Film Friday #206

Interstellar (2014)

In the relatively near-future most humans live as farmers after climate change has destroyed almost all of our ability to grow food. One of these people is Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widowed former NASA pilot who misses the times of great human exploration. When his daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) tells him she is receiving messages from a ghost in her bookshelf he is initially skeptical but when he realises they are a set of coordinates he cannot resist following them with Murph in tow. He discovers a branch of what was NASA in the middle of nowhere and is convinced by scientist, Professor Brand (Michael Caine) to pilot a mission through a wormhole that might lead to a habitable planet for humanity to migrate to. As Cooper and his crew venture across the stars, Murphy (Jessica Chastain) grows up feeling abandoned and searching for her own answers as to whether her father will ever come back to her. Although I saw Interstellar almost a week ago I am still pondering on it. There were definitely things I liked. It looks incredible and has moments of real awe and wonder and as fluffy as the script sometimes got I enjoyed its examination of the elements that make up human nature. The score was suitably bombastic, McConaughey gives his usual outstanding performance and unlike some I was totally drawn in by the actual science stuff (all that Star Trek has really paid off). On the other hand Interstellar is long – too long – and it probably could have done with a fair bit of editing. I also felt like Cooper’s son, Tom (Timothée Chalamet/Casey Affleck) was treated as an afterthought and Cooper’s lack of any real thought before leaving his children was hard to swallow. Christopher Nolan has set out to create a grand sci-fi epic with a strong emotional back story and both of these themes definitely come through. Whether they actually belong together is a different question though. Good but not as good as Inception3.5/5

Fuck you guys... I'm going to get a drink

This is the worst trip to the beach ever

Jeune et Jolie (2013)

Jeune et Jolie AKA Young and Beautiful follows seventeen year old Isabelle (Marine Vacth) through a year of her life, starting in the summer where she awkwardly loses her virginity. Fast forward to the Autumn and she’s become a high class prostitute servicing a series of businessmen in Paris hotels. When one of her clients dies in the act she panics and does a runner, which sets into a motion a series of events which will bring her secret life into the open. I suppose my big problem with this film is that I didn’t find Isabelle at all believable as a character. She comes from a well-off family who give her everything she needs and her mother and step-father are kind and open. She’s not all that interested in sex, so what possible motivation does she have for going from virgin to sex worker in such a short space of time? Maybe that’s the whole point of the film – an examination of a woman experimenting with her sexuality as a way of countering the emotional distance she feels from everyone around her (bar her little brother who she has an rather odd relationship with) but something just doesn’t click so it ends up just being lots and lots of shots of boobs attempting to disguise themselves as something deep. 2/5

Isabelle was afraid of being swallowed up by all her lies

Isabelle was afraid of being swallowed up by all her lies

The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects opens after an explosion in a boat yard has claimed the lives of several men following a suspected drug deal going wrong. The only survivor is Verbal Kent (Kevin Spacey), a crippled conman who for reasons unknown has been granted immunity and is protected from “on high”. With only two hours before Verbal is due to be released, Detective Dave Kujan (Chazz Paliminteri) decides to give it his best shot to find out what he knows. Aware that Verbal was involved in a line-up with a notorious former bent cop named Keaton (Gabriel Byrne) as well and several other career criminals Kujan has a sneaking suspicion they were all involved. As the time runs down Verbal spins an elaborate tale involving Keyser Soze, a mythical crime lord that no one can identify… or can they? Not only is this one of the best crime capers ever made, it’s also one of Spacey’s most impressive roles and he brings a wonderful sniveling quality to Kent. Pair this up with snappy dialogue, just the right amount of violence and some excellent supporting performances, especially from a scene-stealing Benicio Del Toro as the almost incomprehensible Fenster and you get something that is both fun and really clever. I couldn’t do The Usual Suspects justice without mentioning the epic twist, which will definitely be in my top ten when I get around to do it. I remember having no idea what was coming the first time I saw it. Mind. Blown. Well-deserving of its classic status. 4/5

Do you ever feel like you're being overshadowed by your past?

Do you ever feel like you’re being overshadowed by your past?

Homefront (2013)

After an undercover mission involving some bikers goes wrong, DEA agent, Phil Broker (Jason Statham) decides to retire and move to Louisiana with his young daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). On her first day of school Maddy is bullied by the son of a couple of the tweaker locals and uses the self-defence skills her dad taught her to knock the kid down. Needless to say mum and dad aren’t pleased that their special snowflake has been manhandled nor are they impressed with Phil’s lack of concern, even when he tries to make amends. Tweaker mom (Kate Bosworth) decides to involve her brother, Gator (James Franco) a ruthless local drug dealer to get back at Phil. it doesn’t take Gator long to uncover Phil’s past and he decides to sell him to Cyrus hanks (Frank Grillo), the leader of the biker gang Phil crossed. But Gator may have underestimated Phil and he’s definitely not going to go quietly. Homefront delivers a coherent story line and occasional moments of tense action without falling into the trap of giving Phil superhuman abilities. What it fails to do is bring anything original and Statham, while good at kicking the shit out of people and being typecast, is as wooden as ever… and once again inexplicably British. He appears to have an Arnie-like inability to even attempt an accent and there is no reference to how an obviously London born lad has ended up in the DEA. While James Franco is capable of bringing an exciting performance he also has a tendency to coast when the material is unchallenging and this is one of those times. Decidedly average. 2.5/5

Jason Statham is Jason Statham

Jason Statham is Jason Statham

13 Comments

  1. Real mish-mash of movies here, some good, some mediocre. Interstellar was very good, but not as good as some of his other films, though there was a lot to like. The Usual Suspects is a great movie. The first time I saw it my mind was also blown.

    1. Abbi

      It really did end up being a bit of a random comment. I think Interstellar might be suffering a bit from over-anticipation. When you hype something up that much it’s very rare that it will actually deliver at that level.

      1. True that. I also think that the hype did not help in terms of prepping people to go in and find fault with it. Oh well, a trip either way!

  2. Looking forward to Interstellar, I’ve heard good things, and the trailers look awesome.

    1. Abbi

      It really a great visual feast. I’d love to read your review!

  3. Wasn’t a fan of Interestellar (long, boring, cold) but I adore The Usual Suspects. What a great film. Spacey is a beast!

    1. Abbi

      Spacey is a total legend. I think he’s kind of underrated. I can see why Interstellar might have made you feel that way.

      1. Yeah, even with all the accolades, he doesn’t get the love that he deserves. He operates at a Day-Lewis level, I think.

  4. So, personally, I am becoming over saturated with Matthew McConaughey. I’m not sure if I will check out Interstellar or not. But I appreciate your review and thoughts. And I do love The Usual Suspects. So classic! Great reviews!

  5. Nice thoughts on Interstellar! I agree that there’s some conflict in whether the multiple themes really belonged together in one huge film or not.

    As for The Usual Suspects, I just saw it for the first time this year too! Definitely a treat and a fun movie with Kevin Spacey. Great review there!

    1. Abbi

      Yeah, the more I think about Interstellar the more it just doesn’t gel for me.

      The Usual Suspects is a total crime movie classic.

  6. Glad to see a fair review of Interstellar. Glad you liked it a bit more than me, though. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      There was a lot of gushing over Interstellar but it had a lot of issues and it certainly wasn’t one of my best of the year.

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