Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes
Year: 2009
Director: Guy Ritchie
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams

In My Own Words
Everyone knows the basics of “Sherlock Holmes”. He is a British detective who has an offsider named Watson. That’s pretty much my extent of my knowledge of Sherlock Holmes. I love reading, but have never read a Sherlock Holmes book. Upon seeing this film, I was expecting a bit of a background about Holmes, or maybe even a beginning point where Holmes becomes a detective. This is not what the film is about. It throws you in the deep end of a Holmes story and expects you to understand everything and everyone in it. This is not always a bad thing, as a little mystery in a film is a good thing. However, too much mystery can be messy.

Upon researching a bit more once I got home, it turns out that Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle actually does not disclose much about Holmes’ world outside his detective work. He does not write much about his family, his past education or his love life. So this film can be forgiven for its lack of character development. Yet, I still believe that a director such as Guy Ritchie could find a way of including some type of subtle character development, whether or not it be through words. Perhaps he was just trying to stay true to the books, as many directors who are adapting novels into movies do. One thing is certain, there must be a sequel to this film, as too many questions are unanswered here for there not to be. We can only hope so anyway, or it will be one of those films I will be thinking about for years to come, still trying to figure out why certain things were there in the movie. Such as, does Watson’s betrothed, Mary, really look a bit suspicious, or is it just me? Or was Irene Adler constructed so basically because she is to have an unravelling or character in the future? These are the things I am wondering about anyway.

These are my own words and here is my review.

The highly anticipated “Sherlock Holmes” will delight many, but disappoint many others. The film ultimately does what it sets out to do, which is entertain the audience. It is nothing short of entertaining with its special effects and action sequences, but it does certainly lack substance in certain areas, in particular, that of character. “Sherlock Holmes” opens with the legendary Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his partner, Dr John Watson (Jude Law) stopping the evil Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong) from taking the life of a sixth young woman by using his black magic. Lord Blackwood is sentenced to death and hung, but somehow comes back to life. Holmes is once again called upon to stop Blackwood, who also has a keen interest in Holmes.

First and foremost, this film is thoroughly entertaining. The special effects and the story will keep audiences entertained and capture their attention for the whole time. There are some stunning visuals of London in the 1800’s and the period is perfectly captured by director, Guy Ritchie. It is obvious that this film has been made by Ritchie, as it contains dark humour and has a rough edge to it. It also contains a few fighting scenes which are reminiscent of his earlier films. He does do a good job, but there are quite a few criticisms of this film. Firstly, there is not much character development and many things that do not seem to make sense. As a stand alone film, it does not work quite so well. Ritchie assumes that the audience knows who Holmes, Watson and Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams) are, and does not attempt to give the audience a helping hand as to find out where these characters have come from and why they are the way they are, and why they have these relationships with each other. Apparently, the Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was not a fan of the retelling of each of the characters and their personal stories in his novels, so Ritchie may be forgiven for making this choice in his film, as he stayed true to the novels. However, many audience members will be sure to feel lost, as they would not have heard much about these characters before seeing this movie. The film does also leave room for a sequel, as there are unanswered questions both during the film and at the end of the film.

Robert Downey Jr. does definitely shine as Sherlock Holmes. He is quirky and puts a new spin on the traditional Sherlock Holmes, making him more rugged and comical. He is also extremely likable. Jude Law is also perfectly cast as Watson. The two actors compliment each other on screen and play off each other. The characters are both witty and quick, making their relationship interesting and humorous. The screenwriters must be complimented for the way they have written the relationship between Holmes and Watson. However, Rachel McAdams does not shine. She does not seem suited to the role of Irene Adler. One would expect, as she is said to be a criminal, for her to be far more devious in nature and bordering on the femme fatale role, rather than just plain. There does not seem to be much depth to her character and can in fact be quite boring at times. There are moments throughout the film where it is unclear why she is even there. Adler and Holmes were supposedly madly in love with one another once up a time (or, we suspect this, but there is not spark or on screen chemistry between her and Holmes. There is suggestion towards the end of the film that if there is a follow up, she may have a bigger role then, but her role is almost useless in this film. It would seem that Kelly Reilly, who plays Watson’s fiancĂ© Mary, would have been more suited to the role of Irene Adler than McAdams.

