We’re finally here! The closing film to the BOOK trilogy, FILM quadrilogy (?) Mockingjay Part 2! It feels a little bit like the wait has lasted a lifetime, though I also haven’t really felt any hype surrounding this film (apart from the moment Jennifer Lawrence and Natalie Dormer accidentally kissed at the premiere, but who wouldn’t be hyped about that). Having said that, me and my party did immediately book tickets to see it at the O2 Sky Superscreen on release date – was it worth it? …Undecided.
One thing that I will quickly mention before moving on to the actual movie is the teaser for this movie was impeccable – you’ll find it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-zYI2gzFNs This is the one thing prior to the movie trailer that had me SO excited for this movie.
I’m not really one to enjoy horror movies. I have a far too vivid imagination to risk myself seeing horrific ghost or monster flicks when I know that I will just see everything in my sleep that same night. But what I do enjoy are intelligent horror stories, like The Babadook, or It Follows, ones that aren’t just chuck full of cheap jump scares, and have genuinely disturbing or troubling images and themes that make my spine tingle when I’m excitedly telling everyone to watch it. When I saw Guillermo Del Toro’s The Orphanage, I was left with just those feelings. Same goes for Pan Labyrinth, whilst that is more of a fantasy story, I think we can all agree that THAT ONE CHARACTER shit us all up the first time we saw it. So I know that Del Toro is capable of these intelligent horrors, or at least truly troubling imagery that stick with you, and for that exact reason, I was really excited to see Crimson Peak. That, and it’s fantastic cast, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain (aka, the love of my life) and gothic themes, what is there to go wrong?
There is just something about night-time that is inherently peaceful. Whenever I have walked around at night, though it may scare a lot of people, including myself at times, I have just found myself at complete peace. It’s like a whole different world. Especially now I’ve moved to London, when the daytime is usually so hectic, it’s actually almost preferable at nighttime. I think because of this, I am just naturally drawn to movies as well that utilise the atmosphere of nighttime. The darkness, the pools of light, the long shadows of streetlights, the lack of noise and, unfortunately…the gritty going-ons that also take place at nighttime. Nightcrawler for me was the perfect mix of this, so as to show a movie that encapsulates wonderfully a night in LA, yet at the same time, expose the gritty truth behind mainstream news media and the lives of ‘nightcrawlers’
Since rekindling my passion for writing, and having just a smidgen of creativity in my bones, I have been trying my hardest to see most of the new films that are hitting the cinemas – or at least the films that are hitting the cinemas in my area. Only if its appropriate though. If I really think that it is going to be terrible then it’s unlikely that I will put the effort in to see it. Plastic seemed quite promising when I first saw the trailer for it, and I was excited to see a crime-type British film come out, with some familiar faces, including Alfie Allen, who plays the character Theon from Game of Thrones – there’s obviously a GOT theme coming through with these recent reviews…I was excited to see him and Emma Rigby, who I know as Hannah from Hollyoaks, perform in a role that was unfamiliar to what I know them as. But only one half of the two actually exceeded expectations…
Awh right, ancient disaster movie! Unless the Final Destination franchise counts as disaster movies, (which if they don’t then what the bleedin’ hell are they), then I don’t believe I have actually seen a disaster movie before. I remember just always knowing about Pompeii – I must’ve been taught about it at some point. It’s such a tragic story and so interesting, that when I first saw the poster for it with only Kit Harrington on it, I only really had one opinion about it – this movie will probably be awful. I had previously read about it in Empire, where they had spent the day on the set and some of the process of the production sounded pretty awesome, so I wanted to give this one ago. I somehow managed to see this film twice. The first time, I was having a movie day to myself, accidentally saw the film in 3D and came out thinking that it wasn’t all that bad, but it still wasn’t great. The second time, I was actually with people. I accidentally saw it in 3D again and came out thinking that the movie was pretty tragic, and not because of the natural disaster.
I have been meaning to watch more of Wes Anderson’s films. I just know that they would be exactly the kind of film I’d easily fall in love with. The only film of his that I had seen previous was The Darjeeling Limited, which was pretty fabulous from what I remember. I had initially heard absolutely nothing about The Grand Budapest, considering that I watch little to none TV anymore, so I don’t get to see how well covered a film is on the TV. But as soon as my friend showed me the trailer for the film, I was like HOLY SHIT I NEED TO SEE THIS FILM IMMEDIATELY. Sorry for the language. But it just looked so epic.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the amazing cast for this film? Firstly, Ralph Fiennes. That’s Voldemort for those of you who are unaware. Fiennes has been a firm favourite of mine for a while now, and his character of M. Gustave is absolutely hilarious. Fiennes is joined by a number of critically acclaimed actors like Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jude Law, Saoirse Ronan, and oh lord, so many more. This film is SO star studded, it’s got a little something in it for everyone, I suspect. Most of all these, however, are staples of the world of Wes Anderson, and so its nice to see a familiar cast in a wacky and familiar style which he provides.
My favourite thing about Wes Anderson’s films is that you will always know where you are with it. You can expect to see quick 90 degree pans, locked off shots with many parallels, a wonderful array of colours and just a very, very well thought out and beautiful film, and The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception. It’s like The Great Gatsby in that world in which Anderson has created is completely reflective of the ridiculous and extravagant lifestyle’s the inhabitants live. I just absolutely wanted to be carted off to The Grand Budapest immediately after watching the movie. I felt like the movie also had a little bit of a Monty Python feel about it as well, in that some long shots looked almost like paper animations or something along those lines – everything about the film is just so artistic and colourful that I wouldn’t be surprised if you sat a baby down in front of it and managed to keep it entertained for a couple of hours.
