Three films I was lucky enough to catch in the cinemas this month:
The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011)
Very sweet love story told in the style of a silent film. When a silent star resists the coming of sound, his star fades as the girl he loves rises to fame. A pretty simple narrative that lacks surprises is disguised by the brilliant and clever way it’s told. Great performances from the cast who manage to hold their own against the scene-stealing dog, it’s a fun, easy-to-watch silent film that uses sound sparingly in a couple of particularly notable sequences and is guaranteed to leave you with a huge smile on your face by the end. Catch it before it cleans up at the Oscars on Sunday!
Like Crazy (Drake Doremus, 2012)
Oh the trials and woes of the middle class. Academic students fall in love at an American college but are kept apart by strict regulations as the English girl breaks the terms of her student visa. Convincing performances from the two leads Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin can’t hide the fact they are playing pretty boring, and not particularly likeable characters. The most sympathetic character in the story is played by Jennifer Lawrence who shines with limited screen time and makes the audience care even less for the plight of the central couple. The obscenely upper-middle-class parents of Felicity Jones’ Anna add welcome comic relief but also remind the viewer that these characters should really just stop moping and count their blessings.
The Grey (Joe Carnahan, 2012)
Liam Neeson and a pack of alpha-males take on a pack of wolves after a plane crash in the frozen wilderness. Starting slow, clichéd, and grey, the film steps up a gear after the characters survive the harrowing plane crash. The characters take a while to develop as they get picked off one by one, but Neeson elevates the script with another convincing hard-man performance as he leads the survivors in a fight against the big, bad, wolves. Oscillating between quieter moments of reflection in which the men let their guard down and vicious action set-pieces, The Grey is surprisingly gripping from start to finish and has a killer emotional gut-punch of an unexpected ending. But be warned, the final shot will either leave you salivating or howling at the filmmakers’ bold choice.
I highly recommend The Artist, slightly recommend The Grey especially if you can turn your brain off, and vaguely recommend Like Crazy if you think two kids falling in love and being kept apart by visa regulations sounds like you're bag. What do you think? Has The Grey been unfairly snubbed by Mr Oscar and friends? Is Like Crazy a painfully emotional and real story? Did anyone not like The Artist?