The only other Katherine Bigelow film I had seen up to this point was The Hurt Locker, however I was quite familiar with some of the iconography of this flick - namely 'the ex-Presidents' robbing banks, and the sky diving stuff - turns out it's a really fun action flick, and the sort that the film school graduate in me could have a field day with for an essay on sexual subtext. It's very much of the time of the early 1990s, but that's no bad thing. Plus the foot chase later on in the movie is great.
Like Gran Torino, only British - which, unsurprisingly, means 'set on a council estate and really goddamned bleak'. Perhaps that comes off as a bit snippy, but it is true that British film seems to be either obsessed with costume drama, or the criminal underclasses of the nation's inner city council estates and tower blocks - there's far more to Britain than that, and likewise the films produced here should expand beyond that more decisively.
That little rant aside though, it's a decent film - albeit, yeah, properly bleak. Gang crime, drugs, violence, intimidation, a police force that's completely divorced from giving a stuff about the problem ... it's a tough watch at times, but on the other hand you do get to see Caine's elderly avenger deliver vengence (in a British way). If only the darkness of the council estate featured wasn't representative of too many situations across the nation.
Where The Wild Things Are:
I had no knowledge of the book before reading about the film adaptation in Total Film, and while I didn't quite get what all the fuss was about, once we get to where the titular wild things actually are my interest did pique. Thematically it's a subtle film, which is a welcome change of pace - it could have so easily crammed the issues and character lessons down your throat, but it takes a different route ... although perhaps it could have been a little clearer in how it dealt with the themes, while still avoiding the usual bludgeoning approach we're so used to.
Still, when the kid eventually leaves the wild things, it was a really well handled and touching moment - and who doesn't want to watch a movie where James Gandolfini voices (movingly so) a big hairy monster that likes to smash shit up?
It has a standard enough revenge plot, so it's nothing to particularly write home about in that regard - however the action, violence and OTT Japanese-style gore is endlessly entertaining. So if you want to see some insane Ninja-related fighting, sword play, and shadowy action then it's well worth a look - oh and it's produced by the likes of Joel Silver and the Wachowskis ... so you should have an idea of the movie's style.
Youth In Revolt:
I'd intended on seeing this at the cinema last year but never got around to it. Turns out it's a decent little flick with Michael Cera getting to explore a different type of character than he's often considered to portray (namely, a laid back Breathless-inspired troublemaker). Enjoyable cameo performances and moments of animated whimsy round this out to be an entertainingly quirky tale of trouble-courting young love.