Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Long Flight: Ted, Premium Rush, We Bought a Zoo, Lawless, Frankenweenie, Your Sister's Sister, Liverpool, Blood From a Stone, Lost in Siberia

I caught nine films while flying to Germany and back. Such trips provide a chance to watch films I intentionally missed on the big screen. While I’m always hoping for a surprise, I expect little and I wasn’t disappointed (i.e. I got little). As an alternative to catching up on Hollywood, three of the nine films were foreign language films I had never heard of. It was certainly no surprise that all three of these films were better than any of the English language films (if you want to call me a film snob, so be it), though none of the nine films was really outstanding. 
Anyway, here are my brief reviews of the nine films, in order of how much I enjoyed them (beginning with the worst):
The premise about a teddy bear which comes to life and grows up to be a sex-obsessed trash-talking friend to John (Mark Wahlberg) is about as ridiculous as they come. I am not a Wahlberg fan and he certainly did not impress me here. Mila Kunis is wasted as his love interest. Ted is a pathetic excuse for a film which I can only suppose is aimed at those who liked The Hangover. The crude sex and toilet humour did not work for me at all. Seth MacFarlane should stick to making TV shows (American Dad, Family Guy). I can’t believe Roger gave this three and a half stars. *+ My mug is down.
Premium Rush
An utterly pointless action film about bicycle delivery folks in New York City. A waste of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s talents, Premium Rush makes no sense and has no story worth watching. ** My mug is down.
We Bought a Zoo
You all know how much I like Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, but they could not save this predictable and forgettable by-the-numbers family comedy-drama about a man who buys a struggling zoo. Yawn. **+ My mug is down.
Another film which wastes some good actors (and decent acting), Lawless is a violent true story about three brothers in Virginia who led the way in bootlegging during the prohibition. Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf are good as two of the brothers, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska are the love interests, and Guy Pearce is the cold deputy who’s hunting them down. Lawless could have been good film but doesn’t achieve the epic feel it’s trying for. **+ My mug is down.
A black-and-white, animated Tim Burton film, Frankenweenie is a very watchable tale about a boy who uses lightning to bring his dog back to life. I loved the science teacher. A number of precious scenes puts this into *** country. My mug is up.
Your Sister’s Sister
Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt are outstanding in this independent comedy drama about a man who sleeps with the sister of the woman he is in love with (who is his best friend). Lots of obvious improv keep this from being even more predictable than it is. Still, a very entertaining film. *** My mug is up.
A lightweight but thoroughly enjoyable French-Canadian adventure film set in Montreal, what sets Liverpool apart are the likeable leads (Stephanie Lapointe and Charles-Alexandre Dube)and the excellent underlying social satire about our age of disposable electronics, computers and iphones (showing both the good and the bad). *** My mug is up. 
Blood From a Stone
Daniel Auteuil is magnificent in this dark French film about a man who owns a yacht-making company which falls on hard times. The workers protest and things get out of hand. This could have been a great film but the ending is terrible. ***+ My mug is up.
Lost in Siberia 
A German comedy drama wins the day with another tale about a man struggling to find his way in a world that feels like a prison. In this case, the man (played very well by Joachim Krol) finds his way out of prison by finding love in Siberia. A delightful if predictable film. ***+ My mug is up.


  1. Don't you ever sleep on planes?

    Of all of these, I've only seen Your Sister's Sister and We Bought a Zoo, and my feelings run close to yours. I might have sounded a little more positive about the first - it had a unique vibe to it and something about the turning point that came simply through time, thoughtfulness and caring relationships deeply impressed me. Also can one suggest that the film uses "gratuitously gorgeous natural cinematography"? But who could complain?

  2. In spite of your warnings I still saw Premium Rush on a plane - certainly the only place to bother seeing it, but it's just as you say - Watch the trailer to see how an action movie can work with a bicycle and you'll get as much out of it as you would from the whole film