Overall, “Sherlock Holmes” does what it sets out to do, entertain. It is witty and clever, and people will be excited to learn of all of Holmes detective methods, but the connection to the characters may not be there as much as one would hope.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bright Star

Bright Star
Year: 2009
Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw

In My Own Words
Let me just start of by saying how much I love this time of the year when it comes to movies. Not that I don’t love this time of the year for other reasons, but Boxing Day and New Years are great for new movies. I spent most of December looking forward to the 26th of December and the onslaught of new films being released on that day. This was one of the films that I had been looking forward to seeing.

My trip to the cinemas today to see this movie did not go as much to plan as I thought it would. Being a public holiday and a rainy day in Sydney town, everybody wanted to go to the movies. My local cinema would have had at least 10 sold out sessions today. I turned up to watch the 1:10pm session of “Bright Star”, only to find out it was full and I had to buy a ticket for the 4pm session, which eventually became sold out too.

I enjoyed “Bright Star” as much as I thought I would, which is always a pleasant finding. Abbie Cornish was absolutely delightful, which I was very happy about. It was quite a different role for her, as I have never seen her in a period piece before, but she pulled it off beautifully. The film was visually stunning, one I would definitely buy on DVD so I would be able to watch the most breath taking scenes again. I am also not ashamed to say, this is the only film I have seen this year that has had me in tears at the cinema.

These are my own words and here is my review.

“Bright Star” is the highly anticipated period romance from celebrated director, Jane Campion. The film is extremely romantic and is nostalgic of the days of falling in love without the technology of mobile phones and the internet. It is the semi-biographical story of the romance between poet John Keats and Frances “Fanny” Brawne. Set in 1818, Fanny (Abbie Cornish) cares more about fashion than poetry, until poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his business partner, Charles Brown (Paul Schneider) move in next door. They fall for each other, but it is a love affair plagued with class prejudice and sickness.

“Bright Star” is truly amazing. It is beautifully filmed and cast. Campion is in her element with a film such as this and this film shows how well she works with a project such as this. Everything about the film is stunning. However, the main criticism people will have of this film is that it is quite slow. It takes awhile to get to the point of the film, but there is a reason behind this slow pace. “Bright Star” exhibits fantastic story and character development. The audience is able to completely identify with the characters and feels like they know the characters personally, and this makes the slow pace of the film quite acceptable.

Abbie Cornish is amazing in this film as the young Fanny, who is first and foremost concerned with fashion and sewing until she meets Mr Keats. Her performance is amazing as it is extremely heart-felt and at times, tear jerking. It could well be her best role yet, although she was superb in “Somersault” and “Candy”. There were rumours that she may have been up for a Golden Globe nomination, but due to heavy competition this year, she was left out. However, there is always hope for an Oscar nomination for her. Ben Whishaw is far from bad as John Keats, but Cornish is definitely the star of the film. Both Cornish and Whishaw are brilliantly cast, as they work so well together on screen. The chemistry between the two is extremely believable and they are visually suited to being on screen together. Paul Schneider is also noteworthy as the unlikeable Charles Brown. The audience feels real hatred for the sarcasm and immaturity of his character.

The cinematography of “Bright Star” is superb. The images and the way in which they are filmed are visually stunning. The choice of shots and editing is spot on to show the importance of certain scenes and highlight the emotions that the characters feel. As one would expect with such a romantic film, there are some amazing visuals involving flowering meadows and butterflies that one should definitely watch out for. The costumes are always noteworthy, especially those which Fanny wears.

“Bright Star” is an amazing film on so many levels. As may be expected from it though, it is not a film that everyone will enjoy for its subject content and its pace. However, it is definitely one that should be seen in order to admire some amazing acting, cinematography and beautiful visuals.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Year: 2009
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang

In My Own Words
I never expect much from blockbusters. The spectacle is normally bigger and better than the movie itself. This is exactly how I felt going into “Avatar”. I had heard so many good things about it that I was sceptical. Could a movie that is so highly anticipated really be everything that it is cracked up to be? I was starting to think that it really could be so when the Golden Globe nominations were released and “Avatar” was there among the Best Picture nominees. However, I refused to expect too much going into the cinema.

