Episode 84 : One Country to the Left

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Added on Sun, 07 Aug 2011 08:45:33 -0700.
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It's been a while, but we're back. I won't bother you with the reasons for the delay - all you need to know is that the full theOneliner crew are on hand once again to dispense their collective wisdom on what's worth your time and what isn't. In this episode we turn our eyes toward Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Larry Crowne, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Bridesmaids and Cell 211. Can any of them survive our withering gaze?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 starts exactly where Part 1 left off, and immediately begins to end. No time is spent explaining what has gone before, but since nobody in their right mind would be choosing this as their first entry into the franchise, that's not a problem. What is a problem is that the internal struggles our hero faces aren't well-translated from the book, nor are the magical duels, which, as in all the previous films, boil down to a bunch of people firing coloured lights at one another. It's not a bad film, and if you've seen all the rest you shouldn't be put off going to see this, but all Potter fans will surely find this something of an anti-climax.

Tom Hanks' first feature as director since 1996's That Thing You Do, Larry Crowne is a romantic comedy starring Hanks himself and Julia Roberts. After losing his job, Larry goes to university in the hope of improving his job prospects. There, he befriends a group of hipster scooter enthusiasts and begins a relationship with his teacher, played by Roberts. Breaking no new ground in the genre, this isn't the world's best comedy, but if you can suspend your cynicism it could provide a couple of hours of escapism, even if it seems more suited to the world of 15 years ago.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, or The One Where Craig Says I Told You So is the latest, and worst, installment, of the alien robot franchise. While the CGI is as impressively high quality as the previous outings, it continues to suffer from the fact that it's nigh on impossible to follow the action in fight sequences. Were that this was its only problem, however. Story was never Transformers strong suit, but this one plumbs new depths. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger disregards the backstory from the 1st movie and offers up some of the most insipid and inane dialogue I've seen for quite some time. Amongst its many other faults are director Michael Bay's continued obsession with explosions, and his equally obsessive objectification of his leading lady.

Another product of the successful Judd Apatow line, Bridesmaids follows in the footsteps of Superbad, Knocked Up et al, but puts women at the forefront for the first time. Revolving around friendships put under strain by an impending wedding, it features perfectly-pitched performances, sharp writing and great chemistry between the cast, meaning this is probably the funniest film we've seen this year.

Cell 211 arrives belatedly on our shores, having been released in its native Spain nearly 2 years ago. It is the story of new prison guard Juan, who, after being injured by an explosion, is left in Cell 211 as the cell block is taken over by rioting prisoners. To stand any chance of survival, Juan must successfully pass himself off as a newly transferred inmate, and ingratiate himself with Malamadre, the prisoners' leader. While some of the plot points stretch credulity, serving as they do the gods of narrative convenience, this is a tense, powerful drama, with strong performances and excellent (and surprising) characterisation. Almost certainly gone from UK cinemas by now, this one is definitely worth tracking down on other formats.

That's it for now. We hope to be back with you rather sooner next time.