Sunday, 30 November 2014

Review : Disney's Pinocchio (1940)

Pinocchio : An uplifting and magical story which all starts with a living puppet, who with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.

Okay, so Pinocchio. I have a lot to say about this film because though it hasn't stuck out in my eyes as being one of my favourite Disney films, like : Beauty and The Beast, The Jungle Book or Sleeping Beauty for example. I am quite parshal to this little wooden puppet made of pine wood, and his conscious Mr Jiminy Cricket. I think it's the adventures they go on together, and it all happens on a normal day turned into a frantic adventure.

I think anyone who watches Pinocchio needs to know that this Disney classic, and it is a classic single handily passes the challenging test of time for a beautiful and effective lesson on the perils and consequences of doing wrong when you know better.

Some scenes and themes may be intense and frightening for younger or sensitive viewers, such as when Pinocchio is kidnapped and caged by Stromboli, that scenes petrifies me, and he's threatened with destruction. He can't find his father, the donkey transformation, and the scene where he nearly drowns. They also should be aware that Pinocchio's friend Lampwick introduces him to cigar smoking but in turn is punished for it, as a consequence of that. 

Some viewers may be slightly disturbed by Pleasure Island, where "bad boys" are turned into donkeys and sent to work in salt mines. It is quite a horryfying realisation, for the purposes of the benifactors gaining a quick profit. But overall this morality tale is a good reminder of the importance of listening to your conscience, knowing right from wrong and never talk to strangers.

So far Seven decades have passed since the film first came out, I think it really stands up, and would be acceptable today to educate children of a new generation. Because Pinocchio is reminder of a time when the stars of animated films were the illustrators, not the celebrity voice talent. It's different with animation today, but it is nice that we can just take the time to look back at something like this and go 'You know what, we've got it'. That to me is what's important than watching films like 'The Boxtrolls' For Example.

The 2009 reissue includes digital remasterd restoration of the film's original colors, so that, for instance, scenes of various cuckoo clocks chiming simultaneously in Geppetto's workshop would be a reason enough for me to recommend this film to anyone who hasn't seen it. The soundtrack includes classics such as "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "Give a Little Whistle" that will still be familiar to families today, and would be something new for families who either are not familiar with it or have never heard it before.

But the lessons in the film are also valuable: The same traits of bravery, honesty, and selflessness that make Pinocchio human are ones which are meantb to educate Children and possess in adulthood. The downside of ignoring your conscience is rendered in a way that may be uniquely terrifying to children: how indulging in the temptations of Pleasure Island results in separation from family and utter loss of self. Though Jiminy's reassuring presence allows viewers that there is hope for the puppet boy's rescue, Pinocchio acts as the original Scared Straight experience for the younger set.

Overall, It's fantastic. It's a fantastic film and it's the Disney that I love because it's made with love. 9/10

NEXT : Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Friday, 28 November 2014

Review : A Christmas Carol (2009)

A Christmas Carol : Jim Carrey is Scrooge in this animated adaptation of a Dicken's classic telling of a definitive Christmas story about a bitter old man who learns to love and care for his fellow man, at Christmas.

Anyone who watches this film should know that, unlike The Polar Express, this Robert Zemeckis adaptation of one of the most memorable Christmas stories is too highly intensified. I mean that in both contexts of  visually seeing it and in content for families with very young children.

At its heart, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, and not only are the four spirits very creepy at times, but the 3-D technology makes certain scenes as when the Ghost of Christmas Future's red-eyed black stallions jump out at the audience all the more terryfying. And the realistic nature of the motion capture technology often makes the film seem more like live action than animation. 

Director Robert Zemeckis continues to create yet another memerable motion capture animation he revolutionized with The Polar Express, and the result is quite breathtaking in A Christmas Carol. From the pimples on an adolescent's face to the coins on a corpse's eyes, the technology available accounts for a remarkable degree of detail. The 3D effects, in particular, are fantastic. 

The attention to detail is quite remarkable, with a rubber-faced actor like Carrey as the star, it's no wonder that the characters' expressions and gestures are so startlingly realistic. Of course, the downside to all of the realism is that the ghost scenes are actually really quite frightening. The chilling factor is unfortunate for parents who will naturally assume that animation plus holiday classic equals cinematic fun for the whole family. 

It's not a very long film. It's 96 minutes, so more or less roundabout an hour and half, which is good going. It's not too slow to be boring, and not too quick to be rushed. It's just about right, and good for familes.

I give it a 5/10.

NEXT : Disney's Pinocchio.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Review : Disney's The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book : Deep in the Jungles of India, Bagheera the Panther and Baloo the Bear have a difficult task ahead of them, of trying to convince a man cub to leave the jungle, in exchange to join his own human civilization. But in the dark depths of the Jungle Shere Khan the Tiger, plans to kill the boy before he gets that opportunity.

I love The Jungle Book. To me, this Disney film is the definitive version fro me, I won't watch any other version than this one. It's in my top 10 Disney films. I think whoever watches this Disney classic, and it is a classic need to know that this contains a lot positive messages for children about friendship and finding family in unexpected places. However, that being said, in contrast to that there are also some scary and/or upsetting scenes, such as the final battle between Baloo and Shere Khan, Shere Khan is very scary. but there's also lots of humor on the funny side and catchy songs to pass the time as well.

Based on Rudyard Kipling's story, the film tells the tale of Mowgli, the "man cub" found by benevolent panther Bagheera, who tucks the baby boy safely away with a family of wolves. Mowgli grows up happily, living in the jungles of India.

But as he grows up, Bageera realises that the jungle won't be safest place for him anymore, because the tiger Shere Khan returns to the jungle, and learns of Mowgli's egistance. It is from there on in, there is this growing, awful terrible realisation from the other characters in the film, that if Shere Khan finds Mowgli he will kill him, he will stop at nothing and that he is determined to kill Mowgli and all who try to protect him.

So it is therefore a wise decision from Bagheera (voiced by Sebastian Cabot) to lead Mowgli out of the jungle and towards a new step, civilization, whether he wants to go or not. Along the way the pair encounter the sly, devious and hypnotic snake Kaa (Sterling Holloway), an army of elephants, and, much to Bagheera's dismay, Baloo the bear (Phil Harris), a lovable "jungle bum" who temps Mowgli with his laid back, care free "Bare Necessities" of life, to stay here in the jungle.

