September was a decent enough month for cinema, with five films in the fight:
Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is the latest effort from Edgar Wright. With a track record including Spaced, Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, you’d expect something a little bit special; and that’s exactly what you get. More than any film this year, Scott Pilgrim is bursting with constant visual invention that delivers the story beautifully rather than suffocating it. The story itself is sweet, funny, exciting and full of great ideas: as soon as you think you know what’s coming, the rug gets pulled from underneath you. I’ve not read the original comic, but as a standalone piece of work Scott Pilgrim Vs The World is very worthwhile. (See my Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Twitter review).
Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd team up for a fairly meek comedy, Dinner For Schmucks. While there are some decent enough jokes (most of them focussing around the bizarre characters, particularly Zach Galifianakis), it falls flat far too often. Some of the more mean-spirited comedy just doesn’t work, and the final act is far too long: at two hours, it more than overstays its welcome. Average, at best. (See my Dinner For Schmucks Twitter review).
Dog Pound is the fairly dark story of three newcomers to a young offender’s prison. From the outset, an air of menace is maintained: from the authoritarian guards, to the beatings from other inmates, to… well, I’ll let you see. The low budget feel adds weight to the feel of increasing pressure on the boys, and helps build up the brutal final act. An excellent but dark movie. I highly recommend you see it at least once. (See my Dog Pound Twitter review).
Despite the whacky Hollywood comedy style of the trailer, Cyrus is and feels like a real indie film, and works very well because of it. The laughs never erupt, but they don’t have to: the comedy comes from the characters. All three leads really understand their parts, and play them to perfection. A good film, but not a great one. (See my Cyrus Twitter review).
Finally, The Other Guys is another great comedy from Will Ferrell and Adam Mackay, with Mark Wahlberg joining Ferrell in a bizarre buddy-cop movie. It’s pretty much what you expect from these guys: a film with great lines, over the top moments and bizarre characters. The middle act drags a little longer than it should have, but it’s a good comedy otherwise. Worth seeing. (See my The Other Guys Twitter review).
Picking a winner this month was a toughie but I think the winner is Dog Pound. Scott Pilgrim was very close, but I think the gripping discomfort of Dog Pound clinches it.