Sometimes the words that you say overshadow your accomplishments, take Mel Gibson for example, perfectly capable actor and director but his achievements in these fields are overshadowed by the occasional racist, stupid and sexist comment. Lars Von Trier has gotten more attention not for winning the major award at the Cannes Film Festival but for some rather controversial comments about how he understood Hitler and how Israel is a 'pain in the ass.' However, attention must be focused from his moment of utter stupidity to his talents as a filmmaker and Melancholia is a fine film.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Kristen Wigg is quickly becoming one of the funniest women in Hollywood and is exceeding well in a typically male dominated genre. Bridesmaids is different from the likes of Sex in the City and the Jennifer Lopez driven comedies because it is actually funny. Like many of Judd Apatow's produced comedies, it is crude but Bridesmaids keeps the film's heart and character intact. Annie (Wigg) is a single thirty-year old whose bakery business has collapsed due to the recession. Her no strings attached relationship with Ted is demoralising and the news of her best friend's (Lillian played by Maya Rudolph) wedding just makes her single life more painful. As Annie and Lillian have been best friends since childhood Annie is appointed maid of honour but a rivalry is born when Annie meets Lillian's new rich friend Helen Harris (Rose Byrne) who steals Annie's thunder. By calling Bridesmaids a 'female The Hangover' doesn't give Bridesmaids the praise that it deserves in fact it's quite condescending, as Bridesmaids is as equally funny as The Hangover, in fact it could even be better. There is plenty of crude, quite unpleasant comedy (the incident in the bathroom and 'there's semen everywhere. One blanket actually cracked'). These scenes can be amusing but Bridesmaids is funnier when relying on the script to produce laughs (a Fight Club style bachelorette party is a hilarious suggestion). The superb performances, assured direction and finely written script work against the cruder elements and the occasional joke overstaying its welcome producing a very entertaining comedy that will appeal to men and women.
Since his exceptional performance in Blue Valentine Ryan Gosling has quickly become one of the most in demand men in Hollywood. All three of his films in 2011 (The Ides of March, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Drive) have all met critical and financial success. Ryan Gosling is proving himself as a perfectly capable actor and his performance in Drive is only going to increase his popularity.
During the late fifties and sixties there was a Second Civil Rights Movement that intended to eradicate discriminatory racial laws that were in place in America. This is a time when racial segregation was common and icons of the era such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X became instrumental and influential figures during the era. Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett of the same name, The Help sets itself during this time period as two housemaids tell their side of the story to a journalist who decides to write an article (about the black housemaids) never written before in an attempt to gain experience and recognition to be able to work for a prestigious newspaper.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
1973. Mean Streets. The first collaboration of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro who would soon become the greatest frequent collaborators in cinema history creating masterpieces of art such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas and of course Raging Bull which is not only one of the greatest sports movie ever made, it is one of the greatest films to come out of the 1980s. It is Scorsese's finest film and it is also Robert De Niro's finest film in which he delivers his greatest performance of his career. Raging Bull lost the Best Picture Oscar to what now?
Monday, 14 November 2011
Many classic horror films are getting a remake and now it is the turn of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark which achieved a cult status. Written by Guillermo Del Toro (who claimed he was infatuated with the 1974 classic and the idea of monsters under the bed, which begs the question, why remake it if you love it?) Don't Be Afraid of the Dark concerns Sally Hirst (Bailee Madison) moving to her father's (and his girlfriend) 19th century Rhode Island mansion. There, however, strange things happen as the house is not all it seems and Sally begins to hear strange voices which say that they will be friends but that will not be the case. The films starts off pretty gruesomely with an incident involving a chisel and a set of teeth this, sadly, remains the only generally shocking moment as, and I never thought I would say this, Del Toro's writing is a disappointment here. The film travels through many of the genres clichés never utilising them in an effective way but while there is a degree of tension raised the proceedings remain rather scare free. That said Don't Be Afraid of the Dark is a handsome film, the cinematography is elegant and graceful and the set pieces are terrific, there is certainly some Del Toro flair here but while the film does remain pleasant to look at its not quite as rewarding in other aspects. The performances from Guy Pearce (as the father) and Bailee Madison are fine but Don't Be Afraid of the Dark remains a disappointing haunted house story and nowhere near on par with the likes of The Devil's Backbone and The Orphanage in which Del Toro was director and producer respectively.
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) is a bad teacher. She drinks, smokes marijuana and has a need for speed. Ms Halsey decides to quit teaching to live on the money of her rich fiancé but when he soon realizes that it's all about the money he dumps her leaving Ms Halsey with nothing else to do but return to teaching and return to her annoying colleagues, the unbelievably over enthusiastic, infuriatingly irritating Amy Squirrel (even the name is annoying) played by Lucy Punch and gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segel) who makes constant advances on Ms Halsey and is constantly knocked back. Ms Halsey also wants to enlarge her breasts but does not have the money and decides to raise the money in a manner of ways. Ms Halsey also becomes attracted to the new supply teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake).
Friday, 4 November 2011
The first X-Men film was followed by two sequels and a spin origin story based on Wolverine (who in the previous instalments is played by Hugh Jackman). Now five years after The Last Stand and two years after X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a prequel to the entire series looking at the events of how Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy) became enemies. The film starts off in a German concentration camp in Poland and we witness the death of Eric's (who would soon become Magneto) mother at the hands of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) from then on Eric swears to avenge his mother's death. The action zooms to the 1960s, right in the heart of the Cold War, a secret organization called The Hellfire Club is playing Russia and America against each in order to start World War Three which will in turn destroy the human race and allow mutants to rule the planet. Dr Charles Xavier/Professor X recruits a small band of fellow mutants to stop the world's destruction.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Terrence Malick has been in the film industry for almost half a century but his output as a director has been limited, in his forty year career Malick has only directed six films but each of his five previous efforts have a mark of a director who is passionate about cinema and this is perfectly clear in the unique and wonderful visual beauty of all of his films. The Tree of Life is no different, visually it is stunning but like his most recent effort The New World may test the patience of the average cinema goer.