THE LOWDOWN WEEK 4

6 Feb

Superhero geeks of the world unite, because 2012 looks set to be the year of the nerdgasm. Just about every superhero name under the shadow of Vulcan is set to receive a big screen outing this year with the likes of The Avengers, Batman (The Dark Knight Rises) and Spiderman all setting box office tasers to Ka-ching. Or something? Anyway, to get your collective juices flowing, this week we’re treated to Chronicle, a sort of Heroes/Cloverfield (but with brains attached) type hybrid.

If superkids smashing things up with spooky powers doesn’t sound like your thing, then there’s a plethora of quality fare on offer elsewhere. Polanski treats us to delectable comedy Carnage, there’s an alliteration phobics worst nightmare in the form of hippy cult thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene and Charlize Theron plays a character called Mavis (come on!) in Young Adult.

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Utilising the found footage format that has been steadily wearing thin since the heady days of Blair Witch, Chronicle charts the intriguing tale of three high-school buddies who unexpectedly find themselves imbued with super powers. As our chipper triumvirate come to terms with their powerful potential, things soon take a distinct turn for the bleak. Director Josh Trank works wonders with a mini budget to produce what is an intelligent, edgy, lo-fi sci-fi pic that shows that there’s life in the old superhero genre dog yet.

Anyone who has seen the 63 odd posters for Roman Polanski’s latest pic Carnage will be a might confused as to what sort of beast he has unleashed this time. There’s a multi-coloured monstrosity that screams “Watch me I’m a hilarious comedy. HILARIOUS!”. Then there are the more staid versions that have stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly and Christoph Waltz standing around looking like they’re boring the tits off each other, which whisper “I’m a sophisticated adult comedy. There may be jokes which are above your station here commoner. Move on.” What Carnage actually is is a pithy script, Polanski’s sharp eye and some fantastic comedic acting from our esteemed tetrarchy.

martha-marcy-may-marlene-poster

Onto what I shall forthwith refer to as M4. M4 boasts a star making turn from Elizabeth Olsen (her of same gene pool as The Olsen Twins) as Martha, a young girl who escapes an abusive cult only to be continually haunted by the psychological scars of her ordeal. Fuelled by paranoia, M4 expertly melds her dreams, memories and delusions to create an uncomfortably disturbing and superior thriller.

Escaping in a very different sense is Young Adult’s Mavis, who returns to her home town after an iffy divorce in a bid to reunite with her high school sweetheart Buddy. The inevitable spanner comes in the form of Buddy’s wife and new-born baby, not that Mavis is going to let that spoil things. Penned by Diablo Cody of Juno fame and directed by Jason Reitman, Young Adult oozes comedic pedigree, whilst Theron’s turn has itself attracted plenty of critical acclaim.

Fans of brainless nonsense can seek out The Rock and Michael Caine riding a giant bee in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Self-flagellators and people who hate themselves can spend 91 minutes with two Adam Sandler’s (oh the humanity!) in Jack and Jill. Slow head shake in Al Pacino’s direction for getting involved in this crap.

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