Spotlight: a special investigative unit of The Boston Globe investigate a potential child sex abuse scandal within the catholic church. Obviously, this is a fantastic ensemble cast; as you’d expect, everyone puts in a top shift and is rewarded with their moment. Granted the subject matter is tough to handle, but the movie plays it far too safe for me, with very little in the way of dramatic moments – it’s basically a couple of damp revelatory moments where one priest becomes thirteen, then more, then more, and Ruffalo’s rant was the single outstanding dramatic moment. Despite the journalists having an ‘enemy’ or ‘target’ there’s no real counterbalance or push back from the church – just one scene with the cardinal. The direction doesn’t help much either – felling so flat and removed from the story that it may as well have been marketed as a made-for-TV documentary. More than anything, it feels like a film that’s really personal to Boston and Bostonians; it’s set in Boston around their seemingly overbearing institutions which – as an outsider – maybe that’s the knockout punch that missed me. The profile and performances of such fine actors is really the only selling point for Spotlight, which is a disappointingly low-profile and unimaginative telling of a shocking and evil crime.
Note: for this film to have so many Oscar nods feels bizarre. Sometimes you see the list and can understand why films are on it… but not Spotlight. Nu-huh. Nope. Nein.
- Best picture? ROFL – it’s barely a “movie”.
- Best Supporting Actress? ROFL – McAdams is good, but gets almost no screentime.
- Best Supporting Actor? Fair do’s, Ruffalo is the best thing in this.
- Best Director? ROFL – More like BLANDEST Director
- Best Editing? ROFL – it’s basic.
I’m with Mark on this one – ROFLO!!!
The Other Guys: when New York’s most badass detectives come to an untimely end, two unlikely schmucks try to step up and fill the gap. Didn’t expect much from this one but was pleasantly surprised by how funny the film was, with Wahlberg and Ferrell both flexing their comedic muscles with ease. The script and scenarios do a great job of mocking every buddy-cop-film scenario you could think of; and there’s a few amazing running gags about Ferrell’s past and Keaton‘s chief detective unknowingly quoting TLC songs. Story-wise, it follows the classic up-down-up relationship you see in these movies, but it loses its way a little by the end when the jokes thin out and the story needs a-wrappin’ up. Didn’t really understand the random narration from Ice-T, and despite the film being entertaining enough the infographic credits were one of the most interesting parts of the film! The Other Guys isn’t a masterpiece by any stretch but it’s absolutely carried by all of the jokes – especially the delivery by Will and Marky – which make it funnier and more quotable than your average buddy cop comedy.
Toy Story 3: (3D) Follows the usual suspects on another adventure as their beloved owner Andy grows up and heads for college. Because main cast were developed so well in the first two films TS3 is more about the storyline, which isn’t anything new as we’ve seen the whole “adventures in the big wide world” (done better) twice before. It’s also unexpectedly far, far darker than the first two, with 100% more doom & death scenes – and characters, like the unsettling Big Baby. Although dark themes are brought up the universal ones like rejection, growing up, friendship, loss, old vs new etc are all still present and keep the film’s appeal very broad. Where TS3 stands out is that it really tugs on the ol’ heartstrings; I cried happy tears at Buzz’s change and Mr Tortilla head, yet was close to sad tears several times. Newman’s score is terribly safe, but the way it manipulates your feelings is nothing short of amazing. Although it’s easy to take for granted in Pixar films you can’t overlook the broad array of such well-drawn characters (in both sense) backed with superb voice-acting performances – Mr Pricklepants, voiced by Timothy Dalton, was the standout for me – but everyone is great. The 3D element was outstanding – unlike most films that have a flat background and several objects ‘popping out’ TS3-3D shows full-natural depth to give the impression that you are really watching the action. When Toy Story debuted (in 1995!) as the first full-length CGI movie nobody could have predicted that it would have such an enormous influence on cinema & animation, and kick off one of the best trilogies ever – say what you want, but the Toy Story series stands up to everything else out there. It’s a great way to cap off the tale of a bunch of random plastic toys that have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike.
Note: The token Pixar short ‘Day & Night’ was rubbish!