Monday, 9 November 2015

Review : Spectre

I have to start off by saying that this movie is a real credit to the franchise. I have had just under 24 hours to think upon the spectacle I saw last night, and the more I think about it, the more I love it. (This is the first time I've ever felt this with a Bond movie).

From the return of the gun-barrel at the beginning of the movie, to the opening sequence that see's more action sequences and stunts than a few Bond films in the franchise can talk about in the entire movie. The beginning is exhilarating and breath-taking. Quite literally. The title sequence of the movie is gorgeous. Pristine and sharp in quality, it almost tells a story in amongst itself. That accompanied by Sam Smith's contribution into the Bond theme catalogue 'Writing's on the Wall'. A song which I don't like but its works along with the context of the film.

The stand-out characters of the film are definitely Bond, Oberhauser (Blofeld) and Hinx, with Q also standing a smidgen above the rest. The acting in general is astounding. Craig gives his most confident and experimental performance as Bond, an amalgamation of the Bond's past with his own version of the character filling in the gaps of his psychology. Christoph Waltz is a villain specialist when it comes to his acting talents, and he gives a dark, menacing performance as the returning arch nemesis of Bond, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, under the guise of Franz Oberhauser. Cat and scar also included. The story surrounding him killing his father out of jealousy of him treating Bond better than he treated his own son and then faking his death was great, albeit the reasoning of jealousy being a little weak.

Hinx is a henchmen in the same vein as Jaws and Oddjob, so it is hard to see how anything in his performance, particularly his many fight scenes could go wrong, that and how much like Jaws and Oddjob, he doesn't have to speak a word to expose his true menace. The entire Mi6, Whitehall brigade are on form in this film, far more involved than before. Fiennes has asserted himself into the role as the new M, while Ben Whishaw gives an effortlessly hilarious performance as Q (he even gets the chance to go out onto the field to locate Bond). Moneypenny and Tanner are also prominent, with great performances, albeit nothing extremely unexpected from Naomie Harris and Rory Kenner.

Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci provide interesting takes on the traditional Bond girl as Madeleine Swann and Lucia Sciarra. Both are completely different in their personalities, but both riveting characters. Bellucci is severely underused, however Seydoux will surely rank highly in the list of best Bond girls for a number of fans.

And finally, we come to the action. The action is superb and on point in this film, the helicopter fight and entire pre-titles sequence at the beginning is incredible as already mentioned. The car chase through Rome is comedic and great to watch, especially in IMAX with the sound of the Jaguar and DB10 engines ripping through the cinema. The plane/car chase in Austria is also great to watch and very different from the car chase in Rome, the train fight was a severe From Russia With Love fangasm and the escape from Blofeld's lair in Tangier, along with the rest of the scenes there was the best part of the film. The final climax was also incredible, with Bond having to save Madeleine from the old Mi6 building before it is demolished and to make sure Blofeld is brought to justice by shooting down his helicopter on Westminster Bridge.

I give this film: 8/10

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

REVIEW : The Man from Uncle


Synopsis : Action, Adventure Comedy set in the early 1960s, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons. 

Would we consider The Man from UNCLE to be good cinema? I just want to throw that one out there because I think if you would consider this film to be good cinema then the chances are that you are going to enjoy this film in some way. 

The Man from UNCLE was a popular TV series which has now been made into a film. Like "The Avengers," "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." borrows from James Bond stories. The good guys, suave U.S. operative Napoleon Solo and sexy Russian Illya Kuryakin, work for U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) and battle evil international syndicate THRUSH.

I felt it had good atmospheric set up in terms of setting the scene that we when we are, it's important to get that part right because once you got that set up, your main concentration is on the actual content of the plot itself. I didn't mind this film so much, I enjoyed it but I didn't love it. It's certainly one of Guy Ritchie's better films. Guy Ritchie is a good director but he's gone down hill a bit and Man from UNCLE probably is attempt to pick himself up. 

Action, Spy thrillers tend to engage my interests anyway I always keep a look out for some spy film or tv series and if I see something new that's out I'm more than likely going to say 'yes' to it. I watched this in an empty cinema on a Sunday afternoon in August, it was a cold and rainy day as you get in Britain. I remember watching it and thinking it was good, but it wasn't what I was drawn into seeing. I don't know if that was my fault necessarily in expecting too much from due to the major hype this film got in the publicity or whether or not I felt that I was indecisive due to not knowing what I was meant to be expecting from it. 

