Thursday, 23 February 2012

Last Chance to See... The Artist, Like Crazy, The Grey

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?


  1. I've only seen The Artist in the list, and I loved it. Oh, and believe it - I have a friend who definitely did not like The Artist, as well as a couple other friends who thought I liked it too much. Oh well, I guess everyone isn't going to feel the same way. Still, I loved it.

    Like Crazy has been on my list to see, and I think I would enjoy it, although it doesn't surprise me that it's more of an OK film than a great film. The idea is understandable, given the status of the two main characters. I look forward to checking it out, even if just for Jennifer Lawrence.

    I have little to no desire to check out The Grey. It looked a bit silly, despite the fairly good reviews I've read.

    1. @Kristin The Grey is silly... very silly! But it still entertains surprisingly effectively! Like Crazy's still definitely worth a watch! Hope you like it!

  2. I've wanted to see all three but haven't had the chance yet... But the one I most want to see is "The Artist", not just because of good reviews and awards buzz but also because having recently watched "Hugo" and its story of Georges Melies, I'm really interested in watching more silent movies...

    1. @asrap The Artist is definitely the best of the lot. It may not educate people in the same way as Hugo's film history lesson but it does make you see the joy of early film and the importance of visuals over dialogue in storytelling.

  3. The Artist: Good, but not the most special and amazing flick I've seen the whole year.
    Like Crazy: May be a bit a bit sappy and schmaltzy at points, but still features some moments of actual honesty that work more than I was expecting. Then again, I think I'm alone on this one.
    The Grey: Neeson is great in this role and the film itself is just brutal, but also gives us characters to care about, which is something totally different from many other thriller flicks that I have seen in quite some time.
    Good reviews!

    1. @Dan No I think you're absolutely right, Like Crazy does feature some very honest, very real and true moments. There is much to like, I just found the two central characters a bit less appealing than I hoped. But that's all part of the honesty of the film I guess!


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