31 Days of Oscar: Anna Karenina (2012)

Introduction

Whatever I do manage to see this year during 31 Days of Oscar will be covered in a wrap-up post. In the meantime, those films that previously got buried in conglomerated posts will get their own due here. In the wrap-up I will continue the tradition of attempting to see 31 new-to-me Films and accounting for 100+ nominations.

Anna Karenina (2012)

Yes, this is a very new selection, but I just got it on Blu-ray and I had to see it during 31 Days because not only was it an Oscar winner, but one of my favorite films of 2012 and cleaned up quite a few BAM Awards. The only new item of note is that this does strike me as a film that is far more impressive and imposing on a big screen. I wish more had seen it as such.

Score: 10/10
Oscar Nominations/Wins: 4/1

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31 Days of Oscar: Blossoms in the Dust (1942)

Introduction

Whatever I do manage to see this year during 31 Days of Oscar will be covered in a wrap-up post. In the meantime, those films that previously got buried in conglomerated posts will get their own due here. In the wrap-up I will continue the tradition of attempting to see 31 new-to-me Films and accounting for 100+ nominations.

Blossoms in the Dust (1942)

This was actually I found in a drug story on Oscar Day in 2012, this was after my having missed this on a TCM broadcast. This film is part of Greer Garson’s legendary run of five consecutive Oscar Nominations for Best Actress and six in seven years. Yes, this film doesn’t get away with not having its stump-speeches and it does give a classical Hollywood whirlwind treatment to and elongated tale, but it is so tremendously moving and gorgeous to look at. Watch it for the the acting, watch for Karl Freund working in color and stay for the tale, which when it really has to, when it wants to hit home, holds up just enough. It took me a while to get this one off my to watch pile, but it certainly was a memorable viewing. There are plenty of jaw-dropping moments in the film. I also learned a few things so it has the righteous indignation angle working for it too.

Score: 10/10
Oscar Nominations/Wins: 4/1

31 Days of Oscar Blogathon: The Crafts – Cinematography in Black-and-White and Color

Introduction

When I looked at the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon announcement for this year what came to mind as a good idea for crafts would be to examine Cinematographers who were at the Oscars for work in black-and-white and color cinematography. If I decided to just feature those who had won in both it’d have been a smaller club (60 cinematographers are in it by my count). However, as I say with my own awards: the process is more about what’s nominated.

Furthermore, as my motivation was for the last posts on actors and defunct categories I wanted to learn in the process of writing and chronicling all the cinematographers (most past but thankfully a few present) who have been honored for chromatic and monochromatic work alike.

The Cinematographers

One thing that was surprising to learn is that there are many cinematographers who have gotten tons of nominations. There are 10 who have each had more than 10 each. Granted in the more than quarter-century where color and black-and-white photography were honored separately that’s well in excess of 260 potential nominations (there have been loose limits on total number of nominees in the past), but if you look at actors only five (Streep, Hepburn, Nicholson, Davis and Olivier) have reached that mark.

It makes more sense when you also include that working behind the scenes more often a cinematographers images speak for themselves.

Below you will see those who have been nominated in both and the occasional notes about it.

Please note:

-Some titles appear multiple times because early Color cinematography was often a team endeavor.
-This list was assembled manually so if I am missing a name, or am incorrect about the color palette please let me know in the comments.

1. Ernest Haller

Jezebel (1938, Warner Bros.)

ColorGone with the Wind, The Flame and the Arrow
Black and WhiteJezebel; All this and Heaven, Too; Mildred Pierce, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Lillies of the Field

2. Freddie Francis

Glory (1989. Columbia)

ColorGlory
Black and WhiteSons and Lovers

3. Joseph A. Valentine

Joan of Arc (1948)

Black and White – Mad About Music, First Love, Spring Parade,
ColorJoan of Arc

4. Karl Freund

Blossoms in the Dust (1941,

Black and WhiteThe Good Earth, The Chocolate Soldier
ColorBlossoms in the Dust

5. Leon Shamroy

Cleopatra (1963)