It certainly has that sleekness to it, a good strand of care in continuity and keeping the pace going thats the thing I felt this did the best out of everything else. I think what Ritchie was trying to do was recapture an element of that spark the original series had that got everyone excited in the first place. It has a stellar cast of classy actors who have that sort of spy-ish look about them. It's partly there and also has something new and original to it. 

Its all about whether or not you spot a gap in the market for it and whether its a matter of judgement of are an audience ready for this sort of thing? Who knows. 

It's a 6/10 for me. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

REVIEW : Legend

Legend: Biography, Crime Thriller which stars Tom Hardy as the identical twin gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray. two of the most notorious criminals in British History, and their crime empire in the East End of London during the 1960's.

Directed by Brian Helgeland, the idea of this was to go into an insight of the twins crime history, not the whole story but just finding that controvert middle ground and it does that very well. The problem is for me nothing really much happens in this. Although the high tense moments that do happen in this are intense and are very edgy, horrifically violent and volatile its just a shame that we don't get as much of the fist cuffs that we deserve.

Tom Hardy is brilliant at differentiating between the two Kray twins, its very clear which is which and though they lookalike they both have very separate ideas and personalities which are portrayed very convincingly.

It terms of the story, the film is lacklustre. Not much happens to drive your interest through its more of a matter of you watching and observing and gaining information from it, so the film isn't quite the thrill ride entertainer that the trailers or the advertisement suppose it to be.

I enjoyed it to an extent of the fact that I do like Gangster films, I like not knowing who's going to get brutally killed just for putting a foot wrong and the film does contain those scenes, it has everything which sums up a classic gangster movie. Which is why I'm confused as to why it chooses to be slow, pretentious, lacklustre and having things such as relationships take over it needed more getting back to the action I felt.

It is a very clean cut film, I liked how it was edited and put together. Especially Tom's interaction, it just a case of green screening and clever double crossing between takes and very clever co-ordination to get it right. The success of the films sleekness is down to both director and editor or editors who combine to make a clean cut, on the line product. I just wish it was all the more enjoyable to watch, it felt like watching a documentary above everything else. It didn't help having annoying narration in front explaining exactly what was happening in the film, to me that was unnecessary.

It's one of those mish mash films for me. I think it was good to a certain extent and it could have down without certain bits for the better. It needed to be grittier and have more punch and be more in your face because I didn't feel intimidated or understand half the things that went on within what the story was trying to portray. Seeing as I've come to a mid way conclusion I'm going to give this a 5/10!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

REVIEW : Titanic

Titanic : A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind, but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic.

I'll be honest, I've always chosen not to watch this film. The reason being is that to me, the essential story of the Titanic is so interesting in itself that I really am not interested in a fictional romance over the top of it. I'd rather watch 'A night to remember'. 

No rating.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

REVIEW : Kingsman - The Secret Service

Kingsman : The Secret Service - A spy organisation recruits an unrefined yet promising youngster into their highly competitive training programme. In the mean time the world is under threat from a demented tech genius.

From Matthew Vaughn, (The Director of Kick Ass) Kingsman Secret Service captivates all the thrill and excitement that the audience expects in the fast paced action, quick slick dialogue and a to the point plot.

It has everything and more and having seen Kick Ass you get an enjoyable foundations into Vaughn's directing techniques. When going into Kingsman, you get that and more, the script is a very dynamic and diverse, quick paced and easy to work with but also a lot of hard work because the dynamics all come down to getting the action right and not having a slow moment, it has to be on edge.

I think what I liked about the film the most was the sheer sleekness of it, its almost effortless. It has a mix of a verity of things I like:  I like spy dramas, I like action thrillers, I take pleasure in watching people get beaten up in a malicious way because its a film. It's a fantasy and a fantasy is not real life. The violence in it has to exaggerated to an extent to communicate to viewers that this is clearly make believe but with a realistic feel to it, without the sleekness of it and quick clean cuts, it would be a very different film entirely.

Here's a trailer.

I really like the choice of casting for this, you got some great names on the cover of this : Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson and Michael Caine. All fantastic actors with great reputation behind them to sell to their fans and the general public to sell the film well. All of which give top performances for the consumet of professionals that they are.

