Monday, 24 December 2012

Don't watch The Watch (lol, I amuse myself).




After the murder of Antonio Guzman, Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) decides to set up a neighbourhood watch team in an attempt to root out the killer and restore law and order to the town of Glenview. A speech at a football stadium doesn’t gain wonderful results as only four turn up to the first meeting. However, they form a group and accidentally stumble across an alien race intent on invading the planet. 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Will you be able to recall Len Wiseman's Total Recall?




The fact that Total Recall was made by the studio called Original Films smacks somewhat of irony, also does anyone think Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel look somewhat similar? Anywho with Len Wiseman at the helm, a director famous for good visuals and nothing else, it seems unlikely that the remake will be better than the 1990 original.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Hobbit




I have not written a review in a while, been busy, a little lazy and on occasions incredibly bad tempered. Naturally, I have embarrassed myself in the time I have been away (alcohol has played a major factor in this). The stories are too face palming worthy to tell just yet, but get me drunk and I’ll yap away, spill the beans about gaining the experience to write a book entitled ‘How to make a utter prat of to yourself: The Guide’ RRP £17.99. But, enough of my odd brand of humour...

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sinister




Having Directed the likes of The Exorcism of Emily Rose (which I quite like) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (I am blessed by the fact I have still yet to see this), Scott Derrickson’s next feature film stars Ethan Hawke as true crime writer Ellison Oswalt. Ellison moves his family (wife and two children) to the source of his next novel, a town in which a family of four were found hanging from a tree, whilst the youngest daughter, Stephanie, is missing. It is Ellison’s job to find out what happened to the little girl and her family.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Looper




Set twenty-two years into the future, Looper stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a Looper from the year 2044. Now, in the year 2070 time travel has been invented (and then quickly banned), and a Looper’s job is to wait at a precise spot at a precise time and kill the man who arrives from the future. A man cannot be killed in 2070 due to advancements in technology, which make it impossible to dispose of a body, thus sending the victim back to 2044 is the best option.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman




In the year 2012 there were two different takes on the Snow White story, slightly similar to that of the year 2010 in which two films based on Greek mythology were released within a few months of each other. Tarsem Singh’s take on Snow White was light hearted and enjoyable, while Rupert Saunders’ version is a slightly darker version playing down the humour elements. Anyway, which one is better? Well, having seen both of them this is an easier question to answer so there is no need for a fight.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Lawless and Silent House




The Wettest County in the World, also known as Lawless (which I will use to make a life just a little bit easier), is based on the novel written by Matt Bondurant, the grandson of one the main characters in his historical novel. Lawless is set during the probation era, a time in which alcohol was banned, thus presenting the opportunity for people to profit from the trading of alcohol. The Bondurant brothers – Forrest (Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke) and Jack (Shia LaBeouf) – are just one example of the many businesses that operate on the illegal trading of alcohol.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Leonard Cohen - Wembley Arena, September 9th, 2012



Today I will do something a little different to what I usually write about; it will be a review, not of a film, but of a concert. I have not written a review about a concert before, but how hard can it be?

Friday, 31 August 2012

The Imposter




This stunning and, at times, disturbing documentary basis itself on a true story that proves that true stories can be the most peculiar and incredible of them all. In 1994, a thirteen-year-old boy, Nicholas Barclay, went missing in Texas, three years later he is reportedly found in Spain. However, the boy found is not Nicholas Barclay, but Frédéric Bourdin who eventually decides to impersonate the boy. What is perhaps most shocking is that the family of missing child accepted that this was Nicholas. The film documents the events that occurred, hoping to provide some of the answers to how this 23-year-old man (with a French accent) posed as a sixteen old boy (with a Texan accent), managing to convince the missing boy’s own family in the process.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

The pointless reboot was Bourne to be bad




As you are more than likely aware the new Bourne movie does not feature Jason Bourne (except for a picture or two), it is like the Halloween franchise not having Michael Myers in a film, I mean imagine how silly that would be! Moving on, The Bourne Legacy is set simultaneously to The Bourne Ultimatum with that Guardian reporter being shot by a Tory Telegraph reader. Meanwhile, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is trekking through Alaska and he happens to bump into Oscar Isaac, but suddenly the pair are attacked by drones.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Shadow Dancer



Tom Bradby used his three-year stay in Ireland as inspiration for the central story of his novel, Shadow Dancer. He covered many important events such as the peace agreement and the IRA ceasefire, and this peace agreement serves as a backdrop for the central story. The Irish problem still burns strong in the hearts of many Catholics and only just recently the Queen of England shook hands with terrorist Martin Mcguinness, who murdered children as well as the Queen’s own cousin, but remember a terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Battleship



Hasbro (the company behind the Transformers franchise) have felt it to be a good idea to base a film on a board game called Battleship. Now, you must be thinking ‘hang on, there were no aliens in the game battleship’ and you will be correct in thinking such a thing, but the link between the film and board game is somewhat tenuous. It is clearly a Hasbro film as Battleship looks exactly like Transformers, but on sea and even worse (though granted I have not tortured myself watching the second and third films of the Transformers franchise).

