Tag Archives: 2009

Film Review: The Winning Season (2009)

Sam Rockwell plays a disgraced, highschool basketball couch and part-time arsehole who’s been reduced to a dishwasher. His spirits are lifted when he gets the opportunity to couch again, but he wasn’t expecting it to be girl’s basketball.

The plot is nothing new; Rockwell‘s character has to turn his team around so they can actually win some games, while dealing with his bigotry and personal problems, which make him the arsehole he is. We’ve seen plenty of similar films before. What makes this one stand out for me is the slightly unusual performances from many of the actors. The exchanges between the teenage girls are not the normal stilted Hollywood formula, they seem more genuine and realistic. The same goes for the other actors and situations. Even though these character relationships are not explored to great depth, you’re given enough to help you care about them. Which adds more weight to the emotional and comedic moments.

I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It’s quite an emotional rollercoaster, dealing with various personal issues without over simplifying them with unrealistic easy solutions. And with a good smattering of laughs it makes for a very nice, feel-good flick.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Winning Season on IMDb

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Film Review: Year One (2009)

An adventure, comedy staring Jack Black and Michael Cera. Initially living with their primitive tribe in the woods, events thrust them into ancient civilisation where they enjoy and suffer the delights and injustices that come with it.

It’s not very good. While I did laugh at times, mainly due to the performances of Black, Cera and the other fine comedy actors involved, it’s not a well written or executed film. It’s fine for some escapism that doesn’t require much thought. It’s like the simpleton brother of Apocalypto, which is a fine film. Although this film doesn’t have the same epic scale in the sets, costumes, etc. It’s all rather cheesy.

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Year One on IMDb

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Film Review: Lebanon (2009)

Set entirely inside a tank, following the crew as they make their way through a besieged town during the Lebanese civil war. As with other films set in confined spaces the focus is on raising tension and this film does a good job. Characters are rounded and interesting, particularly taking into account the cultural differences. Compared to me anyway.

As you’d expect there’s scenes of brutality and death. War sucks, man. But this film doesn’t. The story isn’t broad, but there’s enough to keep you interested and to keep watching the characters fall apart.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Lebanon on IMDb

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