Film Friday #171

The Lego Movie (2014)

Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) is an extremely ordinary construction worker. He believes in the infallibility of his leader, President Business (voiced by Will Ferrell), he never deviates from the instructions and his favourite song is Everything is Awesome. What he and the rest of the city don’t know is that President Business is in possession of the Kragle, a super weapon that he plans to use to seal the universe into frozen perfection forever. When Emmet accidentally comes across a special object called “The Piece of Resistance” he is suddenly exposed to a whole underground resistance of master builders who travel across different Lego environments building things on the fly without instructions. Working on the prophecy of wizard, Vetruvius (voiced by Morgan Freeman), the master builders including Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) and UniKitty (voiced by Brie Larson) believe that Emmet is “The Special”, the one person who can stop President Business. Unfortunately Emmet is really not what they were expecting and his attempts to deviate from the instructions fall short of the mark. Will he ever be able to stop President Business? The Lego Movie is in equal parts fun, crazy and hilarious. If you have ever played with Lego in your life you won’t be able to resist getting caught up in its riot of colour… along with its underlying message that creativity and self exploration should be celebrated. For me the bit where they left the Lego universe didn’t work as well as the rest of the film but if you are going to take your kids to see anything this year you could do a lot worse. Be warned though, as we left the theatre every single kid was singing Everything is Awesome on repeat and I still can’t get it out of my head. 3.5/5

NOT feeling awesome like an awesome possum

NOT feeling awesome like an awesome possum

Her (2013)

Set in the near future, Her explores the life of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) a professional letter writer going through a painful divorce. Like most, Theodore uses a communication device that consists of a small screen and an earpiece, which he can talk to directly to pick up his emails, get the latest news and even visit chat rooms. Feeling lonely and disconnected, Theodore decides to purchase a new AI enabled OS for his communication device. At first he finds interacting with Samantha (voiced by Scarlet Johannson) a bit odd, but soon she starts to seem like a real person and as she learns and adapts love blossoms. I was absolutely mesmerised by Her. Its themes of alienation through technology, the true nature of love, the necessity of corporeality and the illusion of control are universal and intensely identifiable. Phoenix is excellent as Twombly, who feels completely real throughout the film. He is competently supported by Amy Adams, playing his best friend as well as Rooney Mara, playing his ex-wife who have very different reactions to his new relationship. The technology director, Spike Jonze, has envisioned is spot on and the cinematography, costume design and score all add to an atmosphere which both alien and recognisable at the same time. Beautiful. 5/5

The future... where all trousers are Simon Cowell height

The future… where all trousers are Simon Cowell height

The Monuments Men (2014)

In the final stages of World War II art conservationist, Frank Stokes (George Clooney) puts together a team of art historians, architects and curators to enter Europe and track down and rescue art stolen by the Nazis, while also protecting historic buildings from being destroyed in the last days of the conflict. There is no question that The Monuments Men has a great cast with Matt Damon, John Goodman and Bill Murray making up part of the platoon and Cate Blanchett turning up as a French curator who is reluctant to trust that the art will actually be returned to the original owners. And there are moments that are action packed, funny, touching and quite dark – especially as the platoon turns up more and more items taken from ordinary Jewish families. However, the script is very flat, the career development is very limited and the storyline seems jerky and jarring. One gets the feeling that if George Clooney, who also directs, had not convinced all his A-list pals to star that there would have been very little to keep this “based on a true story” war film afloat. Although possibly some audiences will see his inability to resist descending into moments of “American, fuck yeah” at the end as a good thing. I guess it’s just another case of great idea, subpar execution. 2.5/5

Apparently it's an early depiction of Sarah Silverman fucking Matt Damon

Apparently it’s an early depiction of Sarah Silverman fucking Matt Damon

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Centuries old reclusive vampire musician, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) is questioning if he still wants to be alive as he roams around his crumbling house on the outskirts of Detroit. When his wife, fellow vampire, Eve (Tilda Swinton) gets wind of the fact that Adam has had a wooden bullet commissioned she leaves Tangiers, where she has been living and heads to Detroit to try and lift him from his melancholy. Now there are two of them roaming around the house – talking about love, death, modern life and music – and occasionally going for drives… until Eve’s mischievous sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska) turns up uninvited and throws everything into turmoil. It’s kind of hard to describe this one. For a vampire movie it’s somewhat bloodless. Adam and Eve consider themselves to be above the mess of biting humans and instead rely on blood bought on the sly from blood banks and doctors. It’s kind of like the vampirism is secondary. They could have been any kind of immortals. Anyway despite the glacial pace, the somewhat hokey dialogue and the OTT hipster gloom, I kind of loved it. Probably because of the obvious chemistry between Hiddleston and Swinton and the fact that they’re both so ethereal and otherworldly that it’s not hard to believe that they rubbed shoulders with the literary, scientific and musical elite through the ages, as it’s hinted to throughout. If you’re more into action than existentialism this probably isn’t for you but if you like old guitars, musings about the meaning of life and Tom Hiddleston topless then it might just be. 3.5/5

OMG... standing in alleyways can be so like... boring #FML

OMG… standing in alleyways can be so like… boring #FML

16 Comments

  1. Some top reviews here! Really glad you liked Her, it’s a brilliant film. I saw Only Lovers Left Alive the other day and am still working out how much I liked it! It’s a very slow film and not a lot really happens but there’s just something really seductive about it.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I really enjoyed Her. I found it so “real” if that makes sense. Interestingly my husband thought it was far too long but he’s not a Spike Jonze fan. Lol! I think Only Lovers Left Alive is more about the atmosphere than anything else. I found it really intoxicating.

  2. Haven’t seen Only Lovers Left Alive yet, and I like Lego Movie a touch more than you, I think (though I agree it has some flaws). And you can’t get Everything is Awesome out of your head, because Tegan and Sara are awesome at everything they do. 🙂

    We basically agree on the other two.

    1. Abbi

      I’m not sure what you’re going to make of Only Lovers Left Alive. I think it depends on how much the aesthetic outweighs the glacial place and lack of actual storyline, which could go either way!

  3. theipc

    “OMG… standing in alleyways can be so like… boring #FML”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    1. Abbi

      Eric, you always make me smile!

      1. theipc

        YAY!! Best news I’ve heard all week!!

  4. Great reviews, Abbi! Lego was fun but I absolutely hated when they stepped out of the brick world. ‘Her’ wasn’t my cup of tea, though I loved the visuals. Everybody says The Monuments Men is a disappointment, and I really, REALLY want to see OLLA.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! My husband didn’t love Her either so you’re not alone on that. It’s definitely beautiful to look at though so I’m glad you enjoyed that element. I wouldn’t bother to see Monuments Men in the theatre. It would be a fine VOD movie if you were bored one day but the whole is considerably less than the sum of its parts.

      1. The people I’ve met who haven’t liked her are all guys, so maybe there’s something there?

        And yeah, That’s what I feared. I think I’ll rent it eventually.

  5. I loved “Her”, one of the few films I have ever gave a 5/5. Just a brilliant movie. I enjoyed LEGO a lot more than you did, and have yet to see Monuments Men. Although everyone is saying it sucks…..

  6. That was cool loved it…Bronson! Tom Hardy looked so diff in that film.

    1. Abbi

      He’s a real chameleon. He’s great at disappearing into a role.

      1. I know did u see him in Rock and Rolla too?

        1. Abbi

          I actually haven’t. One to add to the list!

          1. You should see it!!! I think you would like it trust me gf!

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