Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Film Obsession's Top 10 Reviewed Films of 2010 [Feature]

This year has been very exciting in terms of big budget film releases. We've seen the rise of 3D creations (even though that's not necessarily a good thing), we've seen stunning spectacles on screen in terms of cinematography, and have witnessed some of the most heart warming stories told in film. 

In case you had forgotten any films that were released this year, watch this awesome video showing 270 films of 2010 in just over 6 minutes! 

(Thanks to HeyUGuys for pointing this out)

So, of all the films I've reviewed (including screenings from The London Film Festival), I'm conducting the famous "Top 10" list. I can imagine there will be a couple you disagree with, and some you won't be able to comment on as they haven't been released, but take my word for it, they deserve to be on this list (If you can trust my judgement)
Click on the title of the film to read the review.

A true English delight with some very endearing characters. Every ounce of this was fun, surprisingly made you laugh and really was perfect was the summer release. 
The mini was a particular favourite English touch of mine. 
Controversial comedy mixed with some good British filming. This film took the humour from Chris Morris and turned it into one of the most quoted films in England this year. 
"Rubber Dingy Rapids"
A real unique twist on a comic book based movie. This film broke the boundaries of how a superhero film could be made. Plus the story was written by Jane Goldman - A woman!
Goooooo oestrogen! 
A genuinely stunning digital animation that hasn't lost any appeal after 10 years of the previous film. The characters are all the same with brilliant new ones.
Is it weird Lotso was my favourite?
It caused uncontrollable shaking and sleepless nights from the very realistic cinematography. This film made me want to walk out of the cinema in fear, no joke.
Never am I sitting in my kitchen alone again. 
Aronofsky showing the world he can turn even the sweetest thing into a dark, psychological whirlwind. The editing and costume was amazing in this, bringing every detail to life.
I'm kind of glad I didn't do ballet as a kid. 
A well thought out action film that makes your eyes pop out of their holes. I was shocked at how much I fell in love with this movie. It's just AWESOME.
You could say I lesbian it. 
Leonardo proves to be Hollywood's finest, as does the thrilling genre this film brings with it. The ending is what turned this film from great to genius.
I wouldn't mind looking after Leo, even if he was a psycho. 
A film that's never quite been done before, and never will. This will not only top the charts of 2010, but in the history of filmmaking. A big statement yes, but it can cope with it.
I wanted it to keep spinning...
This captured my heart from beginning to end, with a one off storyline and absolutely brilliant acting. Films rarely make me cry, but my face was very much soaked after this.
Andrew Garfield is a bit of alright too. 

I hope you enjoyed every film that 2010 brought to us.
Make a list of your own and comment it in the box below!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Kelly.

x x 

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Tourist [Review]

Directed by: Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck  (No Joke)

Starring: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp

Released: December 2010

This is an odd one. The film is clearly suited for Angelina, showing a desirable love struck women on the mission to find her criminal partner, coming across all sorts of danger. But for Johnny, it's almost as if the role's a promotional part to hype up The Rum Diary and Pirates of the Caribbean 4. That's not to say he's bad; it's just a curious choice of film for such an actor who likes the quirky characters - Not a maths teachers who falls in love with a woman everyone else wants.  

As you can probably tell from the last sentence, this film is completely predictable. I mean, stupidly predictable. It comes across as cool, luxurious and dangerous, but really we guess the plot twist from about half an hour in and are bored of the 'lets not talk to each other and allow the silence to do the talking' theme running through this couple. The jokes are repeated too much and the lifestyle becomes more of a nuisance than anything else. 

It is a beautiful film though. Jolie is just magnificent to look at (from a straight, female perspective - You men must be drooling all over the place) and Johnny Depp is absolutely stunning. He's groomed about as much as he can be naturally, which (although not as sexy as Captain Jack), is pretty easy on the eyes. Having him as my teacher would have got me nowhere in Maths, not that I did anyway. Moving on... And the choice of setting in Venice works perfectly with the aura this film tries so hard to carry. 