In terms of story, one could argue that it is a bit lack lustre. I tend to think not. I like the script a lot, it shows interesting potential as it is interpreted on screen and its kept to what it is a clever script, with witty comedy and I think the film really stands up and would be acceptable today as a good piece of action drama, shot by a very good, experienced director.   8/10.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

REVIEW : Frozen

FROZEN : A kingdom emerged in ice and two sisters locked in a conflicted battle... the mission is on to bring back summer and restore peace to the land.

And so it's come to this... I'm reviewing Frozen. Based off the children's tale "The Snow Queen". I'll start this review by commenting on the enormous impact this film has made in the public eye.  Not even the people who made it believed that the film would make such an impact as it did. But never the less it did and for good reasons, the story is really strong, it's beautifully animated, the characters are brilliant and rememberable - characters like Olaf stick out in a childs mind and in a way creates an icon for the film for people to relate to.

I don't think anyone knew how popular this film was going to become, I didn't get round to seeing it for quite a while after it's DVD release, but having finally seen I fail to see how this films stands up as being as good as the old classics like Snow White, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.

Going into detail a little bit about the story, two sisters Elsa and Ana. Elsa has a magical power which she can't control and she fears that her powers will make her harm the ones she loves so to prevent that from happening she is left locked in her room and doesn't come out - feelings of neglect and rejection are imposed towards Ana from Elsa because Ana thinks Elsa doesn't want to be around her but when the truth comes out about Elsa's powers all hell breaks loose and Elsa turns the whole kingdom into an ice world and its up to Ana and friends she meets on her journey to bring back Summer and put a right to Elsa's wrong and Ana can get her sister back.

It's the typical Disney musical type thing we are used to, and when watching this you do feel like you got a piece of those classics back with all the singing and dancing in-between parts of drama and there is a lot of drama in this, there's adventure and there's comedy which adds to the whole family friendly target it was aiming at.

My issue with Frozen is that it's too cliche and fake for me. I feel that as a story I have seen all this stuff before and it's typical fairy tale stuff of everything being all happy and lovely and then you got the proper peril, fear not a handsome prince will save the day etc. It's all very predictable as you watch it and your never really overly surprised, there's no shock factor for me with this because I've seen done before many many times over and in so many ways that you can't make it any more different than it could potentially be.

Also and Island kingdom, a long unseen princess locked away, horse/reindeer playfulness, wild scoundrel love interest, you do realise that this film has the exact premise of Tangled?

6/10 for me.

That's it from me guys. I'm off on Summer Holiday and I'll be back with more reviews in September!

Friday, 17 July 2015

REVIEW : A Walk Among the Tombstones

A Walk Among the Tombstones : private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to discover who kidnapped and murdered his wife.

I think since "Taken" came out Liam Neeson keeps falling into the role of the heavy, nitty gritty, hard hitting action hero which really packs a lot of punch. He plays private investigator Matthew Scudder who is hired by a drug kingpin who's wife was kidnapped and murdered, he is paid to search for the person or people who committed the crime.

I'll be honest there really isn't much in the story at all to be honest, the plot is very bland and the pacing of it is very bleak and slow, everything is very greyscale. So the background to this film isn't exactly the most appealing, its not meant to give off a positive vibe quite the opposite a negative vibe, taken too literally in terms of the way it is portrayed on screen than how it should be interpreted in small doses.

Liam Neeson's performance is very good in this film, but at the end of the day it's Liam Neeson - he's an amazing actor who's good in everything. My problem with Liam's performance in this particular film is that its the same Taken routine just interpreted in a different way. Not that I'm saying Liam Neeson will forever be in the shadow of Taken and Taken will never leave him, but it is such a well known film with high popularity figures Taken did cement him in the gritty, action role with the fist coughs and the fighting and no matter what character he's playing in a film with a crime genre such as this, it will remind the viewers of Taken. It's unavoidable.

There really isn't much to go upon with this really, its a very bland and stale film it certainly isn't one of Liam Neeson's greatest films, but at the same time not one of his worst. 6/10.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

REVIEW : Oliver!

Oliver! (1968) Musical Adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens story of an orphan who runs away from his orphanage and teams up with a group of boys who are trained pickpockets by an elderly mentor.

Carol Reed directs this unforgettable version of this classic tale originally written by Charles Dickens. This film has gone down in film history as being the ideal version of the story, people to this day still remember the songs and are singing along as they watch it over and over again.

There is something about this particular film, which sticks out in my mind to be truly entertaining and rememberable.  I think it is to do with the fact that the songs are so engaging with viewers and they are designed in such a way that is both relatable to the characters and relevant to the story. People tend to just join in with this and get stuck into it and I can always remember this being a fun film.

