Tuesday, 1 November 2016

2016 Catch Up

It’s the third film of the holiday franchise from the late Garry Marshall with New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day receiving the same saccharine treatment as Mother’s Day did in the third film of an unofficial trilogy. Like the last two films, Mother’s Day follows a number of loosely connected people on Mothering Sunday and their varying relationships with their mothers.

Mother’s Day is so overly saccharine and sugary that it’s about as shallow as one of those lame Hallmark cards with those really vomit inducing messages with gag worthy adjectives describing how the recipient is ‘the most amazing, super, wonderful, lovely, loving, bestest mum in the world’. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mum but if I would never give her one of those cards (though I’d give her a card saying that she should keep up the good work tidying up after the rest of the family) and if I were to give her one of those cards she’d disown me quicker than if I had voted Tory at the next general election. Mother’s Day’s depiction of people’s relationships with their mothers is untesting in a way that’s almost engaging, and whilst one or segments of the story do evoke some genuine emotion, overall it’s too sweet and sentimental to really have much of an effect. It's mostly harmless.


A Hologram for a King is about businessman Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) who goes to Saudi Arabia to try and pitch a modern, holographic IT conferencing system to the King of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a country of two halfs, the more vibrant and historic Saudi Arabia and the soulless modernized Saudi Arabia. Some of the cities in the Middle East, especially in the richer nations, are a mix of old and new, and Frank Griebe’ superb cinematography captures Saudi Arabia's vibrancy as well as modern soulless, flash architecture outside the city. Hanks is likeable and terrific in the lead role, and overall the film is engaging with Alan’s relationship with his driver, Yousef (an excellent Alexander Black), being the highlight.


Having directed the likes of Eden Lake and The Woman in Black, Bastille Day (for some unknown reason it was renamed The Take in the UK) is a change in genre from an accomplished director of horror films, one of which is a harrowing watch even for the most seasoned horror fans. Bastille Day is film likely to ruffle a few feathers considering the film is about terrorist attacks in Paris at a time in which the French capital (and other cities such as Nice) has been subjected to a number of terrorist attacks.

All in all, though, the film is too silly to be taken anything more than harmless fun. Idris Elba’s gruff performance is one he nails down to perfection as the film speeds through the streets of Paris without giving the audience much time to think whether any of this makes any sense (it doesn’t). There’s an exceptional chase sequences across some rooftops and a decent fight scene in the back of a van, but I can’t help but feel that the film’s action sequences would have spiced up if we actually saw the protagonists come out of a fight with a few scratches instead of their chiseled faces being left without a single blemish. Basically, I just want to see some more graphic violence. 

I imagine a lot of scoffing followed the announcement that the rather basic Angry Birds mobile game would get a movie adaption. How they would adapt the most simplest of mobile games into a film was a mystery, but they did. Jason Sudeikis is Red an angry bird who struggles to fit in because his short temper and moody demeanor is a contrast to the happy life the other birds live. This happy life, however, is shattered by the arrival of some pigs who have sinister intentions. 
I am going to be honest here, I was ready to hate this cynical cash grab as the studio hoped to score hundreds of millions of dollars adapting one of the most played video games of all time. Instead, however, I found myself rather enjoying it. The animation is excellent, the voice acting (from a host of famous names) is good, the film is funny on regular occasions and it smartly weaves the game’s gameplay onto the central story. It’s a little inconsistent as it tries a little too hard to appeal to adults with its not-so-subtle adult jokes (subtle enough to bypass more innocent minds) and references to The Shining


Following saving NYC a few years ago the turtles should be receiving all the honours that Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) is getting, but they feel that despite their heroics the people of New York will not accept them. However, the safety of NYC was not guaranteed and the turtles are forced once again to do battle against The Shredder (Brain Tee) who wants to create a device that will open up a portal to another a world, bringing destruction in its wake.

The Michael Bay produced remake/reboot did more than well enough to warrant a sequel with Box Office takings of just under 500 million, despite it not being any good. The film’s biggest flaw was how intolerable the turtle’s presence was because, as collective unit, they were just annoying (as any group of teenagers would probably be). The sequel, directed by Dave Green, managed to do a better job giving the turtles individual personalities and making easier to tell them apart rather than just getting them all confused with one another. There’s also an interesting focal point of friction between the group as they discover a serum that may, if used correctly, turn them into human form. This will ensure that they are accepted into society but it betrays who they are, this difference in opinion does create friction in the group but only on the most superficial level.

The attempt to personalise the turtles more than the first film does ensure that the sequel does become a little more engaging, but the film is still let down by its central story where a boring villain (or villains) goes for a standard dominate the world plan. The actors are more than effective enough in their motion capture performances but it still doesn’t help the film become more than a mildly passable empty exercise where the result is a foregone conclusion.


1 comment:

  1. Mother's Day has some of my favourite faces in, but there's no way I can bring myself to watch it just for them. Hologram for a King looks like something I'd enjoy though. Great reviews!
    - Allie