Movie Review: “Submarine” and “Super”

A quick movie review before I start fixing my notes for review classes.

2 movie reviews for today: Submarine and Super. I watched these over a week ago I think and my boyfriend was awesome enough to buy these DVDs.

“You’re the only person I would allow to be shrunk down to a microscopic size and swim inside me in a tiny submersible machine.” – Oliver Tate

Submarine’ is the directorial debut of Richard Ayoade, which premiered just last year. I came across the trailer at Apple.com, decided it deserved a watch since its cinematography (use of bold colors against muted backgrounds of blue and grey) definitely caught my attention plus Alex Turner, the frontman of one of my favorite bands the Arctic Monkeys, was in-charge of doing the soundtrack for the film. And that also was a deciding factor that made me want to watch it.

The plot is centered on Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), a 15 year old precocious Welsh teenager with a penchant for theatrics and complicated, obscure words and is the narrator of the story.  Lately Oliver has a lot on his mind: intending to lose his virginity before his 16th birthday, why a schoolmate get bullied, and wooing his feisty pyromaniac but pretty classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige) and wanting to be the best boyfriend in the world. But ultimately, Oliver’s worried about his parents’ sex life and the possibility of them splitting up. To prevent this, Olive results to unorthodox medthods to keep his mother from completely falling to the dubious charms of the next-door spiritualist who was also his mother’s first love.

I thought it was a sweet and clever coming-of-age movie with an interesting and engaging lead played by a terrific Craig Roberts. Although I didn’t find myself relating to Oliver’s character, I found his character more sympathetic despite the outrageous things he’s done. It’s more of a love-hate relationship that I feel for Oliver the plot veers between being hilarious and surprisingly poignant.

I think the highlights of the film were the script and the cinematic feel of it. The cinematography was so beautiful: the hazy blueness of the town near the sea and each part of the movie had a random burst of color in the screen, which was refreshing yet simple. I adore the bit in the movie where there was a montage of Oliver and Jordana running and skipping and playing with sparklers where Oliver narrates:

“Jordana and I enjoyed a glorious atavistic, fortnight of lovemakin’; humiliatin’ teachers and bullies in the week. I have already turned these moments into the Super-8 footage of memory.”

And the soundtrack didn’t dissapoint at all! Alex Turner came up with 5 original songs for the soundtrack and it definitely set the mood of the film all throughout. It was pure talented songwriting in it’s simplest form. Overall, there’s a lot to like in this film and I thought it was pretty good. The Oliver-Jordana pair made me giggle in the weirdest way, and there were many moments as well where I nearly died laughing. But definitely, it is without doubt the most beautifully shot film of the year and I highly recommend it.

+++

For the film ‘Super’, I definitely thought it was dark film and possibly darker than the trailer would have liked you to believe. The protagonist of our story is Frank (Rainn Wilson), your average kind of guy who works as a cook at a diner, tells us about the only two happy memories in his life: marrying the love of his life Sarah (Liv Tyler) and pointing to a police officer where an escaped suspect went. The rest of his life were vignettes of misery altogether. But when his ex-addict wife falls under the influence of a slick drug dealer Jacque (Kevin Bacon), he loses faith to the sense of justice that exists in the world. But after a moment of epiphany, Frank decides to get the love of his life back. And how does he do it? Frank takes matters into his own hands and transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills. To help him in his mission, a young girl named Libby (Ellen Page), styles herself as Crimson Bolt’s sidekick: Boltie.

I think people might mention similarities between Super and Kick-Ass, another film that delves into the superhero concept in real life. But it’s a whole different matter with Super since unlike Kick-Ass that romanticized violence; we’re given an in-your-face realistic account of violence in the realest way as possible. Super was a pretty wild ride:  it was gory, zany, it had it’s campy moments, silly, surreal (Tentacles? I mean come on) and also melodramatic, but I enjoyed it mostly.

There were definitely scenes that made me uncomfortable (especially with Libby, another love-hate relationship with a character), go “WTF” and made me feel a little ambivalent towards it, but I still found myself raving at the end. A surreal moment with the Holy Avenger just made me LOL. Overall, I think that intention was to really make the audience uncomfortable with the idea of real life violence and with this, I don’t think Super will be up to everyone’s liking.

But what I loved about it was the movie wears the idea of selflessness up it’s sleeve and it think it’s a pretty sweet and redeeming quality for a movie of this tone and genre.

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