Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Bridge (2006)
Scary in ways
The Bridge is a documentary film that is thought provoking but also at the same time slightly morbid. It centres around of course the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and all of the suicides that take place there every year, it also alongside that shows how the deaths of certain people who jumped have affected the families and friends of their loved one's. The people behind this I feel do not want to make it look so much like "Why didn't you stop them from jumping?" (the crew placed cameras around the bridge filming all suicides that were witnessed) but somehow and especially with the last suicide we see, you do feel that.
Eric Steel is the man behind this all and although it never feels quite like some horrible documentary that doesn't respect the dead, it can at times as mentioned feel just a little like we are just watching people die (which we are). One thing I think this does get right is the way in which it really captures the emotion the families are going through and never just focuses constantly on the death of someone; it is pretty depressing at times but some of the reactions of the family are one's of acceptance, they have accepted the fact that their loved one wanted to die and although I can't say are at peace, they understand why it happened.
It's not a watch I can really recommend on an interesting level, to be fair it does fill time a lot with random shots of the fog on the bridge and just of random little things, nice to see yes but really just all time filler. I feel if the documentary had brought up points about the safety of the bridge and why no things up to that point had been done to stop people from jumping then this would have had a bit more depth but in the end it feels just a little disjointed and although thought provoking, never brings a point up. It could be said also though that the whole thing brings the point up which is true but also it fails to address that the jumping's are preventable and that people have put work in trying to get it to happen one day soon in the near future.
Really overall the film is one that is watchable and although many may watch this in a way that shocks them, it fast becomes the norm in this to see a little splash far off in the bay which is really not a good thing at all. I will say though that I think people should watch this, it not only goes to serve as a piece that makes you think about things but also shows that life really can be that tough on some so that what some people think is well unthinkable, it is a thing that can happen and does happen, The Golden Gate Bridge is just one of those places where it happens.
The Avengers (2012)
A very fun ride
Now this is how you do a summer blockbuster, the Avengers is a movie that not only throws you full blown special effects action and laughter, but actually a little emotion too and that makes all the difference. The story see's well the Avengers Assemble, bad things are coming toward the security of the globe and so S.H.I.E.L.D gather together superheroes and the like to come to try and come to the rescue. It may not sound like the best film through my explanation but believe me this is pretty epic as movies like this go, the film only goes to show that superhero movies can be great and that special effects don't always ruin a movie every time.
Joss Whedon directs this and writes this and hey does he do a good job, not only does he make it thrilling and fast, he also manages to let the movie never take itself completely seriously, the jokes here and there and fantastic. Whedon also manages as mentioned to create a film that has these impossible things on show and yet they don't just look stupid, I felt at first glance that this would look too over the top in the Sci-fi department but really they actually work very well all the gadgets etc. The action quota is thoroughly taken care of as well and yet again the fighting scenes have a little tinge of humour in there making this movie a whole host of things.
Of course with such a big film comes a big cast and this movie throws stars at you left right and centre including such names as Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson. To any person who has seen Marvel movies beforehand then you will know a lot of the cast, this movie is of course many other movies meeting on the same path. As the acting goes it is hard to really spot who stands out above the rest, everyone does a good job and no one lets the team down, I particularly liked Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man as he just breathes a lot of humour into this. I was never overly sure on the role of S.H.I.E.L.D in this and some of the cast who are in the organisation don't get the best lines exactly, Whedon does though manage to get Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) to be pretty cool at times.
I think the special effects here are pretty nice, I mean come on the film's budget is huge but it's the way in which it looks that makes it feel different to other big blockbusters. Not only do we have movies coming together as one but we also see a film that uses effects on a huge scale and then also although having to use them a hell of a lot, still the movies does not suffer so badly. Films will never look quite right using effects but the Avengers goes a long way in making a movie that is huge on them and yet does not make it look ugly or something to condone as bad.
All in all the film is great, and I mean it, great fun, great acting and just some great thrills to be had. Marvel do seem to pump out movies everywhere and I am glad that the Avengers has not been lost in the massive whirlpool that is Marvel movies, it stands out because it's so big and epic and is definitely a memorable one. I would say this is one for the fans but I have no idea in truth, although I will say that I don't think many people can find a whole host of problems with this, it's a film that has been cared for and made in a way that is not just a little escapism and that is it, it's something you can watch again.
Film noir that is alright I guess
D.O.A is a 1950's film noir all about a man who has been poisoned and we see him then trying to find out who did it and why. It's a film that could almost feel like something from Hitchcock but no it comes from Rudolph Maté a most of the time cinematographer who had directed also though in the previous few years to this. Maté manages to create a story that is interesting but not really in my opinion one that is a classic, different yes but it feels the whole gimmick overrides this to make it look and feel like it should be a classic. Nevertheless this movie is not boring at all, with a decent running time as well it whizzes by quite nicely and the whole plot wraps itself up in just over 80 minutes.
It stars Edmond O'Brien as Frank Bigelow the man who has been poisoned, he has no idea why because he has no obvious enemies and he doesn't even know where he was poisoned. Pamela Britton, William Ching and Luther Adler join O'Brien in the cast and most do a good job but I couldn't help feel the acting is just a little bit too shaky. I just felt at certain points when the script throws up some quite dramatic part, the actors kind of go a bit over the top with what they've got, no one fails in this film but it is only some scenes are ruined by none believable acting though.
Rudolph Maté uses the script from Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene to make a very fast yet efficient film, it never gets too bogged down in its own story and although it can open up too many avenues of investigation, it still comes to a conclusion that makes sense. Maté works well with the cast at his disposal and also uses his skills with the camera to make this feel even faster then it really is, some scenes look great though even if the camera is moving about extremely fast. I also liked the bad people or person(could be either,no spoilers) in this, of course I will not claim who they are so I do not ruin for possible readers of this but although they are not superbly evil, they definitely have a ruthless streak waiting to come out.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys well film noir, I still don't think many will find this near being a masterpiece although I am sure some will enjoy it massively more than I did. I must say though I did pretty much enjoy this myself though, I never quite felt wrapped up in this mystery, you know edge of your seat kind of stuff but I did at least want to see what happened next and who was responsible and that makes this a pretty decent film from my view. Whether Maté was a better director or cinematographer well that is for those who have seen all his work to decide, he certainly manages to tell a story here and make it come across as more than just your average tale of mystery or a whodunit, he makes it OK and that is all that is needed. And so overall as said I felt it to be pretty good but not completely well, good, a movie that maybe is not the absolute best but certainly one I would tell people to go and watch.
The Cutting Edge (1992)
Actually pretty well done
The Cutting Edge is a 90's Rom-com that features a pair of skaters who you wouldn't of course expect to be together. One is a hockey player and the other an actual figure skater and when both are paired up to go for gold, well they might fail at the first hurdle of training. The film is one packed with schmaltzy lines and a fairly basic story and yet the film in my opinion is actually an OK one. Listen I mean this is no fantastic film, no revelation and really not one of those films that might surprise you at just how good it is, but this is still not a film I feel that is easily dislikeable. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky from 70's cop show Starsky & Hutch) who does a good job of at least keeping you hooked in on the film, the movie never seems to fade and even when a few wobbles maybe do appear, they don't create some massive fail.
