next two hours. It is a rarer treat still when coming into a movie this way sees me leaving it dumbstruck at just how good it was.

Cube was just such an experience – and as such I find myself incredibly reluctant to say too much about it, for fear of spoiling the fun for you. Continue reading