Social misfits and repressive cults are order of the day today, with a little bit of ABSOLUTELY AMAZING SILENT GENIUS thrown in for good measure. Prepare to be Reviewdumped on!
This borderline-delightful indie comedy about an overweight, resigned-to-loserdom school kid finding unlikely friends gets by on successfully non-irritating quirk, John C Reilly having hella fun again and genuine chuckles throughout. That is, until its vastly misjudged booze 'n' pills-based final act, which undoes everything that came before it and makes you wonder if the writers hadn't been at the same stuff while they were sloppily throwing the end of their film together. Sat 22
Martha Marcy May Marlene™, because she really deserves to be accepted on her own terms as a terrific actress - especially after Martha Marcy May Marlene, a disturbing but compelling study of what it means to live by other people's rules.
Cutting between Martha's life inside an abusive cult and her attempt to adjust to living with her sister after escaping, the film edges a little too close to Obvious Juxtaposition territory on occasion but always manages to reign itself in without hitting you in the face with another "Look, life outside a cult is a bit like life inside a cult!"
Filling every washed out frame with simmering tension and sinister unease, Martha Marcy May Marlene has an insidious quality that doesn't let go till the audience-dividing final shot, and even then it maintains a pretty firm grip. Could do with a more reviewer-friendly title though, Jesus.
Sat 22, Mon 24
The ArtistSat 22
While the real Bernie's story is quirkily fascinating, it doesn't work in this format. Linklater's style and the (mis)casting of Black make it easy to forget it's based on fact, and as a result you spend a long time waiting for something to happen that never does. It's pitched awkwardly between comedy and drama without featuring enough of either, and its chorus of talking heads made up of a combination of real people and actors doesn't help.
Bernie isn't bad, it just never gets out of first gear: it's structured as two halves, and when it threatens to really get going at the half way mark, it instead settles back into a drawn-out fifty minutes as languid as the first fifty. And to waste Shirley Maclaine like this must surely be punishable by thumbscrews or something. Sat 22, Sun 23
Curling KingSat 22, Sun 23