I could start with talking about the cast, the director and just the plot but really the first person to mention is Tony Gilroy whose screenplay here is actually great stuff, of course Gilroy would go on to win and be nominated for major awards but this was the first movie he ever wrote. The story is not exactly original of course not but it's the dialogue that Gilroy gets just right, it's not stupid and doesn't feel like stuff you would just never hear in real life. Gilroy's script is then put on the screen fairly well with Glaser's direction and it really feels like a film where hard work was put in and it's good to see really.
The film stars D. B. Sweeney as hockey player Doug Dorsey and Moira Kelly as figure skater Kate Moseley who is spoiled and not exactly on board with working with Dorsey. Both play their respective roles well and do the best they can do to make you at least feel something toward them, for me it is Dorsey who you connect with most although Kate has her moments as a character. I liked most of the supporting cast too with Roy Dotrice and Terry O'Quinn popping up in important roles; a lot of this movie comes down to yet again that small dialogue from Gilroy's script and Glaser seems to make the scenes actually kind of interesting even if they on the outside look dull and predictable.
The Cutting Edge is a film I would most definitely recommend and even though it is far from perfect it is still rather satisfactory. One thing I must say that does get increasingly annoying is the camera work when the actual skating occurs, it tries to do this strange slow motion kind of thing that just feels annoying after a while, although most skating scenes are at least done pretty well choreography wise (choreographed by an Olympic gold medal winning figure skater Robin Cousins no less). Another thing that lets this movie glide along nicely is the soundtrack filled to the brim with high energy songs and some rock music at times to really kick it into gear; it uses the music though particularly well when training is going on. So The Cutting Edge is really no film that necessarily delivers something refreshing but it does come out nicely and you could say it at least delivers the landing in a more than just mediocre way.
A good 30's horror movie
Ah films about Vampires, you either get your blood thirsty crazy looking vampires or your calculated vampires whose thirst for blood is much more creepy than scary. Vampyr the film from Carl Th. Dreyer is really the creepy kind with its weird looking sets, surreal events and just characters whose emotions are conveyed through body language much more than by words. Dreyer somehow manages to get that dark underlying feeling all successful horror movies must have but in my opinion does not create any kind of masterpiece here, good, but not as perfect for me as some say this is. The story revolves a young man who is introduced to the world of vampires and the supernatural, as the plot moves on we see more about what they are and what they can do.
Dreyer uses a cast not very well known if not in some cases at all and puts Nicolas de Gunzburg in the lead role as Allan Gray the young man whose fascination with the supernatural takes him to a small inn in the village of Courtempierre. For me the best character is the village doctor played by Jan Hieronimko who was found on a Paris metro train of all places and cast into the film among many other amateurs. I feel that Hieronimko's performance is similar to others in this too, I mean the acting here is not exactly great, don't get me wrong it's not bad at all but sometimes they just move around a little sluggishly, reactions are sometimes over the top. Dreyer knows though how to use his actors well though, even if they aren't too believable, he does this in a spooky way and although they move around just a little strangely, at times that strange movement can be kind of freaky and used to nice effect.
Dreyer co-writes the film with Christen Jul and the script but in more specifics the dialogue is very well, not much there, but that is one reason this movie works so well. At such a short running time that this film is you can't be adding too much small talk, in fact this film dives into the plot very quickly indeed and it works well because it makes this so much more interesting, straight away you are hooked in on the story and that makes this at least very watchable. The film was not exactly met with positivity when it was first released and was considered a low point in Dreyer's career, the thing about this film though is that although I feel this is a little too clunky to be anything better than good, it is still well as I said, good, a must see for any fan of cinema or horror.
Vampyr is not the best horror film but it is as I can see considered a classic among it so I can't finish this review without recommending it. It won't make you jump, in fact it won't probably make you feel scared at all but that I feel is not what Dreyer is trying to convey, it is the surrealism of it that he tries to make you see and tells a story that is highly original and a very smart yet weird story. All the characters Dreyer creates are well done and although I mentioned the acting before it is fair to say they all do a pretty decent job at least all together as a cast. Oh and one more thing and this is pretty important really, the camera angles, Dreyer works extremely well with Rudolph Mate and they create a film that looks not just creepy, but also looks extremely surreal as well.
Apparently it has a bit of a cult status.......
Fairy tales are never usually this gory and yet also so sickly to look at design wise, it looks like an outdoor set made of well not very nice designs. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is a fantasy horror movie directed and written by Norwegian Tommy Wirkola who is probably before this best known for Zombie film "Dead Snow" but really doesn't do too much at all to make this original, well done or even that fun. I'm sure some people have watched this and felt it to be not serious, just a little escapism, which is fine of course but I just felt personally it was not well written, not very well directed and it just felt too much of a bad movie to be even okay.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton lead the cast as the two sibling witch hunters whose experience in the beginning of the film leads them to just want to destroy all witches. They play their roles well but to be fair do nothing to save them from being generic characters in a pretty basic story film, It's not really the case with this that the acting hurts it. Oh but wait, maybe it is the acting (not the main two cast members) because some of those witches, I could not stand it, it seriously felt like acting done in some kind of over the top film that even this movie doesn't feel like. I'm not quite sure why Famke Janssen appears in this movie, it is really not her best role to be fair and I just couldn't bare what goes on with her character for much longer in this.
Hey I mean this movie is really neither horrific nor reaching the heights of being just an average old film, it's just bad but not in a way where it feels unwatchable. The film tries to weave itself the nicest of crazy stories and does honestly try with the stunts and such, but in the end it just feels too rushed and just not well made enough. As for the violence involved well for me it is used for comedic effect of course, the movie apparently doesn't take itself seriously when blatantly (or by accident) it does. Wirkola creates something that is not quite a gore-fest but leaves a bloody mess at certain times; this one isn't exactly for the kids to be honest. I almost forgot, the script, Wirkola's writing creates this kind of comedic world where I'm supposed to laugh at every f-word the characters use, but seriously the script is not that great and the actual story that Wirkola creates is nothing short of predictable.
So really Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a film that should really have been OK, if it had anything original to say that is. It took a bit of a mauling from the critics when it first appeared but since then has gained a cult following, I even watched this thinking "Maybe I will kind of like this", I didn't as you can see. It has the right feel to it, even the start of the film I thought to myself maybe this will be some good old fun and 88 minutes where I can experience some decent fighting and a story to boot but really it squanders that opportunity towards its ending where it just doesn't even try and yet again it looks, well yet again not very nice.
Great return for one of the best series
Star Wars has just burst back into life again, bringing with it new faces and old and a story that although familiar, is still epic. J. J. Abrams brings us back into the galaxy far far away and makes more than just a good little movie; he makes a great and massive film, filled to the brim with stuff to just simply enjoy. Now I'm not going to write this and pretend this is perfect, it has some mistakes I felt but they aren't massive really at all and in the big picture, this is very good indeed. The plot brings us new characters like Rey and Finn, Poe and BB-8 but then also those like Han Solo, Chewie and the Skywalker siblings who altogether make this a lovely experience to behold after so many years.
For me the first thing to really start to talk about properly is Abrams, the guy directs and co-writes this and really makes a very decent job of creating something we can all enjoy. I did feel maybe this could have done with a little more of a refreshing story, it hardly brings us a plot that is so original it's amazing, and yet even if it treads ground that isn't breaking at how good it is, it is still a hell of a ride in the mean time. The film of course has its good v bad element that all have become used to, obviously many films have a battle between the two but Star Wars has always made it feel different, this time being no exception.
