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A theOneliner podcast at two-thirds strength is still considerably better than no theOneliner podcast at all. We may be one member down, but we soldier on because... well because we love you, that's why. And to demonstrate our love we will furnish you with our opinions on About Time, Rush, Prisoners, Machete Kills, Blue Jasmine, Stoker, Girl Most Likely and Filth.
About Time, then. A Richard Curtis 'comedy' with an added time-travel conceit. Hmmmm. When he reaches 21, Tim finds out that the men in his family can travel back in time. Through wardrobes. Again, hmmmm. While he can use this to affect earlier versions of himself and his relationships, this ability is so sparingly used in the film you might wonder why they bothered. In keeping with the traditions of Curtis the schmaltz comes in industrial quantities, but not in keeping with those traditions it's actually reasonably funny, with likeable characters and believable relationships. We didn't detest it. Make of that what you will.
One of the most famous rivalries in motorsport was that between Niki Lauda and James Hunt in Formula 1 in the 1970s. Hunt's 'drive by the seat of your pants' style was in direct contrast to Lauda's calculated and technical one, and their rivalry was fierce, but with mutual respect. Ron Howard's Rush depicts this rivalry, from their first meeting in Formula 3, through Lauda's infamous crash at the Nürburgring and to the climax of the 1976 season. While suffering slightly from a lack of sensation of time passing, this is one of the most successful sporting biopics we've seen. Fine action sequences are coupled with great performances from Daniel Brühl and Chris Hemsworth as Lauda and Hunt, and are underpinned by a script that creates rounded characters, and refuses to paint either driver as the villain. It's also pleasantly free of Howard's sentimental weaknesses and comes highly recommended, even for those who dislike F1.
After two young girls go missing at Thanksgiving, suspicion falls on Alex Jones, a man of low IQ who may just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police can find no evidence to implicate him, but the father of one of the girls, Keller Dover, is unwilling to accept this, and takes matters into his own hands, attempting to torture information from Jones. Prisoners focuses on Dover's refusal to give up on finding his daughter, and the stresses it puts on him and his relationships with his wife and his friends. While it's probably too long, this is an excellent character piece, with uniformly great perfomances from a cast including Paul Dano, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello and more.
Based on a fake trailer seen before the Rodriguez/Tarantino Grindhouse experiment, 2010's Machete was a silly but surprisingly entertaining piece of popcorn fodder. Three years later, Danny Trejo's knife-wielding ex-Federale returns in Machete Kills, which keeps most of the ingredients of the first film - stunt casting, over the top violence, ludicrous plot - but, crucially, is missing the most important one: fun. The plot would put a bad Bond knock-off to shame, with its nuclear missile-wielding psychopath, and its evil agent psychopath, and even its "let's wipe out humanity and live in space" psychopath, but that's not necessarily a barrier to enjoyment. It starts off promisingly enough - the first 20-25 minutes contains the mixture of gore, OTT violence and humour that worked so well first time around. But after this there's a huge slump which Machete Kills never recovers from, and boredom becomes the most descriptive word.
Left destitute after her husband is imprisoned for trying to emulate Bernie Madoff, New York socialite Jasmine moves to San Francisco to try and get back on her feet. She is plagued by mood swings, broken relationships and an over-fondness for alcohol, none of which is aided by her difficulty in accepting her new status. Blue Jasmine has, as is obligatory, been described as a return to form for Woody Allen. Whatever that means (hint: not a lot), it's certainly one of his more successful dramas for quite some time. Cate Blanchett gives a good performance in the lead role, but it is (intentionally) a deeply unlikeable, if interesting, character. Not as successful as his comedy work, it's worth a watch for Allen fans. And, on the upside, it's not Cassandra's Dream.
Korean luminary Park Chan-wook's first English language film, Stoker, follows 18 year old India's life in the weeks following her father's death in a car crash. A hitherto unknown relative, Uncle Charlie, turns up at the funeral and begins to insinuate himself into the lives of India and her mother, and an air of mystery and tension grips the household. Largely eschewing a compelling plot in favour of creating tone, there's undeniably an overwhelming, creepy atmosphere to Stoker, and it's beautifully and carefully composed, but it's really all to little avail as it's just too dull and slow. While Matthew Goode's Uncle Charlie is creepy but charismatic, Mia Wasikowska's India is too constrained a character, and Nicole Kidman as her mother may as well not be there. A great disappointment.
Girl Most Likely sees unproductive New York playwright Imogene become homeless and have to move back in with her mother after breaking up with her fiancée. As she tries to get her life back together she comes to realise the importance of family and friends over material things. There's nothing here you haven't seen before, but, like Identity Thief, it relies on likeable leads to make up for deficiencies in an otherwise ordinary script.
We've seen a lot of James McAvoy on screen this year, and he returns, with the real Eddie Marsan in tow this time, for comfortably his best peformance of 2013, in Jon Baird's adaptation of Irvine Welsh's Filth. McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a corrupt cop who, when he isn't sleeping with his colleagues' wives, is actively trying to undermine their promotion chances. That, of course, is when he isn't taking part in more illegal activities than the people he's employed to catch. Robertson is a deeply unpleasant character, but, oddly, this is both the point and the main source of pleasure to be derived from Filth. An on-form and highly charismatic McAvoy is an absolutely joy to watch, the actor clearly revelling in the debauchery and downward spiral of Sgt. Robertson, and he's given superb support from the likes of John Sessions and Eddie Marsan. Rude, crude, inappropriate, filthy and offensive, Filth is comfortably one of the most entertaining films we've seen this year. Get it watched.
Right, that's yer lot. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. If you have any feedback, please email us, email@example.com, or tweet us @theoneliner. We welcome your thoughts.