But when the two of them ditch Bagheera, life isn't all fun and games. Crazy monkeys kidnap Mowgli so Baloo and Bagera have to go and rescue him. But not only that, Shere Khan is hot on his trail. It's down to the responsibility of the unlikely team of Bagheera and Baloo to keep Mowgli safe.

Here's a clip.

Kipling's classic story has been thoroughly Disney fied, but to this day, I still can't believe that it remains to be a lively and engrossing adventure with jaunty animation and delightful jazz-inspired songs. The very catchy tunes and expert voice cast deliver lots of laughs, lots of distinctive merits, and lots of engagement with the audience.

The voice cast, many of whom were 1960s stars, are superb. They all add considerably to the overall enjoyment of the whole film for me. I mean George Saunders as 'Shere Khan' (Who sadly is no longer with us) he has a very deep voice which is very suttle and contained, and very profound. He's extremely polite for a vicious killer, achieving pure wickedness with niceties and charm only to break out of that and turn into a raging killer, it's brilliantly contained and the animation matches that.

Also it offers family discussion to talk about points such as : 
  • The music. What was your favorite song? What do Baloo's "Bare Necessities" song and "Hakuna Matata" from The Lion King have in common?

  • How does Baloo's love of good music get him into trouble?

  • Why does Bagheera worry when he finds out Baloo and Mowgli have teamed up?

    These are all just many things that can be taken into consideration whilst watching this film. It's splendid fun and definitely one of my favouirtes. 9/10.

    NEXT : A Christmas Carol 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review : Great Expectations (1946)

Great Expectations : The David Lean Adaptation of this Dicken's classic, tells the story of young Pip. A humble orphan, who suddenly is brought up in London, and becomes a gentleman of Great Expectations with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Let's be honest, when I said I was reviewing 'Great Expectations' you thought I would be reviewing the newer version with Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes didn't you? Well you are all wrong. I'm reviewing the David Lean adaptation.

There are four versions of 'Great Expectations' existing on record I believe, one of course being the book form written by Charles Dickens, the second being this film in question by David Lean, the third being a totally inaccurate three part TV Series, with Douglas Booth and Ray Winstone in it, and the fourth and more recent version being the one with Jeremy Irvine, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. Yes, they remade it again.  

The odd thing about the later version is, it came out a year after the TV Series adaptation aired on television in Christmas 2011. Out of all the 'Film & TV' versions made, I think this version that I am reviewing now is the best one out of all of them. Quite clearly the best one. It stands up as being far more superior than the rubbish remakes, which are inaccurate to the story telling or have over gone past the fact of story telling all together by hiring well known actors to grasp the viewers attention into watching it. 

This version has a cast of diverse and immaculate actors who were a big name at the time of 1946. John Mills as Pip was the Tom Cruise of the 40's. He had quite a big name for himself at the time, Valerie Hobson as Estella, though quite subdued in her performance was a well known name, as was Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham who is frightening, she looks like the decaying old woman as Dickens describes her in the novel, and the black and white back drop makes things all the more sinister. 

One of the best things about Charles Dickens and a Charles Dickens story is the way his characters colonize your memory. I wonder if there's any novel writer except Shakespeare and J K Rowling, who have created more characters whose names we remember, and whose types seem so true to human nature. So for a  director like 'David Lean' or 'Mike Newell' adapting a Dickens novel finds that much of their work has been done for him.

Certainly that's the case with David Lean's "Great Expectations” released in 1946, which has been highly regarded as being one of the best of all of his films, and does what quite a few films based on great books can do: Creates pictures on the screen that do not clash with the images already existing in our minds. Lean brings what Dickens writes on the page' classic set-pieces to life as if he knows it like the back of his hand : Pip's encounter with the convict Magwitch in the churchyard, Pip's first meeting with the mad Miss Havisham, and the ghoulish atmosphere in the law offices of Mr. Jaggers, whose walls are decorated with the death masks of clients he has lost to the gallows.

I studied this story as part of my GSCE English Literature, I know the story like the back of my hand and I love it. I really like this film, I think without this film as a guide, I would of been lost because I wasn't too bothered about reading the book, mainly because I couldn't understand the context of the english language written in it. This film allowed me to view the story as a visual point of perspective, comaparing it to other versions that have been and gone, there's no compition that this is the best version of the story that has been released so far. 7/10

NEXT : Disney's The Jungle Book

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review : Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Bedknobs and Broomsticks : In the time of World War 2, An apprentice witch, three children and a cynical conman search for the missing component to a magic spell useful to the defense of Britain.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks, always stand out in my mind as being a very enjoyable comedy, which seeks to educate as well as entertain whoever watches it, though it fits more into the 'family' genre I tend to think that is a film which is made for anyone to enjoy. It's classified as suitable for all ages, and there is nothing really crude or narcissistic about it. It's just a very enjoyable, playful comedy which is full of fantasy and adventure in it's story telling. That's basically it.

Into that simplicity the majority of viewers should be aware that this classic Disney movie. So much so it was re-released in aid of celebrating Disney's 25th anniversary. It is quite an uncomfortably long film, it is over two hours long. So it's probably better suited for those with a longer attention span or better suited with partial viewings.

The framework of the film, or in other words 'the synopsis' is : World War II Setting, Nazi invasions, and bombings in London. What baffles me about the setting is the fact that the main characters never seem frightened by the war or soldiers, though the children talk briefly about losing their parents to the war, only for it never to be brought up or mentioned again.

The conclusion to the film involves a drawn-out battle between the main character and a small group of invading Nazis in which the enemy soldiers wield swords and machine guns against her. Despite this apparent violence, no blood is shed, no one is hurt, and the main character retains a smile throughout the entire battle. So it's adapted friendly approach is probably there for the sake of not upsetting any younger viewers in the audience.

Like many classic Disney films such as Mary Poppins for instance is, the more dynamic parts there are in 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' is match by the number of less compelling scenes, which come across as being a little under par, at least as far as young children would see it.

Several scenes focus entirely on the adult audience, including a melancholy song by Miss Price about the benefits of being single, which might lose the attention of the youngest viewers. The animated portion on the island of Naboombu is a lot of fun to watch. Children and Adult audience's alike would most likely enjoy the over exaggerated characters and their comic shenanigans as they compete in a vigorous football match.

But the dance routine in the middle of the film, which is ridiculous and the dramatic final battle scene drag out for far too long for even more developed attention spans. Also, the war-time theme and occasional sexist remarks make this film feel dated. Overall, this is a mild, family-oriented comedy about the ability of individuals to make a big difference. 6/10

 NEXT : Great Expectations 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review : Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas : In the town that we call Halloween, the greatest nightmare is about to happen upon the time of Christmas. Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn't quite understand the concept.

