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RE: Films of 2011 List - 4/5/2011 4:29:00 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
1/10! Nice!

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 121
RE: Films of 2011 List - 4/5/2011 8:32:14 PM   
Spider


Posts: 2078
Joined: 30/9/2005
Right, got three more to add to my list. I feel a bit bad that unlike the regular contributors here I'm not offering full reviews but oh well!

Your Highness - Given its amusing trailer this is a very disappointing work. I didn't like Pineapple Express much and I thought this was just as bad. A few laughs (which explains why it's not closer to a 1/10) but in general a film which annoys more than entertains since it's clear the cast and crew were having so much fun making it they forgot to consider the audience. Also, will not be seeking out more Danny McBride after the two things I've seen him in - the man appears to be an unfunny, untalented dick! (4/10)

Submarine - Impressively captures a feeling of teenage angst despite being knowingly quirky and eccentric. Laughed quite a bit and found it a touching story. Struggling to think of much more to say about it! (8/10)

Thor - Impressed with this one, though not as much as I know some have been. Ultimately it falls into the same trap as most origin stories in that there's a lot to get through meaning the villain and actual main plot of the film gets quite underserved, In this case the 'action' finale (with some big metal man inexplicably wandering round shooting humans) is underwhelming (although given there's no huge threat to the human race in this it's also quite refreshingly so) and the conflict with the main villain (won't spoil just in case) is wrapped up very quickly. Still, given that Thor was always going to be a tough property, not least the fact that Earth and humans ultimately seem to have little to do with the main story (as someone who doesn't read the comics I'm struggling to think how they will explain Thor's presence on Earth and Portman's character in a sequel), this is a very fine effort. Well acted (especially Hiddlestone) and well paced, looking forward to seeing more of the character in The Avengers (7/10)

1. Black Swan (9/10)
2. The King's Speech
3. The Fighter
4. Animal Kingdom

5. The Adjustment Bureau (8/10)
6. True Grit
7. 127 Hours
8. Brighton Rock
9. Submarine 

10. Source Code (7/10)
11. Thor
12. Never Let Me Go 

13. Paul (6/10)
14. The Next Three Days
15. The Green Hornet
16. Biutiful
17. Ironclad
18. Blue Valentine

19. Hereafter (4/10)
20. Your Highness 

21. Season of the Witch (3/10)

_____________________________

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 ElephantBoy)
Post #: 122
RE: Films of 2011 List - 6/5/2011 10:31:46 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
Animal Kingdom [David Michod, 113 Mins] 8/10
One of the most deeply destubing experiences I have had in the cinema certainly in quite a while, but maybe ever. A number of scenes are filled with a psychotic atmosphere, and yet the drama is perfectly paced as it is played in a oddly surreal and terryifiying way. The use of slow tracking shots, psychiodulic images, and errie soundscapes reminded me a little of Michael Mann's outstanding Manhunter from the eighties, the cast are all excellent not least Jackki Weaver who has a suprise twist to her character, and pulls it off brilliantly. By the end my head was exploding, this is the sort of film which makes me degusted with the world and all the slimey creeps in it. A thrilling watch.

Pina in 3D [Wim Wenders, 100 Mins] 7/10
As far as being a true celbration of a artists work, and uniqe cinematic experince this work very well for me. The descission to let Bausch's work do the talking with just a scattering of talking heads made sense to me, as if this was down in normal doc form you would have questioned the balance of it as far as wheres the other side of the argument, the people who don't rate her work or her. My only two issues with the film are with the 3D as once again I saw nothing which couldn't have worked just as well in normal 2D, and there has to be a question over weather this actually counts as a film, instead of an art interlation.

Howl [Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, 83 Mins] 4.5/10
At the centre of this unbalanced and slightly dull film is James Franco doing his normal twitchy, self-important performance, in fact he never convinced that he was Allen Ginsberg, just Franco with a dodgy beard. The problem with the lead actor and the film is that it is far too restrained, and we never get the passion and the outrage over this poem would have caused or that of the poet. Also the three different strands of the film never mix sucessfully to make a whole. The court room scenes that should have been the highlight of the whole thing, are never given the time to really grow and to get into its flow. The last twenty minutes are fairly engrossing, still what a waste.

Submarine [Richard Ayoade, 96 Mins] 6.5/10
Taken into account this is a debut feature it is very decent, flawed, but much better than many you will see. Expectly shot, with a warmth and magic for the period which really captures the time. The cast are all great, the two leads espically good, and along with some sharp lines there is an understated charm. However as the film moves along the langrage and characters did start to wear thin on me, it doesn't always feel like a whole body of work. There is an in-balanced between the comedy and the darker moments, at times it felt almost like the director was a little bit afraid to tackle these scenes. Mostly entertaining and charming.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams [Werner Herzog, 90 Mins] 6.5/10
An impression feat to get onscreen, with an haunting air to the whole thing, and careful eye for detail, Herzog's unique voice over once again serves as a character all of its own. I only saw this in 2D, and have no reason to see it in 3D, again moments of it felt a little too like the sort of things that are more suitd for a television documentary, and certain sections do feel a little flat, the attempt to bring a spritial story to the history of the Cave Paintings felt unconvincing to me. Some of it left me cold, but mostly it was a thrilling and beautiful watch which only a mind Herzog could provide.

Coming up for me Oranges and Sunshine, Meek's Cutoff, Arthur and Hanna.

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 123
RE: Films of 2011 List - 8/5/2011 3:23:09 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Going to keep things relatively short, otherwise I'll never catch up on what I've seen.....

YOUR HIGHNESS - Has aspirations of being a more adult-based Princess Bride but it fails in that respect spectacularly. Infantile, sleazy garbage that's powerfully unfunny. Worst thing I've seen this year so far & that includes Yogi Bear! (2.5/10)

PINA - Like a lot of the films of Wim Wenders it lacks a narrative & whilst I'm not much of a modern dance fan, Bausch's work is stunningly portrayed & given she died in pre production it's a beautiful tribute to her unique work. Really liked the fact that the dancers "interviewed" were not done so in a traditional talking heads style - instead offering a philosophical insight into how she inspired them to move & feel. Visually it's spectacular as well - making great use of the location her school is based in in Germany. I didn't see it in 3D but I struggle to imagine it being any better given my strong reservations. Wenders's best film since Buena Vista Social Club. (8/10)


LITTLE WHITE LIES - Far too long, too much going on and it could do with considerably less song montages, but the cast hold it together and make it watchable. Surprisingly funny too.... (5.5/10)

SCREAM 4 - Witty opening and at least it's knowing of its complete absurdity to exist, but it's predictable & not tense whatsoever. Even by the franchises standard, the ending is completely ridiculous as well. (4.5/10)

THOR - Could have been laughable but its surprisingly self-contained, witty & entertaining. Branagh's background in Shakespearean work really raises the stakes in the emotional engagement too - with Hiddleston (already done sterling work in Archipelago) carving out a believable & sympathetic villain. Has raised my interest level for Captain America and the Avengers film next year. Really good fun! (7/10)

CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS - Not Herzog's strongest documentary in an aesthetic sense but the revelations inside the cave are incredible. Worth the price of admission alone. Saw this in 2D as well so I can't comment on how it works, further insight here would be welcome! (7/10)


Thinking of catching Hanna & Farewell over the next week. Not sure about Insidious but maybe....

_____________________________

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 #: 124
RE: Films of 2011 List - 8/5/2011 11:51:27 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
Your Higness does look like a total stinker, and how depressing that Portman is involved, I guess it is one I shell advoid, unless I am bored on a Sunday afternoon, it happens to be on the box, and I feel like watching a bad film

Glad you like Pina, I would agree with your assignment on it, and would say you are pretty much spot on about Scream 4. I look forward to Little White Lies despite the mixed reviews.

Should be seeing Hanna tomorrow.

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 125
RE: Films of 2011 List - 12/5/2011 2:24:18 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera



Tom Hiddleston as Loki is one of the dullest cinema villains of recent years.  




WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Try interesting, sympathetic & believable instead.....

_____________________________

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 #: 126
RE: Films of 2011 List - 12/5/2011 6:47:56 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005
But still DULL DULL DULL, lol .


Anyway-

ATTACK THE BLOCK

In the London area of Oval, Sam a young woman is walking home when she is mugged by a group of hoodies, led by Moses, who take her change, purse and even a ring.  Just then, something resembling a meteorite lands in the park nearby.  As Sam gets away and tells the police of her mugging, the youths investigate and are attacked by a ferocious wolf-like creature, whom they dispatch.  They hide the carcass in the house of their drug dealer friend Ron, but more creatures appear, and the gang have to evade both the monsters and their police……….


  Ask my opinions of hoodies and I’ll normally reply that I detest the little shits and that they are a blight on many of this country’s cities.  Therefore, a movie in which hoodies battle aliens seemed like an interesting prospect, one in which I would support the aliens for once!  Surprisingly, this ended up not being the case at all with Attack The Block, the first feature from Joe Cornish, one which I hope will lead to many successive films from him.  This is a hugely enjoyable romp, one which, despite the setting, is almost a throwback to that golden age of teen horror/science fiction/adventure movies the 80, where films like Gremlins, The Monster Squad and The Goonies had kids who weren’t always great role models but were how kids actually are, had a bit of violence , a bit of horror, but maintained a sense of fun throughout and overall were a real good time at the movies for just about anyone, not just their target audience!  Compare that to the crap teenagers are fed today!  Now even though the main protagonists of Attack The Block aren’t exactly ‘nice’ kids, I still reckon many youths viewing the movie will identify with them in some way.  Cornish, who wrote as well as directed this movie, has to balance two things that many would think wouldn’t work well together- a realistic depiction of youths in a typical London ‘block’ and scary furry alien monsters,  and you know what, he succeeds very well.

The opening sequence is very brave, we see the people who later on have to be the film’s ‘heroes’  in their worst light.  As they circle around Sam on their bikes,  dismount and form a line in front of her, looking really menacing in their outfits, before  they cruelly mug her, even to the point of taking a ring which obviously means a great deal to her, the tone is very menacing.  I must admit, as we then follow the hoodies, rather than Sam, I wasn’t sure as if I was going to enjoy the movie, especially as I couldn’t understand much of what the kids were saying, and also because Nick Frost’s presence in a movie normally indicates these days that it’s going to be poor  [i,e.Paul, The Boat That Rocked]. However, we soon get into the encounter with the monster in the park and after that the film is a terrific thrill ride, moving at a furious pace.  Cornish delivers some really exciting sequences with his tiny budget, such a couple of the characters are trapped in a police van, and even some actual horror-they are two moments when characters see the creatures outside a window which are genuinely frightening, plus a few other bits here and there.   He also adroitly mixes in humour, sometimes using it at the same time as the more intense stuff, such as one kid who spends most of the film trapped in a skip, or when the gang, taking flight in the police van, crash into a car……….one which happens to be driven by their gangster ‘boss’.   The film never goes too far in one direction though, it’s all balanced perfectly, in a way that makes me wonder why more films these days can’t do this!   Sentimentality is mostly avoided but the final scene is quite rousing, and, you know what, it works superbly.