The narrative is effectively entertaining for a mindless couple of hours. If you're willing to go in with a completely receptive frame of mind then there's no harm done. But going in expecting a performance of a life time with a real twist to the story will disappoint the hell out of you. I guess it's a play on a rom-com. They meet, there's a connection, there's a gangster that tries to kill them, there's a kiss - Done. 

The film is just so typical, that's the best way I can describe it. Even the cinematography doesn't provide the slightest possibility of excitement. You can sit and watch this film, come out and completely forget about it. There's no impact apart from the fact it's got two of the biggest stars in Hollywood starring in a mundane action/rom-com/gangster tale. Their relationship isn't desirable because it hasn't been set up right in the narrative. The situation that occurs is explained so bluntly that the mystery the characters have in their personalities becomes a bit ridiculous to watch. The very end shows the potential of a good story, where Angelina and Johnny's true colours are shown in an actual, real relationship. It's a shame the story got cut off then. All in all, it's pointless, to be honest. 


Hey, it's funny that Depp is talking about repeating a joke and how annoying it is...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Film Studies: Why it mentally torments you [Feature]

So, studying this subject can be quite a difficult task not only because it involves an in depth knowledge of history, culture, class, gender, technicalities, theories etc. But because the films you watch can actually play on your mind for weeks on end. We see some of the utmost disturbing, confusing, emotionally draining stories all to match with the week's topic we're learning. To give you an example of what we go through, here's a few films that stuck out to me on the course this term...

The Idiots (dir. Lars Von Trier, 1998) - Part of the Dogma 95 movement, this film uses only natural lighting, sound and filming to bring the picture to the screen. We have no special effects or quick cuts, just elongated scenes of pretty disturbing subjects. The film tells the tale of a group of people, who in order to fight back against the government that aren't providing the necessary funds to look after their people efficiently, they pretend to be disabled to gain money or just to "poke fun" at observers. One scene in particular which includes full on penetration in a group orgy makes for some disturbing watching, particularly when it's combined with people acting as though they are mentally unstable. You're watching these people act completely against the norm of society meaning the film is shocking and very, very grotesque. If you know of Trier, you wouldn't expect anything less. This was part of the Transnational Cinemas and global movements in cinema, so you can see why they chose this beauty of a tale. 

Silence of the Lambs (dir. Jonathan Demme, 1991) - I have a real appreciation for this film, not only because it's genuinely very well made film with brilliant characters and acting, but the content behind it is perfect to study. We've got a set up for a perfect thriller, analytical readings for feminism, psychoanalysis and Freudian theory, plus the technical aspects of analysing the sets are just endless. It came under the Audience Perspective topic, and seeing as you can't do anything but gaze upon this story, it was great fun to watch again on the big screen. 

A Tale of Two Sisters (dir. Ji-Woon Kim, 2003) - Anything foreign that's a horror is right up my street. The censorship seems to be a lot less restraining meaning the topics discussed are a lot more openly talked about. This Korean horror tells the story of two young girls moving to live with their step mother, only to find out that a death in a family has come back to haunt them. Hollywood remade this story and called it The Uninvited. I'm pretty sure, even though I haven't seen the film, it wouldn't have the same effect as this one did on me. The film just tormented you from beginning to end with subtle scenes of shock and not so obvious ones of silence waiting for the loud bang to happen. Horrors can become a huge cliché of themselves, but this just restored my faith in them, if not messed with my head... I can't quit decide. 

Black Nascissus (dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger, 1947) - This was probably the most eccentric of them all. A story about nuns being sent to a little village to establish a religious community? All we really see are women on the loose with sexual urges and anger issues. It didn't seem to flow, but just went from "Yeah, okay I'm following this" to "Wooh, why the f**k is she on the edge of a cliff?!" It was just completely bizarre, and had a really odd concept. To go with the topic of Dreams and Fantasy theory, the film totally matched everything we were talking about, and applying this theory to other films really made you understand the plot of them a little bit more. But, you can also say that it's reading way too much into something. I'm sure not every director sets out to put a tree in a corner of the screen to represent a phallic symbol, but it's nice to consider it. 

