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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Fed Up (2014), Night Moves (2013), The Giver (2014), and Melancholia (2011)
Fed Up (2014). Co-written and directed by Stephanie Soechtig. This is a documentary about the very serious problem with obesity in the USA. Despite starting a little shakily (dieting is *not* related to calories and exercise?!) it eventually focusses on the issue of sugar in food, and further focusses on the terrible problems with the school meal system in US state schools. I can't rate it as entertainment, and perhaps it doesn't really say anything new, except for the cultural insight to the USA.

Night Moves (2013). Co-written and directed by Kelly Reichardt. The film follows three environmental protesters (Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard) as they carry out an act of sabotage. Night Moves work well for most of the film, maintaining the tension amid a somewhat slow moving story. There are great performance from the three leads. The story is rather predictable though, and peters out rather than ending conclusively. Recommended for drama fans. 3/5 (Average)

The Giver (2014). Based on the novel by Lois Lowry and directed by Phillip Noyce. The film is set in a far future Earth. Following a war which has destroyed most of humanity the remaining people have been organised into communities where they are supposed to speak a limited vocabulary, and take a medication to suppress their emotions. Several teenagers, including Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), are selected for their future roles in the community. Jonas is picked for the unique role of The Receiver of Memory, which involves the transfer of memories from his predecessor (Jeff Bridges). The Giver feels like a mix of many stories e.g. 1984, The Hunger Games, Divergent, and also has that Young Adult (YA) vibe of the latter two. It's somewhat more mentally challenging than the latter two though, which isn't that difficult. My initial thought was this was just-another-YA-to-film conversion following the recent bandwagon, but apparently the novel dates from 1991 and is much better regarded. For those who might enjoy a slightly more taxing YA film, or you might just want to read the book. 3/5 (Average)

Melancholia (2011). Written and directed by Lars von Trier. The film starts with a handful of short artistic set pieces, then switches to a wedding, with a bride that has a somewhat dysfunctional family. I found the acting and cinematography of Melancholia to be excellent, so it was a shame that the story was so dull. Hard to know who to recommend this to, other than arty types. 1/5 (Awful)