I’m glad I didn’t expect too much, as it made the thrill of it being such a great movie even better. My boyfriend and I came out of the cinema buzzing with excitement. Our only disappointment being that we didn’t see it in 3D. Of course we could always go and see it again though. I always respected James Cameron as a director, but I believe this is his finest work, even better than his Oscar winning “Titanic”, although the two are very different films. This movie shows how amazingly creative he is and it really is a ground breaking film. After seeing this, I am now thinking that it will be a fight between him and Quentin Tarantino for Best Director at the Golden Globes in January.

People are saying that “Avatar” will change the future of film making. I’m hoping it doesn’t, because I found this movie so original and creative, and it’s been so long since I feel like I have watched something completely new. I just hope there won’t be a series of copycats after this. I love to celebrate originality.
These are my own words and here is my review.

The hype is true, “Avatar” is like nothing you have ever seen before. It is completely original and a tribute to James Cameron’s direction and imagination. It’s not only original, but extraordinarily stunning and shows how far CGI has come in film. Ex-marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is sent to the planet Pandora in place of his recently deceased twin brother in order to fulfil his duties. Pandora is inhabited by an indigenous race who the humans on Pandora are trying to get to abandon their territory. Jake is given an avatar who’s body he will enter in order to try and survive Pandora and it’s dangers. He ends up becoming part of the tribe and understanding them more than any other human ever has.

It is impossible to encompass the story behind “Avatar” in a paragraph, as there are so many underlying themes that contribute to the story. Pandora is a complex world, but an extremely beautiful and intriguing one. “Avatar” is 160 minutes long, but does not seem like it. It keeps the audience captivated from the very first scene to the last. Again, it is unlike anything else that has ever been made and is a breath of fresh air. James Cameron wrote and directed the film, therefore creating the world of Pandora and showing what an amazing imagination he has and an even more amazing talent for being able to bring this world to life on the screen.

“Avatar” is first and foremost visually stunning. Many images in the movie are completely breathtaking, and you will definitely hear people around you in the cinema exclaiming when they see Pandora at night in all its beauty. The combination of real life actors and CGI characters works extremely well, making you almost forget that you are seeing a computer generated world. The combination of the two is one of the reasons why “Avatar” is so successful, it is a fantasy film which is extremely life like and realistic.

Sam Worthington is the star of the film and does the best he can with the role. Sigourney Weaver is also a stand out as the tough-talking scientist. However, it is not the acting in the film that is the stand out. The main celebrations of the film are the graphics and Cameron’s direction. Cameron could well be on his way to another Oscar nomination for this film and his work on it come March.

“Avatar” is one of the best films of the year, and if you are only going to see one film at the cinemas this year, it should be this one.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Golden Globe Nominations and Predictions

And so here it is! The beginning of the awards season and the “who’s going to take home the big one” guessing game! The Golden Globe nominations were released at the early hour of 5am this morning in Los Angeles. The Golden Globe’s won’t be awarded until the 17th of January 2010, so that gives us a whole month to speculate who will take home the honours and who may be destined for Oscar glory on the 7th of March 2010. So here at Movie Critical we have the list of nominees for you and our tips for the winners.
Best Motion Picture- Drama
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire
Up In The Air

Movie Critical says: This year’s category is really strong. There are several movies that have been left out of the category, such as “Invictus”, “An Education” and “Bright Star”, which people have been predicting to be nominated. However, the Oscars will have 10 nominees in their Best Picture category this year rather than 5, so chances are they will be there. It’s hard to pick a winner from these 5 (especially since only two have been released here in Australia thus far). Both “Up In The Air” and “Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire” and getting some astonishing reviews in the states and may be the two fighting it out for the Golden Globe. “Avatar” is too receiving some amazing reviews, but is it too commercial to be the Golden Globe winner? “Up In The Air” is our pick.

Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy
(500) Days Of Summer
The Hangover
It’s Complicated
Julie & Julia

Movie Critical says: This is an interesting category this year. Before “Nine” was actually released in the states, it was the front runner from this category. However, it is not living up to its expectations. It still may be in contention though. As hilarious as “The Hangover” is, it probably will not get a look in here as it is not quite as well made as some of the others in this category. It’s a hard one to pick. “(500) Days Of Summer” is clever, witty and original and “Julie & Julia” has a stellar performance by the one and only Meryl Streep. Our pick, “Nine” may still be the winner for its combination of its musical score, cinematography and visuals.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture- Drama
Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart"
George Clooney in “Up In The Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Tobey Maguire in “Brothers”

