3D

Inside Out

Inside Out Group

Released 2015. Directed by Pete Docter. Screenplay by Meg LeFauve & Josh Cooley and Pete Docter. Starring Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Richard Kind, Lewis Black, Kaitlyn Dias.

Significant spoilers follow, including many of the best jokes and the ending, so if you wish to avoid anger I recommend you see Inside Out before reading on. (I also talk about the end of Toy Story 3, but if you haven’t seen that then I assume you have never seen a film in your life.)

As a child, my favourite comic strip was The Numskulls. The idea that tiny maniacal homunculi populated and drove human bodies was captivating and wild, tweaked my interest in science, and made for thousands of great jokes. Now Pixar, the undisputed master of family-friendly cinema, has turned its attention to the same idea. Colour me excited.

(more…)

Advertisements

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus Head

Released 2014. Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Adam Cooper & Bill Collage and Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Ben Mendelsohn, María Valverde, Aaron Paul.

This piece talks almost as much about Noah as it does Exodus: Gods and Kings. So if you don’t want to know how two of the most famous stories in the world end, look away now.

Exodus: Gods and Kings is a Biblical epic. It tells an epic story, it has an epic budget, an epic cast, and a director who knows his way around epics. But something told me it would be epically dull. The trailers bored me. Christian Bale, while a great actor, doesn’t grab me as a screen presence the way a star should. The glimpses of action in the trailers looked by-the-numbers, basted with tedious CGI. It looked like Kingdom of Heaven when it needed to be Gladiator.

I was epically wrong.

(more…)

Godzilla

Released 2014. Directed by Gareth Edwards. Screenplay by Max Borenstein. Story by David Callaham. Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston.

The first thing you have to do is see this on the most enormous screen you can find. The second thing you have to do is come back here and agree with me about why you were utterly thrilled and only a little disappointed.

There are two possibilities. Either that I make the wrong demands of blockbusters, or that it doesn’t matter what my demands are because my expectations are so low that I end up pathetically satisfied with whatever I get. I say this because I appear to be the only member of my entire circle of friends and acquaintances who liked Godzilla, and surely they can’t all be wrong?

(more…)

Pompeii

Released 2014. Directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. Screenplay by Janet Scott Batchler & Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson. Starring Kit Harington, Emily Browning and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje.

There’s really no spoiling this movie, but I suppose you shouldn’t read on to find out exactly how everybody dies in a giant volcano eruption if you want to see it first.

There’s something to be said for seeing a film under the influence. Not of chemicals (well, not necessarily), but of happiness and a lightness of heart. The two and a half hours preceding my viewing of Pompeii included a relaxing walk along a canal, a curious goat curry at an exciting new restaurant called Turtle Bay, five brightly-coloured alcoholic beverages (including one that I don’t even remember drinking but am assured that I did), and the astonishing news that my beloved Birmingham City FC had dramatically escaped relegation to Football League One with a last-gasp equaliser at Bolton. The day was sunny, my company effervescent. I was, you could say, in a state of light delirium.

Light delirium, it turns out, is precisely the state in which to place oneself before seeing Pompeii.

(more…)