I mentioned earlier about the language and need to mention it again because it is a big part of the film and seems to have put a lot of people off.   The kids talk in what I can best describe as a mixture of Cockney and Jamaican, and there are so many odd phrases and terms that at times it is hard to understand what they mean.  However, it really helps things seems authentic-after all, this is how hoodies talk, and I applaud the bravery in doing this, at the expense of some coherence.  The actual portrayal of the kids is really well balanced-it doesn’t shy away from their crime and drug filled lives, but still shows them as real people who have good and bad points.  There’s a brilliant sequence where we see all the main kids, in turn, briefly going to their respective homes to get weapons and then going out again.  Each one has a lone parent [or possibly grandparent in one case] whose respective attitudes speak volumes in scenes that only last a few seconds.  There’s plenty of social comment elsewhere, some of it of the humorous kind, such as when the kids can’t understand why Sam wants to move away, asking what’s wrong with the area.  I also loved the dialogue in another scene where Sam says “I don’t want to get mixed up in this f******g gang warfare bullshit” and Moses replies “This isn’t about gangs………..or drugs, or rap music, or video games”.   None of this is overdone, and a lot of the time it’s quite subtle, but it shows that the script has been written with intelligence, even in a film that many other writers would have said didn’t require it.

We don’t actually find much out about the aliens, such as to why they attack Oval in the first place, and the effects are mostly limited to some very briefly seen flashes of light hitting the ground and the hairy aliens, but that’s really all we need.  The latter, which are seen often though rarely in much detail actually seemed quite effective to me, I loved the way their teeth seemed to light up at times, though I couldn’t understand why the body of the alien they kill looks really different to all the others, and there were times I was reminded of Critters, but I suppose that’s not a bad thing.  They seemed to me to be people in suits [hurrah!!] with a bit of added CGI.  There isn’t a huge amount of gore, and the bloodiest sequence, a multiple kill in a lift, happens so that you only see the aftermath, but there are brief gruesome bits.  Things in the movie that I do think are flaws are the presence of Frost’s character, who really serves no function at all, and the way that, with the exception of Moses, the white characters seem a little prioritised-I’m certainly no worshipper at the altar of political correctness, in fact I really dislike it, but perhaps in this particular movie the balance on this matter could have been better seeing as it’s set in an area where black people outnumber white people.

My favourite performance in the movie is Luke Treadaway as Brewis, a student who spends the whole film stoned, I felt like laughing every time I saw him.  Outside of Frost, Treadaway and Jodie Whitaker as Sam, the cast are all virtuallty much unknowns but fare really well.  John Boyega is especially strong as Moses, he really conveys his character’s constant bitterness and anger, and also provides the film’s loveliest moment when he finally smiles.  Steven Price’s electronic score often sounds like the backing for rap tracks and is usually quite effective.  Attack The Block totally exceeded my expectations, it’s a terrific piece of entertainment that never really gives you time to breath but has been made with skill and care, and as for the hoodies?  Well, I actually got to rather liking the little sods, and, during one scene where they head out on their bikes to confront their strange enemy,  I actually felt like rooting for them-out loud.
8/10


HANNA

Hanna is a sixteen year old girl living out in the Finnish wilderness with her father Erik, who has been training her to be an assassin with an ultimate goal.  When Hanna says she is ready, Erik activates a homing beacon, resulting in US marines appearing and capturing Hanna.  They take her for questioning at a top secret base, whereupon she asks to see the head of the operation Marissa Wiegler.  She is presented with a double of her, whom she executes, thinking she’s killing Marissa, then after also killing her guards, she escapes.   Hanna wants only to reunite with her father but once outside the base realises she’s in the middle of Morocco, and Marissa is after her……….  


I remember first hearing about Hanna in 2009, when Danny Boyle was developing a screenplay with Seth Lochhead, but Boyle, as he often does, bailed on a project he wasn’t sure about.   The finished screenplay eventually got Joe Wright as a director, something I wasn’t sure about.   I loved Atonement, but The Soloist and Pride and Prejudice were just kind of okay to me.  Then again, although I do pride myself on having diverse taste, certain things ,like Jane Austen, I just don’t ‘get’!  I needn’t have worried though-Hanna is quite a unique and interesting film.  I suppose it could be described as The Bourne Identity meets the Hit Girl subplot of Kick Ass, with maybe a bit of Daryl in there too, but it’s also uniquely it’s own movie.  Perhaps many of the ingredients aren’t too original, but the way they’ve been put together is rather striking.   You could call it an action film for the Art House crowd, or a modern day compendium of various fairytales, and on both counts you’d be partially right, but don’t let either of those two descriptions put you off,  the movie is more than that!

The film opens with Hanna shooting a deer with a bow and arrow, then gutting the dead creature, in a beautifully shot sequence set in the Finnish snow rife with symbolism, some of which I didn’t get till later on.  Then, with great economy, we are shown Hanna’s bizarre life with her father and even a training montage.  Any disturbing elements, for the moment, are removed-Hanna is seen to enjoy her life and her hard work, but then Hanna sees a plane flying overhead,and Erik decides she is ‘ready’ for whatever it is she is being trained to do.  When she supposedly carries out her mission and goes on a lengthy trek, the movie does become a strange kind of action movie, but one that often slows down to give an odd kind of reality to proceedings.   Much time is spent showing Hanna trying to fit in to the strange new world she has found herself in, and there’s an especially long segment showing her spending time with an English family, especially her daughter Sophie. Their brief friendship is rather sweet.  I’ve read that some people, probably those who expected a pure action movie from the rather misleading trailer, have got bored with this stuff in the movie, but I rather liked it, partly because, even though there are certainly plenty of exaggerated elements and even some borderline-fantastical ones, the slower scenes helped me believe what I was watching.  A great deal of effort has been made for the title character to seem as real as possible, and her reactions to things, from a grotty hotel room to a boy after a kiss, seem very natural, certainly exactly how her character would react.

The action itself is often strikingly filmed, there may not be tons of but I doubt you’ll forget it for quite some time.   Each action sequence is shot in a different way, and yes, there’s a bit of the old shakycam/quick cut/close up stuff which every action director seems to feel necessary to foisture upon us, but not very much.  There’s a fantastic chase around lorry crates where the combination of the quick but well chosen images [I absolutely adored some shots where you see the villains running after Hanna and she can be seen jumping from crate to crate behind them!] and the Chemical Brothers’ music [more on that later] are really quite exhilarating, I felt some of that rush that I feel a great action sequence should give us.   Best of all, there’s a wonderful scene where Erik is followed by some villains, and the camera follows him and sometimes turns to show his pursuers, all in one take.  Finally he ‘takes them out’ with some Jason Bourne-style moves, and still this is one take.  This kind of filming, the type that used to be practiced by directors such as Brian De Palma, isn’t seen much today amidst all the MTV style stuff that is everywhere, so hurray for Joe Wright!  I will say that many scenes would probably be quite ordinary if it wasn’t for the way they were filmed, and I would have preferred a more interesting climax, but Wright seemed more interested in the location of the sequence, a park with a fairytale house, and the symbolism and references that come with it.

There are indeed tons of allusions in this movie and I found some of them rather heavy handed, for instance you have Marissa the villainess emerging from the head of a large model wolf!  I was more impressed with the way the script steadfastly refused to give much away on things like the backstory, something which was supposedly Wright’s doing.  Apparently he chipped away at the original script, making things far more oblique.  I was expecting a certain revelation towards the end of the movie, but it didn’t come-yet I still feel there were hints to it’s possibility.   This approach seems to have been criticised too, but I really liked it, because it treats the viewer as an intelligent person capable of making up his or her own mind.  Overall the script is strong and I especially liked the way it avoided sentiment, yet still ended up being quite touching at times.  Now there is a very dark and twisted aspect to the story, and I would have perhaps preferred the movie to have gone into that element a bit, rather than whitewashing everything, it would have seemed more honest.  I’m also unsure about the current vogue for very young heroines who can kick spectacular ‘arse’, in a very exaggerated version of female empowerment, but there’s no doubt that Hanna is a great movie character, someone who I think could be the subject of sequels given proper handling, though coming out of the cinema my friend and I were saying how great it would be if she was pitted against Hit Girl!

Right after Atonement I though Saoirse Ronan was an extroadinary little actress, and, though The Lovely Bones [which I actually liked] didn’t meet with a very good reception, I doubt anyone could criticise Ronan in it, in what was a very difficult role.  Her snub by the Academy was criminal.  Here, she has another very difficult role, but plays it perfectly, she very subtly gets the pathos of Hanna and somehow convinces that she could break a person’s neck and dispatch several guards in a few seconds.  She’s absolutely mesmerising, though I will say that she has a slightly ‘haunted’ look that is perhaps most appropriate to bizarre characters/situations.  I here she’s probably starring in The Host, which is from a Stephanie Meyer book, and I think it’ll be the worst possible thing for her [if you’re reading this Saoirse, DON’T DO IT!].  Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett are okay in their roles though Bana sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger at times, which sadly almost made me laugh, while Blanchett plays it very hammy, obviously her choice but a bit out of synch and I don’t think she’s that good at this kind of role [see also Indiana Jones].  Far better is Tom Hollander as the perverse killer Isaacs, he’s blackly humorous but still scary and hints at things a ‘12A’ rated film couldn’t show.  Now I expected the soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers to be strictly average after the disappointment of Daft Punk’s work on Tron:Legacy, but it’s actually very impressive, with some wonderful pieces that function both as great dance or ambient tracks and also descriptive scoring, especially during the action scenes.  In most aspects, Hanna far exceeded my expectations, it makes things which have perhaps been done to death seem new and fresh again, and that’s a pretty great achievement considering almost everything now seems to have been done before!
8/10






_____________________________

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

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 127
RE: Films of 2011 List - 14/5/2011 6:19:38 PM   
chambanzi


Posts: 441
Joined: 31/8/2010
Rio- Enjoyable world with a beautiful, exotic setting and pretty funny characters. Worth a watch if you want something light and relaxing- 7.5/10


Rio- 7.5
Rango- 7.5
Sanctum- 6.5



(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 128
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/5/2011 2:25:14 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
CANNOT WAIT FOR ATTACK THE BLOCK SOUNDS FAB!!  Should have an update up by the end of the week

I didn't know a Spurs footballer was moonlighting as a screen villain

(in reply to chambanzi)
Post #: 129
RE: Films of 2011 List - 20/5/2011 3:47:28 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
quote:

Now I expected the soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers to be strictly average after the disappointment of Daft Punk’s work on Tron:Legacy, but it’s actually very impressive, with some wonderful pieces that function both as great dance or ambient tracks and also descriptive scoring, especially during the action scenes. 



Two excellent reviews Dr L, but given I'm a bit of a Daft Punk fanatic I will take you to task for this!

My feeling is that you didn't dig the Tron Legacy score but liked the Hanna one because the Tron one resembled Daft Punk conducting an orchestra (apart from 'End of Line' & 'Derezzed' - which are great by the way), whereas the Hanna one sounds like it could have quite easily been lifted from the likes of 'Dig Your Own Hole', 'Surrender' & 'Further'.......TELL ME I'M WRONG?!?