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Nostalgia for the Light



Two years after it premiered at the Cannes film festival, Nostalgia for the Light eventually hit British cinemas. It was released to very favourable reviews from both across the world and in its homeland of Chile, reviews were correct as Nostalgia for the Light certainly makes for compelling viewing. Patricio Guzmán’s startling documentary goes to the Atacama Desert to look at the skies in an attempt discover our origins, meanwhile, also in the Atacama Desert, a group of women search though the vast desert to recover the remains of the loved ones lost during Augusto Pinochet’s brutal regime.  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Gone



Written by Allison Burnett, Gone stars Amanda Seyfried as Jill Conway who a few years previously was kidnapped and abandoned in a hole, which contained human remains, in the forest. Jill escaped from her kidnapper and told the police of her ordeal but they never found the hole containing human remains. In the present day, Jill lives with her sister, Molly (Emily Wickersham), but when Molly is kidnapped the night before a test Jill fears that the kidnapper has returned, however the police believe her crazy story to be balderdash. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Ted



John Bennett is a lonely eight-year-old boy who is not allowed to play with the other kids whose main source of enjoyment is to regularly beat up the local Jewish boy. However, on Christmas John gets the best Christmas present ever in the shape of a teddy bear. John and his teddy bear become inseparable and soon John makes a wish that Teddy could talk and the next day his wish has come true. Over twenty-five years later the 35 year old John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) are still inseparable, but John’s girlfriend (Mia Kunis) offers John an ultimatum.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Flowers of War


In recent years there has been an upsurge in films based on the events of the Nanking Massacre (sometimes known as The Rape of Nanking), the most famous, and perhaps greatest of these, was Chaun Lu’s harrowing masterpiece The City of Life and Death, which came out in 2009. The explanation for the rise of such films is to highlight such an event which sadly, because of Pearl Harbour and the Atomic Bombings, is not recognised as much as it should be. 

Monday, 6 August 2012

Liebster award

The Liebster is an award that's passed from blogger to blogger as a recognition of quality work. I received mine from two people, Alex from and so it begins and R. Hamilton. To accept the award there are rules which must be followed however:

Friday, 3 August 2012

'Mirror Mirror is ok' Quoth The Raven



Mirror Mirror is the first of the two mainstream films that are based upon the story of Snow White (the other being Snow White and the Huntsman). The first and equally moderately well received Snow White stars Lily Collins as Snow White who, having lost her mother during childbirth, soon loses her father thus having to be raised by the Queen (Julia Roberts). During a small stroll in the woods, Snow White comes across a prince (Armie Hammer) tied upside down to a tree, Snow White frees him allowing him to travel onwards to White’s kingdom in bid to offer Julia Roberts’ Queen a deal of some sort. The Queen, liking Prince Alcott’s (Hammer) hairy chest (she should see mine *growls sexually*), and the fact that he is stinking rich, decides to marry him. Meanwhile, Snow White discovers that the city is not the vibrant place it was once was, and after her performance at the ball, Snow White is banished from the kingdom. Snow White enlists the help of seven dwarfs to save the kingdom from evil queen. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Favourite Film Series - The Lives of Others



The Lives of Others was the first feature film of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s career, it was a stunning debut film taking the Best Foreign Picture award home in the 2006 Academy awards (beating Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth) and receiving critical acclaim in the process. Donnersmarck’s follow up was the Hollywood tosh The Tourist, what a waste...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Batman - The Dark Knight Rises



Before I begin this review, it would be an opportune time to leave condolences to those who have lost loved ones during that brutal killings on Friday, July 20th 2012. 

Towering above the likes of The Avengers and The Hobbit in the list of this years’ most anticipated movie is The Dark Knight Rises. To drive anticipation to the max director Christopher Nolan kept his cards close to his chest, very rarely revealing his hand to those outside until the final few months. The Batman franchise has found its place among the public and critics as one of the biggest trilogies of this current generation.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Devil Inside and Batman tickets.



