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RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/1/2011 11:26:29 AM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1098
Joined: 26/11/2005
Recent watches:

127 Hours (8/10)

Was very impressed with the performance of James Franco, he anchors this film and you don't connect with his performance the film will be lost for you.  What surprised me is that for a film which spends much of its time in one location with one performer is that the amount of kinetic energy that Danny Boyle injects into it.

The Next Three Days (5/10)

I enjoyed the French original Anything for Her despite the number of unrealistic plot twists.  Unfortunately, The Next Three Days has imported all of the problems of the original and much of the film plays as a shot for shot remake which is disappointing.  One of those problems central to the film is the lack of chemistry between Crowe and Banks who are not, in my opinion, a believable couple.  The final third also features some of the worse CGI of the year so far.

Conviction (5/10)

Great cast let down by script which plays out like a movie of the week.  I know it's a true story but it's devoid of any dramatic tension and everyone, particularly Hilary Swank is playing so earnest, it's almost painful.  Sam Rockwell is solid as the jailbird brother but it is Minnie Driver who injects some levity to proceedings.  A disappointment.

Next up for me hopefully is what I expect to be an emotionally draining double of Blue Valentine and Black Swan.  Might try and catch Season of the Witch for some light relief.


< Message edited by Groovy Mule -- 16/1/2011 11:28:47 AM >


_____________________________

Check out my movie blog - Box Office Challenge and reviews

http://londonmovieguy.wordpress.com/

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 31
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/1/2011 2:46:48 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8392
Joined: 13/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Groovy Mule

Recent watches:

127 Hours (8/10)

Was very impressed with the performance of James Franco, he anchors this film and you don't connect with his performance the film will be lost for you.  What surprised me is that for a film which spends much of its time in one location with one performer is that the amount of kinetic energy that Danny Boyle injects into it.

The Next Three Days (5/10)

I enjoyed the French original Anything for Her despite the number of unrealistic plot twists.  Unfortunately, The Next Three Days has imported all of the problems of the original and much of the film plays as a shot for shot remake which is disappointing.  One of those problems central to the film is the lack of chemistry between Crowe and Banks who are not, in my opinion, a believable couple.  The final third also features some of the worse CGI of the year so far.Conviction (5/10)

Great cast let down by script which plays out like a movie of the week.  I know it's a true story but it's devoid of any dramatic tension and everyone, particularly Hilary Swank is playing so earnest, it's almost painful.  Sam Rockwell is solid as the jailbird brother but it is Minnie Driver who injects some levity to proceedings.  A disappointment.

Next up for me hopefully is what I expect to be an emotionally draining double of Blue Valentine and Black Swan.  Might try and catch Season of the Witch for some light relief.


And the year is only sixteen days old, so that is a bad sign

(in reply to Groovy Mule)
Post #: 32
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/1/2011 3:45:15 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

I completely agree with your 127 Hours reveiw Dr, some very good points well made! I think it might be up there with Boyle's best work, and certainly very different to Slumdog

Think I might give Season of the Witch a miss, unless it pops up at my local art house, in couple of months time. Cage is really cuning them out at the moment


Thanks ElephantBoy, I would say the Season Of The Witch is probably best seen at home on DVD with a few beers.


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 33
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/1/2011 3:51:15 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
THE KING'S SPEECH 
 The sort of film that automatically gets praised by the critics, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, especially as I can’t stand the monarchy and consider them an irrelevance since the English Civil War. However, The King’s Speech is undoubtably a pretty good movie, though certainly not a great one-it suffers from murky and ill lit cinematography rather unfitting for the subject [maybe they were intentionally going for the opposite approach to the norm but they overdid it], and a King who doesn’t seem to make much progress in his speech therapy for most of the film then suddenly overcomes it, plus if I hear those two overused Beethoven pieces used near the end of one more film I’m going to scream.  Much of the intended emotion was negated for me during those scenes.  Still, this does manage to be a quite compelling portrait of somebody overcoming what amounts to a disability [especially considering I personally used to stutter alot and still do at times], and the final scene is pretty rousing.-comparisons to Rocky are not entirely unjustified.  Director Tom Hooper does all he can to make the static talky story cinematic, and the performances are superb, though I think Geoffrey Rush, as the King’s tutor, has been overlooked in the stampede to praise Colin Firth-he matches Firth in every scene they are in together, making their scenes terrific to watch and any scenes not featuring them not nearly as interesting.  Not perfect and still overrated, but I say to anyone who has no interest in this film and just considers it Oscar bait [which it probably partially is]-give it a go and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I was.7/10


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 34
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/1/2011 5:48:21 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Interesting thoughts from all of you regarding the Kings Speech & 127 Hours. I'll try and get the finger out and get what I thought of them at some point this evening....

_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 35
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/1/2011 7:16:32 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1098
Joined: 26/11/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Groovy Mule

Recent watches:

127 Hours (8/10)

Was very impressed with the performance of James Franco, he anchors this film and you don't connect with his performance the film will be lost for you.  What surprised me is that for a film which spends much of its time in one location with one performer is that the amount of kinetic energy that Danny Boyle injects into it.

The Next Three Days (5/10)

I enjoyed the French original Anything for Her despite the number of unrealistic plot twists.  Unfortunately, The Next Three Days has imported all of the problems of the original and much of the film plays as a shot for shot remake which is disappointing.  One of those problems central to the film is the lack of chemistry between Crowe and Banks who are not, in my opinion, a believable couple.  The final third also features some of the worse CGI of the year so far.Conviction (5/10)

Great cast let down by script which plays out like a movie of the week.  I know it's a true story but it's devoid of any dramatic tension and everyone, particularly Hilary Swank is playing so earnest, it's almost painful.  Sam Rockwell is solid as the jailbird brother but it is Minnie Driver who injects some levity to proceedings.  A disappointment.

Next up for me hopefully is what I expect to be an emotionally draining double of Blue Valentine and Black Swan.  Might try and catch Season of the Witch for some light relief.


And the year is only sixteen days old, so that is a bad sign


I realised as I wrote it what a ridiculous statement that was but thought I would keep in my stupidity for you all!

Actually a few glimpses of it appears at the end of the trailer so you don't even need to see the film.  Personally, I would suggest seeing Anything for Her.


_____________________________

Check out my movie blog - Box Office Challenge and reviews

http://londonmovieguy.wordpress.com/

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 36
RE: Films of 2011 List - 17/1/2011 2:20:57 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8392
Joined: 13/4/2006
Me too

As for the King's Speech it is the actors and driector that make me want to see it, not the subject.

