Reviews In Short: Boyhood, Chef, Cold In July, Begin Again & Pudsey the Dog: The Movie 0 38

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Reviews In Short is a semi-regular feature here on Thoughts On Film that basically consists of short, paragraph-long reviews of movies I have watched recently, old and new alike, which I didn’t get a chance to review in full. As always feel free to comment with your own thoughts and opinions on each of the films.

Boyhood

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Quite simply one of the best films released so far this year, Richard Linklater’s landmark coming-of-age movie was filmed over the course of 12 years. It chronicles the childhood of one boy which means we get to see him age naturally on-screen as opposed to the usual method of different actors being cast at different stages. This gives the film a naturalism and believability quite unlike any other coming-of-age movie. Linklater (previously known for the likes of the Before trilogy, Dazed and Confused and School of Rock) captures the nuances and details of growing up, with all the highs and lows that brings, and has delivered a beautiful and compelling film. So many movies these days go on longer than is needed but Boyhood earns every second of its huge 166 minute runtime. A truly special film that demands to be seen. 5/5

Chef

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Jon Favreau writes, directs and stars in this utterly charming food-themed comedy about a father and chef who, after he is fired from his prestigious job at a top restaurant, decides to start his own food truck with the help of his friend and young son, all so that he can continue cooking the type of food he wants to. You can easily read the film as one big metaphor for Favreau’s filmmaking career i.e. how the restaurant owner represents the movie studio execs telling him to cook the set menu/make the types of big bland movies people expect. However, putting that to one side it can still be enjoyed as a delightful and feel-good comedy that celebrates good food and family bonding, even if it does take things to generic places at times. Favreau and relative newcomer Emjay Anthony really sell the endearing father-son relationship and there’s fun supporting work from a star-studded cast that includes John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Sofia Vergara, Scarlet Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. 3.5/5

Cold In July

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He might still be best known for playing Dexter (and David Fisher in Six Feet Under before that) on TV but Michael C. Hall is carving out a good film career for himself. He stars in this genre throwback as a good family man who late one night kills an intruder but unfortunately for him the intruder was a murderous ex-con and son of a recently paroled man who is gunning for revenge. From there it constantly morphs from genre-to-genre: one moment it’s a violent revenge thriller then it’s a horror then a police corruption flick and so forth. But it never feels like it’s lots of movies fighting for attention as director Jim Mickle (Stakeland, We Are What We Are) juggles the various genres with skill. Hall is terrific in the lead role and brilliantly supported by Sam Shepard and a cowboy hat-wearing Don Johnson. 4/5

Begin Again

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Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley star in this charming and inherently loveable music-themed romantic dramedy from the writer-director of the Irish film Once. Similar to that film this follows two musically-minded people who appear at first to be total opposites but bond over their love for music and, unsurprisingly, find their relationship blossoms along the way. It overcomes its somewhat generic foundations with a sharp script, endearing performances – who knew Knightley was so musically talented? – and a great soundtrack. To some extent it functions like a glossier Hollywood version of the aforementioned Once but there’s enough of a different vibe for it to feel like the director is reaching out rather than just retreading familiar ground. 4/5

Pudsey the Dog: The Movie

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Well this had to happen sooner or later. Britain’s Got Talent winner Pudsey the Dog now has his own movie and a cynical cash grab and ultimately rubbish it may be, it’s entirely innocous and good-hearted. The plot, what there is of it at any rate, follows the eponymous dog (voiced in pantomime fashion by Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams) as he joins a new family just as they’ve moved to the countryside. Once there we discover that there’s an evil businessman who wants to knock down the house to make way for a shopping centre. It sits somewhere between the live-action Charlotte’s Web movie and an episode of Last of the Summer Wine, cheap and cheerful with equal emphasis on both. It brings nothing in the way of artistry to the table – the acting is wooden, the jokes fall flat, the plot so thin you can barely notice it and so forth – but it’s harmless enough for the under 7s and should one day be added to the list of films put on to keep the young ‘uns quiet for 90 minutes. 2/5

 

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That’s it for Reviews In Short – until next time!

