At the Cinema: March 2010

Kick-Ass (2010)

Vastly entertaining black comedy about a New York student who is also a wannabe superhero. He has no powers, but decides to become one anyway. His amateur adventures unfortunately lead him in to murkier waters when a mafia boss decides he is a threat to his business. The humour may be dark, but the thrills and action are blinding in this instant cult classic. It may not be perfect, but when you’re having this much fun, who cares? An appreciation for comics and superhero lore is not essential, but certainly helps.  5/5

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Tim Burton’s version of the Lewis Carroll classic falls someway short of his best work, but remains an enjoyable slice of dark fantasy. Alice returns to a more grown-up version of Wonderland, where the despotic Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has taken charge. She must lead her old friends, including the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), in to battle to return the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to the throne. Although interesting, there is not a great deal of excitement here or, more crucially, wonder. Still, a Tim Burton film is always to be welcomed, and there are enough distractions here to offset any niggling humdrumness: the performances from a strong cast are all good, especially Bonham Carter’s Red Queen and Stephen Fry’s voicing of the Cheshire Cat, while Burton’s usual florid visuals and Danny Elfman’s score are big plus points.  3/5

Shutter Island (2010)

Highly entertaining gothic psycho-thriller from Martin Scorsese about a U.S. Marshal (DiCaprio) investigating the strange disappearance of an inmate from a mental asylum on a remote island. Scorsese has great fun piling on the mood, tension and red herrings, paying tribute to a genre with a rich cinematic history. DiCaprio is fine as the lead, but this is the director’s show all the way. Whether you enjoy the film or not will come down to whether you are willing to succumb to a lesson in old-school filmmaking. An expensive and luxuriant shaggy-dog story, (very) well told.  4/5

Green Zone (2010)

Quality action thriller from Bourne alumni Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass about the search for WMDs in post-war Iraq in 2003. Plenty of gripping action on show here, but an intriguing conspiracy thriller also weaves its way through the story. Whether you believe its explanation for the lack of WMDs found or not, it admirably provokes debate on the issue without getting bogged down in lecturing on the rights and wrongs of the Iraq war. Populist cinema it may be, but good cinema too.  4/5

The Lovely Bones (2009)

Flawed but interesting adaptation of the popular novel by Alice Sebold. 14 year old Susie Salmon is murdered, and from the afterlife she looks on as her family try to cope with their grief and her murderer plans to strike again. Although imaginatively told and exquisitely made, there is a lack of drama in the afterlife scenes (which are lifeless in every sense of the word) that undermines the potential power of the story. Still, the acting’s good, especially from Wahlberg and Weisz, and large parts of the film are undoubtedly gripping and moving.  3/5

Published by Gavin Midgley

Freelance film journalist, blogger and geek.

2 replies on “At the Cinema: March 2010”

  1. I’ve seen some mixed reviews of Shutter Island but I thought it was first rate. Wonderful atmosphere and photography that recalls Hitchcock, especially the use of back projection – not to mention the whole cod psychoanalytical angle. I liked the performances of DiCaprio, Ruffalo and Kingsley but thought Von Sydow was kind of wasted.

  2. Tim Burton has a unique style when making his movie. I love Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands.””,

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