Thursday, July 26, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Snow White and the Huntsman
Year: 2012
Director: Rupert Sanders
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth

Before I begin my review…
                Well, I guess right now in this world Snow White and the Huntsman is known to a lot of people as the movie where Kristen Stewart cheated on her boyfriend, Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson with her married director, Rupert Sanders. This is all pretty new news and a major subject of discussion in all the celebrity gossip magazines and websites at this present point in time.

                Let’s face it, Movie Critical is not a celebrity gossip site and I am not going to take this opportunity to make it into one. Personally, I don’t really care to write a huge article on who said what and who did who in this instance. I’ve pretty much summed up in the above paragraph the gist of what has happened so I am not really going to go into the whole debacle much more than that.

                The only thing that I am really pondering in this whole circus is, what will this do to Kristen Stewart’s career?

                Will it make her more popular (if that is at all possible as she is the highest paid female actress around at the moment) and turn her image into that of a sex symbol? Or will her image be tarnished by her bad girl ways?

                It’s hard to tell, scandals work in mysterious ways for stars. They can make your star rise or fall. I guess only time will tell. When Breaking Dawn : Part 2 is released in November, will we look at Edward and Bella differently knowing what happened in real life? Chances are probably not, but I believe there are some not very happy Twilight fans out there as a result.

                Snow White is a story that has been told many times over, but never the same as Snow White and the Huntsman.

                Snow White and the Huntsman is the second Snow White film to be released in 2012 as Mirror Mirror starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins was released earlier this year, but is completely different from its processor.  It is much darker and more of an action/adventure fantasy film than a fairy tale. The film itself is interesting to watch with some spectacular images, but lacks in the area of script and story.

                Like all Snow White stories, young princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart) has been banished to the tower by her evil stepmother, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) who has taken the post of Queen upon the death of her father. When Ravenna finds out that Snow White is now the fairest of them all, she sets out to kill her. Instead, Snow White escapes to the forest and the Queen sends in The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her back to her. However, the Huntsman and Snow White join forces to destroy the evil Queen and win Snow White back her rightful throne.

                Snow White and the Huntsman is visually a very good film. The cinematography combined with visual effects make what you see on the screen extremely impressive. The battle scenes are well choreographed and intense. The visual effects are quite extraordinary, especially that of Ravenna’s mirror. The castle, town and forest also serve as spectacular backdrops to the story.

                However, the script lacks and the story suffers. This is a different version of Snow White than we are used to so the story needs to be entrancing and well defined. However, the script does not support the story and isn’t intense enough to keep the film interesting for its entirety.  Although the action sequences are great, they sometimes do slow the movie down and there are scenes where it feels like nothing happens which are just downright boring.

                Kristen Stewart is not the most convincing Snow White you will see. She plays awkward and unsure well, but is not as endearing and “the fairest one of all” as Snow White is supposed to be. However, she does have two scenes, one in a white dress and her first battle scene, in which she shows that she may well have it in her to be more versatile than she has been in her films recently.

                Charlize Theron is indeed the star of the film. She plays interesting evil so well and is actually very scary. She makes the film not really suitable for the typical children audience of a Snow White film. Chris Hemsworth is not at all bad. He is now part of the league of action stars at the moment so he is a good fit for the role of the Huntsman. However, he does have some great emotional scenes as well which add to his successful performance. On the other hand though, he and Stewart really have no on screen chemistry, romantic or platonic.

                It’s hard not to judge Snow White and the Huntsman as a “Snow White” film and not compare it to other films of its kind that have been and gone. Yet even if you don’t, its pro’s and con’s measure evenly with each other.

Fox News
The Internet Movie Datebase
Celeb Dirty Laundry

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Rises
Year: 2012
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast:  Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman

Before I begin my review….
                Every so often I see a movie that reminds me and completely sums up why I love movies and writing about them so much. I am so happy to say that The Dark Knight Rises is one of those rare movies.

                I was completely speechless coming out of the cinema after this film. I just didn’t know where to start as to why this was such a brilliant film. Not only is it a brilliant film, but I loved it. That may sound ridiculous, but I believe you can acknowledge a film as being brilliant without actually liking it that much if it isn’t the type of film you actually enjoy. I really loved this movie.

                So I got to thinking. Yes, Heath Ledger was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as The Joker in The Dark Knight, but could a ‘superhero’ film actually be Oscar nominated?

                I was absolutely LOVE to see Christopher Nolan nominated come awards season for his The Dark Knight Rises direction. His direction in this film is better than his direction in Inception, which he was nominated for.  Yet, ‘superhero’ movies(in commas because it isn’t your typical superhero film we are talking about here, yet Batman is classified as a superhero) and often blockbuster films are snubbed by the academy. Not all blockbusters are exempted from nominations (for example, Avatar), but it is a rarity to see one right up there.