So do the actors of old return in true legendary fashion, well pretty much yes actually, especially that of Harrison Ford as Han who yet again makes the role one to enjoy. There are plenty of scenes that hark back to the good old days of IV through to VI and mostly done in ways where in close dialogue they mention things from the past, something for the fans me thinks. You cannot miss out the new kids on the block here, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega who really lead out the procession of new people coming into the franchise and in a style where they don't feel overshadowed by the original cast. Boyega and Ridley feel right in their respective roles, they feel like they have always been characters in Star Wars, the film develops them into full blown pros by the end of it. Oh and I nearly forget to mention this guy, Kylo Ren of course played by Adam Driver who is pretty evil (sorry, lack of a better word), not going too much into the plot but although you might think before the film he won't be as good a villain as Vader, by the end credits you will see he competes with Darth Vader on quite a few levels.
I'm very happy they have brought Star Wars back, even if this is the seventh instalment it still needs this because Star Wars is just one massive thing that has countless potential stories to tell. Abrams truly starts things off for the new movies well, he doesn't start it off in a most perfect of perfect ways but I don't think anyone cares if this isn't 100% bang on; it is still a very good and great movie. Look out for the cameos in this movie, sometimes it's a case of knowing where to look or listening to the voice but quite a few familiar faces show up and it only goes to show how massive this movie and the franchise it belongs to is. Overall The Force Awakens is one film that betters the films directly before it and comes within reach of the first two of the originals which leads me to think that Star Wars films coming out in the future have a bright horizon.
One word, epic!
High fantasy quite often when done in film just comes off as epic, and this little gem is no exception. I really shouldn't have used the word little because this is the complete opposite, the scale is huge, the adventure is huge and to be fair some of the creatures in this are huge. Fellowship of the Ring is of course based on the work of J. R. R Tolkien of the same named book and is one movie that is quite obviously popular among those who have read the book, adding to the fact this film is obviously fantastic. I don't feel this is quite absolute perfection but in any case it is a sublime piece of work and one that few would doubt is one of the very best still in the fantasy genre of films.
Peter Jackson brings us his view on this quest and he does a fine fine job with guiding us through this story with a scope never seen before this came out. The thing about this that I feel captures so many peoples interest is the way in which it is just genuinely good fun and never goes too dark or too serious, it has moments of light hearted fun and even the odd time when you get a laugh out, splendid stuff. Jackson alongside Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh adapts a script that breathes what a movie like this should be done like, it gets the very most out of the action done in it and blends with the effects in a way where you don't get sick of the CGI or feel this is too fake, it turns out beautiful. The look this movie is given is also one major thing to mention about this just in the way the sets and the locations and even the costumes are done, it vividly brings to life Middle-earth in a way where it doesn't matter if you have read the books beforehand or after or ever, the movie is itself a work of epic proportions.
Frodo Baggins is of course the central character of this and being played by Elijah Wood he comes across as brave in ways but also at times very vulnerable as well. If there is one stand out performance, well I wouldn't be able to pick, all the huge cast do a top notch job of bringing their respective characters to life and create these roles which they will forever be known for. One thing about casting I also really liked is the way in which the people behind this didn't go for massive names or try to even draw maybe just one massive name that would have ruined this, it feels better with a varied cast popularity wise.
This has one of the most engaging second halves I have seen and moves this movie up a little in terms of how I felt about it overall. The film I think also sets up the next two in the series really well, it shows us what might come next although never too much and that for me makes this a great link going into "The Two Towers". Peter Jackson a fan of the Tolkien's work brilliantly brings this storming onto the big screen and does so in a way that makes it very difficult to dislike, even those with an ardent dislike for the kind words used in this like Khazad-dûm will find it hard to not enjoy this movie, it is just too much fun and too much an epic movie. So yes overall The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is one movie that will go down in history as a game changer in terms of technical achievements and truly brought on a new era of usage regarding CGI. It goes down in many lists as one of the bests and although I can't say I felt this to be your 5 star, 10/10 kind of movie, it is still terrific in almost every single way.
RED 2 (2013)
A poor attempt at a sequel
Red 2 at first caught me off guard a little; there I was thinking that it wasn't so bad at the beginning and that maybe people dislike this a bit too much, I was wrong. The second movie in the series is one of high octane action of which some could say the quota is pushed up in this one but it fails to make much a decent original plot and wastes the possible decent action-comedy this could have been. I must say for the record that I pretty much didn't like the first film, it was mediocre stuff really and the same for me applies here although this is generally much poorer than the first movie. Yet again starring Bruce Willis as Frank Moses, this time we see the gang of retirees and friends chase down a missing nuclear device of which such a thing could wipe out millions of people. That synopsis I just gave is the whole reason this is disappointing to me, it goes for the most over the top and yet most over used storyline ever.
This time the movie throws in Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta- Jones (yes they seem to have been casting in Wales) and both are really kind of not used well but at the same time do at least bring personality. It's not that either does not bring skill to the cast, particularly Hopkins as Dr Bailey who does actually play the role very nicely but both are used to create incredibly basic characters and I wish this plot and its characters could have been more new and fresh. In comes a few people we saw from the first film and they do help the plot a little but overall nothing can be done to stop this being pretty dumb really, even the decent action is edited in an awful way which for me is one of the biggest mistakes of this movie.
Dean Parisot was not the right choice for this movie as director; from a film perspective he has made comedies before but his work is not a good effort for this. See getting a director for this kind of movie you would think the reasonable choice would be someone with a good background in comedy and action or possibly both but you get neither here, by no means does Parisot ruin this, but he doesn't do a great deal right. The two Hoeber's who wrote the first film write again and yet again it feels like a script that could look good on paper but comes out poorly on the screen, yet again like with Parisot they don't destroy the film, just make it below-par stuff.
Listen I'm not going to tell you to completely not watch this, with the first instalment I felt it was a film that a lot of people could enjoy but with this although I felt it wasn't as good, it still is far from terrible. I have to admit parts of this are not all bad and some bits if you take away what's going on in the story can be exciting, overall though just not a solid enough effort. Oh yes and one other thing that really for me didn't work was not only the bad guys in this, but also the way in which this movie seems to play serious a second after being silly, it just means that when an actual decent bit of serious acting comes in, a very basic joke either precedes or succeeds it and it just doesn't feel right. All in all a comedy-action that never quite even reaches the average heights of it's predecessor, try as it may it still just feels stupid and the cast is wasted on yet another pointless adventure.
OK effort but just not more than basic stuff
With its jazzy score and high quality cast, Red thinks it's a pretty cool movie and to be fair at times it is, but for me just not overall. It uses action well and uses it enough not to make you think about the plot going on around it too much but it isn't good enough for me to cover the pretty average movie this is. It's pretty generic really, I mean don't get me wrong it tries to maybe make itself feel new and refreshing but for me it never steps up to a level at which it needs to get to if it wants to be enjoyable, but actually not also brainless. The plot revolves around an old team of RED (Retired, Extremely Dangerous) ex agents who come together to try and stop high skilled assassins and thugs sent from unknown assailants.
The cast has a lot of big names in it, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and other names where you just might watch thinking "Hey its them, what are they doing in this". It does kind of feel odd if you come from the perspective of knowing nothing about this, big names are basically turned into action stars and with the exception really of Bruce Willis, many of the big names in this you would not expect to ever see them in such roles. They have fun for sure and it is fun in certain moments, but I feel it isn't fun enough and it never does enough to truly feel satisfactory. Bruce Willis as Frank Moses is, well he looks bored in the role, he isn't great here and although I think he is great casting, he doesn't do a good job. For me the two polar opposite actors here are Mary-Louise Parker who is pretty bad and John Malkovich who is pretty awesome, could not be different in how they play out their individual roles.
