And take a deep breath in.... and hold... Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day follows the story of Alexander (Ed Oxenbould), a young kid who's constantly finding his days to be less than ordinary. Well, they all suck, really. His father, Ben (Steve Carell), has finally got a job interview at a gaming company. His mother, Kelly (Jennifer Garner) is getting her children's book published. His sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey) snatched the role of Peter Pan in her school play. And his brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette) is going to prom with "the hottest girl in the school!" On the morning of Alexander's twelfth birthday, he wishes that his family can have just one day that's as bad as his always are, which to his surprise ends up happening.
Oddly enough (take another deep breath in), Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day isn't actually a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad movie (and release). The trailer was occasionally fun, if not rather forced and very very Disney, although that's usually not really a bad thing. There is, however, such thing as overly-Disney, and I feared this movie would go down that path, like many of their live action films do. It doesn't, thank goodness. It does, unfortunately, have a few problems though. The main one being that it's target audience is yet to be decided. The film plays off as a children's film, but the content and humour is aimed for a more teenager-y audience. It's a problem, but I enjoyed it, so there's that. I was the only person in my theatre who was both over the age of five and was willing to see the film, and I was also the one who laughed the hardest. I'm still not entirely sure if that says something about me or the movie.
Jennifer Garner needs to do more films like this. I'm not her agent, I damn well know that, but if I were then I'd be very happy with this film. She's a good actress and all, but she doesn't pick the best roles. She was great in last year's, or this year's if you're an Australian like me, Dallas Buyers Club, but other than that she doesn't have many memorable roles. Well, Elektra is memorable, but not because it's good. She does have another film in cinemas right now though called Men, Women & Children. I should probably check that one out too, but I'm starting to drift away from the topic.
The film's rather predictable too. It follows the numbers, colours in-between the lines, and comes out safely on the other side. It's a formulaic tale of family, but it's an entertaining one. I don't even really mind that it's predictable though because it's handled well. The film is full of so many small, family centred moments. Some humorous others meaningful. There's a scene with the whole family making a song out of weird sounds they can make that's not only sweet, but also rather hilarious. That's what this film is. In fact, that one scene alone pretty much summarises what you're in for when going in to see this film.
Outside of Carell and Garner, the performances aren't too hip. It's rarely a good idea to place child actors in main roles, but family centred films do this commonly and so it's only the ones with good performances that end up being classics. Or close enough to one. Alexander and the blah blah blah won't become a classic. There's absolutely no chance of that. But it's fun while it lasts. The talent just isn't quite up to scratch with what it should be. Dylan Minnette was great in last year's Prisoners, but that's presumably because he's given a supporting role there and a lead role here. Maybe I'm being too harsh. This film is made for kids after all. Oh well, I liked it. I just have problems with it.
To sum up, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day doesn't have much talent outside of Garner and Carell, plus the film follows a predictable storyline, but it's simple, innocent fun that's great while it lasts.
The Grand Seduction follows the story of Murray French (Brendan Gleeson), a resident of a small fishing village known as Tickle Cove. The town are in serious need of a doctor, and not just for health related issues. They need him so that their town can acquire a factory, meaning their residents can become employed. The unfortunate thing is that their town isn't the most appealing one out there, especially for a doctor. So when a young doctor, Dr. Lewis (Taylor Kitsch) comes into town, the village attempt to mask their flaws and make it the most appealing village ever, which even includes them tapping into Lewis' phone and listening to everything he likes.
The Grand Seduction is an incredibly charming film. The film is light hearted fun and nothing more. It's got heart, a sense of humour and a delightful premise. Based on the foreign language film Seducing Doctor Lewis, which was released back in 2003, this film really knows how to make a good time. It's funny, but in a mature, yet slapstick kinda way. It doesn't require gross out gags or excessive swearing and sexual slurs to raise a belly laugh, although the scene with the whole town simultaneously having an orgasm would count as a wonderful exception. That's not to say that I don't find that sort of humour funny either, I do. Just look at me, I'm a freaking Kevin Smith fan, for goodness sake.
