Under The Skin

Name: Under The Skin
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 108
Description: A female alien comes to Scotland to replace a deceased alien. She drives a van through the roads and streets, seducing lonely men to process their bodies. Soon the emotionless alien sees her human form in a mirror and she experiences the human emotions and feelings, coming to a tragic discovery.
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay
Genres: Drama, Sci-fi, Thriller

Quite good. I never really like ambiguous and unclear stories, but regret that this one didn’t last at least 30 minutes longer: the main character is so intrigueing, especially in the second half, that more screentime would only have made it more thrilling.

It’s been a long time since I’ve heard such an original score. It won’t make for nice listening, but creativity is so rare tin film music these days that I’m already on top of the world if a score isn’t in D minor. I have no idea whether the audio-described track is to blame for this, but the dialogue was really too soft and even unclear at times. I realise that the conversations are utterly unimportant in this film, but if you want to convey the message that they’re irrelevant, just take them out, don’t let them drown in the score and/or sound effects.

The audio description showcased yet again the advantages of good old British audio narration. The describer never failed to come up with synonyms for the heroine: mysterious female, temptress, seductress… Are you reading this, Americans?


The Wolf Of Wall Street

Name: The Wolf Of Wall Street
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 180
Description: In The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio plays Belfort, a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden.
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
Genres: Biography, Comedy, Crime

I loved this fucking goddamn movie. Bloody freaking amazing, though I’d have preferred it to end with the scene where the schnook considers leaving the company. The current cocksucking ending is motherfucking anti-climactic.

Oz The Great And Powerful

Name: Oz The Great And Powerful
Year: 2013
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 130
Description: Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot – fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches.
Stars: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

James Franco was good as Oscar Digs. Mila Kunis as Theodora was truly terrible. She overacted her part so much it made me cringe. Michelle Williams could have been so much more if the script had allowed her to be interesting. Funny supporting cast too.

The score was interesting and had some excellent (romantic) cues, but I felt that Elfman was focusing too much on the ‘oh my God, what a strange world!’ aspect, as he literally always does.


Name: Elysium
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 109
Description: In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine, man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt, a government official, will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. When unlucky Max is backed into a corner, he agrees to take on a daunting mission that, if successful, will not only save his life, but could bring equality to these polarised worlds.
Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Not bad… But the ending is totally ridiculous. As if they couldn’t get Max to that medbay… And I hate Jodie Foster. Is Silence of the Lambs the only film where she doesn’t play a bitch?

Interesting score though, a blend of Patrick Doyle, Hans Zimmer/Remote Control Productions and… something else.

Now You See Me

Name: Now You See Me
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 115
Description: Four magicians each answer a mysterious summons to an obscure address with secrets inside. A year later, they are the Four Horsemen, big time stage illusionists who climax their sold-out Las Vegas show with a bank apparently robbed for real. This puts agents Dylan Rhodes of the FBI and Alma Vargas of Interpol on the case to find out how they did it. However, the mystery proves difficult to solve, even with the insights of the professional illusion exposer, Thaddeus Bradley. What follows is a bizarre investigation where nothing is what it seems, with illusions, dark secrets and hidden agendas galore as all involved are reminded of a great truth in this puzzle: the closer you look, the less you see.
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Great, except for the ‘The Eye’ part.

The score was unremarkable.

Man Of Steel

Name: Man Of Steel
Year: 2013
Rating: PG-13
Running Time (minutes): 143
Description: A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Why do I even have the end credits playing as I’m writing this? The movie is rather boring and has severe pacing issues. Glad that stupid battle is finally over.

And the score… So are these two notes meant to replace the John Williams fanfare? Really? This is pathetic. Never heard such uninspiring and counterintuitive music for flying sequences either. And where is the romance? There are some good moments, but overall, it’s a total disaster. I’m so tired of that sound! Always the same stupid string ostinatos, French horns and thumping basses. If Zimmer’s scores were half as interesting as his interviews, the world of film music would be a better place. And if he stopped writing these scores altogether, the world of film music would be a paradise.


Name: Stoker
Year: 2013
Rating: R
Running Time (minutes): 99
Description: India Stoker was not prepared to lose her father and best friend Richard in a tragic auto accident. The solitude of her woodsy family estate, the peace of her tranquil town and the unspoken somberness of her home life are suddenly upended by not only this mysterious accident, but by the sudden arrival of her Uncle Charlie, whom she never knew existed. When Charlie moves in with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evie, India thinks the void left by her father’s death is finally being filled by his closest bloodline. Soon after his arrival, India comes to suspect that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives. Yet instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless young woman becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode
Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

I liked the first half of the story, even though it quickly dawned on me where this was going to go. The second half was absurd.

The score is unmemorable.

The best thing about this film was its audio description. It’s always great when narrators focus on camera viewpoints, reflections etc. And this one was even British, which made the approach all the more unique.

About Time

Name: About Time
Year: 2013
Rating: PG
Running Time (minutes): 123
Description: The story of a man with time travelling abilities who tries to use this to gain a girlfriend, but it is not as easy as it looks. Time is not that easy to control!
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance

The first half was all right and there were good jokes throughout the film, but now I’m just discovering one problem after the other in this movie. If you want to make a story about time travel, shouldn’t your time travel theories be clear-cut? First, we’re told that only the men in this family can travel through time. Later, the main character travels in time with his sister. Second, we’re told that they can’t travel (back) to the future, so why do they do it repeatedly afterwards? Third, we’re told that you can’t change events that take place before the birth of a child because changing things in the past might lead to a different child. Later, the son uses this rule to stop visiting his dad in the past when his wife is expecting their third child, but this doesn’t make any sense at all: if they don’t change anything during those extra visits, all the children will be fine. Oh, but I’m forgetting, we can’t do without all the hugs and drama that result from those decisions… I didn’t like the main character and actor either, got bored with his mother who was literally being sarcastic all the time, no matter what, but did like Lydia Wilson and of course Tom Hollander.

The score is all right, but nothing special.