Friday, July 30, 2010
The Waiting City
Director: Claire McCarthy
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Radha Mitchell, Samrat Chakrabarti, Isabel Lucas
In My Own Words
Another Aussie film for the year! I am so proud of the large variety of films that my country is producing at the moment. One can only hope that the world beyond Australia will get to see these films as well. “The Waiting City” is a first for Australian film as it is the first Australian movie filmed in its entirety in India. This was one of the two things I personally loved most about this movie. I have a fascination with India at the moment. I mean, what isn’t fascinating about it? There is not much about it which resembles Australia or any other country I have ever visited, which is what intrigues me the most about it. All the Indian cities seem extremely like extremely spiritual places and just by seeing them on the screen, you can just imagine the how it must feel to be there. Well, that s probably a result of the filming of the films set in India that I have seen! Of course the poverty is extremely confronting just on the screen, I can’t imagine how it would feel seeing all that suffering in front of your eyes. I guess I will find out one day! However, I still can’t wait to go! Not to see the poverty, but to see things like the Taj Mahal and experience the culture! It didn’t surprise me at all to learn that Claire McCarthy has India close to her heart, as she has lived and worked there in the past.
The other thing I like about this film is the underlying message. You never quite figure out who you are or the place you are in until you step outside your everyday life. You never really know how things really are until you step back and take a look at yourself from outside the bubble. I found this about myself over three years ago when I went over to the United States for the first time by myself. I found out who I really was and realised where my life was heading, it’s a very healthy thing to do! I did the same thing when I lived in Los Angeles for six months in 2008. I don’t think it was a better way to find out who I really am. I think that I have to thank my six months away from my usual habitat for what I am doing on here! And also for the great relationships in my life, as you never realise how hard it is to find the wonderful people you have in your life until you don’t have them around. You have got to love travelling! It does so much for the soul.
These are my own words and here is my review.
Claire McCarthy’s newest film, “The Waiting City” is breakthrough in many ways. Not only is it the first Australian film to be completely filmed in India, but it is her breakthrough film as a director. This is McCarthy’s fourth film, but is definitely her most successful to date. Not to mention it made its debut at the inaugural Toronto International Film Festival last September. The film has many good points, but even though it can be extremely confronting and emotional at times, it still lacks the intensity that it should in parts. Fiona (Radha Mitchell) and Ben Simmons (Joel Edgerton) touch down in Calcutta and are immediately culture shocked by the country in which they have arrived in to pick up their adopted daughter. One setback turns into another as they are forced to wait longer than they expected to meet their new child and bring her home. As they wait, they feel the power of their new daughters homeland as it pulls them in and exposes Fiona and Ben’s flaws in themselves and in their relationship.
“The Waiting City” is one of those rare films which has the ability to make you feel like you really are there experiencing it all with the characters. Even without being to India, you can smell the same things they do, feel the humidity and see things the same way Fiona and Ben do. The star of this film is really India. It is on show in “The Waiting City” and one can truly believe how the main characters can get so caught up in its mystery and how they start to feel like they are as one with the country. This film is visually stunning and the visuals make it extremely memorable. The clash of cultures is perfectly represented and it is intriguing as well as being humorous at times. The cinematography is very well done as it again captures the essence of Calcutta and its surrounds by the choice of camera angles and modes of filming.
The acting is good, but unfortunately it is the one part of the film that is a let down. Both Radha Mitchell and Joel Edgerton are very good actors in their own right, and do have chemistry on screen, but it almost feels as though the roles were a bit too easy for them to play. The roles they play are subtle, but they are too subtle in the most complex situations. The emotion of the situations they find themselves in, except for one main event, does not grab the audience in the way it should. Edgerton is the better of the two in this film as he is the one who gives more in his role.This doesn’t mean that Mitchell did a bad job, but it wasn’t as strong a performance as one would expect from such a role as this. Samrat Chakrabarti, who plays the Simmons’ personal chauffer, Krishna, does do a great job with the role he is given and is a joy to watch on screen. Maybe McCarthy focused more on the visuals in the film and how India is represented, rather than how far the actors could have been pushed to reach the heights their roles should have.