 I believe Nolan is completely deserving of a nomination here. What I love about what he has done with the last three Batman movies is that he took the films and put his personal directing stamp on each one of them. They weren’t like the previous Batman films which were typical of the superhero genre. He took the films and while providing the big action sequences and special effects that are typical of the genre, he bought great a great story and script, some amazing performances and that Nolan atmosphere of drama and thriller that is prominent in his films.

I’ve always been a Nolan fan, but after The Dark Knight Rises, I have no problem in saying that he is one of the greatest film directors alive at the moment. It would be like a welcome Christmas present come the end of this year to see his name up there amongst those names muttered during awards season…superhero film or not.

There is no doubt, the last of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films is the greatest. He has saved the best for last.

Not only is The Dark Knight Rises the best of Nolan’s Batman films, it is a spectacular film in itself. You don’t have to be a massive Batman fan to enjoy it, but you do have to have some knowledge of the previous two films in order to completely understand what is happening. The direction, acting and screenplay are all impeccable and there is no denying that The Dark Knight Rises will be remembered and treasured for years to come…and there are not many films that will do that these days.

Eight years on from Harvey Dent’s death, Gotham City is in a state of peace and the one who was blamed for Dent’s death, Batman and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) have not been seen since. The peace is unsettled with whispers that underground terrorist leader, Bane (Tom Hardy) is on the rise and gathering forces. Batman once again shows his face, but soon finds that Bane is perhaps the most evil and deadly enemy he has faced.

Nolan is a genius. His direction and screenplay written with his brother, Jonathan Nolan in this film are superb. Scenes such as when Wayne and Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) are doing their doe-see-doe at the fundraiser, the police car and motorcycle chase, Bane’s airplane adventure and when Bane is approaching the football field are just brilliant. The cinematography, character placement and accompanying sounds completely enhance the feelings that are to be evoked in these scenes. Nolan takes advantage of every little feature of every scene to get the most out of every moment of the scene.  His use of flashbacks to help tell the story is also very good.

Although a little on the long side, every scene is worthwhile and contributes to the story. There is no stone left unturned and no questions left unanswered. Everything means something. The story also pulls on information from the past films to contribute to the film as a whole. This is perhaps the only downfall of the film. You do need to see the two previous Batman films to understand what is going on. There is quite a bit of assumed knowledge, but Nolan still tries to help by using flashbacks and providing beneficial scenes such as the opening scene with Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman).

The story is very well composed. There are the twists and turns you would expect to find in a thriller film and when you think you have it all figured out, you really don’t.

The acting in The Dark Knight Rises is simply perfect. There is not one bad performance in the film and nothing left to be desired. Christian Bale gives his best performance of the three films by far. There are no longer any comparisons to Michael Keaton to be made, Bale is Bruce Wayne. Everything about his performance is the man behind the mask. You see him change from the reclusive millionaire at the beginning to the high flying business man once again to the man with the tough exterior who is on a mission. And then of course, there his better than ever Batman.

It was reported that Anne Hathaway was worried about playing Catwoman and bring compared to Michelle Pfeiffer’s role in Batman Returns. She clearly had nothing to worry about. She fits the role perfecting acting wise and physically. Like the traditional Catwoman, you never know where her true loyalties lie.

Both Gary Oldman and Michael Caine also bring their best Batman film performances to the table. Oldman is always likable and you want to cheer for him as much as the masked hero. Caine just shines as Alfred. You have no problem believing that he truly loves Bruce Wayne like a son and he has some completely heartbreaking moments.

Tom Hardy. Terrifying. The man had massive shoes to fill as he is the main Batman villain to follow on from Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Hardy’s Bane is what nightmares are made off. The man behind the mask with the booming and intimidating voice is the villain who the audience believes could really beat Batman. It is always a great thing to give a performance where you can’t see their whole face, but tell just from his eyes exactly what is going on in that head of theirs.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt also has to be paid credit to. He is no longer the little boy who we saw in 3rd Rock From The Sun all those years ago and can swing it with some of the biggest names in acting on the planet. He is completely believable in every way as John Blake, the policeman turned detective that James Gordon takes under his wing.

The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect end to Nolan’s Batman films. The trilogy is rounded up in the best possible way and we have in fact witnessed a classic.

The Internet Movie Database
Sky News
Photo Credit- Wikipedia

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rising Star- Chloe Grace Moretz

Rising Star
Chloe Grace Moretz
If you can look at this picture of 15 year old Chloe Grace Moretz and not recognize her at all, you must have been living under a rock for the past few years….or you just haven’t been to the cinema for years.

To say that Moretz is a Rising Star may not be the most accurate term, as since making her debut in the hit television show The Guardian in 2004, she has appeared in over 25 films and several television series. At such a young age, she has secured herself a large following based on her versatility and brave choice of roles. Moretz has made the transition from child actor to the realm of movie adolescence and there is no doubt that this amazing girl has a very bright future ahead of her.