 So I would like to ask a question here, 'Do you consider The Nightmare Before Christmas' to be a annual Christmas film? Because for a long time in my house hold, It was highly decided that 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' wasn't an annual Christmas film, that we look very highly of like Fred Claus for instance.

It's gothic, dark design and stick like characters just reminded me of the grimm german fairy tales, which in turn replicated accurate imagery of the Town of Halloween very well. Your main character 'Jack Skellington' is very slick and he is a character that the audience gain a connection with as he guides you through the story.

The story is of one Jack Skellington 'The Pumpkin King', who is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween, day in and day out. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is fascinated because he doesn't quite get the concept, having seen it before his very eyes.

Jackis so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween, but alas, they can't get it quite right.

It's a wonderful interchange of Halloween meets Christmas, in a sort of Grimm German Fairy Tale sort of way. Viewers watching, need to know that is a offbeat, stop motion-animated flim is one of the great family films for all ages. That said of course, it does have sinister Halloween creatures in it, characters take off their own heads and remove their limbs, and there are skeletons, nasty toys, and a really creepy villain named 'Oogie Boogie'.

Some of the younger viewers, under the age of 7 years old, who aren't old enough to distinguish this as fantasy from the goings on at Halloween, might be a bit freaked out. However, if there are any concerned parents reading this, you can always pause the film and talk about what's scaring them. The enhanced visuals may add magical mysteriousness and  spookiness and could further blur the line between fantasy and reality for some younger viewers. 6/10

NEXT REVIEW: Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review : Batman (1989)

Batman (1989) : The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his battle against crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.

So this is the 1989 Batman film, directed By Tim Burton. Starring Jack Nicholson as 'The Joker' and Michael Keaton as 'Bruce Wayne/ Batman'. I really like the film. It's got the dark, gruesome, gothic edge to it which is what 'The Dark Knight' also had, although this came out before 'The Dark Knight'. It's a good point of reference for that future film.

It has your typical Burton spin on things, in the way the film is choreographed down to the last detail. The Gotham City which Burton creates in “Batman” is one of a distinctive and atmospheric place to be, as I say dark and gothic attire really extenuates mood and tone to the surrounding environment. It dictates so much to the viewer as to what they are seeing on screen, it is a little bit of a shame however that, something more memorable doesn’t happen there.

I think that Tim Burton's directing and the design of the film helps it a lot. For instance, the style and over substance - a great-looking film with a care free plot, which you don't have to worry too much about in order to understand the film, to it's full capacity. I think that this is a film, which you're allowed to make up your own mind about what is is, there are some films which are more of 'this is that, and that means that'. But not in the case of 'Batman'.

All of the big moments in the film are pounded home with ear-shattering sound effects and a jackhammer cutting style, but that just serves to underline the movie’s problem, which is a curious lack of suspense and intrinsic interest.


'Batman' I think tends to discard the recent cultural history of the Batman character, which was so brilliantly portrayed by Adam West - the camp 1960's TV series, the in-joke comic books and returns to the mood of the 1940's, the decade of film noir and fascism. In this film we get a more butch, fisty coughs Batman, who's not afraid to shy away from giving a Joker a bunch of fives. Michael Keaton plays the part a lot more straighter than Adam West, I think he's a lot more contained.

The film is set at the present moment, more or less, but looks into a little about what has happened in architecture since the classic DC comic books created that architectural style you could call Comic Book Moderne. The streets of Gotham City are lined with bizarre skyscrapers that climb cancerously toward the sky, held up by sky bridges and stresswork that look like webs against the night sky. However, there is good color control to set up mood and control all of that.

Devising a plot summery of what the story is about, In Gotham City, a dark knight known as The Batman crusades the streets of Gothan, in aid to defeat evil and keep the city's citizens safe. When Jack Napier is transformed into the evil, Joker, he promises to take over Gotham City it is up to Batman to stop him in his tracks before it is too late.

Nicholson’s Joker is the most important character in the film. He is the one that Burton wants the audience to concentrate on the most, within the impact of presence and in screen time. I think that Keaton plays off Nicholson's Joker very well. Though my favouirte Joker is 'Heath Ledger' Nicholson creates good impact on Keaton’s Batman and Bruce Wayne characters. It's so monosyllabic and impenetrable that we have to remind ourselves to cheer on for Batman, It's a crime thriller, the audience are always on the side of the hero.

Looking back on this film, It is good. There is no question about it. I wouldn't highly rate it, but I would say that without Tim Burton's directing, good cast and design. This film would of ended up with a far more poor result. 7/10

NEXT : The Nightmare Before Christmas

Friday, 21 November 2014

Review : The Equalizer

The Equalizer : A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand by and do nothing - he has to help her.

So Denzel Washington is a man with a mysterious past, who works in a DIY store, and resorts back to his methods of violence and killing in aid of helping a young girl who is under control of Russian gangsters. I love a heavy action movie, and Denzel Washington can certainly deliver, with quick reactions, expecting the unexpected and being smarter than his opponant in moments of graphic fight scenes.

We know from the start that Washington is a good guy. He’s a soulful loner who works in a DIY store, very easy and nothing special about that at all. What I like about Denzel Washington's character is that he’s surprisingly meticulous. He has a habit of folding a tea bag very precisely in a serviette, taking it down to his local diner at night, and getting a mug of hot water, while whatever he’s reading is placed exactly perpendicular to the table edge. He also likes to use a stopwatch in any context where violence looms, testing his reflexes to the decimal point.

It's only when he grows concern for an abused teenage prostitute, that everything in his plans for a new life stop abrubtly, which in turn leads him to the den of her snarling pimps, and he gets his methodical vigilante on for the first time, then it is at that moment, the communication of the pitch becomes clear, to the audience, because we get to understand what he's been trying very hard to hide from, which adds to our understanding of him as character.

The bad guys, too, are easy to pick out from the crowd. They’re casting-central Russian mafia. They have many disreputable tattoos, and they’re headed up by a charasmatic leader 'Kiwi-Hungarian'. Rarely caught being subtle, Csokas goes in for the kind of drawling, aesthete’s villainy that suggests what Dale Winton might have done with the role of Hannibal Lecter. The role’s crying out for a name star, just to allow the oppertunity to create a more balanced antagonism to matchWashington, who generally looks as if he could get supporting players fired with a snap of his fingers.