The Blair Witch Project is like the Halloween of the Found footage/docu-drama genre, it may not have created the genre, but it certainly was the driving force that popularised the genre, prompting the release of similar films such as Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity and The Devil Inside, to name but a few.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Rampart, Contraband and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia



James Elroy (LA Confidential, The Black Dahlia) combines with director Oren Moverman (The Messenger) to create Rampart, a film that follows the corrupt, violent cop Dave ‘date rape’ Brown (Woody Harrelson) during the Rampart scandal that plagued the LAPD in the late 90s. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

This Means War and Young Adult



Before I start my short review of This Means War I have to say if I was Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon) and female this would be a very short movie as, in my mind, Lauren’s dilemma was not much of a dilemma at all.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

John Carter of Mars


Andrew Stanton’s John Carter of Mars caused a huge dent in Disney’s financial status and as a result the film’s failure was largely to blame. So poor was John Carter of Mars box office performance that Disney had to put the movie’s sequels on hold, but John Carter of Mars has performed better in the home media market as well as gaining a rather feisty fan base. 

Friday, 29 June 2012

A Royal Affair,The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and A Dangerous Method



Set in the 18th century A Royal Affair is a romanticised telling of the marriage of Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander) and the mentally ill king Christian VII of Denmark (Mikkel Følsgaard). The king’s use of whores and excessive drinking leads to the queen (Caroline) to fall in a doomed love affair with the King’s new physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), who uses his close relationship with the king to bring about positive reforms in the country. A Royal Affair is almost seductive in its glorious cinematography (shot by Rasmus Videbæk) and excellent costume and set designs. The performances from the whole cast are terrific, Mads Mikkelsen and Mikkel Følsgaard in particular. However the passionate romantic aspects (the central part of the story) are not quite as interesting as the political aspects of Struensee‘s rise to power and his backtracking on policies he has made in the past to maintain that power by censoring harmful material that may lead Denmark back into its old ways of government. It does drag out its ending somewhat, but the film so visually brilliant and well told by director Nikolaj Arcel that A Royal Affair is a period drama that almost reaches the heights of The Remains of the Day.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Carnage and Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter



Roman Polanski’s latest production is based on the stage play by Yasmina Reza (entitled God of Carnage) which tells the real time story of the parents attempting to deal with a boy’s attack (under provocation) on another with a stick. The parents agree to meet up in order to resolve the situation, but the evening descends into chaos as each of the four parents bicker among each other. Polanski’s film, set in New York (filmed in Paris for obvious reasons), is excellently acted by the likes of John C. Riley, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet with Waltz being a particular highlight as the rude, and work hampered Alan (who’s constant phone breaks are annoying everyone, including the viewer). Each of the characters has their own flaws and each of their flaws is magnified the longer they stay in the same room. Penelope Longstreet (Foster) is self-righteous and aware of her own self importance, her husband, Michael (Riley), is cynical and negative while Nancy (Winslet) is a phony with a particularly weak stomach. Polanski’s script (co adapted with Yasmina Reza) is full of comic wit and Paweł Edelman’s cinematography captures the claustrophobia of such a meeting, which the longer it goes on adds to the character’s rising blood levels. It becomes clear that the parents are pettier than the kids when it comes to bickering with one another. The contrivances to why Nancy and Alan fail to leave the house despite meaning to on several occasions becomes slightly less believable as time goes on, but it is only a minor nuisance in a exquisitely well acted film. Not his best work, but a fine addition to Polanski's filmography.

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Innkeeper's Safe House is being attacked by a Goon.



The Yankee Pedlar Inn is keeping its doors open for one final weekend as the hotel is soon to be closed down due to poor trade (because of the economy, I guess). There are very few guests staying at the hotel thus presenting the two staff members, Claire and Luke (Sara Paxton and Pat Healy), the opportunity to discover whether the hotel’s ghost stories are true. Ti West’s previous effort before The Innkeepers was the brilliantly tense House of the Devil which worked exceptionally well due the sustained tension throughout and the menacing use of suggestion concerning the horror upstairs. The Innkeepers is similar to The House of the Devil in the sense that it is a slow burning chiller that relies on suggestion and tension rather than actual scares; however it’s not quite on the same level as The House of the Devil. That’s not to say there are no generally good jolts in The Innkeepers, but the moments leading up to the scare are the ones that payoff most successfully. Boosting likeable and engaging central characters The Innkeepers treads along at a slow pace, which some may find frustrating, but others admiring the creepy almost The Shining like elements. The film becomes slightly unstuck as the central characters’ actions become more and more absurd as the film steps further in the conventions of the genre, but Ti West’s film works well as an enjoyable character study (the two central actors share a good chemistry) as well as creepily effective supernatural chiller. Ti West leaves plenty of unanswered questions in the narrative, but makes up for these issues by raising a decent level of sustained tension.

