Bill\’s Film Club

Yes, I saw Cars 2. In a cinema by the way – I really hate, loathe and detest watching movies on a TV or worse yet, on a teeny tiny screen on my laptop. I like sitting in the dark with other people and going for the immersive ride of a movie.
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No. 1 son (in order of birth) is a massive fan of animation movies (please don\’t call them cartoons…!) We have a family film club that\’s been running for a few years now where once a month, Bill chooses a film and we all go and watch it and talk about it afterwards.
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This month\’s movie was, of course, Cars 2. Cars 1 was a film club choice a year or two ago. If any other company than Disney/Pixar had made that one, you\’d say: pretty good, quite fun, ok. Since it was made by the major genius of animation, John Lasseter, I\’m afraid it wasn\’t ok. It was embarassing.
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Cars 2 had that to live down… And it did – starting with a wonderfully ridiculous slambang pastiche of a Bond movie opening, complete with Michael Caine as a blue Aston Martin. Then a daft race in Car World Tokyo, full of sly little visual witticisms like the vending machines full of parts and the compact cars with ribbons giggling like Japanese schoolgirls… Then a race in a generic Italian town, quick trip to Paris, then we hit London – and a London no Londoner has ever seen, with wide streets and hardly any traffic and… and…
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Is Lasseter perhaps apologising for the fact that the depressing eco-fable Wall-E somehow left out the rest of the world?
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The plot is daft. Lasseter, who is a famous petrolhead, is clearly torn between a wish for a clean eco-fuel and that deep abiding all-American love for gasoline. The cliches come quick and fast – though most of them are cleverly subverted. You can\’t help laughing at the silly cheek of the whole thing.
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Roll on Cars 3. In space? With dinosaurs? Pretty please?

Pirates of the Caribbean, part whatever

Cap\’n Jack Sparrow minced up to the corpse and gave it a kick. His nose twitched at the reek. Bits were coming off, bones were showing through. Populations of worms were building cities and contemplating opening a stock market and derivative-swaps.
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\”I think it\’s dead,\” he muttered, \”Done for. Gone.\”
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\”No, no,\” said the Disney executives, \”Look, it\’s moving.\”
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\”Gentlemen,\” pronounced Cap\’n Jack, \”I think the worms are moving. Not it.\”
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\”It\’s fine, look, we\’ll add another zero to your contract…\”
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Cap\’n Jack stopped, raised his eyebrows and squinted down at the thing in front of him. \”A miracle!\” he smiled. \”Who\’d\’a thought it. Aye.\”
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And so \”Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides\” lurched to its feet and zombied down the red carpet.

Thor stars

Number 1 son is a big movie buff, probably knows more about Pixar and Disney animation than anyone barring that genius John Lassiter, and insists that we go to see a movie every month. He picks what we see – top animation, Oscar hopefuls, good British movies – and it\’s become our family movie club. Then he puts a review on Facebook.
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So Sunday\’s pick was \’Thor\’ – another from the splendidly clever and complex Marvel universe – directed by Kenneth Branagh in 3D. And yes, there were Shakespearean and Classical themes but also some nice sly humour. No 1 son liked the Asgard scenes best, no 2 son liked the way Chris Hemsworth played Thor with real charm as well as muscle and thought Idris Elba as Heimdall the keeper of Bifrost the rainbow bridge, pretty much stole the movie. Personally I quite fancied Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins did grave and reverent Odin with no visible effort and the CGI effects were splendid – though alas, they chickened out of Odin\’s messenger ravens.
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All in all, Thor stars.