Whip It

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This is the bastard child of John Hughs’ films or one of his natural inheritors, depending on your POV. Think Pretty in Pink meets Rollerball (ok, not quite so extreme) but you get the idea. The only real problem I had with the film was Ellen Page, who was genuine and open, but never really felt like she hit the change or evolution that left me emotionally satisfied. I wanted to get to my feet at the end, but it just never earned that moment (thus 4 instead of 5 stars). Despite that, it was still effective. If you like relatively honest coming-of-age stories, you’ll enjoy this one.

Invictus

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This is, of course, a fascinating story in history. But it also plays that way–a news story. There are moments, mostly forced upon us and not earned, of triumph and joy. Overall, though, it feels lifeless and drifts through the plot points with little momentum. And, after 2.5 hours of focus, I still don’t understand the rules of rugby nor could we easily follow the games. Culture gap or bad directing, I guess your mileage may vary. For all their differences, District 9 does a better job of explaining the emotional scars of apartheid than this did.

Kick-Ass

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Maybe it is when we were seeing this, but we roared through the dark and twisted story that is Kick-Ass. Fun and entertaining, loaded with dark humor, it just hit us in the right way. The movie manages to walk that high-wire act of reality and over-the-top absurdity, the tension between the two keeping it from falling to a heap of failure. Is it perfect, no, but it certainly wasn’t disappointing!

Home Room

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The two young actors were really quite good and, given that it was shot in 18 days on a shoestring, I’m not unimpressed. However, the script and directing, mostly for the adults, are a little too self-conscious and arch. Even with the pay-offs, I can’t recommend it strongly other than as an historical reaction piece.

Legion

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OK, they tried. Really they did. There is nothing wrong with the film for its ilk. There is also nothing truly fabulous to recommend it other than the enthusiasm of the cast and crew. 20 years ago this film would have rocked. Now, it is just a rehash of some basics of the genre and a little wicked humor… most of which was shown in the trailers. The making-of stuff was actually way more intriguinig than the film itself.

Art, writing, life explained… or at least commented upon…