May was a decent month for cinema, with four films viewed…
Thor is not going to cause any great surprises: it’s a big budget, superhero-filled, special-effects-laden barrel of dumb fun; and fun it is. While a lot of films in this genre seem to think that just having enough explosions makes them worth seeing, Thor at least tries to build a story (and something of a mythos), and creates somes decent characters along the way. While Thor’s change of heart is as sudden as it is predictable, the supporting cast (particularly Loki and Odin) do enough to keep you distracted and the action moving forward. It’s worth seeing, even if it is as cheesy as you expect. (See my Thor Twitter review).
13 Assassins is the story of the last days of the samurai. The 12 best (and one other character) are charged with assassinating an evil feudal lord, knowing it will likely be their last act. From end to end, the film is excellent: we get some clear and utterly brutal reasons why the feudal lord must go, and an hour or so of strategic manoeuvring and character building to set-up the last act. What a last act it is: a 50 minute battle where the 13 take on 200 soldiers with every trick they’ve learned. It’s a spectacular fight scene, that manages to keep up the momentum throughout. An excellent film. (See my 13 Assassins Twitter review).
Attack the Block is an interesting debut by Joe Cornish (of Adam & Joe fame): while it’s clearly been shot on a low budget, this sci-fi comedy manages to turn this to its advantage, with monsters that are more frightening due to how difficult they are to see (they’re deepest black, except for their day-glo fangs). It manages to provide some good laughs, and reasonable horror moments, and in doing so is probably a success. It’s not fantastic, but is worth seeing. (See my Attack the Block Twitter review).
Finally, Win Win is most of what you expect from an indie film starring Paul Giamatti: the characters are likeable, but flawed; people learn important life lessons; and there is an underlying quirky wit to it. The story itself, that of a family that take in a teenage runaway who just so happens to be the wrestling champion that the father badly needs for his team, is pretty good, and you’ll feel for most of the characters along the way. This is a solid film, but not a stand-out. (see my Win Win Twitter review).
The winner for May is 13 Assassins, for it’s excellent pacing and that finale. Excellent.