Thursday, 16 December 2010


Walt Disney Studio Films
Now Showing

With the release of Tangled, Disney have double cause for celebration: not only is it the House of Mouse's 50th animated feature, but it continues their impressive return to form which began this time last year with the wonderful The Princess and the Frog.

Some of the credit for this reinvigoration of Disney has a lot to do with Pixar founder, John Lasseter's promotion to head of Disney Animation. If anyone knows what works and what doesn't, and can perfectly blend character, story and action within the realms of animation, it's the team from Pixar. Still, it's somewhat ironic given the success of both The Princess and the Frog and Tangled, that Pixar, for all their considerable success and talent, have yet to produce a female-centric film.

A re-boot of the age old tale of Rapunzel (the film's original title which was changed lest it scare off the young male demographic), Tangled should, despite those marketing doubts, appeal to a wide audience; female and male, young and old.

Rapunzel's (voiced by former pop starlet, Many Moore) journey of self discovery begins when Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), a charming if somewhat overly self confident thief, happens upon Rapunzel's home, a tower hidden deep in the forest, whilst on the run from the royal guard. Rapunzel, not accustomed to visitors from the outside world (her mother, who is no such thing having abducted her from the royal nursery for the magical youth-defying properties of her locks, has kept her "secured" her entire life), seizes upon the opportunity and makes a deal with Flynn; in exchange for the return of his stolen loot, he will show her the wonders of the outside world.

So ensues an adventure that will charm all but the hardest hearted of cynics and misanthropes, with enough action for the boys and romance for the girls. Not that Rapunzel, despite her sheltered upbringing, is about to quietly acquiesce to the first good looking larcenist to cross her path.

There's also plenty of laughs, most of them provided by Maximus the royal guard horse who, seemingly under the misconception that he's a bloodhound, won't abandon his pursuit of Flynn. Much like Donkey, Dory and Puss-in-Boots before him, Maximus easily steals the film from his animated leads – and all without uttering a word.

Unlike the traditional 2D animated Princess, Tangled is a CG animated feature. It can also be seen in 3D, and as much as I like to dump on that format, Tangled's painterly scenery, which recalls the Disney films of old (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty), doesn't suffer from the murky visuals 3D often produces; it's as colourful and vibrant as intended, with or without the glasses.

For whatever reason, there seems to be a dearth of good kids and family films these summer holidays, of which Tangled is the best. But not by default; it's a genuine delight.


Paramount Pictures
Now Showing

Eleven years ago, Brit director Roger Michell gave us Notting Hill, one of the best romantic comedies of the '90s. Genre-wise, Michell has been all over the map since then but returns to similarly light territory with Morning Glory, albeit with less than successful results.

Morning Glory is not a rom-com. Our heroine, Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) has little time for romance, as focussed as she is on succeeding in the highly-competitive breakfast television arena. As the newly-appointed producer of Daybreak, the perennially fourth-running show in a race of four, and having fired one of her anchors on day one, Becky needs a new co-host to sit opposite Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton in a thankless role), and a miracle to save the show and her ass.

That miracle comes in the unlikely form of Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford at his most grizzly), a serious television journalist from the old school of reporting who's basically coasting out his contract with the network. That contract features a loophole which enables Becky to force Mike into the vacant co-anchor's chair, and what begins as a foolhardy experiment starts to pay off when audience interest increases due to the barely contained hostilities displayed between Colleen and Mike.

And Morning Glory could have been a lot more fun had it run with this war of the roses. Keaton and, somewhat surprisingly, Ford have excellent comic chops which Ford gets to work-out to good effect as the cantankerous old newsman. Keaton's role, however, seems to have been severely reduced in the editing room.

McAdams, always a welcome screen presence, also has chemistry with Ford but thankfully Michell and his writer, Aline Brosh McKenna, avoid any May-December shenanigans between the two. She does, however, have a romantic interest in fellow network employee Adam Bennett (Patrick Wilson), but he's given only slightly more to work with than Keaton.

What the film does do is successfully skewer the vacuousness that is breakfast television. And anyone who has watched Channel 7's Sunrise knows this isn't endemic to American TV. But that is countered somewhat by Becky's success in her job, a success that comes from exploiting said vacuity at the expense of real news. It's something even the battle-hardened Mike will have to succumb to in order to save the show – dignity be damned!

