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.