Movie Critical says: Again, quite a challenge for Movie Critical to predict a winner considering none of these films have been released in Australia as of yet. Judging by what American critics have been saying Colin Firth and George Clooney are the front runners for this award. From the looks of it, those two will definitely be the ones to beat. However, Clooney is our pick.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture- Drama
Emily Blunt in “The Young Victoria”
Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
Helen Mirren in “The Last Station"
Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe for "Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire”

Movie Critical says: Again, another very strong category. This is Sandra Bullock’s first Golden Globe nomination despite her being in the spotlight now for over 15 years. “The Blind Side” is supposed to be the best role of her career thus far, but unfortunately the company she is in in this category is too strong for her to take home the award. The front runners, according to critics, are Carey Mulligan and Gabourey Sidibe here. Emily Blunt was divine in “The Young Victoria”, but not as strong as other performances in this category. Helen Mirren may be up there, but not much has been said about her performance in “The Last Station”. Movie Critical has reviewed Mulligan in “An Education” and she is definitely worthy of an honour for it. However, Sidibe is supposed to be amazing in “Precious”. From what we have seen, Mulligan is our pick, but from what we’ve heard Sidibe is our pick. Definately a hard category to pick.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy
Matt Damon in “The Informant!”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “Nine”
Robert Downey Jr. in “Sherlock Holmes”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “(500) Days Of Summer”
Michael Stuhlerg in “A Serious Man”

Movie Critical says: Another interesting category. As much as Robert Downey Jr. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt are crowd favourites, they will most likely not get a sincere look in here. Matt Damon, Daniel Day-Lewis and Michael Stuhlberg are all strong contenders here. Our pick here, is Daniel Day-Lewis, though he is not a clear front runner. Damon and Stuhlberg are right behind him.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy
Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal”
Marion Cotillard in “Nine”
Julia Roberts in “Duplicity”
Meryl Streep in “It’s Complicated”
Meryl Streep” in “Julie & Julia”

Movie Critical says: Our pick, clear and simple, Meryl Streep for “Julie & Julia”. She is the favourite for this category and it is going to be a controversy if she does not take home the Golden Globe. She gave a fine performance as Julia Child and should definitely be rewarded. It will be interesting to see Marion Cotillard in “Nine”, when it is eventually released here, as she is known for her amazing performances.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon in “Invictus”
Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
Christopher Waltz in “Inglorious Basterds”

Movie Critical says: Although Australia is yet to see all but one of these movies, we can make the pick of Christopher Waltz in “Inglorious Basterds”. He was superb in his role and the critics are still raving about him.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Penelope Cruz in “Nine”
Vera Farmiga in “Up In The Air”
Anna Kendrick in “Up In The Air”
Mo’nique in “Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire”
Julianne Moore in “A Single Man”

Movie Critical says: Another one of the interesting categories this year. There has been strong Awards whispers around Anna Kendrick for her performance in “Up In The Air” and she was the favourite until “Precious” hit cinemas in the states. Mo’nique is now the front runner for this category for her performance as the abusive mother, and she is said to be extremely hard to beat. So Mo’nique is our pick, but we would love to see Kendrick get up there to be rid of her “Twilight” tag.

Best Director- Motion Picture
Kathryn Bigelow- “The Hurt Locker”
James Cameron- “Avatar”
Clint Eastwood- “Invictus”
Jason Reitman- “Up In The Air”
Quentin Tarantino- “Inglorious Basterds”

Movie Critical says: What a category. This category will be watched with great interest. Very rarely will a director win when their film is not nominated for best picture, so with this fact in mind, one would think that Kathryn Bigelow and Clint Eastwood are out of the running here. Although “Invictus” is nominated in other categories, so that may still put him in the race. James Cameron could win for his masterpiece “Avatar”, but we think that it will be a competition mainly between Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino. Our tip here is Tarantino.

So there are our tips for the upcoming Golden Globes! Unfortunately it’s not the easiest trying to decide who will win when all the films haven’t been released yet, but from reading articles and reviews on each of the movies, these are what seem to be the whispers as of late. Our tips for the Oscars will be a bit more informed as all the films would have been out in Australia by then. In the meantime, enjoy Awards season and please comment if you have anything to add!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vote for Movie Critical's Favourite Christmas Movie!