Watching it today, in a more mature perspective in comparison to watching it as a child. I couldn't remember much that happened when I watched this at a younger age. Probably because I lost interest due to the fact the film's overall length is so long. Now I only tend to watch certain bits, I couldn't watch the whole thing from start to finish now. There comes a time where as time moves on, your thoughts and opinions change. I can remember this being enjoyable in parts and very dull and boring in parts.

I'm not a huge fan of musicals but by changing the format of this story to make it work like a musical- it does work in that musical format and the musical structure and makes things very interesting and engaging for the audience. As I say before the songs jog people's memory nowadays and it creates a connection with the story.

The production values on this film are fantastic, the cinematography is brilliant. The scale of everything tends to expand to such extraordinary lengths that it feels like this is a really big thing; and it was at the time. It won 5 Oscars. The acting and the singing is on point through the whole thing, the acting is superb and more or less everything comes out on point as far as that is concerned.

There are many versions of Oliver that have been made over the years in film, on television and on stage but this particular version tends to relate to people the most and rightly so because for audiences this is probably the best version to go for as there's more of a background in terms of story and in execution to portraying the poor industrial estate of showing off the bracing aroma of Victorian London. It sets a mood of the scumbags getting one over the more established type of class.

Oliver's journey is a great outline to follow to lead into that, he's a boy who starts off with nothing and by joining in with this gang he mixes in with the wrong crowd and ends up having this adventure. It's the thrill and excitement of the adventure that draws you into this and for director Carol Reed he invites you in, he makes you want to know more and as a result of that he creates something which is still going strong today.  7/10.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

REVIEW : The Rewrite

The Rewrite : A nice mixture of romance and comedy and very different to anything else that went out at the time. A strong story with a genuine heartwarming presence at the heart of it. Hugh Grant plays a scriptwriter who once won an oscar and now is a washed up writer who can't get any work at all and he ends up much to his dismay having to take a job teaching script writing at a dead beat university in the middle of nowhere and he's miserable but over time he comes to term with the fact that he quite likes teaching and there's a mature student in the film played by Marisa Tomei who he finds he likes even more.

Here's a trailer.

From director Marc Lawrence who directed the films, Music and Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice, The Rewrite is more than a typical romantic comedy even though there is some nice romance and some great comedy moments in it, the story tells itself really well, doesn't really boar you the pace of it is very steady and the cast are great. It has all the necessary elements to make up a good film.

It's rare to see Hugh Grant in a film on the basis that he is an actor who doesn't do that many films but after a full two decades after "Four Weddings and a Funeral", Grant still does the stammering, understated, witty and dashing performance as well as any other actor in the business. He brings a delightful balance of personality and likability to his character which helps in ways of how you can intemperate the story.

I like the story, I like the simplicity of it and I think if The Rewrite had come out in 1999 it would have gotten a far more ample promotion, as well as receiving a wider release. In 2014 the Hollywood landscape has changed just from the way films have moved on and from the way audiences have moved on in regard to what kinds of films distributors are looking for and how they are ultimately received from a public response.

Sadly in this day and age, the vast majority of people going to see a film on a nationwide scale are all about high concept plotting, franchise worthy source material and show off visual effects, there is little room in multiplexes for well written, character centric ensemble pieces - no matter how good your cast is.

Having said that, if this is your type of thing that you enjoy - go figure. 6/10

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


SPY A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.


Spy pretty much is a hybrid of action and comedy. It contains the typical spy thriller elements but inflicts a kind of mickey take on the whole seriousness of spy agent figures like James Bond and Spy Action movies. Jude Law's character in particular portrays that.

You've got a fairly easy plot to go into, and the film has lots of fun moments. Melissa McCarthy provides some wonderfully witty and out load statements, she plays an analyst who wants to be something more and her job is to sit at a desk and talk into Jude Law's ear as he's out on missions and instruct and advise him on moves and actions. But she wants to be slightly more than that. So she decides her chance to shine comes when a deadly arms dealer is planning to hand over plans to a deadly nuclear device and she knows the identity of all the other agents so she therefore has to go undercover, but no one in the field thinks she's cut out for it.

It's about this one character going out into the field on her first full on mission, and proving all the people wrong whoever doubted her. It's a fun premise and some of the film is very funny. It's one of these popcorn flicks in which you don't have to so invested in the plot to get the premise of what the film is trying to achieve. You simply sit back, relax, enjoy it and have a good time.

