Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Review: Moon

Moon is the story of astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) who is close to the end of a 3 year stint digging into the Moon in order to transfer energy to Earth. Sam's main contact on the Moon is GERTY, a computer voiced by Kevin Spacey.

Personally I think Moon is a major milestone in terms of taking a chance on a first time director. Duncan Jones has created not only a solid sci-fi film for his first effort but also a film that is now recognised as "one the Oscars snubbed"

Duncan Jones made Moon for $5 million, Which for a Sci-Fi film especially is a miniscule budget. He worked extremely well with what he was given and had a leading actor that was willing to give the film everything he had.

Sam Rockwell's performance is fantastic, He spends all of the film practically acting with himseld and shows major potiental for upcoming films. I can't really go into much detail about the film as less than an hour in something happens that flips it straight onto its head. The twist like move does make the rest of the film kind of trippy but you can follow it.

I urge you to watch Moon. Even if you don't consider yourself a Sci-Fi fan simply watch Sam Rockwell's performance. I know I'm not the only one to say this but it's a travesty that Moon and Sam Rockwell aren't up for Oscars this year.


DVD Review: Up

Film: Up is this year's obligitary Pixar film and is destined for Oscar success. Up tells the story of Carl Fredricksen. Carl is a retired balloon salesman who recently lost his wife. Carl makes it his mission to uphold the promise to his wife that they'll go to Paradise Falls.

After tieing hundreds of balloons to his house, Carl begins to fly to Paradise Falls. Whilst in the air Carl realises that boy scout Russell stowed away on his porch and ends up traveling to Paradise Falls too.

Once they've reached Paradise Falls, Russell befriends a huge bird (which he names Kevin) and a dog called Dug. The main antagonist is Carl's childhood idol Charles Muntz who is stranded on Paradise Falls.

Up is one of the best animated films in recent memory but I suppose thats usual with Pixar. The imagary is beautiful and the character relation is nothing like anything seen in traditional Hollywood films. Up is a fantastic family film and a dead lock for Best Animated Feature.


Partly Cloudy:
The usual Pixar short film that was placed in front of up in the theatres. Great little short film and I'm surprised it's not nominated at this years Oscars.
The Many Endings of Muntz: The different ways in which Muntz would have met his demise.
Adventure Is Out There: A doc about the real Paradise Falls.
Dug's Special Mission: Spinoff about Dug which ties in nicely with the film.


DVD Review: Funny People

Film: Funny People is Judd Apatow's third film as director. It focus round George Simmons' (Adam Sandler) battle with a cancerous disease and how his life is changed through his battle. The supporting cast is filled with Apatow regulars; Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill.

For what it is, Funny People is a decent film. Personally, It's not Apatow's best (That has to be the very quotable 40 Year Old Virgin) but I think the reason for that is that Apatow has calmed down on the obvious comedy and focused more on character development and a dramatic side to the film. Adam Sandler delievers one of his most powerful performances to date and I was very surprised when he wasn't nominated for Best Actor Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes. Seth Rogen is fairly underrated for his serious acting ability, the guy can act and I think somewhere down the line we'll see a true Rogen dramatic performance.

I also think it's a travesty that people think Jonah Hill is better than Seth Rogen. Personally, Jonah Hill is overrated. It doesn't take much effort to play the same character in every film your in. His night guard in Night At The Museum 2 could be the day job of his character in Superbad.

Funny People is quite lengthy coming in at 2 hours and 26 minutes. The film very much so can be divided in half and possibly could have been sequels. Nevertheless I'd recommend Funny People to fans of Apatow & Sandler as you see alot of the formulaic choices of the director and like I said a great performance from Adam Sandler.


Gag Reel: Simple gag reel, mainly showing Adam Sandler goofing around.
Deleted Scenes: Doesn't really move the film forward but thats why they've been deleted!
Extended/Alternate Scenes: Again nothing more to add but you may feel you enjoyed some of these scenes more than those chosen.
Line-O-Rama: Differents lines the cast improvised during filming.
Documentaries & Music: Standard production docs and music from the film.
From The Archives: Adam Sandler & Seth Rogen's old stand up routines.
The Films of George Simmons: A look at the fictional films of George Simmons.
Prank Call: More Amateur footage of Adam Sandler as a late teen.
Yo, Teach!: An episode of the fictonal TV series.


Thursday, 18 February 2010

Film Review: Elephant

Ok This is going to be a very short review as I can't say much about the film without giving it away.

What I can say though is that Elephant is shot very differently to any film you'd usually come across, it uses mostly static camera shots and very little takes.

The acting is very fridged and at times very shocking. It's very clear that director Gus Van Sant used non professionals for this film.

