It was time for another fantastic filled movie marathon day at the cinema with great friends of Cheltenham Film Club. And Yippee! with the first film watched in Tintin, meant I completed my 115 cinema part of the challenge.
But as soon as this was watched I was straight into over achieving mode with ‘In Time’ and beyond and I’m liking that!
#296/ 365 – ‘The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn 2D’ – 107 mins
Cinema Challenge #115 / 115
Tintin (voiced by Jamie Bell) and surly Captain Haddock (voiced by Andy Serkis) racing to recover a powerful artifact that was lost at sea four centuries ago. Meanwhile, the malevolent Red Rackham (voiced by Daniel Craig) is determined to beat them to it.
I’ve got to say before watching this big screen adaptation today I’ve never read any of the Hergé’s 80 year old Belgian comic books or even watched the TV series. But I can swear this definitely is going to change sometime in the future as ‘Tintin’ is right up there with Raiders of the Lost Ark, with it being a truly fantastic, perfect blend of intrigue and action along a high tide adventure for all the ages.
The story unfolds at a cracking pace whilst introducing us to plenty of engaging supporting characters, Interpol’s detectives Thomson and Thompson (voiced by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg), and the cleverness of Tintin’s dog Snowy.
The animated visuals are sumptuously painted and are literally jaw-dropping, with locations spanning from a dingy dockside to the dazzling Saharan oasis. This is arguably some of the best showcasing of CGI I have ever witnessed. The Adventures Of Tintin is a chase movie at its heart, with the best of these sequences coming in the films centrepiece, a truly a glittering and breathtaking pursuit through a Moroccan town which is very reminiscent of that aforementioned Indiana Jones but then the legendary Steven Spielberg is at the helm.
Tintin’s brilliant screenplay written by the formidable talents of Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish doesn’t skimp on humour to with much of it fuelled by booze and fisticuffs of the drunken Scotsman Captain Archibald Haddock, unforgettably voiced by Andy Serkis.
#297/ 365 – ‘In Time’ – 109 mins
Cinema Challenge #116 / 115
Welcome to a world where time has become the ultimate currency. You stop aging at 25, but there’s a catch: you’re genetically engineered to live only one more year, unless you can buy your way out of it. The rich “earn” decades at a time (remaining at age 25), becoming essentially immortal, while the rest beg, borrow or steal enough hours to make it through the day. When Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) from the wrong side of the tracks is falsely accused of murder, he is forced to go on the run with Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried). Living minute to minute, the duo’s love becomes a powerful tool in their war against the system.
With an intriguing premise. In Time could have been a genre defining sci-fi film. Unfortunately due to the total lack of tension in our protagonists journey instead what you get from Gattaca director Andrew Niccol is essentially an average action film filled with a series of chase sequences, where there is lots of running to be had by Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried being pursued across different time zones by Cillian Murphy who is by far the most enjoyable to watch on screen.
#298/ 365 – ‘Tower Heist’ – 104 mins
Cinema Challenge #117 / 115
Josh Kovas (Ben Stiller) is the proud manager of one of the most luxurious and secure high-rise blocks in New York. With his dedicated staff, he ensures that everything runs smoothly for the benefit of the rich residents. And none of them are richer than Wall Street billionaire Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda), who occupies the penthouse apartment. But Shaw’s under house arrest for a massive $2 billion swindle – and his victims include Josh and his team, whose pensions he was entrusted to handle. Now they want their money back – and to help get it, Josh has recruited career criminal Slide (Eddie Murphy).
I’ll be honest I went into Brett Ratner’s (‘Rush Hour’), Tower Heist, with some pretty low expectations and I was only expecting to come out with a few of your average miss-firing laughs that we seem to have had had from a few mainstream comedies of late.
However I was wrong proven wrong because Tower Heist is a perfect example of when done right it’s the kind of big-budget comedy Hollywood is capable of producing.
Ben Stiller leads out an impressive ensemble cast in this Oceans 11 style caper comedy, which after plenty of misses in some dreadful family movies, Doctor Doolittle and Daddy Day Care marks a huge welcome return to wise-cracking form for Eddie Murphy as the Queens criminal Slide. Though because Murphy’s screen time is limited, he never fully manages to have a complete impact on the funny bone.
Perhaps the films funniest scene is when Slide challenges his team of middle class heroes to prove they have the bottle for the heist by stealing a small amount of goods from a shopping mall, and each of their misguided attempts produce some very hilarious results.
#299/ 365 – ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ – 129 mins
Cinema Challenge #118 / 115
The true story of Sam Childers (Gerald Butler), who turned his back on a violent past as a drug-dealing biker and found his true calling as a machine gun-wielding liberator of refugee children in Africa.
Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace) drops us into Sam’s early life as he’s being released from prison and returning home to his wife and daughter. Lengthy scenes follow his life that is defined by alcohol, violence and drugs. Unfortunately, after Foster has put all this hard work into the grand demise of Sam Childers, he then does an abrupt U-turn within one single scene and his character has instantly become sober, found god and is completely reformed.
This is where Machine Gun Preacher’s gaping flaw lies as this change-of-life seems way too fast to be believable. In fact much of the screenplay for Machine Gun Preacher felt quite rushed in lots of places, which is surprising given it had plenty of time to breathe along its 129 minutes run time. That said Machine Gun Preacher is based on the astonishing true life of Childers to which you cannot question his commitment.
The film comes complete with an emotionally charged message, as it explores the atrocities in Sudan, and has the end credits roll over footage of the real-life Childers asserts you with a thought provoking question.