There's no denying Morning Glory is enjoyable fare, but its this underlying ideology that leaves an unpleasant aftertaste, particularly for those of us who fear the continual dumbing down of our traditional media sources in response to a perceived attempt to compete with new media. That's no laughing matter and it shouldn't be championed.


Hopscotch Entertainment
Out on DVD and Blu-ray January 6

Two completely different comedies releasing this week where the only (tenuous) link (other than distributor, Hopscotch) is their political subjects i.e. gay parenting and suicide bombers. Lisa Cholodenko's THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (co-written by Stuart Blumberg) may not, on the surface of things, seem like a political film but by depicting a gay family as not unlike any other family (i.e. two parents, two kids), with all the inherent strengths and weaknesses, is still (sadly) a somewhat radical act, even in the 21st century, and especially in American filmmaking. Made for under $5 million, Kids is all the more impressive for boasting an impressive cast (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the couple; Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson as the kids; and Mark Ruffalo as the sperm donor “dad”) who all bring their A games. Bening (and probably Ruffalo) will score an Oscar nomination but for me, it is Moore's performance that is the film's best (and the Lead!).

FOUR LIONS is an entirely different political beast, one that makes light of a very serious subject: suicide bombers. Too soon, some may say, but the best comedy pushes the boundaries of taste and Chris Morris's fly-on-the-wall look at four of England's dumbest potential martyrs will have you laughing, cringing and tsk-tsk-ing in equal measure. Yes, the would-be-bombers are Muslim but that's not the point. It's extremism – and a warped variety at that – which is under the microscope here: there is a marked difference between faith and blind devotion, and stupid is as stupid does. And while Morris, and writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, who have links to Armando Iannucci, responsbile for one of 2010 best comedies, In The Loop (Armstrong co-wrote that screenplay), may not be as precise in their aim as that film, the jokes hit their target as often than not.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Eclipsing my record set in 2009 for films seen in a year (now 137), 2010 has proven to be a big year at the movies. That said, I am unable to name a definitive #1 film for the year so have listed (in alphabetical order) my Top 10. I also have an Honourable Mentions list for films that I really liked and recommend you seek out.

Note: this recap comprises only of films released in Australian cinemas between January 1 and December 31, 2010.

2010 has been a year of growth for The LennoX Files and I've appreciated your readership, especially that of my 13 followers. I'd also value your feedback, so let me know what films you enjoyed, even loved, in 2010. And here's hoping for an even bigger year at the movies in 2011.


In a good year for French films – Welcome and Gainsbourg are also worthy of mention – Jacques Audiard's prison drama, centred around a terrific performance by Tahar Rahim, was mighty impressive. A barely literate young man, Malik (Rahim), survives his sentence by becoming the gopher for the prison's Corsican gang boss whilst keeping his own contacts with the Arab community, in and out of prison. Audiard doesn't exactly depict Malik's rise in the ranks as unappealing but he doesn't skimp on the brutality either; a scene involving a razor blade was perhaps the most tension-filled I saw all year. Even at two-and-a-half hours, A Prophet is not too long a stretch.


Okay, so it's kind of a cheat to cram three films into one slot but hey, it's my list! Every year animation just gets better and better with Pixar long rivalling their live action cousins. Now others are rising to the challenge. FANTASTIC MR FOX was a wonderful retro stop-motion delight, via the imagination of Roald Dahl, but with the unmistakable fingerprints of director Wes Anderson. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG saw Disney get their mojo back with a traditional 2D animated film, and arguably their best since The Lion King. And with HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, DreamWorks showed they are within striking distance of Pixar, eschewing pop culture riffing for a story of unlikely friendship that was big on action, humour and heart.


Based on the Robert Harris novel, The Ghost Writer could easily be dismissed as an airport novel adaptation if it weren't so damn good. Roman Polanski is at the height of his powers in weaving this tale of suspense about a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) hired to polish the memoirs of an ex Brit PM being accused of war crimes. A never-better Pierce Brosnan plays the Tony Blair-inspired PM (but nothing like Michael Sheen), and Olivia Williams is excellent as the PM's chilly wife. With a nod to Hitchcock, Polanski uses suspense rather than action to ratchet up the tension in this first class thriller.


Easily the most talked about film of 2010, Christopher Nolan's journey down the rabbit hole and into the dreamscape was as deep as you wanted it to be. Essentially a heist film where the loot is an idea, and one planted rather than stolen, you either went with Cobb (Leo DiCaprio) and his team (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy) on their mission or you didn't. Most audiences – and critics – went along for the ride, and even if it was more cerebral than emotional (although Marion Cotillard went some way to evening that score), you can't under estimate the boldness of both Nolan's vision, and Warner Bros for backing an original, non-sequel, non-franchise film.