The film is directed by Paul Fieg who directed Bridesmaids and The Heat. Now he's returned having directed this film, and I always like Paul Fieg's directing techniques and his approach in working with familiar people like for instance Malissa McCarthy and Rose Bryne. It's fast and does a good job at keeping the past fluent but also there are moments of set back in moments of comedy, balance of contrast between various situations in the film is natural. The best way to describe the type of film this is about is to describe it as a fun feminist comedy with wonderfully outlandish events and good examinations of the understanding of the genre.

You have lovely moments of epsilonage in there as well as thrill and the balance of comedy is slightly over pitched. I think as a critique the comedy could be approached very differently for instance its laughs come from the realm of the bawdy, the raucous and the self aware. but its hard thing to get right, and there are some great bits in it from supporting role of Jason Statham. 

What's positive is we get to see a good mixture of comedy and action in equal doses. 5/10

Friday, 19 June 2015

Review : Mr Holmes

Mr Holmes : The late great detective has one last mystery to solve. The same case he was involved in before he went into retirement, however the clock is ticking for Mr Holmes to solve the mystery of what his last case meant, can he solve his final puzzle?

Ian McKellen plays two versions of the great detective in the film. One in his 60's and again later in his early retirement in his 90's. I was very much looking forward to this and I was thrilled that Ian McKellen was playing Holmes in this as I heard a rumour floating around that he was quitting acting after the last Hobbit film.

McKellen is an excellent actor, very experienced and therefore you have total confidence and belief in his performance from the word go which is always encouraging for the viewer because if you have confidence in your leading man or woman that connection is all the viewer needs to guide them through the story.

The story goes that Holmes was involved in a case 30 years ago which ended his career as a detective. He goes into retirement and takes up beekeeping, however there's something at the back of his mind bothering him about his last case. It's all about going back and trying to see if he can solve  the case again but this time... complete it.

Here's a trailer.

General spectacle on viewing something like crime drama is the puzzle at the centre of it, the raw  boundaries of what you need is a good puzzle for the viewer to solve as well as the detective and a good story based around that. Audiences love a puzzle and something they can interact in and this film I think provides that very well.

The story was set up really well in terms of learning of the origins of Holmes not just in the realms of fiction but as Holmes the man which McKellen brilliantly portrays. I liked the contrast between the two versions of Sherlock Holmes in this and there's a scene which differentiates this brilliantly in a cinema which when you watch it you'll understand where I'm coming from. There's the commercial Holmes as seen as being this great detective and then there's the repressed, puzzled, confused man played by McKellen. 

Mr Holmes shows a side to Sherlock Holmes that I don't think people probably knew could possibly exist.  What's great about McKellen is that he's sweet and gentle of pace and that is what's intriguing you want to know more and he doesn't force anything on the performance it's completely natural. 

Bill Condon's directing is magical, every second counts.  

What I love most about this film is that Holme's last case is imagined here and not by the fictional interpretation he is interpreted to be - the mysterious Sherlock Holmes with pipe and cap.  8/10

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Review : Mad Max - Fury Road

MAD MAX : Fury Road - Tom Hardy is Max.  In a waste land where humanity is broken, Two rebels try to restore the natural balance to the world again - You got Max and  you got Furiosa (Chalize Theron) - a woman who has hope to make it back to her childhood homeland.

As a re boot production wise, everything is improved for the best. It looks absolutely fantastic and within seconds you are captivated by the shear thrill of it and the action gets started within seconds - you got the audience attention straight away. You don't really get a complete clear understanding of what the plot is about or where things are going until after Furiosa highjacks a fuel truck and takes it on a diverted cause.

This results in a wild goose chase and watching a car chase for the entirety of the film, after a while the whole car chase thing got very boring for me. I didn't understand why the bad guy - who was basically Bane from Dark Knight Rises, what if Bane was a goth? had to get a whole gang and himself to go after one small truck when he could have just sent a handful of his crones to do it?

Also you never really get any real sense of identity with any of the characters, I couldn't relate to any of them. Every character wanted something, but I never got a clear indication as to what was going on in certain sub plots to do with various characters it's all a bit disjointed with the actual plot. This relates back to my point of people being blown away by big explosions and visual effects and the story within visual effects rather than the other way round which it should be.

I think certain things such as this are there to captivate the viewer but afterwards you think, what have I just watched? It is set up to be very thrilling and meant to grip the viewers through shier drama and suspense but for me that's not quite enough to satisfy my needs, I would rather have a good story and crap effects to be perfectly honest.

