Sunday, November 21, 2010
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Director: David Yates
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter
In My Own Words
I am an unashamed Harry Potter fan, not afraid to say it. I won't say I was always a Harry Potter fan, but I became so with the release of "Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban" in cinemas back in 2004. After deciding that I wouldn't mind seeing the film, I went and watched the first 2 movies and was hooked. Since then, I've read every one of the Harry Potter books, seen all the films the day or day after it came out and stood in lines at bookstores on the day the books were released. What do I love the most about Harry Potter? It's a story about growing up and life as a high school student with a difference. Even though it is a fantasy story, people can identify with Harry, Ron and Hermione. They are outcasts in a world of outcasts and struggle with growing up issues, but then they are great fun to watch and by now you know them as well as you would your best friends.
How do I feel about the last chapter of the Harry Potter saga? It didn't feel like it at all. Personally I don't think it was a great idea to split the last book up into two movies, but I can see why they did it. I know I first thought that they split the last book into two to keep the franchise going and keep the money rolling in, but now I see that it would have been a 4 hour movie if they made the last book into one film. I still don't know if it worked though. Of course I have an advantage over the people who haven't read the books, but I don't think it ended in the right place. Yet I don't know if there would've been the right place to finish part one. Hurry up part two! In saying this, I would really be interested in hearing from people who haven't read the books to see whether they think that the ending was sufficient. It is hard for me to say knowing what is coming next.
These are my own words and here is my review.
So, the last chapter of the Harry Potter saga. But wait....there is still more! Whatever the reason for making "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows" into two movies, it definately doesn't feel like it ends in the right place. Not intense enough to be a cliff hanger, just needed to end maybe 15 minutes earlier. However, it is definately not the worst of the Harry Potter movies and nowhere near the worst movies of the year if you look at it as a stand alone film. A word of warning though, if you are going to the film to see it as a stand alone film as you haven't seen the first six movies, then you won't have a clue what is going on. After the death of Hogwarts head master,Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) at the end of the last Harry Potter film, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) set off to begin their end battle with Harry's life-long enemy, Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). They take hiding in the woods of England to destroy Voldemort's horcruxes (a term which only those who have been following Harry's journey will know) before Voldemort finds them and destroy's them first.
The second last installment of the Harry Potter series is very close to being, if it isn't, the darkest of the films. There are not many smiles to be had by any of the characters and this is the way it was always going to be in this movie. The movie stays true to the book which it is based on and some things work better on screen than they do in words. There are segments in the book which are extremely tense and the intensity of Harry's situation is transferred to the audience very well. The audience feels the danger and fears for their safety. It does tend to drag on a bit at one point in time, but in these scenes it still manages to show how the journey is taking it's toll on the three friends and again, it is still true to the book in doing so. The cinematography and visuals have definately progressed with the films over time and several scenes are really quite beautiful. The musical score is also perfect for the film and again brings more emotion into the film. The ending is somwhat questionable though, as it is not a cliff hanger by any means. This film didn't need a cliff hanger at the end of it to increase interest and encourage people to go and watch the final film though so it can be forgiven.
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" is the Harry Potter film which shows the true acting ability of Radcliffe, Grint and Watson. They have all matured in their acting so much in the past few years and this film is very well acted. The three of them just bounce of one another in their acting and create such a strong relationship not just between themselves, but also between themselves and the audience. Radcliffe, Grint and Watson all give strong performances and you can really tell that their acting is not as forced as what it felt back in their earlier days. There shouldn't be a doubt in anyone's mind now that these three will all have careers after Harry Potter, and good careers at that. Helena Bonham Carter is also great to watch as the evil and clearly insane Bellatrix Lestrange.
Whether or not "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1" was a great film or not or whether it had a cliff hanger ending or not, won't take Harry Potter fans away from enjoying this film or looking forward to the finale. Not the worst Harry Potter film, not the best Harry Potter film. It is no longer a children's tale and it is very dark. Nevertheless, it is still Harry Potter and it definately shows how the film saga has become better production wise over the years. Let's hear it Harry Potter fans....bring on July 2011.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Director: Anton Corbijn
Cast: George Clooney, Paolo Bonacelli, Violante Placido
In My Own Words
I can truly believe that "The American" would not be everybody's type of film. It is a very interesting film, if not very confusing. It doesn't tell you much. There is so many questions which remain afterwards. It is funny, a movie can be criticised for leaving too many stones unturned, but then you get a film where barely anything is revealed and it can be considered a masterpiece. I'm not saying that "The American" is a masterpiece, but there are so many films which don't tell the story and are considered amazing. I suppose it all comes down to whether it makes you uneasy not knowing exactly what is going on or not. I don't know exactly what I am to tell you the truth. Some films I don't mind not having a back story and some I do. I'm actually thinking that I prefer to know the whole story. I love getting to know all different types of people so naturally I like knowing the characters like they are people I have just met in reality! Yet, mystery in people can be completely intriguing, as is the case with movies.
I have been asked after watching this film "What is the movie about?" I can answer it in one sentanceand very vaguely, but that is about as far as I can get. For this reason, I am completely intrigued, as should be everyone else who see's this film.
These are my own words and here is my review.
Many people may be surprised by the type of movie which "The American" is. With the star being George Clooney and being shown in the main stream cinema multiplexes across Australia, one would expect the film to be quite commercial. However, it is anything but. "The American" is a piece of art in the traditional sense. It is stunning to watch, but carries a sense of mystery and questions which are begging to be answered. It is the marriage of the Italian film and the American film, something that hasn't been seen in quite awhile. Jack (George Clooney) is the American who is in hiding in a small Italian village after a project in Sweden ends disastreously. When hiding out in this small town, Jack decides that he wants to leave this part of his life behind and start anew after one last project. Jack starts to slip into his new life by befriending the local priest and forming a relationship with Clara (Violante Placido), before he leaves his old life behind.
So many questions are left unanswered in this film, which can make it unsettling to watch and many people will find just too strange to feel right to enjoy. It is, however, quite the piece of art. Director Anton Corbijn constructs every scene with the utmost care and no scene is not left aesthetically perfect. Every scene is compelling and beautiful and you can often get lost in the visual beauty enough to forget what is actually happenning story-wise. The cinematography and editing is superb. The beauty of Italy is perfectly caputred, while the camera also captures every tiny bit of emotion displayed on each of the main players faces. As previously said, the story itself can be a tad uneasy for some as it does not present itself simply. It is a simple storyline which is made complex by a verbally restricted script and is told more by the visuals and camera angles. For some this may be challenging and unsettling and others it may be challenging and fascinating.
The acting in "The American" is extremely subtle, yet effective. Although it may seem like George Clooney is hardly acting, it is actually one of the hardest roles he will ever have to undertake. He doesn't have any long speeches to express how his character feels so he has to express everything in his facial expressions. It is a hard job to try to keep a neutral expression while still trying to tell something with your face. Clooney achieves this in his role and shows his brilliance in his profession by being able to do this.
If you like everything presented to you simply in a movie and you don't like to be too mentally stimulated, then "The American" isn't for you. It is not often that a film comes along which can be as mentally stimulating as thes, yet doesn't have much to say out loud.