(in reply to Groovy Mule)
Post #: 37
RE: Films of 2011 List - 17/1/2011 6:41:04 PM   
Paul2j

 

Posts: 107
Joined: 30/9/2005
January
Gulliver's Travels - 6/10

February
Tangled - 8/10

March
Rango - 6/10

April
Rio - 8/10

May
Thor - 8/10
X-Men: First Class - 9/10

June
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 6/10

July
Kung Fu Panda 2 - 7/10
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 7/10
Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - 9/10

August
Captain America - 7/10
Cars 2 - 8/10
The Inbetweeners Movie - 7/10

October
Warrior - 9/10
Johnny English Reborn - 6/10

November
Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn - 7/10

December
Happy Feet Two - 6/10
Puss in Boots - 7/10
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - 8/10

Top 10 of 2011
1) Warrior
2) X-Men: First Class
3) Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2
4) Rio
5) Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
6) Tangled
7) Thor
8) Cars 2
9) Kung Fu Panda 2
10) Puss in Boots

< Message edited by Paul2j -- 2/1/2012 11:26:16 AM >

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 38
RE: Films of 2011 List - 17/1/2011 9:17:12 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul2j

January
Gulliver's Travels - 6/10

Coming Soon: Tangled

Top 10 of 2011
1) Gulliver's Travels
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)
7)
8)
9)
10)


I sincerely hope Paul that you make at least another 10 trips to the cinema this year....


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Paul2j)
Post #: 39
RE: Films of 2011 List - 19/1/2011 7:26:36 PM   
Spider


Posts: 2078
Joined: 30/9/2005
Right, so have finally had some time to go to cinema this week, so my 2011 list can kick off with four films:

127 Hours A brilliantly well made and brilliantly performed film. Some of the imagination Boyle brings to the film is breathtaking, especially a drinks commercial style hallucination and a thunderstorm sequence. Probably not the stand out emotional ride as I thought it was going to be though, whilst the shoice of Sigur Ros to end the film was predictable and a little jarring. 8/10

Season of the Witch If I see too many films worse than this in 2011 it's going to be a rough year! Utterly disposable fare for the first hour, which turns into one of the most poorly handled finales I have ever seen, with abysmal CGI and utterly no sense whatsoever. The only saving grace of the film is seeing talented actors like Cage, Pearlman and Cambell Moore struggling against the tide of utter rubbish coming their way! 3/10
 
The King's Speech Fantastic! A somewhat formulaic story done in an entirely refreshing and entertaining manner. Could so easily have been stiff, and ending with obvious uplifting moment. However, Hooper handles the film's stucture brilliantly, with the derivative 'training' montage happening early on, and a finale handled masterfully - the audience left feeling a simulatenous sense of triumph and dread. And Colin Firth surely must win the Oscar! 9/10
 
Blue Valentine Slightly disappointed with this. Very well acted, and a nice idea which at leads to some good material. However, the films fails on a bizarre stubling block which is simple to identify. This is supposed to be  film about two people falling in a drifting out of love (although the way they get together is actually pretty unexpected), yet Gosling seems to be playing two entirely different characters. For this to work as a story, which is shown in a chopped up fashion, the audience needs to see elements of Gosling's earlier charming character in the later incarnation. In fact, in the later version he is just playing a complete arsehole, who, may have a reason for behaving so poorly, yet the film does not show this. It's also very overlong. 5/10
 
So the list so far goes something like:
1. The King's Speech (9/10)
2. 127 Hours (8/10)
3. Blue Valentine (5/10)
4. Season of the Witch (3/10)

Coming up soon, I hope, are: The Next Three Days, Convition, The Green Hornet, NEDs, Black Swan, Henry's Crime, The Dilemma


_____________________________

Rudi Manchego's Simple Rustic Wisdom:
If you look at a pebble, you will see your own face

Howard Moon: Fusion Minstrel Vince Noir: Gothic Fairy. The Boosh is Loose and it's coming at you like a shark with knees!

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 40
RE: Films of 2011 List - 19/1/2011 7:33:32 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
THE GREEN HORNET

Out of Michel Gondry's work I've only seen a few Bjork videos and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, which I just didn't 'get' and at times annoyed the hell out of me.  One would still expect him to bring some originality to the comic book/superhero subgenre, and sometimes in this movie he does, such as a speeded up sequence of Britt showing a woman his father's collection of cars, or visualising Kato's thoughts just before he fights- in fact there's an especially impressive similar bit where Britt's thoughts are shown as he works out much of the plot.  Mostly though, The Green Hornet is a drag.  Despite ringing a few variations, it essentially replays plot elements that have been done dozens of times before, and although it can be said to be mocking these conventions, there's one big problem with that-it's just not funny [bar a great gag with a gas gun].   Trouble is, there's no tension either, and the pace too slow for this sort of thing.   The last half hour does ramp things up with a great car chase and some mayhem in a skyscraper which really do deliver the goods, but mostly I don't think they knew what they were doing with the material.  The biggest problem is Seth Rogen, now I haven't seen him in anything before this, but here  he's just continuously irritating and obnoxious, and though that may have been the idea, they went too far and I wasn't rooting for him once.  He also wouldn't SHUT UP for a minute, even during the action.  Jay Chou is solid as Kato though Cameron Diaz is almost the same as she usually is though slightly less ditzy and annoying. Overall a mess which has good moments but for the most part just doesn't work [while the 3D is as pointless as usual] and as for Rogen-well I won't be rushing to see anything else he's in. 4/10

_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Spider)
Post #: 41
RE: Films of 2011 List - 21/1/2011 4:15:23 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Good reviews there folks. Interesting to see that Blue Valentine didn't work for you Spider as from what I've heard from people its a bit of a marmite-type film. And Dr L thank you for reaffirming my disinterest in the Green Hornet. I'd give it a shot if I could see it conventionally but no way in hell will I be forking out the additional cash to see it in 3D. Aside from Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Scorsese's Hugo Cabret, I wont be seeing anything in the ghastly format this year- needless to say it was one of my new years resolutions....

Anyhow, onto my first two entries for 2011......



THE KING'S SPEECH

Let's make something absolutely clear to begin with. I'm not a royalist in any shape or form. I don't wish any bad will on them whatsoever but I don't particularly give a toss whether they live or die either(Diana – poor woman but ultimately....meh, William & Kate's Royal Wedding – if it's a day off then great, otherwise, meh).

That said, I couldn't help but be bowled over by this simple yet effective tale. Tom Hooper, who did a fine job in bringing a real cinematic flair to a subject-matter notorious for inflicting dross on the big screen (i.e. football – casing examples of incriminating evidence being Escape To Victory, When Saturday Comes, A Shot at Glory, GOAL!  GOAL!2  and many MANY others) in the shape of Brian Clough-based drama the Damned United, repeats the trick for the depiciton of the Royal Family of the early twentieth century and avoids the typical traps of pieces involving a series of people talking in rooms (i.e. the Queen) by enriching it with examples of deep focus, inventive camera movement and intriguing compositions.

