Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Rundown of 2011/2012 Season!

Is it good that there have not been many reviews on the site during this busy awards season?…no, no it’s not.

Very sorry for the lack of updates but it has been hectic of late and to be honest I have had less time to watch films and even less to write reviews.
This is not the end of the world, but I do appreciate the small group that check out the reviews on this page. Please drop a comment on the reviews now and then it keeps me and my fellow reviewer Darren motivated that there is someone out there.
Here is a quick recap on the films I did not get a chance for a full review but really did deserve one. Get them on DVD or avoid like the plague!

Rise of the Apes – Surprise of the year!

After the trailer everyone I know said the same as I did “that looks awful” But I was pleasantly surprised. The character development was so good coupled with another great CGI performance by Andy Serkis, it made you totally forget that you were routing for a computer character. The story did not matter that much is was just to give the Ape Caesar something to overcome. I found it very enjoyable 3/5.

Hugo – Finally worth the 3D

Martin Scorsese received critical acclaim for his first attempt at a family film and quite rightly so. I felt immersed in this movie, the 3D gave a sense that I was in that lovely warm train station with all the hustle and bustle of it. The characters were quirky and the story was quite unexpected, but very nice. It was the only movie I could classify as “Christmas-ey” and I really enjoyed it.  A little bit long but a small price to pay for a little cinema magic and the gratified smile you will have at the end. 4/5 extra point for use of 3D.

The Descendants – Vote Clooney!

I thought this was a great film, George Clooney playing a very real character with all the faults you would expect in the circumstances. The location of Hawaii was good too as we saw it more as a place people live rather than a holiday destination.  Solid performances, and a great script all came together in a film that I have recommended to people and none have been disappointed. 5/5 I really hope he gets an Oscar for this, it’s been a long time coming.

Harry Potter – The Deathly Hallows part 2

It must have been 5 years ago that I read this book and wondered how they would bring it to the screen. The did it almost exactly how I had it in my head while reading the pages of the book. It was real rollercoaster ride, and a great way to end the series. I through previous films I have thought did not stand up to the books as well as it could have but it’s the biggest box office movie franchise of all time so what do I know J  4/5

Shame – Fassbender is a “BIG” actor

The story of a good looking, affluent sex addict. Boo Whoo!
I get it! It’s about addiction, and I am a fan of Fassbender performance but I felt that the film concentrated on the day to day of him as a sex addict rather than why he is one or a story of him working to overcome it “excuse pun”
I did not enjoy it myself and certainly would not be that happy to be on a date in the cinema watching it. Maybe if Michael Fassbender role was played by Jonah Hill or Nick Nolte it might not have such a great following  J 2/5 Just for his performance and the bit part Carey Mulligan had. 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (5)

So here we go again with another mission excepted by Ethan Hunt (Cruise) that Is supposedly impossible.

Unlike many action movie franchise's that I have bared witness to, this series has really impressed me. Not because It's staring Tom Cruise, who In my opinion gets a lot of undeserved flack because I think he was born to play this role, and not because the sometimes over the top action sequences are a bit too over the top, but because each entry In the franchise seems to be so different from the last.

The original Mission Impossible set back In 1996 (seriously how has It been that long?) I would compare to the likes of the Bourne films. It was quite a deep film and altough there were some great action scenes In It, In particular the infamous hanging above the floor inches from setting of the alrm scene, It was quite serious about itself and I remember thinking at the time how clever and yet entertaining a film It was. Jump forward to 2000 and we were given MI2 by the action mad John Woo. This film could not have been more different than Its predecessor If It tried. The entire concept of the word "serious" was put into a box, kicked out the door, trampled on then thrown into the sea. MI2 was absolutely ridiculous and tried to take elements of the first film and combine them with greater action. The idea was sound but the director took It way too far and the result was an entertaining film but no patch on the first. The third movie In the franchise was much improved and the time off granted to Ethan Hunt paid dividends with the action In the film being entertaining and with Cruise being supported by a terrific cast, this resulted In what I believed to be the end to a trilogy and the last In the franchise.

So we arrive at the present, almost 16 years since the original film with a new addition to the franchise. Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol or MI4 as most people will refer to It, Is quite simply brilliant. I will admit I was a tiny bit surprised myself considering we are living In a time where Hollywood Is fastly running out of ideas and any chance of an extra milking of the cash cow Is snapped up by any film studio In a heartbeat. The only way this film was going to work was with a great team behind It, and thats exactly what It has. Bizarrely they chose a director whose only previous experience has been the animated(yet brilliant) Ratatouie and The Incredibles, which was a brave choice but It has certainly paid off. With the franchise's history of action scenes, this was always going to be at the forefront of the limelight and what would inevitably be a key part of this film. It might not surprise you then to see the famous Burj Khalifa building, the tallest building In the world, on almost every promo advert or poster for the film. This Is with doubt the scene of best part of the film and the vertigo sensation Is captured perfectly with some fantastic camera work and combined with some amazing stunts by Mr Cruise ( yes he refused to let a stunt double take the glory) this Is reason enough to watch this film.

