Short Takes: June 2012

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY: Deliberately clinical and cold but not always to the benefit of the story. A phenomenal collection of actors doing great work and an intriguing puzzle plot but it’s more simply a good adaptation than something special.

SHAME: So much distance from the central figure in this story is effective at times but we’re too often far too far away from him. A considered and sensitive cerebral portrayal of addiction but not one that gets you in the gut.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE LIVING ROOM: Chilling documentary about exotic pets in America and man’s arrogant view of his dominion over “every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”. Depressing, disturbing, emotional and utterly vital.

FOOTLOOSE: A reasonably entertaining remake of a reasonably entertaining film. Brewer directs with just enough enthusiasm and panache and Wormald has just enough charisma to pull it off.

ROCK OF AGES:  Disappointing rock ‘n’ roll confectionery. Not sweet enough & not enough bite. Needed more energy, passion & sleaze. Surprisingly I thought Zeta-Jones stole the show at times and the church scene with her and Cranston was superb. Mia Michaels choreography was really inventive at times but lacked a lot of the spark that some scenes really needed. She can do better.

TRESPASS: Incompetent nonsense. So utterly dreadful.

JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME: What begins as a diverting and entertaining, bumbling comedy transitions into an utterly brilliant drama with a ton of emotional weight. Every beat works and no moment is wasted, the Duplass brothers just keep getting better.

THE HANGOVER PART II: I expected this to be offensive, stupid, crass and unfunny but I didn’t expect it to be so crushingly dull. The dregs of what Phillips has to offer, a tedious and half-baked sequel that no-one needed.