Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
Kung Fu Panda
Considering how easy it is to sell a movie called “Kung Fu Panda” to the kiddies, this film actually surprised me with its multi-dimensionality. The characters are loveable and well-animated, and the protagonist Po is perfectly voiced by Jack Black, who is reigned in a bit here from his usual insanity. The animation is stylish, but the thing that stands out most about this movie for me is just how steeped in the martial arts movie genre it is. The makers of Kung Fu Panda are clearly fans of classic chop-socky pictures, and even though there isn’t a single human on screen, the fight sequences in this film are, quite possibly, some of the best ever put on screen. Because of the animated format, the camera can do things that would be impossible were the film live action, and the fast-paced action, sweet humour, heartwarming character interactions, and colourful energy all combine to make Kung Fu Panda one of the best computer animated family films outside of Pixar.
4.5 out of 5
A bittersweet, off-beat, and above all, genuine film whose tone reminded me a lot of the Zach Braff film Garden State. The bulk of 50/50 is filled with realistically sad situations accentuated by bursts of similarly realistic humour, and although the first hour or so of the movie is very sad indeed, when the credits roll, I think you’ll find that 50/50 is actually very hopeful, endearing, and truly heartwarming. The fact that writer Will Reiser went through most of the events that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character goes through (Gordon-Levitt is awesome here, by the way) imbues 50/50 with a tone that strikes close to home, and since co-writer and co-star Seth Rogen was Reiser’s friend at the time, Rogen’s performance also feels well-rounded and real – and much more down-to-earth than Rogen’s usual raunchy fare. This is a tough movie to watch, and I can pretty well guarantee you’ll get choked up many times before its over, but if you think you can handle a lot of sadness, you’ll probably be surprised by how happy you are by the film’s final scene.
4.5 out of 5
A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg reunites with Viggo Mortensen to bring us a character study of the relationship and semi-rivalry between Sigmund Freud (Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), and their patient-turned-colleague-turned-Jung’s-lover Sabine Spielrein (Kiera Knightley). As with many biopics (A Dangerous Method is sort of a half-biopic), this film falls victim to the problem of real life lacking a plot arc, but the point of the movie isn’t really the plot. Rather, A Dangerous Method is a character study of this strange, almost-love triangle involving two of the most influential psychoanalytical minds of the modern age. The three protagonists are all fantastically acted, and even though I love Mortensen and Fassbender as actors, it’s Kiera Knightley who steals the show with her performance as the tormented, vulnerable, and highly intelligent Sabine. The ending is a bit abrupt and might leave viewers unsatisfied, but frankly, I really enjoyed this film. It’s well-shot and well-composed, the acting is top-notch, and it lends itself to analytical discussions and interpretations, if you’re into that sort of thing. It may not be for everybody, but for me, this is another great movie by Cronenberg’s reinvented self: slick and prestigious rather fleshy and horrific. But don’t get me wrong – I love that Cronenberg too.
4 out of 5
See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!