“The Waiting City” is really an aesthetically pleasing film. If anything, it will make you want to pack your bags and go to this beautiful place to enjoy the simpler things in life and to find yourself, if you feel that you need to be found. The key to this film being a success would have been to focus more on the raw emotion of the difficult and complicated situations presented. Therefore, this film will be remembered more as a great tourism product for India rather than the all round great film it could have been.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Knight And Day
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Viola Davis, Paul Dano
In My Own Words
Some actors can just create box office magic out of anything they touch. I’ve decided to coin the term “box office magic” as there was a term in the Golden Hollywood days of “box office poison”. Katharine Hepburn was at one point in time, as were many other old time stars. Though some stars just make everything they touch turn to gold, such as, in this case, Tom Cruise. The man could be in anything and it would generate millions just from people seeing him on the posters and reacting by going and purchasing a ticket to the film. These actors who generate box office magic don’t have to be in more than one movie a year or two years, but when they do, they don’t need to work for more than those few months that they are filming and promoting because of the money the studio pays them for being box office magic. Other actors in this category besides Mr Cruise are John Travolta, Brad Pitt and his squeeze, Angelina Jolie. Being box office magic doesn’t mean that your most recent movie is a particularly good one, but nevertheless it will still bring in the millions just with their billing. So needless to say “Knight And Day” was extremely highly anticipated, has generated $161 million worldwide so far and it’s not that great a movie. Box office magic! Spread the word!
These are my own words and here is my review.
“Knight And Day” is Tom Cruise’s long-awaited return to the action film. If you are going to see this film purely to see Cruise complete amazing stunts and kill all the bad guys, then you will love this movie. If you are expecting anything else, chances are you will be disappointed. The first thing that strikes you about “Knight And Day” is that it seems extremely dated. The film would have been a hit if it was released at the most the early nineties, but now almost every aspect of it seems old and dated. June (Cameron Diaz) boards a plane to Boston with a handsome stranger, Roy Miller (Cruise), whom she is immediately attracted to. Little does she know, she has now become involved in a dangerous game of cat and mouse between Roy and his ex-partner, Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard). Once Roy lands the plane by himself, June tries to go on living her life, but she is about to be taken on the adventure of her lifetime by this fugitive that she has just met.
For a mindless action film, “Knight And Day” isn’t too bad, but from a critical point of view, it is a miserable failure. The majority of the special effects and even the scene backdrops look terribly fake to the point that they can just look ridiculous. The film seems completely amateurish compared to some of the other action films that have come out in recent days. As said before, the story, musical score and the special effects resemble that of a 1980’s/1990’s action film. Harsh, but true. There is nothing worst then watching an action movie and the only thing you can think of is how fake the crashes look and how you can tell that they really aren’t underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. A film is supposed to suck you in and make you believe that what you are seeing on the big screen is the real thing. However, “Knight And Day” is an extremely unrealistic film. The plot is very unrealistic, not that this matters in an action film like this the majority of the time. However, the unrealistic nature of the script is also transformed to being that of pure fun on the screen. Many viewers will enjoy the continuously changing location of the film and seeing the beautiful cities featured, while others will just scoff at the silly antics and how far from the truth everything is. On the other hand, it really is quite comical in parts and there are quite a few giggles to be had throughout the film.
However, Cruise is worth going to see this movie for. He is still likable and is definitely the hero of the story, in both the story and in the mind of the movie viewer. As he is the reason for people going to see this film, he will be the reason many people will also enjoy it. The role he plays isn’t very emotionally challenging, but he still plays the part well. Cameron Diaz is just fine. There is nothing amazing about her performance and, again, it isn’t a very hard role. However, she can be very funny at times. Peter Sarsgaard and Viola Davis are both good in their roles. They bring to the table everything they can in the roles they have been given.