Robert Schwentke directs and he doesn't do a great job, doesn't get enough out of the story and although the action is well taken care of, some choices in the pacing and timing of things is not done well. Too often in this it is a case of why didn't they shoot them in the head, why did they take so long to shoot and ultimately, who would or how would you ever get out of that or do such a thing. I don't like to criticise a film like this too much I mean it is mediocre but does contain some OK bits certainly, as mentioned the action is good, Malkovich is pretty funny and sometimes the cast can make all the difference in a scene, so this is not all bad by any means.
I must mention the screenplay from Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber who both create a script that could I guess on paper look pretty nice but when visualised like how it is, just does not. The movie looks like it wants to be stylish with nicely done stunts, pretty pumped up action characters and a score that gives off a smell of self- satisfaction. In fact on the point of self-satisfaction, that is the one thing I truly felt made this irritating, you can see where the people making this thought "oh that looks cool, put it in" and I don't mean the actors but just the technical side of things as all. I'm not going to say don't see this, it's nothing bad in fact I don't even think it's poor but it is average though, same old and it just for me couldn't escape that feel.
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Suspenseful is the only word for this
To say this movie is as fantastic as it is and then it not be considered one of Hitchcock's very best, well it only goes to prove how amazing a director he was. Dial M for Murder is a very dialogue heavy movie, but don't let that fool you into thinking it may be boring or well, too laden with conversations. The film is truly thrilling and working out what will happen next is no easy game, Hitchcock gets the absolute most out of the play it is adapted from and the most from the cast too, with the likes of Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings all shining in their respective roles. It of course centres on a plan for a husband to off his wife called Margot (Kelly) by her husband Tony (Milland), of course Tony thinks he has the perfect murder, and even if he hasn't, he has a few tricks he can pull.
The story moves along at a nice pace, never too fast or too slow and constantly fits itself nicely into its running time. Hitchcock just knew here how to truly get the scenes he wanted and uses things like light to truly create a sense of doom or a sense of hope, fine work from the director considered one of the best at suspense. I wasn't all together sure on the score for the film which can at times sound like some kind of cartoon or in any case a much happier film and although it can be used well, it just doesn't feel right sometimes. To be fair other than the score there isn't too much wrong with this at all, acting maybe not always on point but I'll come to that next.
I wasn't always so sure on Grace Kelly, many a person who has seen this has mentioned her as doing a good job but I didn't feel she was at her very best. The by far best cast member has to be Ray Milland who kind of has to step up in this movie so we see him as the evil he is, but that also we can follow him through the story without getting bored. John Williams as Inspector Hubbard is a good addition to the cast and can actually at times add a little comedic relief randomly here and there, he over time becomes a character you come to not mind as much as maybe when he first walks in.
One thing about this movie that I can't say I have seen much is the way in which it lets you follow the protagonist but he is not good and although inside you do not want him to succeed, you expect that everything that happens will all go to plan (whether it does or not well you will have to see). Yet again Hitchcock brings us this nice little gem of a thing, he really gets the camera put on Milland but in a way where although he is in the shot, he remains behind peoples backs and he moves away from others a lot, it feels like it is meant for him to seem distant and of course more sinister than other characters.
Overall Dial M for Murder is as I said not really thought of as within Hitchcock's absolute best works but this is really an excellent little piece, worth a watch whether a fan of Hitchcock or you have never seen one of his films before. He does of course borrow elements from past films and that makes this not any copy of his previous works, but it actually also makes it much better as he can draw from his own inspiration but then make a film like this that feels like a play (of which as mentioned it is based on).
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Creepy stuff going on
Horror is just one of those genres that get's a pretty bad wrap some days and it's not hard to see why, cruddy remakes, poor acting and sometimes they just feel so unreal they are horrible. Sometimes though horror's come along that not only satisfy those looking for a fright, but also those who watch all kind of films, The Blair Witch Project is exactly that. Of course it was applauded when it first came out for its new take on horror using the hand-held camera and also that it felt much more human than most horror movies that came out in the 90's. It's all about a legend that some kind of thing lives in the woods near Burkitsville (formerly Blair) in Maryland. A trio of students go to search the woods to make a documentary on the legend and well there footage was found a year later and the students have vanished.
The film is quite fantastic in the way it sets itself up, it doesn't try to jump into the end too fast and even with an 81 minute run time it never goes too quick. The plot is well crafted as well and the way in which it jumps between shots is good for the story to move along well and nicely, It can have it's periods where you might get frustrated at the pace but in general nearly overall it is timed well. Of course it isn't hard to get hand-held movies like this done on such a low budget and you can't expect much from this in terms of spectacular things but my word does it not need much of a budget. The creepy feel the people behind this give is spine tingling, never revealing anything properly and always the film uses the dark to great effect.
The people behind this are Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez who direct and write this and do a fine job, sure everyone especially when it came out heralded the hand-held camera which is great but also these two get things like sound, colour and just generally the whole feel of the movie is spot on. Myrick and Sanchez create a script that has some nice dialogue too, it's the kind of dialogue that most horror movies need the stuff that actually sounds normal and not cheesy or lines that are way over dramatic. The cast are pretty solid too and of course being unknown it has the element of realism in there, of course after leaving the town and heading to the woods you only really see these three characters so the people playing them had to be picked just right and they are, they are likable and at the same time can be unlikeable and that really shows how the characters change as the plot goes along.
The Blair Witch Project isn't something I think all horror fans will like with it's hand-held feel and not a lot of horror that's right in your face, but it works mostly in it's way that is leaves you quite literally in the dark at times. It's spooky and there aren't many more words to describe this movie than that, even when things going on aren't necessarily creepy, you still look around those woods as if something will come out at any moment. In fact watching this I even got to looking into the woods from the very first second they step foot in them, as if expecting some sort of weird thing to come out any second, but if you haven't seen this, you will see what happens.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
What more can be said...
There is a certain way in which some movies can have a very good but not perfect first half but then they are brought up a level by its masterful ending, It's a Wonderful Life is for me exactly that. This film of course that now is a staple of some peoples Christmas viewing is a favourite for some and it is not hard to see why, a sweet story but with an emotional and pretty thought provoking in hindsight back-story. The movie is legend in senses and to be fair probably doesn't need another review praising it but I will give it a go anyway, although as I said before the start for me is not flawless. I did feel the first maybe full half of it was although great, not at a level I expect from masterpieces but this movie showed me oh it did. The film suddenly jumps up in the second half and becomes a classic through that it's hard to find anything wrong with the finish to this film, high class stuff.
The man behind this all is of course Frank Capra who directs but also co-writes this and I feel because he got to the writing of this too he creates a world that then fly's to life in his direction. Of course it's not hard to see the Judeo-Christian influences from Capra, after all he had a Roman Catholic upbringing and all the story people are praying to god and asking for help, there's even going's on that have the evident hand of god in the story but it is not a movie I would say is not for atheists. I actually think that this movie is fairly humanistic in its elements of just living on, don't think about death until it greets you, it also promotes ideas of bettering one's self and helping others in your community, not just asking god constantly, but in any case film should be able to be enjoyed by anyone of any belief.
