Monday, November 7, 2011

Reviews Round Up: The Tempest, The Trip, Trollhunter

I kinda stopped doing these 'reviews round ups' when I stopped reviewing every film I saw, but since I have run out on inspiration and movies that I can actually give a full review, here are my quick takes on The Tempest, The Trip and Trollhunter. A diverse range of movies, indeed.

The Tempest

Admittedly, I am quite the fan of Shakespeare. I am familiar with the large majority of his plays (I was quite the Shakespeare nerd when I was 13 years old). But one play I'm not quite familiar with is The Tempest, which I guess wasn't the best thing when I was watching this new version from Julie Taymor (Across the Universe). With her new vision on the story, she decided to change the lead character, Prospera, into a woman, with the great Dame Helen Mirren taking on the role. Now, many people love Mirren and would watch her do anything...but would anyone really watch, and love, The Tempest? This film is bizarre. And surprisingly, that has little to do with the already bizarre source material from Shakespeare. The film is bizarrely stagey. This is actually quite jarring because one minute, we have wondrous special effects that work particularly well in conveying the character of Ariel (Ben Whishaw), which feel right in the film. We also have an exquisite location that looks pretty damn unreal - also, a good thing to have in a film. But the way this film is shot and directed is so bizarrely stagey. Just the way the actors move around, and the camera doesn't make any effort to liven up the just follows the actors, or it just sits there for extended amounts of time. Which is surprisingly extremely annoying, and definitely lets down the rest of the film. The acting is okay - pretty stagey - but okay. We all love Mirren, and she's pretty good. Felicity Jones is lovely, but this isn't really her film. I actually quite enjoyed watching Russell Brand and Alfred Molina play Trinculo and Stephano...they were rather entertaining. Djimon Honsou was pretty good, too, and his (Oscar-nominated) make-up was quite impressive. Otherwise, do yourself a favour and see this on the stage. If you can get to the Ralph Fiennes version that's going on at the moment, then that would be cool. This film version is just plain exasperating.

What I got:

The Trip

The opening movie at the New Zealand Film Festival made it's way into the preview drawer thanks to Madman. The Trip is a fabulous comedy starring both Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, who are essentially playing themselves - but maybe they are fictional versions of themselves. I don't quite know what I was expecting from The Trip, as I only knew it had a little to do with the culinary adventures of Coogan and Brydon and it was directed by Michael Winterbottom, whose last film, The Killer Inside Me, was not one that I particularly liked. The Trip had surprisingly very little to do with the culinary adventures of the two. Yes, the basis of their week-long trip was to have Coogan go to several different restaurants to write about their food, with Brydon being his tag along. But what we get from their trip is a collection of conversations between the two and quite an insightful look into their lives that feels real. They talk and talk, Coogan often becoming impatient around Brydon, but they also worry about themselves as they're heading for mid-life crises...maybe Coogan is more upfront about it all. However, while The Trip is not the most engrossing film, it has some extremely funny moments, which are mainly the two impersonating several movie characters/actors (James Bond being one of them). The funniest moment is near the very beginning, where the two compare their Michael Caine impersonations. The duelling Michael Caine's is definitely one of the funniest things to hit the screens all year, and is worth the price of the ticket, or the rental, alone. That, and a pretty interesting and unflattering look at fame.

What I got:


Dannevirke is a largely Scandinavian town, as back in the day when this place was a huge bush the Scandinavian settlers came here and made their village which turned into the place where I live today. About 10-20 minutes away from here, there is a town called Norsewood, which is a cute little town where a few of my friends live, and it is particularly proud about one thing: trolls. There used to be fake trolls everywhere, until people stole them because that's apparently what you do in Norsewood. So as a kid growing up in such a Scandinavian place with Norsewood being a prime spot for many class trips, I acquired quite the knowledge about the fictional creatures that are trolls. TrollHunter is a Norwegian film abotu trolls, which joins the ever-growing list of 'found footage' horrors which is both quite effective and too most of it's kind. As a group of young 'uns try to make a documentary about some mysterious bear killings, they discover that trolls are indeed very real and they're out to get everyone that comes into their isolated area in Norway. It's all pretty exciting stuff, as the origins and the world of the trolls is explained in quite a bit of detail that I'm actually starting to wonder if maybe there are trolls in Norsewood and somebody is not telling us about them. However, like most of these 'found footage' horrors, it's clunky and far too long for it's own good. Yet, I think it's more effective than those bloody Paranormal Activity movies, in a weird, folklore sort of way.

What I got:

So, have you seen any of these movies? What did you think?


  1. Despite the fact I do not like Michael Winterbottom at all, I definitely plan to check out THE TRIP. The other two, not so much.

  2. I don't think I knew Julie Taymor did this version of The Tempest. I was a big fan of her Titus about a decade ago, though that's probably at least partly because of my inexplicable fondness for that play. I might check this Tempest out, although I can't see the point of making Prospero female either.

  3. I was more charmed by Trollhunter than you were - and actually a bit surprised that the troll were technically as good as they were.
    People complain about found footage movies and I can see it might get old if you've seen enough of them. But lucky for me I haven't. So I had a blast watching it.

  4. I have no intention of seeing The Tempest, but I liked the other two. The Troll Hunter was fun, and quite intense and I thought the trolls looked great - especially in the eye-opening final sequences. The Trip, for me, is the funniest film of 2011. It's my sort of humour.

  5. I've always been a big fan of Rob Brydon. If you like him, I'd recommend a TV series called MARION & GEOFF in which he plays Keith, a taxi driver who's still infatuated with his ex-wife. It's basically a mockumentary and made out to be filmed through a DVR recorder on the taxi cab's dashboard. It's utterly fantastic.

  6. I do not know about the Tempest, it seems kind of "meh" to me. But the Trip and the Troll Hunter look very interesting! Nice work Stevee!

  7. Tyler - I think you'd like The Trip. It is pretty darn funny.

    James - I love Titus Andronicus! (the play, haven't seen the movie) But there wasn't really a point to her was a bit weird.

    Jessica - I really liked TrollHunter, and the trolls did look pretty good. I don't know why I don't really like found footage movies though...they just all seem the same to me.

    Andy - Don't bother with The Tempest. Glad you liked the other two, though. The Trip had my kind of humour, too!

    Leith - Whoa, I might have to check that one out! Thanks for the recommendation!

    pturner1010 - As you should be!

    Matt - It definitely is very meh. But check the other two out!

  8. Taymor, I have decided is just bizarre, I always felt she completely slept through lit class on The Tempest, since turning Prospero into a woman ignores all the issues of gender the play deals with.

    But, yay Helen Mirren (and Ben Whishaw). If I even see it, it'll be for those two.

  9. If you do see it, then it will be for Mirren and Whishaw. They're both pretty good in the film.
    Otherwise, it's just bizarre!


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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