Saturday, 28 April 2012

My April cinema-goings


Just one worthwhile film in the past month of lean pickings:-

My ratings in order of seeing -

Le Havre (6/10)
Headhunters (7.5)
The Cabin in the Woods (5)
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (4)

Le Havre  - Moderately engaging French language offering from Finnish director, Kaurismaki. Often leisurely tale-telling with a few attractive quirky touches. In sum, likeable enough, but hardly exceptional - though I don't think it had intended to aim that high.

Headhunters  - Distinctly above-par crime thriller, in Norwegian language. Multi-twist plot, none of which I saw coming. Discomforts one from the outset in not knowing where to place one's sympathies, but I liked that, keeping me on my 'mental toes'. Not a film for those demanding clear-cut resolutions to finish - AND (a warning!), it features the portrayal of the grisly killing of a guard-dog, though this one was largely off-screen and nowhere near as upsetting to me as seeing the hanging of a dog last month in 'Wuthering Heights', which was, surely, real - even if we didn't see the poor little thing actually die. Overall, 'Headhunters' is a superior film which I'd gladly sit through again.

The Cabin in the Woods  - I seem to be in a minority in not thinking particularly highly of this film. All the reviews I've seen have been positive or very so. The general ratings on IMDb website are higher than average too.
My own score is largely based on the originality of the angle on what has, for decades, become such a tired, cliche-ridden story taken up by scores of horror films, viz a group of largely or entirely obnoxious, mainly sex-crazed young things being terrorised in a confined space and being popped off one by one by unknown forces. Yes, I concede that there's a 'wink' at the horror genre's over-used formula here, but I don't think the film works either as horror or comedy. (Some horror films only work because they are so knowingly funny, but it needs some skill to bring that off successfully without being over-parodic). The main reason why this film doesn't work for me is that the premise of entrapment of the group is undermined near the film's start, revealing that the confined area from which escape must be sought is not the same as that which the preyed-upon group sees it. (It's difficult to give much more away without spoiling it for those who wish to see this film, and who may well enjoy it more than I did). Then, later in the film, the confining walls of this 'box' are re-drawn to unconvincing effect resulting in a plethora of special effects which I just find tedious and lazy. Okay, I'd better stop there. But it certainly is a different film from what most of us might have expected.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen -  Not having read the book, which I understand is more philosophical than the title might suggest, I was mildly intrigued by this - but only mildly. I really didn't know what to expect . Apparently the film takes a literal reading of the title and makes it a 1 hour 45 minutes film of this scientific and engineering project (with a parallel romantic thread) - and  I found it, frankly, dull, dull, dull!  Not even British stalwarts Ewan McGregor and the ever-watchable Kristin Scott Thomas (playing bossy-bitch right up to the hilt) as well as recent 'flavour-of-the-times'  Emily Blunt, could make the whole thing more than a tiny bit interesting. Too long and too damn boring! Some fine scenic photography, though.

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Anyway, let's hope the coming month brings more than one single film that is worth catching.

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13 comments:

  1. I am eager to hear if you see Dark Shadows.

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    1. It hasn't opened here as yet, Dr Spo - but has been talked about. Will look out for it.

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  2. I agree - very slim pickings. I was able to find only one film to see in April - "The Deep Blue Sea" which was finally released in the USA. May looks a little more promising. Of course, there is the blockbuster "The Avengers" and Johnny Depp's "Dark Shadows." However, the three that appeal to me are: (1) "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" - a May release here. (2) "The Dictator" with Sacha Baron Cohen which is bound to push some buttons and (3) "The Intouchables" which explores the friendship of a billionaire and his caretaker. I am also going to throw in "Hysteria" only because it stars the handsome, Hugh Dancy.

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  3. Paul, you'll know what I thought of 'Marigold Hotel' from a prior blog.

    I wouldn't have bothered with 'Avengers' were it not for the good reviews I've seen, so suppose I'd better go - it opened here last Friday - though I gulp at the thought of nearly 2.5 hours of noisy, boring mayhem. (The trailer looks so 'ho-hum'!)

    There's been a little talk about 'The Dictator' but I've yet to hear of an opening date.

    Never heard of 'The Intouchables' (is that title correct or did you mis-type?) but when it comes I'll give it due regard.

    Tnanks for your ever-welcome visiting again.

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    1. The title is correct - a film from France. Excellent reviews. Eagerly awaiting this one.

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    2. Ta, Paul. My eyes are peeled.

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  4. The only one I can comment on is "Cabin" and no, you are not in the minority. It perturbed me that they gave the whole thing away in the opening credits! We should have left then and saved myself 90 minutes. It didn't help, I suppose, that when Greg and I saw the film some teenager sat two seats away and laughed like Hannibal Lecter for the entire last 30 minutes. I have no doubt he'll grow up to be a fairly famous psycho killer some day.

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    1. Exactly so, Cubby. The 'give-away' at the start made the whole story LESS intriguing than they'd intended. And it was downhill all the way from then.
      That teenager who laughed his socks off must have been either easily tickled or had been living in a sheltered world where he hadn't been allowed to see such OTT CGI creatures before.

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  5. I've seen none of them, but I once went to Le Havre - do I get anything for that?!

    ;-)

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    1. Un seul demi-point, Etienne. :-)

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  6. Ray,
    "Headhunters" was an interesting film but I would only give it a 4.5 out of 10 because of the weird way it ended. I didn't understand it at all. Maybe if I watched it again. Too many illogical and unresolved issues. I didn't get the whole camera surveillance thing. And the hero? That short little twerp? But then again I realize that was part of his "charm"? And his wife siding with him? To me it seemed that the writers had plot twists just to have plot twists. Give me "Storm" any day. Easy to understand. :)
    Ron

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    1. Ron, it's now so long since I saw it that I can't remember the features to which you refer. I do recall being wrong-footed time after time, and that's what I like - to be kept on ones mental 'toes'. I know that if I had the opportunity I would watch it again.
      I'm guessing that Pat's opinion was nearer mine than yours since he presumably recommended it to you.

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    2. Oh, dammit! I've just noticed that much of what I've just said I'd already said in the original post above. Still true, though.

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