One of my favourite things about this film is the production values, all the landscapes and locations that are viewed are visually fantastic and wide shots show off a full sceptical which I like, its very broad in terms of stretching the viewers imagination and conflicting a vision upon the viewer. The main two people in the cast are fantastic, the rest of the cast are mediocre.

Someone said to me that they thought that this film was "One of Tom Hardy's greatest films"... that's possibly true. It depends on your sceptical of the piece, I'll leave that open to you.

It wasn't a terrible film, I watched it thinking that I was going to hate it but I didn't. It wasn't that bad, but I wouldn't watch it again, I'd see no need to. At least not for the foreseeable future.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Review : Focus

FOCUS : Starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie - Two big names in a comedy, crime, drama about how a veteran con man's latest scheme goes tits up when a woman from his past, who is now a accomplished femme fatale show up and throws his plan up in the air.

There are many films out there like this like 21, Now You See Me, Catch Me If You Can, Casino and various others similar to this, I think what makes Focus an interesting film to watch is that it is forever compelling from start to finish, its so clean cut and carefully executed so you don't miss a trick, your drawn in but not given too much away. I think it does what it says on the tin and carries it's purposes out quite well throughout.

On the other hand, the competition with films such as this is enormous. My issue is that if you are one of these people who doesn't pay much attention when watching films, then don't watch this film. It's one of these things where if you take your eye off the ball, you miss a trick and its so quick and precise to the limit that you need to have full attention on it.

What's confusing is that it couldn't just stay about thing, it had to be about something else, it had to be controversial in order to keep it flowing when in actual fact, it was doing well 20 minutes in. I do feel it is a bit of a rush rush type film, and not one which is about being bang on the timing, you need to tone it down allowing the audience to absorb what they have just watched and then draw them back in again. It's the issue of balance that gets to it in the end which is a shame.

6/10 for me.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Review : Spooks - The Greater Good

Spooks - The Greater Good is a continuation of the story which is established on the BBC's 'Spooks', in which the head of MI5 and his assailant must prevent a terrorist attack happening in London.

It seems like a deeply thrilling topic when you think about it, considering that London is one of the most iconic cities in the world and there have been many attempts to provoke a terrorist attack in London so much to the extent, you've got police officers on the street with machine guns as protection from hostile forces. The country is very aware that these sorts of things can and could happen, so to do a film about it at this time and base it off a hugely successful TV series just adds something more special to the cinematic value of this film's background.

I really enjoyed this a lot, there was a lot of fast passed, action sequences, the plot wasn't too complicated, things seemed to have the right amount of depth to it so it wouldn't get too farcical in action and would boar the viewer, interesting cinematography captured throughout and the music score as well added great depth to the background of a scene which of course is always a bonus.

Performance wise, there wasn't really a bad member of the cast in it. The acting wasn't anything amazing where I went 'Oh my god Kit Harrington is Amazing in this' for example, it's just above par, on average, serves the purpose from what you could expect from that particular cast. I do approve of the diversity of people and background but you do wonder with any film if it was the cast you'd visualise, if you could swap that actor for this one and have them in it instead, would it work quite so well and most of the time - 87% of the time. It doesn't because you got to have the right balance there and sometimes people's strengths or weakness's can not really do anything for the other members of the cast, which demonstrates why cast is so important.

Going into the story a little bit, telling you what it's about : It starts with a terrorist escaping custody during a routine hand over, Will Holloway (Kit Harrington) teams up with a disgraced MI5 Intelligence Chief Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) to track the terrorist down and get him back before he commits a terrorist attack on London.

It's a race against time the story, and its one of these summer films in which you can sit back relax, enjoy and have a good time and this film in perticular is good to see in the cinema because it adds a sense of cultural anxiety and thrill rush which you don't get say in the comfort of your own home. On the big screen the quality of it is quite spectacular in a way and I think people will get good thrill cultural changes from it in a good way, in moments of peril and dramatic tension there are wonderful shock moments which viewers don't anticipate and therefore makes it surprising and triggers off a shock factor about, that what makes good crime films interesting viewing.

I'm going to give it a 7/10. Very good indeed.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Review : Avengers - Age of Ultron

AVENGERS : AGE OF ULTRON When Tony Stark and Bruce Banner try to jump start a dormant peacekeeping program called Ultron, things go horribly wrong and it's up to Earth's Mightiest Heroes to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.