Anyhow, not exactly reviews (well, one), more ramblings....but another three additions this week.


NEW ENTRIES



ATTACK THE BLOCK

Neds, chavs, hoodies, pikeys, scumbags, monsters. Whatever terminology you happen to use to describe the "yoof" of contemporary Britain, it couldn't have escaped your attention that those kids inclined to wear track suits, hang around street corners amongst council estates and generally make a nuisance of themselves tend to be (rightly or wrongly) demonised both in the media and on the big screen. Recent films such as Eden Lake, Harry Brown and F have turned the very existence of hoodie culture into something suitable for a Deliverance-style setting, a vigilante-based thriller or a lurking in the shadows slasher fest. Joe Cornish, one half of Adam & Joe and one-third of the writing credit on the forthcoming Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn attempts Science Fiction Horror and goes one further - he asks you to invest sympathy with the little blighters.

It goes without saying that given their reputation amongst British society, it's a brave move - but it's one that absolutely works. What is completely spot on about 'Attack The Block' is that by the end of the proceedings, you do (somehow) feel for them. Yet (and this is the best part) by no means does Cornish attempt to dress them down or fluff them up. In the opening five minutes, we are very much given the impression that they're scumbags - and dangerous ones at that. During proceedings, you get the impression that they're idiotic people you'd hate to listen to murmuring away from the back of a bus. Yet over time as the plot thickens so to speak, not only are they not represented as monsters, but as people - confused, angry, bored & pigeon-holed people who may not be ones that you want to walk past on a street corner late at night, but you'll have no concerns aligning with them if sinister beings from outer space make a visit to your local neighbourhood. Through Cornish’s thorough research amongst youth groups in South London, they are represented as a believable and authentic creation rather than cut-out cardboards of terror frequently displayed in the likes of the Daily Mail.

All this authenticity however would be redundant if the science fiction and horror aspects didn’t match up, but thankfully though they do – resulting in a lean, hugely entertaining and suspenseful yet low budget Brit flick that despite owing a debt to the siege-based films of John Carpenter, certainly has a voice of its own and like the great tradition of cost-effective features it does a great deal with very little. Not the new Shaun of the Dead as its been marketed (yes it has funny moments, but this is certainly NOT a comedy) but it’s absolutely another excellent addition to what has already been a strong year for British cinema.

8/10


HANNA


Like previous Joe Wright films it's something containing a number of masterful set-pieces rather than something that amounts to one fully satisfying whole. That said, the set-pieces in question are rather outstanding in their construction (one prison escape, one confrontation at the bottom of an elevator and one friendship embrace spring to mind) and even though the performances by and large are horribly hammy (step forward Cate), Saorise Ronan once again is utterly mesmerizing and fully convinces in a role so many would have failed in. I'm genuinely excited to see how she'll develop as an actress when she steps into adulthood.

7.5/10



INSIDIOUS

Aesthetically-speaking it's put together pretty well and has one good scare. However, it takes a significant amount from better horror fare (the Poltergeist, the Exorcist, Drag Me To Hell spring to mind, as does the British film Skeletons bizarrely) and it's terror factor gets considerably less when more revelations arrive to the point of becoming almost laughable. Still, given the lazy nature of Hollywood on horror these days it's a fairly efficient if unremarkable piece.

5.5/10


Over the next week, hoping to see Julia's Eyes, Win Win, Armadillo & maybe that Pirates film for Penelope Cruz purposes....then again I might just stick on Volver and oggle that instead!


< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 20/5/2011 6:14:34 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 #: 130
RE: Films of 2011 List - 23/5/2011 10:06:43 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris

quote:

Now I expected the soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers to be strictly average after the disappointment of Daft Punk's work on Tron:Legacy, but it's actually very impressive, with some wonderful pieces that function both as great dance or ambient tracks and also descriptive scoring, especially during the action scenes. 



Two excellent reviews Dr L, but given I'm a bit of a Daft Punk fanatic I will take you to task for this!

My feeling is that you didn't dig the Tron Legacy score but liked the Hanna one because the Tron one resembled Daft Punk conducting an orchestra (apart from 'End of Line' & 'Derezzed' - which are great by the way), whereas the Hanna one sounds like it could have quite easily been lifted from the likes of 'Dig Your Own Hole', 'Surrender' & 'Further'.......TELL ME I'M WRONG?!?


Anyhow, not exactly reviews (well, one), more ramblings....but another three additions this week.


NEW ENTRIES



ATTACK THE BLOCK

Neds, chavs, hoodies, pikeys, scumbags, monsters. Whatever terminology you happen to use to describe the "yoof" of contemporary Britain, it couldn't have escaped your attention that those kids inclined to wear track suits, hang around street corners amongst council estates and generally make a nuisance of themselves tend to be (rightly or wrongly) demonised both in the media and on the big screen. Recent films such as Eden Lake, Harry Brown and F have turned the very existence of hoodie culture into something suitable for a Deliverance-style setting, a vigilante-based thriller or a lurking in the shadows slasher fest. Joe Cornish, one half of Adam & Joe and one-third of the writing credit on the forthcoming Spielberg-directed The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn attempts Science Fiction Horror and goes one further - he asks you to invest sympathy with the little blighters.

It goes without saying that given their reputation amongst British society, it's a brave move - but it's one that absolutely works. What is completely spot on about 'Attack The Block' is that by the end of the proceedings, you do (somehow) feel for them. Yet (and this is the best part) by no means does Cornish attempt to dress them down or fluff them up. In the opening five minutes, we are very much given the impression that they're scumbags - and dangerous ones at that. During proceedings, you get the impression that they're idiotic people you'd hate to listen to murmuring away from the back of a bus. Yet over time as the plot thickens so to speak, not only are they not represented as monsters, but as people - confused, angry, bored & pigeon-holed people who may not be ones that you want to walk past on a street corner late at night, but you'll have no concerns aligning with them if sinister beings from outer space make a visit to your local neighbourhood. Through Cornish's thorough research amongst youth groups in South London, they are represented as a believable and authentic creation rather than cut-out cardboards of terror frequently displayed in the likes of the Daily Mail.

All this authenticity however would be redundant if the science fiction and horror aspects didn't match up, but thankfully though they do – resulting in a lean, hugely entertaining and suspenseful yet low budget Brit flick that despite owing a debt to the siege-based films of John Carpenter, certainly has a voice of its own and like the great tradition of cost-effective features it does a great deal with very little. Not the new Shaun of the Dead as its been marketed (yes it has funny moments, but this is certainly NOT a comedy) but it's absolutely another excellent addition to what has already been a strong year for British cinema.

8/10


HANNA


Like previous Joe Wright films it's something containing a number of masterful set-pieces rather than something that amounts to one fully satisfying whole. That said, the set-pieces in question are rather outstanding in their construction (one prison escape, one confrontation at the bottom of an elevator and one friendship embrace spring to mind) and even though the performances by and large are horribly hammy (step forward Cate), Saorise Ronan once again is utterly mesmerizing and fully convinces in a role so many would have failed in. I'm genuinely excited to see how she'll develop as an actress when she steps into adulthood.

7.5/10



INSIDIOUS

Aesthetically-speaking it's put together pretty well and has one good scare. However, it takes a significant amount from better horror fare (the Poltergeist, the Exorcist, Drag Me To Hell spring to mind, as does the British film Skeletons bizarrely) and it's terror factor gets considerably less when more revelations arrive to the point of becoming almost laughable. Still, given the lazy nature of Hollywood on horror these days it's a fairly efficient if unremarkable piece.

5.5/10


Over the next week, hoping to see Julia's Eyes, Win Win, Armadillo & maybe that Pirates film for Penelope Cruz purposes....then again I might just stick on Volver and oggle that instead!



Nah you're not wrong at all mate, lol, I do actually like Daft Punk but I thought most of their Tron score was Daft Punk trying to be Hans Zimmer, badly, and I don't rate him much anyway! There were two or three great tracks though, I do agree, such as the one during the bar fight!

So Insidious didn't scare you shitless like it did me then?


_____________________________

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

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 131
RE: Films of 2011 List - 25/5/2011 3:45:27 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
Update!

Hanna [Joe Wright, 111 Mins] 7/10
In some ways Wright's most ambituis film, certainly a complete U-Turn from the likes of Atonement and Pride and Predudice. Visually it is one of those films where you can tell the director is having a blast, one minute you will have a dreamy, fairy tale sequence, and then sudderly you are risked into a full on Metrix style fight scene. One of the most aspects is the use of colours, and the way the filmmaker has a shape eye and ear for the mutiple locations Hanna jumps to and from during the course of the picture. Once it settles down into a character driven, black comedy, and a thriller, it feels like a more complete work. There are some touchy and funny scenes, and the brilliant Ronan carrys this all of with total ease, once again this wonderful young talent steps up to the chellenge. While Blanchett lacked the menace I was expecting, there are outstanding supporting performances from the likes Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams and the girl out of Tarama Drew [whose name escapes me!], she once again showed great comic timing, and seems a star for the future. A ripe little gem, for all its flaws.

Waste Land [Lucy Walker, 90 Mins] 8/10
Out of the three Documentaries nominated for this years Oscars which I have seen, this is my favourite. Getting deep down into the mess of Rio de Janeiro's largest landfil site, tragic lives of the people left to clear it up, Walker's compelling feature works partly because instead of becoming a political rant, it focus on the lives of each of its main subjects and gives them a nerritive all of their own. Waste Land serves as a testament to true human sprilt, and gives a stunning visually metaphor of human life struggling against its surrendings. Then you have the whole Art Project, and the way the people involved are giving the chance to better their lives, this in itself becomes beautiful story to watch unfold, even with certain questions hanging over it. Something quite remarkable.

Meek's Cutoff [Kelly Reichardt,111 Mins] 7.5/10
Very much in the same vein as There Will Be Blood, like an anti-western, more about the landscape and atmosphere of the place, unlike that film this less full blooded and more focused on the characters, but it does share an American richness with TWBB, it is just less dramatic with it. A bit like Old Joy, here Reichardt plays with the emotion of bordom, and how the smallest of sounds, or details can play on ones mind, and build up tension, even if ultimately nothing comes of it. The drama is wonderfully underplayed, by a choice cast, not least Michelle Williams whose character comes more into her own as the film moves along. It is very slow, but the paceing all make sense when you see how things develop from the middle until the end, and the final scene which may leave many baffled, made perfect sense to me, it leaves the rest up to you, the film utimatley is not about who is right or wrong, but just the different views of the characters, and a certain power struggle, the ending is just there to let your imaganry run willd. Exciting film making, from a true film poet.

How I Ended This Summer [Kak ya Provyol Etim Letom] [Aleksei Popogrebsky, 124 Mins] 6/10
While there was much to admire in this thriller which won Best Film at last years London film Festival, I have to confess I found it very hard work at times, and was left cold by the characters, and at times the story. It is atmoshereric, visually appealling, and acted with a broody intensty, still there was not enough invested in the characters to make me really care about their fates, the film could have been more adverturious which what was an intruging set up, and the ending did drag on too much IMO.