Thankfully though the action In the film Is not the only highlight. Despite the film being somewhat short of some of the members of the team from the previous films, the current crop do a very good job. As I've already said the ever present Tom Cruise does a fantastic job of reprising his role as Ethan Hunt but he Is followed by Simon Pegg from MI3 who delivers a typically British and yet great performance as Benji Dunn and some good performances by Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton are a welcome addition.

After the film opens with an ingenious jail break In Moscow you are a taken on a ride with Hunt and his team, and some state of the art equipment that would put James Bond to shame, In an effort to prove there innocence after being set up and accused of blowing up the Kremlin. This film has the perfect balance of a good story and action and Is In my opinion the best In the franchise (5)


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

50/50 (4)

Inspired by a true story 50/50 follows Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a regular 27 year old man that gets told he has a rare form of Cancer, giving him a 50/50 chance of survival. I know what you’re thinking...."why would I want to see that?" It's not the most attractive theme to go to your local cinema to experience, and I was in the same mindset too. But it turned out worth the trip.

Adam is a very nice, play it safe type of guy. He has a girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard), his best mate from school Kyle (Seth Rogen), and over protective mother Diane (Angelica Houston). They all play their part in Adams story which is at its core him not only dealing with his condition, but also how he has lived his life up to this point. If I am a little vague please excuse me but I really don't like to give too much of the film away.

The Director Jonathan Levine does a good job of keeping the audience with Adam all the time through his story. He captures the subtle indicators displayed by Adam which are acted very well by Joseph Gordon- Levitt. I thought it had a nice indie flick feel to it, quite understated and bleak in some scenes, this reflecting the mood of Adam very well as the character at times is alone and without dialogue. The locations used seemed spot on to relay this, it looked constantly cold, and damp not really giving any indication of seasons. I enjoyed getting to know the characters through the eyes of Adam so I would have to say the writer Will Reiser did a good job too. The use of music is worth a mention too, as the soundtrack worked really well.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job portraying Adam, doing it in a very real way, no over the top dramatic episodes. While going through this you feel he is just numb, dealing with it day to day, but as the film progresses so does the character, making you like him even more. Seth Rogen was ok, he is still playing annoying guy with heart in the right place, and good for some comedy relief to get us through the heavy subject matter. Angelica Houston is still great, taking over the few scenes she is in, but her character develops well. Anna Kendrick is once again taking a step out of the Twilight franchise to appear in this much lower key film. She did this for Up in the air too, and I am getting to quite like seeing her in these smaller films. She still plays the rather cute awkward 20 something with allot to learn, but her (or her agents) film choices are good so far.

This movie is a gentle walk in the shoes of the main character making you really think how you would deal with the situation if you were in it. Who around you would be there? what kind of things would you do? These are heavy questions but there is enough light hearted elements of the film to rock you gentle into those thoughts. I really liked it and this award season I hope it gets a nod from Bafta or Oscar, it may not be a winner but should be recognised as a job well done. (4)

Monday, 21 November 2011

Immortals (2)

If Myths and abs are your thing, and you’re still not fulfilled from recent Clash of the titans remake then this could be for you.

Meet Theseus (Henry Cavill) a poor young fisherman chosen by the gods to lead the fight against King Heyperion (Mickey Rourke), Who wishes to unleash the one thing that could destroy Zeus and his fellow Gods. Along the way Theseus meets with Stavros (Stephen Dorff) and Paedra (Freida Pinto) who assists him in his quest.

We have seen this Style of movie before, it started with Sin city, then moved to 300 and then The Spirit. They all had the similar look of CGI backdrop with actors popping out, like they were coming off the pages of a comic book.

I am going to be brief as I did not think this film needs much analysing. The main story is loosely based on Greek mythology but fans of it might be a little disappointed. I found myself bored in-between each fight scene, just waiting for the next one. When the fight scene came it was cool for a min, then you realised all they did was show it all in slow motion like 300... and that gets old fast. They obviously had a bigger budget than 300 but really did not use it well going from one generic action sequence to another never really building any excitement or tension. The score for this movie consists of big orchestral sets, like the titan movie but I think they missed a trick here because throwing some rock music over the top would have lightened it up. This little touch would have said to the audience that this film is supposed to be one off fun, rather than making a play at a possible trilogy set in this alternate ancient Greece. Too many films these days leave the ending open in hope that it takes off and they have another 7 film deal like Harry Potter.

To sum up I saw some slow motion fights, some quite unnecessary violence and Mickey Rourke holding down the role of really scary dude....oh...and abs lots of abs. (2) Rent the 300 its better.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love (4)

Rom-Com's are hit and miss. Some great and some just plain stupid cheese on toast tosh. This one I would have to say is a hit!

We follow Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) who gets the divorce bomb dropped on him by his wife Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal, who sinks into a vicious cycle of ranting about his failed marriage in a local bar, catches the eye of the bars pick-up artist Jacob (Ryan Gosling). Jacob offers to help Cal and in true Pretty woman makeover montage fashion attempts to mould him into a fellow Pick-up pro. There is more but that's all you need to get started.

