Sunday, December 26, 2010
Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Cast: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton
In My Own Words The combination of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie is a film makers dream. Two of the biggest movie stars on the planet and two of my personal favourite actors. Johnny Depp is just likable in every role he has been in the past few years. Even in "The Libertine" where one of his first lines is "You are not going to like me". He failed at that because I still found him likable. He's not afraid to take risks, I think he is more afraid of taking on a role people might consider "normal". He has been nominated for 3 Oscars, but has yet to take home one. I would love to see him win one, but what will it take? He's been nominated for"Pirates Of The Carribean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl", "Finding Neverland" and "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street". All amazing roles completely out of the ordinary yet no golden statue. What does he have to do?!
Then there is Angelina. The actress who has show-stopping beauty, but is sometimes more popular for what she does off screen than on screen. Her past romances, kissing siblings and being known as a "home wrecker" in the tabloids overshadow how truly amazing she is an an actress. She has been nominated for two Academy Awards and took home the big one in 1999 for "Girl, Interrupted". I think she is brilliant, regardless of what she does in her private life. After all, what is true about her so-called private life that we read in the celebrity gossip magazines?
I've already established that Depp and Jolie are amazing actors, but do they work together? These are my own words and here is my review.
Everything about "The Tourist" points towards a winning combination. It stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie who are two of the biggest movie stars in the world at the moment, has an Oscar winning director in Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and it's set in a beautiful city like Venice. It seems like nothing could go wrong, or could it? "The Tourist" was always going to do well at the box office no matter what happenned in the film. It is one of those films which some people are going to love and others are going to find ridiculous. "The Tourist" is an action thriller which borders on comedy. Unfortunately, the comedy aspect makes it hard to take the film seriously when you feel like you should be taking it seriously. Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp) is a maths teacher minding his own business on a train trip to Venice when a beautiful, mysterious English woman, Elise (Angelina Jolie) sits next to him. Little does he know, he is part of a plan of Elise's elusive love, Alexander Pearce to detour the authorities and make them think that Frank is actually him.
Set against the amazing backdrop of Venice, "The Tourist" seems to be a very confused film. It is not quite sure what it is. It could have been a serious film and it seems like that is what the film makers would have wanted, but with Johnny Depp involved it doesn't come across that way. Not to say that Johnny Depp can't do serious roles because he definately can, but his character of Frank is quite comedic. On the other hand, it is not as funny as it should be to qualify as a comedy. This confusion makes the film seem a bit messy, although it does play out perfectly and runs smoothly on the screen. Visually it is an amazing film to watch. Henckel von Donnersmarck has pieced the film together beautifully and the cinematography, editing and visuals are amazing. Scriptwise, it is a good story and completely unpredictable. Everytime you think you know what is going on, something will happen to change your thoughts. It is one of those films you will walk away from and the more you think about it, the more everything will start to make sense. However, it is the scrip that provides the comedy moments which creates the confusion of the film.
Both Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie are stars, there is no doubt about that. Johnny Depp is able to show so much emotion in just his facial expressions and in his eyes. He is able to make the audience feel great pity for him at the beginning of the film. The character of Frank feels much like the Inchabod Crane who Depp played in "Sleepy Hollow". Jolie shines on the screen, the camera just adores her. Depp and Jolie visually look good on the screen together, but there isn't a great deal of chemistry between the two. Maybe they were afraid of creating too much chemistry between the two in case that started creating rumours.
If you go into "The Tourist" thinking you will see a drama, you will be disappointed. If you think it is going to be a comedy, you will also be disappointed. If you think it is a psychological action film, you may not be so disappointed. If you think it is just going to be just a good piece of entertainment and something which is visually beautiful to watch, you will enjoy the film. Visually it is amazing and beautifully directed with beautiful people, but it is just confused about what it is and what it is trying achieve.
Director: Joseph Kosinki
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen
In My Own Words
How excited are sci-fi fans about this film? After 28 years since the original "TRON", fans finally get to see the revamped version of the old Disney classic. I never watched the original "TRON". One of the reasons being that I was born in 1982 so it wasn't a new release I got to see at the cinema. My only memory of it is of it being one of the trailers on my other Disney movie videos (yes, videos....let me know if anyone needs reminding of what a video is). At that point in time I was more interested in Disney films with talking animals rather than science fiction films. Since then, it is not a movie I have seen on DVD. I believe it is on DVD, but it is very hard to come by. I would watch it if I could find it! I am sure a few of the questions which I have about "TRON Legacy" would be answered if I had seen "TRON". Maybe I would have appreciated it more, but I'm not quite sure. Maybe I would have been comparing it too much and would have hated it! Who knows! Personally I thought the best things about the film were the music and the visuals. Without the impact of those two features, the movie would have just been a confusing and boring 2 hours. I never thought I would credit Daft Punk with making a movie worthwhile. Of course, if you are a sci fi fan, you are obviously going to disagree with me. This film could well be your bread and butter.