“Knight And Day” will be a delight for Tom Cruise fans as they will enjoy seeing him in his return to action. However, it will be one of the more forgettable films of the year and is really just a load of silliness.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Ken Watanbe, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine
In My Own Words
I would have been insanely disappointed if “Inception” had not lived up to my expectations. It’s not often I admit that about a film, or that I even let myself think like that. All I had to do was look at the components that made up this film in order to get excited. The combination of an intriguing storyline, one of the best directors going around at the moment and a stellar cast which includes many an award nominee, what wasn’t there to be excited about?! And....I was not disappointed. “Inception” is pure brilliance. So brilliant that I am afraid my review won’t do it justice. I left the cinema completely speechless and all I could so was hold up 9 fingers to my other half to indicate my rating out of 10.
Unlike many other movies, “Inception” is able to excel on all levels. Many wonderful films will be wonderful for either the acting or the cinematography, but not often does a film come along which excels in both. “Inception” does. Christopher Nolan has placed everything together perfectly and his knack for selecting his cast members is definitely commendable. Personally, I believe Leonardo DiCaprio and Marion Cotillard are two of the finest actors alive at the moment. DiCaprio seems to be getting better and better. In high school, I struggled to take DiCaprio seriously for his heart throb status from films such as “Romeo + Juliet” and “Titanic”. Don’t get me wrong, he was good in both and the movies weren’t bad, but it is hard for actors to be taken seriously when their posters are up in everything 14 year olds locker at school. However, “The Aviator”, “The Departed” and “Blood Diamond” each showed how far this man has come and how he is definitely one of the best actors of our time. And Marion Cotillard, she has the ambience on the screen that the stars of the Golden Hollywood age. Her Oscar winning role in “La Vie En Rose” made the world sit up and take notice of this French star and she has shown her quality continuingly since then in glowing roles in “Public Enemies” and “Nine”.
These are my own words and here is my review.
“What's the most resilient parasite? An Idea.” In this quote, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb is speaking about the implantation of ideas in the human mind, although it could well be “Inception” director, Christopher Nolan describing his journey with his new masterpiece. Nolan approached Warner Bros with the idea for “Inception” first back in 2002 without a script, but even without this, both he and Warner Bros knew what they had in their hands. From this idea grew the larger than life and mind-blowing “Inception” which has only just been released now in July 2010. It has well been worth the wait. Nolan could well be one of the best directors of our time. He pushes everything to the limit in this film and every little detail is sewn up tightly and with the greatest care. This film could well be the best of the year.
Cobb and his partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are in the business of extracting information from the minds of others by exploring their subconscious in their dreams. It seems as though they have nearly come to the end of the road, when Cobb, who is still recovering from the death of his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard) is approached by Saito (Ken Watanbe) with an offer he can’t refuse. Along with Arthur and the help of architectural genius, Ariadne (Ellen Page) they begin to try and plant an idea in the mind of Robert Fischer Jr. (Cillian Murphy), but little do they know the dark depths they are really exploring of not only Fischer’s mind, but of someone else’s mind that is far more dangerous.
Absolutely everything about “Inception” is amazing. The story is completely original and wonderfully written by Nolan. It is absolutely intriguing and extremely clever, with no stone been left unturned and no questions are left unanswered. Nolan completely captures the dream world and will make you remember things from your dreams that you normally do forget once you have woken up. The whole concept of extracting information from dreams and implanting ideas in people’s dreams is complete genius. The cinematography and special effects are definitely something to write home about and people will leave the cinema talking about their favourite sequences. “Inception” is one of those movies you will have to see at the cinema to get the most out of. The musical score is also perfectly suited to the movie and is able to capture the darkness of the situation at hand.
The acting is superb in “Inception”. The acting and the storyline are what differentiates ‘Inception” from all the other action and sci-fi blockbusters out there. The acting fleshes out the raw human emotion involved in the situations in the films and draws the viewer in even more. The star of the film is DiCaprio and he is back to his high calibre of acting. He draws on his past roles of both the tough talking detective and the sensitive husband and father and combines them both in this role with fantastic results. He is a mystery, but at the same time connects with the audience on many levels. Marion Cotillard is also superb. It is like she plays multiple roles in this film..the loving wife and mother, the unstable wife and mother, the seductress, the evil spirit and the list goes on. She is completely believable and an amazing character who has so much presence and control over the audience every time she appears on the screen. High praise definitely goes to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page and Cillian Murphy. Each of these actors plays a role completely unlike any other role they have every done and pulls it off perfectly, which is rises another praise for Nolan. He cast these actors and pushes them to their limits in roles which they are not known for . Nolan is a director which actors relate to very well, hence why so many actors he has previously worked with keep re-appearing in his films. Many of his co-stars would have had to have been jealous of Gordon-Levitt however, he is part of some of the most awesome scenes in the movie which would have been a real treat to have taken part in.
