Robot & Frank (2012) Film Review

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It’s not too far into the future and there are robotic helpers all over the place. Frank (Frank Langella) is a man growing older and is starting to get a bit confused about things. His son, Hunter (Peter Sarsgaard), sick of having to visit every week unsure of what state he will find Frank in gets Frank a helper robot. Frank is initially against this, but discovers that the robot is able to assist is a manner unexpected to all.

Any film about dementia is bound to be tough in some way or another. The exploits of Frank with his Robot are sweet and entertaining, but still allow the gentle tragedy of his situation come through. I’m trying hard not to say much about the story, as the story is delightful, especially if you don’t know where it is coming from or going to.

Super (2010) MIFF Film Review

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‘Shut up, crime.’ I love it.

I loved the humour and the absurdity of this film. I loved the fact that it had heart but without getting too mushy. Well, perhaps one scene, but even that was so absurd that I was giggling through my tears.

The premise is pretty straightforward. Frank is a cook in a diner whose gorgeous wife, Sarah is recovering from addictions – at least, recovering until Jacques turns up to get her using again before stealing her from Frank. In response, Frank becomes his own super hero, the Crimson Bolt and after reluctantly accepting help from his new sidekick, Boltie he sets out to save his wife.

Perhaps the fact that it is in the Nightmoves program, and perhaps because the MIFF guide refers to grindhouse cinema and Troma, I should have been aware of the severely dark nature of the film. I wasn’t, and the graphic violence surprised me (although not as much as, many years ago, seeing Dusk Til Dawn and not knowing it was a vampire film), but I didn’t mind spending a few minutes during the film with my hands over my eyes. I was very keen to see Super after reading lots of good stuff about it, even when I realised that most of the good stuff I read had been on the Twitterfeeds of Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page, and being stars of the film, were probably somewhat biased. What can I say – when you’re in something this good, Tweet away.

The Incredible Hulk (2011) Film Review

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In my attempt to see all the Marvel films leading up the Avengers from last year, I’ve watched The Incredible Hulk. This one’s the one with Edward Norton and Tim Roth. Unfortunately, even such strong acting talent could not save this film for me.

Luckily, the origin of the Hulk is covered in a very impressive opening sequence, where we see Doctor Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk, causing a whole heap of damage and fleeing. We then join him in Brazil, where he is practicing a series of methods to control his anger and his pulse rate to avoid releasing the hulk. Along comes General Ross (William Hurt) an army general who has recruited Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) to bring Bruce Banner in so they can use the technology to create super-soldiers. Ross gives Blonksy a treatment which causes him to start to become a monster – and eventually, a truly evil threat to humanity.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I should. Perhaps it was because Mark Ruffalo was so perfect as Bruce Banner in The Avengers, that Edward Norton didn’t cut it for me. About halfway through, I was disappointed at the lack of appearance by the Hulk. When it was clear that the film would end with a battle between the Hulk and the monster that comes from Emil Blonsky. But even this ridiculous fight didn’t do it for me. I got bored. Bring on more Iron Man and Avengers films, but don’t bother with another Hulk. Or make it better. Although it was delightful to have the briefest appearance of Robert Downey Jr at the end. That was nice.