Short Takes: May 2012

THE RAID: Well executed action & a nicely grounded filmmaking approach. Iko Uwais is the star though. A big step up from MERANTAU too.

MOONRISE KINGDOM: Anderson seems to have hit a bit of wall with Moonrise Kingdom. Style continues to be almost opposed to function & there’s nowhere near as much charm as in his previous films.

RUST AND BONE: So much about Rust and Bone shouldn’t work but somehow Audiard manages to pull off a magic trick of sorts. Beautiful & very emotional.

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD: Style not always in service of the story.What works in the film is beautiful & the child’s eye view is effective.

SADAKO 3D: A lack of ideas beyond screams of MORE EVERYTHING! 3D used in interesting ways in tiny sections but mostly dreadful.

THE WE AND THE I: Absolutely loved it. Single location suits Gondry’s visual inventiveness. Dialogue is sharp & clever.

LAWLESS: Masculinity, maturation and moonshine. Near perfect script, great performances & satisfyingly unfussy direction.

AMOUR: Utterly heartbreaking. The beauty and agony of a couple growing old. Far more emotional than Haneke’s previous films.

THE SAPPHIRES: Pleasant enough songs & soap opera plotting but mostly pretty dreadful. Chris O’Dowd is on top form though.

DRACULA 3D: Why Argento, why? The brightest film I’ve ever seen, technically, but in many ways one of the dullest. Awful.

FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE 3D: A familiar story given a refreshing new spin. Somewhat fantastical, epic in scale & wholly entertaining. Tsui Hark appears to be on a roll again and I couldn’t be happier. The Dragon Gate story continues to provide a great platform for really cool female characters. It passes the Bechdel Test too.

WRONG: Witty, strange & delightfully mischievous. Lacking the definite sense of purpose that RUBBER had though.

ROOM 237: More Bible Code than film analysis. Rather entertaining though, albeit occasionally for entirely the wrong reasons.

ME AND ME DAD: Very absorbing and intimate portrait of John Boorman. Deliberate rough edges add a lot of charm.

THE ANGEL’S SHARE: Slight but incredibly charming tale of a criminal trying to reform. Could have done without The Proclaimers.

AI TO MAKOTO: A musical/action/comedy/love story from Takashi Miike. Drags a bit in places but mostly joyously entertaining.

CHAINED: Chilling story of serial killer. Interesting dynamics surrounding influence and control.

ON THE ROAD: Lacking a lot in a number of important areas. Salles ensures it looks good but it’s all a bit empty and flat.

LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE: Glacial pacing mixed with an aimless sense of discovery build to very little. Alluring cinematography but little else.

IN ANOTHER COUNTRY: Three similar tales, none of which are particularly compelling. Awkward dialogue & horrible, horrible zooms.

VIAGGIO IN ITALIA (2012 Restoration): Excellent restoration of a beautiful and moving film.

THE PAPERBOY: Ludicrous but oddly entertaining in places (not for the right reasons necessarily). Lots of Daniels visual styling nonsense.

HOLY MOTORS: “Weird, weird, so weird”. Deliciously strange & so enjoyable.

MISS LOVELY: A grim slog through Bollywood B-movie filmmaking. Very little to say & not at all compelling.

PROMETHEUS: Well shot, beautiful production design, mostly excellent performances but an atrocious script.