The manufactured controversy surrounding the dropping of the 'f' bomb 'c' word by an 11-year-old girl missed the point, and those who skipped Kick-Ass as a result missed out on one of the funnest, coolest films of the year. That 11-year-old, Hit Girl (the impressive Chloe Moretz, also of Let Me In), was one half of a crime fighting duo with her father, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage). They're eventually joined by Kick-Ass (Aaron Johnson), a superhero wannabe who obtains his moniker for receiving said ass kicking. But he bounces back – and rendered pain free – to take on the bad guys led by D'Amico (Mark Strong). Yes it's violent but it's also funny, and just a little pointed.


Writer-director Lisa Cholodenko's film may be a comedy – and a smart one at that – but it's also political given that it depicts a gay family as normal as any other. Which is to say loving but flawed, with its strengths and weaknesses. Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), a couple for 20 years, have two children (Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) via an anonymous sperm donor. It's when the kids go looking for “dad” (Mark Ruffalo) that the cracks in the family unit become exposed, magnified and potentially damaging. The film is full of heart and none more bigger than that of Jules. Bening may be getting all the awards attention but it's Moore's performance you'll remember.


A period drama, an odd couple friendship and the most likely film to prevent The Social Network from walking away with the Best Picture Oscar, Tom Hooper's The King's Speech is the rousing, emotional and true story of King George VI, who suffered from a debilitating stammer, and his Australian speech therapist. Colin Firth, as the king, and Geoffrey Rush, as therapist Lionel Logue, are an acting dynamic duo, with Firth likely to win an Oscar and Rush, at the very least, to be nominated.


Almost every year the Foreign Language Oscar throws up a surprise winner. And yes, A Prophet may have been more deserving this year, but I for one was seduced by Juan Jose Campanella's police procedural. Set in two time periods – 1999 and the political upheavals of 1970s Argentina – we follow Benjamin (Ricardo Darin), retired court investigator cum author, as he tries to reconcile past and present: an unsolved murder in the '70s, and his unspoken love for his then colleague, Irene (Soledad Villamil). There's a football stadium sequence which is mighty impressive but it's the love story that will seduce you. See it before the already planned US remake.


In terms of critical response, David Fincher's film is the best of the year – and the most likely Best Picture Oscar winner – and it's an assessment hard to argue with. Starting with the brilliant screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, which the young and impressive cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara – deliver at breakneck speed, Fincher captures a world – the rarefied air of Harvard – and a moment – the birth of facebook – which he frames in a quasi-courtroom drama. Facebook user or not (I am not!), film lovers should make friends with Sorkin, Fincher et al.


For pure emotion, hands down the best film of the year! I saw the final installment in the much-loved Toy Story franchise twice – and cried both times. But why not lump it in with the other animated films at the top of this list? Because Pixar's film deserves special recognition, and not just as a great film. As acknowledgment that a franchise film need not be unoriginal or uninspired; that going out on top is far more admirable and brave than pumping out endless sequels purely for the money; and that despite being a “kids” film, Toy Story 3 dared to ask some serious questions about growing up and letting go. Thanks for the memories, Woody and Buzz, we'll miss you.


Animal Kingdom, Blue Valentine, Cairo Time, City Island, Crazy Heart, Easy A, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Hurt Locker, In The Loop, The Last Station, Me and Orson Welles, Precious, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Up In The Air, Welcome, Winter's Bone.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Sony Pictures
Now Showing

Much like a travel brochure which promises the most amazing holiday, The Tourist looked as though it could be the perfect cinema escape this summer. Sadly, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck's film, set for the most part in a sumptuously shot Venice, proves to be all pretty pictures with no lasting memories.

And surprisingly, the fault lies mostly with the film's leads, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. She, looking as beautiful as ever, and he, refreshingly playing his straightest role in quite some time, have next to no chemistry at all: Mr and Mrs Smith they are not. The pair meet on a train when Elise (Jolie), attempting to elude the British (not so) secret service, sits down next to Frank Tupelo (Depp), holidaying American math teacher.