3/5

Friday, 8 June 2012

J Edgar



Since his first directorial effort Play Misty For Me Clint Eastwood has had a successful career behind the camera (he won the Best Director Oscar for Unforgiven). Eastwood also made a name for himself playing iconic characters such as Harry Callahan; so the recognition in both directing and acting Eastwood has received makes it difficult to decide whether he was better behind or in front of the camera.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Prometheus


Might be some plot spoilers. People's opinions on plot spoilers differs. 


Ridley Scott’s second feature film Alien still remains, after thirty years, one of the greatest horror/science fiction movies ever made, it is the essential haunted house story in which there is no escape from the monster lurking about the tight, claustrophobic hallways. Thirty years on Alien was followed by three sequels, two spin off series (Predator and Alien vs. Predator) and finally Prometheus which Scott claims is not a prequel, but the film is still set in the Aliens franchise’s universe.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Moonrise Kingdom and Iron Sky



Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom opened up the Cannes Film Festival leaving many critics delighted with many applauding the quality of the film. After his last animated effort (Fantastic Mr Fox) Anderson returns to where he started dealing with younger rebellious characters in love (though in Rushmore the younger character falls in love with an older character). Known for creative and idiosyncratic talents much of Anderson visual talents are on display in his latest work Moonrise Kingdom.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Grey and Haywire.



Apparently The Grey saw a lot of walkouts due to the fact that the trailer misrepresented the film making it seem as though it was an action thriller in which Liam Neeson calls a wolf a ‘motherfucker’ and punches it in the face. Whether the misleading trailer or the impatience of some modern cinemagoers is to blame for these walkouts is debatable, but after seeing the film it becomes clear that the trailer is nothing like the actual finished product.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Descendants.



Best known for his satirical depiction of modern America Alexander Payne returns after seven years since he directed his last film (Sideways) with The Descendants, a touching and poignant film based on the novel, of the same name, by Hawaii resident Kaui Hart Hemmings. It may lack the satirical and comic elements of his previous films, but The Descendants went on to become a Box Office success as well as being nominated for Best Picture Oscar and winning one in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. 

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Spartacus



Spartacus came about because Kirk Douglas got a tad stroppy at the fact he lost the leading role in the 1959 epic Benhur to Charlton Heston. Spartacus was designed to be just as epic as the 1959 Best Picture winner, and thus when original director Antony Mann was sacked because he did not meet Douglas’ epic vision Douglas hired Stanley Kubrick to replace Mann in directorial duties. At this time it is clear that Douglas’ ego was as big and epic as the film itself.

Paths of Glory (1957)



Kirk Douglas was so impressed with Stanley Kubrick’s previous outing The Killing that he agreed to work with the director on his next project Paths of Glory which is often regarded as Kubrick’s first masterpiece and rightfully so as Paths of Glory is certainly a staggering film. The film tells the story of three French soldiers who are under trial for cowardice in the face of the enemy, Colonel Dax (Kirk Douglas) is assigned to protect them in a court martial. The penalty for cowardice in the face of the enemy is death, yet the mission they were sent on, under orders by General Mireau (George Macready), is suicidal. At first Mireau wants to execute 100 men from each regiment but is eventually persuaded to reduce this down to ten and then eventually one. This single person will be selected by the regiment’s captain in a manner he sees fit.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Killer's Kiss and The Killing



Two years after the failure of Fear and Desire Kubrick moved onto his next project Killer’s Kiss. Similarly to his first feature film Killer’s Kiss had a very low budget; Kubrick was forced to borrow $40,000 from his uncle to finance the project. Despite having a similar budget to his previous film the step forward Kubrick had taken is more of a giant leap forward as Killer’s Kiss is superior to Fear and Desire in every possible way.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Fear and Desire - Kubrick's career part one.



While making Fear and Desire Stanley Kubrick was essentially a twenty-five year old man with a crazy dream, making his first feature film. Despite having made several short documentaries before 1953 Fear and Desire was his first shot at the big time. While showing some signs of skilful filmmaking it is rather surprising to see Kubrick rise from this low budget box office failure to creating a film that, to this very day, influences a whole genre and created, as Steven Spielberg put it, ‘the genre’s big bang’.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Thing with Man on a Ledge is there is more tension found in Salmon Fishing in The Yemen.



