Neil Fox on film (03.11.11)

In Time

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 3rd November 2011, 3:51 am

It’s a really mainstream, schlocky week for releases this week, at least locally. As always there are a lot of great films around, but somehow we don’t get them.

First up is this dystopian thriller starring Justin Timberlake as a man who doesn’t like his lot.

In a future where time is controlled and distributed to people like currency, and no-one lives past 25, JT plays a man who decides to break the system and take time back, going up against henchman Cillian Murphy in the process, and falling in love of course.

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It feels timely with global protests against the 99 per cent taking place, as there are clear echoes of a world where the strings of the many are controlled by the hands of the few, but it’s just a confusing and cliche- ridden mess of nonsense and misses all opportunities to be entertaining and truly pertinent. A shame.

Tower Heist

Following on swiftly from a sci-fi ‘take down the fat cats’ movie is this ‘take down the fat cats’ action comedy with a fab cast, directed by the heavy-handed Brett Ratner. Like In Time, it misses the mark and its chance.

Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy lead a team of people who feel robbed by a businessman’s pyramid scheme and decide to rob his penthouse apartment.

It’s a motley band of ordinary Joes and a great idea. There are even some laughs but it is all a bit lazy and self-flagellating, especially with the actual actions of ordinary citizens against corrupt corporations currently taking place around the world.

Machine Gun Preacher

When will Gerard Butler act in a movie? Any guesses? Anyone know when he will look like he is making any kind of effort at inhabiting a character?

I am sure he is capable of it. But again, in this disappointing turn from normally reliable director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) he is just a gruff, two-dimensional brooder and the schtick is getting old.

The film tells the story of a former drug-dealing biker who finds God and becomes a missionary helping Sudanese children who have become embroiled in militia violence.

You couldn’t make it up, and apparently they haven’t as it is based on a true story.

I’m sure the original man it’s based on is happy, aesthetically, that Gerard Butler played him, but as the years pass he may have wished for someone a little more inclined to act, or try.

Straw Dogs

There are two ways to look at this. You could either get riled up and angry that they have remade a classic or just realise it’s a commercial endeavour featuring talent beneath the original and move on. The overwhelming feeling when watching it is ‘what is the point?’

It’s a decently executed thriller that still manages to unsettle, but lacks the force or aggression of the controversial original.