Thursday, 7 January 2010

Recent Review Run-down

A medley of mini-monologues from a myriad of mediums. Try saying that 3 times. Hell, try saying that ONCE. You'll sound like a right knob.


Avatar: James Cameron's overly-hyped return to the big screen is a stunning visual achievement. Reversing the dogma that less-is-more, the fictional world of Pandora is a luscious cornucopia of dense jungle, mountain-top vistas and stretching landscapes, brought to live with a fully-realised eco-system. Even the most ludicrous Cloverfield cast-offs mated with a rhino and dipped in neon paint look astonishing in three dimensions. It's a shame that the story is so achingly predictable and jarringly high-concept, but even this doesn't doesn't harm the overall sensory experiene once the 3D glasses are on. ****

Sherlock Holmes (2009): The former Mr Madonna reinvents Baker Street's super-sleuth as a boxing, drug-addicted eccentric in a murky and washed-out industrial-era London on the build. Which is the ideal setting for a mystery so meticulously constructed it requires scaffolding (or, at least, slow-motion replays for explanation). Fun and imaginative, if a little mired in cults and black magic (thus nothing is what it seems - cue the slo-mo gimmick), it's just a pity Mark Strong is such a bland and unimposing villian as Lord Blackwood. ***


Dorian Gray (2009): Oscar Wilde's classic tale of excess and amorality in Victorian London gets another big screen adaptation. Yet for all of the acts of greed, sin and debauchery on show, the screen never really comes alive, with the action and scenery looking as flat as a portrait hidden in the attic. All of the actors - especially fresh-faced newcomer Ben Barnes as the naive eponymous self-destructor - are guilty of going through the motions in this slow-moving cautionary horror. Pity it's horrific for all the wrong reasons. **

The Hangover: An enjoyably zany film, if not the "comedy of 2009" it has been hyped to be. This is mainly because it has all been done before; a drink-and-drug-fuelled party (here a stag do) goes too far and it's up to the hungover guests (groom's best mates) to retrace their forgotten steps to put things right (find the groom) before time runs out (the wedding starts). Essentially, it's a cocktail of Dude, Where's My Car? mixed into a pitcher with Very Bad Things. So, Mate, Where's The Groom? or Very Confusing Things, if alternative, copyright-infringing titles were required. Which they aren't. ***


The Turn Of The Screw (2009): No, not Shakespeare's meta-comedy on courtship and marriage (that's The Taming Of The Shrew, genius!), but a BBC remake of Henry James' 1898 ghost story. Auntie Beeb have successfully managed to evoke a creepy and cagey atmosphere within the haunted country house, while the acting is first rate, especially by the two young stars playing the possessed siblings. Unfortunately - and maybe this is an issue with the source material rather than this particular adaptation - the horror builds to an entirely anti-climatic showdown with the disgruntled deceased, comprising of... a bit of shouting. The Exorcist, this ain't, although - *SPOILER ALERT* - somehow a child dies? Of what - a burst eardrum?!! ***


  1. I wish I could write like this. Or is it 'dis'?

  2. i FRIGGIN LOVED avatar! cheesey morals and predicatability included! the animation and 3D is stunning! but then the last film i watched on cinema was 2012 so i wasnt hard to impress.


  3. Word use!! :-D (that's for penultimate, not frigging, lol). Thank you commenting, nice to hear from you :)

  4. I recommend an earlier version of 'The Turn Of The Screw' called 'The Innocents'. Classic British horror and very creepy - with a script by Truman Capote!