Thursday, 1 October 2009

Quarterly film roundup - July to September 2009

Kung Fu Panda *** - Funny but hardly groundbreaking mistaken-identity / fish-out-of-water comedy. Entertaining but largely forgettable.

Mamma Mia! *** - Surprisingly watchable (with gritted teeth, at least) musical in which a young woman, on the eve of her marriage, tries to determine which of three of her mother's lovers is her father. Absolutely implausible in every way but fun, tongue-in-cheek performances from the all-star cast.

The Dark Knight *** - Long, twisting and portentous - befitting its subject matter, perhaps, but less conducive to action or even plot development. The performances are good (not outstanding, as was suggested by many reviewers) but as a piece of popular entertainment it is somewhat gruelling.

The Other Boleyn Girl ** - Revisionist and too-often hysterical retelling of the story of the falling out of favour and execution of Anne Boleyn, via her lesser-known sister, Mary, who had an affair with Henry VIII. While a handsome production in many respects, the film is necessarily pared down to the most sordid plot aspects - from secret affairs, through political machinations, to incest - leaving little room for empathy with any of the characters.

Waltz With Bashir *** - Animated "documentary" in which an Israeli ex-soldier tries to come to terms with his past. Deeply stylish visuals work most effectively when conveying the horrors faced, but become rather confusing when switching between timeframes and in some of the longer conversation / exposition scenes.