Thursday, 24 December 2009

Avatar ****

Stunningly beautiful, groundbreaking and a real sci-fi movie. It can only be one thing... Avatar! This is the movie to see this year, no doubt about it. It's a real treat for the eyes, and absolutely exciting to watch. The visionary experience you go through when watching this is so compelling it makes you really appreciate the wonders of cinema again.

Obviously the most impressive aspect of this film is the CGI. You can't tell what's reality and what's computer generated, and that's hard to come by with our critical eyes nowadays. The scenery is immense. Based in a forest of wonder, colour and creatures that seem prehistoric but are actually from the 2150s, this film really opens up your eyes to the possibilities of special effects, and of course 3D cinema.

If you haven't been impressed with 3D cinema so far, and found it all together a bit gimmicky, then this will certainly change your opinion. The film did have a $300 million budget, so you'd expect something out of this world. James Cameron (director of Titanic) has most definitely brought us something which will change cinema history. It takes the possibilities of 3D cinema to a whole new dimension. It does give you a headache at first because the amount of depth in the film is a little too much to take on, but as you carry on and become immersed in the story, you forget about everything else other than the world being given to you.

The characters are just as enchanting as the set of the film itself. You see Sigourney Weaver become an Avatar character, along with Sam Worthington who plays the protagonist of the film. You can see the likeness of their features within the CGI characters, but are given a whole new creature to relate to during the film. Zoe Saldana plays the lead Avatar and looks beautiful even as a blue monster... How? We'll never know.

Even the tiniest detail has been catered for in this film. You're really taken through a colour explosion, and are captivated throughout the storyline. There are a couple of disappointing aspects such as the length of the film - It's just over 2 and a half hours long. Plus some of the names they give the trees are a little unoriginal. But I guess its all fantasy, so anything goes, right?!

I think you should see this in 3D if you haven't seen a film in 3D or if you haven't been impressed. If you're a little neutral to the whole thing, then seeing this in 2D wouldn't ruin it at all, you just may not get the same refreshing feeling that others receive from watching this. It's a masterpiece and well worth a watch at the cinema. It may not be Christmas themed, but it's definitely magical.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Paranormal Activity ****

Before you start reading, if you haven't seen the film and are planning to DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW! You need to know as little as possible to really enjoy the impact it creates.

If you haven't heard of this yet... Where have you been?! Advertisements in America started off the marketing campaign for the film, getting audiences demanding their cinemas to show it. And now it's moved on over to England. Is this a good thing? I'd say so.

You've probably read all over that this is the scariest film you'll ever see, and to an extent it's true. But when you're watching it you really wonder why every one's created such a fuss about it. Yes, it's quite original in a sense of a handheld camera and pretty realistic special effects, but the scare factors aren't particularly compelling. The scares don't make you jump constantly; it's more the tension the film builds up throughout the hour and a half it's on to a pretty dramatic climax which leaves audiences feeling scared and vulnerable.

The film shows a couple who's life has been tormented by some sort of spirit trying to make contact. Yes, it all sounds a bit ridiculous to understand, but its the fact that their acting, the way they go about their life and the little conversations they have all seem so real that makes this film all the more scary. You see doors move while they're sleeping, footprints, shadows and whispers. Some nights nothing happens, and others are just truly terrifying. The variation of the activities makes it seem even more realistic because it's not all getting worse, it's just showing something that's a little strange.

It's the ending that really gets to you. All of a sudden, within the space of about 5 minutes, the events become so dramatic that you really don't know where to look. You leave the room looking over your shoulder, and when it's time to go to bed you just can't bring yourself to turn off that bedroom light.

The director, Oren Peli, has made a film not intended for the big screen, but created a great effect. After seeing the original which has an alternate ending, Steven Spilberg even saw the greatness of this film and created the more Hollywood ending the latest version has. He stated he couldn't watch this alone, and thinking back to it now, I don't think I could. With plans for a second movie, the demon in this film just isn't going to leave us. You'll never want to hear the name Katie again.

So, make sure your light bulbs are fresh because they'll be getting a lot of use once you see this film.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

New Moon ****

This review is a little different to the rest - I have done it purely from a fan's point of view. Because, to be honest, the film itself is pretty bad, but from an obsessive lover of Twilight's perspective its utterly amazing.

For a start, as you may have seen from all the millions of posters about, Jacob looks brilliant for the part. He's bulked up a lot, and really comes into his own in this film. This is obviously going to help with the next two films coming up as he plays a crucial role. Edward takes a step back from this, but still holds his charm which many girls seem to love (Team Jacob all the way).

It's a little different from the book, but not in a bad way. The book was probably the weakest of the 4, but it's been taken to another place in the film. It's got a lot more tension in this - And not the sexual kind, although that is not lacking. There's a lot more aggression and fighting which is brilliantly done, and the fight scenes are pretty realistic looking. And in terms of the casting, just like the first one, every character seems to resemble the one in the book perfectly. We're introduced to Michael Sheen who plays Aro, Dakota Fanning who plays the pretty evil Jane, and the rest of the Volturi gang. Their red eyes and evil glares take you back to the books, along with most of the other scenes in this film.

I found in the first Twilight film you lost a sense of how great the book was, but within the scenes of this you get given an image of what you could actually see when you were reading the books. Of course, you're only ever going to understand the fascination with these films if you've read the books; they're still the true winners of this series.

The sense of community you get in the cinema with this film is actually quite bizarre. Everybody seeing it in the first week has clearly been waiting for it to come to the cinemas, so expect screams, laughter and excitement when you're sitting there. It's brilliant really, you can see how popular these films and characters really are, and how much of an effect films have over an audience. There was one point where Jacob whips his top off and I said "I'm not ready for this" because it was too much for my poor heart to cope with.

So overall, if you are a Twilight fan see this film! You could easily sit and watch this over and over again. You'll fall in love with at least one of the characters, and get taken back to the books once more. It's fun, cool and totally cheesy.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Why are we obsessed with Bella and Edward? (For www.heyuguys.co.uk)

For a start they are the essence of cool. When you watch Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in an interview, they’re very laid back and calm. But their relationship in the film is anything but. Director Catherine Hardwicke needed to cast the perfect couple, and you’re intrigued by them from the very first instant you see them.

On first setting eyes on Edward Bella asks the question ‘Who’s he?’, from that moment we also want to know the answer. Hardwicke uses a close-up of Bella’s face, as the music becomes a lot more intense when Edward walks into the room. The tension builds as there is a mid-shot of Edward’s pale yet perfect body, then there is a tracking shot of Edward’s face to see every reaction possible. We’re not given a moment to rest and there is a gently released close-up on each of their faces. It’s a good job they’re pretty with all these close-ups…

The couple are also placed in a lot of dimly lit situations, which are normally quite romantic; as in the restaurant or on the stand filled with fairy lights at the prom. It creates an idealistic view that every girl wants – to be wined and dined by a mysterious, romantic man (well, vampire…). There is a particular scene which is completely captivating, the famous first kiss scene in Bella’s bedroom. The camera remains static on a close-up two shot of both their faces. They gradually begin to get closer, and without any music to distract you from the situation you’re only focused around the action about to take place. When their lips finally meet it is passionate and exciting. But suddenly we’re taken away from it by Edward flying backwards. It basically just leaves you wanting more.

The banter between the two is great. ‘Your mood swings are kinda giving me whiplash’ or ‘so the lion fell in love with the lamb’ are just two of the great quotes this film has created. And with the passionate tone apparently continuing through the second installment, we’re bound to be quoting this film for another year until we’re given Eclipse, the penultimate movie in the series.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Partly Cloudy (For www.heyuguys.co.uk)

What with Up coming out this month, it also brings along the Pixar Short. They never usually get that much attention, but actually contain a lot of emotion, creativity and fun within them. Partly Cloudy is the latest creation from the Pixar team and is probably the best one yet. It’s a very original idea, and is extremely endearing.