Brendan Gleeson is, as always, fantastic. This is like the thirty eighth film he's been in this year* and he's yet to fail. Seriously, this man can act, although I still haven't seen Calvary and I presume that it'll blow my socks off, or at least that's what I'm hearing from fellow critics. While Gleeson is boasting, it's Taylor Kitsch that really surprises. Kitsch has turned his career around big-time as of late. He's gone from starring in the god-awful John Carter and the mediocre Battleship (yes, I said mediocre. I find it kinda fun when the action scenes are on) to giving great performances in both this and Lone Survivor. Good on you Kitsch, good on you.
Despite it's charm, heart, humour and performances, the film never comes across as overly original, and I doubt the film it's remaking was either. It's a simple storyline with simple and familiar themes. It works, I'm not saying it doesn't, but it draws heavily from other films. It's not a major leap forward in the world of cinema, but for what it is, The Grand Seduction is a damn entertaining movie.
To sum up, The Grand Seduction has plenty of heart, plenty of humour, plenty of charm and plenty of great performances, especially from Kitsch and Gleeson, but it just doesn't have plenty of originality.
3 1/2 Stars
And since I feel like stealing thousands of other people's joke, no, this movie is not based on the Marvel comic character. There, I said it. Can we get on with the review now? Nightcrawler follows the story of Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), your typical, run of the mill psychopath. He's dedicated, hard working, socially awkward and he's also a sociopath who hates other people. Sound like a nice guy? Yeah, maybe. Not really, but maybe. I'll explain later. Lou is looking for a job, but unfortunately nobody wants to hire him. After witnessing a car crash late one night, Lou gets the idea to start a freelance camera crew company, or nightcrawler as they like to call it. He hires a young assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed) and together they roam the streets of L.A. in search of crimes to film.
Before seeing this film I deemed Enemy to be Jake Gyllenhaal's best performance this year, although to be fair, that was his only other film this year. After seeing Nightcrawler, however, my opinion has differed greatly. Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler is absolutely insane. His character is psychotic, yet you want to root for him. You shouldn't, my god you shouldn't, but you do anyway. You can't help it. He understands people, but he's not a people person, making for some incredibly awkward situations, in particular a scene between him and Rene Russo's character having dinner comes to mind.
Director Dan Gilroy makes it hard to believe that this is his debut. The film feels so visceral and polished, and not by any means the work of a first time director. The film feels like the work of a master, despite this not being the case. Gilroy not only knows how to write a good screenplay, but he knows how to direct too. The camera angles are masterful, similar to ones shot by Lou himself. Gilroy even gets a chance to show off his knowledge of cinematography and framing through some lines of dialogue, which I guess counts for something.
His screenplay is off the hook, bringing to life the dirty secrets of the news. How truthful this film is would be an interesting case-study. I know I'd love to find out. Of course, news reporters probably don't go to such an extent as Lou does in this film, moving the placing of dead bodies to make the perfect shot or, even worse, letting civilians die for the sake of a good report, but I'm curious to find out just how nosey they can get. "If you want to win the lottery then you have to make the money to the buy the ticket," says Lou, and this is all too true. He follows through with his motto, even when it compromises with both the law and his morals.
The film is darkly comedic too, bringing in a twisted sense of humour. While partner in crime Rick provides justified comic relief, Lou provides the humour that we shouldn't be laughing at it, but do anyway. He's all out bonkers, leading to some hysterical moments. Intentionally hysterical, of course. I'm still not 100% sure what makes these moments as funny as they are, but I'm happy to say that they are. He's never sarcastic and unless he's lying to save his own skin, he's essentially always honest. He's upfront about everything, persisting and persisting until he gets what he wants and he's at the top. There's no middle ground for him, only the next level up.
The film is confronting and unethical, but in the most delicious of ways. It's a film that can be devoured up with ease and with satisfaction. The events taking place go against all morals I have set up within myself, but they're a thrill to watch. As Lou tries harder and harder to get the better story he's faced with situations more dangerous than the last. Each one of these situations are caused by Lou. He wants the best story and he'll do anything to get it, even if that means breaking into crime scenes before the police arrive. It's a seriously messed up movie, but I just love everything about it.