But given the nature of the beast this is all academic if the actual meat of the film isn't succulent, and by gum it is! Whilst the tale is relatively straightforward and standard, the combined duo of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush elevate an impressively shot cinematic royalist tale into a joyous journey of bromance every time they share the screen - deserving all the awards recognition they have and will be receiving. Without giving too much away either, the ending is also a wonderful juxtaposition of a man overcoming his deficiency in a moment of triumph coupled by an address to the nation of the impending doom of another world war. I suspect there will be films this year that I'll go on to love more in 2011, but few will match the smile on my face as I left the cinema. An terrific start to 2011.
8/10  



127 HOURS


Danny Boyle has been a favourite of mine for a long, long time now and whilst I feel he's a film-maker that doesn't always manage to make things that fully work, I've always appreciated the creative process he undergoes at the very least.

With the nature of the set-up there are so many things that could have gone wrong with 127 Hours, yet despite its tough sell of a 90 minute piece about a man trapped by a boulder on his right arm – it's a thoroughly engaging and visually inventive experience that provides another great example of Boyle's directorial talents.

James Franco, an actor who has hinted at greatness in a number of relatively mediocre films really excels as adventurer Aaron Ralston, and despite being in virtually every frame in the film (most of which he isn't even speaking) captures both a level of intensity and an emotional arc that deserves awards recognition.

It isn't completely flawless however, as some of the flights of fancy deliver mixed results and feel quite jarring, whilst the soundtrack comes across as a little messy and inconsistent in tone at points. Perhaps however this was intentional, in order to reflect the recklessness of Ralston's free-spirited existence. Nevertheless, it remains an imaginative depiction of the human spirit, a celebration of the importance of having people in your life and in many ways, is Boyle's strongest film since 28 Days Later. Highly recommended.
7.5/10



Will be checking out Blue Valentine, Black Swan & Peter Mullan's Neds over the weekend so I'll complete my top 5 of 2011 so far on Monday!


< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 21/1/2011 4:30:06 AM >


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 42
RE: Films of 2011 List - 21/1/2011 7:49:54 PM   
Spider


Posts: 2078
Joined: 30/9/2005
A new number one, and one I can see staying at the top of the list for a while!

Black Swan Barmy, but brilliant. Natalie Portman is amazing, and Aronofsky masterfully turns what starts as an innocent ballet movie into something quite terrifying and absolutely riveting. The last 30 minutes are some of the best bit of film I have ever seen. 10/10
 
1. Black Swan (10/10)
2. The King's Speech (9/10)
3. 127 Hours (8/10)
4. Blue Valentine (5/10)
5. Season of the Witch (3/10)

Another Friday sees another load of releases to catch up with - so this is the current crop I will hopefully be able to add to the list: The Green Hornet, Neds, Morning Glory, Conviction, The Next Three Days, Henry's Crime, The Dilemma

< Message edited by Spider -- 21/1/2011 7:51:58 PM >


_____________________________

Rudi Manchego's Simple Rustic Wisdom:
If you look at a pebble, you will see your own face

Howard Moon: Fusion Minstrel Vince Noir: Gothic Fairy. The Boosh is Loose and it's coming at you like a shark with knees!

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 43
RE: Films of 2011 List - 21/1/2011 8:34:58 PM   
MI Cruise


Posts: 3104
Joined: 12/12/2008
From: Shutter Island
I have not yet been to watch an English language film at the cinema this year. Looking forward to The Green Hornet this Wednesday and maybe the Dilemma afterwards in February.
Im going to try and make quite a few cinema visits but it does depend on the mood doesn't it and what film looks interesting or appealing.

_____________________________

www.letterboxd.com/micruise1/films/

(in reply to Spider)
Post #: 44
RE: Films of 2011 List - 21/1/2011 9:45:13 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
Gotta wait till Wednesday to see Black Swan, really can't wait!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris

Good reviews there folks. Interesting to see that Blue Valentine didn't work for you Spider as from what I've heard from people its a bit of a marmite-type film. And Dr L thank you for reaffirming my disinterest in the Green Hornet. I'd give it a shot if I could see it conventionally but no way in hell will I be forking out the additional cash to see it in 3D. Aside from Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Scorsese's Hugo Cabret, I wont be seeing anything in the ghastly format this year- needless to say it was one of my new years resolutions....

Anyhow, onto my first two entries for 2011......



THE KING'S SPEECH

Let's make something absolutely clear to begin with. I'm not a royalist in any shape or form. I don't wish any bad will on them whatsoever but I don't particularly give a toss whether they live or die either(Diana – poor woman but ultimately....meh, William & Kate's Royal Wedding – if it's a day off then great, otherwise, meh).

That said, I couldn't help but be bowled over by this simple yet effective tale. Tom Hooper, who did a fine job in bringing a real cinematic flair to a subject-matter notorious for inflicting dross on the big screen (i.e. football – casing examples of incriminating evidence being Escape To Victory, When Saturday Comes, A Shot at Glory, GOAL!  GOAL!2  and many MANY others) in the shape of Brian Clough-based drama the Damned United, repeats the trick for the depiciton of the Royal Family of the early twentieth century and avoids the typical traps of pieces involving a series of people talking in rooms (i.e. the Queen) by enriching it with examples of deep focus, inventive camera movement and intriguing compositions.

But given the nature of the beast this is all academic if the actual meat of the film isn't succulent, and by gum it is! Whilst the tale is relatively straightforward and standard, the combined duo of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush elevate an impressively shot cinematic royalist tale into a joyous journey of bromance every time they share the screen - deserving all the awards recognition they have and will be receiving. Without giving too much away either, the ending is also a wonderful juxtaposition of a man overcoming his deficiency in a moment of triumph coupled by an address to the nation of the impending doom of another world war. I suspect there will be films this year that I'll go on to love more in 2011, but few will match the smile on my face as I left the cinema. An terrific start to 2011.
8/10  



127 HOURS


Danny Boyle has been a favourite of mine for a long, long time now and whilst I feel he's a film-maker that doesn't always manage to make things that fully work, I've always appreciated the creative process he undergoes at the very least.

With the nature of the set-up there are so many things that could have gone wrong with 127 Hours, yet despite its tough sell of a 90 minute piece about a man trapped by a boulder on his right arm – it's a thoroughly engaging and visually inventive experience that provides another great example of Boyle's directorial talents.

James Franco, an actor who has hinted at greatness in a number of relatively mediocre films really excels as adventurer Aaron Ralston, and despite being in virtually every frame in the film (most of which he isn't even speaking) captures both a level of intensity and an emotional arc that deserves awards recognition.

It isn't completely flawless however, as some of the flights of fancy deliver mixed results and feel quite jarring, whilst the soundtrack comes across as a little messy and inconsistent in tone at points. Perhaps however this was intentional, in order to reflect the recklessness of Ralston's free-spirited existence. Nevertheless, it remains an imaginative depiction of the human spirit, a celebration of the importance of having people in your life and in many ways, is Boyle's strongest film since 28 Days Later. Highly recommended.
7.5/10



Will be checking out Blue Valentine, Black Swan & Peter Mullan's Neds over the weekend so I'll complete my top 5 of 2011 so far on Monday!



Two fine reviews there and we made similar points, I didn't like King's Speech quite as much but was far better than I expected  [I really thought it would be a total bore!].


