THIS WEEK'S PREVIEWS
(I live in Australia, so release dates around the world will vary)
Two school holiday films opening this week and they are both approved worthy of your holiday entertainment budget, especially Ender’s Game. There is also the very Slow Train to Lisbon that really should be missed. An awful journey! And the sweet, cute, rom-com Delivery Man.
(My movie Pick of the week)
ENDER’S GAME (4 out of 5 stars)
This hasn’t fared well at the box office, and it’s probably lost a star at the review sites, not because of the movie, but because the author of the books which were released in the eighties has been misbehaving in the media.
Homophobic author Orson Scott is a vocal opponent of gay marriage, writing that its codification would mean"the last shreds of meaning will be stripped away from marriage." The statements were condemned by the movie's distributor and star Harrison Ford. So, there was a call for a boycott of the film in the U.S., which actually worked.
However, it’s a shame because it’s a terrific film for young teenagers. It’s intelligent, well created when it comes to the technology involved and the low-gravity sequences, and it has good messages within the story. In fact, the strongest message, ironically, is not to fear those who are different but embrace them for their uniqueness. Go figure that one. The author should heed his own books.
My sons are eleven and thirteen, and thanks to my fairy-dust sprinkled career as a film critic I can take them to anything for free. Yet, there is so little that is good for that age group to which I do take them. The films are too violent, too loaded with sex, or too young. They are at a difficult film age. But Ender’s Game is perfect for them, and it is an enjoyable view for parents and also any science fiction film fans.
These school holidays do take your kids along to this—boycotting it does not make anyone in agreement with the rants of an ignorant person. You won’t be disappointed. What I am disappointed about is that the author scuttled the film, which due to poor box office won’t now become a series, and that is cinema-goers loss.
DELIVERY MAN (three out of 5 stars)
This is the American version of a 2011 French Canadian film (Starbuck). I sadly missed that film, so I can’t compare, but all the reviews say that it was far better than this direct copy. Still I enjoyed Delivery Man and so did my family. It’s not outrageously funny and feels overly Hollywoodfied, but at least it is a different set-up to the normal boy meets girl and disaster strikes. Here boy meets 142 of his children, and he has to wade his way through that little number to win the heart of the girl. It’s sweet, cute, and eventually forgettable. But, sometimes, that is all you need.
NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON (★ star) (only because the scenery was lovely, otherwise no stars)
Good grief what the hell where they thinking? This is not a film, but a means for putting insomniacs to sleep. It is dreadful. When I searched through reviews after I endured it to see what other reviewers thought (because my friend actually liked it), I saw the word “euro-pudding” used to describe it. If this is what you call euro-pudding, then I am sticking with Pavlova.
The character of Raimund (played ridiculously morosely by Jeremy Irons) laments that his wife left him because he was boring. I don’t think I would have left him; I think the only fair thing to do would be to slip something in his tea and put him and the world out of its misery. What if he had had children? Would they be called Borelings?
All I wanted to do was leave the cinema through most of it. It has great actors, acting badly. Don’t get on this train. It’s going nowhere, and the great crime is that its going nowhere very slowly, and arrives at the land of Euro Pudding—a place you don’t want to visit.
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 (three 1/2 stars out of 5)
For some reason, I didn’t love the first Cloudy. Maybe all the food that I couldn’t eat annoyed me, or maybe I was suffering from animated film burnout. I vaguely remember there was a lot in 2009.
However, this one was fun and colourful and very enjoyable. The harsh critic children also enjoyed it tremendously. Sony Pictures Animation is a solid film studio. They are not in the same league as Disney or Pixar, but they put out good, solid entertainment, if a little forgettable. If you haven’t seen the first one, this one is still understandable. You may want to buy or rent the original thought to enjoy the backstory. This is approved as worthy, by harsh critics and me, for you to spend your school holiday budget on.
What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.