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. 

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

Contagion (3)

The trailer shows this to be a fast paced thriller full of twists and turns Hollywood style...but it could not be further away from the truth. A disease has broken out, and an international team of doctors are trying to find a cure as the population are dropping like flies. There is solid cast in this with I would have to say Laurence Fishburne taking the lead role, but with character focus switching so much, screen time for some of the players is sparse. We have Kate Winslet, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude law, Laurence Fishburne...oh...and the dad from Malcolm in the middle...yeah him again. There is no shortage of top talent on the bill for this movie and a controlled portion technique is used to cut up screen time. This approach has been used in Steven Soderberg's previous film Traffic, telling the stories of individuals that are only connected by where they live or in this case but a global threat. I liked all of the actors in this, they did well with what they had to work with but most memorable has to be Kate Winslet, who I think connected with the audience very well and portrayed one of the more interesting characters.

Steven Soderberg directs this one, who has a wide range of films to his name. Top picks are Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s eleven, and Traffic so there is no doubt that he is a experienced director and does deliver a solid style which I could probably best describe as Oceans 11 filter, traffic esk scenes but set on planet earth. I apologise if you have not seen these films to understand my analogy but I think those of you that have will enjoy it.

Elliot Gould said in the film "a blog is not journalism it's graffiti with punctuation!" with that in mind I will write my final thoughts on this cyber wall. The film is a very high budget recreation of what a global epidemic would be like and how we would deal with it. There are no massive Hollywood twists or dramatic thrills it shows how society as it stands would survive under these conditions. A solid film worth a look but don't go expecting a thrill ride. (3)

Monday, 7 November 2011

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