I seem to have seen quite a few films in the past few weeks both in the cinema and on DVD and not blogged about them, so here goes…
Alice in Wonderland (IMAX 3-D)
Tim Burton’s much-hyped remake that plays a bit fast and loose with the Alice story. I enjoyed it and it was very good but I felt it lacked a certain something, probably because I was very excited by the prospect what with being a bit Tim Burton fan. There’s always that thing that if you go expecting something amazing you’ll end up disappointed. In the end it was a bit more miss than hit really. The visuals like the way the card soldiers were conceived were very good though.
Best bit: An armoured Alice starts listing the six impossible things she believes before breakfast. “Number six! I can kill the Jabberwocky!”
Jongudmund’s rating: 7/10
How to Train Your Dragon (IMAX 3-D)
Dreamworks do a Viking saga with dragons, explosions and lots more. The storyline veered from average e.g. formulaic outcast inventor kid (see A Bug’s Life, Jimmy Neutron, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) becomes the hero and earns the love of a pretty girl, though to something a but unique, e.g. the reason the dragons have to keep stealing sheep. The film succeeds because by the end I wanted to own a dragon, so obviously it had an impact. My only (minor) gripe was giving the Vikings Scottish accents.
Best bit: The IMAX came into its own with the scene in the ash cloud as wispy ash seemed to float all around me. Otherwise any of the dragon swooping and soaring sequences.
Jongudmund’s rating: 8/10
Date Night (Cinema 2-D)
I have not laughed so much at anything labelled a comedy. That’s because usually Hollywood comedies are usually dire retreads of vaguely funny ideas. This was busting with funny moments, from Steve Carell’s exasperation that Mark Wahlberg won’t put a shirt on, through to lowlife criminals having a domestic, and constant horror that the main characters took someone else’s restaurant reservation. It had a bit of a too neat ending, but I can’t begin to count the laugh out loud moments, and there were one or two excruciating bite-your-knuckles-with-embarrassment moments too.
Best bits: Steve Carell licks a stripper pole (gross!); Tina Fey seeks to play down Carell’s insult to a mob boss – “It’s okay, when he says vagina, he means your face!”
Jongudmund’s rating: 9/10
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (DVD)
Average animation really. A few laughs. As in How to Train Your Dragon (above), the nerdy protagonist inventor becomes a hero, although his creation (a machine that turns water vapour into food) eventually threatens all life on earth. I think kids would enjoy it, but it’s not going to be one I watch frequently.
Best bit: Honestly hard to think of one. Nice to hear Mr T doing one of the voices.
Jongudmund’s rating: 5/10
Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (DVD)
I loved the first Ice Age movie. The second one was okay, and this is similarly mediocre. For some bizarre reason Sid the Sloth decides to hatch some eggs he finds in a hidden underground valley. Turns out they are dinosaur eggs. What I liked about the first Ice Age movie was the vaguely realistic depiction of strange Ice Age animals, like giant sloths. But I’ve seen enough dinosaurs. Some of the other side characters like the possums are starting to get annoying. This franchise just ain’t cool any more. Although Scrat’s dalliance with a femme fatale who is trying to steal his nuts just about rescues it.
Best bits: One of the dino hatchlings has to cough up other ‘kids’ that he tried to eat in the play-park and keeps coughing up the wrong ones much to Sid's embarrassment; the Scrat versus Scratte love triangle with an acorn
Jongudmund’s rating: 6/10
Sweeney Todd (DVD)
Tim Burton’s bloody filmic version of Sondheim’s blood-letting musical. Bit of a complicated plot (although I followed it), and the usual grimy gothic sets you’d expect with Burton, plus lots and lots of blood. Spurting and splashing and oozing and bubbling blood. Johnny Depp is just scary as Sweeney. Helena Bonham Carter brings a lot of pathos to pie-maker Mrs Lovett. Sacha Baron Cohen is very amusing as a rival barber. And Timothy Spall and Alan Rickman are suitably loathsome as corrupt beedle and judge respectively. Pretty much everyone dies in bloody throat-slitting fashion and for good measure their skulls crack when they drop down the chute under Sweeney’s chair. Oh, yeah, and there’s blood.
Best bit: Feeling betrayed by his accomplice, Sweeney waltzes Mrs Lovett into her pie oven and slams the door on her as she burns.
Jongudmund’s rating: 7/10