HUGO (2011) by Martin Scorsese: 6/10
24 Words or Less: I’d seen this before but forgotten what happened–not a good sign. All the ingredients are there, but somehow not a good bake.
Best bit: Getting to see some of George Méliès’ films.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002) by Steven Spielberg: 9/10
24 Words or Less: Cinematic entertainment par excellence. A funny and charming cat-and-mouse game with two great leads and several moving moments, based on a true story.
Best bit: Honorary mention for one of my favourite John Williams scores, which is little known and frustratingly difficult to get hold of.
N.B. When you inevitably want to do some extra-curricular research on the real Frank Abagnale, I highly recommend the talk he gave here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlQ5tyHLBRc, continued https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFtxf2gZSY0.
THE GODFATHER (1972) by Francis Ford Coppola: 9/10
24 Words or Less: At first I was looking for greatness rather than feeling it, but by the end scene I felt I’d found it in Pacino’s transformation.
Best bit: Nino Rota’s score almost comedically arises every time someone dies–so quite often.
1984 (1984) by Michael Radford: 6/10
24 Words or Less: Slow and uninteresting. Orwell’s novel is accurately reflected by the grey colouring of the film, but not by Smith’s (Hurt’s) persistent vacant stare.
Best bit: There’s a long dialogue between Winston Smith and O’Brien which probably explored the important subject matter, but somehow it was so quiet and mumbled I couldn’t hear it.
BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD (2011) by Liz Garbus: 7/10
24 Words or Less: The sad life of a true ‘stereotype’ troubled chess genius. Spends an hour building up to championship victory then rattles through his subsequent breakdown.
Best bit: Wouldn’t be the film it is without Harry Benson’s beautiful photographs (LIFE magazine).
LA VIE EN ROSE (2007) by Olivier Dahan: 7/10
24 Words or Less: A bleak story of a bleak figure who was in turns demanding, impossible, desperate and vulnerable. Eyebrows pass without comment or explanation.
Best Bit: The continuous “grief” shot from Marcel’s arrival to Piaf’s singing on stage.
BRAVE (2011) by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman & Steve Purcell: 7/10
24 Words or Less: I just DID NOT see the bear thing coming. So found it hard to connect with the story. Beautifully designed animation, hair’s amazing.
Best bit: Billy Connolly provides an excellent voice for his larger-than-life King.