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"Grant us more film reviews, oh great ones," cried the people. And theOneliner, seeing that they were good and loyal, took pity on the people, and replied, "aye, awright then, here ye go". And lo! did the people receive reviews of The Heat, Monsters University, Jack Reacher. The Wolverine, Only God Forgives and The World's End.
A comedy starring Sandra Bullock? Yeah, that worried us too. Bullock plays an ambitious but deeply unpopular FBI agent whose path during a drugs investigation crosses that of Melissa McCarthy's boorish Boston cop. A mismatched cop comedy starring two women, only a couple of decades after the heyday of the mismatched cop comedy genre, this may be very late but at least it manages some humour. Bullock isn't very likeable and her comedy delivery is lacking but, fortunately, she's carried by McCarthy and while this isn't the funniest thing you'll see this year it is above average.
It's deeply disappointing to see Pixar follow the lead of the rest of Hollywood and become so dependent on sequels, as here with Monsters University, a prequel to 2001's Monsters, Inc. Following a younger Mike Wazowski as he embarks on a course in the Scare Programme at Monsters University, we learn how the Mike-Sully partnership came to be, and why Randall became their enemy. A laboured premise and a plot largely driven by the inclusion of that most tiresome of educational institutions - fraternities - leave Monsters University sorely in need of the sort of vital spark that makes the best of Pixar's output so special. This isn't without merit - there are laughs to be had and plenty of references for those familiar with the original. It will still please its target audience, but Monsters University finds itself vying with Cars 2 as the least of Pixar's creations.
For this episode's home format selection we have Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher. When an ex-soldier is implicated in a mass-shooting of civilians, he refuses to speak to anyone except former military investigator Jack Reacher. Reacher quickly discovers that the shooting is not as indiscriminate as it first appeared, and he and the suspect's lawyer find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy. Based on a very popular literary character, with a massive star and superb supporting players, and from the writer responsible for The Usual Suspects, Jack Reacher nevertheless conspires to be less than the sum of parts. A solid, enjoyable thriller and worth watching, but missing that je ne sais quoi to make it something special, though we do wonder if we'd be saying that if it had a less storied cast.
Another standalone X-Men outing, The Wolverine sees Hugh Jackman don the mutton chops and knives once more as everyone's favourite mutant. Here Logan travels to Japan for a meeting with a man whose life he saved during the nuclear bomb attack on Nagasaki. This man has an offer for Logan - give up his regenerative ability to this man, and in return receive the gift of old age and death. Before he can make up his mind, however, the decision is taken out of his hands and he finds himself protecting a young woman from numerous enemies, without the ability to heal. A non-invulnerable Wolverine is an interesting premise, even if this film doesn't make as much use of it as it should have. Jackman is as watchable in the role as usual, and, while the plot may be predictable, there are numerous good action sequences and interesting character development that make this one of the better summer blockbusters.
We here all loved Nicholas Winding Refn's excellent, low-key Drive, so it was with great anticipation that we watched Only God Forgives. The death of the brother of drug smuggler Julian puts him on a collision course with sociopathic, vigilante Bangkok cop Chang. That's it, really. A lot of people die. And it's impossible to care. Gratuitously violent and populated with amoral, boring characters (though 'character' is a word we use with reticence), Only God Forgives is stylistically ugly, tedious and pointless. We are disappoint.
After finishing high school, five friends attempt, unsuccessfully, to undertake a 12-stop pub crawl in their home town. Twenty years later all of these friends have moved on with their lives, except for Gary King, the de facto leader of the group. Struggling to find purpose in his life, Gary persuades them all to return to the town and have another go at reaching the final pub, The World's End. As they begin their alcoholic pilgrimage, though, it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems in boring old Newton Haven. The last in Edgar Wright's 'Three Colours Cornetto' trilogy, The World's End is tougher to get into than either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, due to an unlikeable central character, but once you get past that initial hump it's fantastic. It's hard to rank this within the trilogy on one viewing, but it's certainly something we'd be happy to view more than once in order to make up our minds. Comfortably one of the funniest things we've seen this year, and the film we'd recommend above all others we cover in this episode.
Well, uh, hope you folks enjoyed yourselves. Catch ya further on down the trail.