The Equalizer is a film which is lacking much of an intelligible plot. What we get is a “tough hombre right vs wrong in way of pushing the boundaries of a 15 rating”. As such, you’d think it should of been hustling its way to the showdown as swiftly as possible.

Denzel Washington's character has everything he needs, anyway: he's all stacked up in his chosen workplace, specifically the deadly power tools aisle and the deadly gardening one. Betide the impetuous goons expecting to besiege him there with mere bullets. Tree pruners, nail guns and barbed wire stop them hideously in their tracks.

To sum things up The Equalizer is wildly excessive, hypnotically scored, and more than a little hilarious. It’s just a hell of a long time coming, for anyone to not watch Denzel Washington brood and fold napkins for 90 minutes. 7/10

NEXT : Batman, The Movie

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Review : The Imitation Game

 The life story of an English mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, who intends to help crack the Enigma code during World War II.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, in this thoroughly entertaining thriller film, which involves a group of clever mathematicians and logicians coming together for the same reason, to crack the Enigma code. The Enigma code of course being an anonymous code which the Germans used during the second world war, cracking the code, the British government would be able to know what the German's were planning giving Britain the upper hand. That's basically it.

Into this simplicity, Benedict Cumberbatch gives an incredibly convincing and astonishing performance as Alan Turing, allow the viewer to get an insight into the life of this man, and how valuable he was to cracking the enigma code and in turn, helping the British government to win World War II. After all, the concept of using a machine against machine, did come from him.

The film is constructed so that your not concentrating on just one thing, It's a bit of a jumble, you start off in 1951, then go back to 1939, then to 1940/41, then to life time at School and the film coagulates around these time zones. From the first shot of Cumberbatch on screen, his voice over plays in the background. He said something intriguing which was 'make sure you're paying attention throughout, if you choose to be here remember you're here because you chose to be here'. I was thinking, perhaps we will receive a clever twist in the end which I never would see coming, we didn't. Which is a shame, I would of liked to have got some payback at the end, however throughout the whole course of progression, a voice over would only pop up occasionally, which doesn't bother me so much.

Every scene is out of sequence, with this and a bit of a time jump between each period of Turing's lifetime, but it all is very clear and has value for being there, so there's no cause for confusion. It's all clear, and well explained in the film.

The Cast for 'Imitation Game' I thought was very touch and go. There were some members of the cast which the director hit the nail on the head and were absolutely right to cast : Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode and Allen Leech. Who are all brilliant, and give good, convincing performances.

And then you have inaccurate casting like Keira Knightly, now I don't mind Keira Knightly as an actress, I think she's very touch and go. There are some films she has been in which aren't very good but are not necessarily her fault that they are bad. In 'Imitation Game' she plays posh toff Joan Clarke, who Alan grows a liking for, so much to no surprise he proposes to her. That to me is just like 'the leading man, gets the pretty girl' type cliche thing. I question, was she cast because she is pretty? I mean it would makes sense in communicating to an audience, I can pick out at least two actresses who I think could of done it better. I won't name names, but I wouldn't say that Keira Knightly was inspired casting for this film. I wouldn't highly rate her, but I would say that she is good in it. Her accent is a bit strange though, she sounds like Joanna Lumley.

As a film. I will judge it on it's merits of : Is it educational? Yes, it teaches an audience about a very special man who without his help, the war would of lasted for at least another 2 years and he saved over 40 million lives. Does it achieve good drama? Yes, I would say so, there are good moments in there. Benedict Cumberbatch in perticular has some clever, snappy one liners against Charles Dances's character.
The film is surprisingly quite funny in places, it's not a comedy but there a bits at the beginning which are funny and show off Turing as being a whitty smart arse, but offer sharpe humour to lighten the mood. I laughed a little.

Overall, I think 'The Imitation Game' comes down to the success of three people. It's Alan Turning 'because without him and his efforts you wouldn't have a book and indeed a film', It's the merits of the director  Morten Tyldum and of course it's Benedict Cumberbacth who is brilliant. 8/10.

NEXT : The Equalizer

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review : The Fantastic Four, The Rise of the Silver Surfer

Rise of the Silver Surfer


The Fantastic Four learn that they aren't the only super-powered beings in the universe when they square off against the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus.

The sequel or follow up to the first Fantastic Four, as a way of both extending the character development of the main four further and give them a new enemy to fight against. I'm skeptical about Superhero action films, I feel the same about sequels. Another film excites me, they say that most sequels suck. Well not this one, at least from my point of view. In some cases 'Rise of the Silver Surfer' is so much better than the first Fantastic Four. All the introductions are done and dusted, essentially, you can just go straight into the story and actually get into what the film has to offer.

Everything seems to be going great for the Fantastic Four. After defeating Von Doom, the Fantastic Four can really enjoy life more. All four are now comfortable with their new powers. Reed and Sue are finally getting married, and The Thing and Johnny Storm now get along with each other, things couldn't seem better. However, Galactus, an evil creature in space, has decided that Earth is it's new target, and sends the Silver Surfer to destroy it. Reed Richards and his team must now work together to capture this surfer, and even must now team up with one individual who they didn't expect to help.  

The plot is very easy viewing, very easy to follow and to understand and collect all the information in order to enjoy it. It's one of these films which I find has the nice balance of comedy, sentiment moments and action thrill, you can watch this and just enjoy it no matter what. In terms of a full package, this just has more of everything, you have more story to play on, and the ideals of this film are very fun to play with in a diverse manor. 

My only main concern is that it needed to be longer. It seemed to be very done and dusted and didn't have such a constructive ending as it might of done. 

I think what I love about Tim Story films is that you get a great sense of fun out it, and in Film such as these you watch to be entertained. I was entertained, so I'm going to give it a 7/10.

NEXT : The Imitation Game 

Monday, 17 November 2014

Review : The Fantastic Four


A group of astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic radiation exposure and must use them to oppose the plans of their enemy, Doctor Victor Von Doom.


Four Superheroes with unimaginable, supernatural abilities, One master villain, zero chances to fail. The Fantastic Four assemble. Going into the story in full detail, In plot summery you have, Reed Richards, a brilliant but timid and bankrupt scientist, who is convinced that evolution can be triggered by clouds of cosmic energy, and has calculated that Earth is going to pass one of these clouds soon. 

