Lots of hits this month. Most of the films have been freebies, seen at the preview event or I was given a free ticket.
1. Percy Jackson & The Sea of Monsters - MAYBE
This is only a 'maybe' because I know people aren't a fan of the demi-gods and their camp. I love this series, I was so happy when a sequel appeared out of nowhere! I suppose its a guilty pleasure. The story sort of picks up from the last adventure with the lightening thief. Percy is at camp with the others but he's not the best warrior unlike Clarice, daughter of Ares. When the camp is attacked and the protective barrier around the camp is broken, Clarice, not Percy is sent out on a mission to find the Golden Fleece that will protect them or something. But of course this Percy Jackson, he goes on his own quest with his friends and he new half cyclops brother. There are a few things wrong with the film such as the actual sea of monsters only has one monster, the Kraken. But otherwise its FUN! And I like silly fun and greek mythology.
2. The Lone Ranger - HIT
Why this didn't do well in US? Well, it is very long for a Disney film and was more about Tonto than the actual Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp who plays Tonto, the native american indian who was originally the sidekick, said he made Tonto more of a warrior. In other words, he wanted the main part but not the conventional one. That aside, the film was great. The 'origin' of the Lone Ranger and fantastic epic adventure action packed train riding, horse jumping, gun shooting, spirit walking tale set in the Wild West. Great fun.
3. Only God Forgives - HIT
Violence can be cinematic and amazing as well as down right grim as proved by the slow and steady #OnlyGodForgives . I am very glad I read about this film before. Knowing it was mostly dreams that the main character is seeing made a lot more sense. I really like Nicholas Winding Refn's work, especially Drive and this film, although a hell of a lot different to Only God Forgives, the styles are similar. There are definitely some screensaver shots in the film. The story is about revenge and in a way, justice. The 'angel of vengence' a policeman who exacts justice but cutting off limbs seems harsh but the character is so in control he doesn't even flinch. There is one scene I had to look away from, a torture scene. Very grim. Apart from that I was glued to the screen. It is an abstract art film so if you just want to Ryan Gosling for no reason then rent The Notebook but if you like his acting, watch this film.
4. Pain & Gain - HIT
Everyone was laughing at this film, just because it looked ridiculous and it was a Michael Bay film. I can confirm it is ridiculous but it is just so brilliant, it had to be a 'hit'. I could not stop laughing. I wasn't sure if I was meant to or not but myself and the rest of the audience were laughing. Based on a true story about 3 bodybuilders who kidnap an awful rich guy in Miami, 1995 and steal his money. The film is crazy, half the things that happen you wouldn't believe but just in case that happens, there are moments when titles come up to tell you 'this actually happened'.
5. Planes - MISS
Terrible film. OK, that was harsh. It is better than Cars/Cars 2 but its still terrible. I never like the 'cars universe' to me the concept just doesn't work. I know these films were made 'for the boys' but surely there are better things to make than this unoriginal film? There is thinly veiled dig at other countries and how they are 'of course inferior to American'. India is a liar, Mexico is stupid, Canada is a man-eater and UK is stuck up and weak. Some of the plains are so stereotypical I wanted to vomit. The story is basic, small crop duster wants to race in a famous race around the world. The 3D hurt my eyes too. Not great but slightly better than cars. Expect Pixar o bring out BOATS in 2015.
6. Up On Poppy Hill - HIT
I think this is a winning combination. Hayao Miyazaki scripted the film and his son, Goro Miyazaki directed, his second feature. It is such a delightful story about a girl who raises signal flags each day in memory of her father. She meets a boy who run the school newspaper, they share a bond and together try to save the school's clubhouse from being demolished. Set in the 60s, it makes a great period piece and as always, the artwork is amazing.
7. Ain't Them Bodies Saints - HIT
It's a beautiful film. The pace is slow but it worth the wait. Written and directed by David Lowery, the story is about a passionate young couple, Ruth and Bob, who went on a crime spree. In a shoot out with the local officers, Ruth shoots an officer but Bob takes the fall and goes to prison. A few years later, Ruth has raised their young daughter and lives quietly. Bob breaks out of prison to be with his family. It is a very sombre film, despite the description it isn't a loud action packed affair, it is slow and quiet and there are too many beautiful shots to count in this film.