These are my own words and here is my review.
28 years after Disney released "TRON" in cinemas, it's sequel "TRON Legacy" finally comes to our screens. The original "TRON" was seen as a break through in cinema as it was released at a time when computers hadn't been around for very long and a movie about someone being sucked into a computer system created a great deal of interest. However, 28 years later in 2010, it doesn't create quite the same interest in our worlds where the internet is a necessity to many. The story is out dated and dull, only to be saved by the impressive visuals and soundtrack. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the video game creator who has been missing for years. When Sam investigates in his father's abandoned video game arcade, he finds himself sucked into the digital world which his father created. However, the world is now ruled by Flynn's creation gone bad, Clu ( also played by Jeff Bridges). Sam soon finds that he is the enemy of Clu and that his father is alive and living in exile inside the Grid.
It just seems as though Disney left it way too long to release "TRON Legacy" in order for it to be a success. Disney only confirmed 2 years ago in 2008 that their were serious aboit releasing a "TRON" sequel. Leaving it this long meant that times have changed as have what people find intriguing. We have seen many movies which are set around or in computer generated worlds that in the age of computers where anything is possible, it is hard to impress. Also, there will be many people who haven't seen the original "TRON" as it was released nearly 30 years ago.The film will pose many questions for those who haven't seen the original "TRON". For a film that is hard to come by these days on DVD, this was always going to be a problem. One can guess themselves what happenned in the first film, but there is still a great deal of film concepts that would become so much clearer for the audience if they had seen the first. Unlike many other sequels, this film is easier to be judged as a stand alone film rather than a sequel. This may not do the film any justice, which is a rarity for sequels.
On the other hand, visually "TRON Legacy" has perfect timing. The film was not made for 3D, but post-production made it possible. The computer generated images during the film, such as the games of survival are truly amazing and exciting to watch. The techniques used to make Jeff Bridges 30 years younger are absolutely intriguing. It is amazing what can be done during post production of films these days. The costumes and make up are also very impressive. The soundtrack to the film, as done by Daft Punk, is one of the key elements of the film. Even for people who are not fans of the electronic scene, there is no denying that the music adds to the effectiveness of the film. Each piece of music enhances the scene which it is in and brings it to life. The direction and post-production of this film is really quite commendable.
The acting in this film is quite simple. The only two actors who show any type of emotion are Jeff Bridges and Garret Hedlund in the reunion scene and goodbye scene. Otherwise their acting is quite bland. Olivia Wilde as Kevin Flynn's sidekick, Quorra doesn't do anything spectacular in this film and it is not a very hard role for her to play. As Zeus, Michael Sheen seems to be channelling his inner David Bowie, and does so successfully. He is un-nerving and bizarre, but strangely interesting. The film is actually quite well choreographed during scenes such as with the sirens supplying Sam with his disk.
"TRON Legacy" is a hard one. The story and script is outdated and the acting is not spectacular, as one would'nt expect from a film such as this. However, it takes full advantage of the CGI which is available today and the film strives on this throughout the film. Without the CGI, there wouldn't be much of a film. Sci-fi fans will love this film, while others will either take it or leave it. The CGI can only take you part of the way to a good film, a good story and script will take you the rest of the way. Which makes "TRON Legacy" only partly a good film.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Director: Todd Phillips
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis
In My Own Words
I'm a prude. I can't help it. I will go to some films and get completely grossed out by some things. But...being a movie critic, I need to suck it up princess. I need to see past all the crude jokes I see in some films and review it as a whole. I mean, if you're a critic and review a film based on your personal interests and tastes only, you're going to be a pretty lousy critic. You're only going to connect with those who are exactly like you and let's face it, nobody is exactly like you so the only person you are connecting with is yourself. Of course you should always be true to yourself and not do and say things just to please other people, but you have got to judge a film for the whole package which it is. "Due Date" is one of those films which has scenes which made me squirm in my seat and just turn anyway. I won't say too much because it will be a spoiler...but for those who have seen it, the dog's scene in the car when they are trying to sleep. But whatever turns you on, really. I think perhaps the film that personally grossed me out the most was "Van Wilder: Party Liasion" and the scene that grossed me out the most in that film also involved a god. What is it about animals that makes film makers want to make gross scenes about them? Again, this is just me. There are millions of people out there who have different taste than me. So I won't talk again about this issue in my review. Thats what "In My Own Words" is for.
These are my own words and here is my review.