He's to be the decoy, as instructed in a note to Elise by her lover and wanted fugitive, Alexander Pearce, to throw others off her tail. Pearce stole several millions from a gangster and has been in hiding for two years, believed to have had reconstructive surgery on his face. Elise is the only link to Pearce, whom the gangster, Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), wants for obvious reasons but whom the Brits, led by a dogged inspector (Paul Bettany), seem to want only for unpaid taxes on said stolen loot. So far, so bored.

This past week, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated The Tourist for a Golden Globe for Best Picture Comedy/Musical which means the members of the HFPA had a lot more fun with it than I did. And I'm not sure that Donnersmarck intended The Tourist as a comedy, despite its light tone; more a thriller in keeping with Hitchcock's lighter moments, perhaps?

But there's certainly no sense of urgency or danger in The Tourist, even with rooftop chases, gunfire and Russian mobsters. And a boat chase along the canals of Venice couldn't be less dramatic if filmed using a couple of row boats on a duck pond.

The teaming of Jolie and Pitt was probably considered a marketing slam dunk. Throw in Venice as a backdrop and audiences were most likely expected to be too hypnotised by all that beauty to care much for plot or character. Wrong. While I've no doubt The Tourist will do well at the Christmas Oz box office (How could it not? It has little in the way of high-powered competition), I also suspect it will come to be remembered more as a trip endured rather than a journey enjoyed.


Palace Films
Now Showing

Expectations can often be a bad thing, especially in the film reviewing game. Of course, it's not always the film's fault if it doesn't live up to one's expectations. What we expect a film to be, or are told it is – through other reviews, trailers etc – and what it actually is (or find it to be) can sometimes prove incompatible and thus disappointing. Case in point: Blue Valentine.

While a perfectly fine film, my expectations were high for Derek Cianfrance's feature, not helped by having to wait some 10 months to see it following its premiere at Sundance in January. Playing, and being raved about, at almost every major film festival throughout the year only added to my eagerness to see it.

My expectation of Blue Valentine, the depiction of the crumbling six year marriage of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams), was that it would be a raw emotional experience that would either break my heart or deliver a gut-punch. Sadly, I got neither but again, that's not entirely the fault of the film.

Blue Valentine unfolds in in two time frames: the present where events take place over a 24-hour period and everything – past and present tensions and resentments – comes to a head for the couple; and flashing back to six years earlier, revealing how Cindy and Dean met, dated and came to be married. The beginning of love and the end.

One could compare Blue Valentine to 2008's Revolutionary Road, at least in its depiction of a marriage in free fall. Mendes's film, with its literary pedigree, period setting and heavy emoting, is a tragedy of operatic proportions compared to the minimalism employed in Cianfrance's film: a handheld camera for the flashbacks, red digital for the present; a modern, modest wardrobe. And the present day occurs during the Fourth of July weekend, which is ironic given that the emotional fireworks occur, for the most part, below the surface.

But whatever my disappointments with the film, I cannot fault the performances. Michelle Williams and, especially, Ryan Gosling lay their characters (and themselves) bare. Williams' is, for the most part, a contained performance, more gestural with her body language revealing everything she isn't saying; Cindy's planned medical career put on hold to raise a daughter just one source of resentment.

Gosling, who undergoes a marked physical transformation between past and present, has the more demonstrative role as a man who is content to be no more than a good husband and father. But he, too, has issues (anger, jealousy) stemming from the early stages of the relationship.

I would have liked to have seen Blue Valentine a second time before writing my review but time (and limited previews) were against me. I plan to revisit it in the future where I hope for a more positive re-evaluation. But my disappointment aside, I'd recommend seeing Cianfrance's film (it's the second best offering of the Boxing Day releases), if only for those performances.


Hopscotch Films
Now Showing

It's been a piss-poor year for the romantic comedy, once a staple and reliable genre for Hollywood. 2009's (500) Days of Summer looked set to reinvigorate the genre but 2010 proved that that wonderful film was, sadly, an anomaly.

Thank god for the French. Heartbreaker may not be a great film by any means but it is fun, charming and, yes, romantic. It was a box office success in France and, predictably, Hollywood is already planning a remake. But I'd suggest you see Pascal Chaumeil's film, and not just because the original is always better but because the remake won't star Romain Duris.

Duris is Alex, a man who has managed to channel his considerable Gallic charms into a career as a professional relationship terminator, hired by the friends or family of a loved one whom they believe to be involved with the wrong person. Aided by his sister (Julie Ferrier) and brother-in-law (Francois Damiens), Alex researches each job to learn the best way to up-end the target's relationship. But should the couple prove to be genuinely happy, Alex won't take the job.

