Film Friday #130

The Place Beyond The Pines

When daredevil travelling motorcyclist, Luke (Ryan Gosling) returns to Schenectady he discovers that his former lover (Eva Mendes) has given birth to his son without telling him. Determined to be a better father than his own was, Luke decides to stay and provide for his family but with limited marketable skills he resorts to robbing banks. This thrusts him directly into the path of Avery (Bradley Cooper) an ambitious cop trying to escape the shadow of his Supreme Judge father (Harris Yulin), who also coincidentally has a baby son. As these two young fathers cross paths they set off a series of events that will stretch forward over years to come, with devastating consequences for their sons. This is an engrossing, beautifully acted film but I’m not sure I was always convinced by the characters motivations, particularly Luke’s teenage son, Jason’s (Dane DeHaan) rapid personality meltdown. And if the overarching message was that nature triumphs nurture and all boys turn into their fathers, I’m not sure I agree with that either. I think for me it suffered from being over-hyped. I expected an absolute masterpiece and got something solid but ultimately underwhelming. 3.5/5

Hey, girl... I know my beauty is blinding. Just look away and everything will be fine.

Hey, girl… I know my beauty is blinding. Just look away and everything will be fine.

Storage 24

On the day that Charlie (Noel Clarke) is going to meet his ex, Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) in their underground storage unit to divide up their stuff, a military plane crashes and loses its highly classified contents. Soon Charlie, Shelley and their friends are trapped in the storage facility being hunted by a scaly alien monster intent on chowing down on their faces. Will the two star crossed lovers resolve their issues before one of them becomes lunch? Eh… who cares? The acting is a bit wonky, the dialogue is hackneyed at best and although it succeeds somewhat in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere, the monster isn’t really that scary and soon if you haven’t dozed off, you’ll be gunning for everyone just to be eaten and be done with it. Hopefully sometime soon Noel Clarke will realise he doesn’t have to be in every film he writes. 1.5/5

Somehow Charlie had thought the hand of fate would be a little less... scaly

Somehow Charlie had thought the hand of fate would be a little less… scaly

Mean Creek

When Sam (Rory Culkin) is beaten up by the school bully, George (Josh Peck) his older brother, Rocky (Trevor Morgan) and some friends plot revenge. They will lure George into the woods and play a humiliating trick on him to teach him a lesson. Unsurprisingly things get out of hand with terrible consequences. This is a relatively predictable story but also impressively nuanced. The bully is not a caricature or a monster and every one of the young characters is in some way the victim of a bully themselves  – demonstrating a seemingly inescapable vicious cycle. It’s an unsettling watch that will make you constantly wish you could intervene to stop the inevitable from happening. 3.5/5

Look I'm robbing you... but at least I am conflicted about it

Look I’m robbing you… but at least I am conflicted about it

Welcome to the Rileys

After the death of their daughter, married couple Doug (James Gandolfini) and Lois (Melissa Riley) are trapped in their grief. Lois is unable to the leave the house and Doug has lost all passion for his business… and Lois. When Doug meets a young runaway stripper called Alison (Kristen Stewart) on a business trip he feels compelled to stay and take care of her, spurring Lois into action. This is a fascinating and very look into the mechanics of grief and the affect it can have on both an individual and a relationship. Kirsten Stewart does well to commit to a role that requires her to look like a crack whore but then I suppose she had some practise in Breaking Dawn. This indie drama is not without flaws but it has a strong heart. 3/5

There was nothing Edward liked better than stripper night in the Cullen house

There was nothing Edward liked better than stripper night in the Cullen house

4 Comments

  1. Agree on The Place Beyond The Pines although I think I liked it slightly more than you did. Not the “masterpiece” I was also hoping for. Mean Creek was quite good. Not seen the other two but don’t think they’re ones I’d bother with. Good reviews! 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Thanks. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Place Beyond The Pines. I mean it was better than most of the stuff out there these days. I just didn’t think it stood up to the hype. Storage 24 is definitely a waste of tie but Welcome to The Riley’s is quite interesting.

  2. I think I ended up liking Pines a lot more than you did. But the most shocking news in this post is that Kristen Stewart was in a film that was not terrible … that I got to see, thanks for the heads up.

    1. Abbi

      I think if she is surrounded by good actors she can manage not to ruin a film. She was in Into The Wild and On the Road and I enjoyed both of those.

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