Friday, 25 June 2010

Get Him To The Greek ****

So it turns out getting Aldous Snow (Brand) from Laaandaaan to L.A. is pretty difficult. But it's also freaking funny, dramatic, stupid, outrageous and kind of moving. Yes, I am talking about Get Him To The Greek (The Greek being the The Greek theatre in L.A.) which has some of the most original comedy running throughout accompanied by brilliant acting and an entertaining storyline.

If you've seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, you'll be aware of Russell's character already as he plays a drug addict rock star, but you really don't need to see the film to find this one funny. It's just a spin-off with Jonah Hill playing a completely new character (but still obsessed by Aldous Snow). Now, you may think this is just little old egotistical Russell acting out his previous life before he got clean, and you'd be right. But he can actually act. Spot the scenes of him on a withdrawal from drugs or when he's a little low and you can see how his past acting school life has worked wonders on this him. He's also just a great showman in this film... He's actually singing those songs!

Jonah Hill is the real star of this film. The poor character Aaron Green is dragged through hell and back bringing the antics Aldous gets them in so dramatic and shocking it's nothing but funny. And having the oh so serious P. Diddy playing a reasonably likable if not mentalist music producer in this film takes it over the edge of humour and beyond.

Nicholas Stoller directed this movie, as well as the previous film with Brand, and he obviously knows how to work with the insane. He portrays the type of rebellious people so well with camera work including awkward close-ups and montages of explicit scenes. It keeps the film at a good pace, and just when you think a scene can't become anymore embarrassingly awful in terms of the situation, believe me, it will.

This really is just a fun summer film. After having been in the sun all day, you'll probably be feeling a little tired or burnt. Go and sit in the cinema with a cold icy drink and enjoy the crude but light-hearted humour on a constant flow. I guarantee you'll find it funny. If you don't, I won't go and see Twilight Saga: Eclipse. (I will, but that's a statement, right?!)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Edge of Darkness ***

Remember Mel Gibson in that What Women Want, Chicken Run phase? Well, you'll think he's a totally new person in this shock impact of a dramatic story. You're tense for about 90% of the film, and the other 10% you're just left wondering what's going on. It's a thriller with an edge... Of darkness (Ouch).

Focused around the story of a father (Gibson) finding the murderer of his daughter Emma (Bonaja Novakovic) who gets shot and killed right on their doorstep, this film really holds some potential likability factors. For one, the emotion packed into this feature is incredibly high; partly because of the acting and partly due to the sensitive topic of losing a loved one. This film also makes action scenes proper action rather than glamorising the fights. It has close up shots and slow motion on shootings, as well as nice juicy scenes of blood and guts, making it that all the more gory and horrible.

But you really do become puzzled in the storyline. It seems Ray Winstone's character Jedburgh is just there for a bit of a gritty British influence, and to add to the minor gangster type theme running through. His story doesn't seem to push the narrative in any particular direction. And as for the whole reason behind the shooting, that becomes lost in a very political debate which in itself doesn't make sense. Once the film finishes, you're wondering why you saw certain people with each other, why people become targets and what happened to characters that seemed important at first.

One thing that did amaze me was how much it made you jump with certain actions. The shooting of his daughter is literally one of the most shocking things I've seen. It matched up to the shooting of the boy in Funny Games. I won't ruin the other scenes, but lets just say characters get killed at times you don't expect. But saying that, there's always a feeling of awareness. You sort of know (if you've seen enough thriller type action movies) when something bad's about to happen, which makes the story as a whole a little more pointless.

Overall though, the acting's good and the themes behind it run well. But it just seems like another name dropping, action movie produced for the big screen. Martin Campbell directed this feature so you would expect it to be like that considering he also worked on Casino Royale and The Legend of Zorro. If you liked those films, you'll love this.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

From the eye of a Film Student...

"So, you just sit around watching films all day?" "That's not a real subject." "Why haven't you seen this film? You do FILM STUDIES!"

Oh, the common jokes people make when they find out you're a film student. Yes, we watch a lot of films and yes it requires sitting whilst watching these films but it is a real subject, you know? I don't think it's fair we get frowned upon just because we don't study mathematics or biology. People know these are hard subjects so it's a worthwhile degree, but why isn't Film Studies?

You learn about different cultures, learn how people's perspectives of film vary completely opening your mind to a whole new possibility, and you generally learn the art of why these films are an amazing phenomenon.

And we don't watch your Edward Scissorhands or Ice Age. We watch either completely and utterly disturbing scenes which you'll never be able to get out of your mind for the rest of your life (The Idiots comes to mind). We watch World Cinema which means yes we do have to read subtitles. We watch the first films ever made which are usually around 5 minutes long with no narrative, colour or speech. And we watch some of the, what seems to be, most pointless features created all to give a wider knowledge on the world of film.

Salo "is based on the book The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. Because of its scenes depicting intensely graphic violence, sadism, and sexual depravity, the movie was extremely controversial upon its release, and remains banned in several countries to this day. It was Pasolini's last film; he was murdered shortly before Salò was released." (Wikipedia) Does this sound like something you'd like to sit through? Because once we've watched these films, we have to analyse them. That means flicking through the scenes of someone eating poo and finding the meaning behind it. If that doesn't make you want to be sick, you'll probably love this grotesque, horrifying film. And imagine writing an essay on all of this? It isn't fun.

