WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
Dir: Lynne Ramsay - Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C Reilly, Ezra Miller
Opinions were divided by both this film and the novel by Lionel Shriver that it is based on. It’s a tricky subject – the love that a mother should give a son – and though I haven’t read the book, I thought the film was absolutely brilliant.
The problem for Tilda Swinton’s embattled mother is that the son in question, the eponymous Kevin, is a Bad Seed. He’s horrible, almost from the word go. Many saw the film as an exploration of Kevin: is he or isn’t he a little monster? That’s not the story. He is indeed a little creep. The film is about what a mother can do about that, though any answers on display do not inspire confidence.
Swinton is simply stunning and should have won the Oscar. It’s her greatest in a career of great performances. John C Reilly’s husband is ineffectual and irritating, but this is a film through her eyes and it’s hard to tell how realistic his portrayal is meant to be. At all ages Kevin is alarming, but the older Miller is particularly effective. The dialogue is sparse and telling; the use of time shifts and colour is sensational.
Stunning stuff, not to be missed.
For those who’ve lost the plot four films into the Underworld franchise, Underworld Awakening starts with a recap. Not that it matters. This time round humans have noticed – finally! – that there are werewolves (sorry series fans – lycans) and vampires all over the place and have purged them. Vampire heroine Selina wakes in a sinister lab, dons her bondage gear, escapes and goes on the run, killing a lot of people. Pretty much everyone she meets in fact. And some new “super” lycans for variety. Most importantly for fans is the vital question: does Kate Beckinsale still look good in tight black leather? You betcha.
The thought of a new comedy where Adam Sandler plays not only Adam Sandler (as in all his other movies) but also his unrefined twin sister was enough to pretty much sap my will to live. Jack and Jill is all you expect. It has a fart gag in the title sequence, slapstick gags, angry gags, cameos from his mates and a schmaltzy ending. After previously landing Jack Nicholson, here the big name is Al Pacino, playing himself. He’s fun. But Jill – on an extended stay with Jack’s cute family – is unbearable. Which is kinda the point, but no less irritating for it.
After the death of her father, Rose McGowan’s radio shrink returns to her suburban childhood home. But Rosewood Lane ain’t what it used to be, for the neighbourhood is terrorised by an evil paperboy. Seriously. But writer/director Victor Salva, who previously made the surprisingly effective Jeepers Creepers, has a real feel for how the everyday can be made threatening and imbues the film with a real sense of menace. And – bike ‘n’ all – the paperboy is pretty damn creepy. Did he kill dad? Is she going crazy? The overwrought performances add to the subtle sense of disorientation, making for a fun, if fairly silly romp.
I can imagine the pitch: “It’s like Jaws, but on land!”. “Great!” says the exec, “What are you using instead of the giant shark?”. “Here’s the brilliant bit,” say the budding filmmakers, “It’s still a shark!”. Thus perhaps was Sand Sharks born. Is it any good? Of course not. But is it fun? Nope. It’s less fun than Shark Night 3D and that wasn’t much fun at all. I haven’t yet seen its sequel Shark Night 3DD but at least it has a novel title. All you can do here is marvel at the incompetence of the ‘special’ effects. So bad it’s good? Sadly, no. There’s a long way to go to match the likes of Sharktopus.