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Neil Fox on film: Silver Linings Playbook, Gambit, End Of Watch

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Silver Linings Playbook

The Fighter was a return to the filmmaking arena of the fascinating talent David O. Russell, who had been on hiatus since the glorious folly of his existential comedy I Heart Huckabees.

The success of The Fighter allowed him to venture back into psychological, emotional comedy and he has with aplomb, with this adaptation starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Cooper shows he is more than just hair, with a complex, unhinged performance as a man who is rebuilding his life, fresh out of hospital, having split up from his wife, and living with his parents.

Robert De Niro is superb as the father – it’s really nice to see him acting again, in something good – but it’s Lawrence who again steals the show with an incendiary performance as the girl with issues of her own who Cooper’s character meets on his road to recovery.

An unconventional love story unfolds that is smart, funny, moving and full of fascinating questions about mental health and our perception of it and the treatment of those suffering from it. One of the year’s best American movies, despite the overwrought ending.

Gambit

Just when you thought Colin Firth had escaped the twee foppishness of his pre-A Single Man days, he turns up in this sub-Cary Grant hokum with Cameron Diaz on his arm. Oh well.

It’s the story of an art curator out for revenge, who enlists a crazy cowgirl to help. You’d never know this was written by the Coen Brothers from the delivery, which is hammy and OTT without any sense of individual style and charm.

It’s harmless, but wastes its cast and starting script. Maybe that is the great crime of the film, and not the art fakery.

End Of Watch

David Ayer writes and directs cop movies. Specifically LA cop movies like Training Day, Dark Blue and Harsh Times. His latest sees him, unsurprisingly, back on familiar ground. Jake Gyllenhaal really comes of age with his central performance.

Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger!

The first Nativity film, with Martin Freeman, was a nice little movie with some funny moments. This utterly needless sequel is offensive, unfunny and atrocious. David Tennant has clearly offended someone to end up here, as a teacher leading a group of precocious pupils to a carol competition. Mundane, unfunny, clichéd, horrid.

 

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