If you think about it, this intense look at the film means we'll never be able to enjoy it the same way. Yeah we're always going to be passionate about them because film tends to be a Film Studies student's life. But once we've seen how the behind the scenes works, that's all we think about. The camera angles become more important than the narrative. The ending seems less uplifting because we've guessed the pattern from knowing about genre.

But that's why we chose film. We're not gonna be the next Einstein or find life on Mars, but we're gonna keep bringing you the reviews, the articles, the films and the actors you all love. So would you just give us a break and not make us feel embarrassed when we say we study film?

(Although, film snobs have it coming.)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Robin Hood **

Well, if you're expecting to see a pleasant fox making friends with bears and other woodland creatures you're definitely watching the wrong Robin Hood. Ridley Scott has taken this classic tale to a new level of action and death with a quite shockingly mediocre effect.

You can clearly see this is done by the director of Gladiator. He loves his scenic shots showing the immense set the cast have to work with. I found myself watching the little characters in the background far, far away still acting the part. This did give an impressive atmosphere to the film, and when it came to the fight scenes, you really were lost as to where to look. Scott works very hard at creating the 'big picture' and does it oh so well. It's just a shame the characters weren't strong enough to fill the giant space the picture had created.

Starring the ultimate definition of a true man Russell Crow, the tale of the do-gooder fighting the evil forces of the rich who try to take money from the poor seems to be lost amongst the fight driven storyline of this film. Obviously I've grown up with the Disney version and expected to see at least some good traits in the lead Robin Hood, but no. We're offered this quite frankly scary and intimidating character who seems to enjoy the occasional fight against hierarchy. Marion played by Cate Blanchett holds some redeeming factors as the ferocious feminist, but again seems to be focused on taking part in a killing sprawl. As for Prince John (Oscar Isaac), well he was just repulsive as a character and to listen to. However, Godfrey (Mark Strong) was brilliant in the acting and fighting, and manages to hold his own against Crow which is usually difficult when acting against him.

I don't understand the problem people had with Russel Crow's accent. It seemed perfectly fine to me which meant it helped with the establishment of setting and characters. The costumes, props and weaponry were spot on to understand the period of this film, as was the script which ultimately gives it a very appealing factor if you like period action films.

It's just a pain the storyline was so dull. The fixation on confrontation in this film carries on from beginning to end which causes a tense aura. Although perfect for a action film, the tale of Robin Hood is nowhere to be seen. It's not just like Alice in Wonderland and retold the story completely; it's created a new story altogether linking it briefly to the tale of Robin Hood. This just hasn't benefited the film at all. Just another period drama lost amongst the releases during the summer of 2010. If you like Russell Crow, you won't be disappointed with his performance, but you will find yourself feeling like you've been dragged through a somewhat pointless story of a once friendly character we all knew and loved.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Iron Man 2 ****

Time to get your air guitars out and be envious of how cool some people can be! Iron Man is back with another great story to tell and even more beautiful women to corrupt. This may be one of the only sequels that's better than the first film...

Iron Man 2 tells the story of the destruction the energy source has on Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) body, with the added delight of another enemy, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), attempting to out whit the impressive intelligence of the robot suit.

Jumping straight into the storyline, this narrative holds great pace throughout the feature. You're always kept on your toes with the mesh of good, bad and down right annoying characters bringing in different aspects of the story to tell which all link wonderfully together. The first film seemed to be all about the development of the Iron Man character. Now he is fully in function, this film shows what happens once you've been the best. It hasn't lost it's individuality over other Superhero movies either. It just oozes cool from every inch of the frame and really makes you want to be in their world.

The cast is just amazing. Mickey Rourke steals the show playing a Russian criminal who really is a badass. When you think of him acting out this character it almost makes you cringe, but it's really believable and chilling to watch. With Scarlett Johansson seeming to prove she's the next Lara Croft and Gwyneth Paltrow looking glamorous and perfect as Pepper Pots gives the gorgeous eye candy to the film. Sam Rockwell plays the bad sidekick, when Don Cheadle plays the good which pushes the film into the "cool wall", and then adding Samuel L. Jackson to the casting makes it subzero. Robert Downey Jr. has made this character into somewhat of an idol, if not an arrogant but lovable little genius destined to make any young boy want to grow up like him.

The cinematography is pretty damn good too. Just like the first, it's filled with this space aged technology you can only dream of playing with one day. The fight scenes are filmed brilliantly with cameras up close and personal in the action, and reaction shots from Peppa Pots making it edge of the seat stuff. Filled with expensive cars, suits and jewellery, added with the soundtrack mostly by ACDC brings this film to an almost, as Americans likes to say, TOTALLY AWESOME appeal.

Definitely more entertaining than the first film, it's well worth a watch if you enjoyed our view of life as Iron Man before. You don't need to see the first to know what's going on either! Just know that that little glowing circle thing is a replacement for his heart which runs his whole body, as well as the suit he wears to fight back! Go watch it and walk out the cinema humming the songs afterwards... Ba, da, ba da da!