Black Girl (dir. Ousmane Sembene, 1966) - I'd never really seen a South African film before, but what really made this interesting was that it takes place mostly in France. The combination of the two nations gave the reason as to why we were studying this, as it came under 'transnational cinema', and really gave an interesting watch. It's something I'd never quite seen before, purely because the stylistics were so different to Hollywood, and the topic was quite emotional. It saw the story of a young girl wanting to break away and become a nanny, soon to be seen as just a maid to a wealthy household. It has an abrupt ending with a death leaving you feeling heavy hearted. I just had a real appreciation for the art behind this story. 

You can see why Film Studies torments us so... Just look at the variation of films we see! Now imagine watching stuff like that twice a week. The dreams I have are very unique, I'll tell you that! 

Friday, 26 November 2010

Because who doesn't want to watch all the Disney films every week of the year?

After watching this video, I don't think I've ever been so excited for a promotional event.

To go with the release of "Tangled" (Disney's modern feminist spin on the Rapunzel tale) BFI Southbank are showing every release from this world famous animation studio Disney, starting off with a special preview screening of Tangled on 16th January, 2011 (which is released on 28th of that month) and then every week after that, in chronological order we will be able to see all the films produced from this company.

This doesn't include Pixar because they're a seperate company from the Disney animation, so we're only watching true delights such as Sleeping Beauty (1959), Fantasia (1940), Aladdin (1992) and  all your other childhood favourites.

Excited? Me? Always. I love a chance to promote my favourite animated characters of all time - The 3 Good Fairies.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Review]

Director: David Yates

Writers: Steve Kloves, J.K. Rowling

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter

British wizardry just upped it's game again; the first saga of the final instalment of this prestigious story is finally with us with a great impact. The actors have found themselves in their roles, the action and special effects are darker and increasingly more exciting; Plus, we've even got some old friends back. Although long, the time passes quickly catching you off guard with quick moments of intensity through the narrative. 

David Yates (Director of Half-Blood Prince and Order of the Phoenix) has really pulled everything out that he could. There's some interesting detail to his cinematography that really makes your eyes bulge. Particularly with the editing, the attention of effects for the magic makes the film seem more mysterious. Something I thought was lacking in the previous two was the wizard theme running throughout. But here we see these mature young adults use their powers in a much more knowing way, giving them more of an appeal to an older audience. Added with this, the way he has choreographed the film to flow and pause in certain parts and speed up in others brings with it a real sense of a movie-going experience. It flows brilliantly and stops leaving you wanting more - Which is handy because the story hasn't finished being told as it cuts half way through.

The books were something that skipped my life somehow, but as a film goes, this is probably the best (besides the first, because I'm one of those ones who always has a soft spot for the first) one yet to come. You know the characters and the story leaving you to sit back and enjoy the ride. 

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) is actually believable as his character. Before I found his performances a bit stiff, but now he's the man and accepting his responsibility as a world known wizard. Emma Watson (Hermione) is just as beautiful as ever, and Rupert Grint (Ron) still remains the cheeky one, but a little more masculine now. It's just wonderfully British. Their accents, the location and their attitudes will all live up to what audiences around the globe want to see, and what England loves to witness - A film close to their hearts that they can be proud of. 

Helena Bonham Carter stands out in her role this time. We haven't got as much appearance from the dark side as you'd expect, but a funny feeling in my guts tells me that their team of nut jobs will be haunting our dreams in the next one - Probably from the film ending on Voldemore and not the three main characters. It wasn't a satisfying end, but one of anxiousness.

[Spoiler Start] What kind of sick, messed up fairytale would ever kill an Elf, especially Dobby?! That did make me genuinely sad. I then told myself that this character was made from imagination and a computer so I soon pulled myself together. [Spoiler End] But that's what Harry Potter is great for - creating characters that would never even be in your dreams, and giving them this sense of life where you can connect with them in an enchanting  setting. 

