Sunday, June 10, 2012

Reviews Round Up: Albert Nobbs, Our Idiot Brother, Chronicle

Isn't it funny how much changes with the flick of a switch? Last week, I was struggling to find movies to review because a) there weren't that many movies out and b) anything I did see didn't affect me enough to squeeze a review out. This week, I have so many that I have to resort to the good old review round up of everything that came out in the past week on DVD: Albert Nobbs, Our Idiot Brother and Chronicle. Because I feel like my fingers need to hit the keyboard for these films.


Albert Nobbs was a film that I only held interest in seeing because of all the love it got during awards season. In fact, all I knew about it was that Oscar peeps seemed to be obsessed with Glenn Close's performance (at the expense of marvellous performances from the likes of Charlize Theron and Kirsten Dunst), Janet McTeer's performance (a well-deserved nomination), and the fact that these woman dress up as men in order to overcome adversity in 19th century Ireland. Yeah, it's the kind of thing that attracts Oscar like a magnet, but aside from the performances, the film wasn't the hit that everyone thought it was going to be. To be honest, I couldn't see what was wrong with the film. Perhaps it was because I didn't have any prior expectations. It was harmless, quite thought-provoking, and somewhat touching. Okay, it did drag a bit, and I do have to admit to occasionally having to reel my mind back into the movie. To add to that, I felt as if it was needlessly sad - as if the writers kept running into brick walls so they had to kill someone off in order to keep the story going. However, this film had a lot going for it. Of course, the performances were great. I was most impressed by Janet McTeer as Hubert, and the supporting turns from Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson (he's starting to churn out some really impressive stuff) and Brendan Gleeson (with a pretty impressive beard) were all worthy. Albert Nobbs him/herself was an interesting character, too, even if I didn't quite understand why he was so naive considering everything he has been through. Perhaps the reason why I liked this film so much spawned from one particular scene: where Albert and Hubert put on dresses for the first time in ages, and walk along a beach. Albert comes to realise her true nature and runs freely, enjoying this moment. Had this scene been put in a better film, it'd be the kind that film historians would say is one of the best scenes ever. I don't know, maybe it'll grow on people a little more in the future. It has the potential.

What I got:


Our Idiot Brother is a film with a great cast - Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Steve Coogan, Rashida Jones, Kathryn Hahn, Hugh Dancy... - but it seemed to slip under the radar. Okay, so it isn't the most original comedy out there, but I absolutely adored it. That's probably because I loved the character Ned, the titular idiot brother. I'm a fairly happy and optimistic person, and I often feel like we people are represented well enough in films. I don't know whether our hardened world finds it more interesting to watch sad people being sad, or that happy people just don't interest people enough. Ned just enjoys life, even if that winds him up in jail because he sold a police officer some weed, and it's pretty fun to watch him doing that. Along with the day-to-day troubles that Ned goes through in a happy way, we delve into the lives of his sisters: the control-freak, striving for success Miranda (Banks), the independent bisexual hipster Natalie (Deschanel), and the tired, hustled mother of one Liz (Mortimer). Ned kinda stuffs everything up for them, but things go just as you'd imagine - they realise how damn cool Ned is. I personally really enjoyed the film, however, I can see that a whole lot of people would have problems with the clich├ęd nature of it. I just found it so infectious because Paul Rudd was so cute as Ned, and Ned was such a cool character. Plus, his dog, Willie Nelson, was pretty awesome. Our Idiot Brother wasn't anything ground-breaking, but it was pretty darn easy to watch, which is something that I can't seem to get enough of these days.

