lm Reviews | FILM

DRAMA CONCUSSION (15) 96min ●●●●●


If you have a resistance to stories about privileged individuals suffering mild dissatisfaction with their lives, this likely won’t be for you. But if you favour well-observed stories of the intimate lives of intelligent people, this is a classy example, with some unusual things to say about female sexuality. Abby (Robin Weigert) is an elegant fortyish interior

designer, in a steady but sexless long-term relationship with lawyer Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence), with whom she has two children. After suffering a blow to the head that somehow dislodges her capacity to act like an uncomplaining soccer mom, Abby realises she needs a change. Rather than, say, take a holiday, however, she first chooses to make a sex-only date with a prostitute, and then to try the line of work herself.

The adventures that result are depicted with neither moral hysteria nor undue prurience. Rather, the film gently emphasises the vastness and variety of sexual needs and pleasures. Weigert’s nicely judged performance gives her depth; and if the trendy blue-grey palette keeps things visually frigid, the film’s unpredictability and irrepressible sense of humour ensure that it stays on the right side of the jaded cynicism that afflicts so many US indies set amid this sort of moneyed dissatisfaction. (Hannah McGill) Limited release from Fri 16 May.

Turning classic children’s TV shows into full-length features appears to be all the rage at the moment, what with a big screen outing for Paddington due in November and this adaptation of Postman Pat in May. Predictably enough, the film replaces the charming stop-motion animation of the TV series with CGI, but at least they have the good grace to make a joke about it. The plot sees kind-hearted Postman Pat (voiced

by Stephen Mangan) entering a Britain’s Got Talent-style competition in order to win a holiday for his wife Sara (Susan Duerden). After wowing judge Simon Cowbell (Robin Atkin Downes) with an unexpected belter of a singing voice (courtesy of Ronan Keating), Pat finds himself whisked away to London for promotional duties, leaving scheming post office manager Mr Carbunkle (Peter Woodward) to replace Pat with a robot called the PatBot 3000. This is a perfectly serviceable kids’ film that

delivers a strong central message. There are even a couple of decent jokes for adults, though the idyllic image of the Royal Mail is likely to provoke snorts of bitter irony, given its current treatment by the government. (Matthew Turner) General release from Fri 23 May.

Lynn Shelton’s blossoming career as the brightest graduate of the mumblecore school takes an odd, unsatisfactory turn with Touchy Feely. The writer and director of Humpday revisits familiar themes of dysfunctional families and strained relationships but this time everything feels a little half-baked. In Seattle, Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) is a successful masseuse with a boyfriend Jesse (Scoot McNairy) who has just asked her to move in with him. She hesitates because he was supposed to be her ‘rebound guy’ and the crisis provokes a sudden revulsion to the look and feel of skin. At the same time, her depressed brother Paul (Josh Pais) suddenly develops a healing touch that transforms his struggling dental practice into a roaring success. The characters and their foibles are straight from a Woody Allen script but everything about them is sketchy and drifts in and out of focus. Touchy Feely is ultimately about people who fail to connect. It has moments that are vaguely amusing but more often it feels sluggish and insubstantial. While the prolific Shelton already appears to be back on track with Laggies, which was warmly received at Sundance earlier this year, Touchy Feely is still a disappointment. (Allan Hunter) Limited release from Fri 16 May.

ACTION GODZILLA (12A) 132min ●●●●●

Having impressed with his low-budget debut Monsters, British filmmaker Gareth Edwards now delivers a visually stunning, if emotionally flawed, monster-sized blockbuster with Godzilla. A self-confessed Godzilla geek, Edwards has stayed true to many of the origins of the original Toho creation (directed by Ishiro Honda way back in 1954) by playing once again on nuclear fears and nature’s ability to remind mankind of its power. His film also knows how to deliver the type of spectacle befitting a movie of its size, and boasts several jaw-dropping setpieces. But there are shortcomings, too. The film struggles to be as affecting as it should be and the last act, while impressive on many levels, sadly still comes down to a ticking bomb scenario.

The story picks up in 1999 as nuclear physicist Joe Brody

(Bryan Cranston) fails to prevent a catastrophic meltdown at Japan’s Janjira nuclear plant that also claims the life of his wife, before shifting forward 15 years as he continues to investigate the subsequent cover-up. With his estranged son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in tow, Joe soon discovers that the cause of the tragedy has returned along with another malevolent beast that could spell the end of humanity. Edwards tries to give the film a human dimension by having

most of the action revolve around one family, but Taylor-Johnson, in particular, struggles to convince during these moments and the connection with his own wife and child plays largely second fiddle to the bigger spectacle. But fortunately it’s in the imaginative visuals that Godzilla really scores (even though the monster himself doesn’t occupy much screen-time). A Hawaii-based reveal and subsequent San Francisco showdown genuinely exhilarate and should leave viewers roaring their own approval. (Rob Carnevale) General release from Thu 15 May.

15 May–12 Jun 2014 THE LIST 69