In the Electric Mist (Dans la brume électrique): a New Orleans detective is trying to link the murdering of local prostitutes with a 1965 lynching and corrupt local businessmen. So you’re sitting there thinking this is a normal(-ish) police investigation then 40 minutes in BAM! Our lead is taking advice from – and having conversations with – a Confederate soldier ghost… WTF?? For a sleepy town there’s also a whole lotta murdering happening with very little law intervention. Tommy Lee Jones plays the lead pretty well, but as a grouchy, craggy, snarly, old-school detective – it’s nothing we haven’t seen already. By the time the final act rolls round there’s almost too much going on; new murders, old murders, suspicious movie set, troubled film stars, conspiracies, kidnapping. The confusion is compounded by almost everyone having a comically hillbilly name, and some fairly hooky narration. In the end ‘Electric Mist’ is watchable enough, but completely unremarkable, flat, and has a look and ‘vibe’ of a film that could be 20 years older than it is. Ultimately, it’s a pretty big waste of an impressive cast.
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!