The Writing is good with some great characters which the writers and Director give enough development to make you understand what part they play and how it all fits together. In a few scenes there is not much said but the director captures the performances very well, giving you highs and lows in equal amounts.

The Triangle of Carell, Moore, and Gosling make for a great line up but the additions of Merissa Tormei and Emma Stone give you more than enough reason to keep entertained. Emma Stone is great in everything at the moment and one of the most acclaimed young actresses in Hollywood at the moment, which is justified in this and the other movies I have seen her in.

Short and sweet review, I did not get this up in time for you to see the film at the cinema but I would suggest getting in the snacks, some friends over, and watch the DVD its good fun. 3 words "Dirty Dancing move" classic! (4)

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Ides of March (3)

Clooney!...there that got your attention didn't it. No matter the title or plot of a film you won’t be mocked in the pub if you say it's the latest Clooney. The man brings a certain element of class and integrity to the movie world, and this time he is trying to match that with his directing. Forget Leather heads it never happened!

The plot may get a little confusing if you are not familiar with American politics, but it does a good job of getting you up to speed enough. The film focuses on the campaign manager Stephen Meyers (Ryan Gosing) for Governor Mike Morris (Clooney) who is trying to win the election to be in a position to run for president. It's more complicated than that but you will work it out. Mike Morris is introduced as a very genuine politician who seems to inspire his campaign staff especially his young, smart Idealistic golden boy played by Gosling. All is rosy but like all politics movies everyone is forced to get submerged in dirty politics to save careers and public face.

Based on a stage play by Bill Willimon "Farragut North" The Direction is good giving a rather intimate feel to the movie, The steady flow of "off the record" meetings and conversations keep you on your toes having to log the dialogue so you don't miss a detail you may need later. Clooney has top billing for some marketing for the film, but is rarely on screen choosing to stay behind the camera to let Gosling, Giamatti, and Seymour Hoffman take the screen.

Acting wise I like everyone, still can't decide if I am a Gosling fan who still reminds me of Chris Evans (Captain America) in looks, and Dustin Hoffman in accent. I enjoyed Paul Giamatti who is a joy as the crafty opposing candidate’s campaign manager, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman and the seasoned veteran of the campaign trail who has never been a winner but always plays fair.

All in a good effort, not sure I would recommend a trip to the cinema for it as you would probably need a pause button now and then to keep up. George got great reviews for this and in Italy's film festival got the best film award so he will be given the nod from BAFTA and OSCAR. Personally I would prefer to see him in other people’s films as that is where he is gold. (3)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

In Time (4)

So, lets get the most obvious and quite frankly normally embarrassing thing out of the way first shall we. I went to see a Justin Timberlake film. There I said It now I can get on with the full review. The fact Is that when a film that truly has a fantastic idea behind It and has at the centre of It a man who was once In a boyband and most blokes would probably have referred to as bit of a tart, how on earth could I or anyone take this film seriously? Well you will be pleased to know that you can.

As I said the idea behind the film Is a fantastic one. In this future world, everyone stops aging at 25. That sounds great right? Well In normal circumstances It would be, but the downside to this "gift" If you will, Is that on the very day that you turn 25 the countdown to your demise begins and you only have a single year In which to enjoy your new non aging form. In this world time Is literally currency and everything Is purchased with it. A house, car even something as small as a cup of coffee are all purchased with time that comes out of that precious twelve months that you now have on your arm. Don't worry though, this calender year can be extended by simply earning more time and this Is what everyone goes to work for or for the more desperate of people, steal for.

The main character In all this Is Will Salas (Timberlake) and like most people In this world he just about manages to survive on a day by day basis with never more than a few weeks on his clock that has to cover everything for both himself and his mother who just like evryone else has stopped aging at 25 and thus actually looks younger than her own son. This and many other scenes like this create some funny and light hearted moments inbetween all the running and time stealing. Whilst drinking away his sorrows In a nearby bar Will jumps to the defense of a somewhat dim witted man who is flashing around his time for everyone to see and he knows It's only a matter of time before this man ends up In some serious trouble. After calming him down and getting him to see sense the pair end up crashing and Wills apartment and once Will wakes up he realises he has over a century on his clock , a gift from the man whom he rescued and who no longer wanted to go on living. This man was one of the wealthy citizens of this world and like so many the reality had hit him that he could live forever and whilst some consider this to be a gift, others who have been 25 for well over 80 years now have grown tired of life and ironically no longer want to be rich.

Will now has over a hundred years to play with and after doing the noble thing of giving away a decade to his best friend he is forced to go on the run from some ruthless men who want nothing more than to drain Will of his new found years and kill him. The film contains many exciting scenes whereby Will and his new companion Sylvia ( the absolutely stunning Amanda Seyfried) are having to outrun not only the men hunting them down but the time cops lead by Raymond Leon played by the once again brilliant Cillian Murphy, who believes Will and Slyvia to be thieves and wants to bring them In.

The idea for this film Is a solid one and backed up with good performances from both Timberlake and Seyfried this makes for an enteraining movie with an original concept at Its core. (4)