Friday, 11 October 2013

In the Air Again: The English Teacher, Now You See Me, Passion and The Way, Way Back

Bonjour from Geneva (no, it’s not a business trip). I caught four films on the way here. As usual, I will provide brief reviews, in order of my preference (worst to best):


The English Teacher

Julianne Moore stars as a lonely high school English teacher whose life changes dramatically when she bumps into a former student and decides to have her class perform his play. The English Teacher starts well but deteriorates rapidly, primarily because it tries too hard to be a comedy when it should have stuck to drama. A waste of some good talent. **+


Passion

I hadn’t even heard of Brian De Palma’s new erotic thriller until I saw it yesterday. I tend to be more generous to De Palma than most critics, but this didn’t sell me on either the characters or the acting (especially that of the two leads, Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, who are capable of better). There were scenes I appreciated and the story (woman murders wicked boss; or does she?) had potential, but in the end the plot was just too weird (i.e. it wasn’t credible). I was disappointed. **+


The Way, Way Back

This was a comedy drama that stuck mostly to drama, which was good, because the comedy was lame. The drama (typical teenager coming of age stuff) was intelligent and fairly well acted (by Liam James, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette and Steve Carell) and The Way, Way Back is a solid piece of entertainment, but nothing to get excited about. ***


Now You See Me

This was the surprise of the trip, much better than the critics had led me to believe it would be. Sure, this magician heist flick lacks depth (the characters are extremely superficial) and the car chase is ridiculous and not remotely credible, but it’s fun, it’s challenging and it makes for a fast-moving and diverting flight film. I enjoyed Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent in the surprising lead roles, and it was fun to see Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine back again (after Dark Knight). A solid ***. 

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