This is the kind of make believe action film which allows you to escape from the real world and re enter marvel world once again. If you liked Avengers Assemble then that chances are you'll enjoy Age of Ultron as well. 

The great works of Marvel Films do it yet again, producing yet another truly excellent production, it looks good, it sounds terrific, mind blowing special effects - especially if you experience them in 3D. 

The storyline for Ultron is Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go a bit pear shaped and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put together again as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.

Just a quick word of warning, I should point out I am not a huge marvel fan, my opinions are not relevant, however I shall have my opinions but if they're are any marvel fans reading this, please don't be disheartened in what I say. This blog, I talk about films and I sometimes divide opinion and I shall have my opinions.
Coming up with the story for me with this, it lies in the diversity of the story telling and if you can pull that off well you got the foundations of a good film, in the case of Ultron is about your threat in the heart of the story and building up a problem around that and the marvel heroes coming together again after Assemble to join forces and beat the villain in the end. 

The problem is (and I will probably get crucified for this) there are far too many characters in this story. That's the main problem, just too many people. I know the basic principal of an avengers film is to have all the marvel heroes come together and it does work in comic book land, the trouble with it not working so well this time around is that the characters dynamics are very different in terms of the way they see things in approaching the problem at hand, this could have been slightly more condensed as say an Iron Man story for example and not have all the other characters in, getting in the way.

It does seem to be a bit of an exaggerated plot, more so than what it turns out to be. I think the action was over pitched and the balance of action and drama in this wasn't quite right. too much concentration of watching things get blown up and 'epic' battles between the good guys vs the bad guys it all seemed to me a little to over the top and though this adds value to the whole comic to screen thing - everything is supposed to be like that. Personally I felt the story could work as well with a little less of the crashing and bashing and the whole wham bam thank you mam routine. 

On a contrast visual perspective the effects are stunning and the film is really well edited, there is no doubt about that in my mind. I just feel that graphically stunning visual effects and green screening and massive explosions and impressive sound effects are more important to people then going into depth of the story and in terms of the way I view things I like to overview the film as a whole and have a good balance of visual stuff within the story, and it was the other way round it was a story within the visual effects. It's not a bad thing necessarily I just find it a bit strange.

Therefore overall 6/10 for me.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Review Part Two : What is Genre?

What is Genre?

“Genre is a collection of shared rules that allows a film maker to use established communicative formulas and the viewer to organize his own system of expectations”. – Moine (2009)

In the world of film, Genre can be known as a ‘type’.  Films and TV Programmes are categorized into a type of genre for example: Action, Romance, Adventure, Drama, Comedy, etc. This gives choice to the filmgoers to make it easier for them to decide, what type of film they want to see.

There are a wide verity of Genres all of which are very versatile to definitively describe a style of film. Moine describes the wide range of Genre as being ‘a jungle’. Therefore it describes how difficult it is to make out just exactly what any Genre is.

One of the things that make a Genre difficult to describe is the fact that in terms of society you could possibly consider that a genre reflects what goes on in the real world. Standards in society come out in how the film is made. 

The Gangster storyline in the 1930’s reflects on how crime was at that time ‘a good guy being brought down by society and becoming a criminal.’ (Moine. 2009) For example Moine describes that gangster films ‘frequently tell the story of an individual, a victim, who has only been made blameworthy or turned into a criminal by society’ – Moine (2009)

Moine goes on to say that an audience expects certain things to happen when approaching a type of film and one would expect to see ‘guns blazing, cars screeching, and fast paced, tough and slangy dialogue’ – Bergan (2011) and there is a principal which Moine calls ‘Shared Rules’. This collection of pointers give the audience expectations of what will be in the film.

However when viewing something like ‘Pulp Fiction’ – directed by Quentin Tarantino 1994 - the audience gets some of what it expects, like crime and different types of violence like cathartic violence and glamorised violence, but there are also elements of black comedy and excessive drug-taking.  Tarantino dares to go beyond the Shared Rules and make a certain type of film, which is out of the ordinary and problematic in its structure, going against the simple ‘Good VS Evil’ storyline.

Tarantino uses the guideline to the gangster genre in Pulp Fiction, but he also adds casual dialogue to disguise the true nature of what is about to happen for instance, in the scene where two hit men are on their way to commit an assassination. Audiences usually expect Gangster films to be serious, but in Pulp Fiction the comedy comes through in unexpected moments like this one.