Black and WhiteThe Young in Heart, Ten Gentlemen from West Point, Prince of Foxes
ColorDown Argentine Way, The Black Swan, Wilson, Leave Her to Heaven, David of Bathsheba, Snows of Kilamanjaro, The Robe, The Egyptian, Love is a Many Splendored Thing, The King and I, South Pacific, Porgy and Bess, Cleopatra, The Cardinal, The Agony and the Ecstasy

6. Joseph Ruttenberg

Mrs. Miniver (1942)

Black and WhiteThe Great Waltz, Waterloo Bridge, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mrs. Miniver, Madame Curie, Gaslight, Julius Caesar, Somebody Up There Loves Me
ColorGigi, BUtterfield 8

7. Robert Surtees

The Graduat (1967)

Black and WhiteThirty Seconds Over Tokyo, The Bad and the Beautiful
ColorKing Solomon’s Mines, Quo Vadis?, Oklahoma!, Ben Hur, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Graduate, Dr. Doolittle, The Last Picture Show, Summer of ’42

Won in each medium.

8. Conrad Hall

Road to Perdition (2002, DreamWorks, 20th Century Fox)

Black and WhiteMorituri, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Day of the Locust, Tequila Sunrise, Searching for Bobby Fisher, A Civil Action, American Beauty, Road to Perdition
ColorThe Professionals, In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood nomination was after Black-and-White cinematography after category ended.

9. Arthur C. Miller

How Green Was My Valley (1941, 20th Century Fox)

Black and WhiteThe Rains Came, How Green Was My Valley, This Above All, The Song of Bernadette, The Keys of the Kingdom, Anna and the King of Siam
ColorThe Blue Bird

10. Harry Stradling

Some Like It Hot (1955)

Black and WhiteThe Human Comedy, The Picture of Dorian Gray, A Streetcar Named Desire, Some Like it Hot, The Young Philadelphians
ColorShe Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Hans Christian Andersen, Guys and Dolls, The Eddie Duchin Story, Auntie Mame, A Majority of One, Gypsy, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly!

11. James Wong Howe

The Old Man and the Sea

Black and WhiteAlgiers, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Kings Row, Air Force, The North Star, The Rose Tattoo, Hud, Seconds
ColorThe Old Man and the Sea, Funny Lady

12. Charles Rosher

Sunrise (1927, 20th Century Fox)

Black and WhiteSunrise, The Affairs of Cellini
ColorKismet, The Yearling, Annie Get Your Gun, Showboat

13. Burnett Guffey

From Here to Eternity (1953, Columbia)

Black and WhiteFrom Here to Eternity, The Harder They Fall, The Birdman of Alcatraz, King Rat
ColorBonnie and Clyde

14. Haskell Wexler

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966, Warner Bros.)

Black and White
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
ColorOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Bound for Glory, Matewan, Blaze

15. William C. Mellor

The Diary of Anne Frank

Black and White
A Place in the Sun, The Diary of Anne Frank
Color Peyton Place, The Greatest Story Ever Told

16. Hal Mohr

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935, Warner Bros.)

Black and WhiteA Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Four Poster
ColorPhantom of the Opera

Only write-in nomination for cinematography, back in the wild early days of the Awards.

17. Charles Lang

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969, Columbia)

Black-and-White: The Right to Love; A Farewell to Arms; Arise, My Love; Sundown, So Proudly We Hail!; The Uninvited, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir; A Foreign Affair; Sudden Fear; Sabrina; Queen Bee; Separate Tables; Some Like it Hot; The Facts of Life
Color:One-Eyed Jacks, How the West Was Won, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Butterflies are Free

After 14 nominations for black-and-white cinematography was nominated for color in the following years and for the following films: 1961 One-Eyed Jacks; 1963 How the West Was Won; 1969 Bob & Ted & Carol & Alice
1973 Butterflies Are Free

18. Victor Milner

The Furies (1950)

Black-and-WhiteThe Love Parade, Cleopatra, The Crusades, The General Died at Dawn, The Buccaneer, The Great Victor Herbert, The Furies
ColorNorth West Mounted Police, Reap the Wild Wind

Six black-and-white nominations before 1940.