I went into the cinema with a low expectation and came out pleasantly surprised. A perfect winter film (If you've managed to stick with it for the past 10 years). 


Here's a fun little parody you can enjoy, based on the song "Like a G6" we have "Likes it's Quidditch:

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Film Obsession [Update]

Hey guys,

Just thought I'd let you know what's going on with me and The Film Obsession in case you were as curious as that cat...

I'm almost done with the first term of the 2nd year at Sussex University doing Film Studies. Over the Christmas Period I have two essays to write - One to do with a completely separate subject, and another to do with an analysis on theories in a certain film. Maybe Silence of the Lambs with Psychoanalysis and Feminism? I think this may be quite interesting. I've already done a presentation on Freudian Theory in Goldfinger, which was probably one of the most fun presentations to complete (Including a slide on innuendos and multiple uses of the word 'phallic'). One sentence which I had to stop myself from laughing was "James Bond says Pussy Galore in a lustrous way," - Who says Film Studies isn't a real subject?

I'll also be working at HMV over Christmas. Last year I had Swine Flu so escaped that. This year is going to be mental. Already the queue is going down the aisles - Don't be put off or get angry with us, we do our best! I also have my discount card now so all these films coming out in December (Eclipse, Scott Pilgrim, Toy Story 3, Inception) will be even more anticipated! 

The blog is doing incredibly well.. Scarily almost. Over 30,000 views now which is amazing. Thank you so much. A lot of my friends have started blogs now, so they've caught the bug. It's brilliant. Take a look at these:

360 Degress Visual Arts Project
The White Noise Music Blog 
Simply Celluloid's Film Reviews
Vicki Thurley's Film Reviews Appearing on The Ooh Tray 

Over the next month or so, I'm going to do a list of the top films I've seen, as well as a general overlook at the year. It's been huge for the blog and for me, so it will be nice to tell you guys how really special it is for me. Anyway, enough of that sentimental crap.

Keep a look out for more film reviews coming in the next month and thank you so much for all your support so far! Let me know what you like to read and I'll keep it coming.

- Join the Facebook Group
- Follow me on Twitter
- Add me on Facebook (Just send a little message with it saying who you are, so I don't think you're a complete stranger!)

Bye lovelies!
x x 

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Unstoppable [Review]

Director: Tony Scott

Writer: Mark Bomback

Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson

"With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward a city, 
a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against 
the clock to prevent a catastrophe." 

When you read that synopsis, all you can think of is 'Speed' on a train but that would too easy to compare this film to. It's got much less sexual tension and a lot more bromance throughout. You probably actually also think it's going to be the worse film to come out this year, but really it's a cheesy action film that, if you don't go in with a serious head, you'll come out with a guilty conscious because it's shame ridden entertainment.  

Tony Scott (Bear in mind, he also directed the brilliant True Romance) has created a film that's perfect to pass a couple of hours. The tension builds and builds with shaky camera movements blurring your vision, intense music to set the tone and saturated colours to make it seem real classy. But I don't want to give this film too much credit. It's everything you expect it to be - Dramatically stupid with cliché after cliché of one liners from manly men who work in a very dangerous field. It includes the typically setting of children in danger, an uncontrollable leader causing a fuss and the stupid idiot who lets the train run away. Everything you need to forced in your face, making it feel as if you're 12 being spoon fed the information you need to understand this very complicated tale of 'if this train doesn't stop, it will cause lots of death.'

It is a love hate story though. Although obviously a bad film, it's fun. You laugh at the typicality of what you're watching. You enjoy the predictable action. You're finding the bad comical, which I'm pretty sure isn't exactly what the film was aiming for, but because it is so dramatic and we are watching a train manned by no one, you have to take a step back, pinch yourself and think 'yeah, I'm gonna just let this film play out.' 

