Soshite Chichi Ni Nara – Like Father, Like Son

Two Kore-eda films in one year is a bit of treat! – (see here for the other).

Again this features children, but this time the adults are much more present than in I Wish. Essentially, two sets of very different parents discover that their sons were swapped in hospital just after they were born, and the decision must be made as to how the situation should best be resolved.

It examines parenthood, family and blood ties, and I enjoyed it very much.

Having said that, I actually think there’s a huge amount more that remains to be explored with this subject – which is not to say that Kore-eda failed at all, just that he chose to follow one thread, when there are so many others still dangling.

Gravity

I tend to avoid 3D as it usually gives me a headache, but I went with it for Gravity, and threw IMAX into the mix for good measure. I was not disappointed.

This is a remarkable film – not for the plot, of which there is alarmingly little – but for the fact that it is unlike any other film set in space that I have ever seen.

The 3D is perfect for capturing  the floating/falling effects required, and the special effects people are truly geniuses for creating the images they have.

It also benefits from a great performance from Sandra Bullock, who manages to be weightless and deliver corny lines of dialogue wearing only a vest and knickers.

The only sad thing is that when this film is re-shown on TV, or watched on DVD, it just won’t look the same – it needst to be seen on a gi-normous screen for full effect.

Thor: The Dark World

I had been anticipating the return of the demi-god for quite some time, as the first Thor film was hugely entertaining, as was Marvel Avengers Assemble.

This isn’t as good as either of the above, but it is solid value for money and ticks most of the required boxes.

The script needed some lighter touches, and a quick glance at a map of the London underground would inform even the most out-of-touch superhero that Charing Cross is not three stops down the line from Greenwich. But it is the villains who are the biggest disappointment -they are actually quite boring, which is not what I was expecting from the Marvel universe.

The special effects are great, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki is in his element. The scenes between Loki and Thor are particularly good, and I have always thought Chris Hemsworth does a great job of showing how Thor can be both saving the universe and out of his comfort zone with the ways of Earth at the same time.

If you’re familiar with the Marvel film extras, don’t be fooled by the credits – stay to the end. And I mean, the very end.

Captain Phillips

You wait years for a film about a Somali pirate hijacking, and then two come out in the same year – what are the odds?

In contrast to A Hijacking, the Danish movie which spends a lot of time with the negotiation procedure in an office in Copenhagen, Captain Phillips puts the viewer right there on the ship with the crew, something at which director Paul Greengrass excels.

The film comments obliquely on the relationships between developed vs less-developed economies (and could even have been more heavy-handed about it, I feel), and the motivation/desperation of the Somalis is not left to the imagination.

It’s claustrophobic, tense and engaging, but it is the final scene which elevates the film from good to very good, thanks to an incredible turn from Tom Hanks.

Would not want to see it again, though.