Albert Nobbs (2011) dir: Rodrigo García

I didn’t know anything about this movie but was curious as Glenn Close was the lead -and having seen her in ‘Damages’ I was reminded that she has been noticeably absent from the big screen recently.

This film is based on the short story ‘The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs’ by Irish novelist George Moore which first appeared around 1918 and Close played Albert in the stage play back in 1982 – the film has been a personal project of hers for a number of years.

I read Empire’s review of this movie before writing this (not something I normally do) and although I love this magazine, I thought the reviewer was being a total dick.

Set some time in the late 19th Century in Dublin, Albert Nobbs is a woman who has masqueraded as a man so that she is able to work as a head waiter in a posh hotel. Dedicated to her job, naïve, introvert and dreadfully lonely, she carefully saves her hard earned money so that she can one day buy her own business. Her world suddenly changes when her actual sex is discovered and this opens her eyes to the possibility of a future where she perhaps doesn’t have to be alone.

It was interesting watching such a quiet understated performance from Glenn Close, no barn storming here, in fact so understated that I could feel how squashed this character had become, a cog in a wheel, not wanting to bring attention to herself, not wanting the masquerade to slip – but still daring to dream.

I’m not going to go through the various plot machinations, but I was kind of expecting the various strands to be predictable and actually – they weren’t. The supporting cast all do pretty well with their Irish accents (to my non-Irish ear anyway) and although small scale I was hooked to the end and came away curious to know whether such things (you’ll know what I mean if you see the film) actually happened.

Kick-Ass (2010) dir: Matthew Vaughn

So busy trying to get my own film up and running that it’s taken me over a week to write this up. And yes it’s not really a small movie as it cost $30m, but it’s an indie movie made to look and compete with Hollywood fair.

Arron Johnson is a high school kid who loves comic books. He poses this question. Why aren’t there any real super heroes? So he buys a wet suit and mask and decides to fight crime as ‘Kick-Ass’. And immediately finds out why there aren’t real crime fighting super heroes. However, he becomes a youtube sensation and comes to the attention of Father and Daughter crime fighting team ‘Big Daddy’ (aka Damon Macready aka Nic Cage) and ‘Hitgirl’ (aka Mindy Macready aka Chloë Grace Moretz). ‘Nuff said.

It’s these last two characters and their relationship that really elevates an already good movie to greatness. This is also easily Nic Cage’s best film in ages – it’s almost like his character here is an older, slightly more domesticated ‘Sailor Ripley ‘ (his character in Wild at Heart) – you can imagine ‘Hit Girl’ being his offspring. And Chloë Grace Moretz, a seasoned actress already at 13, is, to put it bluntly, amazing.

Sure it is going to upset some members of the audience, what with a little girl killing and maiming the bad guys as expletives roll off her tongue. But this is a comic book movie, made by comic book fans, and in conjunction with, the great comic book writer Mark Millar. Often laugh out loud and jaw dropping. The script by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn just zings with energy and although there is plenty of action it’s often the small scenes that are so memorable. My favourite is a quiet little interlude where dad Damon and his little girl Mindy are sitting in a diner eating ice cream sodas together, and she’s telling him what she wants for her birthday. And she asking for (I think!) a puppy dog and all sorts of girly fluffy toys – all the while her dad’s face is drooping with disappointment and sadness. Then Mindy looks into her dad’s eyes and goes. “I’m just fucking with you Daddy!” and then describes the lethal weaponry that she’d really like and his face lights up with pride and happiness!

Matthew Vaughn directs with utter control as the film could have easily have been terrible. His best work yet.

I loved it and can’t wait to see it again. Even my wife who pretty much hates comic book related films (she was bored by The Dark Knight for goodness sake and refused to come to Watchmen) was converted and has stated that she would be happy to accompany me! All is well in my household.

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