I know, I know, I've been a bit of a no-show with this blog for the past month or so, and it's really, really not on. Unfortunately, that isn't going to change any time soon, as I'm jetting off to Italy with my family this Friday for a few days. But, for now, have four mini-reviews of the films I've watched recently.
Step Up (Anne Fletcher, 2006)
Channing Tatum plays Tyler, your token disillusioned youth from the wrong side of the tracks who wastes his days being a juvenile delinquent with his two friends, brothers Mac and Skinny. One evening, they are caught vandalising a hall in the Maryland School of Arts. Mac and Skinny escape, but Tyler is punished with community service as a janitor at said school. In doing his duties, he crosses paths with pretty and talented but uppity teenager Nora (Jenna Dewan), who's dream it has always been to be a dancer. When her dance partner for the upcoming danceshow injures himself, it (predictably) sets Tyler up for a chance to show that he's more than just a troublemaker. Despite the background differences between the two, when they dance, sparks fly, and the two protagonists find themselves drawn towards each other as more than just dance partners.
As you'd expext, a film like this is fairly low on plot and dialogue, and puts all of the weight on the dance scenes, which are indeed sublime. The finale in particular, is spectacular, as a group of 20+ dancers, led by Tatum and Dewan, fuse streetdance, hip-hop and ballet to the intrumental track of Yung Joc's "Bout it". It's forgettable fodder for the most part, but the dance scenes really are worth a re-watch.
Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich, 2010)
I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Toy Story 2. I disliked it for aaaages, until one day, I had sudden craving to give it a re-appraisal, and I immediately fell back in love with it. My relationship with the first film is more straightforward: it was the first film I saw in the cinema in England, and loved it. It is a similar case with this film, which was choc-a-bloc full with joy, humour and banter between the toys. I'm not ashamed to admit I tore up twice, and was moved throughout by the loyalty and fraternity between the toys. The ending was one of the most bittersweet in film, but I adored it. And the cameo of a Totoro doll pretty much epitomized the film's awesomeness.
The Karate Kid (Harold Zwart, 2010)
I forwent Inception to see this film, as it was on my dad's birthday and he loves Jackie Chan, and to be honest, I'm totally sure that I would have preferred the other film. Though, that said, I still had a relatively good time with The Karate Kid. Jaden Smith, who was cute and cuddly in The Pursuit of Happyness but didn't convince me he was capable of much past that, more than carries the film here, both in his natural acting as well as his dedication to the fight scenes. Jackie Chan, who's fight moves I adore but I'd never rated very highly as an actor, also surprises here, particularly in the scene with the car, a scene which actually moved me to tears. Like Step Up, it's a fairly predictable, forgettable set-up, but thanks to a fun soundtrack and brilliant chemistry between the two leads, good fun whilst it lasts.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Thor Freudenthal, 2010)
Zachary Gordon stars as Greg Heffley, a boy entering middle school. He's determined to make a name for himself and be as popular as possible, and if this involves re-inventing his loyal but unfashionable best mate Rowley Jefferson (played with affable charm by Robert Capron). The film follows him as his attempts to show how popular and cool he is fall flat each time, with each attempt just landing him further and further away from his aim. It's a simple enough movie with a simple enough message: don't become so preoccupied with the superficial that you forgo the things that really matter, and a cool turn from the ever-lovely Chloe Moretz (MUST watch Kick-Ass!)