It’s about the idea of a stalk bringing a baby to the front doorstep of someones house. How they get these babies is by flying to a cloud who puffs them up from their big fluffy hands. However, you see a poor, scraggy stalk flying to the only dark cloud who produces electric eels, crocodiles and all other aggressive looking animals. The story continues through showing their relationship progress.
It’s absolutely perfect for a child to watch. It’s colourful, beautiful and extremely friendly - In fact, if there was another certificate for a film that’s lower than a Uc it would be granted it. This short also holds the imagination that Pixar seem to capture in every one of their animations. The story itself couldn’t be made into a full feature length film, but as a short it’s perfect, much like its predecessors such as Geris’ Game, Lifted and of course Luxo Jr.
You can buy the Shorts on their own as a DVD and I’d definitely get it. You can see Pixar progress through their technology and ideas within the short cartoons, as well as feel happy after each and every one of them. Definitely pay attention to the little movie, it’s well worth a watch.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Requiem for a Dream *****

I'm not going to lie, this is probably up there in the most disturbing films ever made, but it's absolutely and utterly unmissable. The cinematography and the topics involved are very original and realistic. It's gritty and sometimes pretty disgusting, however it is probably the best film I've seen this year.

It was made in 2000 by Darren Aronofsky who's also directed The Wrestler. He clearly wants to show images that Hollywood movies would typically cut away from. He's not afraid to try something new in order to gain a reaction out of an audience that you can never normally grasp from a film.

In case you were wondering what the storyline involves, here's the few elements that really are shocking - A mother addicted to diet pills, a heroine addict, twisted sex scenes and some frankly grotesque images of the effects that drugs cause. If there's ever a reason not to take drugs, then this film provides that. Just show it to kids in the awareness campaign, they certainly will never want to talk about them again, let alone take them.

It's not a film that's preaching to you not to do these things, it's a film designed to open up your mind to the nitty gritty underworld that is often glamorised in cinema today. Even though Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly are very gorgeous faces to have on the screen, they soon become a little less like eye candy, and more... Eye terror. We see their deterioration in a way that makes you connect with them; not necessarily a sense of sympathy, but more a feeling of helplessness towards them. And Marlon Wayans can actually act seriously! He offers a more sensible character (using the term loosely) by pointing out the effect that this life is having on their lives.

The editing in the film is also purely created to make you feel as tense as possible. It contains multiple collages of clips from pupils widening, injecting drugs to clips of a mother being electrocuted... It's not for the faint hearted. But it's a necessity to see this film if you're a film fan. It creates cinematography in a way that really inspires you to make a film. It's seems too real, you become wrapped in this world for the hour and a half, and once you're out of it you still find yourself flashing back to scenes in the film. It's mesmerising to watch.

So overall, as long as you prepare yourself to watch something that's going to shock you to your very core you will be fine... I hope. You MUST see this film. It's a cult and a good one at that.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Up ****

What a colourful Pixar film we have here! All the balloons, birds and forests are filled with these emotive, playful gestures which capture children's attention straightaway. And with every character involved just as endearing as the last makes it quite a fun film to watch... Apart from all the sadness involved!

It's probably the most depressing Disney film yet. That doesn't mean the whole way through you're crying your eyes out. It just means Disney has once again tapped into our emotions, made up connections with the characters, and evidently we cry our eyes out when something bad happens to them.

It's a great mesh of adult and child attraction as this film contains the typical nods towards an adults life so they find it entertaining to watch, as well as the slapstick comedy that the kids love.

The idea behind this film is brilliantly imaginative. And who thought that having a pensioner as the protagonist would be captivating for a young audience?! Carl (Voiced by Edward Asner) is the perfect grandfather figure. He's grumpy yet adventurous, and is definitely funny for an adult audience. His little glimpses of his life before are done so well you really feel for him as soon as you see his face on the screen. You may also be able to imagine yourself in certain situation, or at least imagine your grandparents.

It's probably not one of the best Pixar films in my opinion, but it's up there. Everything about it does ooze Disney though. It's soppy and childish, yet funny and interesting. The short is actually the best one though. It's a little story about clouds, and it just sums up everything that is good about these little Pixar Short films.

Definitely go and see this movie if you're a fan of the previous ones. It's perfect for any aged audience and really connects to you.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Adventureland ***

A film set in the 80s based around 20 somethings getting drunk and high whilst working at an amusement park... Ever heard of this storyline for a rom-com before?

It's quite a unique little story considering it's roots are on the same path as any other romantic comedy, and that's what makes it slightly more bearable to watch. It's got a great theory to the story and setting, and rejuvenates the 80s once more, so you know it's a little bit cool already. I'm sure Calvin Harris would love it.

The characters are each very carefully chosen and acted out well. From the eccentric park owners, to the parents of these students. Kristen Stewert (aka Bella) and Jesse Eisenberg play the couple of the film, and actually work quite well together. Stewert is her usual mysterious, pretty but doesn't know it girl, and Eisenberg is essentially the geek that gets lucky. They are complete polar opposites but that just caters to the whole audience. And with the supporting roles providing you every weird aspect of life you could possibly want, there's nothing more to crave.

The actual storyline isn't particularly original for a rom-com, but it does hold some redeeming factors. The lives of each person is completely different, and you understand this well. You can come away from this film feeling satisfied and having chosen your favourite character. It's all done at a pace which doesn't seem rushed or forced; it comes very naturally and you believe it.

It's definitely one to watch if you like something a little out of the ordinary, but it's by no means an Oscar winning film. It's just a lighthearted fun little storyline, with the quirkiness of the characters and set in a great decade.

There is a heavy focus on the use of weed and alcohol however. I can see why they have done this because it provides the feel for the young not caring about what they do and just living life, but it really doesn't need to be as involved as it is. It seems a little unrealistic because you don't really see any side effects like drunkenness or hallucinations from the drugs, and it almost makes it seem like a decent thing to do.

You might like to know the director of this film (Greg Mottola) is also the director of Superbad. It's definitely nothing like Superbad, but in terms of the cinematography it's quite similar. He uses this almost filter on the screen to provide the 80s scene, and gives real focus on the characters you should connect with. It works well as you come out of the cinema with your favourite character's quotes in your head.

It's just a fun film with some silly little gestures and quotes, and it includes a love story. See it if you want, your life doesn't depend on it though.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Why you should let cheesy horrors into your life... (For www.heyuguys.co.uk)

Okay, so we’ve got a couple of horrors that the critics love to hate in the cinema at the moment – The Final Destination and Sorority Row. And we all know they’re terrible films based around pretty girls or thugs getting killed in the most hideous way. But they’re so bad they’re good.

They all use the same technique – Dark room, girl with no clothes on holding a huge blade, silence, loud bang, oh she’s dead. Right, so some who really dislike these movies need to open their minds a little. They’re fun at heart. In no other genre could you laugh at someone burning to death in a tanning machine than in one of these horrors. The acting is terrible, the camera shots are basic, but it takes us into this unthinkable world that dramatises everything. They’re like soaps but on a much gorier level.

And to be fair, these movies usually kick start an actor’s career. Anyone heard of Johnny Depp? Yep, his first film was A Nightmare on Elm Street. Brittany Snow, she was in Prom Night. Possibly one of the most predictable horrors about, but now she’s planned to do several films in the next 3 years.

They’re great, really. There’s no better way to spend an evening than to rent out a couple of these poor horrors and cringe away. Not at the blood, at the storyline! They’re not scary either, once you’ve seen a couple you begin to pick up the signs and start predicting who’s going to die next. It’s great for socialising.

As horrors frequently go main stream, a film genre of horror-comedy has arisen by them taking the techniques and manipulating them. One of the best scenes in Severance is where a huge spider is climbing up a girl’s back, she’s in a dark room, the tense music is going and then when she sees the spider, instead of screaming, she strokes it! Brilliant.

We’re even being given 3D horrors which explore a whole new realm of badness. So instead of shunning these cinematic creations, embrace them and let them live on! They’re all a bit of fun, and a hell of a lot funnier than some comedies around.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

District 9 ****

Ever thought you'd side with an alien if they invaded Earth? Well, after seeing this you'll probably think twice about what you'd do if an alien came knocking at your door. Instead of being scared of these creatures, District 9 makes you actually feel some kind of empathy towards them. They're language is understood by humans, yet humans still feel the need to blast their brains out, making this whole film kind of like a horror but on a much more action based scale.