Vote for your favourite Christmas movie in our poll!
The poll is on the right hand side of the page.
It's A Wonderful Life?
Miracle on 34th Street?
Love, Actualy?
White Christmas?
A Christmas Carol?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hidden Gem: Hercules Returns

Hercules Returns
Year: 1993
Director: David Parker
Cast: David Argue, Bruce Spence, Mary Coustas

In My Own Words
Welcome to the first Hidden Gem post! Hidden Gem’s are movies which are not well known, but are definitely memorable. When you are a movie buff, you tend to find quite a few of these films. For Movie Critical’s first Hidden Gem, I’ve chosen “Hercules Returns”. My Dad has been asking me to review this for months, so here is the answer to his pleas! I also think this is a perfect movie to start with as it is an Australian movie and, being Australian myself, I would love build recognition for Australian films.

I can’t remember the first time I saw “Hercules Returns”, although I know it was on video quite awhile after it was released. Afterwards, my Dad, brother and I quoted lines from it for years and years. We still even quote it here and there nowadays. It’s just one of those movies that has so many memorable lines in it. “Hercules Returns” is an extremely funny and random film. Other people may not find it as funny as what my family and I did, but I do know it has a big cult following here in Australia. I would love more people to watch this movie and discover the insane world of “Hercules Returns”!

These are my own words and here is my review.

If the name “Hercules Returns” conjures up images of the long-awaited sequel to Hercules and a serious period piece set in Roman times, you are severely wrong. Brad McBain (David Argue) is an ex-employee of one of the biggest cinema chains in Australia and wants to re-open a run down classic cinema palace. After restoring the palace, he decides that he wants to show the last film shown at the cinema before it closed down ay the opening night. That film happens to be “Hercules”. Unfortunately, he doesn’t find out until the very last minute that “Hercules” is all in Italian and it has no subtitles. His friends and business partners, Sprocket (Bruce Spence) and Lisa (Mary Coustas) come to the rescue as the three of them decide to dub the film. The result of which is hilarious and absolutely nothing like the original “Hercules” was ever supposed to be.

The film is considered to be a B grade film, but is an example of how a B grade film doesn’t necessarily mean a bad film. The concept of the film follows in the footsteps of Woody Allen’s film, “What’s Up Tiger Lily” by dubbing an already made film with something which is the complete opposite to the original story. One can only imagine how long it would have taken to match a new story and its jokes to the original footage. One also feels encouraged to watch the original film to find out the real story behind the images. However, try and watch the original without remembering the dialogue from “Hercules Returns”, it’s impossible. It is extremely clever and as mentioned before, extremely funny. For anyone who likes random and silly humour, this is the movie for you.

The acting is not amazing, as there is actually very little of it to be done as the “Hercules” movie takes up the majority of the feature. Although, Coustas is hilarious as the quick-witted Lisa and Michael Carman is believable as Sir Michael Kent. The film is more centred around the comical value rather than the dramatic so it is excused for not having award winning performances.

“Hercules Returns” may be hard for some people to find, especially those of you who are overseas, but if you are keen to see it, it is easily ordered over the internet. It has recently been released on DVD and is definitely a movie worth seeing if you are needing a laugh.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

Year: 2009
Director: Spike Jonze
Cast: Max Records, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Forest Whitaker

In My Own Words

This is one of the movies that I was really looking forward to, but I came out of it feeling confused. I’m completely confused whether I should be liking it or not. However, one reason for liking it outweighs all the reasons I have for not liking it. I loved the feeling of seeing things through the eyes of a child again. It made me recall how I had been as a child. I was continuously making the most of my imagination by writing stories and, even though I looked extremely freaking doing so, acting them out in my lounge room by myself. I also would like to play in the garden outside and make little cardboard cut outs of people and pretend they lived in the garden. Very few adults still have an imagination like that. I doubt any grown ups really use their imagination like this anymore, and if they did, they would be considered crazy. That’s what makes the child’s imagination and their way of using it so special. You can only take advantage of it in that way for a certain amount of time. From that time on, the only way to use your imagination the way a child does is in story-telling and writing.

I never really thought about this that much until I saw this movie. I saw “Where The Wild Things Are” as being a metaphor for this. The tagline “There’s one in all of us” I believe is a representation of how the imagination of a child still exists in all of us, but we can’t express it the way a child can anymore. “Where The Wild Things Are” reminded me so much of my childhood imagination, and for that I am thankful. It brought back some memories of a time when I was oblivious to the real world and lived in my own world where everything was made by me, and therefore perfect. In this movie, all is not perfect for very long, which I interpreted as being the point where he grows up and accepts that things may not always be perfect in the real world, but there are always people who will love you no matter how imperfect you or your world may be. This was my interpretation anyway. Maybe I am reading too much into it.

