list.co.uk/ﬁ lm Reviews | FILM
COMEDY DRAMA SAY WHEN (15) 99min ●●●●●
ROMANTIC COMEDY LOVE, ROSIE (15) 102min ●●●●● HORROR THE BABADOOK (15) 94min ●●●●●
Director Lynn Shelton has made her name with lo-fi relationship dramas and Say When is no different, albeit with a higher-profile cast. It’s also the first time Shelton has worked from someone else’s script (newcomer Andrea Seigel), but this quarter-life crisis comedy is still right in her wheelhouse.
Keira Knightley plays the aimless Megan, who
spins out after her boyfriend proposes. Unsure of what to do, she claims she’s going on a retreat to buy herself some time. Instead, she winds up befriending high-school teen Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz), who lives with her genial father Craig (Sam Rockwell) but lacks a motherly influence. Dealing with growing pains, both in teens and adults, Say When is strong on exploring issues of conformity. It’s hardly explosive or revelatory, and hinges on more contrivances than it should, but there’s a rambling, ambling charm to the film, as if Shelton is channelling early John Hughes. The central trio are appealing enough, particularly
Knightley. The only major negative is the bland title change: it was called Laggies in the US, which seems a fitting description of these stunted characters. (James Mottram) ■ General release from Fri 7 Nov.
Based on a novel by Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie pitches, nay flings itself at the less discerning end of the rom-com crowd. Christian Ditter takes the helm of a chaotic confection which starts off pleasantly bubbly, but is soon overflowing with froth.
Teenagers Rosie and Alex (Lily Collins and Sam Claflin) have been besties since childhood and it’s evident they’re in love. Unfortunately, neither of them has ever had the sense to say so. When career aspirations take Alex to Boston, Rosie is prevented from joining him by an unplanned pregnancy and the two dance around each other for over a decade, as other partners come and go. Fittingly, given that the title recalls Love Actually,
this brings to mind that film’s less dignified moments. Fleeting spells of character-illuminating intimacy and a cast with clout fail to redeem it. Instead, Love, Rosie makes its stock-in-trade constant, senseless contrivances and adds in unconvincing friendships, crass comedy and an illogical timeline. That it wastes the talent of two rising stars is
upsetting; that it insults its audience is unforgivable. (Emma Simmonds) ■ General release from Wed 22 Oct.
Overwhelming grief and depression take the form of a slithering monster with knives for hands in debut director Jennifer Kent’s upsetting, at times terrifying, modern day fable. It’s been six-years since Amelia (Essie Davis) lost her husband in a car accident and she’s struggling to cope as a single mother to Samuel (Noah Wiseman). When he becomes obsessed with a pop-up book character named the Babadook, things take a very nasty turn.
Davis undergoes a phenomenal transformation from meek mother to raging beast and Wiseman is remarkable as a feral fiend, brandishing homemade weapons as he wages war on depression. That the Australian writer-director Kent has executed her ideas with such style on her first try is extremely impressive.
The film’s sound design is incredibly effective: enchanting, ominous music plays out whenever the unwelcome presence is lurking, which snaps off as soon as Amelia pushes her gloomy feelings aside. The raw honesty which lies beneath this story of loneliness and loss makes for emotionally impactful viewing. The Babadook is a tale tinged with both sadness and hope. (Katherine McLaughlin) ■ Limited release from Fri 24 Oct.
ACTION ADVENTURE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (12A) 101min ●●●●●
The director's credit may read Jonathan Liebesman, but there's no mistaking the influence of producer Michael Bay on this reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, which began life in 1984 as a humble self-published comic book by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, before spawning numerous big and small screen incarnations, alongside merchandising opportunities aplenty. Megan Fox is TV reporter April O’Neil, who’s on the hunt for a big scoop when she discovers Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson), four mutated, teenage turtles whose fighting skills are matched only by their insatiable passion for pizza. Together with their rat sensei Splinter (voiced by Tony Shalhoub), the turtles battle the sinister Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), whose gang are terrorising New York City.
The CGI-enhanced turtles are a vast improvement on their
rubber-suited cinematic predecessors and Fox is commendably committed, while there’s enjoyable comic support from Will Arnett as her smitten cameraman. In addition, the colourful production design (with a stark emphasis on yellows and greens) gives the film a distinctive look befitting its comic book origins.
The script makes a couple of subtle tweaks to the turtles’ back-story, but is otherwise respectful of the source material. Liebesman keeps things snappy and delivers an exciting central set-piece involving a snow-covered mountain slope, as well as an impressively vertiginous finale that makes strong use of the 3D effects. This fast-paced slice of action adventure will satisfy fans but is as loaded with fromage as the film’s much salivated- over 99-cheese pizza. (Matthew Turner) ■ General release from Fri 17 Oct.
16 Oct–13 Nov 2014 THE LIST 65