Most of the time, a movie is not better than the book that inspired it. A Simple Favour is not that time. An impossibly stupid book has become a gleefully over the top two hander about two women who need each other, except they really don’t.
Constance Wu is one of the finest actresses working today: magnetic, funny, tough and vulnerable, she deserves to have her own movie. In Crazy Rich Asians, that dream has come true for us all. Crazy Rich Asians is a fun rom-com based on – and changed from – the first instalment of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling trilogy. It’s exactly like a lot of things you’ve seen before, but it never matters when it’s done as well as this.
It’s no secret that the world is in political turmoil, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, set in the seventies, feels as painfully relevant as it does. Much can, and has, been said about the movie’s propping up of the police force as an institution despite its systemic racism, but it is a powerful piece of cinema and well made indeed.
Ian McEwan is a writer of often exquisite novels that don’t always translate to the screen. On Chesil Beach is the second McEwan adaptation scripted by the man himself released to cinemas this year and, while it showcases the always excellent Saoirse Ronan to great effect, it doesn’t quite add up to itself.
Sometimes the best thing about a movie is its title. The Spy Who Dumped Me is not that movie, being much funnier than the moth eaten gag that it boasts for a name. Kate McKinnon is consistently the strongest element of every film that she features in, but The Spy Who Dumped Me is one of the first to properly utilise her. This is one of those films that will get overlooked despite its good nature, its reinforcement of positive female dynamics, and its more-competent-than-it-needs-to-be action choreography. Spy comedies may no longer be all the rage, but The Spy Who Dumped Me is a better example of the genre than Cars 2.
Ten years in the making, Avengers: Infinity War is finally here. The first Avengers film entirely free of Joss Whedon’s influence, Infinity War continues the Russo brothers’ streak while effortlessly incorporating the best of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 and Thor: Ragnarok. This is a big undertaking, and it’s amazing how few missteps Marvel has made along the way. The overt shift to explicit science-fiction and mysticism, and away from the tech-worship of early installments is both welcome and effective, and if you give a damn about any of the characters across the 18 movies that lead to this, it’s difficult not to feel consistently impacted by this two and a half hour barrage of event.
At Trespass, after some delay in hitting Australian shores, my review of Love, Simon, a film that is both important and far superior to the book that it adapts. This is a rare combination and one that should be seized upon. Gay teen movies are becoming more common, and if they can be as good as Love, Simon, we’ve got a lot to look forward to.
Over at Trespass, I’ve reviewed Annihilation. It’s a very different beast to the book that it was based on, and it’s better for it. This is the sort of story that I wanted to get from the book instead of the mundane Lovecraftian bureaucratic red-tape nightmare that Vandermeer served us.
“At last,” said the scientist, her test tube glistening in the fluorescent light of the laboratory, “we have found this decade’s Bring It On!” She smashed the tube to the floor, and out of the smoke emerged a smiling Anna Kendrick and a krumping Rebel Wilson.
They saw the sign.
Unto every generation is unleashed a high school or college movie that speaks to everyone. Kirsten Dunst brought it to us twelve years ago, and now Anna Kendrick and a troupe of considerably less Aryan, less Buffy alumni, types are prepared to bring it to the next level.
Pitch Perfect is a smile of a movie, designed to make the audience feel good the whole way through without manipulating them into doing that. It’s got a lot of laughs, too, with the audience reacting to some deliberately horrible jokes (“a ca’scuse me?”) even on their fourth go-round.
For something that could have easily been a cynical exercise in selling endless horrible sounding covers on iTunes, rather more thought went into this film than many might have suspected. This is ultimately not a musical, but a comedy about a group of girls who become friends, and the alternately awful and misguided boys who they have designated as their enemies.