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Movies | TV seasons
The Family

The Family

(2013)
7 months ago via Flixster

A cross between Meet The Parents, National Lampoon's European Vacation and a generic New York gangster film.

Mildly amusing in places, with some nifty set-pieces and clever editing, hampered by a scattergun script and an uneven tone. Is it a comedy? Is it a drama? Is it a shoot-em-up? It's all three, yet none at the same time.

From what I can gather, most mainstream critics have panned it. However, I think they've been unduly cruel. It's not terrible, it just misfires.

De Niro is in fine curmudgeonly form as the head of the family in question, doing his usual gurning and squinting - mostly to comedic effect. The delectable Michelle Pfeiffer is the personification of Jackie Frost as his world weary wife. And the two actors playing their cartoon character children rise to the challenge with gleeful relish.

Unfortunately, the tone and style lurches from one mood and genre to another so fast and so often that it takes the shine off much that is good about the film.

I won't spoil the ending, even though it's pretty much signposted from the beginning, but let's just say: methinks a sequel is a distinct possibility.

3 out of 5 (just).

Nebraska

Nebraska

(2013)
7 months ago via Flixster

Woody Grant is a man of few words:
What have you got to say for yourself? Nothing.
What happened to your head? I fell.

A spade is a spade, a shovel is a spade
And, heck, even a trowel is a spade:
Why do you drink so much? I married your mother.

From the same hessian cloth, his hardy wife is cut:
How did your mother-in-law die?
She looked in the mirror.

And his sons? One sells record players to an MTV generation.
The other is a stand-in newsreader on a regional TV station.
Think North Tonight, only further north and later at night.

Then, out of the cold blue Nebraska sky,
The drudgery of the day to day
Is replaced with the hope of a brighter tomorrow:

Old Woody has just won a million bucks in a prize draw.
Only he hasn't; it's just a false promise on a piece of junk mail
Not worth the paper it's small-printed on.

But Woody's having none of it: They can't say it if it isn't true.
And against the wishes of his nearest and dearest
Sets off on a 500 mile round trip to pick up his prize in person.

What follows is a wonderfully acerbic and affectionate tribute
To the down trodden and largely forgotten
People and communities of the American Midwest.

Touching upon father-son relationships, male-bonding,
The effects of war and accepting the here-and-now.
Come on, have a beer with your old man. Be someone.

Oldboy

Oldboy

(2013)
7 months ago via Flixster

A strangely enjoyable, dark and twisted, what-the-fuck-is-going-on kind of thriller featuring the ever-classy Josh Brolin, who is fast becoming one of my favourite screen actors.

Frozen

Frozen

(2013)
7 months ago via Flixster

A kooky princess gets over-animated over a goofy himbo, a shape-shifting snowman melts your heart, 3D visual effects have no effect whatsoever and I am getting a wee bit long in the amalgams for such happy clappy-ness.

Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings

(2013)
7 months ago via Flixster

Promised more than it delivered (a bit like me).

Which is pity, because it starts off so well with a breath-taking scene in the university library in which the magnetic Dane DeHann as Lucien Carr jumps on top of a large oak table and recites poetry whilst straddling a regal table lamp - much to the horror of freshmen students and staid academics.

Thereafter, however, despite a few flashes of brilliance (including a wonderful slow motion sequence in a smoky jazz club), it all gets a bit hazy. A lot is alluded to - drugs, drink and wild debauchery - but not much is shown and that which is feels safe, conservative and contained.

On the acting front, Daniel Radcliffe is perfectly cast as the wide-eyed Allen Ginsberg and turns in probably his best screen performance to date. However the film belongs to DeHann who captures the seductiveness, danger and pain of Lucien Carr to a tee.

It's not a must-see, more a go-and-see
If you're feeling footloose and fancy free,
Possess a penchant for beat poetry,
Pretty faces and witty repartee.

3/5.

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Intel Hollywood Star Program (July 2012 - December 2012)
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