There seems to have been a long dry spell recently in terms of decent movies. Makes you wonder how bad movies make money – they can cost so much to make but if they bomb then surely a lot of people go bankrupt? The new Robin Hood movie is a classic example. I guess enough people will go to see it based on Russell Crowe’s past success but for God’s sake, please no one let Crowe ever attempt a British accent again, ok? It’s humiliating for the poor guy.
But yeah the last few months have seen the release of some good must see movies recently. Here’s two of those movies that you should that are on DVD right now plus one that is currently at the cinema and worth a watch.
Every now and then us lads need to get a movie to keep the missus happy. But there’s a big difference between a chick-flick and a good drama that actually has some bite. When you take a soppy romance and add a bit of emotional passion and anger, you get a movie that’s watchable for blokes as well. Remember Me is one of those movies. It’s got the vampire guy from Twilight in it (which at first made this movie lose points for me but it turns out that he’s quite a good actor), the Aussie chick from Lost, the army dad from American Beauty and Pierce Brosnan (Ha! I knew one of their names).
Twilight guy plays a moody university student called Tyler who is arrested for brawling by army dad. Tyler has some deep issues due to the loss of his brother and dealing with his rich father (Brosnan) who thinks that looking after his family means providing them with material possessions alone. Tyler has a very little sister that he is very protective of (and she’s a fantastic wee actress). Tyler meets Lost chick whose father happens to be army dad.
There’s a lot of anger and fire in this Tyler guy but you feel that you can really relate to how he’s feeling. He brings forth some righteous justice through violence a couple of times in the movie but there’s a small part of you that thinks that you would do the same thing in that situation.
Brosnan does a really good job too – he’s gained some respect since he went from a slick James Bond to a wet drip of a bad singer in Mama Mia.
Quite a gritty real-to-life movie with great acting and a solid plot. Only down-side is that they tried to get all political and brought the twin towers into the story in a scene that I think could have been much better with a simple car versus bicycle collision, but I won’t ruin the pot for you.
Out on DVD and Blu-Ray now.
Unless you’re deep in British movie culture, you probably won’t have heard of this one. This is one of those movies that I walked past a few times while it was sitting on the shelf of our local DVD store until I finally picked up the case and read the high-praise testimonials. I used to base watching an unheard-of DVD on the reviews that could be read on the cover. I’ve since learnt that either a) most reviewers are douche-bags just looking to get their name on a DVD cover, or b) everyone’s tastes are very different. I guess both apply really. Although, of course, my own reviews can be taken as Gospel. Ha.
Shifty is set in South London and is about a guy returning from Manchester to catch up with his best mate who has since turned into a drug dealer. Despite their mis-givings, both of these characters are quite likable and if you’ve spent any time in South London, you can really relate to their situation.
Throughout the movie they get themselves into more and more trouble with the police, their families and their drug dealing colleagues.
The movie itself is a drama with a good dose of action and a few splashes of comedy but it’s not to be confused with the likes of Lock Stock and Snatch. In many ways, Shifty seems far more realistic. Shifty was made by a tiny production team in less than 3 weeks with a budget of 100,000 pounds. The only known actor in it is one of the supporting actors in Lock Stock.
It’s worth watching the extras as you realise how small scale this production is – there’s a scene in the movie where the two lead characters are standing in a street at night, talking to each other quietly. You find out in the extras that they were banned from filming at their original chosen location so they went to the street outside one of the team’s father’s houses. They had to talk quietly because there was a family across the road with children who were sleeping and they didn’t want to wake them.
Shifty is a powerful, quality film that yet again shows that the British can make brilliant movies on a shoe-string. Our American cousins could learn a thing or two about restraint and priorities when it comes to movie budgets.
Out on DVD and Blu-Ray now.
Dinner For Schmucks
I can’t help feeling that I’ve ruined this blog post by including Dinner For Schmucks alongside these other two movies. Dinner For Schmucks is one of those movies that should make you cringe. You should be embarrassed to suggest it to friends when planning a night at the movies just in case you ruined your serious-movie-lovers reputation.
The fact is, it’s actually a pretty good movie and worth watching. It’s been a long time since I went to a comedy at the movies and literally lol’d through a good portion of the film. Yes it’s silly, yes it’s American, but it really is pretty funny. New Zealand can also proudly stake a claim in the film’s success through the role played by Flight of the Conchord’s Jermaine Clement. Not that his role is one of the funnier ones, Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell do a fine job as the movie’s lead characters and the tall guy from Little Britain also makes an appearance.
Steve Carell is a funny guy that seriously let me down with his role in destroying one of Britain’s finest TV comedies, The Office. Take The Office, drain every ounce of subtlety, irony, class and straight forward humour and you have yourself the American version. However, Steve did a top job at playing a tricky ‘likable yet un-likable’ schmuck in Dinner For Schmucks and so this movie is definitely worth watching.
Out at the cinema now.
If there are any other movies that have come out recently and that may have slipped under the radar, let me know in the comments box below.