Rosario Dawson is brilliant as the lead female in this film. She's in charge and brings the emotion needed to break away from the machoness of Pine and Washington, who also are enjoyable to watch. Pine seems a little understated compared to how easy it is to watch Denzel. He's the person every man has a crush on, and every woman wants to marry. Having him play in this half stupid, half tense thriller works perfectly for his cheeky manly style. 

In terms of the cinematography, it makes a half a mile train look very exciting - Which as you can imagine must be quite a task. And to make a curve in a railway track seem like the scariest thing you'll ever experience means, even though it's over the top, the camera work obviously works wonder as you would expect from this classic film director (whether you like him or not). The way the film builds and builds with each scene as threatening as the last also keeps the pace up. 

To be honest, I don't think the film should be serious... It's about a train! It's light hearted fun which creates drama when you need it, companionship and gives a general look at the worker's lives. It's apparently based on true events. When you watch the ending giving you detail of what happened to the real people, you'll be in tears. It's so cathartic, it warms your soul which then makes you want to be sick, because this film has lived up to every Hollywood convention you could possibly think of. 


Good job this wasn't the train that was out of control:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Due Date [Review]

- Release Date: 5th November, 2010
- Director: Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School)
- Writers: Alan R. Cohen, Alan Freedland
- Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Zack Galifianakis, Jamie Foxx

A French Bulldog, Iron Man and the odd one from The Hangover... This is what the film is made of, so you know instantly it's a mixture of pure Hollywood delight. With the genre as comedy, the film certainly lives up to expectation. And being based around a road trip, you can just imagine the sort of trauma they get themselves into. This, everyone, is Due Date. 

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Trailer Analysis

The child sensation that is Justin Bieber is coming to our screens, this time in 3D! I've done an analysis especially for White Noise showing whether this film is just fan made, or whether it may actually have credibility.

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Social Network ***

Directed by: David Fincher

Written by: Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake.

This film has the potential to be brilliant. It's got a renowned director who also brought us Fight Club and Seven. It focuses on a topic that everybody knows. And it has some of the up and coming stars soon to be gracing our screens a lot more. Unfortunately, due to these reasons, the hype for this film was overdone, creating quite a disappointing cinematic experience, even though you can't put your finger on why. 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Black Swan Trailer Analysis

Darren Aronofsky, the man that brought us Requiem for a Dream, has made yet another feature just as haunting and beautifully directed as his previous work - Here's the trailer and analysis of Black Swan.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Scream 4 Trailer Analysis

After 10 years of waiting, we have finally been given the next instalment of the Scream series. Here's my analysis of the trailer...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

DVD Releases: Monday 25th October

This week I think is my favourite for releases since I've been doing these blogs. Just watch the awesome trailers and see HOW GOOD (or how bad) the films are. I've put a link on the films I've reviewed for you to see what I think of them too.

Paranormal Activity becomes a reality for me!

Paramount Pictures thought that in order to get the full effect of Paranormal Activity 2, released last Friday, they would send me along with other willing students, reviewers and press faces to experience real unexplained behaviour. Deep in The London Tombs we explored with Haunted Happenings, genuine Paranormal experts, to see what spirits and ghosts we could find. Here's what happened:

Friday, 22 October 2010

Black Swan ***** - The London Film Festival Review

For Blogomatic3000

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Mark Heyman

Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain - These are the films that appear on the director Darren Aronofsky's list on IMDB. And now he brings us a tale about... A ballerina? This isn't an Angelina Ballerina story though, this focuses on the tale of pressure, self-harm, sex and split personalities - Welcome to the dark side of dancing from a well respected director's point on view.

This film was a shock in all aspects of cinema going. You're watching an extremely intense story that builds and builds to the point of destruction. Along with this, we see the pain and torture Nina (Natalie Portman) goes through both physically on screen with gritty scenes of pain, and emotionally through the quite unnervingly unique story. And in terms of the cinematography, it exceeds your expectations of Aronofsky's work. He takes you in detail through suffering and pleasure with intense photography and sound. It's a real shock to the system to watch, but you're prepared if you know his work previously.

