February short movie reviews

The Jane Austen Book Club (twice – double booked, not enthusiasm) – I am operating on the assumption that the book was better, because if it wasn’t they wouldn’t have made a movie. Some good moments shoehorned into a woodenly-scripted frankenstein’s monster of preachy literary allusion which devalued Austen, failed to succeed in pointing out that some men like Austen, made cringe worthy attempts to do so and ended with cheese. However Hugh Dancy’s programmer, SF-geek, over-caffeinated, alternative-energy character was really great, and I could almost sit through the movie a third time for him alone. Among many things, it was great to see an avid SFF reader (first met at an SF convention) with a slightly bizarre and intense outlook on life who was funny (and true!) but not made fun of and who succeeds in promoting science fiction, female authors of science fiction, science-fiction-as-real-books and persuading another character to stay up all night reading Ursula Le Guin and prompt my sister to ask if I had any of her books. That blew me away.

Juno (again) – Still like it. It falls somewhere between Thankyou For Smoking and My Girl.

St Peter’s Chorale – Some beautiful pieces, including a haunting Australian composition by Sarah-I-did-not-write-her-name-down in which the voices at times sound like didgeridoos.

The King of Kong – I won tickets to a preview screening, but it is worth paying to see even, and perhaps especially, if you don’t know much about video gaming. Well told, with marvellous characters who at times are so appalling that it is a shock to remember they are not fictional characters at all, but real people (allowing for a documentary director’s viewpoint), and often very funny. The story continues after the credits.

Moulin Beige – I’m not sure cabaret is my thing, but there were some inspired moments (the Two Men in a Box skit which felt like something out of Cirque du Soleil, but without acrobatics or a budget) and The Joynt has excellent chips.

There Will Be Blood – This would have been a better movie if they kept the original title. It would have drawn it together thematically and given it relevance instead of just being a bald statement of the plot. It’s like calling Die Hard “There Will Be Sardonic One-Liners” or Juno “There Will Be A Baby” or Snakes on a Plane… oh wait. Only There Will Be Blood sounds like a pirate movie, so more like, “Avast! A Swaddled Infant” or “Arrr There Will Be Defeated Terrorists”. Deb disagrees with me on this. I am not ruling out my opinion may be influenced by the lingering disappointment of discovering (before I saw the movie) that the title was not a subtle allustion to The Princess Bride. There was some vivid acting, but though never boring the movie was not fulfilling. It reminded me of The Aviator, in which acting calibre could not redeem a movie that otherwise only had its historical overview of a phenomenon to recommend it. But Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine) was awesome! That boy can act!

8 thoughts on “February short movie reviews

  1. The boy who can act is, I see, going to be in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, as Alexander. Is this the book by Maurice Sendak? Or is that going to be another disappointment?

  2. Interesting about the Jane Austen Book Club. A colleague of mine read it and hated it for some of those very reasons – he said the characters were horrible people who were obviously impressed with how literati they were (or maybe that was the author?). The word ‘pretentious’ was foremost in the review.

    But a SFF character that was *good*? Maybe I will see it one day, just for that.

  3. I too enjoyed Hugh Dancy’s character! I also thought Emily Blunt did a fantastic job as Purdie. The others were not so interesting.

    Thanks for The King of Kong review. I know a couple of people who want to see that.

  4. /Karen/: I agree, Emily Blunt was good, but mismatched to the other performances.

    Deb: Outfits? Probably most memorable in King of Kong :) The Jane Austen Book Club‘s costumes were most noteable for a mid-street quick-change and an illustration of the catch-22 guys can find themselves in when in comes to slogans on t-shirts. Also, there were some nice cardigans. Oh, and yes, Purdie had some sweet dresses.

  5. finally got to see the infamous There Will Be Blood… Daniel-Day Lewis’ performance was top-notch. He takes well to the overbearing, violent father-figure role — he also did this in Gangs of New York.

  6. I noticed your review of “The King of Kong”. We are distributing a very similar gaming documentary, “E-Athletes”, which releases on DVD, January 27th, 2009.
    Attached is a sell sheet.

    We would love to send you a screener for review.

    Would you be of interest? If so, what would be the best address to send you a copy?

    Thank you so much and look forward to hearing from you.


    Jacob Ripley
    Public Relations Representative
    Passion River Films
    732-321-0711 x135

    416 Main Street
    Metuchen, NJ 08840
    Discover unique films at: http://www.PassionRiver.com

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