Monday, May 11, 2015

Triple Crown Reviews: Beginners, Attack the Block, and Tyrannosaur (2011)

Hello, Bloggers, I just saw three films recently and I figured I'd try something new by creating a special segment where I do mini-reviews of three different movies that I watch either on a weekend or within a few days. Since I am off from school, I will likely do this segment more often. This is Triple Crown Reviews. Here we go:
                                     Beginners (2011):
        Beginners is a dramedy that may be pretty melancholic, yet ironically, it felt me smiling at the very end. Ewan McGregor really shines as Oliver, an artist who, as he falls for an actress named Anna (played with blooming charisma by Melanie Laurent), reflects on the final days of his deceased father. Christopher Plummer deserved his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Oliver's gay father Hal, who showcases warm humility for both comedic effect and to mask his inner pain. The screenplay by Mike Mills is also enriching as it is quirky and offbeat yet directed with grounded realism. I did have minor problems with the pacing, but other than that, Beginners is a unique experience that may have you reflecting on your life the way Oliver does.

Grade: B

                                    Attack The Block (2011):
                      While comedy, sci-fi, and horror are genres that have varying degrees of success when put together, Attack The Block somehow manages to work regardless. Not only does it successfully weave in these various genres together, but it also manages to demonstrate social commentary about the divide between the poor populace in the inner city and the upper class or the government as the aliens that the main characters try to fight off serve as a possible metaphor for the higher class or the authorities devouring the bottom of the economic chain. So, the film is a rather poignant mix of B-movie entertainment and humanistic social commentary thanks to the efforts of visionary writer/director Joe Cornish. Bonus points for the amazing ensemble of young actors, especially John Boyega as the gang leader Moses, who is sure to be on people's radar once the new Star Wars comes out.

Grade: A+

                                      Tyrannosaur (2011):
              Now onto something much darker. Tyrannosaur is a rather haunting character study that features exuberant performances from the two lead actors. Olivia Colman is a revelation as Hannah, a Christian store owner who seems sweet and demure on the outside, but that surface begins to figuratively break as her face becomes physically bruised by her abusive husband. Peter Mullan is also a force of nature as Joseph, a drunken widow with violent tendencies that becomes more refined and almost like a bull in a cage as he gets closer with Hannah. The bond between these two characters reveals hidden shades about one another while demonstrating interesting themes about faith, violence, and even alcoholism. I had some minor pacing issues, but this is an extraordinary directorial debut from actor Paddy Considine.

Grade: B+

So those were my mini-reviews as part of my potential Triple Crown series. If you have seen any of these films, please feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section about what you thought. Thanks for reading!