Portman comes into her own. Playing a dancer who's in a warped world from her mother's incessant pestering, she strives to be perfect. But this outcome of suppression from any feeling of letting go leaves her to explode on screen in a climatic end to the film. We watch her slowly become someone else that's intimidating and genuinely frightening. Landing the lead role in Swan Lake, she has to play two very different characters - The White Swan and the Black Swan. Inevitably, she becomes this darker, more fearsome character. And the story reveals this in such a way that it's almost painful.

With Mila Kunis (Lilly) playing a happy-go-lucky promiscuous character, you begin to see the similarity, or more likely, competition between the two. They work off each other perfectly and bring alive this tale that's so remarkable you'll want to watch it over and over again. The one thing that would be stopping you from doing so is the level of gruesomeness you see. You're not shied away from what can only be described as a raw look at insanity. Winona Ryder (Beth) and Barbara Hershey (Erica) are very interesting to watch when you note these themes. Although they're not key in the lunacy unfolding, their profiles on screen provide a lot of essence which work well as the story unfolds.

What also lets the eccentricity of the events occur is the manic filming. Whilst the dancers move, they do not seem elegant, but threatening. The camera switches from side to side, flows in the action of the dancers rather than an establishing shot, and adds to the confusion of the girls on screen. The sound enhances movement of clothing which normally would be dubbed out, meaning what you're focusing on is the grind of the career. You're hearing, feeling and seeing it from their point of view. It's an up close and personal look at this life. But as there is an element of possession, you're always remained detached. The special effects build gradually, starting with a hint of the world taking over. But as we hit the end of the film, you're fully aware of what's happening to this woman.You're taken on such a ride that predicting the outcome becomes impossible.

Mixed in with this approach of showing paranoia and schizophrenia is a very personal look at sexual desires and repression. Thomas (Vincent Cassel) brings this animal instinct out in Nina which ultimate enhances the idea of insanity through a very disheartening effect. Lilly adds to this by openly being very flirtatious, bringing another element of Nina out. You watch it with a sense of disgust almost because it's not pleasure, it's a breaking down of her world.

After reading this, you're probably no closer to understanding what really the tale of this film involves, and to be perfectly honest you shouldn't know. It's such a breathtaking piece of film that you need to go in with little knowledge and come out with full appreciation for this work.

A scene from The Fountain showing off Aronofsky's way of creating an intense relationship:

Paranormal Activity 2 ****

For Blogomatic3000 and Paramount Pictures

Director: Tod Williams

Writer: Oren Peli

Stars: Katie Featherston

Handheld camera? Check. Creepy soundtrack? Check. Spirits more haunting than before? Check. And it's a sequel, well, prequel. Yes, we are now ready to experience the next chapter in the Paranormal Activity story. This time being set before the antics that took place on our screens last year, this film will more than likely bring you to tears, make you leave the cinema or just leave you an utterly paranoid.

There's something about this film that brings with it a real sense of fear. The technique it uses has been done before and the story is a familiar one to us. But there is no doubt in my mind this is the scariest film I have possibly seen- And I love horrors. Without an inch of exaggeration, I was trembling when the film finished and find it hard now to sit by myself in room without thinking something strange is going on. And this is why the film is so successful, because it plays on your fear of the unknown.

The story is simple - A house is haunted by an unknown presence that causes a whole lot of fuss. The filming is what intensifies the action slightly. Having static security cameras filming in real time mixed with a hand held home video camera heightens the reality. The special effects and deep focus of the picture means something could be happening anywhere with a truly horrifying effect. Plus, with this we have the less than appealing soundtrack. No music, just a low humming when something paranormal is about to happen. It prepares you for what may happen next, but you don't know what effect it will have on you. It could just be a mobile spinning around a crib... Or it could be a woman being dragged down the stairs. The inconsistency of action makes it that much on edge.