Together with his friend and partner, the gruff yet gentle astronaut muscle-man Ben Grimm, Reed convinces his conceited MIT classmate Dr. Victor Von Doom, now CEO of his own company enterprise, to allow him access to his privately-owned space station. Von Doom agrees in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. 

He thus brings aboard Susan Storm, his shy, though assertive chief genetics researcher and a former lover of Reed's with whom she had an acrimonious break-up, and her diametrically opposed brother Johnny, the maverick and hot-headed playboy pilot. The astronauts make it home intact; however, before long they begin to mutate, developing strange and amazing powers as a result of their exposure to the cloud! Reed is able to stretch like rubber; Sue can turn invisible and create force fields, especially when angered; Johnny can produce fire at supernova temperatures, and is able to fly; and Ben is transformed into "The Thing", a large, rock-like creature with super strength. 

After Ben, brooding about his situation on the Brooklyn Bridge, inadvertently causes a major traffic pile-up whilst attempting to stop a man about to commit suicide, the four manage to use their powers to prevent any loss of life and to rescue a fire truck and its crew from falling off the bridge in a resulting explosion. 

The media dubs the team the 'Fantastic Four', and whilst Johnny eagerly embraces his powers and new life, Ben - the most heavily disfigured - particularly suffers from his transformation; his disfigurement has caused his fiancée to abandon him and has seen him shunned and feared by much of New York. 

In the end the master villain of the piece is Dr Doom and everything comes to it's natural conclusion with a big dramatic fight scene. Then in the end, The Fantastic Four are regonised as the people they really are, the end. Into that simplicity, there is quite little if not no logical story behind his whole engagement of a thrill seeker film.

Here's the Trailer


I know super hero films are a hard thing to come by, but with this I expected more from it. To the extent of their being more action, backed up with logical story telling and reasoning for the action being there. If you have just mindless, effective action sequences that are only there for the dramatic interest of the viewer, then I dare to question the reason behind it. 

Survicive to say, the whole film seemed a bit up and down for me, it never quite steps off on a steady pace at all. The beginning was rushed, the middle was slow and the end was just... there. The final 'epic' battle, I say epic in inverted commars, went on for far too long. There were pivital moments where I felt that 'it could end here' or 'it could end here' but alas no.


Dr Doom was sadly thrown to the side for the sake of romantic character development being more important, there were explinations which could of been concentraited on a bit less in order to allow the villian to prove his worth to the veiwers. Dr Doom deserves more screen time than he got, and he gets absolutly trashed by the four in the final battle, almost too easily.

The effects were interesting, worked well within the world of the film and were there to engage beyond the imagination of the veiwer. What the film wanted to do was take the comic from paper to screen and make it belivable to capselate. That's basically it, and it does that. It does it, and it tries to as well. The music is atmopsherically compelling, with suttleties in moments of desperation and bombasticly loud in fight scenes.

A comic on the screen, it's a 6/10.

NEXT : The Fantastic Four - Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Review : War Horse

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.

Spielberg's take on this well known story, once and still is a well known musical. Now a film, I was pleased when I heard that this was coming out because being made into a film would benefit it terms of the production wise, the landscape of visual background, the opportunities to have more of everything, extending the possibilities that play couldn't. I hoped this would gain lots of advantages from that.

The screen is very different from the stage in so many ways, I think that this film reflects that, it also demonstrates the advantages of film because when you go to the cinema, you go for the experience. This is something that I didn't go and see in the cinema, but for the time of it's release it would of been and interesting film to subjectively look upon.

I don't care much for the story, or following the plot too much with this film, because I know that's not the main concentration point. I like watching the production of it and looking at what made this film so good. It's like when watch a dance live and you look at the foot work, it runs like that. It's a different observational point of perspective.

Production on this is notable for many things, the lighting, the sound, the post production that so much carefully went into it. It's all very well done. Spielberg's screenwriters are Lee Hall and Richard Curtis – formidable talents, but offering a Hollywoodised, genetically modified drama with an occasionally eccentric, grand sense of how people spoke at the time of the 1910's. "Thought you two had bottled out!" says one major to his brother officers, on the training ground. "As if!" another replies. Does make you think doesn't it. Is the dialogue in this so historically coversed?

I can only agree with those many others, for pointing out that Curtis, in co-writing the final Blackadder episode on TV, set on the Western Front, once created a genuinely brilliant and passionate first world war drama. This isn't in the same league. It has moments of poignancy, and Tom Hiddleston is convincing as the decent Captain Nicholls, who promises to look after Joey. But this version of War Horse is a pre-packaged brand, rather than a film. It's a 7/10 from me.

NEXT : The Fantastic Four

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Review : Leon

The Professional


Matilda, a 12-year-old girl, who is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Matilda form an unusual friendship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

I love 'Leon'. I think it's a very good film. Luc Besson is the french Quintin Tarantino. I've never seen a Luc Besson film before, what a joy it was watching this. It's a very moderate and contempary film, with a simple plotline to it. It's about an Assassin called Leon who is paid to kill people, he's quick on his feet and tacticle in the way he goes about his job. He's the shadow of the night, the man underneath the bed, the sneaker, etc. 

Into that you have your supporting character which is Matilda, played by a very young Natalie Portman. A 12 Year old girl, who's family is brutaly murdered by Gary Oldman and his band of merry men. Leon takes her in after her family is killed and promises to look after her, and from the moment he opens the door to his room and lets her in, it's almost as if he lets her in to his life, and he suddenly finds companionship.

Then you've got Gary Oldman, who is just mental. But brilliant. His character is one who has a quick temper and has anger management issues. He is so tense to watch in this, he is dead serious in this for every single second, and you as the viewer take him seriously in turn. 

It is a gripping story, with well crafted characters.  Luc Besson's movie Léon (The Professional) gives us an intense story which is maximized by the potential of the casting of the film. 

More of less, every aspect of the film gives the audience an impressive finished product. Jean Reno is fantastic as Leon. Has a beautifully suttle french accent, which is very deep and moderately sounding.

The performance delivered by then twelve-year old Natalie Portman as Mathilda is very good. Her ability to relate to the other characters in her body language and facial gestures is matched by few, she really brings raw emotion and believability to a difficult role. Matilda and Léon are unexpectedly thrown together, but learn to value life from their chance encounter, and how valuable a friendship can be.
'Leon' is what film making is all about. Without the overuse of special effects, a large shooting location, or a commercially well cast, we are given all that could possibly be asked for in a movie. Portman, Oldman, and Reno, along with Danny Aiello as the hit-contractor Tony remind us that there is no substitute for great acting. 

