Film Friday #181

Godzilla (2014)

During what seems like an inexplicable seismic event the wife (Juliette Binoche) of a Japanese nuclear power plant engineer, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is killed. Joe struggles to deal with the loss and is arrested years later while trespassing in the fall out site as he investigates a similar phenomenon to what happened just before the event that killed his wife. His son, Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a navy bomb disposal expert travels to Japan to bail him out and the two get caught up in an ongoing investigation into the existence of radiation eating MUTOs (massive unidentified terrestrial organisms) lead by Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe). It turns out that two giant nuclear waste eating bugs have been unleashed and they are ready to get jiggy. As Ford attempts to get back to his family, the US army plans to blow the mega bugs up but Dr Serizawa is convinced earth’s best bet is letting nature in the form of Godzilla, a giant prehistoric lizard restore the balance. Or something. It’s been almost a week since I saw this film and it was so boring that I have already forgotten most of what happened not that all that much of it made sense anyway and it was full of mega plot holes. For the most part the monsters all looked pretty cool but there was only a little bit of Godzilla and when all the monsters actually got to kicking the shit out of each other for some reason, director, Gareth Edwards, kept cutting away and showing the humans and their stupid, obviously pointless bomb. I didn’t really get the whole restoration of balance thing either. Unless Godzilla was going to eat the MUTOs, I couldn’t see any motivation he would have for attacking them. And I couldn’t see what the logic was in making pretty but talentless Taylor-Johnson the focus of the narrative when Cranston was on board. Then there was the whole weird thing with him and the kid on the train in Hawaii that seemed utterly pointless. I can only imagine it was intended to show that he was a kind, compassionate person but it seemed like his interactions with his wife and son did more than enough of that. Disappointing. 2/5



A Complete History of my Sexual Failures (2008)

After the latest in a string of girlfriends dumps independent film maker, Chris Waitt, he decides to look up all his exes, asked them why he dumped them and make a documentary out of it. At first none of them want to speak to him but after some intervention from his mum, Chris talks to his childhood sweetheart and ex after ex relents. As this film started I thought the scruffy but sort of sweet in a self-deprecating way, Chris had probably just had a string of bad luck in love but as each woman reminded him of his behaviour during their relationship, I became less and less sympathetic. Chris is not just someone with a few commitment issues, he is a complete and utter bellend and completely unaware of how his actions impact others.  If you do decide to delve into his very sordid little life it’s best going in not knowing what he has been up to so I won’t reveal any of the terrible life decisions he makes just during the filming, never mind those he has made in his past. Ultimately Chris learns some home truths but not the ones he is expecting, putting him on the road to potentially start over again but watching this documentary is kind of like watching a car crash happen in slow motion; it’s impossible to tear your eyes away but you feel very, very wrong being so drawn into someone else’s destruction. 3/5


Chris’ Kurt Cobain impression was wearing just a little thin

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

As most of you know, I grew up in South Africa, a country where all our teenage years for the last 40 years were sound tracked by a musician called Rodriguez. I am not exaggerating when I say that there is  a copy of his debut album, Cold Fact, in every home. He is like our Bob Dylan. He’s as well known as the Beatles. It wasn’t until this documentary came out that I realised that outside Mzansi (as we call it), no one had ever heard of the Detroit native singer-songwriter and that the album that sold 500,000 copies in my home land sold about 6 in the whole of the rest of the world. This lack of notoriety meant that information about Rodriguez was sorely lacking and most South Africans believed that he had committed some kind of bizarre onstage suicide… until record store owner, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman decided to look for him unfolding a touching tale of a man who had no idea he was a super star in a country he barely knew existed. Whether you have heard of Rodriguez or not this documentary tells a riveting story that is so fantastical you wouldn’t accept it if it were presented as fiction, made that much more poignant by the fact that its visionary young director, Malik Bendjelloul, tragically recently committed suicide. A must for all music lovers, especially South Africans. 4/5

Sugar man... won't you hurry...

Sugar man… won’t you hurry…

Chronicle (2012)

Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a bit of a misfit. His only friend is his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell), he’s bullied at home and at school and he can’t resist filming everything, which is why when Matt and his super-popular friend, Steve (Michael B. Jordan) discover a weird hole in the ground they need him for his camera. In the hole the boys find what seems like some kind of alien craft, which instills them all with telekinetic powers. Unlike most movies of this ilk the trio don’t shoot off to change the world and save a bunch of damsels in distress instead choosing to act like typical teenage boys, pulling pranks, getting revenge on their enemies and figuring out how to fly, becoming inseparable in the process. When one of the pranks goes wrong, Matt suggests some rules but for Andrew this is the first time in his life he has ever felt powerful and he’s not about to submit to anyone’s authority. As his anger at the relentless unfairness of life spirals out of control, Andrew becomes a danger not only to himself but also everyone around him. There is a lot to love about Chronicle. It feels realistic and accessible and the performances of the three main characters are heartfelt with DeHaan in particular proving excellent. I liked that the phenomenon that imbued the boys with their powers is barely explained. It’s not important how they got their powers but rather what they do with them and spending ages exploring it would have just distracted from the emotional impact of unbridled power on those who don’t have the maturity to deal with it. What it would have been interesting would have been to understand better was the negative physical impact using the powers seemed to have. This was never fully explained or made clear. Whether you enjoy the found footage element will depend on your personal taste but in this situation it added to the realism of the story. A great superhero film with a twist. 4/5

I will crush you like a bug

Behold, my death stare!


  1. I was disappointed with Godzill too. I really need to watch Searching for Sugarman

    1. Abbi

      I think I overhyped it. I hope i haven’t done the same with Xmen! Eep! Searching for Sugar Man is great!

  2. Loved Searching for Sugarman..hasn’t the Director just died in his mid-thirties..tragic xxx

    1. Abbi

      Yes. He committed suicide at 36. It’s terribly sad.

  3. I’m still waiting to get the gang together for Godzilla. Sounds like classic Godzilla fare to me. Some of our gang wants to see it because they grew up thinking Godzilla movies were awesome (that would not be me). But I had heard it was a good movie (outside of the Godzilla thing) so I was curious. Good to know it’s not good! Too funny they don’t make the best of the best feature, the monsters.

    1. Abbi

      I’ve read some really positive reviews for it as well. I think it’s quite a polarising film. I do get bored by action movies very quickly so it might just be my low tolerance. Don’t let me put you off… you might love it! 🙂

  4. I really enjoyed Chronicle, and it’s Godzilla today for Ian’s birthday!

    1. Abbi

      I really hope you enjoy Godzilla more than I did!

  5. Great reviews. I’m glad someone agrees with me on the borefest that was Godzilla. YAAAAWN, indeed.

    I liked Chronicle a lot, including its found footage aspect, but absolutely loathed the clumsy ending.

  6. I loved Godzilla! Yet I can understand how others would feel different considering the script isn’t that strong. Good direction saved it for me…

    Chronicle is also quite decent. They hired some great actors for it!

  7. Searching for Sugar Man looks like an excellent movie, thanks for the recommendation.

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