Monday, February 11, 2013

2012 Catch Up (Ruby Sparks / Dredd)

Super-quick reminder... if you want to view the trailer for the movie, all you gotta do is click the title. Onward!

Ruby Sparks (2012)

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Zoe Kazan
Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening

I appreciate the concept, as well as the deconstruction of the "manic pixie dream girl" trope that is going on here. However, I feel that the film, to some extent, wants to have its cake and eat it too; for most of the film Calvin's attempts to manipulate the situation to his advantage are played primarily for laughs. By the time the climax comes around, the script has built itself up around the comedic aspects too much for the dramatic turn to live up to its full potential. A turn from comedy to darker drama is not an inherently bad idea, but I feel that the tonal inconsistency is not handled all that well. Dano and Kazan are both great here, and the premise is interesting enough that I still enjoyed the film quite a bit in spite of its flaws.

Score: 6 / 10

Dredd (2012)

Director: Pete Travis
Writers: John Wagner (characters), Carlos Ezquerra (characters), and Alex Garland (screenplay)
Stars: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey

So, this is way better than that pile of hot garbage that Stallone made in the 90's (though that is not exactly a tall hurdle to clear). Dredd eschews backstory for the titular character in favor of badass, awesome, mindless, dirty, dystopian ultraviolence. I can get behind that. Only problem is that most of the violence is relatively bland: Dredd hides in doorway, pops out to pop five guys in the chest, proceed to next corridor. If your main attraction is dudes getting shot, show a touch more creativity with your gunfights. Also (and this may sound petty, but makes a huge difference in the visceral feel of a film) give me some squib blood packs, not red CGI mist. The slo-mo sequences are pretty cool, I guess.

Score: 4 / 10

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