There are elements of comedy, drama, and action, and great original music by Eric Serra adds to the energy the film contains. The most impressive thing about the film is its story which is basic but is maximized by all the other elements which go into the making of it. Simply put, an intense and impressive product. 8/10 

Next : War Horse

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Review : Intersteller

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity.



It's about a small group of people, going off on a voyage beyond the stars to locate a new home world for the future of mankind, because there is nothing left on earth, the world is at an end. That's basically it. Into that simplicity, Christopher Nolan, who is anything but simple in his story telling has woven in all mysteriousness and unnerving danger and very real character interaction.

For some people who have watched Inception would know, Chris Nolan is a film maker who is never straight forward, so there are certain things which have to be explained just a little bit more. This central concept of the plot, ie - The mission and the way it's described by Michael Caine's character is just great, adds information and back drop to the what we as the viewer are meant to be watching and are meant to understand.

This films tends to look at things beyond the fourth dimension or the fourth wall a little bit. For those who arn't familiar with this theory, I will explain it in it's simplist. Basically in theatre, the actors don't belive that when they are performing live theatre in front of an audience, the pit in which the audience sits behind the stage, is the fourth wall. What Chris Nolan intends for us to get out of this is, do we dare to question other worlds? other dimensions? that are out there, that are understanding us, what we anticipate to understand and what can we learn from it? 

As soon as those questions start flowing in the mind, you do start to invest in the film a lot more, perticularly when Matthew McConaughey's character realises the truth of the fourth dimension theory. It's a brilliant revolation that we experience, and everything unravals, and everything makes perfect sense. It's an amazing moment.

It's a well acted cast of people coming into this, to make the film all the more interesting. You may not think Matthew McConaughey can act, but Intersteller proves that he's not a dead beat actor. He can act, and not just act but act really well within a situation sci-fi drama. I'm sure anyone could of played it in their own way, but what Matthew brings to the table is Matthew. Something no other actor could of done.

Anne Hathaway, again marvelous actress. does it again in this. It's very easy to make a character such as hers boring. Anne doesn't she actually makes the part her own and creates a character with her own, ideals, theories and concepts for things which challenge McConaughey's character and McConaughey reverts that back by challenging her character and what she thinks.

The effects in this are excellent, visual effects are spectacular. What's great about it is, there is no frame of green screen involved... not one!

I tend to like films, that go that extra mile and that are clever. Chris Nolan, never for one doubt's questions the intelligence of his audience, he trusts in them to understand, and we get the pay back from this we deserve. I'm going to give 'Intersteller' an 8/10. Hope it does well, at the Oscar's and / or BAFTA's. It should be nominated for something.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Review : Independence Day

The aliens are coming. Their plan is to invade and destroy. Fighting superior technology, Man's best weapon is the will to survive.

In terms of starting off with an idea and developing story concepts, Independance Day takes after the ideas presented in 'Childhood's End'. I look at the premise of that book and think 'wow that's a good idea' then to see those ideas communicated in a visual perpective on screen is also very applealing, especially when you develop key speculations from various primary resources such as the book, the story, the ideals behind that idea etc.

As far Independence Day stands, the story is an Alien Invasion plot, On the 2nd of July, communication systems worldwide are sent into chaos by a strange atmospheric interference. It is soon learned by the military that a number of enormous objects are on a collision course with Earth. At first thought to be meteors, they are later revealed to be gigantic spacecraft, piloted by a mysterious alien species.

After attempts to communicate with the aliens go nowhere, David Levinson, an ex-scientist turned cable technician, discovers that the aliens are going to attack major points around the globe in less than a day. On July 3rd, the aliens all but obliterate New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, as well as Paris, London, Houston and Moscow. The survivors set out in convoys towards Area 51, a strange government testing ground where it is rumored the military has a captured alien spacecraft of their own. The survivors devise a plan to fight back against the enslaving aliens, and July 4th becomes the day humanity will fight for its freedom.

Here's a clip

I have to say though, I  was more than a little disappointed by this special effects laden piece of mediocrity. 
Sure, the film has an interesting, diverse choice of cast and the world's most famous monuments being blown up. But despite all of that,  the lack of story is appalling and what's left is a hodgepodge of bad one-liners and over the top exagerated course of emotional contempt. Were parts of it exciting, fun to watch? Absolutely. Was some of it funny? Yes, because of Goldblum, Hirsch and Quaid. Is Smith a great action hero? I would say so in his favour, yes. He has a wonderful mixture of physical strength, keen intelligence and an awesome sense of humor, all on display here. His presence is what makes this film at all watchable.

The production tries to infuse heart into this film by giving the leading men love troubles, but what that does is just dilutes from the main point of the film – to defeat the alien menace. I don't think if the fate of humanity was really on the line they'd be worrying about their love lives. 

If the aliens win there is no future. It's as simple as that,  so stop pandering to the ladies in the audience and get back down to business. I know concern about their own families is supposed to bring the horror of the situation home, but if you can't feel sorry for the millions who die initially, what's one more death supposed to do? As long as the film focuses on the action, it's entertaining. The rest of the time, it's a bit hit and miss, it's just soppy sentimentality which detracts from the interest of the course to effect in the story.

However, if you like your sci-fi loud and without much of a plot to get in the way of the visuals, then Independance Day is the film for you. If you're a Will Smith fan, then Independance Day is the film for you, if you like alien invasion schemes turned up to 11, then Yes, Independance Day is the film for you. Looking back on it, I think it's ok. I thinks it's all right. Very easy viewing and contempary, not that complicated for the mind to understand and the effects are little below par. 6/10

NEXT : Intersteller

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Review : The Judge

Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to unravel the truth of events and, along the way, reconnect with his estranged family.

Hey Everyone, Today's review is about David Dobkin's 'The Judge'. Which stars Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall. The story goes that Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr) is a successful defense lawyer in Chicago, who is getting a divorce. When His brother calls with news that their mother has died, Hank returns to his childhood home to attend the funeral. Despite the brittle bond between Hank and his father (Robert Duvall) Hank finds himself having to be by his fathers side and defend him in court. It's Here, Hank must try in all his efforts to discover the true facts, behind the case in order to save his father from prison. By doing this, this binds together the dysfunctional family and reveals the struggles and secrecy that they have.