I'll try to move away now from that religious background of the movie because to say this is only for believers or even those who only celebrate Christmas is not right; this is just an excellent story all round. Its fantasy element is what truly makes this a classic and Capra and his co-writers get a story that is as sweet as it can even be dark too. James Stewart is one of the best in classic Hollywood and here he is no different, in fact I even think his performance is much like the film as it gets better as it goes on. Donna Reed as Mary is also good like Stewart and does do a fine job of not letting Stewart steal the scenes he is in, then cast like Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers are finely cast and really the movie creates beautiful characters.
I nearly didn't label this a masterpiece, oh so close I was to saying this was although fantastic, not quite as astounding as many claim, but the more I thought back on this the better it became. Its enduring popularity I feel comes mostly from the fact that the story is simple, its very end is extremely simple and yet the movie is easily re-watchable, the kind I think you can find more things with every watch. Capra knew exactly how to get us the audience to feel for those involved and from the moment George Bailey (Stewart) gets home from a certain little chat with his Uncle Billy to his home, the whole emotional drag of the film starts to kick in and come into full throttle all the way until the final scenes.
Overall It's a Wonderful Life is one of the finest Christmas movies and is not just a top top Christmas movie, but is a top top movie period. The way in which Capra, the cast, the sets and even just the music is so well done, well it makes this movie special among many out there and it is incredibly easy to see why so many revisit this every Christmas to curse the name of Uncle Billy (or just to feel some joy)
Source Code (2011)
An interesting story that turns out fine
Source Code is a Sci-fi thriller of a film and not a bad job is done here at all, it's very nifty but is paced well and the running time is not too long so it's a nice quick watch. Directed by Duncan Jones who of course made his name with the film "Moon" brings a nice movie and I feel he is the man to praise in terms of the nifty feel you get from this, it isn't overly complicated although the story cannot make sense at times, but the vast majority though is well worked and pretty entertaining. The movie is one that tries it's very hardest to draw you in, thrill you, then spit you out again, as evidenced by the fast paced moments that then suddenly stop and the movie goes into a lull of sorts but it's a nice feeling, I never thought I'd say I liked being spat out from one scene to another.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the main man of the movie and does a pretty fine job of running the movie nearly all by his character though the cast is fairly small and doesn't try to create too many random people to revolve around Gyllenhaal, but that is one reason it feels more interesting. I feel it is very difficult to write about this movie without giving anything away, I can't really even talk about Gyllenhaal's character without revealing too much, but let's just say the character is well created and tackled well by Jake too. Other cast include Michelle Monaghan, Jeffrey Wright and Vera Farmiga with an at time dedicated performance and makes some of the more slow moving scenes easy to watch and her character is another person who is key to the story.
Duncan Jones is backed up with a script from Ben Ripley who although creates something intricate and gives Jones a really good story to go on, I did feel sometimes the dialogue could be a little generic. Now Ripley does a good job here, far from bad but sometimes I did feel the talking some characters do is not always fantastic but I really can't take much at all away from Ripley, most of the time the dialogue is fine. And onto Jones again, this time I want to commend him on working well with the camera angles, he collaborates well with Don Burgess who is no fool when it comes to camera work in Sci- fi thriller or actions and sometimes the camera especially in the quicker scenes is handled very well.
If I had to recommend this movie well I think many can enjoy this, it's pretty thrilling and also a bit of fun too, seriously this movie tries to be funny even in very serious moments, it's good though. If you're coming into this having seen Duncan Jones's "Moon" then don't expect this to be as surreal and it is no doubt a Hollywood blockbuster-ish kind of movie, but really what this shows me is that it is people like Duncan Jones who should be given the chance directing these kind of films rather than a lot of others who create movies that seem like no thought has gone into them. Is it great? , no I don't think so although it is good and way more than OK, definitely one I would recommend. The ending is really what makes this movie a good movie but also gives this a solid finish that makes it not only look better, but also brings a much more raw and human final part which is not always seen in movies that look like this.
Ek Tha Tiger (2012)
Ek Tha Tiger is an Indian action spy film starring Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif in the two main roles. It's marketed on the posters and images of the movie as if it's some kind of full throttle action movie but in truth although containing some fighting and shootouts, it's mostly a weird kind of Rom-Com movie. Of course Bollywood rarely lacks romance and this is the same, it does try to thrill and the ending does add a little boost to the story but it's the beginning that truly drags this down and stops it from being near okay. The choreography is nicely done when it is shown and the dancing and singing is lacking in true style but is still pretty nicely taken care of. The main problem is with the story itself and the over dramatic or just plain stupid scenes that really make this not worthwhile.
Listen Salman Khan isn't half bad in this but he never truly gets into the role, the action scenes he more than takes care of and he excels mostly at the end, I just don't think he is overly great here in serious dialogue. Katrina Kaif is well cast as Zoya, a lady who reveals her back story the more the story goes on but really she is no different here to a lot of similar leading ladies roles seen elsewhere in Bollywood and fails to make an impact. The cast is kind of well used but never truly that great, it is better when the film focuses more on Salman Khan's character Tiger as the rest of the cast feel a little pointless and the goons placed around the movie are pretty dispensable.
Kabir Khan the director and co-writer had never really made an action movie before doing this so it can't be expected for him to get it spot on; he does however keep it at least fast paced although it can be a little implausible at times. The story is a little stupid in truth and the beginning is not handled well in the script but also in the direction and even in the background music, it can feel as if this is two films split into two and then wrongly put together. The choreography of the dancing as mentioned can be nice but can also be too random, I have always felt that in Bollywood movies the singing and dancing has to be positioned just right for it to work within the plot, this I feel does not time it all right.
So really overall a pretty lame movie but one that can the slightest bit enjoyed if you ignore the silly parts of it. It also has some really nice locations and it isn't filmed that badly, hey even the effects used aren't used overly that much and you don't notice them too much so it's not annoying in that way. Salman Khan can probably take some positives from this as maybe can Kaif but truly this could have been done better, but to be fair I just think the whole story just never worked.
Safety Last! (1923)
A nice piece of silent cinema
Harold Lloyd is no doubt the third major figure from the silent movie era and in modern times quite often is not mentioned as much as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Lloyd here for me creates something great and something that should also be considered one of the greats in silent cinema, it's fast, it's pretty funny but most of all it's actually really thrilling. The plot see's Lloyd play well Harold Lloyd and he takes it upon himself to take on quite the daring stunt, not that he ever wants to in the story that is. Of course this film is famous for the clock scene but the movie is well made throughout and although can slow down the slightest bit at the beginning, it is still all together good fun.
Now of course any silent movie actor doing many of their own stunts has to be basically an athlete of sorts, and that is what Lloyd is in this. One reason I think it works so well in this movie is because you don't expect the character in the film to do what he does and go through all that happens, the stunts are so well done that it almost feels Lloyd is an amateur (of which of course he most definitely is not) but that makes the character more believable and so hats off to Harold. It doesn't start off really well but it is the start which gives the second half of the movie some structure, it kind of trundles a long as a good and decent film only to be elevated by its fantastic ending, very well worked indeed.
As for other characters well it combines a lot of random people and creates a few well created characters. Mildred Davis as Lloyd's girlfriend is good although the whole story about Lloyd's hometown is a bit pointless really, although the character is not a bad one. There's something about Westcott Clarke that is kind of scary in a way, he plays Mr. Stubbs a floorwalker at Lloyd's work and he is very much a strict one of that. Clarke is dressed with suit and a monocle and it makes him look really kind of creepy in a weird way, lovely idea from whoever thought of it.
