EIFF: Day 4

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Monsters University ****
USA/Director Dan Scanlon/110 mins

 

A direct prequel to the original “Monsters Inc”, the movie tells the story of how Sully (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) met and came to work in the factory.

 

The film begins when Mike (Crystal) visits the factory on a school trip and decides he wants to become a scarer. Years later, Mike begins studying at Monsters University where he meets Sully (Goodman), a monster with an established family history.

 

The story is enjoyable and relates to the original while still providing a good level of suspense to the audience. Throughout the movie, Mike and Sully experience the highs and lows of University life and have a turbulent relationship prior to joining forces.

 

Both Goodman and Crystal give great performances as the lead characters. The supporting cast includes Steve Buschemi as Randy and Helen Mirren as Dean Hardscrabble, both of whom also perform to a high standard.

 

The animation is top class and looks great in 3D. The soundtrack is also fun and appropriate to the film.

 

While “Monsters University” is not as good as the original, it is an entertaining and fun movie that ties things up nicely.

 

Old Stock ***
Canada/Director James Genn/85 mins

 

Stock Burton (Noah Reid) is a young man who has spent the last 2 years in a retirement home following traumatic events. At the beginning of the movie he is asked to leave the residence, forcing him to face his demons.

 

Throughout the film, Stock tries to get his life back on track by getting a job, dating dance teacher Patti (Melanie Leishman) and trying to fix the issues from his past. While it doesn’t flow particularly well, the story has a reasonable amount of depth and doesn’t reveal everything right away.

 

There is also a subplot involving his grandparents’ relationship which adds some comedy to the story, particularly the antics of Stock’s grandfather Harold (Danny Wells).

 

The actors all give reasonably good performances, the highlight being Gene Mack as comic pensioner Wendel. The other residents of the retirement home are also entertaining and give a realistic portrayal of their generation.

 

While the story is poorly structured and does not really go anywhere, “Old Stock” is a pleasant movie to watch.

 

Oh Boy ***
Germany/Director Jan Ole Gerster/83 mins

 

Starring Tom Schilling as the lead character, “Oh Boy” tells the story of Niko Fischer, a young man who has dropped out of University and is drifting through life in Berlin.

 

The film is shot in black and white and is in German with English subtitles. This gives it a somewhat “arthouse” feel which appears promising.

 

Throughout the movie, Niko comes into contact with a variety of people including his father, an actor friend and a girl he went to school with. While the interactions would be interesting if there was a link between them, they seem rather pointless as each character appears once and is never mentioned again.

 

The story lacks structure and doesn’t go anywhere. Niko drifts in and out of situations with no explanation. This creates plot holes and leaves the viewer questioning why each scene is included. The ending is also disappointing as nothing gets tied up and Niko is no further forward.

 

While “Oh Boy” is nicely shot and reasonably pleasant to watch, the story is all over the place and has too many loose ends.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

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