Saturday, 30 November 2013

Review : This is England


A story about a troubled young boy growing up in 1980's England. When walking home from school he comes across a group of skinheads, They become his new friends even like family. It is then he embarks on a journey of understanding about the world he lives in. Based on the life experiences of director Shane Meadows. 

'This is England' is absolute pure drama from start to finish. I'm sure the majority of adults living in this country have seen this film. By now shadow of doubt. Shaun Meadows takes his life experiences and incorporates them into one character, a small boy called Shaun who's played by Thomas Turgoose.

Shaun lives with his mum, in a suburban estate. His dad was killed in the Fawlanks War, life at school for him is tough, he's a boy becoming a man. Mods, New Romantics, and Skinheads are the major youth sub-cultures of English summer of 1983.

12-year-old Shaun is left wandering aimlessly during the start of his school holidays, until his chance of meeting Woody and his fun and friendly Skinhead pack. Finding a new lease of life; girls, parties, Ben Sherman shirts, Doc Martin boots and shaven hairstyles. 

Life during this summer holiday has got a whole lot better. That is until Combo arrives on the scene. He embraces a bitter, dangerous, racist, militant and psychotic life for young Shaun as he has just approached his first major crossroad.

I think Shane Meadows did a terrific job on this film, seriously It's so powerful to watch. All the dialogue and interaction between each character is so good. Though it basis's itself off the journey of one character, all the surrounding characters help assist to tell the story.

The Soundtrack to 'This is England' is current to the time in which it is set. The music I think is the key to setting atmoshpere, and that's why I think music and soundtrack is so important to a film. Though a lot of music in this is slow and develops a mood, it flows well into the scenes and creates an atmosphere.

All one has to is watch the opening title sequence to film and get connected, not just by the video footage being shown but by the song in the background. I felt the Soundtrack helped a lot, and there's a great sense of control in when music can be stripped down, and you have sound, just dialogue and acting and scenes are just played as they are, and the viewer can get the same feeling as they do to watching a scene with sound.

Here's a quick clip.

Now though the racial prejudice is strong in 'This is England' what Shane Meadows clearly points out is how racial prejudice was portrayed in the 1980's. Matters regarding racial prejudice are very different now compared to how it was in those days. It's very out going and emotionally put into perspective.

Shane Meadows seems to be deliberate in portraying a depression towards the 80's. I'm sure the 80's was a good decade, but considering the way things were going, as far as government and political terms were concerned you can sincerely beg to differ that things were not handled as best as they could have been.

In fact Combo makes a famous democrat and powerful speech in the film talking about life and how it is now. It's a very iconic scene and just for those reasons alone, he's talking about how the country is being over ruled by immigrants and that they should take back their country. It's it in all serious very eye opening and very much the old propaganda appeal for help.

Stephen Graham is fabulous in this film. Absolutely brilliant to watch, He makes himself the character of Combo. He brings the character and Shane Meadows words from paper to screen.

Joseph Gilgan as Woody, very good performance from him. The sort of happy go lucky guy, who likes to have fun with friends and go out and be a lad of his age, but when presented in the face of bigger people such as Combo he chickens out and feels uncomfortable around them. There's an uncertainty of 50/50 around Woody, and he brought that to the character, which is what makes his character so interesting.

Thomas Turgoose as Shaun, easily the best performance for me. In the whole film, he is Shane Meadows in the film. That's a trick not worth missing, he is the one that Meadows says 'All of my past experiences I will put into this character' all eyes are on Shaun. He is the one the viewers take an investment in the most.


So I've talked about Shane Meadows as a writer, what I wish to do now is talk about Shane Meadows as a directer, some people might think it's easy to direct something you've written yourself. When actually I believe that is more of a challenge, because there is a certainty and a vision to get every single bit of your script correct.

Luckily we don't need to worry, as we have confidence from the first five minutes that Shane Meadows creates, a very well executed piece of emotionally developed drama, with a good story and great iconic characters, which are still going strong today.

So overall I will give 'This is England'  8/10.

Thank You for reading this review.

NEXT MONTH IS CHRISTMAS MONTH, During the build up to Christmas I will review some of best Christmas movies of all time! 

Starting with 'Miracle on 34th Street'  I will post that review on Monday the 2nd of December 2013.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Review : Bowfinger

Bowfinger: The con is on. Yes, that is correct. Bowfinger productions are making a movie, which is essentially made out to be Bowfinger's big break in the film making business, however there is one slight flaw to this. They don't have a main star. or do they?

Hey There Guys

Sorry I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like, I did have a plan to fit in 3 more reviews for this month however as it happens, I've been far too busy to even sit down for five minutes and have a cup of tea. But I'm back on the blog now delivering my next review.

