Locke

More often than not, you see huge posters plastered over every building and billboard in your area of the next big budget film with great effects, amazing marketing, yet a poor story line. Locke, I would safely say is on the other side of the spectrum. In my opinion, for my personal travels, which maintains mostly just the 486 bus  route and perhaps the jubilee line here and there, I really haven’t seen that many posters for Locke. The only reason that I heard anything about it in the first place was because of last months Empire magazine. I have enjoyed all the work of Tom Hardy’s that I have seen previously, and the idea of just this one man in his car for the entirety of the film interested me incredibly.

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Locke

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

When I heard that there was going to be a re-boot of the Spider-Man films so close after the Tobey Maguire ones, I was just a tiny bit outraged. Then I heard that it would star Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man and I instantly perked up. Generally re-boots and remakes aren’t as good as the first ones, but every now and then, one breaks out of the mould and succeeds its predecessor. In my opinion, Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spiderman 1have done just that. For this review however, I will be focusing solely on the latter.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Transcendence

I was asked the other day if I ever do any negative reviews on my blog. As of yet, I have only have one or two. And, today, unfortunately, I care to make it three or four. When I first saw the trailer for Transcendence, I remember just thinking to myself ‘…what is that even about?’. Though it shows, somewhat, a lot of promise, I have to say that I personally strongly disagree after having seen the whole 2 hours of it.

The problem with this film for me is that it felt like they were trying to shove too many morals and messages down my throat the entire time. The concept of the film is actually an incredibly intelligent one – incorporating the human conscious and a full range of human emotions into AI. That’s what it is basically about. That and the tragedy of a woman’s undying love for her husband as he passes away from radiation poisoning after being shot. Oh, and the fact that all this technology will ruin mankind, represented by a group of radicals that perform a series of attacks in labs over the country. And how can I forget that eventually, the movie is about how nature is the way forward and not technology perhaps. Do you understand where I’m getting at here? Though all of these ideas do, in theory, go hand in hand with one another, I felt like put into practice, it is far too busy to comprehend in one movie, and comes off a little preachy.

Though the shoving of messages down one’s throats can be somewhat excused, poor acting and an illogical plot can be less excused.

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I haven’t seen Rebecca Hall in anything else other than The Town and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, both so forgettable that I had failed to remember that I watched them, so I can’t say that I went into the cinema with any kinda of expectation. But, boy, did I come out with some opinions on her acting. I can’t decide if it was just how her character was supposed to be portrayed, but everything about Evelyn Caster was so unconvincing. I actually laughed out loud in the cinema at a line where she is supposed to have felt violated by her now completely computerised and pixelised husband, who now has the ability to read her emotions and hormones, in which she just ‘exclaims’ ‘you can’t do that – you’re not allowed!’ and proceeds to walk off. ‘You’re not allowed!’? Either this is unimaginative script writing or she is supposed to sound vulnerable but I just found that particular line absolutely hilarious. In general, she is either completely emotionless and boring, or she over-reacts in the wrong situations.

I really am starting to loose faith in Johnny Depp. The past films that he has chosen to star in have mostly been a small portion of awful, and Transcendence just adds to that. It’s sad, because I don’t want to see Johnny Depp become another Robert De Niro, where everyone just kinda sighs when they see him in a new movie. To me, Depp just seemed to be an actor to carry the film through an economic success – with his face plastered on every surface where ever I go, it’s clear to see the choice the film makers made when they decided to cast Depp. It’s at this point that I realise that as a movie distributed by Warner Bros. there was perhaps more attention paid to getting this thing in people’s minds (funny, considering its subject matter), that they will just have to see it, as opposed to actually focusing on refining the story and making this the success it could have so easily have been.

In fact, it was perhaps the cast that did manage to let this film down. With an incredibly rich cast, including Morgan freaking Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany (who I had completely forgotten excisted since Wimbledon) and Kate Mara, you’d think that they had all made incredibly informed decisions as to why they decided to star in this film. But in the end, it just all kinda amounts to really not that much.

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In terms of the story, there are just parts in with it seems illogical. I admit that this might just my personal reaction, as I find it quite hard to suspend my belief for these kinds of movies where its set in the future so that I can’t properly fathom it. It gets to the point where the AI that Will Caster’s mind combined with and breakthrough research in nano-science are able to create human body parts in a matter of minutes. Also, these un-explained electronic particles are able to float in the air and repair shit wherever it goes and ‘infect’ rain water. I dunno, its complex, but not in a way that seems intelligent. An aspect of the story that particularly bothered me is that Evelyn is somehow able to build a super lab/computer underground a nearly deserted town in two years with a guy who only has six workers. Though I will shamefully admit that I found myself dosing off at this part so it’s incredibly likely that I missed a vital piece of information.

