Review Roundup - Voyager

INTERSTELLAR (2014)

A long time ago I picked up a film called Memento on a whim, through some vaguely remembered word of mouth perhaps or a glimpse of it in a glossy mag somewhere. It had three discs so it must be good right? I still remember what a big surprise it was, and it remains my personal favourite in what is now Christopher Nolan's back catalogue of movies (although I would say The Prestige is his best work). What's striking about these projects is how they always remain a little surprising, mixing human drama with magic, neurological conditions and comic heroes. My initial worry was that the excess of The Dark Knight Rises in terms of lengthy and unfocused plotting signaled a turning point for what was a very good run for the director, with a film that contained greatness but was not excellent overall. Things seemed like a step down from its predecessor and too many little problems cropped up - even if I didn't mind the sound mix. On top of that there was all the noise from mixed reactions after the release of his space adventure story. Thankfully this one has far more going for it in terms of what works, and delivers a high caliber science fiction movie in spite of some minor flaws along the way.


Review Roundup - Trip to the moon

EUROPA REPORT (2013)

Recent years have provided some great sci-fi releases like Moon, but have also seen far too many found footage movies in a baffling ongoing life span for a genre in need of retirement. Does it really need to continue outside of ultra low cost horror? Well the answer is no of course. But with Europa Report I was interested to see what seemed to be a relatively grounded approach to telling a story about astronauts. The idea seems simple enough with a plot about finding life on Europa, the ice covered moon of Jupiter which may hold a potential for water based organisms. But the story telling devices and overall feel of that fly on the wall approach are always a threat to effective drama and well shot sequences, and unfortunately this is a film that is in real need of an alternative narrative style.


Review Roundup - Sympathy for mister vengeance

BLUE RUIN (2013)

Revenge on the screen is as usual a dish best served cold, but in the case of Blue Ruin it's even more bitter than usual. The film tells the story of a man apparently living just for vengeance, as the protagonist Dwight first appears on screen with a full beard, having given up on the world to eat from the trash and live out of a blue car which both represents the name of the film but also appears to be symbolic of his own mental state - rusted and full of holes but ready to be refueled for action at the right time. This time soon comes along when the man who killed his parents is given an early release from prison. There are no real heroics here, no delusions of grandeur. This is a movie where the premise has been stripped of all that so that the moral bleakness of the events can take place without any kind of righteous ideals; it's an intense and dark experience.


Review Roundup - Night drive

LOCKE (2013)

One man shows are always an interesting idea, and seeing them come together well is a satisfying experience. Much like All Is Lost, this is a story of one man's struggle - although while his emotional state is often at the center of the story, what he is up against is very different. Rather than facing the elements and fighting against unfavorable odds this is more about a moral battle and an internal conflict. Tom Hardy pulls this off in a plot about employment and marital problems, one that has multiple conversations about pouring cement and hiring building site workers. But in spite of this and along with the fact it's all set inside of a car on the road at night with little in terms of visual variety, it works as a very engaging and dramatic piece of film.


Scorecard

MARCH

Day of the Dead ☆☆☆☆
Dr Terror's House of Horrors ☆☆☆☆
An American Werewolf in London ☆☆☆☆
Nightcrawler ☆☆☆☆
Rocketeer ☆☆☆☆
The Naked Gun ☆☆☆☆
The Royal Tenenbaums ☆☆☆☆
Theatre of Blood ☆☆☆☆
Willow ☆☆☆☆
Twilight Samurai ☆☆☆☆
Lilo & Stitch ☆☆☆☆
Fantastic Planet ☆☆☆☆