The acting, just like the first, is perfect for the story. We're with real looking people that could be your neighbours and they play up to the cameras in a "Ooh, you're filming me, hi camera!" way. We watch their actions happen just like you would watch anyone on the street. It's very voyeuristic which creates the intrigue. But when those titles appear saying "Night 8" you just about begin to panic. With this sense of intrigue comes the dilemma of watching the screen or not, because you want to see what happens, but it is utterly terrifying at how long it drags out and how mysterious the activity may be.

As the first was so low budget with such an impact on the audience, you probably think this won't match up. But the reality in my eyes is that it's better. The only difference really is that the picture is in slightly higher definition, due to the rise in budget, and the events take place a lot more. The same effect of drawn out tension and vulnerability runs through. Paranormal Activity climaxed at the very end of the film with an almighty thud (excuse the pun) but the 2nd takes you right up there on the fear level, brings you down and rises again. You're drained emotionally afterwards and leave uneasily as the ending is very unsettling. It slightly cops out by using a similar finish to the first (don't worry, that's not a spoiler). But with the added events to the film, as a whole this just takes the story to another level - You're not even safe in the day time!

Every word of the hype doesn't leave this film disappointing. In fact, you're probably not even nearly prepared enough to see a very original and exciting, horrifying tale. Good luck!

Here's some reactions if you didn't believe me:

Sunday, 17 October 2010

DVD Releases: Monday 18th October

When in Rome (dir. Mark Steven Johnson, 2010):

Brooklyn's Finest (dir. Antoine Fuqua, 2010):

Frozen (dir. Adam Green, 2010):

The Tortured (Robert Lieberman, 2010):

The Collector (Marcus Dunstan, 2010):

Black Death (dir. Christopher Smith, 2010):

Friday, 15 October 2010

Conviction *** - London Film Festival Review

For Blogomatic3000

Stars: Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell,
Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis
Director: Tony Goldwyn

Wow, Hollywood galore. When you think of films from this place you imagine big stars, a thrilling storyline, a cathartic ending and an emotive tale. This has it all and more; it's packed with cliché after cliché which at points becomes almost humorous. We're taken through ups and down that throw emotions at you left, right and centre. But strangely enough, this is actually quite an enjoyable film. You just need to let yourself give into the conventions of Conviction.

All the characters in this film are based on real people, because this is a film about a real case that started in 1983. Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) and Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) are the closest a brother and sister can be through their childhood of deviant behaviour to when they have children and get married. After the arrest of Kenny for the accusation of murdering a young woman, the dynamics of their relationship don't get hindered, but gain much more value as Betty Anne does anything to prove her brother is innocent. The story tells of how she puts herself through law school, whilst being a mother and working I might add, to represent her older brother in court right until the very end.

It's entertaining in terms of the emotion that's central to this drama. The highs and lows are placed in a perfect amount which keeps you wondering what's going to be the next action in their life. And the flow of the story is steady throughout the film which makes it an easy watch. There are just a few things that hold you back from completely falling in love with this representation of a true story.

The exaggeration of love means that after a while the affection becomes funny. You start noticing that this film really pushes family connections and the bond this brother and sister have for each other. When you watch it, not only are you trying to follow the story of a courageous woman, but you're also picking out the single lines which just become a bit ridiculous. It's just a typical example of how a Hollywood film spells things out to the audience. Obviously, from the storyline alone you gain a sense of companionship between the two, but to have every single scene thrown in your face with love and affection means you're kind of distanced. You start noticing the narration and realise it's not actually that great...

Another thing which isn't necessarily bad is that the supporting actors often shine over Swank and Rockwell. There's no doubt about it that these two really put a lot of effort in their roles to gain as much reality out of the true life characters as possible. But when we look at Minnie Driver (Abra Rice) and Juliette Lewis (Roseanna Perry) in particular, they're much more natural and likeable. Maybe because they're added features to the story to give a little bit of humour and the everyday character, but I found I enjoyed watching their roles as it was an escape from the quite dramatic tale being told from the rest of the film.