Now I have seen some bad films over the years, I think for me 'The Judge' is okay. It's nothing mind-blowly spectacualer or grippingly intense or anything. It's just okay. It has the raw ingredients of a good drama, strong concept, very well acted by the two main cast member, Duvall and Downey Jr. Yes, Just okay.

It got boring in places, the pacing of it isn't great. A little disjointed I would say, if anything it's done in such as way which sort of wants to destract the veiwer from the main concentration of what the films about with something else, in order to remind them moments later what they are watching. I'm not too sure what to think about that.

While I'm on the subject, it did take a while for the film to actually find it's feet and get going. It was very slow at the beginning, but picks up the pace rather smoothly and just has rough patches inbetween because as I said before, I gets boring in places.

However, the film is very uplifiting in it's approach of wanting to create a conection between a father and son relationship and developing that throughout the duration of the film, and then of course there is 'The Fourth Wall - The Audiences appeal as well' No good actor, acts out to an audience, whenever you watch live theatre, the actors would tend to act a performance as if there wasn't and audience there. That in tern complies that the place in which the audience would be is that 'Fourth Wall'. The film's very good at reaching out to people. I belived that the relation between 'Downey Jr' and 'Duvall' was sincear. I didn't feel that I was paying '£6.60' on a cinema ticket to go and be depressed.

You watch films like 'The Notebook' or 'My Sister's Keeper' and you do question weither or not if this is entertainment. The Judge isn't like that. It's about Hope and Trust in one another and communicates that through the drama and the belief in the actors to portray their characters well. Therefore I think 'Robert Duvall' was a very interesting choice of casting for the Father because Duvall is Duvall. He has his own style of acting take 'The Godfather' for instance. How much else can you do with a diverse style of acting such as Duvall's and bring it into a 2014 drama. It just proves that Duvall's still got it, he's a brilliant actor. And Robert Downey Jr is very good in the film as well.

I can't wait till this comes out on DVD. I would buy it, it's an interesting controversy to anything I've seen before and it's good in so many ways, you just have to find them. 8/10

NEXT : Independance Day

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Review : The Book Thief

The Book Thief : An uplifting story of how a girl  finds solace by stealing books and sharing them with others. In the basement of her home, a Jewish refugee is being sheltered by her adoptive parents.

Hey Peeps

So The Book Thief, I special reasoning to wanting to watch this film and as a word of warning any nit picks or constructive negativity I have to say about this is all valid because I've read the book. I have read the book. I like the story that the book entails, it's appealing intellect and it's wonderful characters alike.

So the film starts off with the introduction to our Narrator who is there of course, to narrate and guide us through the story initially. It is then we are introduced to Liesel Meminger who I'd like to comment is very well cast, she's played by Sophie Nélisse, who is an young child actress who up until this point was unknown to me. She is on a train with her mum and the film starts with the tragic death of Liesel's little brother. The idea was that Liesal and her brother were both going to be handed over to this couple who'd be their new adopted parents during the duration of the war.

By doing this, they would be able to go to school and get educated on the furher's rights and regulations and live adequite life styles. It is then Liesel is taken in by this couple, Emily Watson is Rosa Hubermann and Geoffrey Rush is Hans Hubermann. Later during a book burning, Liesel comes across one book which escaped the clutches of the fire, so she rather sneakly takes it without anyone noticing and she starts to read, the more she reads the more educationally curious she becomes. There is a saying about learning which sticks out in this instance and that is 'The more you know, the further you go'.

Then Max comes into it, Max is a Jewish refugee who is hiding from Nazi scouts who are hunting down Jews to take them to concentration camps. Hans takes him in because there is a bit of unknown back story to how he knows Max in earlier life, apparently Max is the son of someone Hans helped a long time ago. Hans promised that if he ever needed a favour from him, he'd give it to him. This favour now being refrenced and related back to Max. So Max's interaction into being in the story is explained pretty clearly. It's done in more perserverant detail in the book which would just take far too long to go into when doing the prospect of film, so I think it's good that you do just get the basics of how Max comes to be there, the extra detail would of been great but wouldn't of done the film any favours in terms of timing. There's only so much you can do in film.

So that's the basic outline of what the film is about, that's the story and plot explained. Here's a trailer.

Now this is where I start to get a little on the edge with this film. Going back to what I said about detail, because of a timing issue, there's only so much basic fact of the fiction of the book that can be included into the story in order for A) Allowing the story to make sense and B) Get the research it requires from the resource that is the book. There's not enough valuable resource from the book related to in this film. It is a shame, but most adapted films are like that.

Take the narrator for instance, Roger Allam hardly got the screen time to say much or do anything. When the character he plays (Which I won't mention for the purposes of spoilers) Is a pivital and vital character who's importance is only second to Liesel Meminger. He's hardly in it. It would of been interesting to see the dynamics of the Roger Allam character work better and guide us through the whole story, rather than just bits of it.

Also unexplained plauses and plot holes, I think I can best explain this with an example - Rudy. Sweet lovly Rudy, hate be a spoiler but he dies much earlier in the book. In the film he dies in a bomb attack which is tragic and the scene is really sad, but Rudy dies a lot sooner in the book, therefore structure wobbles a bit for me in terms of storytelling because Rudy's not dead.

That's just a few major examples to point out about this. I mean it kind of gets repetaive thinking when watching the film of a book adaptation. You want to watch it out of excitement and curiosity, but at the same time you don't want your book ruined either. Take Harry Potter as an example.

However having said this, Production wise I think the films very good because it allows the veiwer to experience a passionate story in a more visual expressive manour, played with emotional interest by members of a fantastic cast who get to be : happy, sad, joyful and  funny and contempt and broken. Yeah, very good indeed. I felt emotionally engaged watching this, which means the films done its job very well.

It's an entertainment film. It's a contented drama about a young girl, books, nazi germany and war times, communicated in such as way by Brian Percival (Director) that touches the heart of the viewer and demonstartes the value of life at it's finest. 8/10.

NEXT : The Judge.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Review : Disney's Beauty & The Beast


Beauty and The Beast, the classic love story in which a prince cursed to being a hideous monster learns to love and care for another, and a young woman who hates his guts warms to his company and develops genuine feelings of sincerity for him.

So what is it we all love about 'Beauty & The Beast'? I think it's largely down to the principals of what you can get from it when you emotionally connect with the characters. I for one am hugely emotionally connected to Belle and how she learns to love The Beast. How The Beast is not an animal, he learns to love as well. I'm quite parshal to this one in perticular becuase it's so beautifully animated. Beauty & The Beast is just absolute pure class from start to finish.

