There’s more than just a pinch of Rosemary’s Baby in David Farr’s feature debut The Ones Below where a woman (played by Clemence Posey), who has just recently given birth, is convinced that her neighbours are tormenting her, even the film’s 'lala' lullaby soundtrack bares a strong resemblance to the soundtrack in Polanski’s 1968 chiller. Rosemary’s Baby is not the only Polanski work that the film has some similarity, the uncomfortable dinner sequence is like something from Carnage and the London setting matches the setting of his 1965 film Repulsion. Sadly, however, The Ones Below isn’t quite on a par with the previously mentioned Polanski works. It certainly has its chills and tension but the film takes a disappointingly straightforward route with its narrative. Though the performances are good and they’re good enough to make this film chilling and creepy enough to be worth the watch.
With the Olympic Games in full swing I thought it would be a good idea to check out a sports film set during the Winter Olympic Games (actually, the truth is Eddie the Eagle was just recently released on DVD and the Olympics had nothing to do with me watching the film). In England, the Winter Olympics aren't quite as popular as the summer Olympics (less exposure, less chance to win medals being the major reasons) but in the 1988 Calgary Olympics no-hoper Eddie Edwards captured the public's imagination and hearts.
Dexter Fletcher's Eddie the Eagle is best described as a crowd pleaser, it plays fast and loose with the facts for dramatic purposes, which is strange as the true sporting stories are normally the best. Eddie the Eagle shows why, despite the naysayers, sport does matter, if winning or even competing means so much to someone then it quite clearly does matter. Eddie the Eagle makes for likeable character (Taron Egerton's performance is pretty good) and it's almost impossible not to become fully engaged in Eddie's quest to compete at the Olympic games. It's a heart warming, crowd pleaser that pretty much ticks every box a sports biopic needs to tick. It's perhaps a little overly sentimental and straightforward but it's easy to wave aside those petty criticisms.
10 Cloverfield Lane is built as a spiritual sequel to the 2008 film Cloverfield, but unlike the 2008 film the sequel is filmed using the third person narrative rather the found footage style adopted by the 2008 film. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a film that predominately set in one location and director Dan Trachtenberg makes great use of this by masterminding the tension between the three characters, two whom feel as though they are imprisoned inside the bunker rather than protected by the hazards in the outside world. The star of the show is John Goodman, whose performance is exceptional, his wide and broad frame bristles with an unpredictable and a rash nature making him a suspicious figure. He's a difficult man to trust and his story about the nuclear disaster is one that should be taken with a pinch of salt and that's where much of film's tension derives from – is this man telling the truth?
Much of my family is from Grimsby, and I have to say that the representation of Grimsby in Louis Leterrier's film of the same name is wholly inaccurate, the real life Grimsby is much, much worse. I jest of course as I've always enjoyed my trips to Grimsby and whilst it has featured in several episodes of Traffic Cops and has unemployment issues, there are parts of Grimsby and Cleethopes (which is pretty much Grimsby) that are quite nice.
The film's title (and incidentally town) has the word the 'grim' in it and I have to admit there are certain scenes in the film that are pretty grim, such as the elephant scene which, quite frankly, is one of the grossest things I have ever seen. If you are accustomed to the humour of Sasha Baron Cohen then you'd probably get what you expected, humour in a gross, rude nature. It's send up of working class stereotypes are quite amusing and the relationship between the two brothers (played by Cohen and Mark Strong) has a touch of poignancy but it does overplay it's cards regarding the gross gags. Still, I enjoyed the film partly because I have a close connection to the town of Grimsby, despite the film getting the accent, name of the football club and pretty much everything about the town wrong (except it is actually famous for cod).
This live action remake of the 1967 animated film of the same name (which I probably have seen but not for over a decade) hits the right notes when it attempts to appeal to a mass audience. What the film does really well is balance the humour and the threat as the film is often humorous and amusing (Bill Murray's Baloo is a comic highlight) and frequently creepy and quite tense, most notably when Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is attacked by a gigantic snake and, later on in the film, by an equally gigantic ape (voiced by Christopher Walken and his unusual speech patterns).
The excellent balance between humour and threat gives the film some depth as does Mowgli's relationships with various GCI characters, particularly Baloo and Bagheera (Ben Kingsley). Much of this is owed to Neel Sethi's great performance and the believability of his interactions with the GCI characters, his performance is even better when you remember that Sethi spent most of his time interacting with green screen. Supporting him a good vocal performances from Bill Murray and Ben Kingsley, but it's Idris Elba swho teals the show lending his menacing voice to provide the vocals for the film's antagonist, Shere Khan.
Films like Life of Pi really enhanced GCI representations of wild animals and whilst its incredibly easy to get it horribly wrong (see After Earth) The Jungle Book's GCI animals and setting is absolutely terrific. The GCI created environments are imaginative, believable and immersive and the GCI animals feel like genuine real characters because of their incredible detail which helps create the believable relationships making the film a delight with its engaging and catchy soundtrack.