All of that changes with the threat of a debt collector, and Alex takes the assignment to break-up Juliette (Vanessa Paradis) and her millionaire, children's-hospital building English fiance (Andrew Lincoln) who seem to be the perfect couple. Alex and his team follow Juliette to Monte Carlo where, posing as a bodyguard hired by her father (who suspects his daughter is not as happy as she seems), he sets in motion operation seduction.

But Juliette, a fan of George Michael and Dirty Dancing, proves a considerable nut to crack, seemingly irresistable to Alex's charm offensive. Not so me; Duris had me at bon jour. Paradis on the other hand, who is perhaps better known outside of France as Mrs Johnny Depp, I found to be lacking in spark or charm. Still, I'll take this film over her hubby's The Tourist (also out this week; review to come) any day.

Like any rom-com, the ending is never in doubt, so at 105 minutes, Heartbreaker is perhaps a tad too long, and at times too farcical for its own good. But there are enough moments to sustain it. I defy anyone not to smile when they hear Wham's Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go or positively beam when the inevitable Dirty Dancing set piece finally arrives. Or fall for Romain Duris, for that matter.


Now Showing

There are at least two reasons why we haven't before heard the story that forms the basis of The King's Speech, the seemingly unlikely tale of an odd couple friendship between a king and a commoner: Enlgand's King George VI and his Australian speech therapist, Lionel Logue. One reason is a promise made to the Queen Mother by the film's screenwriter David Seidler; the other the abdication scandal involving American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, which overlapped with the events told here.

When King Edward (Guy Pearce, almost bordering on caricature) abdicates the English throne in 1936, so he can marry Simpson (Eve Best), his younger brother Albert (Bertie to his family) ascends to the throne as King George VI. George (Colin Firth) isn't uncomfortable wearing the crown so much as the increased demand on him to speak publicly. Suffering as he does from an almost crippling stammer, it terrifies him.

We're well aware of this by the time the abdication occurs; the film opens with a painfully awkward public address by George. George's supportive wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), has sought out various specialists in speech therapy over the years to little or no success, until she happens upon Lionel Logue (Geofrrey Rush), a one-time Australian stage actor now practising speech therapist in London with unorthodox methods.

Logue also has little time for ceremony and a healthy dislike of authority. He agrees to take George on as his patient provided he attend sessions at his office, that they address each other as equals and his methods are not questioned. There's one or two false starts and it's not all smooth sailing, but it's the beginning of a beautiful, if unlikely, friendship which would last until King George's death in 1952.

The reason it took Seidler so long to bring his screenplay to the screen was a promise made to the Queen Mother that he would not do so until she had passed (in 2002, aged 101). Apparently the memories and emotions were still too fresh for the elderly widow.

Directed by Tom Hooper (who made last year's The Damned United, and the brilliant TV miniseries, John Adams), The King's Speech is a period drama that is neither stuffy nor all pomp and ceremony despite its regal setting. Hooper's very much concerned with the people, particularly George and Lionel, and he couldn't have asked for two better accomplices than Firth and Rush.

As a man born into privilege (and ultimately power) but stymied by his impediment, Firth never overplays the stammering (which could get old fast), and allows us to see the anger and anguish beneath the surface. Rush, who hasnt had this juicy a role in quite some time, goes toe-to-toe with Firth. He may be somewhat of a comic foil but he's also a man of convictions. He sees how good a king George can be and he'll push him as hard as he can until he does too.

"Why should I listen to you?" Rush's Logue asks the King during a heated exchange on the eve of his coronation. "Because I have a voice!" Firth replies. He may also have an Oscar come late February 2011; Rush, too, if the Academy is paying attention.


Universal Pictures
Now Showing

Despite the frustrating opening sequences, which could best be described as episodic inertia, Sofia Coppola's Somewhere gradually draws you in. Not that the episodic nature abates – this is a virtually plot-free film – but because its protagonist, Hollywood actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff), livens up.

That's around the time his daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning, sister of Dakota) arrives to stay with him at his "home", L.A.'s Chateau Marmont Hotel. Elle's mother (presumably Johnny's ex) needs to get away and she posits the muppet-sized but surprisingly capable 11-year-old with her dad. Plot-wise that's about it. Father and daughter hanging by the hotel pool, a brief trip to Milan to promote his latest film and ordering midnight snacks of gelato via room service, computer games, shopping, and eventually a road trip, to deliver Cleo to summer camp.

