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Showing posts from May, 2015

He thinks you can fix the future.

Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (2015)
(SPOILERS) Tomorrowland is a muddle (and the UK stating-the-bleeding-obvious subtitle doesn’t help matters any). The trailers, as cryptic as they were, suggested a clear, clean rush of positivity and awe at an alternate and parallel world to out own, while the makers advanced sound bites positing the question, ”Where did all our hope go?” As a starting point, this kernel holds some merit; an express contrast with the overpowering trend towards dystopian and post-apocalyptic visions. Unfortunately, Tomorrowland’s realisation is limp and thematically confused. Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof’s “course correction” towards inspiration is confounded by the same kind of problematic thinking that troubled the final act of Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. There, the express desire to counterpoint Man of Steel’s wanton disregard for human life turned the picture into Avengers Save: People. Here, Bird and Lindelof are left flailing as soon as they attempt to…

It’s not a prison. It’s a test.

The Maze Runner (2014)
(SPOILERS) The first hour of The Maze Runner provides a set-up as arresting and intriguing as that of any mainstream movie unhindered by the label “Young Adult”. It is less overtly constricted by pandering to a niche (teen) audience, while clearly influenced by the likes of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Vincenzo Natali’s Cube. Unfortunately it is also afflicted by the curse of the J J Abrams, or more precisely Damon Lindelof. What makes it so involving cannot possible pay off.

Nevertheless, there’s good reason many greeted this as a surprising breath of fresh air in the glutted Young Adult marketplace. There were few expectations, and debut director Wes Ball does a determined job of making the movie pacey and involving on a restricted budget. Perhaps crucially, its issues are the precise opposite of 2014’s other YA franchise-starter, Divergent. There, anyone could see the set-up didn’t make a blind bit of sense from reading a brief synopsis but was quite …

When they see you, they’ll forget their bonus.

Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit) (2014)
(SPOILERS) Two Days, One Night is the first Dardenne brothers (that’s Jean-Pierre and Luc) picture I've seen.  Mind you, my forays into Belgian cinema have been few and far between of late (only In Bruges springs to mind). Their drama of workplace ethics and personal morals is blessed with an outstanding performance from the magnificent Marillion Cotillard, but suffers in attempting to sustain its loaded premise.

Following a period of illness, Sandra (Cotillard) is informed she is to lose her job at a solar panel factory. Her 16 co-workers have voted, and the majority have come out in favour of their bonuses; the employers have decided that they cannot afford both. Due to allegations of pressure brought to bear by foreman Jean-Marc (Oliver Gourmet), it is agreed a second vote will take place on the Monday morning. Sandra has the weekend to persuade her colleagues to keep her.

There’s a sense the Dardennes have over-nourished the issues …