19. George Barnes

Rebecca (1940, Selznick)

Black-and-WhiteThe Devil Dancer, The Magic Flame, Sadie Thompson, Our Dancing Daughters, Rebecca, Spellbound,
ColorThe Spanish Main, Samson and Delilah

Four nominations in first ceremony; Six total before 1945 The Spanish Main.

20. Joseph LaShelle

How The West Was Won

ColorHow the West Was Won, Irma La Douce
Black-and-WhiteLaura, Come to the Stable, My Cousin Rachel, Marty, Career, The Apartment, Fortune Cookie.

Six nominations before 1963 How The West Was Won.

21. Ernest Laszlo

Judgment and Nuremberg (1961, United Artists)

Black-and-WhiteInherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, Ship of Fools,
ColorIt’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; Fantastic Voyage, Star, Airport, Logan’s Run

Third Nomination in 1963 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World was first in color.

22. Daniel L. Fapp

West Side Story (1957, WB)

Black-and-WhiteDesire Under the Elms; One, Two, Three
ColorThe Five Pennies, West Side Story, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Ice Station Zebra, Marooned.

23. Tony Gaudio

The Letter (1940)

Black-and-WhiteHell’s Angels, Anthony Adverse, Juarez, The Letter, Corvette K-225
ColorA Song to Remember

Final nomination of six in Color.

24. Milton Krasner

Anne Baxter in All About Ever (20th Century Fox)

ColorAll About Eve, Three Coins in the Fountain, An Affair to Remember, How the West Was Won
Black-and-WhiteArabian Nights, Love with a Proper Stranger, Fate is a Hunter

1950 Second nomination was in Black-and-White for All About Eve.

25. Harold Rosson

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

ColorThe Garden of Allah, The Wizard of Oz
Black-and-WhiteBoom Town, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, The Asphalt Jungle, The Bad Seed

Third nomination was his first in black-and-white (Boom Town, 1940).

26. Janusz Kaminski

Schindler's List (1993, Universal)

Black-and-White Schindler’s List
Color – Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, War Horse, Lincoln

First nomination in black-and-white.

27. Joseph Valentine

Joan of Arc (1948)

Black-and-WhiteWings Over Honolulu, Mad About Music, First Love, Spring Parade
ColorJoan of Arc

Fifth nomination was his first for color. (Joan of Arc, 1948).

28. Robert Burks

Strangers on a Train (Warner Bros., 1951)

Black-and-White: Strangers on a Train, A Patch of Blue
Color: Rear Window, To Catch a Thief

Three of four nominations in Hitchcock films.

29. William H. Daniels

The Naked City (1948)

Black-and-White
: Anna Christie, The Naked City,
Color: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How the West Was Won

30. Lee Garmes

Shanghai Express (1932, Paramount)

Black-and-white
: Morocco, Shanghai Express, Since You Went Away
Color: The Big Fisherman

31. Loyal Griggs

Shane (1953, Paramount)

Color: Shane, The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever Told,
Black-and-White: In Harm’s Way

32. Ernest Palmer

4 Devils (1928)

Black-and-White: Four Devils, Street Angel
Color: Blood and Sand, Broken Arrow

33. Karl Struss

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Black-and-White: Sunrise, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Sign of the Cross
Color: Aloma of the South Seas

34. Sam Leavitt

Exodus (1960, MGM/UA)

Black-and-white: The Defiant Ones, Anatomy of a Murder
Color: Exodus

35. Lionel Lindon

 Around the World in 80 Days (1956, All Rights Reserved)

Black-and-White: Going My Way, I Want to Live!
Color: Around the World in 80 Days

36. Arthur E. Arling

The Yearling (1946, Disney)

Color: The Yearling
Black-and-White: I’ll Cry Tomorrow

37. Joseph F. Biroc

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964, WB)

Black-and-white: Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte B & W
Color: Towering Inferno

38. Robert Elswit

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

Black-and-White: Good Night, And Good Luck
Color: There Will Be Blood

39. Paul Vogel

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962, MGM)

Black-and-White: Battleground
Color: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm

40. George J. Folsey

The White Cliffs of Dover (1944, MGM)

Black-and-White: Reunion in Vienna, The Affairs of Cellini, The Gorgeous Hussy, The White Cliffs of Dover, Executive Suite, The Balcony
Color: Thousands Cheer, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Green Years, Green Dolphin Street, Million Dollar Mermaid, All the Brothers Were Valiant, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Four nominations before a color nomination; no wins.