There are my own words and here is my review.

Who would have ever thought that the 338 page book, “Where The Wild Things Are” could be made into a 101 minute film? Spike Jonze is the man to do it. Obviously, quite a bit is added into the film that is not in the book in order to make it appropriate for a feature length film. The long awaited film will be appreciated by adults as long as they go into the film ready to see the world through the imagination of a child. In saying this, children will see this film and enjoy it as it is imaginative and a story with big friendly (and other times not so friendly) and fluffy monsters.

Max (Max Records) is a young boy who is full of imagination. He spends his days creating new worlds for himself to escape the troubles he experiences with his older sister and her friends, and his single mother (Catherine Keener). One day after getting himself into trouble, he runs away from home and sails to a new land, which is inhabited by large and unusual creatures. Max tells the creatures that he is a king, and he immediately becomes the flavour of the month, especially with Carol (voiced by James Gandolfini). Max tries to make life happier for all the creatures, but ends up finding out that it is impossible to make everyone happy all the time.

“Where The Wild Things Are” is the story of a child’s imagination. The visuals of the land where the wild things live are perfect for this theme, as they are both imaginative, as they are abstract, unreal, large and full of detail. The visuals are unlike any other seen in a recent film and the recreation of Carol and his friends is fantastic. The cast that lends their voices to these wild things does a great job in bringing to life these characters from the book. The soundtrack is also commendable, as it reflects the childlike behaviour and emotions presented in the film.

However, the film can be dull at times. There are some scenes that seem slow and quite tedious, as it seems as though the film is not going anywhere. The conflict in the film is not strong, which is where the film loses its strength. The moral of the film and visuals are there, however at times they just do not seem to work. It is first and foremost a children’s book and ultimately is seen as a children’s movie, but this is no excuse for lack of strength in a movie. Records gives a good performance as Max, but he can come across as forced. His best performance is as happy Max, but sad Max is not convincing. Yet, he is a very young actor so he can be forgiven. Still, the film almost feels too basic, even for a children’s film.

The moral of the film is fantastic, that there is a world like the one in the movie inside all of us. Most people are not aware of this world or have forgotten it, as it is evident mainly in children but not in adults. Therefore, children will love this movie as it will tap into their imagination. For adults, it will only do this if they are aware of the morals and themes of the film and are willing to go into viewing it with the mind of a child. A child’s imagination is far greater than the average adult as it knows no limits, yet there does come a time in everyone’s life when reality becomes greater than the imagination and this is what “Where The Wild Things Are” presents.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Top 10 Movies Of The Decade

The Top 10 Films of the Decade
Well, I’ve jumped on the band wagon of listing the Top 10 Movies of the Decade. With the year and the decade drawing to a close, it’s time for reflection on the best made films of the decade. The following list has 10 films (not in order) which I believe are particularly memorable for one reason or another. Whether it be that they were a breakthrough in film making or it be the way they made people feel, they are all films that will be remembered and are a compliment to the films of the 2000’s. I understand that many people may feel differently to me regarding this list, but this is only one person’s opinion.

1. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

How could anyone deny the magnificence of Peter Jackson’s film interpretation of Tolkein’s “Lord Of The Rings” trilogy? All three of the films are amazing, but the third instalment, “The Return Of The King” is the most critically acclaimed and with good reason. The film won a staggering 11 Academy Awards and made $377 million worldwide. Many thought that the trilogy could never be made into a successful film as the novels were far too complex and detailed. However, Jackson was able to recreate Tolkein’s magic onto the big screen and do so in fine form. The visuals are stunning as are the costumes, make-up and special effects. The acting is superb, especially by Viggo Mortensen and Sean Astin. The movie is almost flawless. The criticism you are likely to hear about it is that it is very lengthy.

2. The Departed(2006)

Even if mob movies are not your cup of tea, it is still extremely likely that “The Departed” will impress you. Martin Scorcese fans were ecstatic to see him get his long awaited Academy Award for this movie in both the Best Picture and Best Director categories. The film is a fine adaptation of the Cantonese film “Infernal Affairs”. The film centres around both an undercover cop in the mob and a rat in the police force in Boston, the result of which can never be good. Plenty of thrills and suspense , plus an intriguing storyline make this film more than an action film and more than a drama. is packed full of talent and has some amazing performances by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg. “The Departed” could well be the best mob movie of the decade.

