Friday, September 28, 2012

September DVD Round Up

Yep, it's been a "couple of months" since I did a catch up on my DVD watch list, so that means it's time a catch up on my DVD watch list. Looking back it's been a pretty eclectic run on films but a solid one, not least of which because a lot of the films we missed earlier in the year are now starting to come out DVD. So, whats on the list?

Right, we'll start with the film of the month(s), and one of the best films I've seen this year. I've commented before that I'm getting really tired of "origin" stories for superheros, and after seeing Chronicle I never want to see another one, thanks. Chronicle says everything about whole "getting powers, learning to deal with them (or not) that I've really wanted said, and says it in a clever, rooted in reality and really engaging way. It even makes great use of the "found footage/pseudo documentary" film style that has also been getting pretty tired and uses it in a new and exciting way, especially in its final, high stakes act. This is a really great film, and well worth seeking out.

21 Jump Street
I've never seen the TV show that this is based on, which I don't think ever gained much traction in the UK. The plot is pretty basic; misfit cops sent undercover back to high-school, and I only ended up renting because it was recommended as "surprisingly better than it looks". And indeed it is - funny, well paced and very tongue-in-cheek, it's probably nothing you haven't seen before but very well done.

The Woman in Black
Also in the "nothing you haven't see before" is Hammer Films' big comeback film. Its damned effective in places, a moody and subdued ghost story for the most part, although it does occasionally overplay its hand. Daniel Radcliffe is excellent, the film is well shot and written, and I think the end is a little weak, and many of beats predictable, but it's an efficient and well crafted piece of work.

Knight and Day
I'm definitely sure I watched this. Lovefilm says I did. I really don't remember anything about it, so it probably wasn't awful. Hows that for damning with faint praise.

Iron Sky
Space Nazis! Who doesn't like Space Nazis! Iron Sky is a totally bonkers B-Movie with some corking special effects, an exceedingly broad sense of humour and the best Downfall parody I've yet seen. I'm not sure there is too much to say about it - its completed ludicrous, knows it, runs with it, gets away with it - other than it really is great to see this sort of film being made (and being moderately successful).

The Descendants
One of these years Oscar-fodder peices from Alexander Payne (who directed the excellent "Sideways"), I can't help but wonder if The Descendants could have been a real indulgent disaster if mishandled. Essentially a character study about rich and pampered Hawaiians having emotional crisis in the midst of inherited wealth and beautiful countryside, instead its a soulful and faintly haunting piece held together by the sort of performance George Clooney excels at. However, good as it is, it really doesn't linger in the mind much after viewing.

Real Steel
Wolverine in Giant Robot Fighting Movie! File this under "looks rubbish but is actually pretty good", Real Steel is a solidly entertaining if cliche heavy kids movie that is a pretty cool way to spend a wet summers afternoon. No real surprises, but slickly done.