41. Roger Deakins

The Man Who Wasn't There (2002)

Black-and-White: The Man Who Wasn’t There,
Color: The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun; O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Reader, True Grit, Skyfall, Prisoners

42. Edward Cronjager

Heaven Can Wait (1943, Fox)

Black-and-White: Cimarron, Sun Valley Serenade, The Pied Piper
Color: To the Shores of Tripoli, Heaven Can Wait, Home in Indiana, Beneath the 12-Mile Reef

Fourth nomination was first in color.

43. Joseph F. Seitz

Double Indemnity (1944, WB)

Black-and-white: The Divine Lady, Five Graves to Cairo, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, Rogue Cop
Color: When Worlds Collide

Sixth nomination in color.

44. Russell Harlan

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962, Universal)

Black-and-White: The Big Sky, The Blackboard Jungle, To Kill a Mockingbird,
Color: Hatari!, The Great Race, Hawaii

Fourth nomination in color .

45. Ruldolph Maté

Cover Girl

Black-and-White: Foreign Correspondent, That Hamilton Woman, The Pride of the Yankees, Sahara
Color: Cover Girl

Fifth and final nomination in color for Cover Girl. Shared.

46. Franz Planer

The Children's Hour (1961, United Artists)

Black-and-White: Champion, Death of a Salesman, Roman Holiday, The Children’s Hour
Color: The Nun’s Story

Fourth nomination in color.

47. Charles G. Clarke

Hello, Frisco, Hello

Black-and-White: The Magnificent Ambersons
Color: Hello, Frisco, Hello, Green Grass of Wyoming, Sand

Second nomination in color, shared.

48. Joseph Walker

You Can't Take it With You (1938, Columbia)

Black-and-White: You Can’t Take It With You, Only Angels Have Wings, Here Comes Mr. Jordan
Color: The Jolson Story

Fourth nomination color The Jolson Story.

49. Bert Glennon

Stagecoach (1939, UA)

Black-and-White: Stagecoach
Color: Drums Along the Mohawk

50. Ray June

Arrowsmith (1931, UA)

Black-and-White: Arrowsmith, Barbary Coast
Color: Funny Face

Final nomination in color.

51. Joseph MacDonald

The Young Lions (1958, 20th Century Fox)

Black-and-White: The Young Lions, The Sand Pebbles
Color: Pepe

52. Ted D. McCord

The Sound of Music (1965, 20th Century Fox)

Black-and-white: Johnny Belinda, Two for the Seesaw
Color: The Sound of Music

Final nomination was in color.

53. Sol Polito

Sergeant York

Color: The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Captains of the Clouds
Black-and-White: Sergeant York,

Sergeant York black-and-white second nod.

54. Michael Chapman

Raging Bull

Black-and-White: Raging Bull
Color: The Fugitive

55. Edward Colman

Mary Poppins (1964)

Black-and-White: The Absent-Minded Professor
Color: Mary Poppins

Both Disney films, the second famously being a live-action/animation hybrid.

56. Philip H. Lathrop

Earthquake (1974)

Black-and-White: The Americanization of Emily
Color: Earthquake

57. J. Peverell Marley

Life With Father (1947)

Black-and-White: Suez
Color: Life with Father

Second nomination in color, shared.

58. Sidney Wagner

Dragon Seed

Color: Northwest Passage
Black-and-white: Dragon Seed

59. Gordon Willis

Zelig

Black-and-White and Color: Zelig
Color: The Godfather Part III

60. Robert Richardson

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004, Miramax)

ColorPlatoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Aviator, Hugo, Django Unchained
Partially Black and WhiteJFK, Inglourious Basterds

All-Color in the Split Era

Just a footnote that the following cinematographers earned ONLY color nominations in the Split Era.