3. Le Fabuelex Destin d'Amelie Poulain (Amelie)(2001)

One of the most loved and talked about French films of all time, “Amelie” must have a place in this list. If you are not a foreign film lover for the pure fact that it requires you to read and watch at the same time, this is one film you should definitely make an exception for. Amelie Poulain (Audrey Tautou)is a young woman who wants to find happiness and beauty in life for herself and for those around her. The film is visually beautiful and Tautou shines as the quirky Amelie. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, this film was the feel-good film of 2001 and continues to be a favourite of movie lovers everywhere.

4. There Will Be Blood (2007)

One of the greatest achievements in cinematography of the decade also comes with one of the finest performances by a male actor of the decade in “There Will Be Blood”. A film set in the turn of the century with the protagonist being Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a man who travels to California in search of future business, not letting anything, including family and faith, stop him. The film is amazing to watch, with every camera angle bringing the most out of every camera shot. The visuals are breathtaking and one cannot go past praising Day-Lewis, as his performance is full of strength and power. Brilliantly directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, a cinematic masterpiece.

5. Slumdog Millionaire(2008)

The Academy got it right when presenting its Best Picture Oscar to “Slumdog Millionaire”. This film had everyone talking. It is completely different to any other movie that has previously been released and was brilliantly adapted for the screen by director Danny Boyle. Filmed on location in India and using unknown actors, the movie creates a realistic view of slum life and one which many may find too realistic to handle. The music is amazing and the cinematography is equally amazing. “Slumdog Millionaire” is moving and is a feel good movie that is definitely an achievement in film making.

6. El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) (2006)

Quite possibly, along with “The Lord Of The Rings” the best achievement in fantasy of the decade. This amazing film by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro is a fantasy film, which is also a drama and a war film. Therefore, “Pan’s Labyrinth” (it’s English title) is not a children’s fantasy film, as many parents found out the hard way. It is moving, thrilling and sad. The film won Academy Awards for Cinematography, Art Direction and Make-Up and deservedly. The film is a dark fairytale like none seen before and is an absolute pleasure to watch.

7. Gladiator (2000)

One cannot deny Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator”. The heroic story of Maximus (Russell Crowe) was a favourite at the Academy Awards and with movie fans world over. The recreation of ancient Rome and its colony was staggering, everything for the period was perfect down to the smallest detail. The film is suspenseful, moving and action-packed with amazing direction. The performances by both Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix and the film is definitely one of the best of the decade and worthy of all the praise it receives.

8. Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Baz Luhrmann’s extravaganza “Moulin Rouge” may not be a film for everyone as it is exaggerated and well over the top. However, it is these features which allow it to make this list. This romantic musical drama with a slash of comedy gives all its got in every song and dance and does so in a beautiful fashion. The visuals are amazing and colourful and the camera does it all complete justice. Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are the perfect choices as the lead roles and show their versatility as actors in roles which no one had ever seen them in before.

9. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

“Little Miss Sunshine” is the indie hit of the decade. The Academy Awards could not overlook this film and the fine performances in it. This film exhibits how a great film does not need over the top graphics or special effects to be successful and well liked. “Little Miss Sunshine” follows a dysfunctional family on the road as they strive to help the youngest daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin) achieve her dream of competing in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. The film is heart-warming and funny. Alan Arkin won an Oscar for his performance as the out-spoken grandfather and Breslin earned a nomination for Best Performance of an Actress in a Supporting Role. Although quirky, it shows how families bond in a time of need no matter how dysfunctional they seem from the outside.

10. Pirates Of The Carribean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)

The first instalment of the “Pirates Of The Carribean” trilogy is definitely memorable and makes this list for its wide appeal . The film is so appealing as it has something for everyone, whether you are young or old, or if you are a fan of action or romance. The film was inspired by the Disneyland ride and therefore contains that Disney magic. Gore Verbinski direction is perfect as is his set design and visual effects. Johnny Depp’s performance of Captain Jack Sparrow is also extremely memorable and humorous.

Well that’s my top 10 films of the decade! I would love to hear any feedback or even your own top 10!