Monday, December 24, 2012

The Adjustment Bureau

It's nearly the end of 2012 so we're doing our best to catch up with the films of 2011. The Adjustment Bureau (not to be confused with The Bureau Adjustment, a Ben Affleck film where he has to move a writing desk three inches to the left of its original position) has lots of people in nifty hats, and a Dickian concept of interdimensional travel that allows the director to put in as many interesting shots of New York as he can think of, without having to care a jot for continuity. (There's a glorious shot early on when somebody goes through a door into (apparently) the wrong place, and once that's been used once, it's open season.)

Ben Affleck plays a congressman who loses a senatorial campaign because he once mooned somebody, which seems feeble now, as we know you can tie a dog to the roof of your car, drive it to Florida and jetwash it and you'll still be the Republican presidential candidate. Still, you don't watch a film like this for realistic characters, any more than you read Dick for the dialogue.

Emily Blunt is a slightly manic pixie girl to begin with, then transforms into a incredible dancer, and then has some plot happen to her. Terence Stamp wears a hat and looks a bit cross. Basically, there's something for everyone.

What I really liked is that there was no attempt to explain why the Adjustment Bureau do what they do, or how, or who they are. There's just a big hammer taken to the concept of free will, and some guys in cool hats running very fast through the streets of Manhattan. (Actually, once Matt Damon starts wearing a hat, he can run fast too, so there's something to be said for employing a good milliner.)

At the same time, it's not clear if the Bureau have a bunch of truncheons to fix people with, or incredible mind-control gadgets, or whatever was most useful for the plot at the time. The ending is just-so-slightly schmaltzy, but with Christmas tomorrow, who can complain?

Yesterday, as well as wearing myself out on the Kinect, we watched Step Up: Revolution, or to give it its full title, Step Up - All Dubstep, All The Time. A bunch of unruly but photogenic misfits flashmob Miami to show what great dancers they are, while a malfunctioning washing machine provides the soundtrack. Good visuals, no plot (as if it really needed one) but it really felt like an elongated music video. I hope the next episode in the Step Up franchise is set in the spiritual home of dubstep, Croydon. They could have some teenagers clubbing together to save the Black Sheep bar from evil developers, and orchestrate a mass dance protest at the Addiscombe tram stop, before ending up getting in a fight with some off-duty postmen at the Porter & Sorter by East Croydon station. Cinematic gold, I'm telling you.


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