There's a lot of fighting and wounds in this film, all of which aren't left to your imagination. You're given lots of juicy close-ups of these infected cuts, as well as nice deterioration shots of a human body - Such as finger nails (it still makes me cringe) peeling off. The effects are very realistic, which is quite a surprise when it looks relatively low budget at the beginning. But once the shots of the aliens, or Prawns their derogatory name, are shown, a lot of work has gone into making these creatures look as believable as possible.

Their eyes in particular are very well focused on, which is good because you can gain some emotion from them. This is probably why you side with the aliens rather than the humans. Yes, they are scary looking, but it's actually the humans which are causing all the damage.

There's just something about this film that doesn't quite hit the spot to be a classic. It's a very clever little story, being based around a documentary style film with lots of 'live action' shots meshed in between. But it all goes a bit Michael Bay towards the end. Don't get me wrong, Bay's great, it just didn't really fit in with the whole concept of the film. It's meant to make you think this is really happening, aliens living in a slum, but the fact that there are so many explosions and gun shots just makes it seem like something out of Transformers.

Neill Blomkamp who wrote and directed this film has done a good job, considering he's relatively new to the scene. It's obviously been heavily influenced by Cloverfield, it just doesn't have that sense of originality that Cloverfield gave us. Maybe because we've seen this 'Ooh is it real, is it not?' type cinematography and narrative before. Peter Jackson did produce this film, and you can see this in the work. It's very good at creating a scene and filling in all the detail, even minor aspects such as doors with holes in to make it look run down.

I would give this a go, just expect to cringe a little because it's a lot more brutal than it makes out.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

(500) Days of Summer ***** (For www.heyuguys.co.uk)

What a brilliant, quirky, imaginative movie we have here. You should know, this is definitely not a love story. Well, it is but not one you'd expect to see. It's original, creative and a great story. Almost a little depressing if anything, but perfectly enjoyable to watch.

The beautiful Zooey Deschanel plays Summer. A girl who doesn't believe in love and lives life to the full. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (most commonly known as Tommy from Third Rock from the Sun) plays Tom, a lovestruck man who will compromise anything to be with Summer. For a start, the chemistry between the two is brilliant. They're both chilled and relaxed, and give a real sense of originality and believable acting to their roles. The conversations they hold genuinely seems unscripted, and they look as if they really belong together on screen. As well as this, they're both pretty to look at. And with a lot of shots showing Zooey's eyes or Joseph's cute features means it's enjoyable for everyone!

You can always tell when there's going to be a good film from the way it opens. This film opens with a unique little piece of text and a fun title sequence, which just sums up the film perfectly - Unique and fun. There are some brilliant editing features which aren't done in mainstream films very often, and it all seems like this could happen in real life; which is refreshing for a love story. It also has an almost 70s feel to the set. Their dress sense is a little old school, and the whole office seems to be dated. But as you see the brother and sister playing the WII, we notice we are actually watching a film set in present time. This just makes the film seem that much cooler because it can pull these almost out of fashion clothes and settings off by making it look fashionable.

The narrative is also just as impressive. The banter in every conversation is witty, clever and great to observe. Along with this, the story is like a breath of fresh air. The audience is finally being provided with a romantic comedy that's not only breaking away from the structure of a narrative that's most commonly seen in this genre, but given a whole new outlook on love in film. We don't need the pathetic argument or the soppy kiss, we're being given a realistic look at love. We see hurt, pain and frustration as well as excitement, joy and happiness. The mixture of up and down is perfect and not too demanding on your tear ducts.

I really would say this film is enjoyable for both sexes. Typically this would be classed as a 'chick flick' but as it's so original, I would definitely say it holds interest for men as well. The male characters in the film are particularly funny with comebacks that actually do make you laugh out loud. But it's not the typical slapstick comedy we see in films aimed at males, it's a sort of sophisticated comedy that's seen in real life.

This is an amazing film which is going to become a cult. It caters for everyone and isn't too demanding on your emotions. It's perfection. Just when you thought rom-coms couldn't redeem themselves, they just have.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Analysis of Alien scene from Cloverfield (For www.heyuguys.co.uk)

With District 9 coming out (the very original interpretation of a Sci-fi) I thought it would be good to let you inside the making of a movie that’s a little out of the ordinary. Cloverfield (2008) was our first mainstream, completely handheld filmed movie to come out, and it’s become somewhat of a cult for any movie lover. Here is a scene that reveals the alien in all its glory, and really emphasises the tone of the film.

It’s the very beginning of chapter 15 - 01:04:14 to 01:06:55. Follow it along as I depict the filming of this all so brilliant sci-fi.

So yes, this film has used a ‘handheld’ camera all the way through. They call it handheld as it has the result of what seems to be a home video camera. It’s designed it give the movie a very action packed and realistic feel. The camera actually used was an extremely expensive one, usually sat on a tripod. This is because clearly the quality of the picture from a feature film camera is of much better condition than a home video camera.

We see an extended shot of the dropped camera on some wreckage. It’s dark, the materials are torn apart and the only sounds we hear are birds flying past and wind. It’s a very isolated shot. We aren’t given any other picture for a good 15 seconds. It makes you feel almost claustrophobic and you gain a real sense of destruction from the image provided to you. It makes you believe what the alien is causing is very serious and confusing as we don’t really understand what the material is that we’re looking at.

We begin to hear the walkie-talkie in the background to give some sort of evidence that there is widespread panic. It mentions that the alien is still alive, but it’s almost hard to focus on what it’s receiving as you’re so confused by the picture. This film was great for putting in subtle clues throughout to give away the story. You’ll need to watch it a good 10 times before you fully understand the story.

The material begins to move, and as it does the camera falls with it to make us believe this is a home video camera filming. A huge Hollywood camera wouldn’t fall so easily, but obviously it’s being encouraged to move by the cinematographer.

We hear the girl panicking and screaming at the boy who seems to be in pain. She’s trying to move him but we don’t quite gain access of this image, which again makes the situation unsettling as we do not know what’s actually going on. The camera begins to move a little more dramatically as she tries to move the boy, and it almost matches the panic given from her. The image is distorted, and the girl really seems in trouble.

Very quietly we hear from the walkie-talkie ‘god help us’ – Something unusual to hear through one which makes the situation that even more scary and realistic. Films like to portray a sense of reality, and with someone stating this over a walkie-talkie makes it seems more believable as they’re reacting like any sane person would.

We can see an image of the boy who’s hurt. His t-shirt is covered in mud and he has scratches all over him. He’s been thrown about and this kind of makeup makes us understand his pain a little more. He couldn’t have a crisp white shirt has it wouldn’t be possible with the situation he’s currently facing.

As the camera is being pulled about we see a quick shot of a dead body – A small but big gesture towards the danger of the situation. As the man is being pulled by the apparent camera man, the camera seems to hang directly in the centre of the screen, on his face. We see the reaction to his pain and relate to that. Whenever an audience are given a close up of an expression, you can’t help but react in the same way. He’s in pain, and the audience feel this by only being able to focus on his face.

As they stop moving the body, the camera drops on the floor. This looks like a fairly casual shot, but actually it’s been framed perfectly – It’s known as the ‘golden mean’. The camera image is in thirds. The third on the left are the people, the other 2 thirds are of the scenery. We see the people in the foreground and are able to focus around their anxiety, and then we see this city which is destroyed.

The scene isn’t at all pleasant. The buildings are on fire, smoke is coming from all over, and the people are worried. The girl holds the boy’s head for protection, and offers the audience their relationship. She is caring over him and is obviously helpless but trying to protect him. We then see two army fighter planes fly fast into the city – Something which would normally not be witnessed. By the audience seeing this it makes it seem that even more terrifying that the army have to be involved. The noises from these planes are so loud that they seem invading and add to the scare factor.

