Cinema Review Roundup–Annoying Kids and Amazing OAPs

This week I saw the surprise Oscar best picture nominee Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and the latest from one time Oscar winning Director John Madden, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. One starred a 12 year old newcomer, the other starred seven over 60 year old acting greats.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

I had heard nothing but negativity about this film in the run-up to seeing it. One reviewer that I greatly respect said that they found it irritating to sit through. This did not fill me with a sense of anticipation!

Our lead through this story is 12 year old Oskar Schell who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome as he copes with the death of his father (played by Tom Hanks) at 9/11. Oskar believes his father has left him a message but he has to solve a puzzle to find it. The only clue he has is a key and a name: “Black”. While Oskar wanders around New York meeting lots of different people his mother (Sandra Bullock) mourns at home and the mute lodger of his grandmother (Max Von Sydow) sometimes accompanies him.

For 90 minutes I was almost in physical pain watching this film. If you are going to focus a movie on a single character, don’t make him an incredibly annoying child who drives you insane! Even the scenes with  Sydow couldn’t counter the entertainment vacuum that Oskar’s character is.

So, when the film is drawing to a close and the likes of Jeffrey Wright and Sandra Bullock take over some scenes I found myself getting drawn in and even shed a tear! As I was leaving I was asking myself why I felt like I’d half enjoyed myself? It then dawned on me. The majority of the film had been so excruciatingly bad that the moments of half decent cinema had a magnified effect. It was poor, barely watchable but still better than War Horse.

An infuriating 4/10


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I read a lot of movie blogs and see a lot of trailers online so it was with great surprise when I saw the trailer for this film back in January at the cinema and had no idea it was coming or what it was about. However, as soon as I saw the cast list I knew I had to see it: Judy Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie and even Dev Patel.

Seven people at retirement age decide to go stay at a hotel in India for a variety of reasons, some more willingly than others. When they get there they each go on their own character arcs that are funny, emotional, gripping and thoroughly entertaining.

It is a testament to the acting talent in this and the careful balancing act from director John Madden that not a single person shines more than the rest and each is given almost equal screen time. I loved every character on show and that is a very impressive achievement.

This is no masterpiece and it won’t be the right film for everyone but for those who can enjoy a simple, enjoyable and funny ensemble film they won’t be disappointed.

A charming 7/10

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