Benda Bilili [Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye, 85 Mins] 7/10
Inspirational little film following the fortures of a group of homeless Congolese musicians, led by the passionate Ricky who hopes to lead them away from poverty, by recording an Album, and getting noticed in Europe. It is a film that does not glamourise their storie, and is honest about the grim reality faced on a daily basis, by the locals. There are many struggles along the way, and while showing the power of music, and that of human desire, it also shows a more troubling side of young boys getting into gangs, and being exposed to smoking pot, and drinking, this was my one issue with the film [one I must conceed was important for the sake of balence], in what is other wise, a colourful, funny, and up lifting experience.

Coming up for me should be Little White Lies, Attack the Block, Farewell and maybe Thor.

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 132
RE: Films of 2011 List - 25/5/2011 3:51:19 PM   
impqueen


Posts: 7474
Joined: 24/7/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

Update!

Meek's Cutoff [Kelly Reichardt,111 Mins] 7.5/10
Very much in the same vein as There Will Be Blood, like an anti-western, more about the landscape and atmosphere of the place, unlike that film this less full blooded and more focused on the characters, but it does share an American richness with TWBB, it is just less dramatic with it. A bit like Old Joy, here Reichardt plays with the emotion of bordom, and how the smallest of sounds, or details can play on ones mind, and build up tension, even if ultimately nothing comes of it. The drama is wonderfully underplayed, by a choice cast, not least Michelle Williams whose character comes more into her own as the film moves along. It is very slow, but the paceing all make sense when you see how things develop from the middle until the end, and the final scene which may leave many baffled, made perfect sense to me, it leaves the rest up to you, the film utimatley is not about who is right or wrong, but just the different views of the characters, and a certain power struggle, the ending is just there to let your imaganry run willd. Exciting film making, from a true film poet.



I so want to see this it almost hurts, yet it isn't showing ANYWHERE!

_____________________________

Yes, always.


(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 133
RE: Films of 2011 List - 25/5/2011 8:55:34 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

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

ORIGINAL: impqueen

quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

Update!

Meek's Cutoff [Kelly Reichardt,111 Mins] 7.5/10
Very much in the same vein as There Will Be Blood, like an anti-western, more about the landscape and atmosphere of the place, unlike that film this less full blooded and more focused on the characters, but it does share an American richness with TWBB, it is just less dramatic with it. A bit like Old Joy, here Reichardt plays with the emotion of bordom, and how the smallest of sounds, or details can play on ones mind, and build up tension, even if ultimately nothing comes of it. The drama is wonderfully underplayed, by a choice cast, not least Michelle Williams whose character comes more into her own as the film moves along. It is very slow, but the paceing all make sense when you see how things develop from the middle until the end, and the final scene which may leave many baffled, made perfect sense to me, it leaves the rest up to you, the film utimatley is not about who is right or wrong, but just the different views of the characters, and a certain power struggle, the ending is just there to let your imaganry run willd. Exciting film making, from a true film poet.



I so want to see this it almost hurts, yet it isn't showing ANYWHERE!


This probably doesn't help you (as I don't know where you live) but it's still showing in Central London.

_____________________________

Check out my movie blog - Box Office Challenge and reviews

http://londonmovieguy.wordpress.com/

(in reply to impqueen)
Post #: 134
RE: Films of 2011 List - 26/5/2011 5:05:44 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
Yeah I have an good arthouse cinema which tends to show films, a month or two after release., but I bet with it being awhile since its release that is a tough one to track down.

(in reply to Groovy Mule)
Post #: 135
RE: Films of 2011 List - 6/6/2011 8:50:47 PM   
Groovy Mule

 

Posts: 1098
Joined: 26/11/2005
Trip to Poland has allowed me to see Lars Von Trier's new film Melancholia which was released last week, hot on the heels of its showing in competition at Cannes.  Von Trier may have made something of a tit of himself there but hopefully that won't put too many off seeing the film.  Don't think there is an Empire review yet so putting it here for now.  Think this film is now due for release in September in the UK.

Equally exciting is that Tree of Life (which currently doesn't have a UK release date) comes out in Poland before I go home.  Am going to try and catch that as well.

Melancholia (Von Trier) 9/10

As another famous Danish export has been known to proclaim (with a bit of paraphrasing), Lars Von Trier doesn't do Hollywood disaster movies but, if he did, they would probably look something like Melancholia.  With Melancholia, Von Trier has put together as starry a cast as any Hollywood action blockbuster from the past few years could muster - Kirsten Dunst, Kiefer Sutherland, Brady Corbet, Alexander and Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Rampling join Von Trier returnees John Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the cast.  Yet this is unlike any disaster movie you have seen before.

One of the reasons for this is that the disaster element takes an awfully long time to get going.  Indeed, we have a whole chapter of relative calm before the storm.  This opening chapter revolves around the wedding of Justine (Dunst) and Michael (A. Skarsgard), seemingly the perfect couple - very much in love and enjoying the early throes of married life in spite of the tribulations around them - a huffy wedding planner, car problems and a rather dysfunctional family - the acid tongued mother, the lecherous father, the uptight sister and brother-in-law, not to get started on the attendant work colleagues.  That this opening chapter represents the relative calm tells you what you need to know.

The melancholia at the heart of this film is not just a state of mind but a planet, previously hidden by the Sun but which now threatens to either hit the Earth destroying everything within its path or to glide harmlessly and serenely past the globe in an astromer's dream depending on which characters you choose to believe.  In the hands of a Roland Emmerich or Michael bay, this premise would be translated into a flag waving implausiable tale of heroics and daring-do as Kiefer Sutherland's amateur scientist did the impossible and saved the Earth from almost certain doom using rockets designed by his young son.  Von Trier does things a little differently.

This is classic Von Trier filmmaking and the sombre tone of impending doom reflects the public psyche of the main himself.  Melancholia is also a film which looks and sounds fantastic in a way which Von Trier is also making a style of his.  However much one hated Antichrist (and I did), one couldn't fault the way the film looked and sounded and this film continues that trend with exquisite use of music throughout and lustrous pictures, in particular the pre-credit sequence of slow-motion footage and some beautiful moonlit shots of Kirsten Dunst, which some viewers will no doubt enjoy for more than the cinematography.

Well know for pushing his actors to the limits of their tolerance, particularly his leading ladies (just ask Nicole Kidman), Von Trier does get fine performances out of them and Kirsten Dunst (and to a lesser extent Charlotte Gainsbourg) is no exception - raw and vulnerable yet with a fierce intellect and an almost unknowing cruelty, this is the sort of performance which reminds you what a good actress she is with the right material.  Likewise, Kiefer Sutherland is also very convincing as the sneering rich landowner and both Skarsgards are extremely watchable in small roles.

Unlikely to find/keep a mainstream audience, many of whom may well be put off by the opening pre-credit sequence which will test the patience of a fair few, this is a film which rewards those who stick with it and continues Von Trier's dismantling of the Hollywood genre pool - what next, a Von Trier rom-com?  Whilst the two chapters are almost so disperate as to be separate films, some of the devices used to trim the cast of characters are somewhat too abrupt and furthermore, some of those character so hideously unlikeable that you wonder how any of the other characters put up with having them in their lives, this is the perfect antidote to a summer of Hollywood bombast, not such the Antichrist as the anti-Michael Bay and possibly, one of the most depressingly and unrelentlessly bleak films made in recent memory.  But one worth seeing.

< Message edited by Groovy Mule -- 6/6/2011 8:56:48 PM >

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 136
RE: Films of 2011 List - 14/6/2011 2:01:56 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Groovy Mule, you are indeed a jammy git & I will refrain from reading your Melancholia review until it gets a release here...

Apologies for the lack of updates lately. Had a flat moving situation to deal with amongst a million other things. Hoping to get some coherent thoughts regarding Julia's Eyes, Pirates, X-Men, Hangover 2, Win Win, Blitz & Senna over the next week - two of which have entered VERY high & VERY low on my 2011 list....guess which ones?

< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 14/6/2011 2:02:47 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 Groovy Mule)
Post #: 137
RE: Films of 2011 List - 14/6/2011 2:05:43 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh

quote:

ORIGINAL: Groovy Mule


Equally exciting is that Tree of Life (which currently doesn't have a UK release date) comes out in Poland before I go home.  Am going to try and catch that as well.




Been confirmed as the 7th July. One of the few films this summer I'm looking forward to & I'll definitely be having a Malick retrospective beforehand. Still not seen the New World so that would be a good excuse to check it 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 Groovy Mule)
Post #: 138
RE: Films of 2011 List - 15/6/2011 8:35:04 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005
I love The New World, a really beautiful film, though it tends to really divide people!

Don't spend as much time on here as am busy with another website, but will keep up, here's some new reviews.


PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN:ON STRANGER TIDES

In London, Gibbs is on trial for piracy, but his judge is actually Captain Jack Sparrow in disguise, and they escape the court.  Hearing that an impostor Sparrow is auditioning pirate recruits at a seaside bar, he goes to investigate and finds it's an old lover of his Angelica, whom he seduced while she was in a convent.  Angelica captures Sparrow and he find himself aboard a ship lorded over by Angelica's father Captain Blackbeard, who wants Sparrow to help him locate the Fountain Of Youth.  Meanwhile Sparrow's old rival Captain Barbossa, who has abandoned his pirate ways and is now a servant of the crown, is also searching for the Fountain Of Youth…………. 



Upon its release in 2003, Pirates Of The Caribbean:The Curse Of The Black Pearl seemed to take everybody by surprise.  Apart from being the first pirate movie that hadn't flopped since the 1950s!, the way it resurrected all the hoary old pirate cliches, revelled in them and gently mocked them at the same time was masterful and a very skilled balancing act.  It had the feel of an old fashioned matinee movie but with a knowing modern attitude and of course laced with the best CGI.  It also created one of modern cinema's greatest characters in Captain Jack Sparrow.  Now many critics feel things went wrong with the first two sequels, Dead Men's Chest and At World's End, I don't entirely agree, the former was almost as fun as the original in my opinion but the latter was definitely a bloated, confused, often stupid and, most bizarrely, often dull mess, albeit with a few great scenes and ideas.  During the run up to this slightly belated fourth instalment, we heard much from people involved with the film about how this one was going to return to the more straightforward and fun style of the first movie.  I'm happy to say that, for the most part it does, and works very well as a seafaring adventure film on it's own, though it does have quite a few problems, sad to say!

After a wonderfully pulpy opening scene, we waste no time in being introduced to our hero, who now is Sparrow for once, rather than somebody badly played by Orlando Bloom, and we launch in into a breathless series of chases and escapes, with the highlight being a great carriage chase.  Perhaps to compensate for the slow movement of At World's End, the pace of the movie is immediately far faster than the other films, and it's great!  Of course we soon get into the main journey, and surprisingly the film still refuses to slow down.   Interestingly, at this point, the film also starts to have a surprisingly dark tone.  Most scenes are set at night, and Dariusz Walski's cinematography has a real Gothic look to it.  Then we get into the film's greatest sequence, a lengthy battle with mermaids, and it's great to see mermaids portrayed like the mermaids of pirate folklore for once, vicious and nasty.  What makes them particularly effective is that they are not shown that clearly.  Dead Men's Chest and particularly At World's End threw the CGI on to the screen in bucket loads and the quality of the effects seemed to diminish the more they were used.  In this episode, it's used more sparingly, and it actually increases the effectiveness of some scenes, especially those involving the mermaids.

