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