Friday, 15 April 2011

Arthur [Review]

Guess what?! We see Russell Brand playing himself... again. But this time he has a slightly softer voice with his comedy toned down, which makes him seem even more childish and a bit mundane, if that’s even possible. As you can imagine, this story is somewhat boring, but oddly, there is enough essence to keep you going through the two hours of a man completely reliant on his mother’s money. 
The film is of course a remake of the 1981 Arthur, whereby Dudley Moore plays this eccentric, spoilt man-child, but unfortunately this is another adaptation which doesn’t live up to the original. Russell Brand adds charm, and the modern technology serves well in the film, but there’s nothing quite like watching Moore frolic around in his giant bathtub. 
What seriously lifts this film is the two main females in Arthur’s life, Hobson (Helen Mirren) and Naomi (Greta Gerwig). They turn this film from a dull lamp to a bright spotlight. Mirren is her wonderful self, adding even more British elegance than Brand - The self-proclaimed English gentleman now famous in the United States. And Gerwig adds just enough quirkiness to match up to Arthur, and make it believable that he could be attracted to a ‘poor girl from Queens.’ Brand responds well to both these characters, and all three of them play off each other perfectly.
The relationships in the film are all relatively plausible, and you can gain a sense of the connection, or in this case disconnection, with each other. This therefore adds a little sentiment to the tale being told. You do catch yourself starting to feel a tiny bit sympathetic  towards certain people, but then realise the story is quite bad and snap yourself out of it. Although, I do have to admit, the sad moments are given to us VERY sadly, taking you out of this happy-go-lucky mentality, and leaning you towards the more serious side of life in an instant. 
There are some entertaining moments as well, with lines that will make you chuckle. Hobson has a very dry sense of humour that contrasts against Arthur’s deliberate jokes. Jennifer Garner’s slapstick comedy approach to her ‘naughty’ character adds another level, and we get the typical ‘foreign man not understanding things’ references with the servant, Bitterman (Luis Guzman). All this and Gerwig’s use of language matching up to the walking dictionary that is Russell Brand gives that extra quality which will stop you from finding this an utterly monotonous film.
However, it just feels like another feature that will come and go again. There’s nothing that stands out, and once the film’s finished, you don’t feel emotionally effected by it. The best way to describe it is ‘neutral’. 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Roommate [Review]

Two girls, one room and an obsession - This story has the potential to be very, very good. We could see a claustrophobic style of filming like in Buried and a horribly passionate psycho like Cape Fear's Max. But instead we're given a watered down thriller with slight elements of horror without the actual gore factor, making the whole impact of his film quite minimal. 

The lead actresses are, of course, gorgeous. Leighton Meester plays the 'overprotective' Rebecca to Sara Matthews, played by Minka Kelly (a Kim Kardashian look-a-like). I think the polite way of putting what I want to say is 'their acting is subtle'. But what I'm actually thinking is 'I didn't notice anything another than two girls remembering their lines from a script." This is also mimicked in Sara's love interest Stephen (Cam Gigandet). He is there for the eye-candy to the girls supposedly wanting to watch this film. However, the main audience for this, I imagine, will be teenage boys wanting to see a little lesbian action, with connotations towards this idea running as understated as a clown in a funeral. 

I do have admit, I did have fun watching this. I'm not going to deny the fact I love cheesy horror films, and this gave me my fix of the week. If you go in expecting the worst film you could possibly imagine, you'll be delightfully entertained. You know, its one of those which is so bad it becomes funny, and therefore likeable. Its not boring at all. The film is relatively short, and there is enough action to keep you interested through that hour and a half of your life, if you're willing to sacrifice that time for this film. 

The elements of the story are quite controversial. Sara's sister has died, Rebecca has a serious mental health issue, and therefore adopts the position of the sister in an absurdly evil way, such as stealing the dead sister's jewellery. You can begin to understand how this film could be great, but with references such as a poor excuse for Facebook, rather than the actual website, an attractive cast, with that being the only element going for them, and the ridiculously dramatic acting means you're just there left thinking 'Really?' 

The sexual references with a quite perverted teacher, girl on girl action in a club and a phone sex conversation seem to be more fitting for a porn film than this. Maybe if they added more graphic images and changed the publication and output of this film it would have been more successful and would have given the audience what they actually wanted...

Go De Niro!

Submarine [Review]

Curiously beautiful, this film is. From the stylish cinematography to the quaint acting, the screen is filled with presence that makes the watching of it full of heartwarming and entertaining events. Based around the few things that happen in Oliver's (Craig Roberts) teenage life, we see relatively little occur, but those small happenings have a big impact on our emotions.

A directing debut from The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade in terms of a big screen release, he has really made an impact on his style of filmmaking. He places emphasis on the craft behind the filming of an event, and uses interesting editing techniques to create a sense of feeling in the scene. The film flows effortlessly, but you pick up on the detail that's included, making you want to congratulate him on his achievements. Rather than having his style slapped in your face, like a Michael Bay film for example, you're gentle caressed with it, becoming more and more caught up in the world that the film is creating.

What adds extra passion to the story is the soundtrack. Written by Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys), we're given gorgeously calming songs that enhance the mood completely. Reflecting this feature, the songs are simple yet effective.

Craig Roberts, with his funny voiceover, interesting looks and on the outskirts, dull personality reminds me of Moss from The IT Crowd, but as with him, when you see more of his character you become more compelled to learn about him, and find he's not dull at all, but a very intriguing boy. His love interest Jordana (Yasmin Paige) is just as engaging, showing quite a cool exterior, but really being a broken young girl. Every character in this film has alternative motives, which adds to the charm, changing your opinion of them constantly throughout.

The trailers for this seem quite art-house like, but it isn't as pretentious as you may think. The humour is constant throughout, but very dry indeed. There are scenes in which you wonder whether you can laugh, and others that are just laugh out loud funny. Yes the style is Ayoade's own and not necessarily what you would see on a typical main stream film, but you're never struggling to find the actual meaning behind the shots, you're just there to enjoy. Notice the use of red, it's brilliant.

If you read the short summary of this film on, you can gain a better sense of this feature:

15-year-old Oliver Tate has two objectives: To lose his 
virginity before his next birthday, and to extinguish the 
flame between his mother and an ex-lover who 
has resurfaced in her life.

In that short paragraph, you smile, notice there is a serious element to the story, and appreciate the way its phrased. Imagine that in a film and you've got it. 


I do adore Moss.