I’m having quite a hard time getting up to date with the Weekly Updates, having somewhat naively hoped to catch up with time before summer ended, but here I am, middle of autumn, with less progress made than I would have feared a couple of months back. Ah well, I’m still holding on to that blind hope of mine – maybe it’ll turn to something one of these days.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) - 6/10
Having recently seen the train wreck that is Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I was prepared for the worst going into Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Surprisingly enough, though, the film turned out to be quite an enjoyable ride, delivering a visual spectacle like few other movies I’ve seen on the big screen. As with the previous films in the series, the script was weak, the dialogue was cheesy and uninspired, and the storyline is filled with the kind of odd and confusing moments that Michael Bay has come to deliver for years now. Still, even in the writing department, Dark of the Moon is an obvious improvement over its predecessor. There’s not much worth mentioning about this film acting-wise, though I will say that I was quite surprised to see actors such as John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, and Alan Tudyk in the movie, but unfortunately their talent was mostly wasted on one-dimensional characters. Nevertheless, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is entertaining from start to finish, even with its admittedly overlong running time. As for the visuals, I honestly believe I haven’t seen a 3D film this dazzling in cinemas since James Cameron’s Avatar, and that really is saying something. So yes, if you get the chance to see Dark of the Moon in 3D, let nothing stop you. Too bad there’s not much else to be had aside from top-notch CGI.
Take Me Home Tonight (2011) - 5/10
Despite thoroughly enjoying Take Me Home Tonight, I can’t say that it excels at anything, delivering a mostly forgettable experience and not managing to shine as an exercise in cinematic comedy. The story is relatively simple, taking an approach seen in many other teenage comedies. The dialogue impresses from time to time, but the script is underwhelming as a whole, introducing unnecessary subplots and creating rather uninspired situations. Surprisingly enough, though, there aren’t many failed attempts at humour to be had here, with most jokes and gag hitting the mark from start to finish, despite being quite restricted in number. The film also nails the 80s feel and style well enough, boasting a solid look and a good soundtrack. Topher Grace works well in the leading role, displaying a good sense of comedic timing while also proving to be suitable for the role of the underdog protagonist. Teresa Palmer is convincing as the love interesting, looking as stunning as ever and sharing a good amount of chemistry with co-star Grace. Anna Faris plays the straight role this time around, but her character isn’t given much to work with, unfortunately. Dan Fogler manages to stand out in a couple of scenes, but his character’s writing got a little too ridiculous at times. Demetri Martin delivered some scene-stealing moments in the small role that he had. Overall, I’d say Take Me Home Tonight is worth a shot for its distinct 80s atmosphere and a couple of good laughs, but don’t go in expecting more because it doesn’t do much in terms of advancing the genre.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943) - 8/10
Having decided to catch up with couple of films from the classic Hollywood era, I felt that Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt would be a good place to start my journey with. As with pretty much every other Alfred Hitchock directed movie, Shadow of a Doubt is thoroughly suspenseful and engaging, starting from an intriguing premise and building towards a dark and fitting finale. There are some really great performances to be had in this one, with Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten standing on top and perfectly contrasting each other’s characters thanks to some incredible chemistry between the two. The storyline is well-written, with a few unnecessary diversions along the way, but these are rather insignificant as a whole. Shadow of a Doubt is perhaps most known for its dinner scene, where Joseph Cotten delivers a memorable and terrifying monologue as Uncle Charlie. Having recently got the chance to see this film on a cinema screen, I have to say that the effect of that scene varies quite a lot depending on how big of a screen you watch it on. Seeing it on my computer for the first time, the monologue was masterfully delivered, but it seemed to lack in terms of power. After witnessing it again on the big screen, though, it truly sent shivers down my spine. To cut to the chase, I highly advise you see Shadow of a Doubt on the largest screen possible (preferably at the cinema, but let’s face it – there’s little opportunity for that), though regardless of which way you view it, it ultimately remains a powerful and thought-provoking psychological exercise that showcases some of Hitchcock’s most effective tricks and techniques.