philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
[personal profile] philosoraptor42
I didn't exactly have high hopes for either of these, but I wasn't expecting either of them to be quite so unbearable.

Maleficent (2014)

Okay admittedly I was told that Angelina Jolie would be the only good thing about this and it's true, she really is the only good thing about this. Actually, I tell a lie, the special effects work is gorgeous and often kind of cool. But could we have the story unfold for itself for a bit without constantly having the gaps filled by voiceover narration? I found the whole thing felt like a bad adaptation of a book. It's like they had so many plot points to introduce and not enough time to fit them in, so the film would rush from one point to the next. It's like a story written by a child, rushing to all the important points in the story without spending the time to build any of them up.

I was also told that the good fairies were no good. Well, before I decided to give up on the film, it must be admitted that they weren't great, but they were given nothing much to work with. I'm pretty certain that Juno Temple (Killer Joe) and Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake, The Girl and tons of other stuff) could have given fantastic performances if they were only given decent material and a decent opportunity.

When it became clear that the voiceover narration wasn't simply setting up the story, but was in fact going to be guiding us all the way through the movie, I couldn't take it any more.

Oh and if you're not going to let the third fairy's blessing counter-act the curse, why not let her finish it properly before Maleficent comes into the hall? It was ridiculous hearing Maleficent's new muted curse. The curse is that on her sixteenth birthday she'll prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die! Elongating it to pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling into a sleep from which she will never awaken.... unless she receives true love's kiss.... What? What kind of a curse is that? It's the kind of curse you are expecting to get broken, that's what it is. Meh....

Cuban Fury (2014)

Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, The World's End, Hyperdrive (TV)) and Chris O'Dowd (Calvary, FAQ About Time Travel, The IT Crowd (TV)) in a movie together! Just the idea of it sounded brilliant. Whatever the premise of the movie might be, those two would surely be awesome. How could they not be?

Well, pretty easily as it turns out. Chris O'Dowd is giving a highly animated comedic performance, but unfortunately nothing he is saying is funny. His lines simply don't make him anything other than an obnoxious bastard. It seems the writer worked on a few series of "Misfits" and that involved a lot of people being obnoxious to each other, but that's the difference really. Those characters were horrible to each other, whereas here it is very one-sided. Chris O'Dowd is mean, and Nick Frost's character just takes the abuse.

Yes, that's Olivia Colman. No, she can't make this material work either.

Meanwhile Nick Frost doesn't really seem to work that well as a leading man. I'm not going to say he can't do it, but I'd say he's more of a dramatic actor than a comedian. He needs the material to work with and then he can sell you on the character, but he cannot manufacture laughs out of nowhere. Heck, not many incredible comedians can do that. Peter Sellers is about the only name that comes to mind.

Basic issue is that the plot seems absurdly predictable. (Mean bastard from work won't get the girl. Against all odds, but with the help of salsa dancing, Nick Frost will get the girl. Yay, happy ending.) But worse than that, nothing in the film seems to be funny, yet this is clearly intended as a comedy. Not even the slapstick was working for me. I just got the movie for two seconds and suddenly realised that I could not remember having laughed once the whole time the movie had been running.

Doctor Who: Series 8, Episode 2 "Into The Dalek"

On the plus side, this week's Doctor Who episode was a return to form. It reminded me of the episode "Dalek" from the first NuWho series. Also Capaldi has been allowed to calm down a bit this time and he's got a sort of Tom Baker element to him. I've not actually been that keen on Tom Baker's style, but what's good about this shift is that it is drastically different from the style of the last three Doctors and, in this episode at least, it seems to be working.
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