About half way the film starts to slow down a little but remains fairly exciting, though scriptwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott can't resist throwing in a bit of the double cross stuff which helped to bog down At World's End.  It's not too much here though.  Unfortunately, the horrible spectre of Twilight rears its ugly head, with a subplot involving a man and a mermaid.   Of course there's nothing wrong with the basic idea, which has been the subject of many stories and indeed films, from Splash to The Little Mermaid,  but here it's been Twi-fied  [I've decided, I'm going to use this word, which I made up a while back when reviewing Beastly, whenever I deem fit], so you get lots of intense glances where people actually look like they are about to be sick, awful acting, and horrible dialogue.  Now this stuff isn't in the film enough to totally ruin it, but they could have removed it with no loss.  Sadly once we get to the Fountain Of Youth, the film totally loses the plot in more ways than one.  Of course it's a common problem with quest movies that they rarely exploit the thing that is being looked for once it is found, and perhaps it's understandable, especially when sequels might be forthcoming, but Rossio and Eliott obviously didn't know what to do towards the end of this movie so they copied situations and scenes from Indiana Jones  And The Last Crusade. There's a bit of brief sword fighting that seems pathetic compared to the full on climactic action of the other three films, things kind of happen that don't make any sense, and then it ends with some laughs and suggestions of a sequel.

I've criticised the script several times in this review, and it is very flawed, with far too much of it consisting of Sparrow being captured and then escaping in an elaborate and funny way.  I think they should have had a new writer alongside Rossio and Eliott.  Now this movie's script was actually based on a novel called 'On Stranger Tides' by Tim Powers and I wonder if the writers had trouble adapting it into a POTC movie?  The writers do succeed though in the amount of time devoted to Sparrow though, they resist the temptation to have him on screen all the time, even though he is basically the 'hero' this time round.  The bickering between him and Angelica is also good, funny but nicely barbed, and this part of the story ends in a surprising and brave way which I certainly did not expect.  This episode is smaller in scale than the last two movies, maybe even the first, and, while it's nice to have a more focused story, there aren't really any fantastically memorable sequences except for the mermaid attack.  Apart from some of Sparrow's antics, which, despite what some critics have been saying, remain tremendous fun because you just don't know what he's going to do some of the time, there's a dearth of originality, and that's a shame, because the film is certainly entertaining and has it's heart in the right place.

Rob Marshall takes over from Gore Verbinski but I defy anyone to notice the difference. I've read reports that the action scenes are overly fast and choppy like in many films these days, but it just isn't so, at least in the 2D version.  I personally don't like characters looking like cardboard cut outs, action hurting my eyes and the picture being too dark, so I don't bother with 3D anymore.  I really wish they'd give this clapped out gimmick, which is still a long way from being perfected and more than anything else an excuse to raise seat prices, a rest, but it doesn't look like they are going to, so I will keep on moaning about it!  Johnny Depp is as wonderful as ever as Sparrow, he look like he's having fun every minute, though he does seem like a rather kinder Sparrow here and has possibly lost a bit of his edge.  Surprisingly he is almost matched by Penelope Cruz who is a great foil for him [and really shows up what a poor actress the incredibly overrated Keira Knightley  is], while everyone else has enormous fun playing pirate.  Composer Hans Zimmer seems mostly to be content with rehashing themes and motifs from earlier films, some of which might be nice to hear, but compared with his great work on At World's End [why did the worst film have the best score?] it's a severe disappointment.  On Stranger Tides certainly entertains, it's solid viewing for the family and there's not enough of that at the moment, while it gets things right more than it gets wrong.  It's better than At World's End, that's for sure.  However, I really dislike it when a film is great for its first half, then goes downhill and has a poor ending.  It can't help but send me out of the cinema with feelings of both irritation and disappointment, and sadly I felt both those things after On Stranger Tides, as enjoyable as it certainly is.
7/10


BLITZ

In London, Detective Sergeant Tom Brant has a drinking problem, a knack for getting himself into trouble and using supposedly unnecessary force.  After he wastes three thugs breaking into a car, he is threatened with suspension and then enlisted to work under openly gay DS Porter Nash, who by-the-book methods are rather different from Brant’s.  The mission- to hunt down a killer who seems to be targeting cops and who also likes to tell Craig Stokes, a journalist , what he is about to do.   He is aided by his ex-boss James Roberts and undercover cop Elisabeth Falls, but the killer, who seems to be a drug addict called Barry Wiess, seems to always be one step ahead of them………


  I’m rather fond of Jason Statham.  He seems to have carved a niche for himself, playing the same kind of character in the same kind of movie,  and hurrah for that, he’s good at it, and the films are always great, blokeish, beer and kebab movies that just aim to give us a good time.  He’s also said that he normally makes the kind of films that he likes to watch, so I reckon that he’s probably quite happy doing what he’s doing and wouldn’t want to change, though of course he’s not nearly as big a star as someone like, say,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite being a far better actor.   Blitz therefore comes across as a curious effort.   It’s based on a novel by Ken Bruen,  and it looks like to me it’s been partially turned into a Statham vehicle-apparently the main character is nothing like Statham in the book.  I say partially though, because the Stath has precious little action in the film.  Rather than an action movie it’s a police mystery thriller, and being not that different from something you could probably watch on TV most evenings, it’s almost totally unoriginal.  It is reasonably enjoyable,  and Statham is still Statham as he always is, but I think a great many people are going to be disappointed by Blitz.

We certainly open in typical cool Statham movie fashion, where he beats up the three car-jacking youths with a hurley. “Hurley, a cross between hockey and murder” he says in his best manner.  Then we get into the main murder mystery plot, and to be honest , it quickly becomes a bit of a mess.  Although not especially complicated, the script suffers from too many characters which have little bearing on the main story and situations which aren’t really explained properly.  It seems obvious that writer Nathan Parker [who wrote Moon] didn’t really know how to adapt an obviously densely plotted novel for the screen, and I wonder if this it would have worked better as a two or three part TV drama.  A good example is how does Blitz, the killer, know where all of London’s cameras are?  It seems like the sort of thing that would have been explained in the book.  I kept asking myself things like this whilst watching the movie, another thing being how on earth did Blitz leave no DNA evidence at any crime scene as he wore his normal clothes.  Honestly, as a murder mystery it’s pretty inept, which is possibly why we find out who the killer is about half way through to make things easier, after which the film starts to resemble a British Dirty Harry [though without the action] or even more, Ten To Midnight.  The tension does increase as we’re not entirely sure who will get who, but the film wastes time on subsidiary characters and stories who should either have been removed or had more spent on them so they register more and make more sense-as the film stands they are just a nuisance.

I’ve mentioned there’s little action and honestly all you get is the brief opening brawl, a rather fine foot chase and a brief fight at the end.  At least there are some great Statham moments and lines up there with the best.  “Are you as nancy as they say?” he asks Nash sensitively, “do I look like I carry a pencil?” he replies to a request that he writes down information, and in my favourite scene he gets into a pub and is refused a drink because it’s closed.  He reaches behind the bar, grabs himself a glass and talks the guy into serving him.  As he leaves he is asked to pay and refuses-he says he doesn’t have to pay because the pub’s closed.  This stuff is great, but it feels like it has been shoehorned into the film ,which I think would have been better deadly serious.  As it is, there’s a real depressed look to the movie, with dingy pubs and decrepit rooms murkily shot emphasising browns and greys, and cinematographer Rob Hardy almost achieves a certain poetry out of this.  Now this movie is an ‘18’, which these days normally means that it’s quite extreme, but the bloody shootings are average and the two other killings, a bludgeoning with a hammer and a drowning in a toilet bowl, occur mostly off screen.  The swearing isn’t constant either so I haven’t got a clue why it has the certificate it has.  I also don’t understand why many British films have to overdo the “appealing to Americans” bit, here we have the usual things like pubs indentified by signs saying “bar” and someone’s weight being described in pounds rather than stones.

Statham is still Statham, and he’s as cool as ever, but Paddy Considine is a perfect foil for him as Nash, and the two actors, though very different in style, have such chemistry I wish they were in a better movie.  Considine is as superb as ever-look at the subtle ways he indicates that his character is gay, without especially drawing attention to it.  Aiden Gillen is a terrific psychopath, one of the best in a while, you really don’t know what he’s going to do most of the time and you really feel he could explode.  In fact the acting is this movie is of a high standard throughout and everyone really does what they can with their underwritten characters, a good example being Zawe Ashton as Elizabeth Falls, the cop who was once a drug addict and is up to something we are not sure about.  I’m not really a fan of composer Ilan Eshkeri, but his techn –inspired score does work quite well for Blitz and goes excitingly into overdrive at certain key points.  Now I’ve read that this film was made with an eye to having a series, and I can see Tom Brant, and in the form of Statham, in future films.  I hope they do a better job of it next time round.
5/10




_____________________________

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

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 139
RE: Films of 2011 List - 15/6/2011 8:40:16 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3970
Joined: 19/10/2005
KUNG FU PANDA 2

Long ago in China, Lord Shen, heir of the peacock clan that ruled Gongmen City, sought to harness the power of fireworks as a weapon with which to rule the entire country. When he learned from the court’s goat soothsayer that “a warrior of black and white” would one day defeat him, Shen assumed she was referring to the giant pandas and had them exterminated to avert the prophecy. Shen’s parents were horrified at this atrocity and exiled Shen, who swore revenge.  Thirty years later, Po is living his dream as the Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, the Furious Five, but is told by Master Shifu that he has yet to achieve inner peace.  When Shifu hears that Shen has developed a cannon which threatens to destroy kung fu, Po and the Furious Five set out to stop him, but Po keeps having strange flashbacks of when he was a baby………


  Though undoubtedly enjoyable, I personally wouldn’t place the original Kung Fu Panda up there with the best animated films from Dreamworks such as Shrek, Flushed Away and How To Train Your Dragon, but it was a huge hit.  The basic idea is the sort of thing that sounds stupid but is actually genius from a commercial and marketing point of view – a martial arts movie with the characters as animals, thereby attracting a wide audience from young to old. Actually it’s not that stupid really – a quick look at the titles of some old martial arts films such as Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow and Mad Monkey Kung Fu will tell you that much of kung fu is based on the movements of animals.  Kung Fu Panda 2 basically takes the first film and ‘ups’ it, its makers obviously believing fervently in the ‘bigger is better’ creed.  If the original was basically an ‘origin’ or a ‘training’ movie, this second film is a full-out action movie, and don’t laugh, I really mean that.  It’s probably as exciting as any live-action film of the action kind you’ll see this year, though I still feel it doesn’t quite hit the heights it should.

