Friday, 29 August 2014

Good Morning, Vietnam (15) | Film Review

Good Morning, Vietnam, dir. Barry Levinson, wr. Mitch Markowitz, st. Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Robert Wuhl, J. T. Walsh

The chaos and delirium of the Vietnam war provides the perfect backdrop for Levinson's legendary war comedy, a place where chain of command seeks to counter the insanity of the battle via Mantovani and dulcet, truncated and redacted news reports. The 'one man rallying against the system construct' is of course, as old as the hills, but persists because even in good old progressive 2014, there are still plenty of global systems still standing to rally against. Robin Williams' largely improvised Armed Forces Radio Service madcap broadcasts provide the troops with some much needed levity and distraction from obsessing that each second that passes in this alien land may very well be their last. But the powers that be, particularly uptight Sergeant Major Phillip Dickerson (J. T Walsh, who's the CO of this kind of dickishness), insist the boat not be rocked and protocol is carried out. This is the United States Marine Corp, don't you know, not a circus. What we know is that laughter is about more than releasing endorphins and boosting the immune system; it's the ultimate skeleton key. And Robin Williams was the ultimate liberator.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 | Film Review

The Amazing Spider-Man 2, dir. Marc Webb, scr. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, James Vanderbilt, st. Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan

Whatever may be happening offscreen with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, their light and affecting chemistry continues to be the primary draw of these new Webb-era Spider-Man reboots, despite this sequel's tendency for overstuffed storylines at the expense of character development. Indeed, at almost two and a half hours, no wonder poor Shailene Woodley's Mary Jane Watson got axed. The stereo-villain threat from Max Dillon's Electro (Foxx) and Parker-Pal Harry Osbourn's Green Goblin (DeHaan) is poorly handled, with, in particular, an obfuscated, barely discernable reason for them to team up against Spidey other than for the screenwriters to stack the odds. I'd actually be happy to watch Garfield endearingly mumble his way through any attempt on his life completely sans costume or web-slinging, and this is certainly the goofiest we've seen Spider-Man - something that recaptures the early camp - but once again, it seems this latest attempt at the franchise has been reduced to theme-park POV thrills and spills.