I realise that this particular entry sounds a little ranty but I kinda wanted this film to prove me wrong in terms of my initial reaction to the trailer, but it just confirmed all my thoughts, whole-heartedly.

I would perhaps recommend this film to a broad mainstream audience as it is quite a cool concept and different to a lot of films out there, but I think that if you are  a cinephile of any kind, you may want to avoid this film. There are many other sci-fi fantasy films that will feed your brain better then this pile of codswollop.

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If you have a film that you would like me to review, then feel free to leave a comment and I will try to get to it! All opinions and discussions welcomed.

Transcendence

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Fg5iWmQjwk
I’m unsure as to why this link isn’t showing the video on the page, but ’tis just the trailer for the film – watch, enjoy, and be swayed!

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.

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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.

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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.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Double

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.

Beautiful and interesting visuals
Beautiful and interesting visuals

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.

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Simon James and James Simon by Jesse Eisenberg and Eisenberg Jesse

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.

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The Double

Gravity

Firstly, I apologise if my writing is a little sketchy for this entry. I’m three months out of practice so it may take a while for me to get back into the swing of writing like a coherent human.

So, after months of not posting and stressing about uni and generally not getting off my lazy ass to find things to write about, I’ve finally been to the cinema to see none other than Cuaron’s latest hit Gravity. I will start simply by saying this; its films like this that are the reason why film and cinema will not be dying any time soon. Its films like this that make young filmmakers strive to better themselves in the hope that they will create something of this magnitude one day. Its films like this that re-ignite my passion for film and inspire me to no end. Just. Go and see it, as soon as you get the chance.

I feel like I won’t be able to write anything about this film that isn’t painfully obvious to everyone anyway. Let’s just great to talking about the visuals, shall we? I need to research into the exact method that they used to create such a realistic look and feel of being in out of space, but I remember reading back that they filmed pretty much the entire thing using green screen and wire. And there is at no point in the film where you can tell that either has been used. Honestly. I’m just waiting for it to be revealed that Gravity was the first film shot entirely out of space. Absolutely everything in the film is so aesthetically beautiful that it would be offensive for a mere soul like me to describe it to you. I can say that I 100% believe that Gravity will be a film that future generations will look back on as a breakthrough in visual effects and technology. For instance, when one of the first films was shown to a majority of the public being simply a train coming towards the camera, at that point, the audience truly believed that the train would come out at them from the screen, because they had never seen anything like it before. I believe that Gravity will have a similar, long-lasting effect on its audience, for I struggle to find how anyone can currently surpass its visual brilliance. The attention to detail in this film is mind-blowing. Baring in mind that in real life, the reflections would’ve been either green-screen or a heck load of LED lights, the reflections off the helmets were something I was perhaps most impressed with. As I went to see this in 3D I feel I can say that the film lent itself fairly well to the effect. At points, the camera transitions into Bullock’s point of view, and so the 3D allowed me to differentiate between what was the helmet and what was outside, which was particularly interesting. I can imagine that without 3D, it could be fairly difficult at certain points in the film as to what it is exactly that we are supposed to be paying attention to in terms of space shuttles and orbiting debris. In my opinion, 3D is always a fairly weird way to experience movies, but I think in this case, it just helped to really create the outer world experience of a place that hasn’t been explored in such a way in film before (will explain more on this later.)

As we have very well established in the past, I do not know much about sound in film. But I can safely say that I have never been so impressed with the exploration of sound in a movie before. Again, another case of the extent of the attention to detail and the research that must’ve taken place to make the film as realistic as possible. It’s easy to forget with films like Star Wars that there really isn’t sound in space and so it’s hard to imagine a film that in this generation of film making, excluding the sound-track, has very little diegetic sound being at all enjoyable. But I really feel that Gravity 100% hit the nail on the head. In fact, the lack of sounds adds to the films intensity, as you are perhaps almost as surprised as the characters when faced with an onslaught of orbiting space junk. It’s rather unsettling and conflicting as you watch explosions taking place and huge amounts of metal being shredded up, yet hear next to nothing. It was a very interesting and peculiar effect and added to the imminent sense of peril and intensity of Bullock’s situation. The soundtrack is beautiful, to say the least, and accompanies the on screen events so well that at times I was almost moved to tears. What am I like.

