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DVD Round-Up: Moneyball, Captain America, Take Shelter & Tyrannosaur

July 17, 2012

Watching Moneyball taught me a few things.  Firstly, I know absolutely nothing about baseball.  That’s a slight lie, of course; I do know that there are home runs involved, and I also know that Mariah Carey used to go out with Derek Jeter (a Yankees player?).  I know who the Boston Red Sox are.  That’s honestly about it, though, and as a result, 75% of Moneyball went right over my head.  It’s testament to how darn good it was that I really enjoyed it anyway.  Secondly, I learnt that I don’t dislike Brad Pitt as much as I pretend to when I see him swanning around with Angelina Jolie (yes, I’m Team Jen for life, and no, I don’t apologise for it).  I realise this whenever I see a Brad Pitt film, of course, and the extent to which I love him in Inglourious Basterds should have negated any other opinion I have of his personal life by this point, but I’m very good at holding grudges.  He really is very, very good in Moneyball though, and so from now on, I will make an effort to remember that the bloke CAN act, and he is a rather excellent film star.  Thirdly, sports movies are really bloody class.  Of course, being both a sports and film fan, this shouldn’t be a surprise to me…but still, I always seem to be caught unawares by how much fun I have seeing the two combined.  Moneyball is a great drama, with great writing (not surprising when Aaron Sorkin is on board), and great performances.  It’s witty, emotional, poignant, constantly engaging…and yes, my previous claim of not understanding most of it still stands.  It doesn’t matter, though.  Baseball fan or not, it would take a pretty mean-spirited fan not to enjoy this.

4/5 

Captain America, to my deep consternation, came out at the cinema right around the time that Lily became too old for baby showings.  This meant that it was the only ‘Avengers film’ that I didn’t get to see before the release of the actual Avengers film this year.  I have to be honest and admit that, while I was disappointed at the time, I soon forgot about it; the reviews hadn’t been that great, after all, and Captain America was never a film that I was hugely excited about.  On seeing Avengers Assemble though, my interest was piqued.  Just as Chris Evans was by far the best thing about the Fantastic Four films, he was also a big highlight of this, far superior, film, and I wanted to see what he’d done with a full Captain America picture.  As it turns out, he didn’t do too badly at all.  Captain America isn’t a brilliant film-the ending is dodgy, the action is average, and the CGI is patchy-but it’s solid, and Evans fits the character perfectly.  I didn’t miss too much by waiting a year to see it, but I’m glad to have finally made the effort.

3/5

Any film that puts Michael Shannon in a starring role was always going to interest me, and Take Shelter is another film that I’d been waiting to see for a long while.  It was worth the wait.  Not only are both Shannon and his co-star Jessica Chastain reliably brilliant, but this is also an effective and intriguing drama about mental illness, small communities and the strength of family.  Genuinely scary and upsetting at times, it builds to a shocking and fascinating conclusion that isn’t easily forgotten and is very much worth seeking out.

4/5

A violent and gritty drama, Tyrannosaur is a very assured directorial debut by Paddy Considine.  Olivia Colman, best known as Sophie from Peep Show, received most of the plaudits for her brilliant performance as a woman suffering severe domestic abuse (stick Angelina Jolie in that role, and you have a guaranteed Oscar win for what would likely be a performance half as good), but Peter Mullan is just as fantastic as the angry drunk she befriends.  It’s an extraordinarily depressing tale, and I very much doubt I’ll be watching anything but Disney over the next few days in an effort to get over it, but very impressive all the same.

4/5

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One Comment leave one →
  1. axonmanage permalink
    July 17, 2012 6:39 pm

    Ooh, thanks for reminding me about “Take Shelter”! I remember reading the pitch on IMDb and thinking “Interesting!” but then I had forgotten about it. And now I’m very curious about Tyrannosaur as well.
    And I completely agree about Moneyball! Mom, Sis and I don’t know squat about baseball, but we still really enjoyed it. Great writing, great acting.

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