I have only had a time to watch a couple of new films recently, having spent most of my spare time catching up with recorded television. Of note, The Thick Of It, Friday Night Dinner and Fresh Meat have been fabulously funny and both Homeland and Hunted (from the creators of Spooks starring Melissa George [Angel from Home and Away]) very enjoyable. I am reserving judgement on Misfits Series 4 until I have seen a few episodes as I am concerned it might be running out of steam.
The Comedy World Cup concludes this weekend I think and has been reasonably entertaining despite it being yet another two teams of three plus witty presenter panel show. In that genre Never Mind the Buzzcocks and QI XL still deliver, with 8 out of 10 cats lagging slightly behind. I am really looking forward to the Bond Car Top Gear Special and obviously will be off to the cinema at some point soon to see Skyfall which I hope is as good as the hype. Back to the fims:
Real Steel is a film about boxing robots. It is also a film about an ex-boxer getting to know his ten-year old son whose mother he deserted shortly after his birth. Think robot wars meets Rocky. While this film is typical of films executively produced by Steven Spielberg in its level of schmaltzy sentiment I did find it very entertaining and I am a cynical old goat at the best of times.
Sure, we know that the ex-boxer is going to warm to his feisty young son and that the scrap heap robot the boy finds is going to battle through some trials and ultimately come out tops in some major challenge. This is formulaic stuff reminiscent of any other buddy movie / underdog sports tale to have come out of Hollywood in recent years for sure and owes much to an old film called The Champ. However that said it is still a good bit of entertainment.
Hugh Jackman plays it more human / less wooden than his recent outings as Wolverine and the kid isn’t half as annoying as you think he is going to be. The computer graphics, practical animatronics and robot design are to be applauded. They have reached the level of quality in the film with the effects that it is very difficult to distinguish between the animatronic models and the CG. Moreover the humanistic boxing by the hero bot ‘Atom’ is quite authentic, owing perhaps to Sugar Ray Leonard’s involvement as the boxing consultant.
A Dangerous Method is David Cronenberg film is based on a play, which was based on a book, both of which may be better than the film, which besides some crazy jaw-jutting acting from Keira Knightley, a bizarre spanking scene and good performances by Michael Fassbender as the young Carl Jung and Viggo Mortensen as his aged mentor Sigmund Freud, has little in the way of actual ‘meat’.
While it is a vaguely interesting exploration of Carl Jung it says little about Freud beyond the notion that he was obsessed with sex despite being portrayed as a monogamous and slightly pompous pipe smoking old fart. I was also disappointed that Jungian theory of dreams and superstition was not explored and we were presented with a snippet of his life revolving around his affair with Sabina Spielrein (Knightley).
Spielrein is at turns completely hysterical and brilliantly insightful as she challenges both Jung’s and Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis and demands to be spanked by married man and father, Jung. Jung eventually caves in and then later ends the affair in a fit of guilt, much to Sabina’s distress. By way of revenge she destroys the friendship between Jung and Freud and leaves Jung on the edge of the nervous breakdown he would later have, but not before investing in another mistress.
This is a good film to watch if you are a fan of any of the lead actors as they are all on form, but offers no great entertainment as a story itself.