Brave (2012)

brave-poster-newStarring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson

Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

Expectations: Fairly low. I’m only watching this because my girlfriend wanted to see it.

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Films that I never intended to watch usually fall into two camps: the ones that reinforce my reasons for not watching them, and the ones that win me over and make me sad I didn’t see them sooner. Brave falls into both categories, as everything I hated about the trailer is still front and center here, while the simple, Disney-style throwback story got me nostalgic for the good ole days of fairy tales where every young protagonist had a run-in with an elderly witch and things went sour. Brave is definitely not a great film, but it is entertaining enough. What was most interesting to me, though, were the visuals.

Let me first state that the film looks great. The team at Pixar should be very proud of themselves, as they have reached a level of visual fidelity in 3D animation that I’ve never seen before (like just about every movie they’ve done previously). Pixar is always on the forefront of killer tech, and Brave proves that they still have many tricks up their collective sleeves.

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The Acid House (1998)

Starring Stephen McCole, Maurice Roëves, Garry Sweeney, Jenny McCrindle, Simon Weir, Iain Andrew, Kevin McKidd, Michelle Gomez, Gary McCormack, Tam Dean Burn, Alison Peebles, Ewen Bremner, Martin Clunes, Jemma Redgrave, Arlene Cockburn, Jane Stabler

Directed by Paul McGuigan

Expectations: Moderate and curious.


I didn’t know much going into The Acid House, and that was perfect. All I knew was that it had an ugly cover on Netflix, and that the Scottish accents were supposedly so thick that in some screenings it ran with subtitles for those unable to decipher the “English” being spoken. And immediately upon starting The Acid House, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Not the characters mind you, the rumors about it being indecipherable. But like a friend that helps you stagger home from the pub, Netflix was kind enough to provide subtitles on its Instant stream by default, so even Yanks like myself can get the full experience from The Acid House. This worked out great, as honestly I would’ve been lost otherwise.

The Acid House is an anthology film adapting three short stories from the work of Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting. So when, just a few minutes in, I thought the film was remarkably similar in tone and style to Trainspotting (a film I saw several times in my teenage years), it all made sense to learn it came from the same brain. But where my memory of Trainspotting tells me that film was shocking, realistic and heartbreaking, The Acid House is shocking, fantastical and hilarious. I loved it, start to finish, but this is definitely not a film for everyone.

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