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 45
RE: Films of 2011 List - 23/1/2011 4:26:21 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
And now for another couple of entries, one of which is probably the longest review I've ever done.....

BLACK SWAN

Where on earth do you start? To try and comprehend all the thoughts and feelings I experienced whilst watching 'Black Swan' is a difficult feat to say the least, but it goes without saying that it's been a very long time since I've had a contemporary cinematic experience that has been so electrifying. Darren Aronofsky, for me, in his previous four features has shown elements and examples of masterful ability, but it's in his fifth where he has reached the level where you can legitimately consider the term 'masterpiece' to be used.

Many have pointed to Powell & Pressburger's 'The Red Shoes' as its fundamental source of inspiration, but aside from being set amongst the world of ballet that's where the comparisons end. Aside from various little bits and bobs of genre-film making, 'Black Swan' echoes many of the strong aspects contained in Aronofsky's previous works. The paranoia border lining on anxiety and obsession in 'Pi.'The Docu-led emotional rawness of 'the Wrestler' capturing the physical strain of an intense performance. The escaping into the fantastical of 'The Fountain'; and in particular, the relentlessly-paced assault on the senses of 'Requiem For A Dream' (particularly in the film's final half hour – as you pointed out Spider). It's an extraordinary example of directorial ability and whilst David Fincher will walk away with the golden statue for the Social Network – it is the work here that is far more deserving.

The technical construction however would be nothing without a central performance to rival it, and boy does Natalie Portman deliver in abundance. Her journey from a technically gifted but sickly innocent and shy girl into a dangerously passionate and obsessive creation on the verge of insanity (which is on display in virtually every frame of the running time) is nothing short of spellbinding. Needless to say it would be a complete embarrassment on the Academy's part should anyone other than her scoop the best actress award. She isn't alone however in delivering strong turns. Vincent Cassell (a long time favourite of mine in vastly different things such as 'La Haine', 'Read My Lips', 'Irreversible' and 'Mesrine') convinces as the dominating artistic director willing to push the boundaries of acceptability in order to draw out the performances in his production. Winona Ryder (unfairly criticised in Empire's review) captures the cynicism and depression of a previous starlet fading into the background. Mila Kunis provides a sassy and enigmatic figure to perfectly counteract Portman's frightened and suspicious character arc. While Barbara Hershsey chews up the screen with a loving but overbearing mother-figure that tiptoes on the side of sinister for the films duration.

Some will inevitably continue their loathing of Aronofksy's work whilst others will claim 'Black Swan' is in desperate need of some subtly, but in reality that's missing the point. Whilst it's true that his films have frequently lurched into the realm of becoming over-dramatic, in this however it is entirely appropriate and justified. It is a film about delivering the ultimate performance and the lengths people will go to achieving it– even if it costs you your sanity and your well-being in the process. A spectacular achievement that already looks a certainty to feature very highly on my 'films of 2011' list at the end of this year.

9/10
   


NEDS


A tough, uncompromising coming of age tale in 70s Glasgow that is enriched of authenticity – which is of no surprise given that it's a Peter Mullan film – and undoubtedly works as a companion-piece to Gillies MaKinnon's 'Small Faces.' Whilst the narrative in itself is well worn and in particular, begins to lose sense of where it wants to go in its final act; there can be no faults in the performances of the predominantly-amateur young cast. Newcomer Conar McCarron perfectly fills the shoes of a bright young lad drawn to the dark side as a result of unacceptability, frustration and pre-judged opinions by the predominantly-intolerable adults represented on screen. His journey, whilst not always fully believable in itself convinces given the nature and subtlety of his performance and one can only hope that the recent act of barbarism by his own father doesn't get in the way of what could be a promising acting career. It's a film with plenty of dialogue (specifically ned banter), yet it's one that tells its story and conveys the characters' emotions through their body language.

Another fine aspect of 'Neds' is its look and feel in the compositions. Dramas verging on the kitchen sink have a tendency to emphasis on the greys and blacks, resulting in frequent colourless affairs – not so here. Mullan and his D.O.P. inject a level of visceral poetry to the screen, using tones of blues and reds to both reflect the mood and provide some visually arresting visuals in the process.

It's difficult to determine how much of an audience outwith Scotland 'Neds' will connect with, but for those willing to give it a chance you'll be hard-pressed to find a better example of a story about the concept of growing up in a challenging environment at the cinema this year - another excellent addition to the back catalogue of Peter Mullan.  

7.5/10


< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 23/1/2011 4:34:31 PM >


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 46
RE: Films of 2011 List - 25/1/2011 12:00:37 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8392
Joined: 13/4/2006
Glad you liked Black Swan, as for me this weekend just seemed like one of those where I couldn't get in to see the bloody thing

But here is an update

The Next Three Days [Paul Haggis, 132 Mins] 4/10
Don't think a lot needs to be said about this pointless remake. It is pretty much done scene for scene like the French film, just without the edge or excitment, and Crowe is totally miscast in the lead role. I guess if you have not seen Anything For Her there might be some enjoyment here, but all in all dumb, predictable and over long hollywood rubbish.

The King's Speech [Tom Hooper, 118 Mins] 6/10
I went in expecting quite a lot, and just didn't see the great film which everyone has been talking about. There is no doubting Hooper's eye for detail, and the way certain scenes are shot, but it still felt a little too televisral, and overall I don't think the main narrative has enough in there to hang a film on. But the cast are all superb, I think Firth actually was robbed of a Oscar last year, but it is Rush who steals the film.

John Carpenter's The Ward [John Carpenter, 88 Mins] 6/10
A nice suprise in some ways as I was expecting very little from a Carpenter film in 2011. Within the realm's of a standed horror b-movie there is sign of the old master at work, with a few good scares, a creepy atmosphere, some nice old school gore moments, and a solid set of performances from the young cast. It feels like you are very much in Carpenter's world, just that he needs to be rained it more, it is very predictable stuff with lots of rough edges, but a step in the right direction, none the less.

Blue Valentine [Derek Cianfrance, 114 Mins] 8/10
A truly draining, full on, but beatuifully and scary true to life experience. It is a skillfully crafted account of a marriege which is doomed from the start, but which goes on being a car crash, and the way the film brings both ends of the story together is very rewarding. As well as the two lead performances being excellent, and the director shooting with great invention, the score by Grizzly Bear is simply chilling and acts as a major character of its own. If I was to nippic some scenes are a little over written and some subplots are not really explained, but I was so caught up with the central pairing it didn't matter too much. My film of the year so far

So my top Five for the year so far

1. Blue Valentine
2. 127 Hours
3. The King's Speech
4. John Carpenter's The Ward
5. The Next Three Days

Coming up this week I should defantly see Black Swan and might fit in Morning Glory too.

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 47
RE: Films of 2011 List - 25/1/2011 12:42:01 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
I take your point regarding the Kings Speech but I have to say I was quite enchanted by it - particularly when Firth & Rush are together on screen. Mind you - you wouldn't of seen me giving it a standing ovation....