I felt that there wasn't much character relation going on and the ending is really abrupt so you won't be expecting it.

I'd love to say more but I went into this film blind and feel that watching Elephant without knowing much of the plot is the best way to watch it.


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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Film Review: Strange Days

Strange Days comes from the minds of then couple Director Kathryn Bigelow and Writer James Cameron.

Strange Days sees Lenny (Ralph Fiennes with a sometimes terrible American accent) selling a police technology to the citizens of Los Angeles in 1999. Which when the film was released (1995) was the not to distant future. The technology Lenny is selling is called SQUID, which manipulates the users senses so he/she believe they are in a certain scenario and in te body of someone else. This is achieved by wiring someone up so that their cerebal cortex is recording everything that is happening. Still following?

Lenny is your basic city rat type character, what he has is illegal in his hands but all he wants to do is sell it on and make a bit of money. Things take a slight turn for the worst as Iris (Brigitte Bako), A friend of Lenny's is killed whilst wearing a wire. Iris trys to warn Lenny of the conspiracy surrounding the act of "Playback" and fallen rapper Jeriko One (Glenn Plummer) but fails to do so as those involved get to Iris quicker than she thinks.

Before her demise, Iris told Lenny to inform Faith (Juliette Lewis) that "they" are coming for her and she's in trouble. Faith is Lenny's ex girlfriend who doesn't take to kindly to Lenny attempting to help her. The film moves at a sometimes slow pace but introduces characters we can relate to like Angela Bassett's Mace and characters we love to hate; Michael Wincott's Philo Gant.

Strange Days is an effective and thoughtout Science Fiction film and has alot of similarities with Blade Runner and it's clear to say it inspired Minority Report. Ralph Fiennes as Lenny works, He's funny and if the situation calls for it can be completely serious. Juliette Lewis began to bug me during the film as I've never really rated her as an actress and think that in parts she spoilt the film.

One thing I have to say is that the hugely underrated William Fichtner has a small role in this film in which he was perfect in. Fichtner deserves alot more credit than he gets for his acting ability.

I'd recommend Strange Days if your a fan of films like Blade Runner but be warned: You can tell it had Cameron involvement as the film is a lengthy 2 Hours and 25 Minutes.


Sunday, 14 February 2010

DVD Review: Borat

Borat, you all know what it is.

So I watched Borat for the first time and I've gotta say that I didn't think it was as funny as most have made out. Maybe that's because I saw Bruno first?

I have to admit though, I love the idea of Sacha Baron Cohen running through America and doing shit like this. Of course some of is intended to offend and I feel I should show the Feminist segment to my Women On Film tutor. (She called me a chauvinist, I'm NOT!!!)

All in all, Borat was a good film with a few laughs here and there, obviously don't check it out if your expecting a serious Oscar contender type film.

The Pamela Anderson bit was probably the most laugh out loud moment, did she know about that?


EDIT: Just watched the "Censored Footage" on the DVD. These should have been included in the film! Well maybe not the Supermarket/Cheese one.

So if you count the film + deleted scenes i'd give Borat:


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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Review: Valentines Day

Valentines Day is a simple couples rom com that stars such huge names as Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and Jamie Foxx.

Valentines Day tells the story of several different people on Valentines Day and each story somehow intertwines with another in a very well thoughtout plotline.

Obviously this isn't a guy movie or a surefire classic but it does it's job well as a by the book romantic comedy that's ideal for a date movie especially round this time of year.

Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift (Who I only realised were both called a Taylor during the blooper credits) are very painful to watch at times. I'm sorry but he can't act.


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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Review: The Wolfman

The Wolfman stars Benicio Del Toro as Laurence Talbot who returns home to discover who or what murdered his brother. Whilst investigating, Talbot is bitten by the very creature that murdered his brother, a werewolf. So as the legend goes, Laurence then becomes one himself.

I quite enjoyed The Wolfman and though it was a fun yet effective take on the familiar monster story. Del Toro gives a worthy performance as Talbot but is outshined by Anthony Hopkin's delightly menacing Sir John Talbot.

Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving complete the main cast and I've gotta say, Whenever Weaving said "Mr. Talbot" all I heard was "Mr. Anderson"

The Wolfman did have it's share of flaws though. The whole Del Toro/Blunt love subplot was rushed, hell it was almost non existant and you can tell where those reshoots took place as Continuity plays a real bitch towards the climax.

All flaws aside, The Wolfman (as I've said) is a effective horror/monster film and makes for a fun, enjoyable trip to the cinema. I'm looking forward to seeing the extended cut on DVD.


I'll take Benicio Del Toro's Laurence Talbot over Taylor Lautner's Jacob Black anyday.

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