Category Archives: Film Reviews

Bugged Out

Oh Lord. I heard Mark Kermode recommend this film on his weekly podcast and thought I’d check it out. It was a tough watch, even when it was relegated to the background after I started to lose interest.

The film is based on a theatre play and it retains an intimate, claustrophic atmosphere, with a small cast acting much of  the film inside a single, grubby motel room. Once the scene has been set, only the occasional exterior shot of the motel takes the viewer out of the room and acknowledges the outside world.

I don’t want to ruin it for you so look away now forplot spoilers. In a nutshell, this film wasn’t for me.

Bug depicts the extreme descent into paranoia of the central character, caused by her attachment to a stranger introduced to her by a friend. Her vulnerability and loneliness lead her to be supportive of, and ultimately seduced by, the disturbed man’s delusions, with tragic results for the both of them.

I didn’t enjoy it. I thought Harry Connick Jr was impressive as the abusive ex-husband, and Judd and Shannon were committed to the intensity of their characters, but life’s hard enough as it is without enduring this for entertainment. At least for me. I’m not sure if it was making a sophisticated philosophical point that went over my head; it just seemed to be a theatrical portrayal of some bad things happening to poor people. Visually it was well-shot, given the restrictions of the space, but a film like Requiem for a Dream, which deals with a similar theme, is much richer and rounder on every level. So, for me, this is a film for cinephiles and literary types, and not something the average viewer will really enjoy.

Big, Bad and Heavy

I watched an interesting documentary today called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The film follows Joe Cross as he tries a 60 day juice fast while travelling through the United States from Australia. He probably does this to market the film and finds a suitably obese American to feature in it too. It has a slight evangelical quality to it, one would expect that, but it isn’t too preachy and juice fasts aren’t quackery. The results claimed by the documentary are extraordinary.

I heard about it on the Too Beautiful to Live. Luke Burbank is trying the fast for a couple of weeks and I’m listening with interest. The two main protaganists in this documentary lost an incredible amount of weight in a short space of time, at a rate that I thought would be physically impossible (45kg in 60 days). Common sense tells me that  the diet would work but the results sound too good to be true. Let’s find out.

The title reminded me of an old Jungle tune called Big, Bad and Heavy by Leviticus. So here it is for your listening pleasure.

Good Call

I decided to take in a couple of films tonight to while away the hours. I seem to have developed a tendency to have something playing in the background of my day almost constantly. I live alone at the moment which is part of it. I get the odd visitor which is great but I do miss having other people around. Still, the grass is always greener. I’m sure I’d miss the positives of solitude if they weren’t there.

Enough about my sad life. The first of my double bill was Margin Call. It’s a film that follows the events at a major financial firm as it dawns on them that their numbers don’t add up, clearly based on the financial crisis of 2008. The ensemble cast is great. Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons for starters, although I couldn’t really get a handle on the accent of the two British actors. I think it was supposed to be mid-Atlantic. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, despite the fact that not a lot actually happens.

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The second film was Easy A, a teen comedy from 2010 starring Emma Stone. I thought it was pretty good, laughed out loud a few times. I literally lol-ed. I heard a kid outside Westfield once, responding to his friend’s joke by saying “lol”, which I thought was pretty funny. Not funny enough to lol though. Anyway,  it wasn’t a masterpiece but I found it entertaining. The protagonists embarrassingly liberal parents were a highlight. Particularly Patricia Clarkson as the mother. Emma Stone was good, even if I found her acting a little weird to watch. Her performance seemed ever-so-slightly forced and her facial expressions worrying somehow. Maybe it’s me. There was just an unnatural quality to it that bothered me a bit. Not nearly enough to ruin the enjoyment of the film though.

A Film

The-Artist-posterI went to see The Artist today at The Coronet in Notting Hill. It’s the first time I’ve been there which is incredible considering how long I’ve lived in the area. I wish I’d gone sooner, it’s a lovely little place.

I’d heard a lot about the film before seeing it. I was prepared for it to be silent before going in so I didn’t need the two signs warning punters there would be no spoken dialogue. Incredibly there are reports of people asking for refunds when they find out it’s a silent film. Anyway, let’s just say I’d been touched by the hype about the film and was half expecting it to blow my mind. It didn’t. But it was a sweet, enjoyable film. The two leads were great, the dog even better, the story was clever and well thought out. I wish I’d been sitting a bit further back because I felt a bit confronted by the screen (the showing was sold out) but apart from that it was a very nice way to spend an evening with a couple of friends.