Some of this content was previously published at Scotcampus

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I’m a freelance film reviewer and blogger with over 10 years of experience writing for various different reputable online and print publications. In addition to my running, editing and writing for Thoughts On Film, I am also the film critic for The National, the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland, covering the weekly film releases, film festivals and film-related features.

I have a passion for all types of cinema, and have a particular love for foreign language film, especially South Korean and Japanese cinema. Favourite films include The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Hail, Caesar! Movie Review 0 78

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THE opening film of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival is a rollicking ride through the golden age of Hollywood with a silly wink and a smile in the way only the Coen brothers could ever do.

Set in the 1950s, we spend a day in the life of Hollywood studio fixer Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) at a time when he’s trying to get finished the production on the studio’s eponymous prestige picture. When the picture’s big star, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is mysteriously kidnapped by an organization calling themselves “The Future,” it’s up to Eddie to try and fix the problems and the many others that follow as a result. Oh, would that it were so simple…

Having just come off perhaps their most sombre film yet with Inside Llewyn Davis, it’s only fitting that this is one of the Coen’s silliest offerings in ages. But that frothy and lightweight nature – especially compared to such past heavyweights as No Country for Old Men and Fargo – isn’t a bad thing as the incomparable filmmaking duo have delivered another charming, effortlessly likeable yarn.

As with The Big Lebowski, the kidnapping aspect of the plot is merely that, an aspect, and entirely incidental to the rest of it. It’s merely the tunnel through which we experience the rest of the frequently hilarious characters and set-pieces.

Unlike the recent Trumbo, which dealt with very much the same era but in a weightier way, this feels altogether more affectionate. The Coens clearly have a fondness for the era and that shows in every impeccably designed frame of the film. It pokes fun at the stylising and absurdity of the times but it’s more like good natured joshing rather than self-satisfied mockery. It’s like Barton Fink’s even goofier cousin.

Fans of that singular time in Hollywood history will have an absolute blast as the film dips its toes into the different styles, from hyperreal noir to high society costume comedy-drama to Gene Kelly-esque musical numbers. It’s a juggling act pulled off beautifully.

The eclectic characters are all brought to life by a game star-studded cast that clearly couldn’t be having any more fun. Though some are admittedly short-changed – namely Jonah Hill who appears in only a single scene with very little to do or say – for the most part each are allowed to make their mark, from Clooney’s Charlton Heston-like megastar to Tilda Swinton’s twin reporters desperate for that next big story.

But it’s Channing Tatum who is the real shining star of the film, appearing as an all-singing, all-tap dancing sailor in a scene that has to be seen to be believed. Clearly the Jump Street franchise isn’t the only time he can be funny.

Hail, Caesar! may not be the weightiest of offerings from the brothers Coen but the chuckles are far from mirthless here. Absolutely bubbling with personality and charm to spare, there’s a lot of joy to be had in this funhouse of old Hollywood nostalgia.

The Hulk Might Return in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ 0 104

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As was the case with the first movie, far and away one of the most entertaining aspects of Avengers: Age of Ultron was Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner AKA The Hulk, who had a film-stealing fight scene with Iron Man that rivalled the end of Man of Steel in terms of city destruction.

The last time we saw The Hulk in Age of Ultron he was [SPOILER ALERT] in the Quinjet, which supposedly crashed and the man or beast hasn’t been seen by the rest of The Avengers, SHIELD or anyone else since. He probably jumped out and swam to Fiji, said Nick Fury. However, we may now have word about when we’ll next see him.

Now take this news with a grain of salt but Joblo is reporting that The Hulk will next appear in Thor: Ragnarok, the third solo movie for Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder. The plot of the film, which recently had Flight of the Conchords director Taiki Waititi attached, is currently under wraps but Joblo reports it amounts to, “nothing less than the Norse Apocalypse.” The Hulk would certainly be a welcome fighting partner, then!

If true, Ruffalo joins the already confirmed returnees Tom Hiddleston as trickster Loki – the last time we saw him he had [SPOILER ALERT!] faked his death and claimed the Asgard throne for himself – and Jaimie Alexander as Thor’s female ally Lady Sif.

Do you believe Ragnarok is when we’ll next see The Hulk? Is he a good fit for Thor’s solo storyline?

Thor: Ragnarok is currently scheduled for a October 27th, 2017 release.

Source: Joblo