Name: Home Alone: The Holiday Heist
Running Time (minutes): 87
Description: Finn Baxter and his family move from California to Maine to their new house. Finn is terrified and believes the house is haunted. While he sets up traps to catch the ‘ghost’, his parents get stranded across town and Finn is home alone with his sister. Their house is targeted by 3 thieves.
Stars: Christian Martyn, Eddie Steeples, Jodelle Ferland
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Family
I only started to like this after 30 minutes, when the kids were home alone, though I loved Ellie Harvie’s character and performance, but Finn is an annoying, stupid dude and as usual, I didn’t like the ‘lessons’ and ‘messages’ of this film, especially when Ellie Harvie recited one. The lead burglar had a strange British accent, though he was entertaining enough (why do villains always speak British in American films?) The female burglar was a nice and unexpected addition as well. Oh, and the little boy next door sounded like a girl and was weird. Plus, as in the original movie, the traps are really unrealistic, but that only bothered me now. Overall, I had a good laugh. Is it normal for random movie clips to be repeated during the credits?
The kiddo who composed the score wisely didn’t use Williams’ themes. It has some good ‘magical’ Christmas music with celesta and choir, but honestly, if you really have to use bad sample libraries, don’t use strings, they reveal the fact that you’re using a computer straightaway. The burglar music did sound an awful lot like Williams’ material and playing Jingle Bels over a comical scene really works. Even sampled Christmas carols sound good, by the way.
The audio-describer had a rather cute voice and I really liked phrases like ‘scene changes to’.
Name: The Amazing Spider-Man
Running Time (minutes): 136
Description: Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy, and together, they struggle with love, commitment and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents’ disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr Curt Connors, his father’s former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors’ alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
Stars: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Decided to give this a go after totally giving up on the terrible Toby Maguire movies.
Now THIS one was good! No Spider-Man whispering in that tortured voice Toby just can’t seem to drop. Garfield is so much better. Uncle Ben is superior and the villain is credible this time (no more stupid, childish hideous laughing)…
And Horner’s score is absolutely magical. Still wasn’t moved sufficiently when Ben died, but my goodness, this is so much better than Elfman’s perennial, comical, undramatic, annoymous, chaotic crap! What an awesome superhero theme! And the romantic side of the score is equally gripping. A little underplayed, perhaps, but still fifty times better than the feeble attempt Hans Zimmer makes at romance in the sequel, or the attempt Danny Elfman made that I totally forgot.
Name: Parental Guidance
Running Time (minutes): 105
Description: Old school grandfather Artie, who is accustomed to calling the shots, meets his match when he and his eager-to-please wife Diane agree to babysit their three grandkids when their type-A helicopter parents go away for work. But when 21st century problems collide with Artie and Diane’s old school methods of tough rules, lots of love and old-fashioned games, it’s learning to bend – and not holding your ground – that binds a family together.
Stars: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei
Bette Midler overacts, kids are annoying.
Name: The Sessions
Running Time (minutes): 95
Description: At the age of 38, Mark O’Brien, a man who uses an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and his priest, he contacts Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex surrogate and a typical soccer mum with a house, a mortgage and a husband. Inspired by a true story, The Sessions follows the fascinating relationship which evolves between Cheryl and Mark as she takes him on his journey to manhood.
Stars: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy
Genres: Biography, Comedy, Drama
I dunno… My first thought was: God, John Hawkes has a stupid voice, but in the end, I managed to appreciate it. When Cheryl and Mark started to love each other, I feared it would turn into a dramatic finale in which Cheryl tragically ditches her husband and chooses to live with Mark, but that didn’t happen. Didn’t like how Helen Hunt kept mechanically dictating stuff into her recorded, did like Rhea Perlman’s thirty seconds of screen time. The ending was all right, I suppose, but I wasn’t really moved by the whole thing, not least because of Marco Beltrami’s unbelievably dull score.
Name: Shadow Dancer
Running Time (minutes): 101
Description: Set in 1990s Belfast, an active member of the IRA becomes an informant for MI5 in order to protect her son’s welfare.
Stars: Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson
Genres: Drama, Thriller
It’s a good story, but the way it was told just isn’t my thing. Hardly any music, let alone Irish music, a barely functional score, doom and gloom etc. Didn’t understand the ending either and it was really weird that the protagonist suddenly started kissing the undercover agent for no apparent reason. Also surprised how any IRA member could decide to turn against the IRA in two minutes.