Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August DVD Round Up!


One of the side-effects of parenthood is that we get out a lot less to the cinema than we used to, resulting in being behind with the latest releases by several months. The advantage to this is of course that we get to avoid some of the worst clankers just by paying attention to what our freinds think, but you do sometimes miss out on the "buzz" of opening weekends and a spoiler-free life. 

We did however join "Lovefilm" as a way of catching up, and due to it's "random selection from a list" we get to catch up on film that I suspect we'd never pickup from the shelf of a bricks'n'mortar rental place, just as we'd gravitate towards a safer option. This means that we periodically just stick on a list everything that we half-way fancy and watch whatever drops through the post that week, curled up on the sofa with a bottle of wine. So, Augusts movies were: 
 
The Green Hornet. Well this is a film that can't quite make up it's mind what it wants to be, whether it's a satire, an old-school comedy-action-buddy, or a serious supers flick, and it sort of vacilates around that a little too much to have any sort of coherent sense of sense. Many of its elements seemed to work for me - I quite like Seth Rogen in most of the stuff he's in, which helps, and a criminally underused Cristoph Waltz steals what little screen time he can muster. But in the end I wanted to enjoy it more than I actually did, which was a shame.

The Losers.Wierdly this is also (along with Green Hornet) rated a 12A - which I think shows the vagaries in the rating system. Having never read the source material I wasn't sure what to expect, and finding it was a moderately twisty, snappily dialogued action movie I enjoyed it quite a lot. I'm not sure it brings much new to the table, film wise, and I wonder how much was lost in translation off the page. But on it's own terms it's a good fun actioner that doesn't quite stand distinct.

True Grit. I love the Coen Brothers. I am an unashamed fanboy. I also love The Western. So do they! Unsurprisingly, I loved this film. Whilst outwardly similar to the John Wayne film of the same name, this version goes back to the original novel, and is a starker, colder, version of the story; with a steady, poetic beauty to the visuals and crackling performances from all concerned. It's a genuinely Great Film, and I suspect this won't be the last time I watch it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. Deathly is right. There is an odd feel to this film, not least because it references events from the books that have been excised from the film versions, but also with very little in the way of "climax" the pacing is all off. A bit like most of the HP films its a series of well-done scenes in search of a coherent story, and the joy of seeing them up there on the screen is diminished in this case due to the lack of big "moments", apart from final break-out of Malfoy towers, which is pretty cool. A lot of the rest of it just feels too much like "filler" - even though in the book it didn't - and leads to the sneaking suspicion theres a commercial, rather artisitic, reason for splitting the films.

Battle: Los Angeles.I'd actually forgotten I'd put this on our lovefilm list so I think it is safe to assume that my expectations were pretty low. And in fairness it does run through the Big Book of War Film Cliches to a backdrop of alien invasion and collapsing urban landscapes. But that said it's pretty good fun, different enough to hold your interest, and knows when to try and explain anything, so its broad preposterousness stays nicely in the background.

The Social Network.Gosh the people behind Facebook and it's surrounding Law-suits are all assholes. This is the moral of The Social Network, a pretty gripping and fascinating study of the start up of everyones favorite use of the office internet connection. With a script from Aaron "The West Wing" Sorkin and direction from David "Fight Club", "Zodiac" Fincher this oozes quality and doesn't dissapoint. I do wonder what Mark Zuckerberg thought of it though...