Short Takes: April 2012

Between Twitter and Letterboxd I tend to ‘review’ a number of films in a short to very short manner. Whilst I don’t share my thoughts on every film I see, there are still quite a few that I don’t dedicate full reviews to but post a few brief thoughts on. So, starting this month, I’ll be collecting these short takes here in monthly round up posts.

Real Steel

Clearly influenced by Paper Moon, it’s in the father/son relationship that the best of this film is to be found but there are a few nice touches elsewhere.

It’s not all good though, in fact it’s not even mostly good, but the emotional drama is enough to carry one past the weaker scenes and to the rather thrilling finale.

The Hunger Games

Really good. Tight, intelligent filmmaking. Also extremely well adapted: smart additions, deductions & substitutions.

American Psycho 2

On the surface the film looks really cheap and when one digs deeper it becomes clear quite how cheap it is at every level.

Mila Kunis is borderline competent in the central role but her character is incredibly dull and in no way compelling.The dialogue is clearly intended to be smart and witty but every line falls flat and there’s no spark to the writing at all.

A dreadful sequel to a fantastic film.

Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods was fun and I liked it but I didn’t find anything particularly remarkable about it. Really needed to be airtight too.

Atlas Shrugged: Part 1

Easily as bad as I had heard it was but so oddly fascinating. Such an incredibly earnest failure in a variety of ways. Despite disliking a lot about Rand and her writing, I have respect for her as an impressive storyteller. But the greatest problem this film has is in the story, nothing makes sense or adds up in. The script is an utter mess but it is delivered with such conviction that you almost get swept up by the earnest insanity of it. Baffling and terrible but utterly compelling, albeit for all the wrong reasons.

My Way

Utterly ludicrous and full of dumb bombast, My Way is at least rather enjoyable at times. It is an incredibly silly and lousily plotted film though, very reminiscent of Bruckheimer at his most earnest and ridiculous.

Seediq Bale

Seen in its truncated form it’s hard not to see character beats and plot points that could have possibly been better, but in this shorter international cut it is certainly a mess. A mostly dull mess too that becomes repetitive and tiresome very very quickly. An area of history not known to many though and it does at least spark ones interest in this period.


A glossy, multi-stranded but interwoven romantic comedy. Some of the interconnected plot points are a little obvious and ham-fisted but the structure works reasonably well to keep you engaged. The characters in particular are very engagingly written and there are also some really funny moments. The script is weak at times, with plot strands not really amounting to much, and the film is often a little flimsy but ultimately it’s a pretty delightful experience.


I rather strange film that’s a little hard to unpack, especially with regards to the filmmaker’s intentions. When it works it’s very successful, including a refreshingly early reveal of a rather clichéd concept, but it’s a little too off-kilter and unfocused at times to really work.


Cliché ridden and a little dull. The more emotionally driven sequences were well acted but fell flat. The pace picks up in the last thirty minutes but apart from some adequate fight choreography and decent stunt work it’s all still a little uninspired.