7:00 PM, 20th June, 2015
This is an animated film with a visual style that I haven’t seen before. Knowing that it’s been influenced by Guillermo del Toro as producer, I’m not surprised.
First time director Jorge Gutierrez has done a great job telling this great story based around the Day of the Dead celebrations. The tale is that of Manolo (Luna), a young man who is torn between honouring his family and their expectations and listening to his heart. A tale of two best friends, Manolo and Joaquin (Tatum), who are fighting over the same girl. The story so far isn’t new. But throw in a couple of meddling, gambling supernatural beings, with one of them not playing fair, and suddenly Manolo is forced to journey through three fantastical worlds facing his biggest fears to fight for the woman he loves.
This is a colourful, fresh look at the world of animated comedies. Following on from films like ParaNorman, The Corpse Bride and Coraline it deals with some dark topics, but while this is set on the Day of the Dead, akin with the celebration the film is filled with colour. It also has a wonderful and engaging visual style that I love plus it’s full of pop music favourites each with a fresh take.
8:45 PM, 20th June, 2015
From Paul Feig, the director of the hugely successful Bridesmaids and The Heat, comes the aptly-but-not-so-originally-titled Spy. Not to be confused with I Spy, Spy Game, Spy Kids, Spy Hard, The Spy Who Loved Me, or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Feig once again reunites with the breakout star of Bridesmaids and The Heat, Melissa McCarthy, for a globe-trotting, action-packed romp about (you guessed it) spies. In the film, McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a lowly analyst who has always longed to be a spy, but instead spends her days at the CIA running missions from behind a desk. But when a nuclear bomb goes missing on the black market and the CIA’s top superspies (Law, Statham) are compromised, Susan finally gets her wish to become a full-blown secret agent. With no one to turn to but her, Susan is sent into the field on a mission for the very first time to infilitrate the inner circle of a deadly arms dealer (is there any other kind?) and prevent a global catastrophe. All in a day’s work!
Spy comedies are far from novel (this semester alone features Kingsman: The Secret Service), but the talent assembled here certainly sets this apart. McCarthy is hilarious, foul-mouthed, and surprisingly adept as the unassuming heroine, while Law and Statham clearly have fun in a refreshing change of pace from their usual dour roles. Throw in some game supporting players including Rose Byrne (as the film’s villain, no less), Bobby Cannavale, and Allison Janney – as well as the genre’s trademark action, gadgets, and gorgeous European locales – and you’ve got one mission well worth accepting.