Reviews In Short is a regular feature here on Thoughts On Film which 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.
Rust and Bone
Director Jacques Audiard had already more than made his mark in previous years with the likes of The Beat That My Heart Skipped and particularly his uncompromising prison drama A Prophet but now he’s back with a similarly uncompromising but altogether more uplifting film with Rust and Bone. Nominated for the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and winner of Best Film at the London Film Festival, Audiard’s latest is an undoubtedly powerful, haunting experience with several sequences that had me awe-struck with my jaw on the floor. Having said that, as the film goes on and particularly towards the end it does unfortunately feel the need to pile events one on top of the other, laboring certain points it’s trying to make all the while distracting from others. But two masterful lead performances from Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, along with Audiard’s imaginative direction, more than help to make up for that. 4/5
On the Road
I can certainly understand why a lot of people would be turned off by Walter Salles latest film, his sprawling adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal novel On the Road. Its characters are arguably all unlikeable, selfish and pretentious, its tone is dry as a bone and those who have read the novel (I haven’t) say it has none of the soul of Kerouac’s work. However, I rather liked its free-wheeling, carefree approach and perhaps in spite of the flawed characters – or thanks to some solid performances from the likes of Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart – I found myself compelled by their journey, literal and personal. It’s too long and there are more than a few sequences that just feel out of place or completely pointless but once I clued into its style I rather enjoyed the film. 3/5
Your Sister’s Sister
A key filmmaker in the “Mumblecore” movement, Mark Duplass stars in Lynn Shelton’s latest film about a man who, on the instruction of his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), goes out to a secluded cabin to be alone only to be confronted with Iris’ sister Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt). Your Sister’s Sister is a seemingly simple film but the end result is anything but, thanks to a whip-smart script that mixes funny and dramatic in a brilliant way. The film proves that sometimes all you need is a few locations, some amazing performances and a good script to make a compelling film. 4/5
The Shining (Re-release)
Now more than 30 years old, Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece The Shining gets a theatrical re-release in the UK this time in extended form. Some of the added scenes are unnecessary and stifle the pace a little while others are fittingly horrific. Nonetheless the film remains terrifying, with a feeling of pure evil running through its bones and down its hallways making for a deeply unsettling experience. Jack Nicholson’s now legendary performance as a caretaker of an old hotel who slowly goes mad might just be the most compelling he’s ever been, his over-the-top portrayal in-tune with the heightened reality of Kubrick’s nightmarish world. Stephen King famously hated what Kubrick did with his novel and, indeed, Kubrick’s vision differs wildly from his. But crucially the film manages to capture the tone of the book even if it doesn’t follow events to the letter. For anyone who hasn’t seen The Shining before (or even if you have) this is a must-see on the big-screen if you can find it playing anywhere near you. As horror cinema goes it doesn’t get any better than this as far as I’m concerned. 5/5
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That’s it for Reviews In Short – until next time!