Much like the first film, this one begins with a flashback introduction to the story done in Chinese-style paintings, then we quickly move on to a terrific battle sequence where Po and he Furious Five defend the village against attackers.  This is a wonderfully inventive scene, with all the good guys using their specific animal characteristics to defeat their opponents, and sets out an ambition to make its’ action fast and furious without making it hard to follow, unlike many films with action in today.   It succeeds in this throughout, though I didn’t see this in 3D [because, even though it does look better when applied to animated movies as opposed to live action ones, I still don’t feel it’s worth the extra money one pays for it!] and I reckon in that format it’s probably a little blurry at times.  Although the main drive of the story is sometimes broken up by Po’s flashbacks to his childhood and investigation into precisely why his father is a goose, the pace never really slows, as Po [wasn’t he one of the Teletubbies?] sets out on his mission, and we are treated to tons of fabulous action.  There’s escapes from burning temples and battles on ships, but the best sequence is a rickshaw chase about half way through, which seems inspired by but improves on the stunning chariot race from Dreamworks’ earlier The Prince Of Egypt.  Crammed with gags and jaw dropping moments, it’s Jackie Chan crossed with Indiana Jones.  Po battles Shen twice, and their first duel, including its dialogue, somehow reminded me of The Empire Strikes Back, so much so that I half expected Shen to tell Po he was his father.  Their second fight is all too brief, but never mind.

This is one visually stunning animated film, with the chief colours of different settings used well to create certain moods, and I especially loved the way Po’s flashbacks were in good old hand drawn style.  I really think that technically, Dreamworks is ahead of Pixar-just look at the detail, for example, on the close ups of Po’s fur.  The script though is uneven.  It does have more going on than the first film and unifies all of its’ threads very well, and I also love the lack of preachiness.  Violence is seen to solve things in this movie, and Po happily stuffs his face all throughout.  Disney, and I reckon even Pixar, would have incorporated some messages that fighting and eating a lot are bad!  I The film falters though when it talks about Po finding ‘inner peace’,  this attempt to incorporate the psychological aspect of martial arts just coming across as pointless, and what’s up with that stupid bit of ‘magic’ at the climax? Though never dull for a moment,  Kung Fu Panda 2 just lacks that certain magic that you get from really great animated films.  As with Kung Fu Panda, the typical Dreamworks pop-culture humour is absent but what laughs remain sometimes fall a little flat, and, considering you are basically watching animals doing kung fu, I think more and better jokes would have been a good thing.  It’s worth noting that, despite what you might think, this isn’t really for very young children at all.  At the showing I saw, a few got bored, clearly finding it either too intense or just not understanding it.

Jennifer Yuh, a storyboard artist and assistant director on many Dreamworks movies, has been promoted to director here and she just about keeps things well paced, fast without being frantic. Jack Black was born to voice Po, his vibrant personality really comes across and it helps greatly that the character designers gave Po elements of Black’s physical appearance and mannerisms, without being too obvious about it.  The rest of the celebrity filled cast are fine, with Gary Oldman adding another great villain to his lengthy list of screen baddies, though I wish Jackie Chan’s character said more-I almost forgot he was in the film.  Luckily Michelle Yeoh is on hand to add both authority and mystique as the Tigress Soothsayer.  John Powell, who has done sterling work on so many Dreamworks animated films, delivers another superb score, constantly evoking the Oriental setting without going over the top about and writing some thrilling action pieces.  There’s much in Kung Fu Panda 2 that is great, and without a doubt it’s a fun time at the movies.  As with the first film though, I somehow expected more.  O well, there has been talk of several more sequels, and this one ends in a manner that virtually cries out for one, so it won’t be long before there’s another one.

7.5/10


Didn't get to do the full review of this one!
X-MEN:FIRST CLASS

At a German concentration camp in occupied Poland during 1944, scientist Sebastian Shaw forces young Erik Lensherr to move a coin with his mind by shooting his mother.  Elsewhere in New York, young Charles Xavier encounters a shape-shifting girl called Raven in his kitchen and invites her to live with his family.  Moving forward to 1962, Lensherr is out for revenge against Shaw for turning him into a monster and Xavier is in England, an Oxford University graduate.  CIA agent Moira MacTaggart turns up and recruits Xavier to help her track down Shaw, who might just be out to cause a nuclear war, but Lensherr might get to him first…………


I didn’t expect much from X-Men:First Class, especially considering none of the previous X-Men movies, whilst perfectly okay, have really done it for me, with the possible exception of the third, which, against general opinion, I found more enjoyable than both the first and the second [and certainly the fourth].  I was wrong though-this is the best of all the movies, a clever, highly entertaining adventure whose tone is perfectly balanced by director Matthew Vaughn.  The story is done mostly seriously, but, unlike Bryan Singer [the man who has no feel whatsoever for the superhero genre but has somehow managed to make three movies of that nature], Vaughn, who also co-wrote the script, throws in some nicely judged lighter sequences [ such as when Xavier is trying to recruit some more mutants and a hilarious cameo], and keeps the pace thundering forward.  Scenes are mostly short and to the point, while the action scenes, though often a little short for my liking, are inventive and exciting.  Unfortunately the final set piece, while it has some stunning moments, sometimes  goes overboard with the fast cutting and becomes almost incoherent, and the film throughout suffers from some really poor CGI.  Honestly, the effects are really inept at times, so much so that sometimes the backgrounds resemble a cartoon!  This is also the most brutal of the films, with knives impaling hands to tables, coins smashing through heads and barbed wire crushing soldiers, and I’m not it’s needed.  Still, with fine performances all round, a throbbing score from Henry Jackman [the first full score he’s done], not to mention some great new mutants, this ticks most of the the boxes required and may end up being the best superhero movie this year.
8/10



_____________________________

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

(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 140
RE: Films of 2011 List - 18/6/2011 10:54:18 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Long overdue, but finally...here we go....

NEW ENTRIES

PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

A depiction of everything that’s wrong with mainstream cinema. A pool of acting talent on screen who deliver absolutely nothing. A film with a colossal budget that looks cheap and naff. A plot (if you can call it that) where the audience is thirty minutes ahead of its characters each and every time. A running time that’s not far off three hours long for absolutely no justifiable reason. A film more interested in commerce and overheads rather than heart and entertainment. A relentless bore feast that’s a complete insult to the concept of engagement and yet, despite being free of the burden of Orlando Bland and Keira Shiteley, is comfortably the worst of the pirates franchise and an utterly abysmal summer blockbuster. Grim.
1.5/10


JULIA'S EYES


In what has been a mediocre year for tension-orientated cinema so far, once again it takes the efforts of those from Spain to elevate proceedings and deliver an interesting and inventive friday-night thriller. Like Juan Antonio Bayona’s outstanding ghost story the Orphanage, Julia’s Eyes has the name of Guillermo Del Toro attached in a presenting role whilst Belen Rueda stars in the leading role regarding a woman dealing with the suspicious death of her twin sister coinciding with the deterioration of her own sight. Even though there are certain plot points that feel somewhat convenient, it delivers thanks to Gulliem Morales’s assured direction and displays another terrific central performance from Rueda. One of the best thrillers of the year that you suspect would have done rather well if it didn’t have the obstacle of subtitles troubling it.
8/10


WIN WIN


Clearly a part three in Tom McCarthy’s trilogy of unlikely friendships developing amongst isolated individuals, but whilst the Station Agent and the Visitor felt more assured and emotionally engaging, Win Win feels more like a retreat over familiar ground that was done better before. Still, you can’t fault the performances of those involved (Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan being the most recognizable) and it’s still rewarding to see an American director interested in people rather than stuff.
6/10



BLITZ


For your average Jason Statham romp, there’s a decent amount of stuff in here that elevates proceedings – most notably in the performances of the man himself, Aiden Gillen (best known on the small screen in the likes of Queer As Folk, The Wire & Game Of Thrones) and the ever terrific Paddy Considine. Whereas the ideas in touches upon regarding the inner workings of a police force are interesting if a little heavy-handed and do represent a film-maker trying to do something more than just a bog-standard cop thriller. Adapted from a novel however, you suspect those ideas were better served in the source material as the overall execution of the film is rather poor – an unintentional grimy exterior, performances that are inconsistent, a hammy script and directorial set-pieces that are obvious and aren’t orchestrated to the levels they should be achieving. A good film dressed up in a bad one.
4.5/10



SENNA


Whilst 2011 has so far been a relatively unremarkable year for fiction films, one area that has had somewhat of a vintage one so far is documentary and already we’ve had great work in the form of the expressive (Pina) to the informative (Inside Job). Asif Kapadia, previously known for the likes of mediocre horror remake the Return, has delivered both with the utterly wonderful Senna – a depiction of the last ten years of the legendary Brazilian formula one racing driver Aryton Senna whose life came to a premature end in the most tragic and high-profile of circumstances.

Make no mistake, harbouring an appreciation for motor sport is in no way a requirement to appreciating this. In fact, I’d almost be inclined to say that those with no interest in the sport whatsoever might enjoy it even more. Whilst of course there is a significant depiction to the circumstances surrounding Formula One and its inner workings, this is a film about a man striving to succeed in his passion and in his profession in the purest possible form, and as a result the forces that drive him into a potentially self-destructive and dangerous manner.

It’s usage of archival footage is utterly amazing in constructing an authentic narrative that those of a fiction film creator would be envious of and provides a fascinating and absorbing look into the inner world of his life – particularly his rivalry with polar opposite Frenchman Alain Prost. His persona as charismatic sportsmen and national icon in a time of great unrest and disillusionment in his native Brazil is also expertly realised – giving even greater weight to the film’s harrowing closing moments.

Put it simply, Senna is one of those great examples of documentary film-making that engages you in a subject matter that otherwise you would have no interest in and on top of that provides drama and emotional engagement far better than virtually any other film this year. Utterly outstanding and an absolute must see.
9/10



X-MEN : FIRST CLASS

After the abysmal Gavin Hood-led Wolverine, expectations for a better X-Men film thereafter were more in the realm of the hopeful rather than expected, but with Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn at the helm thankfully we get another Marvel outing this silly season that is on the good end of the spectrum.

This in large is thanks to the central focus First Class revolves around in the shape of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) who are both terrific in their depictions and compelling in their contrasting roles, whilst Kevin Bacon (sometimes perceived as Hollywood’s forgotten man) provides genuine menace in the role of leading antagonist Sebastian Shaw.

