Super: A socially inept weirdo with ‘visions and voices’ creates the alter ego superhero, ‘The Crimson Bolt – armed with a monkey wrench, pipe bombs and the catch phrase “Shut up, crime”. It’s the total opposite of everything you’d expect from a superhero movie – the characters are all deeply flawed, the humour is super black and is contrasted with some full-on bone-crunching, brain splattering violence. Technically, it’s also very different, with a lo-fi handheld style and toe-tapping indie/pop soundtrack that give it a unique, botique, wholesome style – I was sold from the TSAR opening credits. The biggest hit is Rainn Wilson, he’s utterly fantastic, pitches the character perfectly, and genuinely makes the movie. Kev Bacon is great as a scumbag, and Page does a decent job as a foul-mouthed youth. The humour is twisted and black with a deep, dark streak running through the movie – very awkward, offbeat, black, but really really funny (“The Finger of God had touched me”, “Don’t steal, don’t molest kids, don’t butt in line”, tentacles, the sex scene… it’s all absolutely mental). On paper Super looks like another Kick-Ass, but everything about it is different and unique, which makes this a little indie belter that stands out from the copy/paste films in the superhero genre.
Inception: Follows Dom Cob – a man who can enter your mind in the dream state and steal your deepest thoughts & secrets – on his last mission that could finally get him back to his family. The first thing you realise about inception is how original, visionary and well thought out the story is, then worry about how good the film would have to be to pull it all off. Despite the elaborate plot and timelines it’s explained well enough to be understood first time round (if you pay attention), but is still complex and smart enough to be appreciated on multiple viewings. Nolan brings out the best in his outstanding, but not too obvious, ensemble: especially Di Caprio, Cotillard, Levitt, Watanabe & Hardy who all step up and do justice to the great premise. The special effects department deserve a year off after this, and Hans Zimmer’s modern score takes the last 30 minutes to a whole new level. Page is only OK and more could have been made about the infinite possibilities of the dreams but other than that, no real complaints. There’s subtle gestures towards Matrix, 2001, classic Bond, and a whole bunch of crime / noir films. Inception is an iconic, truly original, mind-bending film that has it all, and breathes new life into Sci-Fi, which is currently plagued with sequels & re-makes. My main concern is that this opus will be near-impossible to top, by Nolan, or anyone else. Stunning cinema that surpasses its own massive hype and is easily film of the year.
Hard Candy: a character-driven modern thriller that feels like the most extreme episode of ‘To Catch A Predator’. Right from the opening IM conversation you know this film will be difficult to watch, and the first 20 minutes are among the most awkward I’ve seen. Because there’s only two characters the story’s very neat and wrapped up tightly: Ellen Page is nothing short of phenomenal and Patrick Wilson was great. David Slade made a good job of making the film feel cold, minimal and clinical, although colour is used very effectively, and his direction throughout is spot on. Guys will always remember what happens off-screen and there’s a few more scenes that stuck with me since I originally saw it in the cinema. By the end, it begins to feel a little stretched out, and it does make you question how a kid could execute this plan so perfectly. Fantastic feature-length debut, but hard-hitting content will be too uncomfortable for some.
Juno: 3rd/4th time round, but still very enjoyable. Really like the quirky indie feel, despite the relatively established cast and the director shoving his ‘cooler-than-you’ influences in all over the place. Great story, although it totally glorifies teen pregnancy to the maxxx!