I think that the majority of parents/ adults know that some of The Beast's initial ferocity might scare younger viewers. However once children have seen his gentle side, they might find scenes of him being hunted and stabbed by Gaston emotionally upsetting. The sequence in which a mob comes after Beast is also quite intense, and there's a fair bit of cleavage on display during the bar song "Gaston" number. But children mature enough for feature-length stories such as this will find this one of the best Disney films they could spend time with in terms of intelligence, quality, and originality  not to mention having one of Disney's smartest, most independent heroines.

In terms of Quality, Beauty & The Beast may not be one of Disney's most famous films ever made, but it stands as the studio's crowning achievement, winning an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Picture. Stellar music, brisk storytelling, beautifully animated in every detail, and above all compelling characters make it both a great animated feature for children and a great fun film for anyone.

In essence of all great stories are about transformation, and this one beats out even Cinderella as the ultimate makeover story, with Beast's inner transformation preceding his outer one. Some editions of the DVD include an additional scene and a new song, but the original movie stands on its own merit.

For the record I would say that families can talk about Belle and Beast's first impressions of each other. What did they discover about each other as their relationship grew? And also as one of the popular Disney Princesses, how is Belle the same as Cinderella and the Little Mermaid? How is she different? So there's certainlly those parallels in it that are left open for broad discussion.

Yes, quite parshal to 'Beauty & The Beast' it a brilliant film, 9/10.

NEXT : The Book Theif

Review : Disney's The Lion King


Join the delicate balance in the circle of life as Simba a new future king, learns the true meaning of what it takes to become a good leader and over throw the power of vicious evil Uncle, who seeks the throne for himself.

The Lion King, is indeed highly regarded as being one of the greatest Disney movies of all time. I can understand why in every detail that this film achieves its best. For me, I was the right age to like The Lion King, the story was very well done. It has the exact premise of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Young Kid on the block who is next in line to be king, his Uncle kills the King so he can become ruler, The young kid challenges his Uncle, defeats him and takes back his home land. The end.

So there are two things to consider here, 1) I know the play Hamlet well enough to reference it's storyline. And 2) It's presented in such a format that is good for both Children and Adults combined to make it a good family film. There's conflict, laughs, songs and dances, it's all very festive and has the right balance of emotional depth to it to make it all the more sincere. That's the magic of the golden age of Disney, it makes good films for families.

I think that most parents know that The Lion King is considered one of Disney's greatest animated musicals, but it does have some scary moments. The most disturbing violence is the death of Simba's father, Mufasa, by a stampede of wildebeests. The bloodthirsty hyenas, who scavenge for food and threaten Simba and his friends, are also frightening. But despite a few sad sequences and a few evil characters, the overall message is one of hope, love, and family responsibility.

In terms of quality The Lion King has echoes of Shakespeare, bringing to mind the plots of both Richard the Thrid and Hamlet, as I've said before. What's so good about The Lion King is that it's not just a film but a marketing phenomenon: This blockbuster was the highest grossing film of 1994. Of course children won't know or care about that; they'll just be enthralled by the memorable songs and the colourful settings and of course the great characters.

As a word of caution the scene in which Simba's father, Mufasa, is trampled to death, is both sad and genuinely scary. And some of the fights between animals later in the film can be frightening as well. But the lesson that Simba learns is that you have to stand up to your problems instead of running away from them is a solid one. You stick with things, you see it through to the end, and never give up! That's the underlining message of this.

It's an all round very well constructed film. 9/10

NEXT : Disney's Beauty & The Beast

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Review : Fight Club

Fight Club

By wanting to review this film, I'm going against the number 1 rule of Fight Club. 'Don't talk about Fight Club'. And yet here I am reviewing it.

The story goes that Ed Norton plays an insomniac office worker who is looking for a way to change his life. There is just nothing going anywhere for him. He is stuck in a status of stale mate. It's only when he crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, Tyler Durdan (Played by Brad Pitt) and they form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more dramatically drastic.

Going into the dynamics of Fight Club, In its first hour or so, this picture appears to be the most intreegingly spiteful and well-acted satire of our contemporary "crisis of masculinity": self-pitying guys hugging in groups and claiming victim status - modern consumer society having allegedly rendered the poor dears' hunter-gathering instincts obsolete.

But, by the end, it has unravelled catastrophically into a strident, shallow, pretentious bore with a "twist" ending that doesn't work. And it is a film which smugly flirts, oh-so-very-controversially, with some of the intellectual and cultural paraphernalia of fascism - but does not have anything like the nerve, still less the cerebral equipment, to back this pose up.

Edward Norton gives a compulsively twitchy, nerdy, hollow-eyed performance as Fight Club's Narrator: a 30-year-old single guy with a white collar job in the automotive industry and a secret addiction; he loves attending support groups posing as a sufferer. Hilariously, this is the only thing that gives him an emotional high.

Fight Club has a classic scene where he turns up at a testicular cancer victims' group and the participants have to pair off, hugging, sobbing and letting it all out. He teams up with Robert - a cracking performance from the singer Meat Loaf - who has grown tits after his balls have been cut off. How pathetic is that? How metaphorical is that?

Into this ghastly and frankly dysfunctional existence steps the super-cool and way charismatic Tyler Durden, a travelling soap salesman in a cerise leather jacket and funky, Elvis-ish shades: a witty and seductive performance from Brad Pitt, who has never been better. Tyler introduces Ed to the Fight Club: secret bare-knuckle brawls where nerdy wimps such as Norton get to reconnect life-changingly with their inner macho men.

Where it all comes apart is where Tyler tries to use the fight club as the basis for a kind of anarcho-terrorist gang, subverting and blowing up the symbols of bullshit corporate America that have taken their testicles away. Tyler brands Ed Norton's arm with a "kiss" mark in acid, laying down a sub-Sadeian/Nietzschean riff about how it is only in pain that you can forget about the fatuity of God and become yourself. He reveals that the soap he sells is made of human fat, stolen from liposuction clinics - and later we hear his followers will have to provide their own black shirts.

Pretty unsubtle. We know which associations and images Brad and Ed are fooling around with. But do they? The implications are never followed through, and the movie never has the balls really to take responsibility for the nihilism, rage and despair it appears to be gesturing towards.

Overall Fight Club is an Amazing film, with some great one liners, just a bit contempary. I will give it 8/10.

NEXT : Disney's, The Lion King.