I think what I enjoyed most about Gravity is just how real it is. It’s not that we haven’t had films in space before; filmmakers have been there, and done that. But I think that, because this isn’t a movie that is set in a time where humans have conquered space, it just felt more real for me. There was always the motivation to return to Earth that fuels the character’s actions and provides hope. It was nice for a difference to be shown the vulnerable side of the human state. The fact that the events in the film even take place due to human error is very interesting as well. To be honest, overall, the film was actually quite spiritual. It is about the test of human strength, and keeping faith in yourself, or perhaps something bigger, to be able to overcome huge obstacles, and also about the acceptance of death. The theme of death was explored a lot in this film, but it didn’t make me feel at all uncomfortable. Despite the fact that the events of the film were generally pretty stressful and tense, the moral of the film is actually rather refreshing and relaxing.

Perhaps the only downside I could say about Gravity is that, similar to Avatar, whilst the visuals stand to be perhaps the most amazing I’ve ever seen, the film falls just a little bit flat at the narrative. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because the narrative of the film has a relatively small time frame in which the events take place there’s an extremely small cast for a film so huge. There is only really one point to the narrative; to survive. It’s a film that’s much more concentrated on one line of events as opposed to relying on complex narrative strands to entertain the audience, which, although I did actually enjoy, I can see how this might bother some people who are used to more commercial strategies of story-telling.

Needless to say, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s performances were incredible. Really. I will be extremely surprised if we don’t see Bullock with at least a nomination for her role here. The film in general will absolutely 100% be bringing home the bacon this year at the Oscars and I can’t wait. Gravity is well and truly a break through in film making, and urge those of you who haven’t already to stop what you’re doing immediately and go and see it. I say this purely because, if you don’t go and see this in the cinema and don’t have some sort of home cinema, then the effect of the film’s visuals will be completely lost on you. Although having said that, I sometimes forget that it’s only me and my family that have an extremely ancient TVs and none of these, what you call, ‘flat screens’, psshht. So yes. Go and see it. If perhaps the story falls flat just a tad, you won’t regret it for the effect of the visuals. They truly are nothing like you’ve ever seen before.

Gravity

Apologies Part II

Argh. Part II because I’ve been a terrible blogger in the past couple of months. 
To be honest, various things have happened, one massive thing called UNIVERSITY, which I’ve kinda had to concentrate on, for obvious reasons.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been feeling super stressed and pressured that I kind of just shut down for a while. I lost all motivation to film or write or edit any of the film that I’ve taken from the holidays that I took in the summer. It’s like everything that was creative in me just kinda vanished for the past couple of months and to be completely honest, I’m not entirely sure why. But now that I’m getting back into the swing of things and have gotten over the first couple of weeks of uni and have made some new friends, I can feel myself starting to settle down again and begin thinking about actually doing some more writing. I’m hoping that I can use this blog as a medium of getting my work out there and to try and think about my work constructively. We’re having to make a film basically every other week at the minute, with the first one done already, so I’m hoping that I will have lots of work to show you all in the very near future.

In the mean time, I will start to really discipline myself and get backing into thinking constructively about film and start by actually going to the cinema for the first time in months. It doesn’t help that there hasn’t really been anything inspiring out the entire summer apart from The World’s End and maybe Kick Ass 2, but I didn’t see that. Oh, and of course Monsters University, which I did consider writing a review on, but I didn’t think that it would be necessarily appropriate as its just obviously amazing. Luv u Pixar x. But seriously, there are some great movies out currently, Blue Jasmine, The Fifth Estate, Captain Phillips, Filth, I really don’t have a good enough excuse to be going to the cinema and writing about them. It became apparent to me the other day that I would probably have to start going to the cinema on my own, and I really don’t care about that to be honest. In fact, I’m almost excited about the concept!

My last excuse is the fact that I’m practically living in London now, with my dad and step-mum. It’s pretty easy going, but it’s going to take a while to settle down properly, so I’ve just been trying to really focus on settling down and feeling comfortable and trying to get more familiar with London.

So yes. Excuses, excuses, I apologise profusely, but these things happen! Look forward to some more reviews in the up coming weeks and some of my own work that I will be putting on here! To have a look at any work that I have previously worked on, click right here! Enjoy, and I’ll be posting within the next week…I promise….

Apologies Part II