The group of people move from where they have been resting, and we see the wreckage from the helicopter crash. It shows what this group have faced, and is a real indication of yet more destruction caused. They seem to run away from the camera, but as one person realised they run back to retrieve it. As the camera is picked up clumsily we hear a scream from the girl. As the boy who’s filming looks up, the camera follows him. The picture becomes unfocused, and then refocused again. This makes the whole armature filming aspect seem more likely, plus providing that handheld feeling again.

As the alien is revealed, we see the dirt. The dirt was a very good way to make the picture seem real. We’ve seen the damage that’s been caused; of course the glass over the lens of the camera isn’t going to be crystal clear. By having these specs on the camera (which have been edited on afterwards) creates the feeling of carelessness. These people don’t care if the camera is dirty; they’re trying to save their own lives. All these little elements really help set the scene.

The reveal is done very slowly, so the audience can finally gain a good picture of this creature that caused so many problems. The footsteps shake the camera and are very loud. This creates an illusion of the power that this alien has. The screen is completely filled by the alien, showing the greatness of it. Behind is a very cloudy sky as well. We couldn’t have a clear blue sky here because it isn’t a nice setting. Grey is a dull colour, and to have that for the sky makes the whole situation that little more depressing.

As the alien looks down, we notice the boy whose filming is talking to himself as he is panicking. Suddenly the alien leaps down and for a second we have a clear picture of the face. This particular filming is almost POV as it is exactly what the boy would be seeing. Up until now we have just been witnessing what they’ve been seeing. It’s not necessarily been filmed to make you think you’re that person. It’s almost like this camera is you, and you’re in the situation as well!

As the camera gets pulled up and down, in the dark and in light we hear the girl once again screaming to create a sense of urgency and more panic to the situation. We hear smashing, see the body being swung, and his arms and legs appear. It’s all very confusing, and you just want it to stop.

When the image finally does stop it’s dropped next to the boy. For an extended time it tries to either focus on grass, or on the boy’s face. It becomes uncomfortable as you realise what you’re seeing isn’t necessarily you involved, but it’s what this handheld has picked up. The changes on focus make it seem real and quite disturbing. Plus, with the face being centre to the screen there is no one else to watch, so the audience have to sit and watch this camera focusing awkwardly.

We hear the girl yet again screaming and running over. She knocks to camera out of the way, and as it jolts it cuts to a black screen. But before it does that bars appear to show the connection cutting to add that final piece of editing to make all this filming seem like it’s happening from an inexperienced cameraman.

Hopefully that’s enlightened your viewing of Cloverfield a little, and you’ll think about all these different elements that go into a film to make it great! Enjoy District 9.

Friday, 28 August 2009

The Ugly Truth ***

This film wasn't AS bad as I thought it was going to be. Still completely predictable... But what rom-com isn't? Starring one of comedy's finest ladies Catherine Heigl, and a crude yet charming Gerard Butler, the film works well around the two as they have great chemistry together and are actually quite funny. It's just a shame the story isn't more original.

It contains typical sex jokes, along with the predictable final kiss and the guaranteed angry fight. It's everything you look for in a romantic comedy, but this is actually more aimed at men. Butler plays a character that isn't sensitive, tells you how it is, and believes no relationship can ever work. He's a nightmare for sexual harassment cases at work, and is a proper bloke. Men watching this film will find him funny, and woman will love to hate him. Heigl plays an ambitious control freak who symbolises the very essence of a successful woman, plus has an added wit about her which makes this movie very male friendly.

You do find it very male orientated at the very beginning, but once the love story starts kicking in and we're introduced to a gorgeous neighbour who becomes the love interest, you are reminded once again that this is a romantic comedy. It's a very good first date movie. It has laughs, sensitive scenes and will ease any tension between the two of you if you're feeling a little nervous, as it's so light hearted. (Apart from the very frequent swear words, but who doesn't hear most of that stuff when they're walking past a bunch of kids on the street?)

We've just seen this type of story so much now that is has no originality whatsoever. Yeah, it's good to stick on if there's nothing else on TV, but it's not particularly important to see it at the cinema. You'll have just the same reaction to it whilst at home, without any strangers around you munching on popcorn.

It's a fun film, and if you really enjoy this sort of 'opposites attract' storyline then you'll probably love the movie. The actors are fun to watch, and the soundtrack is very modern - Almost like something off of Now 73. Just don't expect anything new with this movie. They also could have worked on the sensitive side that Mike (Gerard Butler) contains, as it would have made it more satisfying when the story finished.

It's come from the director who made 21 (Robert Luketic), something completely different and much better. It's good to see experimentation though. I'd suggest he sticks to the drama type stories though, as this is one for Judd Apatow who's worked on Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin. Although, he could have made it a lot cruder than it already is so maybe it's a good thing it's been made by Luketic.

Overall, nothing special but it will bring you a few laughs.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Bronson ****

Every now and again we get high on a British film that's so full of life and eccentricity that you can't help but fall in love with it, and slowly become addicted. Our next dose of this metaphorical drug is Bronson.

Definitely one for the niche film fans, as this is as odd as a rabbit playing pool whilst roller skating. It's quirky, dark, brutal and brilliant. It has that raw edge that makes British cinema stand out from the clean cut world of Hollywood. It's not pretty and perfect. It's not modified or brightened. It's natural, hard and mean.

Although slightly hard to handle every now and again, mainly due to the intense fight scenes and multiple uses of the C word, it's a stunning piece of cinematography and acting. Tom Hardy who plays the infamous Charles Bronson is absolutely and utterly the best performer I think I've seen. He narrates his life with a sense of humour, he acts his prison time with a huge passion for violence, and makes this film one not to be missed.

It is verging on the slightly insane, and does glamorise this very well known criminal which isn't so good. But when you look at it for just the film value it's completely original. You don't really know where the film is going to take you, much like Bronson's life I would imagine. But when it does take you that one step further than you were willing to go it's a delightful surprise... Or maybe that's just the shock speaking.

It doesn't hold back on anything. You feel this guy's emotions from happy to sad, angry to calm, insane to, well more insane. You're taken through a whole spectacle of life events that you can't quite believe. Nicolas Winding Refn is relatively new to directing, but with this film he's certainly going to become a cult director that all hardcore film fans are going to love.

Aimed at the more open minded film lovers, it explores ideas in cinema that would never normally be considered for a mainstream movie. It didn't get much hype when it came to advertising which should be illegal. But if you like mean and gritty movies you have to give this a go. It's a bit different and verging on an underlying transsexual tone to the movie, but who wouldn't want to give that a go?!

Satisfy your cravings for a brilliant British movie by watching this, it won't disappoint.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Martyrs *****

Martyrs is a French horror that will literally shock you to the extreme. It's graphic, intense, brutal and extremely scary - Everything you want a horror film to be. And the fact it's in another language takes you out of your comfort zone even more.

Based around two young girls, one (Mylene Jampanoi who plays 'Lucie') of which was captured as a child and abused in a dungeon, the other (Morjana Alaoui who plays 'Anna') who suffered child abuse, trying to find their revenge on the people who caught Lucie.

The turn of events in this film is amazing and totally unexpected. You're taken through twists and turns throughout, and never given a moment to rest from the very beginning. The fact this film looks dirty makes it even harder to bear, especially through scenes of personal torture. We're given close-ups of pretty realistic looking apparatus attached to somewhere, reaction shots to multiple gunshots, and very real looking makeup.

It's done amazingly well but almost too sickening. Leugier who directed this film told Cannes Festival in 2008 that the script was rejected by a lot of French production companies purely for the violent and sadistic messages this film produces. But it's definitely become quite a cult for horror lovers. It embodies the elements that this genre is all about, and takes it somewhere you can't quite believe.

It brings the idea of schitzophrenia, self-harming, torment and cruelty to another level. You're giving the full picture of any murder and harm which is in itself shocking. The two girls act perfectly in their roles they are given, and it ends on an unsettling tone. It's so wrong, yet you can't bring yourself to turn away from the screen - No matter how much of a cushion you're hiding behind.

To any horror lover out there - This is perfect.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife ****

Man alive, get ready to cry girls! This film has got a roller coaster of emotions - Mostly sad. But it's not a depressing film, it's just one you can have a good weep to. If you have any idea of the book you'll know what's coming. If you don't then just prepare yourself by taking a few tissues and run straight to the toilets to sort your makeup out afterwards. I can probably say this is definitely not for the guys. Although you may enjoy the storyline, it's very emotional and a proper love story; just making you aware.