You can't talk about this or for that matter many other comedy silent movies without talking about the stunts, I mentioned of course that it has some but in reality it has many, not all actually have to death defying. Little things like sneaking away from Stubbs so he does not see him going the other way or Stubbs would see him, but then the film has big things like when Lloyd has to get to work and of course the outside of the building scenes. The stunt Lloyd does at the end is actually pretty scary to look at because really you don't know in reality how safe he would have been, let alone just in the story he is telling.
So Safety Last is a silent movie that is near excellent and more than matches many of Chaplin's and Keaton's works, I think it is important we remember Lloyd as well as those two because he was just as important and maybe even more popular with audiences back in the day. I think this is one of those silent movies that even people who have never seen one before could enjoy, it's fun but also dangerous and at such a short running time it doesn't drag on or feel boring, it feels fun and of course, thrilling.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
A decent kind of job from Allen
So often we hear that Woody Allen is "back to his best" and that he is producing work that maybe even matches that of his critically acclaimed works decades ago, this movie I feel though does not match those claims. Take nothing away from this film, it is a good one and it is pretty fun with some well created characters and a witty script, it isn't however a great movie and that I feel is the least it has to be if it is to be considered one of Allen's best. The story is a fantasy basically and how a Hollywood screenwriter visiting Paris (although with hopes to live there one day) is whisked back and forth at the stroke of midnight into the 1920's, full of famous faces.
The film feels like it's Woody Allen not just from the pretty quirky story but just the music that is used, if you walked in on this film and had no idea what it was, the music I feel would show you it is one of Allen's. The film explores the Paris of the past that inspired the very best of writers, painters and entertainers and really brings at least a fresh story with it, one that is fairly un- generic as well. I don't think the movie excels massively in the comedy area but does have the odd good laugh and when most jokes are done they are smartly done, but not always though that laughable.
Owen Wilson is Gil Pender the man who is travelling back, Wilson is pretty nice in the role and is extremely calm, I swear this is one of the most laid back acting performances ever. The cast is full of names like Michael Sheen, Kurt Fuller, Kathy Bates, and Marion Cotillard and also features Rachel McAdams who as Wilson's extremely annoying fiancée is really hard to like, but acted well though. Allen brings together a cast that can seem randomly placed, new people arrive around every corner and some are just never seen again, Allen paces this pretty fast but does manage to slow it down when it needs to be at least.
You know Woody Allen doesn't do a bad job at all of directing and writing this but also at the same time doesn't make this fantastic, even with the nice fantasy element he fails to make this completely charming. There is no doubt Allen is considered one of the masters of the romantic comedy genre but here is no mastery, it is good work but is far from the level most expect of Allen, some may find this excellent but for me this is just straight good and no more. I don't think Allen makes mistakes but this I just feel is not made at a great enough quality as all.
So Midnight in Paris is a Woody Allen work that probably won't rank highly in his catalogue but is easily a welcome addition and is recommendable, and not only to the fans of the man in the directors chair. I think it's the kind of thing that all can enjoy and it doesn't focus so much on the romantic element that it becomes bogged down in it, it mixes the fantasy into it very well too so that the story becomes nicely balanced, oh and add a little comedy to that balancing act too.
A great little piece of French cinema
This movie is not quirky in a way which feels overly quirky or in a way that just feels pretentious, this is quirky but it's just lovely. Amélie is of course the French film that was very well received when it first appeared in the early 2000's and not just from the audiences of France, no Amélie seemed to take the hearts of people from around the world and managed or still manages it should be said to capture the hearts of many who view it. Although some claim this to be a masterpiece I don't think it is quite at that calibre, nevertheless it is still a great movie and one that is highly recommendable, even to those who wouldn't think they would like it.
The story centres around well Amélie of course, Amélie Poulain is just a seemingly normal woman working in a Parisian café and lives by herself, but of course we as the viewer get to see what she is truly like. She is not weird really but she is definitely odd, but Amélie is awesome in this film because she is extremely hard to really dislike or the performance of the lady playing her, Audrey Tautou. The plot see's Amélie do a lot of things actually, she becomes a friend of sorts with a fragile old man, tries to find a young man who caught her eye and messes with her dad, sounds like a very random plot and to be fair, it is.
The pacing of the film is frantic and speedy, the lines sometimes come out extremely fast and all credit to the cast for really getting the dialogue out in a way which in funny and entertaining. Jean-Pierre Jeunet directs the movie and really tells quite a little story at the helm, he makes this super strange but really entertaining and although the decision to colour the movie in terms of lenses is quite a peculiar choice, it actually pretty much works in the end. Guillaume Laurant who thought up the story alongside Jeunet then also writes the film and gives Jeunet a great little script to work with, the movie moves along without stopping for too long and that I feel really makes this keep going until the very end.
I mentioned Tautou as Amélie and she is very good in the role, she very much makes you feel for the character and she is fun to be around as well. Serge Merlin as the frail man Amélie befriends is good and works well at the beginning of the story because most other characters take a little while to get used to with the random stuff they say and do. Mathieu Kassovitz as Nino Quincampoix is pretty good too, when he is in the film the story is usually at quite a fast part and so Kassovitz does a good job of keeping the pace going so that the movie really does flow very nicely indeed.
I feel Amélie demands a second watch, I watched this the first time and felt it was pretty basic, but on the second watch I truly opened my eyes and saw this for the great film it is. I couldn't recommend this more to those who haven't already seen it, it's fun, oddly thrilling and just generally very different indeed. So Amélie, a film that showcases how quirky can be done so well but also shows just how good French cinema can be, oh and this movie is stunning to look at by the way.
A poor attempt at thrilling
Liam Neeson has single handily created a new career path for ageing actors to go into action movies. Non-Stop is a kind of action thriller but with a mystery thrown in there too, it can't quite make it's mind up which of the three it truly wants to be though. It all revolves around an air marshal (Neeson) who is on a routine flight from New York to London; the flight soon turns ugly though. The story is basically about a mysterious passenger threatening to kill other passengers unless they get the money they want, if not then someone will go every 20 minutes. Of course Liam Neeson's character isn't going to just take his seat and watch as everyone dies, no he is going to go kind of crazy and try to save everyone but also find out who is behind this sinister plot.
The film for me is a poor one, easy to watch yes but lacks in any decent substance, you certainly can turn your brain off for over 100 minutes though. The movie tries to be smart and that is where it fails, it tries to thrill and also fails and although the quest to finding who is behind the plot is exciting, it never quite is matched by anything else. Liam Neeson goes full on with the action in the style most recently some have become accustomed too, it never goes over the top and that I can respect it for but the plot is no great one. I very much disliked the ending which is so sort of stupid even that it brings this from being a pretty mediocre film to being just plain poor and below-par.
Liam Neeson is actually not bad in his role, he kind of mumbles a lot and isn't given the best lines it has to be said but nevertheless the action scenes he does are well choreographed and done well from Neeson himself too. Julianne Moore makes a random appearance as a fellow passenger and is the person sitting next to Neeson as the plot unfolds so of course she is dragged into the story too. The most random appearances have to go to Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong'o who just seem to dawdle an awful lot and really didn't even need to be in the plot; in fact most characters are pointless in this.
Jaume Collet-Serra directs and he doesn't do much to make this good, you know the script isn't half bad in terms of how the story plays out but Collet-Serra doesn't bring the story to life enough and it ends up too dull in certain ways. The thrilling parts of the movie (the thrills that are good that is) are usually scenes that contain the score from John Ottman who does a good job of at least trying to make us pumped up or want to know more about the mystery, the film can never quite grab you enough to really make you interested though so you're left kind of hanging as the ending comes up.