Bowfinger, to those of you who don't know what this movie is about, it's a 1999 comedy classic about a desperate movie producer who fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, knowing that he can't get the man he wants, he decides to shoot the film secretly around him.

The concept as a concept is very clever, it's written by Steve Martin and directed by Frank Oz. Steve Martin plays a movie producer 'Robert K Bowfinger' who in every sense of the word feels like a failure and is a failure. When he comes across a script he believes to be his ticket to success, he's eager to start production and get a big star involved who is played by 'Eddie Murphy' the flaw in this plan is that Kitt Ramsey (Eddie Murphy's character) is reluctant to being in the film.

But Bowfinger doesn't take no for an answer, and manages to fit him in bits of the film and work around it as part of a very well thought out plan.

I like to think of this film as a puzzle, the pieces are all apart and separated at the start of the film but very slowly and gragerly they form together. everything nicely fits into the film, the storytelling, the humour, the action, the drama, all of it. It's a very simplistic puzzle. so simple in fact you can just stick this movie on, and have no problems following it.


I have to say that 'Frank Oz' and 'Steve Martin' did a very good job with movie. It's great. I think they got a lot of things accurate and right. The whole working around being told no, and knowing not to give up, Bowfinger demonstrates the achievements of success and failure, so generally speaking this film gives off a nice image.

What disappoints me is that it had to end on a low note, I did think there was a lot more continuation need to be made, as there was time that could of been added to it.

The guest cast of it is good, It's refreshing to see Terrance Stamp and Robert Downey Jr in this film who are both fantastic performers in their own right. I only wish we'd see more of them.

The main cast were fantastic. They all seemed to put on great comical performances as you do watch the film and go 'this is to good to be true'.

Overall, happy with this film. Going to keep it short and say that Bowfinger bites the dust.


Thanks for reading this review. I will try to get one more review up this month, depends on how busy I am over the weekend.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Review : Gravity

G  R  A  V  I  T  Y

What if I was to tell you that there was a new Sci Fi thriller movie, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. And that it would be released tomorrow in cinemas everywhere and be in 3D? what would you say to that?

Gravity dares to demonstrate the possibilities of a scientists struggle to survive in space, when an expedition is interrupted by a passing meteorite storm. It's a fight for survival for Sandra Bullock as her character, Dr Ryan Stone tries as best as she can, for an hour and a half to get back to earth.

I know that some people say that some action thrillers are 'grippingly tense' as a way to promote the film in a dramatic way. I never really approved of that. Saying something that was 'grippling tense' or 'epic'. However, Gravity is what I don't like saying. 'Grippingly tense', 'epic', 'dramatic' and all of that other stuff. Call it what you must, and say what you think about it. it is a phenomenally brilliant film.

I loved it from start to finish.

I think what makes it so good is the fact that whole story is character based. It basis itself around one essential character, that character being Sandra Bullock's character. George Clooney, though a Hollywood movie star he's very much in the background of things, he's not around long enough to create as much of a dynamic impact in comparison to Sandra Bullock. I loved how we saw less of him and more of her, rather than the two of them as equals. 

I feel that Sandra Bullock played a much more interesting character than George Clooney. As George Clooney I thought was a bit of a chatter box, sometimes his character would talk random stuff about his social life, the next he's being instructive and very directive. So I wasn't sure as to what the deal was with his character, but never mind.

So the film starts off, with subtitled information which comes up on the screen that informs the audience, that life in space is impossible. before flashing to the opening titles and the film adventure itself. I liked that, really got me informed as a viewer and helped me to understand the nature of the surrounding environment that was being portrayed on screen.

The way it was shot in CGI, as shown above was very clever and constructive. It was a neat trick to film it under water in front of a green screen and mold everything in, so this film is very cleverly edited to convince the viewer of what they are seeing on screen is believable.

Here is a clip from 'Gravity'.

I really felt for Sandra Bullock in this film, she really captivated my sympathy. Even at moments when she thought she could give up she didn't. She kept going, and if 'Gravity' teaches you anything it's 'see what your doing through to end' or 'if you start something, finish it'. 

I didn't quite know what to expect, when watching 'Gravity' it did take me by surprise. A few faults however, I felt it was 30 minutes too short. The ending was particularly disappointing, Sandra Bullock arrives back on earth and that she walks out into the middle of nowhere, and that's the end. With a little bit more timing or a little bit more something else the ending could of been improved upon. Rather than it just cutting and that being the end. It was all over too quickly.

Also another problem with 'Gravity' was that even though it's hard to survive in space, I didn't get any sense of ideal threat. I got the peril, but not the threat and what annoys me is, lots of things could of gone wrong to spice things up, and they didn't. 


Other than that 'Gravity' has to ideally stick out to me, as being one of the best films released this year.

