Vicky Cristina Barcelona
I love Woody Allen, but he doesn't really make good films anymore. VCB to be fair, was alright. it wasn't all that funny, but as soon as Penelope Cruz entered as Javier Bardem's crazy on/off ex-wife, the film was lifted, the screen buzzing with a maniacal latin intensity (is that cliched, racist, or both?). Scenes between the two Spaniards were a joy to watch adding an extra point to a fairly average love triangle dramedy. 8 out of 10.
The Lives of Others
Ze Stasi! (definitley racist) Ulrich Mühe stars as a Stasi operative spying on a liberal writer behind the wall in Communist Berlin. He starts off as a cold and compassionless automaton, examining his targets, but soon thaws and warms to their cause, helping the writer to expose hidden truths to the Western world. It is this stellar and subtle performance by the German Mühe which elevates Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck's (Best Name Evar!!!) somewhat flat and possibly implausible (in parts) story. Other actors shine too, such as Ulrich Tukur as Mühe's feckless commander. The menace felt in the first act is sustained less and less throughout the film, but is genuinely suspenseful and tense in parts. 7 out of 10.
Coco Before Chanel
So Steph (the missus) was over and was feeling ill, so I put this on for us because I'm a top bloke like that. It isn't really my thing, period pieces, but I went in with an open mind. All I can say is that it wasn't shit, but I just couldn't really get into it. I felt sympathetic to the character, but I wasn't hooked. I gave it a go like. 5 out of 10.
The Other Guys
This is more my thing: stupid, loud and implausible comedies. It's hard to get the balance right these days with such vapid comedy such as "You Don't Mess With The Zohan", and all that other depressingly humourless shite, but every now and again, you go into a film not holding out much hope and stumble upon a real gem. In much the same way with "The Hangover" (not the second one mind), and "Zoolander", "The Other Guys" was laugh out loud funny and well concieved, but had a heart, as strange as that sounds. Yes the plots are implausible, but the humour is intelligent and doesn't rely on fart gags or cock shots to get laughs. The highlight for me was the completely over the top cameo by the Rock and Samuel L Jackson as supercops, and the rest of the film more than made up for little dips throughout. 9 out of 10.
Rudo Y Cursi
Carlos Cuaron's (brother of Alfonso, one of my favourite directors) directorial debut tells the story of two brothers who become footballing superstars on opposing teams, and see fame and fortune slowly unravel their lives. I loved Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal in Alfonso's "Y tu mamá también" (which he co-wrote with Carlos), and they share that same buzzing screen chemistry as the warring brothers. The fim is definitely bittersweet, as with most Cuaron films, and it is almost false advertising to advertise it as a slapstick comedy (in the same way as the criminally brilliant and misadveritsed "In Bruges" was), as although there are moments of humour throughout, the dramatic aspects of the story affect the audience, as in me , the most. It is like that episode of "The Simpsons", where Bart and Lisa join opposing hockey teams in terms of plot, but with more gambling debts and cocaine use. 7 out of 10.