Room on the Broom (2012) January 22, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Comedy, Fantasy, 5 stars, adaptations, Short, 2010s, 2012 , 1 comment so far
An adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s children’s book, shown on BBC One this Christmas. I thought it was charming and fun.
#62a: Dirty Laundry (2012) January 13, 2013Posted by badblokebob in : Action, Crime, 4 stars, Short, superhero films, 2010s, 2012 , add a comment
It’s just a guy doing his laundry… except that guy is Marvel’s Punisher…
Marvel One-Shots September 12, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Comedy, Action, Sci-fi, 4 stars, 3 stars, Short, superhero films, 2010s, 2012 , add a comment
The Avengers (aka Avengers Assemble) will soon make its DVD & Blu-ray debut, both here and in the US, and with it comes the third in Marvel’s series of in-universe short films, Item 47.
So now seemed as good a time as any to share my thoughts on the first two: The Consultant and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer.
#50a: Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation (2011) August 10, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Comedy, Disney, 4 stars, Short, 2010s, 2012 , add a comment
Rounding off animation week, and in honour of the fact that Toy Story 3 comes to Sky Movies Premiere today (and continues until Thursday 16h August), here’s my review of the first Toy Story Toons short…
#85a: Catwoman (2011) March 11, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Action, 4 stars, Short, superhero films, 2010s, 2011 , add a comment
Included on releases of Batman: Year One, Catwoman is an action-orientated short starring Catwoman (obviously) chasing down gangster Rough Cut because two of his goons tried to shoot a puddytat. OK, there’s more to her motivation than that, but that’d spoil the ending.
Being a short it has a brief plot, especially as Montgomery seems to have decided to make it all about the action, be that a car chase, a punch-up, or a striptease — of which there are two. But this is PG-13-ish animation, so don’t fret, it’s all cleavage and conveniently draped hair. That said, such gratuitousness could just add fuel to the fire of those who objected to DC’s controversial portrayal of Catwoman in her New 52 title the other month. This emphasis works well for a short — the plot is slight because there’s no time to develop it, there’s not much dialogue, just a visual feast of fluid fighting.
The quality of the action sequences outweigh anything seen in the main Year One feature. They’re original, exciting and very fluidly animated. Apparently Montgomery is known in fan circles for liking a bit of violence and trying to add it to the action in DCU films she’s worked on, and that’s in evidence here too. It gives it an edge, I think.
If you like a bit of animated action, this is a satisfying and well-staged piece.
#94a: The Gruffalo’s Child (2011) March 9, 2012Posted by badblokebob in : Animation, Comedy, Fantasy, adaptations, 4 stars, British films, Short, 2010s, 2011 , add a comment
Shown on BBC One over Christmas, this animated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo’s Child is the sequel to the Oscar-nominated adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo (of course). For my money, it’s every bit as good as the first film.
Indeed, you could re-read my review of the first film and apply the same comments here. The pace is still considered — or, to be less polite, slow; but beautifully so. Though this time they’ve thrown some action sequences into the mix (yes, action sequences) to help round out the short picture book to a full half-hour film. Perhaps surprisingly, they work. The voice cast are the same, with the addition of Shirley Henderson as the titular girl-beast, and she fits in perfectly.
The CG animation retains the original’s “is it claymation?” feel, though the wintry setting allows the animators to really show off with some truly stunning snow. Most of the film goes for an appropriately cartoony style, but the various types of frozen water on display could pass for the real thing.
Lovely stuff, then, and thankfully every bit the equal of the first (which, in my opinion, the book isn’t). There was no nomination forthcoming at this year’s Oscars, but then with their complicatedly specific eligibility rules maybe it wasn’t released soon enough to qualify. Maybe next year.
#43a: Lumet: Film Maker (1975) April 16, 2011Posted by badblokebob in : Documentary, 4 stars, 1970s, films about films, Short, 2011 , add a comment
This ten-minute documentary short is made up of behind-the-scenes footage of some of the filming of Dog Day Afternoon, with the occasional on-set interview with some (to be honest, minor) crew members, snippets of audio interview with Lumet himself, and a voiceover narration.
Today it’s the kind of material that would come out as part of the EPK and be included on the DVD — it has a largely promotional tone, talking about how great Lumet is to work with, how great Pacino is, that kind of thing. From a modern perspective, much of the information is duplicated elsewhere on the DVD, but for those not interested in a two-hour audio commentary it’s here.
What it does still add is footage of Lumet at work. Based on what we see, you can well imagine how he managed to finish the shoot a whole three weeks ahead of schedule, and how he produced such an authentic-feeling final result. There’s the soundman, for instance, who humorously has to dash off halfway through his interview for the next setup.
It feels a bit daft reviewing what would today be just an EPK and/or DVD featurette. But as this comes from a time before those things existed, when it wasn’t designed to go straight to the DVD just for the interested (though I don’t know where it was shown — in cinemas as a kind of extended trailer, I presume? It doesn’t look like a TV special, especially at just ten minutes), it’s a “documentary short” — look, IMDb says it is.
But then, are feature-length DVD ‘making of’s a kind of film too? Lost in La Mancha would have just been the DVD extras, had the film not gone tits up. What about Hearts of Darkness, which is now, pretty much, placed as ‘just’ a Blu-ray extra?