Ups and Downs | The Velvet Café

allornothingMy film watching recently has been a bit of a roller coaster experience – varying crazily up and down, from the excellent to abyssmal back to gorgeous to mediocre. I suppose that’s one of those things that make me never grow tired of going to the theatres. If one fails you, there’s always the next one, and as the production company signature tunes in, I’m once again filled with hope and expectations. All the disappointments are forgotten and forgiven.

After the recent X-men disappointment I decided to see the Mike Leigh movie All or nothing.

I realized after a little while that I’d seen it before on the screen (my memory is like a sift, that’s one of the reason for me to blog about movies, I think it might help it to stick better.)

 However the movie definitely held for a second view. Leigh doesn’t present a sugarcoated world. It’s just as grey and dull and painful as life can be. This is not a movie you see to escape the harshness of it; it rather enhances it and you find yourself asking those dreadful questions: “what’s the point of all of it, anyway?”

It would have been almost unbearable if he didn’t provide a few glimpses of hope. And of course I couldn’t resist crying, I knew he was pushing the button and that I responded to it and yet it was so liberating.

The acting was fantastic, as I’ve seen in other Leigh movies. You keep forgetting that those people actually are actors, that they don’t exist for real, because it’s got such an authentic feeling that it’s rather a documentary.

All or Nothing (Leigh, UK, 2002) My rating: 5/5

The following day I had promised to stay away from since one of my daughters wanted have the house to herself for a dinner with some friends. Unfortunately the movie options are very limited this time of the year, so I ended up seeing Thor, which I suspected would feel rather thin after seeing All or Nothing, and unfortunately it turned out I was right.

I’ve liked some of the work Branagh has done before, so somewhere I nourished a hope that he might save it from silliness, even though he hadn’t written the script himself. And sure, there were parts in it that were OK, such as the relationship between Loke and his father that reminded me of some Shakespearian drama. But this didn’t compensate for the predictability of the movie as a whole, where I sometimes knew what the next line would be before it was even uttered.

What also surprised me was that the special effects didn’t have a higher quality. It would have been an OK standard for an episode of a TV-series such as Star Trek, but from a major release like this I would have expected a lot more. The storytelling was definitely better than in X-men, but it still felt too childish and simplistic to really engage.

It definitely didn’t help to go and see it alone. I suspect I would have been far more enthusiastic if I had seen it with a 11 year old child in my company.

Thor (Branagh, US, 2011) My rating:  2,5/5

I wonder where the rollercoaster will take me next.

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