Tarantino also makes his films unique by providing a signature in the selection of the choice of actors for his films.
With Samuel L Jackson you have the stern, seriousness in the eyes of a character, a hit man who later dares to question fate and destiny and his place in life. He sounds more like a preacher than a hitman. Tarantino puts this in the script and Jackson provides.  
John Travolta is also termed as unusual casting when you watch him on screen. At the time no one wanted John Travolta and the last film he did before ‘Pulp Fiction’ was ‘Look who’s talking 3’. However, Travolta being a versatile personality is not only an actor but a dancer as well, and he dances in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino wanted Travolta to dance in a certain kind of way. That comes out in the twist when you watch the dancing scene. Travolta dances in quite a rigid way. It shows off character in the twist in contrast to Thurman’s Zsa Zsa Gabor catlike movements. Once again, Tarantino’s involvement in how he wants the dancing to be portrayed makes the scene quirky and quite humorous. 
Tim Roth is English and also dynamic, but also lower status in terms of rank however he delivers the clever wit of the script off well because when you watch his character interact in the ending scene that low status is seen throughout even when he has the power of holding a gun in attempting to scare people into robbing them.
Other stars such as Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames and Harvey Keitel have special qualities of their own that fit into Tarantino’s vision of the piece, wither it is comedic, serious, profound, nostalgic or a mixture of all four said things. Tarantino’s vision of life combines anger and comedy into the Gangster genre and Drama but at the same time viewers watching his films know that what they are watching is a fiction. The events in Pulp Fiction are not based on real life and the characters are not based on real people. Tarantino specifies that his films stay within a fictitious reality. Tarantino comments that he considers it to be “Good Cinema” when asked about his view on audiences watching violent movies, people who are not violent people going into a watching a heavy action movie its okay for them to sit back and enjoy the violence Tarantino commented “It’s a movie. It’s a fantasy, it’s not real life you watch a kung fu movie and one guy takes on a bunch of people in a restaurant that’s fun”. Implying that because it is fiction there is a security blanket about keeping what is contained within the movie, within the movie and audiences respond to it as being a fictional representation of real life, but they know it is clearly portrayed as not being real life.
Pulp Fiction is a problematic film which is about many alternate stories, involving several characters’ back story, and how all these alternate stories tie into the one complete day which is equal to the main plot; which in turn makes up the film. Audiences hoping to see a gangster film do not get a straightforward storyline that they might expect in the way that Moine suggests.
In developing a story idea for a short film, it is all about coming up with a story and finding out where does it fit in terms of a specific place. Horror? Sci Fi? or combinations of different genres like Romantic Comedy, etc.  I thought of films and TV like: Minority Report, Independence Day, 28 Days Later, Torchwood – Miracle Day because they mixed genres.

The film I helped with is set in a dystopian version of our future. This brings in the Science Fiction element into it, but it is also drama because there is a conflict between two brothers. The background of the surrounding world is important because the audience will understand more about the strict rules in the society that the world is based around, academic intelligence rules over everything else which make a character under emphasised pressure that he ends up betraying his brother.

The Thriller elements come into the storyline making the pace quick and sharp emphasising time running out and my team wanted to highlight this and make it clear the audience watching that the film is restricted and we show and tell in presentation which helps the overall interpretation of our idea come out in much more bold and stronger way.

The Horror elements make the drama all the more enticing and gripping due the natural sense of threat surrounding the negative responses. Characters who fail meet a horrific end, but this is left more to the audiences’ imagination. It the power of suggestion, which plays on the mind of the viewer to actively engage them into everything the short film, is about.

“Producers and consumers both recognise a genre as a distinct entity…” according to David Bordwell quoted in ‘Film Genre from Iconography to Ideology’ (Grant. 2007) However Genres can be mixed up. Pulp Fiction is not clearly a specified as being ‘just’ a gangster film because of the comedy elements to it. The short fiction film I worked on is not specifically just sci-fi because of the drama elements between the two brothers.

The ‘Shared Rules’ set up of expectations is there to allow the viewer to have a freedom of choice in their own personal tastes in what they like and what they don’t like as well having the choice of films which are a combination of different genres mixed together as an experimental format. The jumble combinations reverts to the set of the way Television and Film is today as most audiences need something to grip and or persuade them into not partly watching but fully committed to watching it. Therefore the differentiation of what genre is and the identification of genre is very important for that reason.

NEXT TIME : Avengers - Age of Ultron