But Coppola's film is also a study in the emptiness of fame and celebrity. Johnny lives in a hotel, hosting parties in his room most nights with guests he doesn't appear to know, and having sexual encounters with random women, presumably attracted to his celebrity rather than his scruffy looks and non-existent charm.

I don't know that we're supposed to feel sorry for Johnny Marco – boo hoo, it's tough being a star! – but perhaps to empathise. One assumes that Coppola, daughter of director Francis Ford, knows a thing or two about growing up in the rarified air of Hollywood as the child of a feted man. Personal experience informs Somewhere just as it did Coppola's most successful film, Lost In Translation, which also took place in the confines of a (Japanese) hotel and had as its central character a lonely actor (played brilliantly by Bill Murray).

But the similarities between the two films mostly end there. Lost In Translation is almost hyperactive compared to Somewhere's languid pacing, and the male-female dynamic (Scarlett Johansson playing a Coppola substitute in the earlier film) is of a completely different nature.

Dorff and Fanning work well together as father-daughter, relaxed and casual like the film itself. Marco curbs his vices when he's with Cleo and not begrudgingly; she represents the best of him and he knows it. The film is at its most engaging and best when the two are together. And much like Johnny Marco, it's almost intolerable without Cleo.


Walt Disney Studio Films
Now Showing

Confession: I have not seen the original Tron, the 1982 film which has subsequently become a cult classic, chiefly amongst (I'm guessing) those of a computer persuasion. Unlike those *cough* geeks *cough*, and many who have a nostalgic, childhood fondness for the film, I approached the sequel with no expectations one way or the other. So I can't say that Tron: Legacy disappointed me. How could it? But bore me? That it did.

Visually the film is impressive but I expected that going in. And there are better people than I who can expound on the technical marvels of this film – the creation of an alternate reality, the soundscape, and the CGI-youthified Jeff Bridges, returning from the original – which are all rendered in 3D (for mine, to little or no effect: I hate 3D!).

And to be honest, I probably knew that it would not be so creative narratively; that first time director Joseph Kosinski, who hails from a career in making commercials, would be more focussed on the look of his film rather than that of the dialogue. It's not necessarily clunky but there's lots of exposition, quasi philosophical talk about creating new worlds and saving mankind through technology. There's also a lot of quasi-religious stuff, too: references to The Father, and the Son of the Creator come to save this world.

That father/creator is Kevin Flynn (Bridges), who has been trapped in the world of Tron for almost 20 years. That would probably go some way to explaining why he talks like a hippie and dresses like a cyber monk. His son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), a rebel without a cause, a chip on his shoulder and a pile of millions to cry into thanks to inheriting his missing father's computer company, inadvertently discovers a way into Tron, is reunited with daddy and aims to get them both home safely.

In their way is Clu, a program created in the young Kevin's image (like God created man?) and resembling Jeff Bridges circa 1982. But Clu has gone rogue, taking over the world of Tron, forcing Kevin into the role of outcast (hence his inability to return home), and has plans to enter the human world, some way or another (how exactly may have been explained during one of my micro-sleeps).

For Clu, I had suspected Kosinski to have used similar technology employed by David Fincher to create the Winklevi in The Social Network; grafting the young Bridges' face onto a body double. But apparently they've used a reverse-aging effect similar to that used (also by Fincher) on Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Either way, the result is at once impressive and eerie.

But performance wise (and, generally, overall) the highlight of the film was Michael Sheen, camping it up as the David Bowie-esque Castor; owner of a night club where French duo Daft Punk (who provide the film's soundtrack) just happen to be the house DJs. Sheen proves that once he finally exhausts his Tony Blair impersonation, he'd make a great Ziggy Stardust in a biopic of the flamboyant rocker.

Sadly, Sheen wasn't around long enough to sustain my interest. Immediately upon seeing Tron: Legacy, I tweeted (hastily, perhaps?) that it was my 'worst film of the year'. There are definitely more poorly written and constructed films, and plenty more that were just intellectually insulting, to have been released in 2010. But Tron: Legacy bored me, and to be boring is one of the worst crimes a film – costing $200 million and starring two Jeff Bridges – can commit.

For those who want to visit alternate realities and have their minds bent this summer, I'd suggest revisiting Inception, out now on DVD and Blu-ray.