“Inception” is not to be missed. This is definitely Nolan’s best film to date and he is worthy of every piece of praise that he receives for it. He could have well been responsible for the best film of the year and one can only hope that the academy remembers him come Oscar season next year. There are many awards he and his cast should win for this masterpiece and there is no reason they shouldn’t be remembered next year, as “Inception” is a film that will not be forgotten.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Director: Nimrod Antal
Cast: Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishbourne
In My Own Words
From what I’ve heard, “Predator” was a classic, “Predator 2” wasn’t bad and “Alien vs Predator” was good entertainment value. From what I have seen, “Alien vs Predator- Requiem” was awful and “Predators”.....well, let’s just say from that my personal viewing of anything to do with “Predator” has been less than satisfactory. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I haven’t seen the first “Predator”, but my experience with the phenomenon hasn’t made me excited about the prospect of doing so. It just seems like a series of movies that has been going on too long. However I guess it is making money still as it is 3rd at the US box office as we speak so why not? Keep the money rolling! I know what all the “Predator” movies have been missing.....Arnie.
One thing this movie did do for me is it made me look forward to some of the movies that are coming out in Australia in the next few weeks. Who else is excited about “Knight & Day”, “Inception” and “Salt”? I am particularly excited about “Inception” and it is one movie I will be truly distraught about if it doesn’t live up to my expectations. It seems that even though Blockbuster season is drawing to a close, there are still some highly anticipated films heading our way. And let’s not forget “Despicable Me” which is at the top of the US box office at the moment!
These are my own words and here is my review.
Action galore and not much more. It seems like a perfect tagline for this movie as it tells you everything you need to know. Actually, there is a lot of another thing, the “f” word. Though I guess that word would be pretty appropriate if you had the Predator following you around. The film begins with Royce (Adrien Brody) free falling unconscious and waking up in panic before releasing a parachute. He lands in the middle of an unknown jungle and he is not the only one in the same situation. He is one of eight who have no idea where they are or how they got there. It is not long before they figure out that they are not the only ones in the jungle, yet they are the only humans.
If you are after a mindless action movie, then this is it. There is a complete lack of depth in the story. There are holes all over the place and quite a few unanswered questions. Jokes that are supposed to be funny and just aren’t. There is also a lack of suspense and feeling of dread that should be present in this film. It is not entirely predictable, but there is no thirst to find out what happens next. Director Nimrod Antal must have decided that he would use the musical score to make up for the lack of script, as there seems to be background movie for well over half the movie trying to build up the suspense. So much so that it seems like it is a complete overuse of music. In the films defence, it is supposed to be an action film based purely on the terrifying creatures. It isn’t supposed to be a very in depth film as that is never what the previous “Predator” movies were about. The special effects are very impressive and fans of the old “Predator” movies will be happy to know that that part of the movie has not changed, and are obviously more superior than they were back in 1987.
“Predators” is a strange choice of film for actor Adrien Brody. It is unlike any other movie he has ever done. It is far from his best work, but he is far from the worst thing about this film. He gives a strong performance and is extremely intense throughout the film. He is not your typical action hero, but pulls it off nevertheless, once again showing his versatility and capabilities. Laurence Fishbourne pulls off a strange and unsettling performance, as does Topher Grace.
Again, there is not much to this film. “Predator” fans will be disappointed that the first time in 20 years that they are seeing these creatures of fear without aliens is not the true thrill that they would expect it to be. To watch this movie, you need to be leave all need for a well written script and storyline behind and be in it for the special effects. Those creatures aren’t even close to being as terrifying as what they should be.