I saw Blue Valentine today as well and I really liked it - an excellent choice for your number one of the year so far. I'll get my detailed thoughts about it after I catch Morning Glory in the next few days.

P.S. Looking forward to your thoughts on Black Swan - I sincerely hope you don't pull a 'Greenberg' on me....

< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 25/1/2011 12:46:08 AM >


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 48
RE: Films of 2011 List - 26/1/2011 12:04:48 AM   
Epiphany Demon


Posts: 6497
Joined: 14/11/2007

quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

The King's Speech [Tom Hooper, 118 Mins] 6/10
I went in expecting quite a lot, and just didn't see the great film which everyone has been talking about. There is no doubting Hooper's eye for detail, and the way certain scenes are shot, but it still felt a little too televisral, and overall I don't think the main narrative has enough in there to hang a film on. But the cast are all superb, I think Firth actually was robbed of a Oscar last year, but it is Rush who steals the film.



Would agree with everything you said, literally every word including the rating.

And see Black Swan. It's incredible!

_____________________________

THE ALTERNATIVE LOOK AT BOB DYLAN'S DISCOGRAPHY - ONE DAY MAYBE I'LL FINISH IT

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 49
RE: Films of 2011 List - 26/1/2011 12:35:58 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8392
Joined: 13/4/2006
Oh I intend to don't worry, I am very much hopeing it will previde me with my Muholland Drive moment for this year, as in being the master piece which even at this early stage is unlikely to be dislodged as my number. I just had a mad weekend in London where every cinema I went to see it in, it was sold out

And QN I think that is highly unlikely, if Aronofsky ever makes a film that smug I quit!

(in reply to Epiphany Demon)
Post #: 50
RE: Films of 2011 List - 28/1/2011 7:05:09 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
As Qwerty posted a [very good] fairly lengthy review of Black Swan, I may as well paste mine from Wierd/Strange

BLACK SWAN

Nina is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance.  She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica who exerts a suffocating control over her.  When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice, but Nina has competition in the shape of Lily, who, if Nina is the perfect fit for the White Swan, is the personification of the Black Swan.  As their rivalry becomes a strange friendship and Nina starts to get in touch with her dark side, she starts to have trouble differentiating fantasy from reality.......


  It is my humble opinion that Darren Aronovsky is one of the ten best filmmakers working today.  His first three films show an escalation from excellence to sheer brilliance, with The Fountain being one of the greatest works of art the cinema had produced in a long time.  He didn't get widespread critical acclaim though until The Wrestler, though for me it was by far his least interesting film [though still very good by normal standards].  With the exception of a few dissenters, Black Swan appears to be having a similar reception, with some hailing it at as a true masterpiece, something I personally don't quite agree with.  Black Swan is fantastic filmmaking and may well end up being the best film this year [and it's only January!], but for me it does have a few problems that hold it back from being nearly perfect.  I want to emphasize that Black Swan is a very good movie, and in some ways can be seen as a compendium of Aronovsky's work to date-if this was a different movie then I may very well be raving about it-but I kind of wanted and expected more from it than I actually got.

  What we basically have here is a psychological horror film merged with The Red Shoes, and make no mistake this is a horror film, right from the beginning where an incredibly uncomfortable but enveloping sense of unease is created and sustained throughout.  Even the most potentially innocuous scenes have this feeling, yet it's hard at first to put your finger on why, until one starts to become aware of a devilish but still very subtle use of sound effects. When Aronovsky manages to make a lesbian sex scene downright scary, you know one again you're watching a genius at work. The house that Nina shares with her mother feels really haunted, full of dark secrets that may manifest themselves, and Erica is the scariest mother I've seen in a long time-Hitchcock would have loved her- even though she doesn't actually do much that's nasty. There's some great David Cronenberg style body horror, as Nina's hallucinations show things like webbed feet, skin that needs to be pulled off a finger etc., but what really surprised me though were some really effective jump scares, including the freakiest bath moment since What Lies Beneath.  Aronovsky is really good at this stuff and seems totally at home with horror and horror conventions, even throwing in a really quite shocking face stabbing as well a wonderful variant on the old 'moving eyes behind picture' gag.  Of course this is also a ballet movie, and you've never seen ballet filmed like this, with a handheld camera that sweeps around and between the dances-here, the aim is not so much to appreciate the aesthetic beauty of ballet but to feel it.  This is done brilliantly without shaking the camera around or having lots of cuts that last half a second, and you can still see exactly what's going on-a lesson to a lot of other filmmakers.  As he did with wrestlers, Aronovsky is fascinated by what makes ballet dancers tick and want to do what they do, and we really get a sense of the milieu, of the rituals, and of the sheer difficulty of performing the art.  And of course the pain and physical damage-I was almost cringing when Nina was standing on her toes, so successful was the film on evoking how uncomfortable that must be, and a broken toe moment really made me recoil because it's something we can all probably relate to.  In many ways this is a ballet movie for those who wouldn't normally watch or even enjoy ballet, and yet it feels so incredibly authentic.

  So what lets it down?  Well primarily, it's the script.  Almost all the characters, from the pushy mother to the young pushy upstart, are exaggerated stock types, and although that can work, I basically had trouble thinking of them as real people, with the result that, although I was dazzled by the brilliant filmmaking, I didn't actually care very much.  One good example is Thomas Leroy the director-he's such a sleazy creep and a sexual pest that I couldn't buy for a minute that Nina would want to be in the same room as him after their first encounter.  Considering the sense of authenticity and [admittedly sometimes heightened] reality in the depiction of the world of ballet, I  thought this created a severe in balance in the film. Now I love movies featuring mental breakdowns from the protagonist's point of view, so that fantasy and reality merge, and throughout the film I was reminded of quite a few previous movies such as Repulsion and The Machinist.  Nothing wrong with that, of course, but the trouble was I'd seen it all before and there wasn't enough originality to compensate, so the filmmakers decided to beat us over the head with it.  For example the mirror imagery, I simply got fed up with it after a while and felt like shouting out "Yes, Darren, I get the point”.  This movie is full on in its approach and that's great but I would have liked to see a bit of subtlety at times to balance things out.  Black Swan frankly isn't as complex as it thinks it is-the metaphors are so obvious as to almost seem a little dumb, and what on earth is it trying to say, apart from the usual stuff about the dangers of pursuing something too obsessively?  If The Red Shoes seemed to be saying that art and reality can't exist simultaneously, that you have to have one or the other, what I mainly got from Black Swan is that art needs a healthy dose of sexuality to flourish, even if it's very dangerous......which brings me to the sexual element.   Although it's there to show Nina's 'other' side, the more wild and dangerous one, surfacing, the lesbian element still feels tacked on, and, while watching Natalie Portman playing with herself is not an entirely unpleasant sight, we don't need to see it twice.