More about the Time Traveler than the wife, Eric Bana plays a wonderful role. He's gorgeous to look at, acts really well and makes this film work. Along side Rachel McAdams who plays the wife, the chemistry, passion and spirit of the film isn't broken at all during the whole performance. They work well as a couple and make this film perfectly enjoyable to watch.

Although the storyline is quite confusing as you can't quite tell which year you're in, or what version of Henry (The time traveler) is actually with Clare, (The wife) it doesn't matter all too much. Subtle changes in appearances make it a little easier to figure out, and by the end of the film you can pretty much have a general idea of what's just happened.

This love story is quite original as well. Many films have the same order of narrative - 'We're young and in love. We argue. We split up. We magically fall in love with each other again.' But this is truly a relationship that has problems, highs and lows but is all about their powerful bond with each other. It makes it believable to see, and makes it all the more inducing. You're caught up between the hold these two have on each other, and wouldn't want anything or anyone to come between them. They're perfect, and that's what you need in a love story!

You come out completed entranced in the movie, and just want to watch it all over again. Well, maybe not straight away because it's pretty exhausting the first time. You're taken through so much that you do need a good laugh afterwards. It's slightly sadder than Marley and Me, but slightly less than I Am Sam. Make of that what you will.

If you want a girlie night out, go and see this film. If you don't like emotional films and just want a few laughs, see something else! It's brilliant for what it's designed to do - Make you cry.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Knowing **

Well, this is a film that will annoy Christians but intrigue Scientologists just a little. I may have just given away a slight plot development there, but it's pretty easy to guess anyway so there's no harm done. I'm not going to be recommending this film either!

For a start, as much as Nicolas Cage comes across lovely and harmless in real celebrity life, his acting is always a bit tongue in cheek. He's very melodramatic and almost has a sense of subtle comedy about him, so you can never take him all too seriously. With this thought in mind, it doesn't bode well that a movie with an 'end of the world' theme to it involve his acting, especially a lot of heroic scenes. You're almost cringing throughout, but trying too hard to take this topic as seriously as possible - This being near impossible considering the ludicrous storyline.

It's very bitty. It contains elements familiar to horror movies such as the isolated house, or a creepy girl. It involves a lot of sci-fi type characters such as MIT teachers. And then brings in a whole lot of action. It should mix together quite well, but this just doesn't. You're reminded of The Day After Tomorrow a lot in this film, but with the special effects being quite shoddy (apart from the last 20 seconds) it just seems like it's the younger brother trying to live up to the older sibling's success, but not doing so at all.

The ending to this film is pretty dire too. It's depressing, it's unsettling, it's just boring and leaves you feeling baffled by what you've just witnessed. It starts off quite slowly as well; it goes to build up to a huge plot line, and then just disappoints by fading to black. Anything involving aliens at the end of a movie is never good unless the whole movie has been focused around them. Take the latest Indiana Jones movie; the film was awesome right until the very final scenes when the aliens pop up. Utterly pointless. This does exactly the same thing, and also tried to make some sort of futuristic Adam and Eve out of the two children... Pretty darn weird.

How can one director go from I, Robots to this? Alex Proyas knows how to make sci-fi movies but he's totally messed this one up. Okay, I guess it's quite a unique storyline but that really doesn't make this any better. He should have stuck to a pretty safe narrative and made the movie out of this world, instead of taking a plot that's quite interesting and making it into something of a wreck.

There are SOME redeeming factors though. The children are quite good little actors, and when a disaster does strike it's quite intense to watch. The film doesn't stray away from watching people die either which is quite unusual. It has all the elements to be good, but this one just isn't.

Watch The Day After Tomorrow again, you'll feel a lot of satisfied by watching that than watching this.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Moon *****

This will possibly be one of the best films you'll see this year. A big statement, yes. But it is not a lie. This is a sinister, isolated drama set on the moon, involving one astronaut completing a task set by his company, with Kevin Spacey as the voice of an unnerving robot who assists him.

It really is a complete enigma in the first 3rd of the film, but once the story reveals itself a little more you become completely involved in the world that the character is set in. Although lacking a little in the SFX, this film doesn't need any special editing to make it anymore exciting than it already is. You could compare the film to Fight Club with the almost unexplained script throughout, and it's definitely going to gain the cult following that Fight Club received.

I wouldn't be surprised if this film triggers a lot more narratives involving space, because it has so much possibility. Hopefully this film will inspire writers to make movies which aren't (how do I say this?) completely pointless and don't involve Seth Rogen. (There.)

You're already taken out of your comfort zone from the beginning by not gaining any perspective on Sam's (Sam Rockwell) previous life before the mission. This is probably what takes it out of Hollywood cinema. You aren't being spoon fed the story, you're having to work it out yourself along with the character. It actually does make you want to think about the movie afterwards rather than say 'Yeah, that was alright.'

You may not have heard of this because apart from at the film festivals this year, it didn't get much hype. This was surprising because for one it's directed and written by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones (Actual name - Zowie Bowie) and two, there's been nothing else like this made that I am aware of!

Note the little qualities such as the 'kick me' sticker on the back of the robot, or the lyrics to the alarm clock 'One and only'. It's always these sort of elements that makes films unique. They're probably for the director's entertainment more than anything else. You wanna go into the cinema with little knowledge on the film as well if that's still possible. It just makes it all the more of a fantastic experience.

Seriously, if you're bored of films at the minute, haven't seen anything that's excited you, or just really want to experience something that's literally out of this world, you HAVE to go and see this film. Even if you're a little unsure, see it anyway! It's beautifully done, well acted, elegantly shot and just pure brilliant. What more do you want?!

Definitely on my favourites list on Facebook.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Cadillac Records **

A true story based on two gentlemen, a white man and a black man, coming together in the 1950s to create one of the most famous music companies ever to exist. It's full of archive footage on racism, music history and facts on the famous singers, which is very interesting to see. However, this film is quite slow until about the last half an hour.

It's taken at a pace to slowly introduce us to new characters, build up a picture of them, and see how their life pans out. Which is okay, I guess. It just doesn't seem to make a good film out of it. Don't get me wrong, the era in which it's set in is brilliant, the sets are limited but accurately done, and the soundtrack is just pure pleasure. Even if you're not going to watch this film, definitely give the songs a listen to; They're faultless.

Adrien Brody (who also stars in King Kong and The Pianist) always seems to bring a certain element of passion to his roles. He doesn't necessarily go for parts which will make him a lot of money, he plays characters which he is truly interested in, and this is why he is so successful. He really brings this film together along with Jeffrey Wright who plays Muddy Walters in the movie. They make a great pair and ultimately are enjoyable to watch.

Beyonce plays a feisty Etta James, and honestly, this is the best performance she's given. Sometimes she can be a bit hit and miss with her acting, but she really puts her all into this and it shows. Being the executive producer of the film, you would expect her to as well. And being the only female in the movie that isn't a pushover is quite liberating.

It gets exciting and dramatic in the final scenes of the movie, leaving you with a sense of satisfaction once its over. That's only if you get to this point first though. It remains quite samey throughout, just with different singers, girls and clubs. You could lose focus at some points, but once Beyonce kicks some of her attitude into it, it becomes more interesting to watch.

Not the best film by any means, but certainly entertaining enough. You can have a good singalong, and just enjoy the true music being provided to you. It's not a musical, it's a film based around rock and roll. You haven't got 100 extras running into the scene knowing all the dance moves to a certain song. You've just got the singer, the band and the set. That's rock and roll, baby.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Bruno ***

If, like some of us, you are not a fan of Borat or Ali G, I most certainly wouldn't see this film. It's the usual cringe worthy, offensive, almost too controversial to put on screen images and dialogue you'll see. But with that in mind, this is why Sasha Baron Cohan is so popular.