"Due Date" has been hailed as the new "The Hangover". It does share many similarities...Todd Phillips is once again the director, it's about a male bonding experience and Zach Galifianakis once again appears as the "strange" guy. Yes, there is definately similarities, but it is not the next "The Hangover". Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) is on his way back from Atlanta to Los Angeles to be there for the birth of his first child. Unfortunately, due to a number of unfortunate events, all due to aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay ( Zach Galifianakis), he gets denied boarding on his flight, losing his wallet and having to find his own way across the country back to his wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan). With a travelling partner like Ethan, this is going to be no easy journey.
Being as "Due Date" does have so many similarities to "The Hangover", one may be forgiven for believing that this is the sequel. It also takes in elements from Todd Phillips other films such as "Old School" and "Road Trip". Therefore, the making of this film would have almost been a walk in the park for Phillips', it's not like it is something he hasn't done before. So all up, he does direct the film well. He certainly knows what he is doing when it comes to editing, camer angle choices and casting for this film. Even though "Due Date" isn't as funny as his last film, it would be unfair to say that the film isn't funny at all. There is some clever dialogue and clever verbal jokes, although they are not the most original jokes. For example, one can always see where a tin of someone's ashes in a comedy is going. The humour won't be to everyone's liking, but if you have enjoyed Phillips' in the past you will enjoy this film. The direction where the film is going is also very predictable, no guessing is really needed for the end. As they say though, it's the journey that matters, not the destination.
Zach Galifianakis plays exactly the same role as he played of Alan in "The Hangover", there is just more of him. Some of his antics are quite funny, but others are again just predictable and after time can just get quite annoying. There is no doubt that Galifianakis can play other roles as we did see him do in "Up In The Air", this just seems to be familiar and safe territory for him. He doesn't do the role badly at all, and he serves his purpose as the painful travel partner well. On the other hand, Robert Downey Jr. is great and so likable in this role. He plays the role of Peter with so much ease and is completely natural and believable. It is so easy to forget that he is acting and he keeps the film grounded. To Phillips' credit, he did definately pick the two perfect people for the lead roles for this film.
"Due Date" is predictable and not the funniest film you will see this year, but it does it's job. It gives the audience a few laughs and keeps them entertained. Perhaps next time Todd Phillips will step outside his comfort zone and bring something different to the table. With "The Hangover Part II" in production as we speak, we can't expect anything different from him for awhile. Can he make any films other than those male bonding road trip films which he is so good at at this point in his career? We are yet to see.
Director: Tom McGrath
Cast: Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill
In My Own Words
Animation seems to be going in a new direction as of late, hasn't it? There seems to be a lack of the cute and cuddley talking animals which we used to see in the animated films in the last few decades. Now it seems to be the bad guys who are the lead characters in these films who become the heroes and they are anything but cute and cuddley. Just look at Megamind, blue with a massive forehead, hardly what would seem a promoters dream. Cute characters are so much easier to make promotional toys for Happy Meals of and have more staying power. Will we remember these characters in 20 years time which we are seeing now in the same way we remember Little Foot, Simba or the Disney princesses? They're doing their job for the film makers at the moment though, so does it really matter whether we remember them in 20 years just as long as we remember them now? Not cute and cuddley, but the movies around the characters are still great fun and good entertainment!
Anybody know what the toys are in the McDonalds Happy Meals now? I suddenly have an urge to start collecting those awesome toys again.
These are my own words and here is my review.
It is a scenario which we see in numerous films, the underdog falls in love with the beautiful woman, proves himself as the hero but it doesn't matter because she falls in love with who he is underneath. We have seen this a lot, but not so much in animated films. It is not often we see the ugly animated character get the gorgeous girl, but you do in "Megamind"! The film does fit into the animation trend as of late of the bad guy becoming the good guy, but gives it the twist with this unsung hero getting the girl, which will do good things for peoples self esteem. Even if you are blue with a massive forehead and alien looking you can still get the one you love by being yourself! Megamind (voiced by Will Ferrell) has never been good at anything besides being bad. The means of his existence is to fight with Metro Man (Brad Pitt), but when he actually defeats Metro Man, he is completely confused by his new found dominance and lost for what to do next. He decides to create a new super hero for the town, Titan (Jonah Hill) so he will have someone to fight. One thing he didn't count on was failing in love with Titan's crush, news reporter Roxanne Ritchie (Tina Fey) and bringing out more bad in Titan than Megamind ever had.
"Megamind" is a great, fun family film to watch. It is not just a film for children as their are many themes there for adults as well, such as the romance theme which children will of course be unable to relate to. The graphics are amazing in the film and it is one film which is worth seeing in 3D while it is in the cinemas. It is well written and has a lot of great laughs throughout. However, the ending won't be a surprise to anyone and will be something most people will see coming from the very beginning.