Leonard Smith
Allen M. Davey
Joseph Planck
William V. Skall
W. Howard Greener

All 10 nominations in color cinematography

Oddities

Sven Nyqvist

Persona (1966)

No black and white nominations. WTF?

The Godfather Part II (1974, Paramount Pictures)

Gordon Willis wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for the Godfather, The Godfather Part II or Manhattan. What?

Conclusion

Clearly many cinematographers have proven themselves adept in both styles. Perhaps this will keep black and white occasionally kicking every so often when needed.

31 Days of Oscar: Ninotchka (1939)

Introduction

Whatever I do manage to see this year during 31 Days of Oscar will be covered in a wrap-up post. In the meantime, those films that previously got buried in conglomerated posts will get their own due here. In the wrap-up I will continue the tradition of attempting to see 31 new-to-me Films and accounting for 100+ nominations.

Ninotchka (1939)

This was a film a professor of mine suggested to me in school as the Garbo film he liked and also as a good intro to Lubitsch, I believe. I’m not sure why it took me so long to follow this advice, as he never steered me wrong, but I finally saw it and am very glad I did. It’s quite a charming story and a good time.

Wins/Nominations: 0/4

Review – The Third Side of the River

By way of a synopsis of this film the best encapsulation is found on Waterland’s (the Dutch Production company that helped bring this film to fruition) site:

‘The third side of the river’ is an intense father-son drama from director and writer Celina Murga. (‘A week alone,’ ‘Ana and the others’). The power of this beautiful Argentinian feature film is the way Murga moves the apparent calm surface. You feel the tension increase. You wait for the explosion.

American director and producer Martin Scorsese is involved as executive producer. About the script he said: “I was struck by the documentary reality, the feeling for everyday life, the sense of looming danger”. Scorsese previously worked with director Celina Murga on her film ‘A week alone’ and Celina Murga was on the set of ‘Shutter Island’. ‘The third side of the river’ was nominated for a golden bear at the international Film Festival of Berlin 2014. The film is produced by Argentinian producer Tresmilmundos Cine and coproduced by German producer Rommel Film and Dutch producer Waterland Film.

Nicolas, a 16-year-old boy, lives in a small town in the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. Nicolas’ father, a much-respected local doctor, has fathered two families and lives two parallel lives. First, he has a socially acceptable marriage to a professional woman – also a doctor – with whom he has a 12 year-old son. Second is his relationship with a woman of humble origin who has born him four children. Nicolas is the eldest and the only one his father officially acknowledges. Only six blocks stand between the two houses, but Nicolas’ father does not allow the boy to walk those streets, and does not even allow him to call him “dad” in public, even though the boy carries his name.


The two women in the doctor’s life know about each other, but their lives are asotto [sic] voce secret: the whole town is fully aware of the situation, but everyone pretends not to notice. Nicolas takes this situation for granted, as though it were completely normal, for it’s the only reality he knows. Yet, the tension of the situation must inevitably explode one way or another. Nicolas will have to make a decision.

Yes, all of the above is a mouthful but it does prepare you very well for the simmering nature of the narrative. In a way the subtextual approach of this Argentinian film bears a similarity to Two Shots Fired. The difference here being that the clarity of most of the intentions, sentiments and resentments brewing beneath the surface are far clearer. The story also does boil over and without pomp or circumstance leading up to it, but it does all make sense.

Furthermore, the button on the film is perfectly placed and rendered. It’s the kind of title that had me thinking on it for quite some time in terms of some of the nuance. With many of the recent titles I’ve reviewed I’ve stewed on them for some times for many different reasons. With this one I appreciated enough of the superfice to want to plumb the depths further for my own insights on smaller moments.

However, I won’t turn this review into a ‘reading’ where I parse it all and give it all away.

In what is becoming a more prevalent modern theme the title is not something commented upon by the film in a Family Guy kind of way. The title has a paradoxical component but also offers an allusion to the region in Argentina in which the story takes place (Entre Ríos), and also the yearning for escaping the provincial trappings therein, which is in all likelihood the most universal theme contained within the story.

