Catchups 1 : Moonrise Kingdom, Cabin in the Woods, Chronicle

As there’s not been much on in the cinema and I’ve had some time at home, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on some of the films I’ve seen popping up in many people’s ‘Top Films of 2012’ lists but I missed in the cinema.

Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom quirkily straddles the delicate line between charming and sickly sweet, staying just about on the right side of charming. It’s eccentricity adds wonder, aided by a couple terrific performance from the two lead child actors while the score features a most memorable use of the music of Benjamin Britton. Typically for Anderson, he uses a small world to explore big issues, capturing a sense of childlike fervor to their adventure and you really understand why this relationship means everything through these young, inexperienced eyes. Bruce Willis appears against type, which is also good fun. ★ ★ ★ ★

So many people had told me to enter into watching Cabin in the Woods completely blind and I managed to do exactly that. It takes familiar conventions and twists them in order to leave you constantly unsure exactly what might be going on. It puts a lot of fun back into horror, plus it’s also quite scary with a brilliant monster sequence in the final act which is littered with imagination. It’s a thrilling and at times even a fairly disturbing ride that proudly separates itself from generic mediocrity. ★ ★ ★ ★

Lastly, Chronicle is the debut film from director Josh Trank, aged just 27 and from this effort he is certainly one of the most accomplished young directors out there. Amalgamating both the superhero and found footage genre – it does well not to seem completely hackneyed. While I can’t help but feel the found footage aspect should have been let go part way through the movie, it’s well written despite relying on some clichéd teen character tropes. The three young actors (Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan) all help make the film feel real and hold together the climax, which it really feels like it had earned. For a film with a comparatively low budget for an effects movie ($12m), it’s an awful lot more fun than some that cost twenty times that sum.  ★ ★ ★

Review by David Rank

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