The LEGO Movie (2014) Film Review

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There’s a bad guy, Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who is trying to destroy the ordered Lego world where ordinary guy Emmett (Chris Pratt) lives, and he must step up to save it. Oh, and they are all made of Lego.

It’s full of cameo voice roles, great gags, pop culture references and yet I just didn’t like it that much. Perhaps it was too much of a build up. I don’t know. All I know is thank goodness for Will Arnett, because his Batman totally saved it for me. Perhaps finally I have outgrown kids films? I doubt it.

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Sunshine Cleaning (2008) Film Review

Film Title: Sunshine Cleaning

Two sisters, neither particularly good at being employed and keeping financially safe, start a business cleaning up crime scenes.

I really wanted to like this; Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, wow, what a cast. But it just annoyed me, watching people who are hopeless at doing what they are doing. Of course it was going to end in disaster. And because it was so obvious that things would have to go wrong, I could not get myself attached to the characters.

 

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Dodgeball : A True Underdog Story (2004) Film Review

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Geez, isn’t Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) a top bloke? He runs a gym for a bunch of losers and doesn’t even charge them, has no ambition and just lives for, I don’t really know. Fun? He has sex with ladies, but other than that, he doesn’t seem to have any interest in anything ever. Then there is White Goodman (Ben Stiller), a man so stupid he cannot spell his own name, who was incredibly obese and disgusting (eating food semi naked and letting it drip all over his fat chest and belly), but who lost weight and became obsessed with looking good and bullying others into looking good at his gym. Wow, what a prick, having drive to succeed and achieve. So then, as revenge on Peter for having sex with a couple of White’s sexy trainers, White takes out a mortgage on Peter’s gym (is that legal?) and when Peter is going to default, the only possibility is to raise money, and they only way they can do that is a dodge ball contest. Of course.

I didn’t realise until I started writing the above quite how much I disliked the premise for this film. I’ve mentioned before that I am often disappointed by Vince Vaughn, and he’s fine in this, just quite boring. Not offensive, just boring. Ben Stiller is a bit the same for me – I can absolutely hate him in some things, and love him in others. This is a hate for me – there was not enough comedy in his White Goodman, he was just nasty and self-obsessed and pretty crap.

Having said all that, I really liked the dodge ball tournament side of things – ridiculous, and with wonderful commentary from the ever fabulous Gary Cole and Jason Bateman. It is almost worth watching just for the commentary. Not quite, but almost.

 

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Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010) Film Review

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Based on the first novel of a hugely compelling and successful series from John Marsden, Tomorrow When the War Began tells of a group of teenagers in outback Australia who come back from a weekend camping in a remote site to find the country has been invaded and their friends and families are all prisoners of war. Once they establish this, they decide they need to fight back.

This needs to be a television series. It is so good; yes, it would have been great it this film had made enough to have kept going, to have made sequels. But it’s the wrong format – there is just too much in the story, too much in the books to go into a feature film. But this film gives a really strong sense of how good it could be.

 

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The Last Man on Earth (1964) Film Review

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This is the second of the four film interpretations of Richard Matheson’s book I am Legend that I have seen, having watched the 2007 Will Smith film I am Legend recently. This is far closer to the book, though I don’t think this is necessarily the way to judge a film made from a book. If each holds up as a good text, that is important, and I did enjoy both of these films.

Let’s recap: Dr Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the last person on Earth. He is surrounded by vampires – that was all that was left when people succumbed to a terrible plague that covered the Earth. Dr Morgan has a routine he follows, and this is described to the audience through a voiceover as he fulfils his daily tasks and hopes one day, through some experimentation, to find a cure and return the vampires to human state.

The voiceover worked well to get the facts across, although it was quite unrelenting for much of the film. The flashback to life with his wife and daughter and the demise of the two was, despite the flat acting, quite emotional, and the struggles that he faces was well presented. Most definitely worth the watch, especially if you enjoy Vincent Price.

 

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The Road (2009) Film Review

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There has been some kind of nuclear incident (it’s not explained in too much detail) and the world is dying. Man (Viggo Mortensen) is walking with Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) heading south, hoping to find warmth and food as the nuclear winter continues to descend on them. The world is grey and horrible, everything is dead, there are no animals, no living plants, and the few survivors will do anything to survive.

Depressing? Well yes, very much so. The film has captured the dark and awful tones of the novel by Cormac McCarthy, and show a man who still has some hope for his son’s ultimate survival, against all the odds and perhaps even against any sense. The film does have an odd thing going for it, and that it is the soundtrack; by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, the music gives a strange and mysterious sense of hope. This juxtaposition shouldn’t work, yet it is perfect.

 

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Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) Film Review

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Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) has returned to her sister Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband Ted (Hugh Dancy) after an absence of two years. Martha told them she’d been living with a boyfriend who lied to her when, in fact, she’d been living and being abused in a cult led by Patrick (John Hawkes).

What is annoying about this film is that you feel that Lucy and her husband would be do much better able to help Martha if she told them, but she is so traumatised that she is unable to tell them. It’s a very beautiful film, but very difficult to watch – many of the really stunning scenes are accompanied by penetrating whining sounds that do not allow the audience to relax for a moment.

 

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