Posted by: Miles | July 8, 2009

Terminator 4 vs The Hangover vs Last Ride

terminator_salvationTerminator Salvation is a great action film. It’s got just enough plot and exactly the right amount of explosions to keep you watching. What it is NOT is a restart of the franchise. It draws heavily from the first two films, if you’re not a Terminator fan then some of it will be quite confusing. It tries to sum things up with a few paragraphs of text at the start but the fact is you wont get much out of the film if you aren’t already familiar with the time travel antics of the first two Terminator outings. But this isn’t just a plot problem, it creates character issues. If you jump straight into this film you will understand why Kyle Reese is important and why John Connor hates the machines- but you wont care. A lot of the emotional resonance the characters have comes from their history, not from their actions in the film. Well, except for Sam Worthington’s character, who gets a much more fleshed out story arc than anyone else (but with a bit of a rushed conclusion). But even if you don’t really get into the characters there are lots of big things that go boom so you should be able to enjoy yourself- just don’t think about the plot holes.

the-hangoverThe Hangover has been getting some decent press. This seems to stem mainly from the fact that everyone thought it was going to be absolute shit and it turned out to be a bit above average. My advice is to not go in with high expectations because it really isn’t that great. Sure, it’s fun and better than a lot of comedies that have been coming out recently. But it’s not really THAT good. However, it does do a good twist on your usual drunken shenanigans movie. It’s a film that doesn’t cover the wild drunken party antics but the aftermath instead. You don’t see the wild vegas party, you just see the morning after: some friends on a mission to find out what happened while they were hammered and where their missing mate has gotten to. In the end there’s some good gags,  the plot is interesting enough to keep you entertained and it’s also refreshing to see some new faces in the comedy world. I’d say go see it if you already know you’ll enjoy it.

I’m just going to jump straight off the fence: Last Ride is a fantastic film. It’s a sad film about a boy, Chook, and his father, Kev. The father is an ex-con and not really a very good dad, well ok so he’s a horrible father- but he loves his son. It follows the two of them on jaunt across Australia where many illegal things occur. As you watch the pair move around you start to get the missing pieces of narrative: where are they going? Where did they come from? In many films you’ll feel the characters are there to move the narrative along. In Last Ride the narrative serves to expose the characters, the structure of the whole film is built around the two leads. As you learn where they are coming from you begin to understand Kev. And as it becomes apparent where they are going you realise how much you feel for both of them. The film is crushingly depressing but after watching it i didn’t really care about that, i’d gotten to know two people by staring at a screen for an hour and a half, i felt closer to the two characters than i do to almost anyone i’ve ever worked with. Hugo Weaving and newcomer Tom Russell weave masterful performances into this beautifully shot and scored film, i can’t recommend it highly enough. Get out there and see some amazing Australian cinema.

Last Ride

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