Much of the story does focus on Nicolás’ (Alain Devetac) interactions and reactions to his family life. At times having a myopic POV can be a detriment to a story but here there are insights, and his vantage point does end up being a window rather than a portrait allowing us to see in further.

Should the film make its way over to the US it’s definitely one worth looking for.

7/10

31 Days of Oscar: Panic in the Streets (1950)

Introduction

Whatever I do manage to see this year during 31 Days of Oscar will be covered in a wrap-up post. In the meantime, those films that previously got buried in conglomerated posts will get their own due here. In the wrap-up I will continue the tradition of attempting to see 31 new-to-me Films and accounting for 100+ nominations.

Panic in the Streets (1950)

This is a very interesting film which can be categorized as Film Noir but also as an outbreak film. It’s that unusual combination which truly makes this film special and entertaining. Was it either but not both it likely isn’t that intriguing but the combination thereof makes it worthy.

Oscar Nominations/Wins: 1/1
Score: 7/10

Mini-Review: Two Shots Fired

In Two Shots Fired what you have is a film that will draw you in with a rather stunning inciting incident. It’s one that will instantly act as a litmus test. As a result of reading it you will either be repulsed or compelled to watch it.

Per the IMDb’s page on the film the synopsis is as follows:

17-year-old Mariano finds a gun in his house and, in a thoughtless impulse, shoots himself twice. But he survives.

Now you can clearly see that this is the kind of story that will instantly either steer people clear or arouse curiosity. For the curious I must instantly inform you that the melodrama or the deep, detailed exploration of a psyche that one may expect are not found here.

For better or worse, one of the most effective aspects of this film is its employment of “MacGuffinism.” What I mean by this is in the classic tradition, as termed by Hitchcock, “the two shots fired” are the pretense for telling the tale, but not the thrust of the tale itself. It’s the flashpoint around which the personal tension both intra-familial and among friends can be explored. What would have been further subsumed tensions and resentments are brought to the fore by the incident that almost immediately kicks off the proceedings here.

The aversion to bombast here is such that even the conflict is atypically conveyed. The film skirts about it as the characters do. They are scarcely discussed, at times they are enacted. When they are most present is in the film’s visuals as opposed to the films dialogue.

There is a palpable intangibility of the strain beneath the surface. It also does portray a dichotomy between the reactions the characters display. Whereas Mariano’s malaise is not broken, the same which caused him to act thoughtlessly, his parents struggle with how much added attention should be foisted upon him in light of recent incidents. How much supervision can atone for what happened and try to prevent its happening anew.

There have been many strong films coming out of Argentina lately, but sadly this isn’t really one of them. While the main objective of the film is understood and appreciated the film sometimes comes off as being as aimless as Mariano is throughout.

4/10

Mini-Review- Spud 2: The Madness Continues

Spud 2: The Madness Continues is a follow-up to the film Spud. Like the cinematic predecessor before it this one is also based on a novel by John van de Ruit which tells a coming-of-age tale at a boys boarding school in South Africa. While the first film takes place against the end of apartheid and is very much Spud’s tale, the sequel begins to tell the story in the immediate aftermath thereof and is more an ensemble piece than the prior film.

It is the nuclear subplot in the film that is the most effective. In John (“Spud” Troye Sivan’s) home where his mother (Julie Summers) is insisting she wants to move to England for she feels she cannot adapt to the new South African reality, whereas Spud and his father (Aaron McIlroy) are perfectly content where they are.

While the romantic storyline is followed up from the first film and some good growth is shown there the film essentially ends up being too sporadic. Again there is a schoolyear-long structure to the story. The major difference here is that the flow is not nearly as good. That and the other members of the Crazy Eight (Spud’s group of friends) get more screentime in less substantive and interwoven manners than in the first installment. Add that to the emergence of the Normal Seven (A group of first years who are singled out and hazed for their normality by the Crazy Eight). Then when you add the late-game re-emergence and lessening of The Guv (John Cleese) the attentions are divided and the plot spread thin.

There are some laughs and good times to be had but eventually the trudging narrative does wear a bit. A misstep in the follow-up in a series is not unusual. With a third film released in South Africa in November and hitting iTunes globally this year hopefully the series concludes on a better note.

4/10