Directed by Lasse Hallström (Dear John and The Cider House Rules), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars Ewan McGregor as a fishing expert who is blackmailed by his boss into joining a project that he believes to be fundamentally unfeasible. This plan, conducted by Sheikh Muhammad (Amr Waked) and supported by consultant Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt), involves bringing the sport of Salmon fishing to Yemen (south of Saudi Arabia, in the Middle East, if your geography is not up to scratch).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Mission Quite Difficult but Entirely Possible



I am perfectly aware that this joke has been said many times, but it becomes apparent after a TV show and four films that it really isn’t mission impossible, but mission quite difficult but entirely possible, though Mission Quite Difficult but Entirely Possible - Ghost Protocol doesn’t exactly go well together, does it? That said it is still a better title than Marvel Avengers Assemble.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Avengers (I refuse to call it Avengers Assemble).


It’s a good thing that the film itself is much better than the film’s title because Marvel’s Avengers Assemble is a bad name, but there is a reason for this name change. The fear which British distributors held is that they believed some people would think that a film called The Avengers will be a remake of the 1970s TV show also called The Avengers and then turn up to find that the film they actually are going to see has very little in common with the film they thought they were going to see. Anyway Marvel Avengers Assemble could be called anything and still make several £100,000,000.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Into the Abyss, The Texas Killing Fields and The Rum Diary


Of late Werner Herzog’s documentaries have been his best and more notable works, his most recent documentaries are fascinating and have provided great insight into subjects such as the life of a bear enthusiast, prehistoric caves and now the death penalty which Herzog’s most recent documentary focuses on. Using the case study of a triple homicide to debate the use of capital punishment Herzog tackles the issue with objectiveness and sensitivity, in the documentary interviews are conducted with a former executioner, the victims’ families and the murderers themselves who all provide a powerful account of the incident in their own unique way.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Dream House review



Occasionally a film with a troubled production history will have negative effects on the finished product, take Alien 3 for example in which director David Fincher relentlessly battled with producers over the handling of the film (naturally the director’s cut of the film is vastly superior) and even Blade Runner was affected by its troubled production resulting in the film being hit financially. Judging by director producer quarrels it appears that Dream House also fell victim to such production issues.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hungry for a new franchise?



Jennifer Lawrence leaped to fame after her tremendous performance in the 2010 Oscar nominated film Winter’s Bone, since then Lawrence has starred in a few big budget films including X-Men: First Class and of course The Hunger Games which looks set to become the biggest role of her career as the film is based on the first of a series of novels which are hugely popular and successful among the teenage demographic.

Monday, 19 March 2012

21 Jump Street review.



Based loosely on the 80s TV show of the same name, 21 Jump Street concerns two idiotic cops, Morton Schimidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum), who are sent undercover to a local school to uncover the suppliers and dealers of a drug that killed a student. In a Freaky Friday style role reversal the pair goes back to school to discover that the attributes to make one popular has changed (to the shock and disgust of Greg Jenko who blames Glee for such a change). Written by Michael Bacall (Scott Pilgrim and Project X) and directed Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) 21 Jump Street is great fun with a truck load of laughs, and 21 Jump Street is the funniest comedy since The Hangover.

Straw Dogs (2011) review.



The 1971 original version of Straw Dogs is perhaps the most notorious film of the 70s (A Clockwork Orange and The Exorcist are strong competitors for such a title) and of Sam Peckinpah’s career, banned under the 1984 Video Recording act of 1984 Straw Dogs is one of the most shocking films of its time, most shocking for that ambiguous rape sequence. Very few directors depicted, or even embraced violence, in the way Peckinpah did and the 1971 Straw Dogs remains one of the greatest explorations of violence; however the remake, a reasonably well made film, isn’t nearly as shocking.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Anonymous, The Muppets and Chronicle.



Conspiracy theories are always floating about, much of these conspiracy theorists believe that 9/11 was a government planned operation, the moon landing was faked and Shakespeare was a fraud and never wrote his own plays.  The final conspiracy theory is the focus of Roland Emmerich’s film Anonymous which so convoluted, dull and unconvincing that it will not even convince the most gullible of us into believing that Shakespeare was a fraud.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Awaken for The Awakening



The Awakening is one those films that will find a home as a DVD rather than in a theatrical release, however the film did get a theatrical release in November, but a very short one as the film made a loss, yet The Awakening may recoup some of its loss as it may grow into one of those cult movies.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Searching for the greatest Western? This may be one of them.