He's excellent at creating these characters. He never falls from that particular person's persona, and keeps to the point the whole way through his films. You see the antics he gets himself in, real or made up, and all you can do is laugh because it's that bad. Or you might just want to walk out... But all in all, Bruno certainly delivers the scenes you almost have to turn your head away from.

The whole cinema was inhaling with disbelief, and laughing at scenes that in any reality would be front page news. You find yourself watching most of the film with your hands over your mouth just to keep you from screaming at the situations. One that particularly sits in your mind is the gay sex scene - graphic, hardcore and totally, totally over-exaggerated.

Although Borat wasn't one of my favourite films, this isn't as good as it. Probably because Borat was fresh and a totally revolutionary way of making a film. Bruno sits in that same category but just doesn't deliver the same quality of humour as the previous. There aren't many quotable scenes which you and all your friends can impersonate. Plus everything just seems completely over the top. But if you just want to watch people embarrass themselves it's totally up your alley.

It is quite humiliating to watch these so called true scenes, and see how these poor expectant people react to them. It's very clever in a way that you can't quite tell which is serious and which is made up. Everyone involved is either a great actor, completely oblivious to the whole situation or just mad. With these revolving factors, it adds up to one engaging film because you really do just want to see how they will react.

This film is an 18 for a reason. Anyone younger would probably just be disturbed, not understand or be totally confused by the whole experience. I have to say, I think anyone will come out in this state of mind anyway. It's too much like real life to be a certificate any lower. This film was almost given an R rating - The highest certificate you can give. If that doesn't give you some indication of how absurd this film is, I don't know what will!

So, if this has at all interested you say 'Hey!' to Bruno. If it hasn't, then well, you're probably like me and never want to watch it again. But all in all, it's an entertaining film.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince **

Do you remember that feeling of coming out of the cinema after seeing a Harry Potter film, it being right near Christmas and all you felt was excitement for the festive season? Well, that's completely lost in this film. It was clearly meant to be released during the winter season. It's quite dark, looks cold and there are Christmas scenes. It's a shame because when you're watching it now, it just makes you chilly. I guess you'll return to that feeling when the DVD is released near Christmas. That's just one thing wrong with it.

Another factor that makes this film slightly disappointing is the fast that nothing happens. Apart from one main character dying (which isn't exactly heartbreaking), it's all based around little witty remarks, or plot line developments that are preparing us for the final novel, split into two films. The relationship building in this isn't subtle at all, and you can clearly guess how the last film is going to end due to this. However, it is fun to see these adolescent characters going into the 'interested in girls' stage. It's nice to have a bit of romance in this quirky little magician film.

And we are reunited with our favourite people like Luna Lovegood, or Hagrid. It's all the attention to detail in their personalities that makes Harry Potter especially good, as well as the mise-en-scene being brilliantly creative. There is a London scene which is particularly enjoyable - It almost had a Michael Bay effect with all the destruction! Just think of his destroying mind and a few magic spells. You result with a relatively short scene that's quite fun and memorable to watch.

Ron Weasley remains his endearing self, with Hermione Granger keeping her smart little brain intact. It's so fun to see how all of these characters have developed through the 6 films produced. They've become stronger as the series has gone on, and this is quite evident in the film now. They know how to work on the traits that people love just to keep them satisfied.

I would suggest watching the previous film before entering the cinema to watch The Half Blood Prince. It's been so long since we've seen a Harry Potter film that you just need to be refreshed with what's going on, because it literally just carries on from the last scene in the previous film.

This was nowhere near as exciting as the films before, it's just giving us an indication of what's to come. Although some of the indication is quite obvious, (especially if you're good at guessing the narrative of a film) it definitely does keep you wanting more of Harry. Don't expect to be too astounded by this because it's nothing special. It's just a link to the final two movies. I would say it's good for all audiences. There are a couple of bits that might make you scared, if you are particularly prone to that, but overall it's a good family film if you've like Potter and his magic ways all this time.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Good Morning, Vietnam ***

Robin Williams, what a little character he is. Imagine him being an actual radio presenter, that would be brilliant. In this film he is, and he does it with great popularity. He has witty one liners, a friendly and giving manner, along with a childish personality that's quite endearing. And with Forest Whitaker playing an almost guidance figure, you couldn't ask for two better main characters.

I wouldn't necessarily say this is a comedy, it's just naturally light hearted with a good few laughs spread throughout. It has it's serious side too, focusing around the devastating effects wars have on a community. There is just something missing, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

This is definitely a film you could watch over and over again, if you like Robin William's trademark of impressions and quick talk. But there's nothing too solid about the storyline. Although it does pick up on the serious side of life in a war, it doesn't do it with much success to actually make you feel bad. It's more focused on the soldiers and community enjoying the spirit of this new face - Which isn't a bad thing. Who wants to feel depressed once you've finished watching a film?

And the soundtrack is great. Many rock and roll numbers which make you wanna jump from your seat. Maybe you could just buy the soundtrack? It includes his radio broadcasts as well as the fantastic songs to listen to.

I would say you should watch this film, because you've probably heard a lot of people quote 'Gooooooooooooood morrrning Vietnaaaaaam!' which you do hear numerous times throughout, and it's probably one of Robin William's best performances. The film also looks as if it's set on location, so all the more realism as well! It's always a plus to actually believe what you're seeing on screen. Added to that, there are a lot of memorable scenes that you will think back to - The classroom, the first broadcast, the game at the end. Just wait, you'll see.

You can connect with the chirpy characters, and happily go along for the ride with them. Just don't expect to feel a great sense of accomplishment at the end. You're almost left hanging and wanting more. But it's just the right length for a good evening in front of the telly. Just have fun and enjoy what's being given to you!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Public Enemies ****

This illicit action packed drama can leave you feeling either one of two things - You love it or you hate it. Personally, I feel this film is great. Although it does drag a bit, and the storyline is kind of repetitive, the micro details this film provides is wonderful. The costumes the characters wear, the guns they use, the cars they drive, the locations in which this film is shot in; it's excellent.

And of course, Johnny Depp is outstanding. He's cool, exciting, an icon. Many people have debated the fact that this is just another film glamorising a criminal, and it really does. But even so, he can just take a character and make that film solely dependant on whoever it is. You become caught up in his life, especially the love between him and Billie (played by Marion Cotillard). It really is a true love story showing this criminal's caring, attentive and frankly over protective side. Although Edward Scissorhands creates an almost poignant feel towards his acting abilities in love, the relationship between these two is way up their in his top love stories.

You may gain a sense of catharsis when you hear Christian Bale's acting, taking you back to the Batman movies. His voice sometimes slips into tight suit and mask mode, meaning his husky tones can be quite hard to understand. Nonetheless, he plays his part just as well, giving a tone of desperation in finding John Dillinger (Johnny Depp).

The seminal use of editing in this film is by no means good. The transition from one camera to the another can sometimes be a bit too obvious, and some scenes you can clearly see the use of sets, and the sound can become a little undefined, but this doesn't mean it is unpleasant to watch or to listen to. It's a proper 1930s gangster film for this modern audience. We haven't got men dressed in tracksuits, in too noisy to listen to cars. We've got smart looking men and women, listening to very appropriate music and drinking to enjoy rather than to get drunk. This is what a gangster film should look like. No one is seen taking an unbelievable amount of drugs, they all seem proper - Which could be why this film is so fun to watch, because it's so unexpected.

There are moments of gun shots that make you jump, the action is constant throughout, with a good amount of dialogue too. It is a good film, despite what you may have read. You just need to stay focused and enjoy what's being provided, rather than expecting a huge production for a film set in the 1930s. Films Depp are in tend to be quite slow, when he is the main character, as well. It's just the fact that he's so good at creating these characters that people have become so caught up in his world. They expect more, when actually he's providing everything an audience needs.

I can imagine this film would be just as good to watch on DVD, but go to the cinema anyway, it's a good 2 and a half hours of entertainment.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Hangover ****

You know those mornings when you've come home from a night out... Maybe it was your friend's birthday or you were in a really bad club and just needed to get through the night with a few drunks (we all know what club I'm talking about). This is what that movie is about, except on a pretty exaggerated scale. If you're a lad, and have been on a heavy night out with your closest friends this probably will be the most funny to you. I mean of course girls can find this funny, but I do think, like most comedies, they have aimed it at a male audience.