To sum up, Nightcrawler is a darkly comedic film that's unethical, thrilling and overly satisfying. Director Dan Gilroy makes it hard to believe that this is his first feature with his polished direction and off the hook screenplay, plus a psychotic performance from Gyllenhaal.
4 1/2 Stars
I've finally gotten over Interstellar's soundtrack and decided to review this (more on that here), so let's go. Pride follows the true story of Joe (George MacKay), who's character is so important that he's standing at the very back of the poster and leaning out to the right so people can actually see him. During his first gay-rights parade, Joe meets a group of gays and lesbians who intend on setting up a fundraising organisation called "Gays and Lesbians Support the Miners," or GLSM for short. This small fundraising group leads them to a small Welsh village where the miners they're supporting are on strike, causing the police to unleash brutality towards them, much like they did with the gays.
Pride is a goddamn riot, there's no better way to put it. It's a film that will have you cheering for joy, laughing in hysterics and yelling for justice, all wile tears are slyly forming in your eyes, although after watching this movie you won't be embarrassed about a common thing like that. This movie will have that effect on people, I'm sure of it. Pride is proud of itself, which should be expected with a title like Pride. It sets out to do good and to show good and it's damn good. As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say it's one of the best films we've received this year. Yes, it's definitely up there as one of the greats.
This film could just as easily have been made as a drama, but what's the fun in that? I'm not saying it'd be as dramatic as last year's 12 Years a Slave or an exploitation film such as Wolf Creek (this film would most certainly not work as a horror either), but it wouldn't have been too hard to cut the comedy altogether. The problem is, that's what makes this film so enjoyable. It's got that much needed drama flare and it's got that much needed sentimentality, but what makes them more effective is how funny the film is too.
When watching this film you just can't help but laugh, cheer and get up and dance. It's a light-hearted and watchable movie with some very powerful messages. It's set in the 80s, but you can be damn sure that its themes are still relevant now. It shows us how there's nothing wrong with being gay or even being different. It's a film about equality and being able to love who you want to love, and it delivers these messages in style.
The screenplay is witty and the finale perfect. Let's look at the film Nebraska, which came out earlier this year for us Australian's. That film is genuinely funny, honest and, most importantly, doesn't always end up how it should. It doesn't take the path of perfection, but the character's arcs wrap up in the most perfect of ways. Pride is similar to Nebraska in a lot of ways, particularly in the path it takes. Things don't always go to plan, but the characters end up alright. I hope that's not a spoiler for anyone.
To sum up, Pride's story doesn't always go to plan, but it's character arcs wrap up in the most perfect of ways. It's honest, sentimental, hilarious and will make you want to leap up and boogie. It's definitely among the best we've got so far this year.
4 1/2 Stars
The Drop is adapted from the short story 'Animal Rescue' by Dennis Lehane, the man who's also responsible for giving us Shutter Island, Gone Baby Gone and Mystic River, so we have a lot to thank him for. It follows the story of Bob (Tom Hardy), a lonely bartender who, along with his cousin (and previous owner), Marv (James Gandolfini) are robbed one night by two thugs who steal everything in the cash register. As well as this, when walking home one night Bob discovers a wounded pitbull. With the help of a woman named Nadia (Noomi Rapace), Bob attempts to aid this dog back to health.
Don't go into The Drop expecting a fast paced, action packed crime thriller. It's far from it, actually. It's brilliant of course, but it's not any of those. The film is gritty, realistic and exciting, but not always entirely eventful. It tells its story at a slower pace than other gangster films, if this can even be described as a "gangster" film. In fact, don't even expect this film to be entirely as advertised. Yet again, it's not. The Drop takes a shockingly vibrant turn in its story, focussing more on the relationship between Tom Hardy's character and Noomi Rapace's character, as well as Tom Hardy's character and the dog he finds stranded in a bin. Animal Rescue is more a suitable title for the events in this film, but The Drop is a more exciting one. No matter what you want to call this film, it doesn't stop the final product from being excellent.