Onto the story itself. The story is quite complicated to start off with, considering that it starts with a girl who visits a memorial of an author who visits the Grand Budapest Hotel in order to find out the story of the owner of the Grand Budapest hotel who then takes the reins of the narrative and explains the story of M. Gustave, the concierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel – fairly confusing when you think about it. I’m not sure if thats strictly ‘Chinese box style’ narrative, but its wonderfully layered none the less. However, I won’t lie when I say that I myself would have a hard time trying to explain the actual story of the film, because I struggled a fair bit to understand it. It’s all very stylistic all the time but I think at points, the film focuses a little too much on style over substance, in that I found the main plot points hard to find, and was confused as to what character’s motives were. But the film is basically a huge chase sequence between the family of the deceased Madame D. (Tilda Swinton) and M. Gustave (Fiennes). Even though I found the overall story pretty confusing, each individual adventure is presented very clearly, neatly and is very entertaining. It’s just really beautifully executed even if it is a little bit distracted by the art style.
I’m going to leave this near perfect film there. Though I perhaps couldn’t have the capacity to watch this movie again purely for the fact that, unfortunately I didn’t gain that much excitement from the story, it is absolutely definitely worth a watch purely for the aesthetic of the film. It’s very entertaining even if the story is a little distracted by the style, but I have no doubt that this would appeal to a pretty wide range audience. Yet another smashing film from Wes Anderson.
Ever since I heard that Richard Ayoade was releasing another film, I was immensely excited. Then I saw that it had TWO Jesse Eisenberg’s in it, and I was even more excited. Then I saw the trailer and I was practically overcome with excitement! And then the day came – where I journeyed to the cinema, with a particularly favourite human, sat in my seat, and finally experienced this glorious movie.
This film is a cinephile’s dream…perhaps. I at least would say so. If you appreciate the technique of film making then you will appreciate the heck out of this movie, just as I did. When I say this, I mean that aspects like the grade, the colours and lighting used through out, (and the lack of it) and the sound makes up a huge majority of what makes this film so enjoyable. It’s a proper treat to the eye. You can tell that a huge amount of thought has gone into the look of the film to create a particular atmosphere. Though it may not be as beautiful as, say, Baz Lurhmann or Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s work, it doesn’t mean it is not impressive. It all works hand in hand to create a dark, dank, grimey, claustrophic atmosphere set in a timeless world, or perhaps just in the 60s/70s (I’m bad with my eras but everything looked a little worse for wear) which was all very surreal. Perhaps because it wasn’t presented as a period film, it meant that such old clunky technology aided the surreal atmosphere the Ayoade was aiming for. It’s very peculiar. Many of the machines seen in the film absolutely fascinated me, because I simply had no clue what they were for – I’m not entirely sure even the characters knew! But it served to present a very other-worldy parallel universe to support such a peculiar story.
An aspect I mentioned that I want to expand on really quickly is the use of the sound in this film. The soundtrack is so interesting, and confusing – a lot of the songs use real life sound effects, like buttons pressing, or footsteps on the group, that its very jilting when you realise that the sound is non-diegetic (sound or music that doesn’t exist in the world of the film). As well as this, the music at points builds up to a point where it will simply cut off where another will interrupt and take its place. Its oddly comedic, and awkward – exactly like Richard Ayoade’s style.
Though the character of Simon James is strikingly similar to other characters that Eisenberg is used to playing, the difference in him and his doppleganger James Simon (a clever take on those bastards that have two first names – I will here on accuse them of being the reverse’s evil doppleganger) is a great performance. The difference purely in the body language shows the vast difference in the two’s approach to the world, even though they look exactly the same. It’s really cool to watch. I felt very much at two completely ends of the spectrum when it came to how I felt about the character’s as well – on one hand, with Simon James, I felt very sorry for him – a social reject who is cripplingly awkward when it comes to everything – then we have James Simon who is ironically supposed to be more the likeable and socially apt of the two, yet I absolutely despised him. He is just a complete tool. At first when he is introduced and you know nothing about him, you are kinda rooting for him to be able to change Simon’s life around, but as the story develops, you just end up liking him less and less. Though like I said, Eisenberg’s character(s) are similar to those he has played before but it is an impressing performance none the less. The film has a mixture of recognisable faces, including Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige who played the characters of Oliver and Jordana in Ayoade’s previous feature, Submarine, which I thought was maybe Ayoade paying a homage to his previous work as these characters are fairly minor. I adore pretty much anything that Mia Wasikowska appears in even if the first thing I saw her in was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, which was, in my opinion, god awful, but this movie just serves as another that will gradually push her even further into a respectable stardom.
The story is very particular, very interesting and hurts your brain in a wonderful way, though I know that others would disagree. Whilst it would be near impossible to say that this is a bad film, I don’t think that it is a film for a majority of the mainstream audience. I would recommend this more to people who enjoy alternate cinema, who enjoy films that have a narrative that aren’t crystal clear or simple, and have a complex way of telling a story that inspires discussion once the movie is over. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of watching this film, and figuring out what the reality of the situation is, and I think that once I am aware of more people who have watched it, I would love to have discussion about it (if you have any thoughts, feel free to comment below! I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this film). As such a household name in Britain, I feel almost proud when Richard Ayoade releases a film. He is carving himself a very nice little Auteur signature and I can’t wait to see what this wonderful human brings to the table next time round.