John Ford is often regarded as one the finest filmmakers ever, he is a winner of four Best Director Oscars (a record) and is Orson Wells’ greatest influence. Ford is best known for his Westerns, and The Searchers is regarded as his greatest film of his career and thus the best collaboration between himself and John Wayne.  It’s the brilliance of so many factors that range from Winton C. Hoch’s incredible cinematography, Ford’s faultless direction and Wayne’s stunning performance that makes The Searchers the genre defining film it is.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Can film be used to illustrate the past or is it more dangerous than useful?


Postmodernists claim that feature films are just as a valid source at discovering history as any other methods of gathering evidence to create a bigger picture of the past. Cinema and film are undoubtedly of huge cultural and social significance, millions of people go to the cinema, in 2011 1.28 billion tickets were sold in the US alone[1], to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster, so what better place is there to contain a message or tell history? The audiences look on as films look into the past telling us stories of the Second World War, Vietnam War and of racial injustice in America. However, can feature films such as Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986), Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978) and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) be used as evidence to paint a picture of the Vietnam and Second World wars? Or do films like the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation (a film undoubtedly racist but also one of the most important films in American cinema for its technical innovations) present difficulties at using film as a historical source? There are many issues at using film as a historical source, however, there are also many positives and these positives outweigh the dangers of using film as a historical source.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Woman in Black



It's 11 days into the shortest month of the year and The Woman in Black is the first 2012 film I have actually seen, of course Britain often gets films after the US, but from the 2012 films released so far, very few have been of particular interest to me, and some I have not had the time to see. Anyway, many will know of the stage play of The Woman in Black, which is the second longest running play in the history of West End, which has been terrifying people for the past 23 years, both the book and the play are held in high regard, can the film do both the novel and the play justice?

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

No Beginners luck required for Sean Durkin as Martha Marcy May Marlene is superb, but The Debt he owns Lizzie Olsen is huge. (Sorry, best I could do.)



Directed by John Madden (the director of the 1998 Best Picture Winner Shakespeare In Love )The Debt is a rather forgettable story of revenge. The Debt is a remake of a 2007 Israeli film of the same name and stars Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas as MOSSAD (the Israeli intelligence service) agents planning to kidnap notorious war criminal Dieter Vogel – aka The Surgeon of Birkenau – played by Jesper Christensen. These three agents wish to bring back this Nazi war criminal to Israel and give him the justice he deserves. The story is told in a nonlinear narrative as the plot flashes back from the early 60s to the year 1997, and this is done with some success in terms of narrative, but does present some clear casting issues. Within the hour the film loses its spark and its power to entertain despite the rising tensions and tempers between the central characters as they spend far too much time cooped up in a dingy little house.  The two male agents, Stefan Gold and David Pertez (Csokas and Worthington) are rather unprofessional as they develop feelings towards Rachael (Chastain and Helen Mirren) who swings between the two male characters, but this melodrama is rather tiresome and mundane. The performances are fine as the cast is made up of some well known stars (Chastain, Helen Mirren and Worthington) but the older versions of the characters look nothing like their younger selves so, at first, one cannot be certain to who is who, with the exception of Rachel Singer. One does wonder why they couldn’t use make up. That aside The Debt is still rather uninvolving due to the fact that these characters, who we spend a great deal of time with, just are not interesting enough.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Coriolanus review.


The most well known example of Shakespeare’s works being adapted into a modern setting, but with his older form of the English language intact, is Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet (1996) which had all the aspects of the modern age (cars, guns, etc) but kept the Shakespearian dialogue. It was an attempt to get younger people more interested in Shakespeare, it worked to an extent that Leonardo Di Caprio became a teenage heart throb and starred in that little known film Titanic. The film is also more popular among audiences then many Shakespeare adaptations. Ralph Fiennes also adapts Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in a modern setting (with Belgrade standing in for Rome), and this is also a play with some relevant political undertones when considering the political climate of today. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

War Horse review



Steven Spielberg is a master at tugging the heartstrings; films like E.T, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List are a perfect example of this. Spielberg has gotten some criticism for being too overly sentimental, while there is a foundation to build an argument upon it is unfair to use that one critique to discredit the amazing body of work Spielberg has done. War Horse is another one of those tear jerking Spielberg movies, while it is poignant, War Horse is not in the same league as ET.