Film Review Round-Up 2014 Part I

Over on my Tumblr page, I’ve been posting mini-reviews, both Film 2014 (for new releases this year) and Catch Up Cinema (those not released this year) varieties, whereas saving the main blog for bigger articles, features and more in-depth reviews. But I figured that not might always be clear, and with the nature of Tumblr being comparatively ephemeral, I thought I might gather a round-up of reviews you may have missed. They are an odd bunch collated together, but an enlightening peek into my bizarre viewing habits I suppose. This is Part I and thus covers everything worth linking to up until this point, and perhaps a Part II will no doubt arrive in a few months time. Couple of proper reviews and full pieces coming soon though (as well as another Listening Post)!

FILM 2014

CALVARY

“There are individual moments when you feel it almost has meaning in its grasp, and some isolated scenes (and the magnificent scenery) trick you into thinking the film will fulfill its potential, and yet it never shakes the sense that it is merely a series of disconnected events and disjointed characters in search of something deeper. Not a total loss, just a disappointment.”

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET / 12 YEARS A SLAVE

“…it’s brimming with energy, making directors half his age seem old hat. Keeping it all together (well, losing it completely) is DiCaprio, his best performance since (the not too dissimilar) Catch Me If You Can, who shows hitherto untapped resources as a great physical comedian and willingness to debauch himself in all kinds of ways.”

12 Years A Slave is a very well made film – a terribly upsetting story told in a considered and respectful manner, unafraid to shy away from brutality or difficult issues. The way the film is composed, through its editing, cinematography, and sound, is close to faultless. And yet, and I wonder if I’m alone in this, the performances are a real mixed bag.”

AMERICAN HUSTLE

“I wanted to like American Hustle a lot more than I did, and there are excellent moments peppered throughout. But it’s this year’s Argo, a hollow period confection that seems to please crowds and awards bodies alike, though its charms seem lost on me.”

 

CATCH UP CINEMA

LOGAN’S RUN

“Despite its effective premise, time has not been kind to Logan’s Run. Of course, a certain amount of dating is to be expected, but there is little interesting in its design or notable about the execution for it to get by on kitsch factor alone.”

TEQUILA SUNRISE

“…there is one outrageously hilarious hot tub sex scene…with lots of steam, reflections, slo-mo, cross-cutting and saxophone (the credit for Saxophone Solos appears very high on the credit list), culminating in Pfeiffer spooning yoghurt into Gibson’s gaping maw.”

THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME

“…still an effective and engaging little thriller, with some neat camera tricks and surprisingly grim ideas.”

THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE

“…the first film is marginally better, mainly as a result of Francis Lawrence’s sure if unremarkable direction compared to original director Gary Ross’ more interesting choices. Both films continue to bungle the Hunger Games section itself though, with messy action sequences and a lack of energy or excitement, the build-up and aftermath far more interesting overall.”

WAKE IN FRIGHT

“Chilling, hysterical, upsetting, hilarious, shocking, tense, exciting – Wake in Fright is all these things, yet it also maintains an intelligent and deeply thoughtful core, a stark portrait of the nature of bravado, machismo and our strengths and weaknesses.”

ROBO-G

“Crowd-pleasing and easy-going it may be, but there’s more to Robo-G than meets the eye.”

1941

“…there are so many disparate threads, it’s hard to keep up with its myriad characters, who are either goofy caricatures or lightweight love interests. And, even in its truncated form, it feels a good half-hour too long. Yet, there’s something peculiarly charming about its madcap energy.”

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN vs CHRONICLE

“…much too much has already been said about how a reboot came only a decade after Sam Raimi’s first take on the webslinger, but in comparison to Chronicle, it really is a long tedious bore.”

LA BELLE ET LA BETE

“I enjoyed its humour, the costumes, the performances, design (especially the Beast’s impressive make-up), but it all felt a little flat, the editing – particularly between story threads – especially lacking, rendering it a series of neat moments rather than a fully engaging whole. “

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