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Review: Trance, Eternity, The Whale and The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Cinema and Reviews

trance-1

Danny Boyle is one of my favour­ite dir­ect­ors. From Shallow Grave in 1994 to 127 Hours in 2010, his work has stim­u­lated and inspired me. I re-watched Trainspotting the oth­er day and it still made everything else I saw that week seem old-fashioned. Everything, that is, except Trance which just hap­pens to be Boyle’s new film, a return to cinemas after dir­ect­ing the biggest theatre show of all time – the Olympic Games open­ing cere­mony which was seen by an audi­ence of – ooh – about 900 mil­lion people.

Trance posterTrance returns Boyle to his $20m budget com­fort zone and his new light­weight digit­al film­mak­ing style. It also reunites him with screen­writer John Hodge (Trainspotting) so it should be all sys­tems go, yes?

Not quite. In Trance, James McAvoy plays an art expert with a prob­lem. Instead of help­ing a gang of thugs steal a very expens­ive paint­ing from his auc­tion house he actu­ally tries to steal it him­self, get­ting a whack on the head for his trouble. Now he can’t remem­ber where he left the paint­ing and the gang are try­ing everything from fingernail-pulling to hyp­no­ther­apy to help him remem­ber where it is.

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Review: Slumdog Millionaire, Role Models and The Map Reader

By Cinema, Conflict of Interest and Reviews

I don’t have much room this week and I want to spend most of it gush­ing over Slumdog Millionaire so let’s get started.

Role Models posterBack in 2003, when the Incredibly Strange Film Festival was still its own bump­tious stand-alone anarch­ic self, we opened the Festival with the sum­mer camp spoof Wet Hot American Summer and good­ness me, wasn’t that a time? Written and dir­ec­ted by David Wain, WHAS was a pitch-perfect trib­ute to teen com­ed­ies of the 80s and his new film Role Models attempts to ride the cur­rent wave of sexu­ally frank grown-up com­ed­ies but he doesn’t seem to really have the heart for it. The gross-out bits are uncom­fort­ably gross, the boobies seem like after­thoughts and the film really doesn’t hit its straps until it starts cheer­ing for the under­dog late in the day.

Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott play sales­man ped­dling energy drink to high school kids. After an unfor­tu­nate (sta­tion­ary) road rage incid­ent their jail time is con­ver­ted to com­munity ser­vice at Sturdy Wings – a ‘big broth­er’ out­fit match­ing mis­fit kids up with respons­ible male adults. This kind of mater­i­al has proved out­stand­ingly pop­u­lar recently when pro­duced by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and I can’t help think­ing that if he had got­ten his hands on Role Models it would have about 20% more jokes in 16% short­er run­ning time – he really is that much of a machine.

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