I had the chance to check out 42 last week and The Place Beyond The Pines this week. Have you seen either? I’m going to keep my thoughts on both fairly spoiler-free. Let’s begin:
42: If you know me, you know I unabashedly love two sub-genres of movies: high-school comedies and drama sports-movies. Are those even sub-genres? I think so. Anyways, there isn’t a sports movie I don’t like. Coach Carter? Check. We Are Marshall? Yup. See? I think my favourite is Remember The Titans. I don’t care if that’s an uninspired answer, it’s just the perfect kind of sports movie. 42 tries it’s best to recreate that kind of magic that lies within Titans but unfortunately fails. The film has it’s heart in the right place, but it feels too “made-for-TV” to elevate it to anything more than a standard biopic. I expect these kind of movies to fall into certain kind of conventions just because that’s what expected of the genre, but 42 never offers anything more. What it does offer us is an absolutely home run performance (you bet I went there) from Chadwick Boseman as Robinson. He channels a young Denzel and it’s a feast to watch him play.
The Place Beyond The Pines: Pines had it’s debut at TIFF ’12 last year and quietly went under the radar at the festival. From the people who had seen it though, they only raved about it. Like Spring Breakers and many films before it, the trailer alters a different film than what’s really at hand. Without spoiling it, Pines is a generational drama and works in 3 parts, focusing on 3 different narratives that are all connected. It’s certainly an ambitious film in the way of Cloud Atlas (but less so, of course) but where Cloud Atlas won me over, I became less and less interested in the characters as Pines went on. I enjoyed it, I did, and the first 45 minutes or so are brilliant and remain my favourite (and the best) part of the film. Gosling is good as always, Cooper isn’t as strong as you’d think and Mendes isn’t left with much to do, but is good. Again, it’s flawed and ambitious but it’s, overall, a captivating drama that loses steam nearthe end.