Spy (IMDB rating 7.6) – While at first glance the 95% RT this has gotten seems highly significant, considering the same director/star got 90% RT for the highly overrated Bridesmaids, I doubt it. And Melissa McCarthy’s other starring comedies I’ve seen of her including Tammy & especially Identity Thief have been crude, inept and unfunny. I sense that some critics are prepared to grade this higher because a mainstream comedy headlined by a female is so rare that it makes it seem fresher than it actually is.
Insidious Chapter 3 (7) – Apart from the fact that the director of this film is a fellow Melbournite, I know nothing about this series and considering the decent box office this film has gotten, I’ll probably be ignoring several future chapters in this series as well.
Entourage (7.6) – I watched a couple of episodes of the early series of this TV show and enjoyed it as a time-waster but never really followed it closely. It hardly seemed an obvious candidate for the big-screen treatment and the trailer felt rather desperate so it’s not surprising the critical response has been negative.
But more interesting than the film itself has been the type of critical hostility to it with virtually every review admonishing the film for glorifying the hedonistic, mindless lives of these Hollywood types. That’s all well and good, but where is this criticism when the insanely indulgent and over-drawn awards season occurs every year? It all seems a bit tokenistic and self-serving to me.
Love & Mercy (7.8) – Back in the early 2000s I read an autobiography of central Beach Boys member Brian Wilson and found it an interesting read… only to find out afterwards that not only had his doctor Eugene Landy had written large chunks of it (especially the later years), Wilson himself said in court that he didn’t know what was in the book!
In anycase, this biopic of Brian Wilson has been getting rave reviews and after over a decade of career stagnation and some seriously lazy performances, John Cusack as the older Brian has done some work of note. However, I find Cusack in the clips I’ve seen disconcerting as he has virtually no make up and doesn’t look like Brian Wilson at all.
As popular as the Beach Boys have been, I doubt this will be a breakout hit as it probably needed to be made a couple of decades earlier than this. Audiences haven’t exactly rushed to cinemas to see biopics of The Four Seasons or James Brown; perhaps there just isn’t the audience there anymore for films based on musicians from the 1960s. But I’ll probably give this a look when it opens in Oz.
Dil Dhadakne Do (6.9) – Indian comedy-drama set on a cruise ship. Despite its length (170 mins) this film has made a bit of a splash than usual at the worldwide BO more than Indian films usually do, almost breaking into the top 10 in America last weekend and opening at 9 in the UK.
Testament Of Youth (7.2) – The true story of British writer & pacifist Vera Brittain, especially how her experiences are defined by The Great War.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (7.3) – Swedish absurdist comedy/drama which if nothing else, has the best title of any film this year.
Charlie’s Country (7.3) – Australian film starring David Gulpilil, a veteran actor who had such a great start in films acting opposite Jenny Agutter in Nicholas Roeg’s 1971 film Walkabout.
Hungry Hearts (6.4) – Relationship drama which is labelled as Italian made but seems to be set in America.
United Passions (2.1 Currently #38 in IMDB Bottom 100!) – We saved the best for last. Has there been a film with worse timing than this film, largely funded by FIFA with its reputation in tatters (not that it was particularly good beforehand anyway)?
At first glance, the story of how soccer was built to become the global game seems interesting but as the trailer shows, this is largely about boardroom debates and sponsorship deals and money battles behind the scenes… in the hilarious trailer there’s even someone saying “Our accounts are disastrous!” Yep, that’s the essence of soccer right there.
Even without the FIFA arrests, I think this film would’ve been a laughing stock anyway. Tim Roth has done well to be in a bigger turkey than ‘Grace Of Monaco’.