Yes, yes, it’s late, I know. For June, we have 5 films in the Film Fight.
First up, The Purge has an interesting enough premise: for one night, the rule of law is suspended in order to allow people to exercise their pent-up emotions. Murder, as you might guess, is rampant, and this goes predictably badly for the protagonists of the piece. The problem with the film is that it can’t seem to settle on what it wants to be: it sets up a social commentary but doesn’t give it the time to breath, instead degenerating into a home invasion horror with just a hint of Funny Games thrown in. If it had focussed on either side, it might have been better, but as-is it’s a predictable and mindless horror. It’s not awful, but you won’t see it again any time soon. (See my The Purge Twitter review).
The Iceman sees Michael Shannon deliver another mesmerising performance as an ice-cold hitman. His paranoia and shady dealings see his life beginning to unravel in ways he can no longer control. It’s not exactly an original story (though it’s based on a true one), but the lead performance makes it worth the admission by itself. Even though some of the supporting cast are notably weak (you’ll want to switch off any time his family appear) and the last section feels rushed, it’s still a great film. (See my The Iceman Twitter review).
Whedon’s first film after The Avengers couldn’t be much more different: Much Ado About Nothing is a timeless take on the Shakespeare play. It is fantastically well-done. The cast, stuffed with Whedon alumni, nail every part, bringing out the wit and comedy of the source material in every scene. It’s beautifully shot, shown in black and white, with nothing extraneous to slow down the pacing. There’s not a moment where you feel that it doesn’t work, and that’s without compromising the play for a modern audience. An excellent film that feels small and perfect. (See my Much Ado About Nothing Twitter review).
I am a big zombie move fan but having heard about the post-production issues with World War Z, I didn’t hold out much hope. I was surprised to find, then, a film that was not without charm. While every character in the film was utterly two dimensional, there merely to service the plot, the whole thing worked quite well as a big, dumb action film. The pacing was frantic for all but the last act, which was a nice little diversion. It’s certainly not a masterpiece, but it was quite fun. (See my World War Z Twitter review).
Finally, This Is The End is the epitome of Judd Apatow style comedies. If you hated or loved Superbad, Knocked Up or Pineapple Express, you’ll feel exactly the same about this. By now, you’ll undoubtedly have heard that it features James Franco, Seth Rogen et al. playing versions of themselves at a party on the fateful night of the apocalypse. Hopefully you won’t have heard about too many of the cameos or the silly ending, as there are some great moments that shouldn’t be spoiled. Again, this film will really depend on how you feel about the cast. I enjoyed it, but if you’ve seen them before you know what you’ll think. (See my This Is The End Twitter review).
The winner for June is Much Ado About Nothing, a flawlessly executed take on a classic. Contender for film of the year.