YOF #50-54 | Eye in the Sky, London to Brighton, A Beautiful Mind, Zootropolis, Kubo and the Two Strings

I’ve seen some flipping good films lately…

#50
Eye in the Sky
Blu Ray

You can read my review of Eye in the Sky over at Fake Geeks. [4]

#51
London to Brighton
DVD

I was lent this DVD years ago but only just recently gotten around to watching it. For those who don’t know it, it is a British crime thriller from 2006. It follows the story of Kelly (Lorraine Stanley) and Joanne (Georgia Groome) who on the run from some pretty despicable London mobsters.

It’s a great little film that never outstays it’s welcome (it’s only 80 odd minute and the pacing is spot on). The acting is impressive and naturalistic, and I liked how the gangsters weren’t the stereotypical kind seen in thing like Lock, Stock… etc. [4]

#52
A Beautiful Mind
DVD

Another film that was lent to me some time ago that I’ve only just gotten around to watching. How did I manage to go the best part of 15 years without seeing this amazing film?

Pretty much everything is spot on, and Russell Crowe’s performance is near-flawless. [5]

#53
Zootropolis
Blu Ray via Lovefilm

On the whole, a really enjoyable animation from Disney. While the social commentary was a little on the nose at times, it was nice that there was a relatively interesting and relevant subtext to what is otherwise kids entertainment. It held my attention throughout, and had a handful of hilarious gags (particularly in the final third). A strong entry, on another year, this could have been in contention for animation of the year… [4]

#54
Kubo and the Two Strings
Cinema

Simon pretty much hit the nail on the head with his lengthy review over at Fake Geeks. I liked that this was more like a folktale than a run-of-the-mill schmaltz fest that animations sometimes end up as. All of the actions had realistic (in terms of the narrative) consequences. The voice acting is spot on, the animation is beautiful, the pacing is near-perfect (as is the tone). Laika seemed to have carved a niche for themselves, sitting somewhere on the spectrum in between Ghibli and Disney (with a dash of Tim Burton lurking nearby), and are all the better for it. The animation of the year, and a genuine film of the year contender. [4.5]

 

YOF #46 – 49 | Kiki’s Delivery Service, The Shallows, A Bigger Splash, Hell or High Water

#46
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Blu Ray

After being very impressed with The Tale of Princess Kaguya, I resolved to make my way through the entire Studio Ghibli filmography over time. Up to this point, I have also seen Spirited AwayWhen Marnie Was There as well as the first half of Ponyo.

I recently purchased blu-rays of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (not an official release, I know, but I think it makes sense to be included), Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro. But before my girlfriend and I make our way through those, my fellow Geeketeer Mike kindly lent me Kiki’s Delivery Service for me to check out. It’s one of his favourites.

The plot is pretty simple – Kiki is a trainee witch, and this is a coming-of-age tale about her finding her way in the wide world. Following familial tradition, she strikes out on her own at age thirteen with just her talking cat jiji for company. Trainee witches are expected to find their place in the world as part of their maturation, and the title refers to the line of business Kiki ends up in. The story chronicles the ups-and-downs she experiences.

Some may find it a little lightweight, but I don’t see that as a negative attribute. The film is shockingly and pleasantly simple, written well and paced to near perfection. [4]

 

Updated League Table of Ghibli:
01. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
02. Kiki’s Delivery Service
03. When Marnie Was There
04. Spirited Away
05. Ponyo

 

#47
The Shallows
Cinema

You can read my review of this at Fake Geeks. [3.5]

 

#48
A Bigger Splash
Blue Ray via Lovefilm

It is a remake of 1969 Italian-French film La Piscine and, having read up on it, it seems very similar in theme and execution. The plot basically revolves around Marianne (Tilda Swinton). She is a Bowie-esque rockstar that is recovering from throat surgery. Matthias Shoenaerts plays her partner Paul, Ralph Fiennes plays long time ex Harry and Dakota Johnson plays Harry’s daughter Penelope.

Well, this was a frustrating watch. I don’t think there are any bad performances, and Fiennes is pretty great as an insufferable over-talkative oaf. However, the story moves along as such a sedate pace that you’ll be clock watching before the midway point. There’s a little drama/intrigue in the final chapter that’s handled quite well, but the outcome of the event takes longer than one would expect to conclude.

On the technical sides of things, the direction is fine and the cinematography is of a pretty high standard. Basically, this is pointless, poorly paced remake that happens to look quite pretty and has one notable central performance. One strictly for fans of the genre (psychological adult drama, apparently), or specifically the cast. [2.5]

#49
Hell or High Water
Cinema

Now this is more like it! Mike has pretty much summed up my thoughts exactly over at Fake Geeks. [4.5]