What I got:

Chronicle was a film that I was alerted to right at the beginning of the year, and honestly thought that it was gonna be another run-of-the-mill teen action movie, a la The Covenant. Then it started to get good reviews. However, the found footage aspect kept me away from the cinemas (along with money and transportation issues, of course), so I just waited for the DVD with a little more excitement than I had previously anticipated. The days when I thought this movie was going to be really shitty are a distant memory - this film is anything but. First of all, the found footage aspect is kinda effective. It's none of that Paranormal Activity crap where you have to watch 80 minutes of a house being a house and then get two seconds of the promised paranormal happenings. In fact, I'm not entirely sure why they chose to make it 'found footage', but it sure does add something to it. The film starts out as a project for Andrew (Dane DeHaan) to document his life - which includes abuse from his father and his school-mates - but then it turns out that he documents his newly acquired superpowers that he and his new friends Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) have as well. I think the reason this film works so well is because of the way the characters are padded out. They all start out as stereotypes of the typical high school movie: the bullied, the popular hottie, the aspirational leader; however, once they get given superpowers, you start to see what these people are really capable of. Dane DeHaan was by far and beyond the best thing about this movie, playing the disturbed Andrew to the point of complete an utter madness. Whatever this actor does next (I believe he has a supporting role in Lawless), I'll be there with bells on. This is a movie that is for young people, made by young people, and doesn't fall into the hard-to-get-right world of the zeitgeist. Yes, it is timely (with the technology and whatnot), but I feel like the message is timeless. Really good stuff.

What I got:







What do you think of these films? Any love for found footage movies? Are happy characters interesting to you? Was Brendan Gleeson's beard impressive in Albert Nobbs or what?

14 comments:

  1. Hmmmm, interesting that they all were rather good and I want to see the three sometime. I envy you that you watched movies, because I have seen none this week. I hope to remedy this situation soon.

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    1. Ha, it was thanks to study leave that I was able to watch all of these movies. Had there been normal school I wouldn't have been able to because I had to go out on Tuesday and Wednesday nights! Anyway, they're all very good.

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  2. 1, 2, 3 all agree (except I think I like Albert Nobbs a bit more than you). Glad you enjoyed it though!
    Paul Rudd was adorable in Our Idiot Brother! :D That film was such a pleasant surprise!

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    1. I'm glad that there was someone else who enjoyed Albert Nobbs, too. Not sure why it got all the hate!
      Paull Rudd was so awesome in Our Idiot Brother. Really enjoyed that film.

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  3. I haven't watch Albert Nobbs, but I liked Chronicle and loved Our Idiot Brother. I think OIB was one of the underestimated movie from 2011 (probably because of the title?), it's a shame!

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    1. Our Idiot Brother was so underrated. Not sure why, but oh well.

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  4. I really did not like Albert Nobbs. It was so depressing, which was something I did not expect from the film at all.

    I loved Chronicle. No one can be as stupid and as creative as a bunch of teenage boys. DeHaan will be in the Radcliffe-Ginsberg movie. Yaaaay!! He's like a little, uglier version of Leo.

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    1. I didn't know what to expect from it, so I guess that helped xD

      Oh yes, I heard that. And he totally is like a little, uglier version of Leo! I'm liking him!

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  5. Glad you liked all those movies. Not really interested in seeing Albert Nobbs despite Glenn Close's Oscar nod but I definitely want to check out Chronicle which got surprisingly positive word-of-mouth when it came out.

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    1. Chronicle is really good - I hope you enjoy it!

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  6. Haven't seen Albert Nobbs yet. I liked Idiot Brother (Rudd being the best thing about it), but loved Chronicle. Easily one of my favorites of the year so far.

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    1. Yeah, it's one of my favourites of the year too (but I've seen like, five 2012 flicks).

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  7. Re: Our Idiot Brother. I freaking loved this film. So much so that I put it in my top 10 of last year (mind you I did miss seeing most of the oscar contenders last year, oops). It just makes me feel so chirpy (which is rare) and I have some mad kind of man-crush on Paul Rudd (he's like early-days Owen Wilson). I saw it on a plane and I had to bite my hand to stop laughing out loud. I had the biggest grin on my face for nearly the whole film.
    Have not seen the others. Will probably see Chronicle ahead of Mr Nobbs though.
    Thanks for a very productive few days of blogging on your part. Love reading your stuff.

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    1. It is pretty awesome, right? It was just a really lovely movie.

      And thank you for reading my stuff :)

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

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