Natalie Portman is entirely deserving of the acclaim she is getting as Nina-the script doesn't give us much detail about her character, but through lots of little details she creates a spellbinding and entirely convincing portrayal of a mental breakdown, though I think the film misses a beat by showing her overly fragile even at the beginning.  Mila Kunis does a good job of perhaps the most relatable character Lily, but the two performances I liked best were a rather frightening Barbara Hershey as the mother and a surprisingly good [I've never rated her much as an actress] Winona Ryder as Beth- she really makes a mark in quite a small role, an unforgettable reminder of the facts that fame is fleeting and the old has to make way for the new.  Tchaikovsky's stirring music is superbly played and recorded, while Clint Mansell's more minimalist but extremely effective score is so cleverly interwoven with the Tchaikovsky music that even I [who consider myself very musical] sometimes had trouble telling one from the other.  Another great example of the way music can be used in a film is during a nightclub sequence, where the music playing played works well as background 'source' music and also as a commentary on what is happening and a reflection of the state of Nina's mind.  For example when she has just 'come up' on what could be Ecstasy  [though it's not made clear] and starts dancing it's 'uplifting' house music, but later when she's leaving and is emotionally a mess, very dark drum and bass is playing.  There is no doubt that Black Swan has much in it that's remarkable and Aronovsky has made another fine film [is he capable of making a bad or even an average one?].  I don't think, though, that it's quite the masterpiece that many are proclaiming it to be.
8.5/10




_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 51
RE: Films of 2011 List - 29/1/2011 2:39:23 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Whilst I don't agree with the argument wishing for some subtlety, an excellent and insightful review Dr L.... 

Been a little lazy of late in regards to writing up my thoughts over both Blue Valentine & Morning Glory, but I should get them up somepoint before the weekend's out.


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 52
RE: Films of 2011 List - 30/1/2011 12:51:37 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8392
Joined: 13/4/2006
Will post my latest update tomorrow

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 53
RE: Films of 2011 List - 30/1/2011 10:49:06 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1098
Joined: 26/11/2005
My latest update:

Black Swan (9/10)

Not an easy watch and I found the first twenty minutes quite hard going - finding Natalie Portman too glacial to sympathise with.  However, as I found myself getting swept up in the film and by the end, I would utterly enthralled.  To me, the film itself seemed to reflect Nina's own personal struggle with the skills required to capture the audience.  Starting too deliberately afraid to make a misstep (like the white swan) only to be overtaken by the increasingly out-there psychological and body horror mixed with an increasingly interesting and frantic performance from Natalie Portman (the black swan elements of the film).

There are elements of Aronofsky's greatest hits in this film (but when your past films include Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler is that a bad thing?) - the dedication required of the dancers recalls similar scenes in The Wrestler, the theme of obsession has been a consistent throughout Aronofsky's films from Pi through to The Fountain and beyond and the body horror is reminiscent of elements of Requiem of a Dream (as well as early Cronenberg).  Both Aronofsky and choreographer Millepied deserve a lot of credit for the Swan Lake scenes in which I was completely wrapped up, very interestingly shot and catching (in my opinion) exactly what it is like to be on stage and I would have quite happily sat and watched all of their ballet.  The acting is good and the actresses all seem perfect cast for their role.  Natalie Portman does come across sometimes as a perfectionist and something of a outsider, Mila Kunis imbues her character with an easy frat-girl charm and Barbara Hershey is fantastic as an increasingly frustrated stage mom who smothers her daughter with overbearing support.

Get Low (8/10)

If there was an opposite film to Black Swan, it is Get Low which is the epitome of understatement.  I think I remember QN seeing this last year at a festival somewhere and quite enjoying it and I liked it too.  Beautifully shot with rich ambers and stark whites and brown, this film unfolds in a very clever way as we learn more and more about lead character Felix Bush (played by Robert Duvall) and why he is so hated by his community.  Duvall is superb and he gives his final monologue in this film a subtlety and gravitas which befits the film.  If I had problems with this film, it is that Sissy Spacek is somewhat underused and that Duvall can't ever make his character truly unlikeable which makes the film increasingly predictable.  Still, it kept my interest for the whole film.

Morning Glory (6/10)

A fun film in which Harrison Ford does a great job of sending up his reputation for being a bit grumpy riffing with Diane Keaton who is a welcome presence in this sort of film.  It's just a shame that there is not enough of their interaction together and Keaton is relegated by Rachel McAdams who is sparky and fun.  The dialogue is sharp and funny but when you would rather watch more of the TV programme within the film than some parts of the film itself (the McAdams/Wilson romance sub-plot falls apart in the second half of the film), then something has gone wrong along the way.

The Dilemma (2/10)

Awful, awful, awful.  I had gone to see this film for a bit of levity as the majority of films out at the moment are on the serious side.  Unfortunately, I think I laughed once in nearly two hours which as a hit rate is pretty terrible.  There is nothing to recommend this film.  Watching Vince Vaughn and Kevin James' fat sweaty faces contort their way through the central question - would you tell your best mate that his wife is cheating - but the audience will face far more agony than any of the central characters.  The B Plot involves making electric cars sound like petrol cars which is idiotic in the extreme and features an awful performance from Queen Latifah and her constant inappropriate references to sex, particularly her "ladywood".  Female leads Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder are completely wasted, relegated to supporting their husbands, which is a shame as Ryder is the best thing in this film by some distance.  The one laugh is in the trailer, watch that instead and be glad you didn't see the feature.



_____________________________

Check out my movie blog - Box Office Challenge and reviews

http://londonmovieguy.wordpress.com/

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 54
RE: Films of 2011 List - 31/1/2011 2:59:25 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8392
Joined: 13/4/2006
Black Swan [Darren Aronofsky, 108 Mins] 9/10
Portman's performance is a career defining one. She was very muscley and ripe, and the tension was nicely built up over the couse of the film so she adds more and more dramatic weight as things move along, the way she has bulked up and really embodided the character is the key. A bit like in the Wrestler Aronofsky gets up close and personal with his subject, you very much see things through Nina's eyes, feel what she feels and experience what she experinces.

On the one hand you get a very clostropbic, chilling and hard hitting account of the extreme preassures for perfection in the Ballet world as well as showing you how these people almost live in a bubble, unsure of if to trust anyone around them. On the other hand you get a skillfully crafted genre piece which blends Argento horror, Hitchcock thriller, Sirk malodrama and Lynch's surrealness which turns what at first seems like a pretty straght forward hollywood film into so much more. Black Swan is like an art house/cult film which just happens to have gained main stream attention. The true stroke of genus is how the director has used the basic devices from the world of Ballet and twisted them around into a story which is so many different things, and which you are never really sure how much of it to take at face value. Barbara Hershey is very icey as Nina's creepy mother, and Mila Kunis also adds very good support. The score, set design and special effects make up are all excellent too.

I have seen most of Aronofsky's back catoluge, and I would say this is his masterpiece, and that it will take some beating for film of the year. Can't wait to see it again!

