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…

The Dark Knight Returns (parts 1 and 2)
The age of big-budget superhero movies that take themselves seriously has also ushered in an era of straight-to-video animated superhero films with similarly sombre and serious tones, and The Dark Knight Returns may prove to be the best of the bunch. A terrific adaptation of Frank Miller’s now-classic Batman story arc, The Dark Knight Returns is a Bat-fan’s dream come true. Featuring animation overseen by Bruce Timm, one of the guys behind Batman: The Animated Series, a tremendous score by Christopher Drake, and great voice work from Peter Weller as Batman/Bruce Wayne, this is a two-part movie that anybody who loves Batman comics owes it to themselves to see. The art style is great, I love the 80s-style, Carpenter-inspired synthesizer music, and even the decision to eliminate Batman’s internal monologue from the comics was a good one. This is also, by far, the best Superman/Batman face-off that we’re ever likely to get. If you love Batman, and especially if you love Batman: The Animated Series, you need to watch this.
4 out of 5

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel
This low-budget sci-fi comedy exceeded my expectations, taking a simple premise and using minimal special effects combined with a lot of humour to make it compelling. Four friends find a time rip in the men’s room of their local pub and start hopping backwards and forwards in time, seeing terrifying visions of the future and generally being confused. The clever script and lead performance by Chris O’Dowd (whom you might know from Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd) really hold the movie together, and if you like British comedy, you’ll get a big kick out of it. The film’s laudatory description of being “Doctor Who meets Shaun of the Dead” is an apt one, and fans of either of those properties will likely enjoy Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel as well. Don’t expect anything epic or grandiose, given the evidently small budget the filmmakers were working with, but do expect clever jokes and an interesting take on time travel. It’s fun, it’s funny, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome. In other words, it’s well worth a watch.
4 out of 5

David R. Ellis movies are kind of guilty pleasures of mine, and while Cellular has both a good cast (Chris Evans, Kim Basinger and Jason Statham) and a decent hook (an ordinary guy is the only person who can save the hostage on the other end of the phone), the film overall felt a bit pedestrian to me. It has all the “tension” that you’d expect – “Oh no! The phone is running out of batteries!” “Oh no! She hung up! Will he be able to connect with her again?” “Oh no! He’s running out of time!” – but in the end I found it merely forgettable. Not a bad flick, but not one I’ll be seeking out again any time soon.
3 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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