I'd give it an 8 or maybe a 9/10.

Thanks for checking out the blog, guys. Please continue to do so as I have more film reviews on the way.

NEXT: I'll review 'Bowfinger' starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. The Con is On, Thursday 28th of November 2013.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Review : Captain Phillips

Captain Philips : A film interpretation of an Incredible true story of the man Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama.

Hey Everyone

This week, I will be reviewing Captain Philips. A Film of which tells it's audience the incredible true story of Captain Richard Phillips, and his experience when his cargo ship gets hijacked by a small group of Somali pirates.

This film demonstrates the struggle of power and status, It pushes the limits of tension and suspense, I am telling you once the action kicks off, it's non stop until the end.

We've had a lot of films released this year, some have been great films and others have been less successful, in my opinion 'Captain Phillips' is up there as one of the best films released in 2013. I say that because of the fact of it's diversity, it's informal with it's facts with it being a true story, and it's dramatised with it's moments of tension and suspense.

Tom Hank's performance in this is incredible, he's so good at showing fear and even though in some scenes you couldn't tell he was showing fear, you knew deep down what he was feeling. for instance when Captain Phillip's ship was being taken over by the pirates, even though he was very calm and controlled, you could see in his face that Phillips was petrified and that's is super class acting. really top notch stuff.

I honestly think that they got the casting right for this, the director 'Paul Greengrass' selected his actors well, and they delivered the best possible performance, even some members of the crew who are supporting characters and minor parts all do a class job.

The Story goes, that on the 28th of March 2009 Captain Rich Phillips sets off on a journey to Africa, on board a cargo ship. It is to their surprise that the ship gets boarded by armed Pirates who wish to steal their cargo. They take £30,000 and Captain Phillips hostage in a life boat, from that point on it is up to the U.S Navy to resolve the situation constructively, and save Captain Phillips.

 Here's a clip

If I could just go into the negatives of this film, very quickly I will say that I didn't approve of the camera angles in this, and they way it was shot. It was all quite wobbly and all over the place, it was like watching an episode of 'Kath & Kim'. It didn't feel to me shot to the potential of an action blockbuster, it just seemed to me quite shifty and not as greatly shot.

That was my main concern with 'Captain Phillips' the camera angles, were below par. It does drag out a little as well, this film is quite long to keep the suspense going for 134 minutes is no easy accomplished challenge. Things could have been cut to speed things up, and the story could of progressed a bit more light hearted.

On a lighter side, I was very impressed with the trailer. I have to say, I thought the trailer was excellent, it made me really excited to go on and watch this film, it's edited really well and you get a lot of action taking place in it, and you get a brief understanding of what the films about.

So I am very sceptical when it comes to talking about this film, having now seen it. I like the concept and the story is good, The acting and the advertising is superb, however the actual finished product is a little let down by dodgy camera angles and dragged out scenes.

So all in all, I liked 'Captain Phillips' but I didn't love it. I wouldn't buy it on DVD. but what I will do is give it 7/10.

Thank you for reading this review.

NEXT WEEK: I should hope to review 'Gravity' as I'm seeing that soon. Hopefully a review of that, should be up next week. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Review : THOR - The Dark World

Thor : The Dark World - The God of Thunder and his giant hammer return, In an all new adventure which will expand the knowledge of excited children and allow the audience to explore the MARVEL worlds of Thor. It's a comic strip on the big screen!

Hello Film Lovers

I would like to welcome you to my newest review, Thor 2 with a sub title of 'The Dark World'. I apologise I haven't been blogging as frequent this week. I was otherwise occupied with other important matters.

Just giving you all a note of warning, I won't be blogging as frequent as I have been over the past couple of months because I am going to be more concerned about complying my efforts in completing projects I got going on at college, than I will in  reviewing films. But I will try to get 1 or 2 review up each week. But just letting you know, there will be fewer reviews from now until after Christmas. I'm going to be very busy from this point on.

Now I got that out of the way and notified you all of that, I will go on to talking about Thor 2. The film is new to cinema's it came out last week during the 1/2 term break, and is doing brilliantly as far the box office is concerned. It's just a much better executed film in comparison to the last one. It's well polished, the story is much better, it's brilliant in 3D, and that's just some of many good things about this film.

Speaking as a person who is not a fan of the MARVEL legends, I have to say I am starting to invest in the MARVEL characters, which is surprising considering I had no interest in MARVEL before hand. I watched Iron Man 3 and loved it. I have now seen Thor 2 and loved that as well, so who knows maybe I'm on my way to becoming a true MARVEL fanatic, fingers crossed.

When going into Thor 2, a part of me did sort of get a sense of renationalisation, as it was starting that this is going to be a good film. It's not often that I get a gut feeling that I'm going to enjoy a film, but I did. I enjoyed it very much.