Going back to Rockwell and Swank, their acting is very... in character. I know that seems a ridiculous statement, but they adopted these roles with a real sense of passion. They both spent a lot of time with the real family and picked up on traits to create this emotive performance. The chemistry between the two is exceedingly good too. It's just a shame that the script was so dyer to work with.

That being said, I did find myself wondering whether there would be a huge twist - Whether he had killed the girl, whether she was going to actually finish Law School etc. So, the story keeps you engaged throughout and has a very satisfying ending which is obvious for a mainstream film. This makes it a perfect watch on DVD, but not so much on the big screen. It's all very typical and by the end predictable. And the fact that there weren't that many turns in the narrative almost made it less satisfying for me. You just want something with a little more of a kick, but all in all it's a pretty standard watch that's pleasurable enough.

How could you accuse this man of a murder?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Let Me In *** - London Film Festival Review

For Blogomatic3000

Stars: Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smith-McPhee
Director: Matt Reeves

If you've seen Let The Right One In (a 2008 Swedish adaptation of the novel written in 2004) you'll know how beautiful this story is. Being told predominantly from the eyes of two 12 year olds, we see how one boy, Owen (Kodi Smith McPhee) who's bullied constantly throughout his life, witnesses divorce and alcoholism from his parents and is constantly lonely finds a friend within a mysterious girl, Abby (Chloe Moretz) who moves into his neighbourhood. But what's intriguing about this girl is the horrifying truth that she's a vampire. It's a completely unique tale from the book, and the Swedish version is incredibly innocent and honest. The English version doesn't seem to touch the sentimental value and creates more of a bloodbath than anything else.

Directed by Matt Reeves, he seems to favour these monster driven narratives. But this focus on the evil has left the idea of companionship minimal in the film. It's about the difficulties in life, not the horror behind the actions. The book is very dark and you do feel this. The setting is secluded, the characters live hard lives in a run down area and we see the struggle of growing up within these children. But watching the attacks on people becomes almost horrible to witness. The film's meant to represent a way of living, but all we see are built up scenes of tension every time an attack comes to make us scared. We don't sympathise with the characters, we're distanced from them. And when we see the bullying, it's so brutal that rather a feeling of sadness, it's a feeling of disgust.

Another factor that makes this a disappointing watch in terms of the cinematography is the special effects. Living in a world where everything should be flawlessly real now in editing, when we watch Abby attack it just doesn't live up to expectations. It turns her into something more like an animal than a vampire, losing her youth and creating a poor represented criminal. The movements are so over the top that you find it unrealistic - Yes, I know it's a vampire story, but being surrounded by so many of these creatures in film and TV now, you would expect it to have a much more believable feel than it does.

The redeeming factors are the two main actors. Chloe Moretz, like most of her performances, plays this character who's witnessed the world. Yeah, she's 12 but she's been 12 "for a very long time". Somehow she's an adult in a child's body which is perfect for the role. Kodi Smith-McPhee plays such a timid haunted boy that you really can gain a sense of emotion from his torment he goes through. Although the story lacks in the punch, his performance brings it back up to mark with his moving and painful experiences.

If Let The Right One In hadn't of been made, I'm sure this film would have had a much bigger impact. It's got the potential to create a compassionate story with a real individual look at life. But it's been done previously in such a elegant way that this becomes painful rather than filled with tenderness. The music is out of place in so many parts leading to mixed interpretations of a scene. At one point we have light strings playing in the background as Owen tells Abby he has a knife, for example. This misrepresentation of emotion makes it so much more difficult to watch, and it's a common theme running throughout the film.

I do have to stress, this isn't an awful film. It's just been created previously in a much better way. You still are entertained and find the tale as a whole very interesting to watch. But the way it's carried out is much more of a horror than a thriller now. If I were you, I'd deal with the subtitles and buy the Swedish version, it's a lot more satisfying.

I thought this piece of music in Let The Right One In was beautiful: