So it’s 2014. That’s crazy isn’t it? Before we know it we’ll be finished with this decade… But you don’t want to hear stale musings about how time flies, do you? You want to read about a few films. Well no problem, it just so happens I’ve managed to watch some. Let’s take a look at one…
The Intouchables tells the true story of Driss; a recently released criminal who is unexpectedly hired to be a caretaker for a rich quadriplegic man called Philippe. The start of their time together is strained, mainly due to the steep learning curve Driss encounters. Although his new caregiver has no previous experience, Philippe appreciates his unprofessional approach: he even goes as far as sharing a couple of joints with him. More importantly, Driss doesn’t pity Philippe because of his condition and the two become firm friends.
The Intouchables has made millions at the box office, picked up a César Award for Best Actor and back in 2011 it became the highest grossing movie in France. And yes, you should believe the hype because it really is brimming with personality and charm. Judging by this, it’s no surprise that American distributers The Weinstein Company already have an English remake on the way. But if you’re all for watching subtitles (and you really should be, there’s a literally a whole world of foreign language films) then you should take the time to check out the original.
Highlights: Driss’ genuine disbelief that Philippe can’t feel being continuously scalded with a teapot.
I think it’s high time we took a look at a romantic film, don’t you? Away We Go follows Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph) as they prepare to have their first kid. After discovering that Burt’s parents are relocating overseas, the couple decide to take a leaf out of their book and move. Together they set out across America, visiting their family and friends in hope of finding their ideal home.
This is a really well done road movie. Prolific actors such as Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney and Maggie Gyllenhaal deliver excellent performances, making each of Burt and Verona’s stops memorable. The supporting cast is nicely balanced with the equally impressive leads. John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph’s onscreen chemistry really sells the journey of the kooky thirty something couple. Great direction makes watching them go through the motions of finding a new home very enjoyable and heartwarming. Definitely worth a watch.
Highlights: The good intentioned bickering between the Burt and Verona as they discuss their friends, travel destinations and more importantly, their baby.
The Revenant is essentially a vigilante-vampire-buddy movie. Sounds cool right? It is. In the first five minutes Bart, an American soldier, is shot, killed and dragged off by an unknown group. When his body is flown back to America, he returns to the land of the living, albeit with a few… changes. After convincing his best friend Joey to help him, they start exploring his powers, especially Bart’s newfound taste for human blood…
It’s surprising that The Revenant didn’t do better when it was released. It’s one of the best comedic horror films I’ve seen since Shaun of the Dead. The dialogue is clever, the usual clichés are nicely avoided and the effects are truly gruesome. If you’re sick of ho-hum Halloween flicks, give this one a try: you won’t be disappointed.
Highlights: There are plenty of great moments that come to mind. The only problem is it’s hard to pick something and not ruin it… Let’s just say a scientologist, a hearse and a dildo all feature.
Despite its poor run at the box office, James Gunn’s Super does feature an impressive cast, lead by The Office’s Rainn Wilson. The plot follows Frank Darbo (Wilson) after his wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him for a notorious drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon). After receiving no help from the police, Frank decides to rescue his ex himself, and thus the “The Crimson Bolt” is born. Aided by his sidekick “Boltie” (Ellen Page), the duo set out to rescue Sarah while sporting two crudely made (yet brilliantly realistic) costumes.
The setup is fairly typical of many superhero films, but over the course of its running time, Super deviates from this slightly derivative outline. Compared to the usual depiction of heroes, Frank’s motives are flawed and selfish. He assaults any rule breaker by hitting them with a pipe wrench, regardless if they’re a child molester or if they’ve simply cut in line. For Frank, the difference between right and wrong becomes blurred and his growing sense of self-entitlement turns a standard superhero story into something a lot darker.
Super is a great film because it brings something new to a tried and tested format. If you watch it expecting something like Iron Man or Kick Ass, there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed. If you can look past this however, you’ll find a well made, thought provoking film.
Highlights: Ellen Page’s manic laughter and Nathan Fillion’s appearance as Frank’s muse, “The Holy Avenger”.