Movie shorts: July 7

2013-07-07 14:00

Song for Marion

Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp give exceptional performances in this delightful little film about a dying woman’s wish to sing in a choir competition, and how the choir and her grumpy husband fulfil her dying wish in an unusual way.

Emotionally true, this film is all about learning to live in full song and how it is never too late to start having fun. 7/10

http://youtu.be/s5hOZAxF0jA

White House Down

Oh dear, Channing Tatum with his shirt torn off just isn’t a good enough reason to see this also-ran Olympus Has Fallen.

One terrorists-take-over-and-blow-up-the-White-House-flick a year is plenty – really.

Jamie Foxx is the president and Maggie Gyllenhaal looks confused that she signed up for this rubbish. 5/10

http://youtu.be/Kkoor7Z6aeE

Man of Steel

The most god-like (and oldest) of the comic book heroes has been due for a successful new-generation reboot, and this is it.

With just the right blend of innovation and imitation, Henry Cavill dons the red-and-blue suit and makes it supercool.

With Russell Crowe performing admirably as Jor-El, Amy Adams giving Lois Lane some gumption and Michael Shannon giving the villain from Krypton some serious extraterrestrial clout, this is the blockbuster season’s must-see movie. 8/10

Spud 2: The Madness Continues

Bullies. That’s the word this film made me think about throughout.

The Crazy Eight, such sweet young boys getting up to innocent mischief in their quest for independence and acceptance in the first film, appear to have morphed into nasty, vindictive teenagers in this sequel.

The teachers – played by Jeremy Crutchley, Jason Cope and John Cleese – get a few laughs, but the boys are awful.

A hot dog-eating competition, spying on women in the shower and picking on children smaller than themselves seem to be their stock in trade.

Not a very encouraging view of adolescence. 5/10

Broken City

This drama doesn’t really stamp on new ground, but Russell Crowe’s formidable talent saves it from obscurity.

He’s a corrupt public official and Mark Wahlberg is the good cop who is going to bring him down. Catherine Zeta Jones steps up to get the party started.

It is rather satisfying too to watch an odious politician on the take get his comeuppance. 6/10

Stand Up Guys

A perfectly choreographed symphony of expert acting from Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin.

A fresh script and a deft directing hand makes this a film buff’s weekend treat.

Pacino is Val, recently released from a 28-year prison stretch, who moves in with his oldest friend.

But it’s not quite the happy-go-lucky reunion it appears to be. 7/10

After Earth

This derivative sci-fi flick might have Will Smith’s name on it, but it doesn’t deliver Mr Box Office’s usual blockbuster fare.

This is purely a vehicle for his son, Jaden, to pout and shout into the camera on a version of Earth in the future where monsters abound and the air isn’t fit to breathe.

This story steals shamelessly from the cliché lexicon of science fiction, and both Smith and director M Night Shyamalan should have done a lot better. 4/10

Star Trek Into Darkness

JJ Abrams follows up his 2009 reboot of the Gene Roddenberry classic franchise with a cracker.

Magnificently styled to be just the right blend of retro and space age, this second film in the new Star Trek series has Kirk and Spock facing off against superhuman killing machine Khan.

A must for Trekkies and a great film to help you become a Trekkie too. 8/10

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