The screenplay is tightly woven and full of surprises. Adapted by the writer of the original short story, The Drop propels itself above other films with similar concepts through it's dark and thrilling screenplay and occasionally comedic dialogue. It's a very serious film, but like all dramas (or at least all good ones), it's got a sense of humour too. More importantly, however, is that the film travels at a fast pace, leading us eagerly from scene to scene and to a conclusion that's unexpected, yet it works. The twist's no Fight Club, but it's neat.
Much like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Drop stars an actor who's no longer with us. An actor who's so damn good at what they do, and an actor that saved one of their best performances for last. Or at least that's what it is for James Gandolfini. Phillip Seymour Hoffman may not have saved his best for last, but technically we're yet to see his last. We've seen half of it. James Gandolfini is a phenomenal actor and since this is the last we'll ever see of him on screen, I'm happy to say he went out with a bang.
While Gandolfini shines, as does Tom Hardy, who's recently proven himself to be quite the performer. With Locke and The Drop both coming out this year, Tom Hardy hasn't just shown us that he's capable of multiple accents, but he's also capable of being one Hollywood's best. His character is relaxed and confident, never seeming to get anxious or worried about a thing. That is until Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts) enters the picture, his character posing as a major threat. This threat gets an even better performance out of Hardy, something only God knew was possible.
The Drop is full of tension too, particularly when the third act's gears begin to grind. As the film goes on the threat, which I literally just mentioned, builds up, and in doing so the tension does too. It just builds and builds, and basic science tells us that when something is full it must go elsewhere, so the tension explodes. This explosion is timed to perfection, the tension being lost when it's no longer needed. To be honest, I'm not sure if I just complimented the film or if I described a basic thriller's ending, but either way it's a good thing. I think.
To sum up, you shouldn't go into The Drop expecting a fast paced, action packed crime thriller as it's not. But what it is is an exciting, tension filled and phenomenally acted crime drama with an ending that's pretty damn neat.
If you haven't yet seen The Hunger Games: Catching Fire then it's probably wise not to read my review of this as it'll spoil that film, however I doubt you'll care if you haven't got around to watching Catching Fire yet. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 continues the story of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), our heroine of the first two films. She barely escaped the arena with her life and she's now in hiding in District 13, which was previously thought to be destroyed. The only problem is that her act of defiance from the end of the last film has sparked a revolution, a revolution in which she's looked up to as the leader. This revolution has the possibility of bringing down President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and of all the capital.
I'm going to give a little backstory into my thoughts on this franchise, both the books and the film adaptations. The first film/book, The Hunger Games, I really enjoy. It was, for the most part at least, original and brought with it a lot of political messages. The second film/book, Catching Fire, I liked even more. It got everything right about the first one and improved it even further. When it comes to the Mockingjay book, I haven't heard too many stories of people being head over heels about it, myself included. I find it to be dull and the events taking place are uninteresting, despite many attempts at moving the plot into directions the other two didn't go in. So when I found out that Mockingjay would become two films, which I'm not sure why I was surprised at as it seems everything is nowadays, I wasn't pleased. I'm still not pleased really. I've got to wait a whole year to watch the film's conclusion, which just sucks.
Mockingjay Part 1, as all Part 1s do, has its fair share of pacing and storytelling problems. If there was anyone who was hoping this wouldn't be the case, I'm just going to ask them why? Mockingjay Part 1 is essentially a set up for Part 2, which should be expected. When you look at the first two films you'll notice that the first hour is build up for the second hour and then the second hour is full on, intense and constantly riveting. This film is a two hour version of the first hour of one of those films. It's just build up with very little payoff. Thank goodness that I still found a lot of enjoyment in the first hour of both Catching Fire and The Hunger Games because it allowed me to find enjoyment here.
Repetitive in nature, but exciting in execution, Mockingjay Part 1 seems to fix the problems of the book, most of which are caused by a lack of excitement. The film makes the many many speeches engaging and thorough, all without overstaying their welcome and turning into what the book was. It cuts the story down to the bare minimum, but then stretches out these much needed scenes and pieces of dialogue to suit the runtime. Sure, I could complain about how Mockingjay could've just been one film or The Hobbit should've stayed as two rather than three, but I'm not going to. It's not going to happen and there's nothing I can do to change that.
