Sunday Short Reviews

Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

Walking into ParaNorman, I expected it to be an enjoyable film, but I had no idea just how amazing it would turn out to be. The story of a young boy who loves b-movies and can see the dead, and who suddenly finds himself as the only person who can stop a centuries-long curse and save his town from a plague of zombies, ParaNorman is, well perfect. I honestly haven’t got a single bad thing to say about this movie. The stop-motion animated characters are beautifully designed and terrifically realized, and the level of detail in this movie is just gorgeous. The voice acting is great, featuring the likes of John Goodman, Bernard Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, but the real standout for me was the script. It’s funny, it’s clever, and there’s not a single plot hole to be seen. In fact, I think the plot was handled absolutely brilliantly, and as the credits of the film rolled, I felt like I had found a beautiful and rare gem. It’s not based on a pre-exiting property, it’s funny without resorting to pop culture references or dumb slapstick, and the story at the core of ParaNorman is sweet, witty, and ultimately heartwarming. This is not only one of my favourite films of 2012, but could well be one of my favourites of all time.
5 out of 5

is wacky, bombastic 80s fantasy, and while the franchise has seen some truly crappy movies over the years, the first Highlander film is still a lot of fun over thirty years later. In a way, Highlander is a movie with something for everyone. There’s romance in Connor MacLeod’s struggle with immortality as he falls in love but has to watch his wife age and die before him. There’s comedy in his dealings with Sean Connery, who was cast as a Spanish Egyptian while Christopher Lambert was cast as a Scotsman – baffling, I know. There’s silly action in all the sword fights, and lovers of camp with adore Clancy Brown’s villain “The Kurgan”, who steals every scene he appears in. With a soundtrack by Queen, Highlander is pretty goofy throughout, but I can’t deny that it’s entertaining. If you don’t go in expecting a masterpiece, just a good time, then you won’t be disappointed.
3.25 out of 5

The Five Year Engagement
This movie took five years to watch! I honestly struggled to get through The Five Year Engagement, for while I quite like stars Jason Segal and Emily Blunt, the plot just never took off for me. The very nature of the story – a couple gets engaged but has to keep delaying the wedding – lends itself to a particularly annoying form of screenplay: one where the writer just has to keep coming up with excuses to deny the audience the payoff of seeing the two main characters get hitched. This wouldn’t be so bad if the movie was a succinct 90 minutes, but The Five Year Engagement runs over two hours long, and after the first hour, I felt like banging my head against a wall. The laughs are too few and far between, and it seems like the movie doesn’t know if it wants to lean more on the side of romantic drama or more on the side of gross-out Judd Apatow-style comedy. In the end, the film doesn’t succeed at being either, and I ultimately just found it boring. Skip this one.
2 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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