Morning Glory [Roger Michell, 107 Mins] 6.5/10
A film of two halves for sure. I agree with GM that it was sharply writen, entertaining and that we did need more of the Ford/Keaton partneship, also that the romance storyline with the Wilson character was a major floor, it was just such a unessery, ill thought out sub-plot. Another problem I had was that because Mcadams is such an engaging and good comic actor I found it hard to buy her as the more unforgiving, cut throat TV producer. But things really went down hill in the final third where they decide that everyone must change, and so you get unwanted character delvepment, and it changes into a totally different film. It was fine when it was a satire, but when it grows a heart is when things go horribly wrong. So decent, but it could have been so much more.

Coming up for me should be The Fighter and maybe Conviction too.

(in reply to Groovy Mule)
Post #: 55
RE: Films of 2011 List - 31/1/2011 7:24:17 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Good reviews everyone. It seems Black Swan has won universal acclaim from this thread....

Anyhow, next two entries....

BLUE VALENTINE

Relationships - At the best of the times they can be a lot of hard, tiring work that'll play with your emotions like a demented musical instrument and speaking from personal experience; the circumstance of one that you've become so used to beginning to fall apart can be traumatising, frightening and upsetting to say the least. Cinema in general has a tendency to either gloss over this scenario in a fluffy sense (the Break Up) or dress it up in a materialistic back-drop (Revolutionary Road), but few manage to capture the emotional rawness or deep wounds of the distressing situation.

In aligning itself to similar works from the likes of Cassavettes and Bergman, Derek Cianfrance brings these characteristics to abundance in 'Blue Valentine' – telling its story in two separate interweaving narratives of couple Dean & Cindy coming together and falling apart using separate camera mediums to successfully reflect the tone of each (16mm to give the coming together a warm glow, digital to display a cold exterior). The screenplay, built around improvised dialogue adds to the authenticity and the plot developments are neatly woven together in order to sell the inevitable deterioration between the couple.

At the centre of all this is a neat little ukulele number performed by Ryan Gosling ('you always hurt the ones you love') in an understated romantic moment that has been described as "twee” or "too much” by some, but in its defence is rather poignant in both Dean & Cindy's relationship as well as one from my own experience. It's a scene that is not only quite sweet but rings very true to the concept of romance and the inevitable heartbreak that follows which Hollywood consistently makes a mockery of.

However, for Blue Valentine to truly work it requires the couple to be expertly performed and both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams certainly achieve this. Gosling may feel slightly aggrieved at missing out on an Oscar nomination but it's Williams who is definitely the bigger revelation and the more deserving of awards recognition– turning a character with less obvious sympathetic tendencies and giving a performance that's predominantly understated and moving. Needless to say, she has come a long way since her Dawson's Creek days!

It isn't an easy watch (what relationship break-down films are?) but its approach to the subject matter is both beautifully crafted and honestly portrayed -a recent great example of American-independent film-making.  

8/10



MORNING GLORY

A breezy take on the concept of 'Broadcast News' littered with enjoyable performances and very funny moments. Diane Keaton makes a lot of a role essentially shoved into the sidelines and delivers plenty of laughs in the process – reminding us of her great comedic value that hasn't been exploited nearly enough in recent times. Rachel McAdams brings a lot of energy and likeability to a role that frequently tip-toes on the side of annoying, but never quite falls into the trap and it's her story that pushes the film onwards. However its Harrison Ford that walks away with the film, whose grumpy serious news anchorman reduced to "fluffy” daytime fare is a mish-mash of his own Han Solo, Howard Beale and even (as pointed out on the Kermode & Mayo programme) Marvin the Paranoid Android – it's difficult to think of him being better in a role for quite some time.

If you wish to nitpick, the lack of insight into the world of television journalism is a little too lightweight, the narrative beats are too predictable and the contradictions in McAdams's character can be quite jarring(she admired Ford's approach to the news when she grew up yet proclaims serious journalism has "lost” rightfully to the concept of entertainment). Yet, 'Morning Glory' isn't trying to be anything more than what it is - "fluffy” entertainment - and in that sense, is all the better for it.

6/10


< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 31/1/2011 7:29:56 PM >


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 56
RE: Films of 2011 List - 2/2/2011 8:27:12 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
And here's a couple more......

BIUTIFUL
At the beginning of the noughties, Mexico enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in their film-making craft when three unique cinematic voices came to the forefront of attention within the space of a year. They arrived in the shape of Guillermo Del Toro with haunting Spanish civil war ghost story ‘The Devils Backbone’, Alfonso Cuaron with erotically-charged coming of age tale ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu with a three-act interweaving narrative revolving around the effects of a car accident, ‘Amores Peros’ – the most celebrated of the trio. Whilst Del Toro and Cuaron have gone on to make bigger and better features (Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men to name a couple), Inarritu has never quite managed to move on from his promise and advance his craft – getting bogged down in the multi-layered structures rather than deliver anything profound.

In respects to his new feature ‘Biutiful’ the best aspect of it is that he has departed from the multiple narrative concept and focuses his attention primarily on one individual. Yet despite this it still hasn’t stopped him getting trapped into making something that’s in desperate need of a ruthless edit. There are simply too many things going on in Biutiful to make it either truly meaningful or affecting as it should be. To name a couple, there’s one aspect involving a key character having the ability to communicate with the recently deceased, which is there merely to serve the beginning and ending of the film and in the grand scheme of things never feels fully justified. Whilst there are subplots involving illegal immigrants from both China and Senegal which intend to serve a socio-political purpose (specifically in one horrific sequence), yet lack significant focus and constantly provide extremely unnecessary exposition. In short, there’s around thirty to forty minutes of sequences that aren’t needed – and very much get in the way of ‘Biutiful’s’ stronger aspects.

That comes in the shape of Javier Bardem’s performance, which is a towering achievement and eclipses his previous best works in the shape of ‘the Sea Inside’ and ‘No Country For Old Men’ -bringing a sympathetic presence and an understated melancholy to a role that could have easily gone the other way in the wrong hands. It goes without saying that his Oscar nomination is more than deserved and it’s in his moments with his family (whether the two young kids or his estranged wife – all three of which are also terrific)where the film takes flight. Innaratu too provides moments of cinematic bravado (the frame on the poster involving a flock of birds a key example), displaying a side of the Catalonian capital far removed from the picturesque quality of Antonioni’s ‘the Passenger’ or Allen’s ‘Vicky Christina Barcelona.’ There is no doubt that Innartu is beginning to move on from the creative choices that hindered him in both ’21 Grams’ and ‘Babel’, whilst its clearly his most personal film to date (dedicated to his father in the closing credits). It’s just a pity then that this key aspect is ultimately clouded by his insistence to continue asking too many questions of things that he’s unable to provide any truly worthwhile answers to.

6.5/10  


BARNEY’S VERSION
A complete mess of utter contrivance that consistently undermines the series of fine actors on screen. Paul Giamatti (one of my favourite American actors of recent years) tries very hard to inject sympathy into a character that’s worthy of none, whilst Rosamund Pike and Dustin Hoffman bring a lot of likeability and charm into the only supporting characters of ‘Barney’s Version’ that don’t feel like one-dimensional caricatures.

