Friday, January 29, 2010

Films and DVD review: 9, Up in the Air, Cloverfield

Two trips to the cinema within a week is unusual for me. The first one was to the newly revamped Chapter Arts Centre (which is very swanky indeed) to see an oddball animation called 9, produced by Tim Burton, no less.

The set up is this: a small stitchpunk doll comes to life in a strange room in the ruins of a bombed out city. He has the number 9 on his back. He goes outside and meets other like him (numbered 1 to 8). Together they try to work out what happened to all the people.

It’s a promising start, and the animation was done well, but as Cathy said it lacked that certain something. It wasn’t a film I’d take small kids to as it was distinctly more grown up than most animations. There were a few problems with the script – characters seemed to act in quite self-contradictory ways, particularly the traditionalist number 1. So, all in all, I enjoyed it, but it’s not one I’d watch again in a hurry.

We did get to see a trailer for Tim Burton’s next cinematic foray: Alice in Wonderland, which looks like it will be a relatively faithful version of the book in all its weirdness. It’s being made by Disney, but hopefully will still be as dark as a Lewis Carroll/Tim Burton crossover could be.

The second cinema trip was to see Up in the Air, the new George Clooney vehicle. This was made by the same guy who did Thank You for Smoking, which surprised me when I saw it a couple of years ago.

The formula is similar: the main character is a smug git who does a fairly reprehensible job, but does it well, but then has some sort of awakening. There were a lot of thinking points in the film – why is the main character so obsessed with accruing airline miles and loyalty points when he also gives ‘motivational’ lectures telling people to abandon all the relationships that tie them down. That was interesting. What kind of person avoids commitment to people yet value loyalty to corporations?

Helped by a relatively sharp script and some genuinely funny lines, and of course, George in fine form, this film moves along at a good pace. Cathy and I both spotted the twist that was to come near the end, but someone in our audience didn’t, letting out a very loud gasp that caused most of the other punters in the cinema to titter. And generally, I left feeling glad I went, which isn’t always the case.

And now a DVD review. I watched Cloverfield the other day, which I have discovered is a film that bitterly divides people between those who thought it was interesting and enjoyed it and those who thought it sucked mighty ass. As all JJ Abrams projects seem to do.

Personally I’m glad I didn’t see it in a cinema as the handheld camera angle, the running and the shaking were tiresome. But, as a monster movie I thought it worked okay. There were no answers, and characters were left in the dark, which meant you the viewer are in the dark too (literally at one point), but in a way I liked that. I like having to think in a movie and I find them more effective when I have to engage my imagination.

So, for me, Cloverfield worked. I probably won’t watch it again, simply because of time constraints, not because I didn’t like it.

Jongudmund’s Ratings:
9 ~ 5/10 Worth a look
Up in the Air ~ 8/10 Like!
Cloverfield ~ 6/10 One for DVD

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen these movies yet, but adore Tim Burton...and George Clooney. So both will be on my list to enjoy in the future. Thanks for your reviews, hopefully I won't have a bias when I sit down to whatch the flicks.