Reviews – 50/50 (2011), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Another Earth (2011)
A comedy about cancer that cleverly walks the line between humour and drama – 7/10
Dir. Jonathan Levine
A couple of weeks ago I named 50/50 ‘Film of the Week’ and I have finally got round to writing the review. 50/50 has done pretty well at the Box Office, taking $39 million, despite being ‘a comedy about cancer’ – undoubtedly a tough sell.
Nevertheless, in Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt 50/50 has two bankable stars. In addition, both produce excellent performances. Rogen plays his usual loud, stoner type and as always, he does this well. Rogen plays Kyle, Adam’s (Gordon-Levitt) best mate who tries to help him to fight his illness, mainly by encouraging him to dump his girlfriend and then taking him out to pick up women. Unsurprisingly Rogen provides most of the laughs whilst Gordon-Levitt plays the cancer-stricken lead in a relatively low-key fashion. Gordon-Levitt’s uptight and frustrated Adam is convincing, whilst Anna Kendrick and Anjelica Huston put in strong supporting performances as Adam’s love interest and mother, respectively.
50/50 is both funny and moving and despite the subject matter it’s never mawkish. Everyone will find it sad, some will find it inspirational, I find Seth Rogen hilarious, this is a recommended watch.
Frenetic and exciting with interesting animation, Tintin is a decent adaptation of Hergé’s beloved classic comic but is also messy and a little convoluted – 6/10
Dir. Steven Spielberg
This highly anticipated adaptation brings Tintin and Snowy to the big screen and in 3D to boot. The 3D is peripheral and occasionally annoying; frankly, I’m tired of paying more for something that adds little, if anything, and is entirely unnecessary.
Some people have complained about the animation, suggesting that the film could have been better had it been a live action feature. Personally I didn’t mind the style of animation and feel Spielberg did a decent job on his first animated film. Moreover, I am pleased that they didn’t try to replicate Hergé’s iconic drawings.
The film itself is not just fast paced; it’s a rollercoaster, rattling from one action sequence to another, adding in a sprinkling of storyline almost as an afterthought. The writers have attempted to combine three of the original comics – The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Secret of the Unicorn, and Red Rackham’s Treasure – with mixed success. Much of the plot (and humour) centres on Captain Haddock’s drunkenness; this becomes repetitive and boring. Add to this Thomson and Thompson’s stupidity and we have more of the same slapstick humour and people accidentally stumbling upon clues. Granted there is a large amount of this in the source material, but the film lacks the attention to detail and the satire of the comics.
The Adventures of Tintin is rip-roaring and generally good fun. Kids will be engrossed but it won’t be one that they watch again and again.
In his first feature length film Mike Cahill offers something unique and thought-provoking – 7/10
Dir. Mike Cahill
As a strange planet hangs in the sky, Rhoda’s (Brit Williams) world comes crashing down when she accidentally kills a mother, son and unborn daughter in a car accident, whilst putting the father (John Burroughs, played by William Mapother) in a coma.
Rhoda had a bright future ahead of her and was set to study at MIT on the astrophysics programme but instead finds herself in prison and her dreams in tatters.
Four years later Rhoda re-enters society and struggles to come to terms with her new life and the pain she has caused. One day, she visits John Burrows at his house with the intention of apologising for killing his wife and kids (he never found out her identity because she was 17 when the crash took place). However, Rhoda cannot bring herself to admit her crime to John’s face and makes an excuse about why she is there. The two strike up an interesting relationship as they implicitly begin to give one another some meaning in their lives.
Another Earth has sci-fi elements – a mysterious celestial body (Earth 2) looms over the earth amid frequent references to parallel and alternate universes – but is very much a human drama. In one sense, Earth 2 is all a side-show; however, the two sides of the story are neatly tied together as the prospect of travelling to Earth 2 offers Rhoda hope of escaping her current life.
The two central performances are impressive whilst the sparse score and direction are well judged. Another Earth is by no means riveting but it has enough to occupy throughout and keep you thinking for a while after.