Director Francis Lawrence, who's apparently still not related to J-Law, proves to us that he's still the right man for the job. When it came to the first Hunger Games, a lot of people had problems with the style of filmmaking it had, or lack of. Catching Fire brought with it a new director, a director who vowed not to use shaky cam. And in Mockingjay Part 1 he's done it again, coming in forceful and giving off some powerful direction. Yes, there's two small moments of shaky cam, but the same could be said about Catching Fire so there's not really a lot to complain about.
This film's other Lawrence, Jennifer, returns with a once again haunting performance. At the start of this film we see that her character is distraught and broken. She's not the same person she was at the start of the first film, and that's even said to her on multiple occasions in this. Jennifer Lawrence gives yet other performance that'll blow you away, as it did with me. I'm yet to see her give a bad performance and I'd be beyond happy if it remains that way for the rest of her career. I'm calling it now, Jennifer Lawrence has the possibility of being the next Meryl Streep. Nobody kill me please.
That being said, the film's aware that she's the star and so most of the other characters become sidelined for a considerable period of time. Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) is one of my favourite characters from this franchise, if not my absolute favourite. Unfortunately, he doesn't have an awful lot to do in this film, and the same can be said about Elizabeth Bank's Effie and Sam Claffin's Finnick. The only real character who's given more screen time than they previously had is Gale (Liam Hemsworth), so I guess there's that.
As I expected it to, the end of the film leaves us impatient for the finale. This film, like I previously mentioned, is just a bunch of set up. This set up consisting of propaganda, speeches and more propaganda. It's light on action, but that's okay with me. That's what we have Part 2 for. The stakes are always there, but they're never really fully utilised until the end, take away the scenes in District 8. Just as we're starting to get a feel for the darker turn of events and my heart was racing at a million miles an hour, we cut to black. Thankfully we cut back again, but this only returns for a minute or two before... yep, you guessed it, another cut to black. I know the events that are to take place as I've read the book, but come one! You just couldn't help yourself could you Francis? That's a joke, of course.
To sum up, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 comes with your typical Part 1 problems, particularly with the pacing and the storytelling, but it's still handled well enough and is lead by haunting performances so these problems won't seem that relevant come November next year.
3 1/2 Stars
Le Week-End follows the story of Meg (Lindsay Duncan) and Nick (Jim Broadbend), an old married couple who've hit a bump in their marriage. There's a lack of intimacy in their relationship, which on the most part is because of Meg, but I don't want to sound sexist so I'm going to say it's both their faults. Wait, would that even be considered sexist? Oh I don't know. Anyway, to rejuvenate their marriage the two head off to Paris for their anniversary, but along the way they come across an old friend of theirs, Morgan (Jeff Goldblum) who's a character I can't complain about because he's mother f**king Jeff Goldblum.
Le Week-End is held by two brilliant performances, and also one by Jeff Goldblum. Jim Broadbend and Lindsey Duncan hold this movie together. They're both the mould and the paste of this film. Their characters have chemistry, and great chemistry at that. Although they're not, they actually made me believe that they're a married couple. Is that weird? That's probably weird. Their performances are full of charm and realism, making this film believable, although it's believable just based on screenplay alone so I'm going to say it's more believable instead. Oh yeah, and did I mention that Jeff Goldblum is in this movie too? Yeah, he's in it. He plays a character, and this character is in the movie. Jeff Goldblum. Jeff freaking Goldblum. I hope he doesn't mind if I call him J.
Le Week-End's screenplay is touching, witty and full of heart. I know practically nothing about Hanif Kureishi's life (he's the writer), but this film appears to be such a personal journey for him. It feels like something that could only have been written by someone of experience, and that's what I love about this film the most. It's natural, relatable (to an extent, but undoubtably more so for others) and it's real. Plus the film can be damn funny too, which is a plus.
The plot, however, is rather flimsy. I've watched countless movies that go about plot-less, such as the masterpieces that are the Before trilogy, and Le Week-End has a similar feel in terms of plot, except it's not done as effectively. It's pretty weak, actually. Nothing happens, which occasionally I'm fine with. It's just a loop of events with no progress being made until late into the second half. But it's okay because they have Jeff Goldblum.
