So I've been too busy at work and at home to be able to post much over the last week, but I'll be back to full-length reviews next week. For now here's a quick roundup of what I've seen over the last week or so. Sadly (or maybe not) I missed the boat on Honey 2 - at some point I do need to post a mea culpa list showing the movies I didn't get chance to see over the year so far. Until then, here's my rundown:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2
In reality, this is very much one for the kids - there's some broad laughs for the family to enjoy, but this (refreshingly) has both eyes firmly trained on its target audience of 7-11 year-olds. Which is fine. Marks against? Well, beyond the smart animations this doesn't offer much that is new to audiences, and generally there isn't any real invention to the storytelling. It's fine watching for the young 'uns, but that's all.
By contrast, Last Night is the kind of film that isn't really going to appeal to anybody - unless your bag is watching stilted, messy stories of upper-middle-class New Yorkers dealing with fairly trivial relationship issues. Of course, a good story is a good story regardless of setting - but this is not a good story. The direction is fine, technically speaking, and the performances are OK (Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes struggle through, but my tolerance for Keira Knightley is now officially worn out) but the movie is dull, dull, dull. Avoid.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Another sequel where I missed the first instalment, I quite enjoyed Kung Fu Panda 2. Jack Black is tolerable, the plot is solid and makes sense, and the jokes generally hit the mark. It's hardly Pixar-level quality of storytelling, but the animation is excellent (and my cinema is giving more 2D showings than 3D, which is interesting). Worth a watch, even for grown-ups.
An interesting setup in this unnecessary remake leads into an overlong, derivative and gratuitously-blood-spattered series of burdensome torture porn. While occasionally scary (I jumped a few times) with alright performances (including a cameo from Troma legend Lloyd Kaufman) this is nonetheless a pretty hateful movie, with too much gore, pain and sadism for me. But if you like that sort of thing, by all means check it out.
It's a big-release week here in the UK tomorrow, with The Green Lantern, The Beaver, Bad Teacher and Stake Land all opening at my local cinema. That means, sadly, there'll be no Potiche, The Messenger or Swinging with the Finkels (actually, that one looked pretty bad), but I do get Bridesmaids mid-week and - a mere week later - the preview for the new Transformers movie is on general release. Summer, eh?