Overall a pretty dire movie actually, it's nowhere near awful of course and I would even recommend it to those who enjoy a good if not basic thrill. Fans of Liam Neeson you may also enjoy this, if I had to recommend one of Neeson's recent travels into action movies this would not be the one I would say although moments of this can show you that Neeson really can fight pretty well on the big screen.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
A pretty awful attempt
Paul Blart is a mall cop with aspirations to join the police force but he always seems to fail with every test when he tries to get into the New Jersey State Police. The movie is all about how he deals with a certain incident at the mall one night and how he has to try and prove himself, you know what it's like, typical plot with typical characters and the people behind this don't even try to make this new or fresh. You see this movie is not well in my opinion an awful one, just a kind of very poor attempt at making a funny movie and what could have been a bit of guilty pleasure kind of silly fun, turns into something silly but dumb. From the team at Happy Madison Productions (who else do you expect) comes this movie and it definitely has the hallmarks of something Adam Sandler is involved in, just too reliant on Blart being inept and then the story is too.
Kevin James plays Blart and he is not very good in the role, I'm not saying he is again awful but he doesn't take the opportunity even with the slightest of possibly funny bits. The entire cast are pretty badly put together, its not that anyone acts really poorly other than James but the characters are so badly made that they are typical of a film like this but then really annoying as well. Kevin James and Nick Bakay write the film and don't do a good job at all, you know it feels at times like a decent joke is coming but then it is ruined by either James's acting or the direction of Steve Carr who seems to make jokes drag out more than these kind of jokes should.
The movie has very very few laughs but can raise the slightest of laughs, more of a laugh where you might feel guilty afterwards or just wonder why you found it the slightest bit funny. Most of the funny parts if there are truly any come from the physical side of the movie which is both it's best and worst attribute, Kevin James is no doubt game for the physical things going on humour wise but can't actually make it funny. Another thing the movie does is it takes itself a bit too seriously, I mean sure this obviously is trying to be a comedy but can weirdly try really hard to be serious and create emotion and thrills, that sort of stuff is not needed in a movie like this, especially one this dire.
So yes Paul Blart: Mall Cop, a film that gets a little but too much hate from some around but it is still a pretty bad film and one that should not have grossed into the hundreds of millions at the box office. I really can't see why we have to put up with films like this in the movie market these days, they are just too silly but not in a funny way and they serve as seemingly only money makers and the kind of film you see once and never again will you want to view it. I do actually think this kind of movie could have worked though but only with James not in it, James not writing it, James and Adam Sandler not producing it and basically Happy Madison having nothing to do with this, then maybe this could been a satisfactory comedy watch.
12 Angry Men (1957)
A masterpiece of debate
12 Angry Men, a classic movie that is truly one that can be enjoyed by anyone no matter what genre of film you might prefer. The film is one of thrills but done in a way where it is all in the dialogue and the body language of the 12 men set up to decide the fate of a young man who is on trial for the murder of his father. The movie also explores the 12 men's lives and also any prejudices they hold against the young man on trial, different perspectives are had throughout the movie not just on the murder itself but also on the man's back story as a child and how his father brought him up. A masterpiece simply in the way that it entices the viewer so that your focus is never lost and draws you in as you explore the case in one room with one table and 12 chairs.
It can't be easy to create something so astounding from 90 odd minutes of people sat in a room talking, but this achieves it and achieves it pretty fast too, it doesn't take long before you're drawn in yourself and want to know more. Sidney Lumet directs and does a fine job, he is the person really responsible for making this feel so damn well exciting I guess and combined with Reginald Rose's story and script it makes it so much more of a classic. Lumet gets the very best out of his actors and really pulls the strings, even little things like when the men move around the room; it makes what they are saying that little bit better.
Henry Fonda as juror number 8 really leads the cast, after all his character is the one who at first wants to talk about the case and debate it when everyone else thinks the kid should fry. Fonda is absolutely brilliant in his role; his calm demeanour mixed with his impassioned speeches on the case make his character one of the true good guys of cinema. Lee J. Cobb's character stands out a lot because of his overall anger at the boy involved in the case, Juror number 3 who Cobb plays is one of the stand outs because of his behaviour during the debating being done. Each juror is different, from the angry to the very meek, the guy who wants to get out of the place for a baseball game to the guy who grew up in a slum just like the young man on trial did. They each bring not only different personalities but back stories too with some loud mouths and some quiet and really indifferent to the case and that together is another reason why this is flawless cinema.
12 Angry Men deserves its place in the classics of cinema, not just for its acting or its directing etc but mostly because it's a story that all can enjoy and I think most who watch this can say they at least wanted to see how it ends. As said before it cannot be easy to create something like this, all in the same room and not make the audience bored by it all, but it has enough great things in it to make it more than just a good or great film, it's pretty much perfect. Another thing that this film does which is fantastic is you start to visualize the case at hand, I mean sure you listen to the jurors talk but sometimes it makes you start imagining all the things going on that the case entails, from the murder, the train and to the old man's story, the film never fails to bring new things up and shake the case about a little.
Inside Out (2015)
A fantastically crafted animations
Pixar have created some of the best animations that can spring to many a persons mind, Inside Out is an addition that is just as excellent as you might hope it to be. The way in which this movie mixes not just fun but emotion and how we deal with it well it makes this much more profound and adds a lot of meaning. The movie basically is all about Riley, or to be way more specific inside Riley's head with all her emotions being little well, who knows actually, they are just emotions with bodies. Of course the movie isn't all just in Riley's head, we see Riley act out the emotions she feels and how it affects her new life as her and her family start a new life in San Francisco. The movie is crafted how animation should be with vivid colours and great detail, but add to that a sweet story in the middle and you have one absolutely fantastic little film.
After the hugely popular "Up" in 2009, Pete Docter directs and co- writes a Pixar animation yet again and does a very good job making this look absolutely beautiful. The animation is also in fantastic detail in regards to that this movie is all made up mostly architecture wise with it being majority within Riley's head which contains a mind HQ, A vast array of memories stored and thrown away and even a dream production company who decide what Riley will be dreaming about that night. The film is massive in its scale and yet set in such a small space really; the people behind this really have used imagination to an extent that this must be one of the best thought out animations ever.
With the emotions come voice cast like Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Mindy Kaling (Disgust) and Lewis Black as Anger who really feels like he is about to swear at any moment he is on screen. The characters are fun but the voice cast are game too and really create a great sense of well character, I loved Poehler as Joy who is basically the main character of this movie but really all the little emotions and all the things living within Riley's mind are great fun and really well thought up.
The film has as said a meaning to it, more than just big jumps and rolls and a fun little adventure, sure it has that but it also deals with basically depression which then goes on to show that it can strike anyone of any age however happy they may seem to be. The film of course is no psychoanalysis studies piece but it is on the surface a film that breaks down barriers where really the main character is not always a happy one and does suffer. I really have to applaud the movie for exploring such things which really aren't what you might expect from an animated movie which is let's face it directed toward the kids in society but it does it in a way where anyone of any age can feel for the movie and also find it fantastic.
So Inside Out, an animated film that really is something a little special and something I found hard not to love just a little. It also I think can show that not all grown ups are ever fully out of there childhood, this is so fun it is hard not to watch it a little like being a child again and although the young one's will enjoy this, the adults should too. Pixar have yet again created something super fun and actually really important, hats off to the studio for really bringing something new to the animation game and showing that there is plenty of life left in Pixar.