Set in Las Vegas, these 4 peculiar characters make their journey to celebrate their best friend getting married. A few drinks and drugs later they have quite a reality to face up to. You're put right into the action, and find out what's happened along with them which is quite fun. The events that are uncovered are quite hilarious as you can imagine. But I must say one of the funniest bits is the singer at the end - You'll know what I mean when you see this.

It's quite a nice touch towards the end with a collection of photos throughout the night, just to help explain things a little more. You don't really need to know what's happened though, it's funny enough just being as confused as them. I wonder what it would be like to see this film hungover... Maybe you could try it? Drink safely though.

For a comedy, the story is quite original. The director Todd Philips, and writers Scott Moore and Jon Lucas seem all fairly new to the mainstream industry - This is surely going to put them on the map. And with it looking like there's going to be a second one to this film, who knows what they will uncover?!

You will definitely have a lot of laughs in the cinema. I'm not so sure you're going to be crying with laughter, but you'll have a chuckle. There's no point in the film that gets sad or angry, it's just an easy going narrative with lots of events happening all throughout one day. You do get a little grossed out in a few scenes, you are shocked and you are entertained. It's a great light-hearted film.

And it's all set in Las Vegas. No obvious sets from what I could tell which makes it that little more authentic. How they managed to convince the owners of a hotel to completely trash the room and put a tiger it in, I'll never know - Maybe that was a set.

Guys, you HAVE to watch this film. Girls, you can watch it if you want to, I'm sure you'll find it funny like I did.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Bolt ***

This is a very cute film. It's got a lovely white puppy, a witty black cat and a hamster that's convinced himself that he's a superhero - Perfect for a rainy day film. It's not too exciting, and then again it's not slow. It's just pleasant. It has the inevitable sad bit on a Disney film, it has the adult humour and it's got the Pixar charm that they all seem to have.

It's pretty much the whole picture for a children's film. It just doesn't seem to have that wow factor that Toy Story or Wall-E has. The animation is obviously flawless, but it again doesn't have any spectacular details like the fur in Monsters Inc. It really is just a film that's good to put on for children to keep them quiet for a while.

They will engage with the characters - Probably the hamster the most, as he is the most endearing character in the film. And if you go out and buy it now you will get the most adorable toy hamster you have ever seen. Alternatively, you can probably buy one in a Disney store.

This isn't a long film, and it definitely doesn't drag at any part. I can see this as being one of those films you have on your shelf and watch every year or so. It's entertaining enough for its purpose. There have been better Pixar films though. If you enjoy Disney stories this is probably a perfect example, so do give it a go. You don't need to see it in 3D to get the full effect, it's perfectly fine on your normal televisions, and you don't need to wear any glasses!

The DVD also has the Pixar Short based around Rhino - The hamster. Disappointing, I must say. It's like a very short version of the film Bolt, but instead of Bolt being the super animal, it's the hamster. Not very creative or original at all. But then again, the story of the film is very original. You definitely wouldn't of seen a story like this one. So that makes it quite fun to see.

So, if you're bored and like Disney - Watch it. But you're not missing out on anything if you don't.

Friday, 26 June 2009

W. **

What an odd little film we have here. Clearly it's been based on true events but you don't really know if they're accurate, purely because this is a film about his life, and for a lot of it there were no cameras documenting him.

This isn't particularly entertaining unless you're very interested in George Bush's life. Films such as Ray that have shown us their life are usually entertaining and enjoyable to watch. This isn't really. Because you almost know what's happened in his life partially from the media, the film as it's developing doesn't get anymore exciting or fascinating.

It's shot beautifully and the colours are crisp, so this does make it quite pleasing to the eye. Oliver Stone (the director) is clearly interested in American history as he has directed and produced films such as Nixon, JFK and World Trade Centre. And you can see this through the film. It never strays away onto topics of irrelevance, it sticks clearly to Bush and his life. So you're definitely get what you paying for.

The actors involved are also pleasing to watch during the film. Not necessarily physically, but the way in which they portray the various characters. A lot of research has gone into this. We have people such as Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell and Ellen Burstyn playing family members, as well as Josh Brolin who plays George.

It does drag though. It's like a documentary with very good cameras. You're sent back in time, then to the present, then back again - Little snaps shots of all the events that have made him who he is now. It doesn't get confusing, it just because unoriginal and dull. However, if you are interested in this president I would say to watch it. It's literally all about him. I know it sounds silly considering that's what it's aims were, but a lot of films side track and create multiple plot lines. This sticks to Bush from beginning to end, accent and all. If you're also into politics you may enjoy it.

Ultimately though, this is a film with little happening, monotone voices and little soundtrack. It's very slow and it's quite samey. You realise you're watching the 'behind the scenes' of his meetings, which aren't completely true because only officials were involved in these meetings, so basically you're watching a lot of made up meetings.

Disappointing.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ***

They're back... And yes, they are ready for revenge. Michael Bay has again created an exploding cinematic experience that goes straight into action from beginning to end. Some people criticise Bay for only exploding things during his films - And he definitely doesn't stray away from it in this film, but I think if you're good at something, why not do it? Tim Burton doesn't make a romantic comedy involving Cameron Diaz, he makes quirky films with odd characters because that's what he's best at. Bay is good at creating an image so extreme and producing it on the screen to the maximum effect. So Transformers + Bay = A match made in heaven. I'm glad we have got that out the way.
If you pay attention to the narrator and dialogue you should be able to stick with the story the whole way through the film. But it is inevitable that you will be distracted by chase scenes, cars turning into robots, and oh yes... Megan Fox. She's stunning in this film, and most certainly exploited by lingering camera shots and all sorts of physical innuendos. Maybe if you just close your eyes and listen you might be able to understand the story the whole way through. But where's the fun in that? So be prepared to get a little lost, especially towards the end, because it does just seem like a Robot Wars episode with a big budget type film.

The parents are brilliant. They are possibly the best characters in this movie. The mother is just as funny, along with the dad being just as tight and grumpy. And with a new little dog on the scene they certainly haven't changed for this story. The comical side to this film doesn't come across in the adverts, so just know there are laughs to be had.

You see all sorts of new Transformers come to life in this. Many little ones, along with a couple of gigantic robots ready to destroy whatever is in its path. They also still have a few with their little witty comebacks towards Sam (Shia LeBeouf).

It's exciting, funny, thrilling and filled with special effects. Although it does seem a little long, it's well worth a watch if you liked the first one. It doesn't have that same fresh feeling as before because you know how the Transformers will look when they change from car to robot, but this doesn't matter. The realism that these effects create is just truly amazing. This film would have been shoddy 20 years ago, but thanks to modern technology and a giant amount of change in the producer's pockets, they have made this film not only realistic but just a truly immense cinema experience.

Steven Spilberg has again got into the action so you just know this is one professional, metal filled film. No matter if you're boy, girl, adult, elderly, there's something for everybody. Unless you're a person who doesn't like special effects; this will not be for you. But everyone else, give it a go!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Milk ****

Living in the 21st Century now, we haven't really seen what discrimination towards gay people in the 70s was really like - This film tells you. Combining archive footage with current filming, this movie gives an accurate account of how the gay population were treated. It's realistic and charming to watch, and a real indication of just how many lives Milk and his team changed for people.

The music and sets are extremely accurate, and really does make you feel as if you're sitting in the 1970s. Along with this the acting is brilliant. Sean Penn can usually take any character and really bring them to life, and he has done it once more. But it is not just him that makes the film believable to watch. His team which includes James Franko and Alison Pill make this a pleasure to watch, and a real emotional roller coaster. You see the trials and tribulations they faced. And as these characters are based on real people, the film is that more inspiring and exciting to watch.

You get a real sense of community, and from the real footage you know the movie isn't exaggerating the story one piece. The little profiles at the end of the film are a lovely touch to it as well. I didn't realise this was based on a true story, so if you didn't you know now. It really makes the film eye opening to see how people were treated, and how strong they were.

