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Movies with Michael Doherty

Friday, 22 February 2008

What films is Michael reviewing?

. Rambo
. My Blueberry Nights
. Be Kind Rewind
. U2 3D

1) Rambo (18)             

Courtesy: Sony Pictures
Starring: Sylvester Stallone
Director: Sylvester Stallone

Verdict: Whatever else you can say about Sylvester Stallone, he certainly knows his audience. Far from being a complete joke (as expected), the final Rocky turned out to be a smart movie whose script (just about) managed to overcome certain issues audiences had with the leading man's age. So it goes with Rambo. While one arrives at the movie expecting to scoff at the sight of Old Sly flexing his muscles, one leaves rather impressed with the action fare on offer.

That said, it should be noted that Rambo's 18s cert is well earned. The previous Rambo movies belonged in the comic book genre; this one offers nothing but gratuitous violence (from the computer game genre) as Sly heads into Burma to rescue the good guys and slash, maim, decapitate and generally do seriously nasty things to al of the baddies unlucky enough to cross his path. In fact, it's reckoned that the movie contains no fewer than 236 violent deaths, meaning that the character of John Rambo has now personally despatched 220 adversaries to the great beyond. In other words, this is no date movie (unless you happen to be Fred and Rosemary West).

2) My Blueberry Nights (12A)         
Courtesy: Optimum Releasing
Starring: Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman
Director: Kar Wai Wong

Verdict: Through masterpieces such as Happy Together (1997) & In the Mood for Love (2000), Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai has established himself as one of the world's great film-makers. While there are flashes of brilliance in his English-language debut, the movie seldom scales the dizzy heights of his previous work. The story revolves around lovelorn Norah Jones (here making her acting debut) & the people with whom she comes into contact in the immediate aftermath of her relationship break-up. These include café owner Jude Law; kooky gambler Natalie Portman & cuckolded alcoholic David Strathairn. While the others are strong, Jones' performance is somewhat uneven. It comes as no surprise to learn that the movie was shot in sequence since the earliest scenes (with Jones & Jude Law) find the musician at her most unconvincing. That said, any Wong Kar Wai movie is worth a look.

3) Be Kind Rewind (12A)   
Courtesy: Eclipse Pictures    
Starring: Jack Black   
Director: Michel Gondry

Verdict: When Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine...The Science of Sleep) is attached to a project you know it's going to be quirky, surreal & far removed from the Hollywood formula. So it goes with Be Kind Rewind. The story of a local video shop whose inhabitants (including Mos Def and Jack Black) decide to recreate famous movies (Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy) when their entire stock is accidentally erased, it's a Capra-esque tale for the YouTube generation. To be honest, the scenario doesn't quite last the pace, but the film has an undeniable charm.

4) U2 3D (G)                              
Courtesy: Digital Cinema Ltd
Starring: Bono, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, The Edge
Director: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington

Verdict: Always a band interested in breaking down barriers between artist and audience, it only seems natural that U2 are the subject of the first-ever 3D concert movie. Long-time band associates, Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington, certainly make lavish use of the technology at their disposal ("3ality" and stereoscopic cameras et al) but apart from these mostly non-gimmicky visual thrills, there's enough sonic whack here to make U2:3D worth a look. Culled from footage shot during the South American leg of the band's 2006 Vertigo tour, it's the panoramic vistas of baying fans and the massive banks of lights that provide the real sensory overload here. U2:3D is a sonically and visually stunning in-concert experience for both fans of the band and techie geeks who may long to see 3D as the future of cinema.

Sneak Peak Trailer:

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Opens May 22nd 2008

Courtesy: Paramount Pictures
Starring: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Ray Winstone, John Hurt
Director: Steven Spielberg

Synopsis: In 1957, Indiana Jones is thrust back in action, venturing into the jungles of South America in a race against Soviet agents to find the mystical Crystal Skull.