Il conformista (1970)
A stunning film in story but also in the way it looks
Films that double as if they are art on a canvas are some of the richest and most beautiful things that can come out of cinema, Il Conformista or The Conformist in English is exactly that. It not only has a very good story but in general looks stunning, the film is known for its camera angles but also its use of colour and the general production design that also catches the eye. From Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci comes this excellent piece and it is essential for any budding director or cinematographer that they witness the skill level put into this. The film is basically all about Fascism and shows a man sent on a mission to take out a former professor of his who is too anti-fascist for the regime of Italy in the 1930's. The film sounds much like a spy thriller and although in ways he is a spy, this is not all about exciting action, no this is dramatic and thrilling but does not require shootouts to entertain, it uses artistry, a solid script and characters who could be studied for many an hour.
Marcello Clerici is the main person in this movie and is just as Fascist as your next Fascist, this man is willing to give things up to carry out the mission set out for him and important things that come his way in life do not stand a chance against his belief in normality and Fascism. The most intriguing character is for me not Clerici but the professor's wife Anna who is shrouded in mystery, we never truly know much about her but the way she is used in the story is fascinating. It uses many different people to get the story across whether within his friend, his Fascist overseer of sorts or his soon to be wife Giulia and that is really what makes this complex.
It is impossible not to talk about the way this movie looks after you have seen it with Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro creating something truly remarkable and although this could easily be called pointless angles, they actually do convey emotion or set the tone of the scene that is at hand. This film could be also get called pretentious but really it is not, many a film can use artistic elements in a way which is begging for awards but this feels different though. It actually tells a story alongside the beauty on the technical side of things and Bertolucci makes full use of that to create an interesting but also good looking piece of cinema.
As for the actors well it is of course Jean-Louis Trintignant as Clerici who is fantastic among all involved but do not take anything away from other cast. Stefania Sandrelli as Giulia is good and although at first can feel annoying starts to grow on you as the movie progresses and becomes a well worked character. I particularly liked the character of Manganiello played by Gastone Moschin who as the overseer I mentioned is just a great character and one that usually turns up in some major scenes of the film.
So The Conformist, adapted from the 1951 novel of the same name and given an artistically wonderful showing on the big screen, having never read the novel at the time of viewing I cannot say whether it is a true adaption but it does not matter to me if a book is made a little differently on the big screen. Bertolucci nailed this one and this could be said to be his best ever work, what stops it from being perfect is maybe some parts of the beginning and it can have a slow pace at a few places but nevertheless this movie is excellent and one that is just a fine piece, finely done.
A step up from the first of them
The first film of this series was for me of average quality, the kind of movie that felt like a generic Hollywood action adventure movie labelled as Sherlock Holmes. A Game of Shadows is however in my opinion a level up from the first instalment and a movie that is just generally funnier, better done action wise and all in all just generally much more thrilling. It isn't necessarily massively new and refreshing and can at times be pretty basic but take nothing away from this, this is a blockbuster done well. It again of course stars Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson of which both are on the trail of that most famous of Holmes villains, Moriarty.
It excels in most part at getting the fighting done in a way which at least at times can feel pretty nice, nice in a way where it feels real of course. The slow motion used in certain scenes is fantastic, an addition that not only just makes parts of the movie more exciting but also it shows Guy Ritchie can do action very well indeed. As for Ritchie well he directs this kind of similar to the first one in the way it's paced but brings more out of the actors and characters they play, as mentioned it feels funnier and more thrilling and that is really down to Ritchie knowing what was needed to be done.
Additions to the cast like Stephen Fry, Jared Harris and Noomi Rapace do little to take away the staring role Downey, Jr. has but nevertheless I think they are good additions and make up a cast that is well put together. RDJ even sounds better in this one, I felt with the first he quite often mumbled and his lines came out at a frantic pace but in this he although can be a little too fast, still makes a better go of it. Jude Law as Watson is better as well and although neither is brilliant here they are good enough to not ruin this movie or rob it of any of its credibility.
The film can drag just a tiny bit toward the end and they do a decent job of not letting your attention drop, it does start to get more basic toward the end plot wise but by the end I felt satisfied enough. The score of Hans Zimmer + Lorne Balfe makes the action not only more pumped up but just generally sounds good, you can always count on both but especially Zimmer to create something pretty nice. The film can actually think itself pretty smart at times especially with the thought process Holmes goes to when just about to fight, of course if you see the first movie you are used to it but it still feels a little gimmicky how it is done and played out afterwards.
So overall Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is one movie that is good and I think an improvement over the first one that felt so mediocre. Guy Ritchie hones in on his craft and truly makes something that although of course is big and can be typically blockbuster, is still a fun adventure and one that I think most can just about partly enjoy at the very least. Oh and the cinematography, it is really well done actually and the movie is also pretty well edited, the story flows very nicely and the way it looks especially in more fast moving or fighting scenes is one that is very good especially.
Korean film that was good but not quite what I expected
Oh wow what a tough time I have had trying to compose my thoughts about this, a movie by many considered a modern masterpiece but to me it was although a good movie, nowhere near perfect. So much has been said about this movie and much I expected that I felt let down and it's kind of annoying because this is actually more than OK as a film but because it is so highly regarded by some you expect this to be like some magical ride into a movie. It's basically pretty crazy and has its fair share of violence too, it never shies from trying to shock the viewer and by the end you might either feel sick or have become desensitised.
The story is all about a man by the name of Oh Dae-su who is taken out of nowhere from the street and put into a jail of sorts for 15 years, being gassed and injected with a strange substance continuously. The plot then progresses to Oh Dae-su being released and that sets into motion his quest to find out who did this to him and also any details of his daughter. The movie is really a study of the mind in a sense and tries extremely hard to make you feel grossed out but in a way where it just seems to fit in with the way the movie is going, many other movies I could feel slightly taken aback by teeth pulling, but here it feels common place.
Park Chan-wook directs and does a pretty good job really as he mixes dark style elements with humour of which I feel stands out the most. The opening is truly the great part of this and it makes you interested from the start, the middle starts to loosen its grip in my opinion though and although right at the end it starts to feel alright again, for the most part the second half it is kind of dull and meaningless things are put in. I do feel this movie has very little to it as well with it really feeling like an action movie that has a bit more dramatic effect than others maybe out there but you could also say about the strange style in which this is played out. Parts can feel a little like style over substance and sometimes the look of the movie seems to be the thing trying to move the movie when really it should be interesting plot lines.
Choi Min-sik is the man who plays Oh Dae-su and he is really good actually, mixing crazy with true emotion and really he makes the role completely his own. No other character quite gets the all round mental analysis that Dae-su gets but people like Mi-do (Kang Hye- jung) and Lee Woo-jin (Yoo Ji-tae) come pretty close to getting a full blown brain scan, the whole movie really tries to dig deep into the characters and reveals many things about them and the way they feel about things going on the story as it progresses.
So all in all Oldboy really is a movie that is memorable but for me not it's skill as a movie, but in what it contains. I wasn't actually that grossed out throughout and although some scenes look pretty bad, the film is never that squeamish you shouldn't watch this. Of course this movie will also be remembered for its crazy octopus scene, the hallway fight, the general weirdness of the prison and of course the ending which is so out of nowhere in terms of the way you think this is going that it feels like some sort of strange movie added on to this already weird film.