The only thing that lets it down is the fact that it is slightly repetitive, but I guess that is what it felt like for Harvey Milk and his team with what they faced. It does become a little duller towards the middle, but only for half an hour. Once that is over you begin to love the story again and the events that are uncovered once more.

It's shocking, fun, saddening and creative. It's a real unique Hollywood film, with a true life story that makes you want to stand up and make a change. No matter if you're straight, bi, gay or a lesbian you will feel some sort of sense of drive when you watch just how hard these characters had to work to be accepted. And it really does make you appreciate how, in most cases, society has accepted these sort of situations today. Yes you still get the homophobic people but they're usually just insecure with themselves anyway. Maybe if they watch this film they will think twice about their beliefs.

If you fancy watching a refreshing and inspiring story, really please do watch this.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

My Best Friend's Girl **

I don't think this film could become anymore predictable. It's a romantic-comedy (the term romantic used loosely) about a young man (Jason Biggs) who is in love with a fellow colleague (Kate Hudson), but can't get her. So he asks his house-mate (Dane Cook) - A complete 'jerk' who makes having surgery more enjoyable than going on date with him.

I'm sure if you know the typical story of a romantic-comedy you can guess the ending, and just about every other aspect of this film actually. Although some of the antics are quite shocking, especially seeing as it's an 18, this film isn't anything new. It contains funny moments, it contains a love story, it's typical of its genre.

It doesn't really hold your attention all that well. The story isn't fast paced enough and what you're watching becomes quite boring. It's a shame really, because the actors involved are brilliant in these sorts of roles but the script just isn't exciting enough to keep you entertained the whole way through.

You could say this is more a love story for men. The situations that Tank (Cook) creates, and the topics of conversation he has are aimed at the male audience. He's crude, rude and down right mean, which obviously the boys are going to find hilarious because it's quite slapstick. In terms of the predominant audience, females don't seem to be catered for all that much, apart from a wedding scene towards the end. Romance doesn't really feature in this film, and it's really only the desperation that a few of the characters portray in the film which creates the romance.

I was surprised to see this film as an 18, but from the very beginning you can understand why the BBFC had a little trouble with this being a 15 or 12. Tank uses the C word multiple times throughout the film, along with lots of other profanities you wouldn't expect the Queen to say in her Christmas speech.

This film isn't original, very entertaining or hysterically funny. It's a mediocre creation aimed to provide an easy viewing with a few little giggles maybe for a first date. Just make sure you go for a really good meal afterwards because it's pretty appalling to watch what goes on through most of it.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Love Story ***

This film is kind of enchanting. It throws you right into the action, which I love about a film. You didn't need any introduction of the characters, you know straight away who the story is going to revolve around.

This is, yes, a love story involving two characters of opposite background, but equal intelligence. They work brilliantly together, and you see their relationship grow throughout the film. However, it becomes familiar and the story doesn't seem to go anywhere too exciting. The fierce relationship becomes something of the past while you're watching the film, and it doesn't produce that fresh love feeling that many love stories provide.

The lead actress Ali MacGraw plays a pretty heartless woman who's apparently in love with Oliver Barratt IV (Ryan O'Neal), who shows only his love for her. Through Jennifer's (MacGraw) 'playing hard to get' game, she becomes almost annoying and quite mean. However, she turns bearable towards the end which makes the film a little more pleasing.

If you're into your gushy love stories, this is definitely one to watch. You become entranced in the relationship - Despite the lack of love provided from one side. And you easily enjoy the witty banter between the two. They seem like a genuine couple, and the acting is pretty good in the film from all characters. If you look carefully, Tommy Lee Jones makes an appearance as a room-mate of Oliver's which is quite fun to see.

It came out in the 1970s; bar a few of the outfits and the quality of filming, this film has hardly dated. It could easily be in cinemas now if the picture was more refined. This is also where the quote 'Love means never having to say you're sorry' comes from. It made quite an impact when it was released and you can understand why. It's just a shame there isn't really much plot development, and the ending is very depressing.

Although, I do have to say it is quite an original film in terms of narrative due to the beginning and end of the film. You'll see why when you watch it, I don't want to ruin the fun of the story for you now!

This is a very comfy clothes, ice cream tub, chocolate, girl's night in film. If you cry easily in films, have a box of tissues next to you as well. Even if you don't, your eyes might become slightly more moist than usual by the end!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Let The Right One In ****

If you were expecting something a bit darker from Twilight, you may enjoy this film. It has very similar qualities. A young boy falls in love with a young girl - The girl being the vampire. But the story is less text book love, and more real passionate love. And even though the two main characters can't be older than 12, they play their parts very maturely. Much more mature than the some what desperate characters in Twilight. (I must add, I AM a Twilight fan, so lunatic followers, don't come after me)


And the action involved is a lot more sinister. The director Tomas Alfredson hasn't been scared to use blood, breaking bones and very tense night scenes. And as the young boy is bullied, you really see the torment that he goes through, giving it a sense of realism to this very vampire world.

In terms of the special effects, they are very lacking. This film obviously didn't have a Hollywood budget, and a particular scene with cats doesn't give you the scare factor, but almost provides some sort of dark comedy due to the poor editing. It could have been much more effective to just leave the cats hissing, rather than pouncing on the vampire. Other than that this film is very effective and unique.

Some could call this film slow because in parts, if you're not interested in the originality of this kind of cinema, it doesn't provide the usual plot points a mainstream film would have. The films leaves it very much for you to decide what is going to make you jump. There is lack of music and camera shots making it a very lingering film which does add to the apparent slowness. But if you're willing to try a new experience then really, you have to watch this.

Straight away you'll see the deviation from American cinema because it really puts you straight into the gore. From then on you see what cinema has to offer if you really pay attention. This film doesn't give you every ounce of information, you have to work it out a lot yourself. It's not enigmatic, it's just very laid back with a real tense undertone. As the camera shots are so long, you have a while to take in the scenery yourself, rather than being given establishing shots and codes. It's a very good experience for a film in general.

Swedish cinema has been known for its slow pacing of films and this certainly lives up to its reputation. And being one of the most highly regarded films this year - Opening the Freight Fest, and creating frenzies for film reviewers around the world, it really has made a mark for this foreign cinema. With Sweden producing even more films in the future, this is definitely going to be one of it's trade marks.

So if you fancy a change and don't mind subtitles, go for it!

Sunday, 31 May 2009

28 Days Later *****

This is the film that has inspired so many horror films to use isolation and confusion mixed with zombies a key part of their story. There have been so many reinventions of the story told in 28 Days Later, but none have quite got it right.

This is a British film, so with that comes the very real and raw filming that British cinema tends to have. It's not as slick as Hollywood cinema, but as some people do not like this, I however do. It brings a sense of authenticity to the film which is so hard to come by, especially on horror movies. And with it being filmed around London impressively with nobody else on scene means it's even more mind blowing. This is probably why 28 Days Later has become a bit of a cult - Purely based on it's originality and brilliant cinematography.

Not only is the film like eye candy, the actual story, when it came out, was very new. We hadn't seen a film where it focuses around one man trying to find out what's happened to the abandoned city. Now there are many films that can give you this story, but if you watch this you will see how it is really done. It's intense, it's exciting, it's scary, it's emotional. This isn't your typical 'I'm going to kill everybody in sight' horror. This is a, if you can believe it, sophisticated gore fest.

It's definitely not one for the faint hearted. If you're easily scared I wouldn't see it because it will give you nightmares. But if you're one for the horrors you should give it a watch. And even if you have already seen it, watch it again. You're more than likely to have seen a few more horrors now. Watching this brings a breath of fresh air that you just can't seen to get from cinema much nowadays. And it's a film you can watch over and over again, and appreciate even more over time.

Danny Boyle directed this film. He's probably more known for Slumdog Millionaire now, but really you can see how film is his passion. He makes the experience a completely new one for you when you watch his films. He's also directed The Beach which is quite good in it's own little way. He knows how to capture an audience, and target the right people all at the same time. You really must give this a watch if you're not too scared to be in for a fright.

It's edgy, it's cool, it's brilliant. What more can I say?