To sum up, Le Week-End's plot is flimsy and repetitive, but with performances like this and a screenplay that's touching, witty, personal, realistic and full of heart, that whole flimsy plot thing can be overlooked.
Grand Piano came out about forty years too late. It's still a good film and all, but it shouldn't have been released at this late a date. The film follows the story of Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood), a pianist who's preparing for his comeback performance after completely embarrassing himself a number of years earlier. When opening up his music sheet, Tom discovers a series of notes. These notes being threats towards him. Now Tom must wear an earpiece during his performance and ensure that he does everything the man on the other side of the line tells him to do, or else his wife, Emma (Kerry Bishé) will be murdered.
If anything, Grand Piano is a modern day Hitchcock film. In a way, the film almost seems to pay homage to the many tense thrillers from Alfred Hitchcock, and there are many. It's got his typical style, his typical feel and his typical suspense. Grand Piano is a very thrilling movie, despite not offering a lot more than that. Actually, it offers nothing more than that. It's a film made to thrill and thrill it does. There's not a lot of depth or sophistication to it and that's fine by me as it succeeded in doing just what it wanted to. It's a fun film. It's a short film. It's a damn entertaining film.
Director Eugenio Mira handles the film in a mature manner, filming it in a deliberately stylised way. His direction isn't necessarily flawless, but it's effective. He's constantly taking a leap of faith, trying to do something great, even though his film ended up being seen by about thirteen people total. He doesn't quite meet his own needs, but his needs were too insanely high for what this film is and so the result is still something great.
Led by another great performance from Elijah Wood, Grand Piano gives off very little complaints. The film is short and simple, not lingering on for too long so that flaws arise. The dialogue can feel a little forced at times, but never at a constant rate. Believability is low, but tension is high, and that's all I really wanted from this film. Elijah Wood feels vulnerable in this role, adding an extra layer of tension. He's never grounded and therefore he's never safe, even though there's no reason as to why he should actually be afraid of this guy. Seriously, you see a note on your music sheets and you know this guy means business? Come on!
To sum up, Grand Piano sets its hopes too high and so the final product is far from perfect, but the journey there is short, simple, deliberately stylised and highly entertaining. Plus it's led by another great performance from Elijah Wood.
3 1/2 Stars
I have no idea what this film is about, nor do I know how to summarise it into a single paragraph. I suppose I may as well give it a go though, which is rather unfortunate seeings as how I don't really know how to do it. Um, The Zero Theorem follows the story of Qohen Leth (Christoph Waltz), a man who, um, plays video games for a job. Well, not technically. He works for a corporation that uses these skills to do things. I don't really know what I'm saying, this film is weird. Anyway, so while he's hacking away he's in search for his reason of existence he's met by Barnsley (Mélanie Thierry), a young woman who's been sent to serve as both a distraction and love interest. Yeah, I think that just about covers it. There's no real plot to anything, but if there were then that'd be a semi-decent summary of it.
The Zero Theorem is directed by Terry Gilliam, and that's about all you really need to hear to determine if you think you'll like this film or not. Terry Gilliam, and this isn't just my opinion, is a rather odd director. No no, he's a very odd director. He's one of the men behind Monty Python, although I'd much rather watch all of those movies than most of his recent films. Granted, I haven't seen all of his recent films either so I can't really judge. I remember admiring The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus when it first came out for being so utterly different, but I haven't seen it again. This was also a time when I thought The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was pretentious and I deemed Transformers one of the best action movies of all time. I was an idiotic kid, but now I'm a slightly less idiotic teen.
Before I take a rather large dump on this film's forehead, I'll give it some credibility. Firstly, the film is visually incredible. Well, maybe not incredible, but certainly impressive. It's as ambitious as it is gorgeous, this point being both good and bad. The world that Gilliam has created is unique, rambunctious and a little bit queer. It's something that we don't see everyday and while that's a pleasantry, the rest of the film isn't. The performances are fascinating too, particularly because these actors are playing characters so unlike what we're used to seeing. They give it a go and the outcome's hard to discourage.
