MAMA - (2013 - UK Certificate 15)
This sounds promising; indeed even the trailer whet the appetite nicely and prepared us for a film that looked set to follow in the footsteps of preceding Del Toro-produced successes. Unfortunately, whilst it is carried fairly well by some familiar faces, most notably the chameleon-like Jessica Chastain, overall it has a sense about it of having been rushed, which shows not only in her character arc, but in the delivery of certain plot points which don't feel entirely thought through and, at times, a tad passe. The whole thing lacks the creeping intensity of the first half of, say, Insidious or Sinister, as one might expect, and it also features the effects and lighter sort of scariness we saw with The Woman in Black and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Given its theme and ultimate denouement, what it really needs is more of The Orphanage and The Devil's Backbone.
The negatives and some unmissable, lazy inconsistencies aside, however, this remains a perfectly passable, creepy flick. A lot of credit should go to a director who extended his short to make this as his first feature, but don't expect to see it sitting alongside any classics in a few years.
2.5 / 5
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER - (2012 - UK Certificate 12)
There is a question mark over Watson, not because she gives a bad performance, but just because some may feel she was miscast. There is also the occasional anachronistic element, as well as some oddly under-written roles. That said, a great deal of the film has a very sincere spirit, and an ambition to tell an honest story that comes to feel very real. "We are infinite" is a tagline for the movie; whilst the film will perhaps not be infinite as such, it is certainly worthy of your attention. Whether you are the age of the characters or not, it does a rather smart job of capturing a specific feeling, what it is to find real friendship, and distilling it in to images, like a moving photo book. In some way we catch glimpses of The Catcher in the Rye, a story told in such a way as to elicit reflection on our own formative years, and maybe find some empathy for adolescents we truly care about.
3.5 / 5
On DVD/Blu Ray
Catch it if you like: Donnie Darko, Juno, The Man Without a Face