It’s a pity then that the quality of the film drops significantly whenever these three don’t appear on screen (although the subplot in involving Nicolas Hoult’s Dr Hank McCoy & Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is solid enough) – leading to suspicions that the money men at both Fox and Marvel hindered Vaughan as events of great significance in the X-Men universe feel awfully rushed resulting in the inevitable pay-off not feeling nearly as satisfying as it should. One of the recurring problems in the franchise is the insistence of filling the screen with differentiating characters that are never fully developed and First Class is no different on that front. Had its sole focus been on the brilliantly realised Professor X and Magneto, there’s a lingering suspicion that this could have been striking the heights of depth that Christopher Nolan achieves in his depiction of Gotham City rather than just being a very entertaining, if frustratingly flawed pop corn flick.
6.5/10


THE HANGOVER : PART TWO

....or what it should be entitled, Hangover 2 : Lost in Bangkok, as like that Home Alone sequel it replays the entire sequence of the plot beats from the infinitely superior first outing. Now for some, this won’t be a problem at all (the number of superlatives on my facebook news feed have suggested that) but for those who want more than just a mere regurgitation of the first will be left underwhelmed. It also has to be said, if you take away resident idiot Alan (Zack Galifiankas), there is actually next to no laughs whatsoever – just a series of seedy, nasty, misogynistic and predictable sketches that Todd Philips has promoted as comedy for a good while now. Solid enough in its field but compellingly unremarkable and average.
4/10



THE GREEN LANTERN

With the war of the multiplexes between Marvel and DC now fully underway, the current battle for bums on seats this silly season looks firmly to be on the side of the former with this rather pitiful entry into the superhero franchise -displaying no signs of troubling the figures the likes of the Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent ventures will undoubtedly tally next year.

Whilst admittedly I don’t hold a great knowledge of the origins of Hal Jordan or of the defenders of the universe his Green Lantern contingent strive to upload, you don’t have to be a comic book fanatic to realise that his first foray onto the big screen doesn’t work at all.

Martin Campbell, a man who has provided a steady and assured hand on the Bond Franchise drops the ball here – either through a lack of passion for the source material or an inability to fully connect with the hacks at Warner and DC. His depiction of Jordan’s universe is bogged down in cliché (a protagonist dealing with a parental issue), plot-holes (the needless introduction and then disposal of Jordan’s family after the first twenty minutes) and predictability (err, everything). It’s a generic and banal piece of work that delivers absolutely nothing that engages or surprises and completely wastes a decent assemble of actors (Saarsgard, Robbins, Bassett, Strong to name a few). Reynolds in particular (unfairly attacked in some quarters of the press for being too much of a gurner and being bland – presumably they never saw Buried?) struggles in selling a sympathetic and believable character with a script as poor as this one. It’s determination to ensure it ticks all the superhero origins boxes results in treating its audience with complete and utter contempt, rushing through every plot point with a profound lack of substance and throwing in lazy exposition virtually every time someone opens their mouth -it’s astonishing that it actually took four people to write this formulae nonsense!

With the arrival of the Dark Knight Rises and the Man of Steel not due to next year it’s clear that Marvel were always going to dominate 2011 with its offerings of Thor, X-men and Captain America; however it would have been nice to have seen another character emerge from the DC stable to the big screen you’d be willing to invest time and interest in other than Batman and Superman. On the evidence of the Green Lantern however, it’d be a huge surprise if the status quo wasn't maintained for another year.
2.5/10

< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 18/6/2011 10:56:19 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 #: 141
RE: Films of 2011 List - 28/6/2011 1:09:49 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006

quote:

ORIGINAL: Qwerty Norris

Long overdue, but finally...here we go....

NEW ENTRIES

PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

A depiction of everything that’s wrong with mainstream cinema. A pool of acting talent on screen who deliver absolutely nothing. A film with a colossal budget that looks cheap and naff. A plot (if you can call it that) where the audience is thirty minutes ahead of its characters each and every time. A running time that’s not far off three hours long for absolutely no justifiable reason. A film more interested in commerce and overheads rather than heart and entertainment. A relentless bore feast that’s a complete insult to the concept of engagement and yet, despite being free of the burden of Orlando Bland and Keira Shiteley, is comfortably the worst of the pirates franchise and an utterly abysmal summer blockbuster. Grim.
1.5/10


JULIA'S EYES


In what has been a mediocre year for tension-orientated cinema so far, once again it takes the efforts of those from Spain to elevate proceedings and deliver an interesting and inventive friday-night thriller. Like Juan Antonio Bayona’s outstanding ghost story the Orphanage, Julia’s Eyes has the name of Guillermo Del Toro attached in a presenting role whilst Belen Rueda stars in the leading role regarding a woman dealing with the suspicious death of her twin sister coinciding with the deterioration of her own sight. Even though there are certain plot points that feel somewhat convenient, it delivers thanks to Gulliem Morales’s assured direction and displays another terrific central performance from Rueda. One of the best thrillers of the year that you suspect would have done rather well if it didn’t have the obstacle of subtitles troubling it.
8/10


WIN WIN


Clearly a part three in Tom McCarthy’s trilogy of unlikely friendships developing amongst isolated individuals, but whilst the Station Agent and the Visitor felt more assured and emotionally engaging, Win Win feels more like a retreat over familiar ground that was done better before. Still, you can’t fault the performances of those involved (Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan being the most recognizable) and it’s still rewarding to see an American director interested in people rather than stuff.
6/10



BLITZ


For your average Jason Statham romp, there’s a decent amount of stuff in here that elevates proceedings – most notably in the performances of the man himself, Aiden Gillen (best known on the small screen in the likes of Queer As Folk, The Wire & Game Of Thrones) and the ever terrific Paddy Considine. Whereas the ideas in touches upon regarding the inner workings of a police force are interesting if a little heavy-handed and do represent a film-maker trying to do something more than just a bog-standard cop thriller. Adapted from a novel however, you suspect those ideas were better served in the source material as the overall execution of the film is rather poor – an unintentional grimy exterior, performances that are inconsistent, a hammy script and directorial set-pieces that are obvious and aren’t orchestrated to the levels they should be achieving. A good film dressed up in a bad one.
4.5/10



SENNA


Whilst 2011 has so far been a relatively unremarkable year for fiction films, one area that has had somewhat of a vintage one so far is documentary and already we’ve had great work in the form of the expressive (Pina) to the informative (Inside Job). Asif Kapadia, previously known for the likes of mediocre horror remake the Return, has delivered both with the utterly wonderful Senna – a depiction of the last ten years of the legendary Brazilian formula one racing driver Aryton Senna whose life came to a premature end in the most tragic and high-profile of circumstances.

Make no mistake, harbouring an appreciation for motor sport is in no way a requirement to appreciating this. In fact, I’d almost be inclined to say that those with no interest in the sport whatsoever might enjoy it even more. Whilst of course there is a significant depiction to the circumstances surrounding Formula One and its inner workings, this is a film about a man striving to succeed in his passion and in his profession in the purest possible form, and as a result the forces that drive him into a potentially self-destructive and dangerous manner.

It’s usage of archival footage is utterly amazing in constructing an authentic narrative that those of a fiction film creator would be envious of and provides a fascinating and absorbing look into the inner world of his life – particularly his rivalry with polar opposite Frenchman Alain Prost. His persona as charismatic sportsmen and national icon in a time of great unrest and disillusionment in his native Brazil is also expertly realised – giving even greater weight to the film’s harrowing closing moments.

Put it simply, Senna is one of those great examples of documentary film-making that engages you in a subject matter that otherwise you would have no interest in and on top of that provides drama and emotional engagement far better than virtually any other film this year. Utterly outstanding and an absolute must see.
9/10



X-MEN : FIRST CLASS

After the abysmal Gavin Hood-led Wolverine, expectations for a better X-Men film thereafter were more in the realm of the hopeful rather than expected, but with Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn at the helm thankfully we get another Marvel outing this silly season that is on the good end of the spectrum.

This in large is thanks to the central focus First Class revolves around in the shape of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) who are both terrific in their depictions and compelling in their contrasting roles, whilst Kevin Bacon (sometimes perceived as Hollywood’s forgotten man) provides genuine menace in the role of leading antagonist Sebastian Shaw.

It’s a pity then that the quality of the film drops significantly whenever these three don’t appear on screen (although the subplot in involving Nicolas Hoult’s Dr Hank McCoy & Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is solid enough) – leading to suspicions that the money men at both Fox and Marvel hindered Vaughan as events of great significance in the X-Men universe feel awfully rushed resulting in the inevitable pay-off not feeling nearly as satisfying as it should. One of the recurring problems in the franchise is the insistence of filling the screen with differentiating characters that are never fully developed and First Class is no different on that front. Had its sole focus been on the brilliantly realised Professor X and Magneto, there’s a lingering suspicion that this could have been striking the heights of depth that Christopher Nolan achieves in his depiction of Gotham City rather than just being a very entertaining, if frustratingly flawed pop corn flick.
6.5/10


THE HANGOVER : PART TWO

....or what it should be entitled, Hangover 2 : Lost in Bangkok, as like that Home Alone sequel it replays the entire sequence of the plot beats from the infinitely superior first outing. Now for some, this won’t be a problem at all (the number of superlatives on my facebook news feed have suggested that) but for those who want more than just a mere regurgitation of the first will be left underwhelmed. It also has to be said, if you take away resident idiot Alan (Zack Galifiankas), there is actually next to no laughs whatsoever – just a series of seedy, nasty, misogynistic and predictable sketches that Todd Philips has promoted as comedy for a good while now. Solid enough in its field but compellingly unremarkable and average.
4/10



THE GREEN LANTERN

With the war of the multiplexes between Marvel and DC now fully underway, the current battle for bums on seats this silly season looks firmly to be on the side of the former with this rather pitiful entry into the superhero franchise -displaying no signs of troubling the figures the likes of the Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent ventures will undoubtedly tally next year.

Whilst admittedly I don’t hold a great knowledge of the origins of Hal Jordan or of the defenders of the universe his Green Lantern contingent strive to upload, you don’t have to be a comic book fanatic to realise that his first foray onto the big screen doesn’t work at all.

Martin Campbell, a man who has provided a steady and assured hand on the Bond Franchise drops the ball here – either through a lack of passion for the source material or an inability to fully connect with the hacks at Warner and DC. His depiction of Jordan’s universe is bogged down in cliché (a protagonist dealing with a parental issue), plot-holes (the needless introduction and then disposal of Jordan’s family after the first twenty minutes) and predictability (err, everything). It’s a generic and banal piece of work that delivers absolutely nothing that engages or surprises and completely wastes a decent assemble of actors (Saarsgard, Robbins, Bassett, Strong to name a few). Reynolds in particular (unfairly attacked in some quarters of the press for being too much of a gurner and being bland – presumably they never saw Buried?) struggles in selling a sympathetic and believable character with a script as poor as this one. It’s determination to ensure it ticks all the superhero origins boxes results in treating its audience with complete and utter contempt, rushing through every plot point with a profound lack of substance and throwing in lazy exposition virtually every time someone opens their mouth -it’s astonishing that it actually took four people to write this formulae nonsense!

With the arrival of the Dark Knight Rises and the Man of Steel not due to next year it’s clear that Marvel were always going to dominate 2011 with its offerings of Thor, X-men and Captain America; however it would have been nice to have seen another character emerge from the DC stable to the big screen you’d be willing to invest time and interest in other than Batman and Superman. On the evidence of the Green Lantern however, it’d be a huge surprise if the status quo wasn't maintained for another year.
2.5/10

Oh come on surely its not that bad, you are almost making me feel sorry for them now

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 142
RE: Films of 2011 List - 1/7/2011 10:19:00 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
Long awaited update!

