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…

Only God Forgives
Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling reunite for a new dark, gritty film about a man caught in the middle of a criminal underworld. Unlike Drive, Only God Forgives sees Gosling playing a despicable character with little agency, constantly under his mother’s boot (his mother played with sinister flare by Kristin Scott Thomas). Only God Forgives is dreamy and surreal in a way that I found to be evocative of the French New Wave film movement, with brilliant colours filling every perfectly composed frame. Unfortunately, the characters here are unlikeable across the board, and viewers may find it difficult to connect with the film’s content on any deep emotional level. Only God Forgives is definitely a case of style over substance, and although I loved the style, I can’t say I loved the film overall. That being said, it definitely did not deserve the critical slamming it got at the Cannes film festival. The performance of Vithaya Pansringarm as the antagonist alone makes this worth watching for fans of crime movies an Refn’s previous works.
3.5 out of 5

Much Ado About Nothing
Joss Whedon’s follow-up to his massive success with The Avengers once again knocks it out of the park, but this time on a much smaller scale, as Whedon is adapting Shakespeare here with a group of his regular actors. It’s a tough feat to breathe new life into Shakespeare’s works, but Whedon succeeds tremendously here, making the Bard’s work not only feel fresh, but also funny in new and interesting ways. The cast is great, with Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker perfectly cast in the lead roles. If I had one complaint, it’s that some of the language could have used an update – Claudio refusing to marry Hero because she’s no longer a virgin is a plot point that doesn’t play particularly well in a modern setting. But this is a minor quibble. Ultimately, this low-budget, small-scale passion project is likely to be among my top movies of the year come awards season, and I encourage everyone to watch Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. Come on, guys, it’s got Nathan Fillion as Dogberry!
4.5 out of 5

The Wolverine
After the atrocious X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I can’t say as I had high hopes for The Wolverine, which as it turns out is a sequel to X-Men 3: The Last Stand. This time Wolverine is summoned to Japan where an old man, whose life Logan had previously saved, offers him the chance to save it a second time while also becoming mortal. Logan is tempted by the offer so that he can finally die in piece after living several lifetimes, but before he has the chance to properly accept, everything is turned upside down, with ninjas, a robot samurai, and a snake-y villainess named Viper all show up wanting a piece of the Wolverine. The best thing I can say about The Wolverine is that Hugh Jackman is still perfect in the role. It’s hard to believe that it has been thirteen years since his casting in the first X-Men movie made him into an international star, and he’s still just as good here as he has ever been. Unfortunately, the story is pretty convoluted, and with so many flat, uninteresting characters, I found myself getting bored and letting my mind wander. There’s some decent action, and surprisingly the bullet train sequence from all the trailers that looked like it was going to be terrible turns out to be a highlight. Overall, though, this is pretty bland superhero fare. It has a handful of good moments, and it’s a decent piece of entertainment, but The Wolverine proved to be a second time that the character really isn’t that great when he’s doing the standalone thing.
3 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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