"Megamind" has some big names which have contributed their vocal talents to the film. The one thing that is obvious with this is that with each of the cast members, they do not seem to go the extra mile with their characters voices. Each of them, bar perhaps Will Ferrell , plays the type of character they would normally play in a film which they would physically appear in and it is easy to pick who's voice is which. For example, Brad Pitt plays the good looking hero, Tina Fey plays the businesswoman who has too little time for her personal life and Jonah Hill plays the overweight nerd who can't be taken seriouslyh. Will Ferrell does definately do a good job at providing the voice of Megamind and, unlike the others, you can often forget that it is Ferrell's voice you are hearing.
If you are taking your children to see "Megamind", you will probably find that it is more a boys movie than a girls movie. Children aside, it is a film that all ages will enjoy. The graphics are great to watch and the script is witty and funny. Overall, besides the romance, it isn't the most original film to come out in the last few years and it is quite predictable, but definately good for a laugh.
Friday, December 17, 2010
The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader
Director: Michael Apted
Cast: Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Ben Barnes, Gary Sweet
In My Own Words
Personally, I think this series of The Chronicles of Narnia has worn itself out. I'm not going to harp on about how "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" is the core of the chronicles and definately the most popular of the books.2008's "Prince Caspian" was definately anything but a flop and although not as successful as "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", still highly acclaimed and very entertaining. However, with "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader", the series just seems worn out and tired. The magic of Narnia doesn't hold up in the third film. Maybe it is because Peter and Susan aren't part of this journey, or maybe because the creatures in this film aren't quite as cute and fluffy as in the other films. When does a series of film wear out? Obviously, other book series have been made into films and have caught the public's attention from the first to the last book such as Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter. Maybe it does come back to the fact that with The Chronicles of Narnia, "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" is far more popular and wider read than the other books. Have "Prince Caspian" and "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" just been sequels to the first film? I doubt that I would be asking this question and I would'nt have thought that the series has tired out if I actually enjoyed the film more.
These are my own words and here is my review.
"The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" is the third film in the latest adaptation of C.S. Lewis' novels. It is third in sequence and third in order of worthy acclaim. This film seems confused, it doesn't know whether it is a movie for adults and children alike, or a childrens film. Some of it can seem like a film for everyone, but it can seem extremely simple and a little too light. Almost like it is was made especially for children under 10. If it was made to be a film primarily for young children, this would be fine and it would be critiqued as a childrens film, but it is not so will be critiqued as a film for families and singles alike. .....which is unfortunate for the film makers. "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" sees Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) return to Narnia with their cousin, Eustace (Will Poulter). They once again meet up with Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes) as they try to defeat the new evil in Narnia.
"The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" is a beautiful film visually to watch. The visual effects are very impressive and the fantasy segments are highly realistic. The special effects are perhaps the best thing about the film. However, while watching the film you cannot help but think that you are watching a cross between "Lord Of The Rings" and "Pirates Of The Caribbean". As impressive as the visuals are, it feels as if it has been seen before. The Narnia chronicles, with this film, just seem to have outdone they stay this time around. It doesn't feel suspenseful at all and can seem to drag throughout the film. The simplicity of the film seems out of place at this stage of the series. Yes, it is based on the book and the film makers are staying true to the book so they can't be blamed too much, but with the right script, editing and acting, this could have been avoided.
Simply, the acting isn't to write home about in this film. Ben Barnes does not give a bad performance in his second film as the courageous Prince Caspian. It is not an Oscar winning performance, but brings all the can be bought into the role as a fantasy prince. Skandar Keynes is also not altogether bad as Edmund and is probably the best out of the younger actors in his role. Georgie Henley's performance seems forced and completely lacks emotion. In the earlier Narnia films, she was adorable as youngest Lucy, but it seems as if it may have been her childish cutesiness which made her successful in the role previously. Henley is in that awkward stage of being between the child and adult actor and it is actually painful to watch. Will Poulter's Eustace is supposed to seem completely painful, but his performance is one which you would expect to see on stage in school theatre. It is harsh, but his acting in the film is completely amatuer and more stage acting than film acting. Of course, this cannot just be blamed on the actors, but also on Michael Apted's direction. It is so obvious that there was a change of director from the first two films to this film and Apted is definately not a bad director, but maybe he is just not accustomed to how he should be directing younger actors in a fantasy film. However, its not a talent which one would normally have.
It is hard for a film which is part of a series of films to be reviewed as a stand alone film. It is harder to do so when as a stand alone film it fails more than as a film in a series. "The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader" seems like a mess on screen and would definately not be successful if it weren't part of "The Chronicles Of Narnia". As it is part of the chronicles, it will still be successful at the box office as no one can resist the charms of C.S. Lewis.