Bobby Fischer was a mentalist.
That sentiment could, potentially, sum up the content of a marvellous new documentary Bobby Fischer Against The World. Examining the life and work of the late American genius Bobby Fischer, world-renowned for his incredible talent for playing chess, the film eventually posits the conclusion that Fischer, certainly at the end of his life, was a deluded and disturbed person. But to arrive at that without the context of his life would be a disservice not only to this film, but to Bobby Fischer himself.
The Goblet of Fire was the sole Potter outing for English director Mike Newell and it’s fair to say he was hindered by the sheer size of the source material. The book was twice the length of its predecessor, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and as a result large portions feel rushed and under-developed. There also seems to be far less adventuring in this outing as the focus is squarely on teenage tribulations and the tri-wizard tournament. It’s only towards the film’s end that we are thrust back into the broader Potter saga with the arrival of Big Vol.
Australian screenwriter David Michôd’s feature-film directorial debut is a gritty and darkly compelling film which offers a glimpse into the seedy Melbourne underworld.
Animal Kingdom follows the story of 17-year old Josh (played by newcomer James Frecheville) as he is thrust into the heart of a dangerous and scheming family of armed robbers and career criminals after the death of his mother.
The third instalment directed by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón may have taken the least at the box office so far for a Potter film (a paltry £795 million), yet it’s still the 30th highest grossing film of all time. Regardless of its box office takings, it is undeniably a well crafted and sinister adventure which ratchets up the tension and really kickstarts the broader Potter story.
For example, the introduction of key players like Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew really gives us a clearer picture of the history regarding Voldemort and Harry’s parents. Cuarón doesn’t worry about keeping the film child-friendly, and injects some much needed darkness intro proceedings after the two Chris Columbus outings. He may have only helmed one Potter movie, but he deserves great credit for giving the franchise a new direction.
Competing for the ‘Most Mental Film of 2011’ award is Drive Angry 3D, Nicolas Cage’s latest movie which aims to to get trashy movie lovers a-talking. So is this one for the ‘cult classics’ box?
In a word, no. But Drive Angry is an occasionally funny ride anyway.
A too-cool-for-school Cage plays Milton, a dead man who has escaped from hell in order to track down the satanist cult who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter for sacrifice. Sure. He is also joined by his hot-pant clad sidekick, Piper (Amber Heard), who is not only uber hot, but is almost as ballsy as Milton, at one point even beating the crap out of a naked woman when she finds the randomer sleeping with her boyfriend.
When a film is touted as the female equivalent of The Hangover, alarm bells start to ring. While the recently released Hangover sequel has been critically bashed to within an inch of its life, the film’s previous, better sibling was a huge and unexpected hit. Meaning, it didn’t have the pressure of being compared to one of the biggest comedies in recent years.
So with Bridesmaids hailed as the next big hit and with only the trailer to go by, we were a bit nervous. But as soon as the first scene rolled, we realised just how foolish we were to have ever doubted it.