The start of the film, is brilliantly shot, very well timed and atmospheric and it starts off the story really strongly. As a viewer I was drawn into the story, quite quickly. However I also had to get into my head that the events that are happening in this film, are that based off a comic strip, therefore certain catastrophes taking place would be deliberately portrayed and set up to be over exaggerated or misplaced slightly to the human understanding. But when you have a big budget to create such amazing tricks in CGI - Go figure.

I loved the costumes and the make up, the two hand in hand were excellent. For me, that made me insure that what I was watching was believable, wonderfully authentic and very well atmospheric.

The acting I would say is one of the few points that lets this film down slightly, for instance Natalie Portman's lack of effort is so noticeable in her body language, I didn't sense any infusiam off her for this project throughout the entire course of this film. It's disappointing because you'd expect an actor or actress to make a good performance regardless of how they feel towards the production, this is the first time I have witnessed an actress's true lack of infusiam towards a project, and it was unpleasant and disappointing.

However Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston were excellent, I liked the Thor and Loki relationship. It's far more interesting to what Thor has going on with Jane Foster. And If Natalie Portman was so not bothered about performing, I would of liked it if Jane wasn't in it, and had Loki as the main companion, It was just mean Loki would get a lot more scene time and we'd get to see more scenes between him and Thor.

Anyway, Here is a quick clip which will hopefully excite. 

The atmosphere, I embraced from it was that of a 'Lord of the Rings' type fantasy, but in a good way. The way the costumes and world of Asguard was set up, it's quite similar to the city of Rivindale in 'The Hobbit'. It has an essence of period beauty to it, which to me captures my attention very quickly.

Time length wise, it dragged out a bit longer than it needed to. Nether the less, it stuck to the point and all action and battle sequences were necessary to what was going on in the story, so no complaints from me. But the golden time for doing a film is 100 minutes.

Overall, It is a very good film indeed, one of which families will enjoy.

I'll give it 7/10.

Thanks for reading this review.

NEXT : I will review 'Captain Philips' starring the one and only Tom Hanks. See you then!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Review : Philomena


A world-weary political journalist picks up the story of a woman's search for her long lost son, who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent.

Hi There Film Lovers.

Today, I present to you a brilliant new film, seriously, it's so good. I had the pleasure of seeing this on the Friday it came out. It is a production which basis itself on the most remarkable true story, of an Irish woman called 'Philomena Lee'. Judi Dench plays her to near perfection, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope do a wonderful job of making it really funny and then very sad, because the facts of this story are heart breaking.

What I love about 'Philomena' is the fact that it's absolute pure drama from beginning to end, It reminded me of that programme shown on ITV 'Long Lost Families'. 

What's also interesting is that the events that accrue in this story, are not one of  rare happenstance, this is just an example of one of many stories. It's tragic how sometimes we have to make decisions that can pertenially effect the rest of our lives. 

This film also demonstrates the love a mother has for her son, and her struggle to find him again. I could notice the anxiety Philomena  has to know what happened to her son, after he was taken from her. That alone told me that this was going to be a good film, and as a person who doesn't know the story, I was hoping it would end well.

Here's a quick clip.


The Director of this film, is very famous because he is best known to the public for directing 'The Queen' starring Helen Mirran. I'm sure coming on to a project such as this, must of embraced lots of interesting challenges. 

Because there is a part of you in which thinks, you must get your tactics right in order to make what your making true to the facts of the story, If you don't get that right, then your educating your audience in the wrong way. Judi Dench talked about this in an interview with Graham Norton, and stated more or less what I just said, and she pleased when the real Philomena liked the film, and that to her is what counts, and I think she's right.

So in terms of directing, and staying true to the facts of the story, I thought that was all there. I sobbed at the end. It was so emotional towards the end. And what I liked the most is you got the little facts at the end, when the end credits went out. Again it educates the viewer, they take in more facts about the story, because the more they know, the more they will understand. There isn't any loose ends in the script, it's all pretty straight forward and clear.

The only negative point I would criticise on is the advertising, and the posters. 


Shown above is a publicity poster, shown in cinemas.

To me this communicates the wrong sort of message, Yes you got the two main stars of the film, which in my opinion sell the film, and are the film. However to me, it comes across to me as a comedy, when really it's not. I think there should of been more of a set back, to how the advertising should be presented to communicate the right of message to a kean eye walking past.

Other than that, I loved this film. It's out in cinema's now, go and see it if you haven't yet. Just remember to bring the tissues with you for afterwards.

Thanks for reading this.

NEXT : I will review 'Thor 2 - The Dark World' I will post that review next Friday. I will see you then!