Okay, okay, time to let my annoyances with this film free. Despite being visually satisfying, the events in which these visuals occur are far from interesting. There's really not a lot this film has to offer outside the world of special effects and artsy fartsy scenarios. I'm sure there are people out there that'll enjoy this film, but for people like me it's just not up my alley, and this is coming from the guy who adores Enemy. They don't come much artsier than Enemy. Well.....
The Zero Theorem really doesn't know what it's trying to be. Maybe it does and I don't get it, but I'm brave enough to say that it doesn't. There's a lot happening, but not a lot that makes sense. The plot is muddled, trying to be so many different things at once, but never spending enough time on any of them. The start is promising, but the rest is rubbish, minus a nurse outfit worn by Theirry that's just way too sexy for my liking. I'm so sorry about that, but I can't help it.
As well as being jumbled, this film is also full of moments that just got me scratching my head. Okay, get this. Tilda Swinton is in this film, like she is with many films this year. I like Tilda Swinton, coincidentally I've also mentioned another film of hers in this review already. A far superior film at that. But there's a scene in this movie where she raps. Tilda Swinton does a f***ing rap in this movie! That's how ridiculous it can get.
To sum up, The Zero Theorem is ambitious, full of fascinating performances and aided by impressive and unique visuals, but it's still a jumbled, odd, ridiculous and far from interesting film that's deliberately artsy and not in a good way.
Let's be honest, nobody expected this film to actually be good did they? Stupid and fun, yeah maybe, but not good? Did they? Let's Be Cops follows the story of Ryan (Jake Johnson) and Justin (Damon Wayans Jr.), two men in their thirties who are unsatisfied with how their lives turned out. After mistaking a masquerade party for a costume party and turning up in cops outfits, the two trudge around town still dressed in costume. That's when they discover that people actually think their cops. Because of this new-found discovery, Ryan and Justin take advantage of their sudden rise in respect.
Let's Be Cops is an hour and forty minutes of unintentional irony with very little laughs in-between. I really wanted to laugh at this film, I did. I wanted it to be funny, even though I had a suspicion it wouldn't be. The premise of the film promises an entertaining time at the theatre, despite this not really turning out to be the case. There were so many moments where the two characters try to point out how unrealistic action films are, whether this be after one character makes reference to a film such as Reservoir Dogs or if Justin is attempting to pitch his video game, yet they go on to do just what they say shouldn't happen. They're constantly reminding us about how films and video games are so over the top and unrealistic and that bullets are insanely frightening, yet they proceed this by going ahead and showing over the top and unrealistic action sequences.
There's not enough humour to get you through the film's runtime. An hour forty is the typical runtime for films like this, and when they're good films then the runtime just flies by, but when they're films like Let's Be Cops... well, that's a different story. The film's screenplay is written by Luke Greenfield, who's also the director, and Nicholas Thomas. The two don't appear to have had the greatest experience with films, or so it seems when you look at their filmography on IMDb, and Let's Be Cops is evidence of that.
The humour that works, and this rarely happens, feels improvised, which says something about the screenplay, although I'm not sure if this is good or bad. There's a chance that it could've been natural dialogue, but when compared to everything else this film has to offer, it's probably not. One of the funniest scenes in the film is a moment I typically groan at in other films, but the choice of song played just made this utterly stupid scene work. It shouldn't have, but it did. Who knew Miley Cyrus had a purpose in this world?
Now, I suppose we may as well discuss the film's villain. The advertising doesn't imply it, but there's actually an antagonist in this film (yeah I know, this film isn't just two friends pulling a Jackass). He goes by the name of Mossi (James D'Arcy), but that's not even the worst part. His character is the most typical, over the top, clichéd and un-scary villain imaginable. His character is meant to have a sense of threat to him. He's meant to appear vicious, yet out of everything he does and all the comments that he makes, I was more worried that Josie (Nina Dobrev) payed actual money for a framed poster of the Planet of the Apes remake.
To sum up, Let's Be Cops has a premise that implies a good time, but an execution that says otherwise. It's an hour and forty minutes of unintentional irony with very little laughs and a poor villain in-between. No thank you Mr. Wayans.