Welcome to HTF’s Feburary Film Roundup. Every month we will be compiling a short list of films that have been released that have been causing a buzz and a bit about about them. This month we have Jim Jarmush’s Only Lovers Left Alive, James Griffith’s dance comedy, Cuban fury, The Lego Film and Spike Jonze’s avant-garde, sci fi romance, Her.
Her is without doubt one of the strangest films I have ever seen. Spike Jonze’s futuristic tale revolves around a lonely writer named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with an OS (operating system) called Samantha (Scarlet Johansson) after the dissolution of his own marriage. The film has generated a lot of buzz in the film world due to it’s originality and despite being such a bizarre film there are plenty of laugh out loud moments as well as more dramatic scenes, which are well balanced with each other. However, for some reason I can imagine this as a great short film, it does still work as a feature length but at times it can seem like the story is being stretched out a bit too much.The film is essentially a commentary on the rapid developments in artificial intelligence and is an unconventional love story set in the near future. Check out our full review here.
Only Lovers Left Alive- Dir. Jim Jarmusch
Only Lovers Left Alive glides at a glacial pace, defying our expectations of vampire films being action centric. Jim Jarmusch’s vampire tale is a neo-noir revolving around Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), two vampires who are trying to live a relatively ordinary life. Tom is a misanthropic and reclusive rock star that shuns any kind of publicity and is by far the most interesting character. Despite being a sombre film about the undead, with a largely melancholic soundtrack, one of the best things about OLLA is that it has managed to maintain a great balance of humour without diluting the drama, there and also some great one liners in the film. It’s no wonder this film has created a lot of buzz around the festival circuit (Picking up prestigious Special Prize Of The Jury at Cannes) and continues to be a talking point from it’s mainstream release. Check out our full review here.
Cuban Fury-Dir.James Griffiths Cuban Fury is a UK dance comedy that tells the story of shamed salsa prodigy, Bruce Garret (Nick Frost), as he returns to his love of dancing in a bid to win the affections of his boss. However since leaving his passion for dancing behind, Bruce has gained more than a few pounds having slipped into an ordinary and unfulfilled life. In addition to getting him and his dancing back on form, Bruce also has to contend with his obnoxious co-worker (Chris O’Dowd) who also has his sights set on the alluring office boss. On paper and in the trailer, this sounds to me like it has the potential to be a real comedy hit, full of laughs and feel good moments. However many critics sadly did not feel the same with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw awarding only two stars and the Telegraph slating the film in every sentence of it’s review, resulting in a one star rating. It is worth mentioning that Nick Frost insisted that he performed all of the dancing himself without the aid of a stunt double and so with this in mind, it was perhaps a little unfair of The Guardians’ Peter Bradshaw to slate this aspect of the movie. However, despite some of the negative press, the film enjoyed reasonable box office results and was by no means a flop. I’ll still be keen to see what Nick Frost has to offer in the future and hope he has the opportunity to take the leading role in films in the future.
The Lego Movie-Dir.Chris Miller & Phil Lord
21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller prove once again that they are at the forefront of comedy with this hilarious and at times extremely self-referential surprise hit. With an incredible array of comedic talent such as Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman and Morgan Freeman voicing the cast and a fast pace, bordering on frantic; what could have been a direct-to-dvd cartoon spin-off is in fact one of the funniest movies you will see this year.
Breaking down the blockbuster stereotypes, it rebuilds them brick by brick, embracing the plastic building blocks and also the video-game franchise with its countless cameos. It includes nods to its mythology and incorporates it into the world within the film leading to some of the best laugh-out-loud moments. With colourful visuals and a meta streak running through it; it’s great for the kids and even better for the parents. Check out our full review here.