Little White Lies [Les Petits Mouchoirs] 6.5/10
A truly strange combination of malodrama, black comedy, soap opena and cheesy feel good movie. It is stylish shot and well acted, although it is so rambleing and with so many different characters and sub-plots, than not everything gels, also there are scenes which at first seem moving that are wrecked by a sloppy piece of music. It is basically a film that wonders about for over an hour which is very enjoyable, but seems to lack a point, but then it hits you in the final third, and when it grips, it really has haunting overtones. More good than bad, but not a patch on Tell No One.

X-Men First Class [Matthew Vaughn, 129 Mins] 5/10
Given the director, screenwriter, cast and the fact this was suposed to be a fresh start for the series, this should have been much better. The main problem is with the plot, it is just too clunky and dull, and fails to do anything new or exciting. It is viusally good, but just too slow and over loaded with clitches, the other main flaw is that there are just too many characters for the film to know what to do with, and I never fully believed in the new recruits. It had its moments, and I found the end very dramatic, and it at least made me want to see the next movie. So promise for the future, but this was very forgettable.

Love Like Poison [Un Poison Violent] [Katell Quillevere, 85 Mins] 6/10
Very standed and slow moving drama about a teenage girl first discovering love, at a point where her parents are splitting up, and she is questioning her faith. The director has a nice viusal eye, the direction is steady, and it does feel a relastic portrait of the pain of growing up, but that doesn't change the fact that the characters just weren't that intertesting, the story told nothing ground breaking, and that at times it moved at a snails pace.

Attack The Block [Joe Cornish, 87 Mins] 7.5/10
A very assured debut which works as an entertaing saturday night pop corn feature, without having to be overly funny or scary. The set is wonderfully lite up, and the block given the feel of a Doctor Who episode or a classic SCI-FI movie from the 70's or 80's. The fact there are some many nods to other films, and yet ATB stands on its own two feet also is a big plus. The young cast are very good, displaying great comic timing, while also showing the more sinster and yet incoccent side to their characters. It is scary and gross in just about the right places, and has some nice supporting roles, it may have one or two storylines or characters too many, but that is excuseable in a debut film, and the entertainment factor, but also the politics of the film, more than make up for that.

Bridesmaids [Paul Feig, 125 Mins] 8/10
As laugh out load funny, and touching as this was, it was also much more bleak than I was expecting. Basically it is about the really farce that a build up a wedding can be, and about stress, and the things it does to people as a result. Kristen Wiig is perfect as the social outcast, who as the film moves along is introduced to one embressing situlation after another, and is the only sane person in the group [or so it seems]. Wiig's performance reminded me a lot of the sort of dry, akward, bored, whatever next turn which Bill Murray has made his name out of, she is a perfect foil for the madness going on around her, and on the one hand you feel for sorry for her, while finding it hard not to laugh. She also does the pyshically comedy just as well as the observationally, and there is a brilliant cast including excellent Melissa Mccarthy. The humour works so well, because of how broad it is, you get some crude gags, which kind of work on a level of true gusto, and almost has a John Waters sicko feel to it, but then we get the more subtle jokes, and human emotions to balance it out. It refreshing to see a film in which the females are allowed to be as dirty as the men, while still having strong and intertesting characters. The only really mis-step for me was the romance with Chris O'Dowd's cop, although it was quite sweet, it just felt out of step with the rest of the film, and seemed tanked on, just to give Annie someone to relate to. The comedy of the year surely!

Coming up for me Julia's Eyes, Senna, Larry Crowne and hopefully Berlin Golden Bear Winner A Sepration.

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 143
RE: Films of 2011 List - 3/7/2011 6:45:44 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
With both Mark Kermode and now you Elephantboy recommending Bridesmaids, I might just have to go and see it!

Might even give the new transformers film a shot - for absolutely no good reason other than perverse intrigue...

_____________________________

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 #: 144
RE: Films of 2011 List - 17/7/2011 10:56:32 AM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
Senna [Asif Kapadia, 104 Mins] 8/10
Along side Wasteland this is my favourite documentary of the year so far, it is a very emotionally and engaging look at a complex, but ultimately likeable figure, it nicely balances the dirty politics of the sport along with the feel good factor, and the impact that sport and a sporting icon can bring to a country, and the difference it can make to people's every day lifes. The use of archive footege is excellent, the talking heads are nicely molded into the racing scenes, and the intense nature of the races themselfs prove very cinematic and exciting, but powerful too. It is a human tredgy, with a lot of detail in there, you don't have to be a motor-racing fan, just a fan of cinema and storytelling at its most extreme and gripping best.

Julia's Eyes [Los Ojos De Julia] [Guillem Morales, 117 Mins] 6/10
I found this to be a pretty standed and clitched horror movie, which was just too predictable and too much like other films for me. It had its moments, and certainly Pablo Derqui was very convincing in the lead role, but it just wasn't as scary as I hopeing for, and was a little bit too drawn out [the ending epsically], decent, but nothing to write home about.

Kaboom [Gregg Araki, 86 Mins] 6/10
I would place this somewhere in the middle of Araki's series of films. It is very entertaining for about the first fifty minutes, with some shape acting, and strong visuals, but then the film runs out of things to say, is no longer as funny, and the idea of the central character being either so high he is hallucinating or that the crazy things that only he can see are actually happening soon gets very old. So in the end I think the director is saying two basic things, One, College life is grim and quite often a waste of time [which I think anyone who has ever read a Bret Easton Ellis novel already knows], and Two, With the exception of Mysterious Skin his films have never had much depth at all, and almost felt that this was a big F you to anyone who thought other wise. Now that would be alright if Kaboom actually had a plot to speak off, but it doesn't, so in the end it just fell flat. Entertaining yes, with a lot of twisted and strange ideas, but pointless, with nothing new to say either.

Coming up for me in the next few week should be Francois Ozon's Potiche, possible Life in A Day, Break My Fall and Larry Crowne [which I am dreading!]

< Message edited by ElephantBoy -- 17/7/2011 11:02:05 AM >

(in reply to ElephantBoy)
Post #: 145
RE: Films of 2011 List - 25/7/2011 6:25:58 AM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Been a bit slow on the uptake lately, hopefully looking to remedy that a little this week.....



_____________________________

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 #: 146
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/8/2011 1:09:21 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Not really reviews, but best get these out of the way before I end up seeing more and this thread descends to dust....

TRANSFORMERS:DARK OF THE MOON

Not as hateful as the 2nd but still rubbish. Some fun CGI gives the inner child some joy, but Bay couldn’t direct traffic. (4/10)


INCENDIES


Brutal, emotionally-draining & very disturbing film about a French/ Canadian brother & sister retracing the roots of their mother after she passes – leading them to an unnamed Middle Eastern country (clearly Lebanon) & some rather shocking & upsetting revelations. Not hard to see why it got Oscar-nominated in the foreign language category & contains the scene that’s moved me to the most tears this year. (8.5/10)


A SEPARATION


Fantastic Iranian court-room drama centred around a dispute between two families of different social statures which won the golden bear at Berlin. By far the best set of assembled actors & shaped characters that I’ve seen this year & absolutely one of the best of 2011. (9/10)


BRIDESMAIDS

Even though the trailer suggested a hangover for girls, it pisses all over that particular franchise. I laughed...a lot! I didn’t need the toilet humour but the characters are great & as romcom-orientated films that play to a mainstream audience this is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. Oh, and I’m now in love with Kristen Wiig....(7.5/10)


THE TREE OF LIFE

There will be many that’ll hate it (many of which are evident on these boards) and there are flaws in it...but it blew my mind. Even though there are echoes to the likes of 2001, the Fountain & Koyaanisqatsi there really is nothing quite like it. For what it lacks in narrative it more than makes up for in ambition, passion & sincerity. Again, another of my favourites of 2011. (8.5/10)


HP 7 PART DEUX

Enjoyed it immensely but again the issues I have with the Potter films remain & I suspect have a lot to do with the source material. Radcliffe is excellent though & really does pull off the burden of carrying the weight of everyone’s destiny on his shoulders. It’s a pity though the assemble don’t get enough screen time – resulting in some moments feeling a bit flat (the death of a particular nasty character of female origin being one). The ending too, whilst a nice idea, doesn’t work at all either for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to articulate. (6.5/10)


THE BIG PICTURE

Decent if extremely unbelievable French thriller about a lawyer who regrets not pursuing photography having to go on the run from the law after an “unfortunate incident.” (6/10)


ARRIETTY

Not vintage Ghibli by any means but it flows nicely along, has a good protagonist & as ever is stunning to look at. (6.5/10)


CAPTAIN AMERICA


Really good fun! Not groundbreaking but it’s witty, full of good-set pieces and sets up the Avengers quite nicely. Better than Iron Man but probably not quite as good as Thor. Blockbuster redemption for Joe Johnson after the awful Wolfman (6.5/10)


A BETTER LIFE


An unexpected pleasure from the director of American Pie & New Moon. The tale of an mexican illegal immigrant trying his hardest to make "a better life" for both himself and his son in spite of the threats of poverty, gang-culture and the threat of deportation is fiercely conventional in many ways; but an unpredictable narrative, a fantastic central performance from Demian Bichir and two expertly executed scenes make for an engrossing drama. (7/10)


Will be checking out Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Sarah's Key, Project Nim, Cowboys & Aliens and The Inbetweeners over the next week....




< Message edited by Qwerty Norris -- 16/8/2011 1:10:37 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 Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 147
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/8/2011 1:22:52 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8533
Joined: 13/4/2006
I will be seeing Tree of Life this week, after which I will put a update up.
Glad you liked Bridesmaids, it is a highlight of the year for me, and yes Miss Wiig is pretty fantastic, thought she was horribly wasted in Paul Also without giving too much away, I am in full agreement with you on A Sepration too.

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 148
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/8/2011 1:33:36 PM   
Qwerty Norris


Posts: 3971
Joined: 26/10/2005
From: Edinburgh
Good to hear!

Yeah I was just so impressed by it. It's not often you get to see such an intelligent and well written character drama that shapes sympathetic angles for everyone yet refuses to take a particular side. On second viewing (which I'll do around christmas time - a definite DVD purchase) it might end up taking my top spot.

_____________________________

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 #: 149
RE: Films of 2011 List - 16/8/2011 2:29:31 PM   
azzman1984


Posts: 468
Joined: 24/1/2011
From: Coventry
I won't come up with my films of 2011 list till towards the end of the year but i will talk about my number 1 movie of 2011

Fast Five

I have seen a lot of big budget films so far this year and i have to say by far the most enjoyble and most fun film i've watch in 2011 is Fast Five

It has everything u want in an action film, the story is simple to follow but i won't get into the spoilers for people who had not seen the film but it's got humor, great one liners.
The cast is just awesome with actors from every other Fast And Furious film together and also the addition of Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs taking the movie to the next level and the action is just unreal in so many ways and the movie going public loved every minute of it from the moment the movie starts, to the big fight scene between Dom and Hobbs and the batshit crazy final scene that blows away anything from the last Transformers film.

For anyone who has not seen it yet, buy the film when it comes out on DVD and Blu Ray becuase after u's watch it, u have to agree with me that Fast Five is the most enjoyble and fun action of 2011.

(in reply to Qwerty Norris)
Post #: 150
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