Aside from the best efforts of the aforementioned trio, it’s an endurance test to say the least, with a plot outline that is as contrived as it gets which throws as many sensationalist revelations at the screen as it possibly can – some of which is complete nonsense (the entire Scott Speedman subplot for example and the first twenty minutes are absolutely dreadful).  By the time you get the “emotional finale” sadly the only thing you’ll really care about is when is this damn thing going to end? A disappointment and after an excellent start to the year, this is the first genuinely average film I’ve seen in 2011.

4.5/10


_____________________________

Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 57
RE: Films of 2011 List - 2/2/2011 7:13:45 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
Four good reviews there,though I think Blue Valentine is the only one of those I'll try to see, anyway here's another longish review, most reviews of mine will probably be fairly short but sometimes I do a long one on Wierd/Strange if it's appropriate to that thread so here's my thoughts on

HEREAFTER
While on an assignment in Thailand, Marie, a French journalist, becomes a victim of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsumani, but as she starts to drown she seems to catch a glimpse of an afterlife and is then revived back to life.  Meanwhile in San Francisco former professional psychic George, who only needs to touch someone before he knows their secrets, attempts to improve his lonely existence by joining a cookery class, while in London Marcus and Jason are twins trying to look after their heroin addict mother when Jason is ran over a bus and killed.  Marie, George and Marcus are all trying to find answers to life's greatest mystery ..........


The question of what happens after we die is one that will probably never be answered, but that hasn't stopped filmmakers from approaching it every now and again.  Personally I'm fascinated by the idea of life after death and am a sucker for any film that attempts, even obliquely, to give some kind of answer.  Clint Eastwood's latest film has been seen by some as a bit of a departure in subject matter for him, but I think that's a silly statement considering his films tackle a wide range of subjects and several decades before both High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider had supernatural elements.  Hereafter seems to have divided both audiences and critics and I had a rather strange experience watching it.   I really disliked it for about a third of the way, and found it rather boring and perhaps taking an eternity to get to wherever it seemed to be going, but as it went on I started to enjoy the film more and more, got sucked into its slow mood, got involved with its characters, and by the end was really quite affected by the damn thing.

Straight away I need to empathise that the film's pace isn't so much slow as positively arthritic.  The story of the young boy Marcus seems especially to take forever, but the movie was obviously intended to be this way, it's not automatically a flaw.  In many ways this is a less of a typical Hollywood movie and is closer to French Art House, something by Jacques Rivette or Robert Bresson, where we seem to be observing real life, where a conversation may go on for ten minutes rather than be cut short, where the way characters gesture is as important as anything they might do.  Now I'm generally not a fan of that kind of movie, nor films with tons of dialogue, I'd rather see something rather than be told about it, which is why many of my favourite directors such as Dario Argento and Alexandro Jodorowsky are ones who empathise the images over the script.   Nonetheless, maybe it was just the mood I was in or whatever, but I eventually got really involved with this movie, even though it doesn't much of the usual stuff you find in afterlife movies.  There are brief glimpses of an afterlife  [I almost laughed at first as it reminded me of the climax of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind when the Mother Ship opens up and we are dazzled by whiteness out of which people and then aliens appear!], but there are no ghosts, no jump scares, and not even any real suspense.  Yet, as the film meandered to its conclusion, I was hoping to God that the film's characters would get, if not answers, some kind of peace.  I got to really care for them, which means that, at least partially, this is a good movie.

This is then more a story of how people cope with death than an exploration of whether there is an afterlife or not, and somehow it manages to convey both loneliness [including that most strange but very relatable kind of loneliness- that of being alone whilst being surrounded by people]and anguish without ever going into melodrama.  Peter Morgan's script devotes equal times to the three stories and I will say that I found the Marcus/Jason story weak at times, as said before it takes forever to get anywhere and suffers badly from some poor acting by the twins playing them.  Eastwood went after unknowns but it backfired, especially during one atrocious scene where Jason is on the phone in a shop, I almost laughed because he sounded like a robot.  This story does though have a great and rather amusing section where Marcus goes to various supposed psychics and they are all charlatans.  The Marie story, which opens with the spectacular tsunami [great CG effects here] is possibly the most conventional and at one point jumps suddenly a few days, but still becomes very involving and conveys very well a sense of dislocation, a sense of things never being the same again.  My favourite story was that of George the psychic, I found his attempts to try and integrate more into society by going to the cookery class and starting a tentative friendship with a young woman Melanie so incredibly touching, and they culminate in one of the best acted scenes I've seen in ages, as George uncovers certain dark secret about her that he perhaps shouldn't have done-I hardly got to know Melanie, as played by Bryce Dallas Howard, but felt so sad for her. It's obvious that the three main characters are going to meet at some point, and two of the three stories kind of climax in possibly the most touching scene of 'contact' I've ever seen, yes I shed a few tears and don't care!

The performances are generally excellent, with Matt Damon doing a really great job of subtle acting here and giving you information about his character without actually seeming to do much at all.  The lovely Cecile De France finally has a role worthy of her amazing early turn in Haute Tension and in some ways it's the hardest role because it's the most conventional.  Eastwood, as is usual now, also provides the music and his melancholy themes help create the right mood though they are rather too obviously used at times and one of them sounded just like his theme from Unforgiven!  You probably want to know, does Hereafter give you any answers and I will say that it does attempt a couple but still leaves a lot of questions.  This has obviously fustrated many people but then life is like that and I reckon if the film had told us more it would have just as criticised.  Is Hereafter depressing?  Certainly, but it has the courage to give us a rather happy ending that will make any romantics in the audience smile [yet still seems to have annoyed people for being different to the tone of the rest of the film].  Hereafter will undoubtably fustrate and probably bore many, but if you have the patience it's quite rewarding, and although I probably wouldn't rush to see it again, it will stick with me for quite a while.  7/10

< Message edited by Dr Lenera -- 2/2/2011 7:17:42 PM >


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 58
RE: Films of 2011 List - 3/2/2011 8:19:22 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3953
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
I saw Hereafter today Dr L and some interesting thoughts you have there, having that said I don't think I'll be nearly as kind as you were! 

I'll get a review for it the next time I see something else, most likely to be the Fighter.


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Qwerty's Top 10 of 2013 (so far)

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. No
3. A Hijacking
4. Behind the Candelabra
5. In The Fog
6. Good Vibrations
7. McCullin
8. Beyond the Hills
9. The Place Beyond the Pines
10. Wreck-it Ralph

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 59
RE: Films of 2011 List - 5/2/2011 8:57:53 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3940
Joined: 19/10/2005
Well there's not many of us who liked it, the only other person  I know who did is Evil Bill.

Saw the [extremely disappointing!] Tangled the other day and intend to see The Fighter tomorrow so should have [probably short!] reviews up soon.  Want to see Brighton Rock but neither of the two cinemas in my town is showing it, tut tut!!


_____________________________

check out more of my reviews on http://horrorcultfilms.co.uk/

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 60
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