Chloe Grace Moretz was born on the 10th of February 1997 in Atlanta, Georgia. Her older brother, Trevor, was accepted into the Professional  Performing Arts High School in New York City when she was only four years old and this is what sparked her passion.

Upon moving to Los Angeles in 2003, Moretz landed her first notable film role in 2005’s remake of The Amityville Horror as Chelsea Lutz. She impressed everyone with her chilling, yet completely innocent portrayal of the youngest child in the terrorized Lutz family.

From then on in Moretz has been constantly working in Hollywood. She appeared in TV shows such as My Name Is Earl, Desperate Housewives and Dirty Sexy Money and was the voice of Darby in Disney’s My Friends Tigger and Pooh. Some of her earlier movie roles also included Big Momma’s House 2, Room 6, The Eye, (500) Days Of Summer and was the voice of Young Penny in Bolt.

However, Moretz made her presence known and made a huge impact with her roles as Hit- Girl in Kick Ass. She shocked audiences with the things that came out of her mouth while in character and Hit-Girl’s choice of combat and defence. Moretz assured the public after this role that she was nothing like her character and never uses the type of colourful language she used in the film in everyday life.

Her next big role was as child vampire, Abby in 2010’s Let Me In and she took on a slightly less horror-related role in The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid in the same year.

Showing her versatility as an actress, she appeared in the Oscar nominated film, Hugo and received wide critical acclaim for her sweet and heartfelt performance.

Moretz has a number of films in production at this very moment, which shows just how in demand the young actress is right now. Perhaps her most highly anticipated role is that of the title role in the remake of Carrie. There is already talk of seeing her in the very popular prom scene which is often talked about when referring to the original. Carrie is due to be released in March 2013.

She is also rumoured to be reprising her role as Hit- Girl in Kick Ass 2.

Although Moretz is now gracing the pages of fashion magazines such as Vogue and W and becoming known for her fashion at movie premieres, she assures people that she is still just a typical teenage girl who loves being with her family and friends.

Moretz herself may believe that she is just a typical teenage girl, but we believe that this girl will be around for a long time yet and will make the move from child to adult movie star with complete and utter ease and grace. We look forward to reviewing more of her films in years to come!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rock Of Ages (2012)

Rock Of Ages
Year:  2012
Director: Adam Shankman
Cast: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand, Malin Akerman, Paul Giamatti

Before I begin my review….
                Every time I review a musical (which I admit, isn’t too often these days), I always find it harder to do so than your typical film.

                As I left the cinema after watching Rock Of Ages, I was trying to figure out why it is. I’ve came to the conclusion that it is because you have to be careful that you are critiquing the movie and not the musical. So you can’t really say how good the story is in a movie review because the story is the product of the stage musical, not the movie. You also can’t criticize the characters because the characters are also a product of the musical. You can of course change bits and pieces of the stage play to suit the big screen and that’s really what you have to do because a stage musical and movie musical are two different ball games. Stage musicals involve a lot more “over-the-top” performances so people in the nose bleed section can see the facial and bodily expressions. If you are as over-the-top in the movie, you get bashed by the critics for over-acting.

                Yet, you really can’t change too much because fans of the musical feel ripped off when something they enjoy or a character they like is changed for the big screen. It’s much like adapting a movie from a book. Fans of the original like things to remain as close as possible, which is fair enough really. Although change can be good to make things work as opposed to making things flop.

                Most of that is beside the point of what I was going to say. Reviewers such as myself have to be careful to just review the film musical and not the stage musical at the same time. I’m  not a theatre reviewer, yet that maybe an idea. Who doesn’t love a good musical?

                That was a rhetorical question.

                It’s the film to excite every rock n’ roll fan and 80’s enthusiast.  Glam rock arrives to the big screen in spectacular fashion with Rock Of Ages.

                Based on the Broadway musical which debuted in 2009, Rock Of Ages is a whole lot of fun with a great soundtrack and has been very well adapted for the screen. Rock music lovers will be in heaven hearing all their glam rock favourites sung by actors they would have never thought would be in a million years.                      

                It is 1987 and rock n’ roll is alive and well on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard at The Bourbon Room. It is the place dreams are made of for Sherrie (Julianne Hough) and Drew (Diego Boneta), two hopefuls searching for fame and love. However, it may not be for much longer with their financial difficulties and threats from the mayor’s wife, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones) to bring it down. Lead singer of Arsenal, the infamous Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) may just be the one to save The Bourbon Room.

                First and foremost, Rock Of Ages is just plain fun. The great thing about this musical is that you don’t need to have seen the stage musical or be a fan of it to know the music and be toe tapping. The music is widely known in society and is very well adapted for the movie. Even if you are not a rock music fan, there is still a lot of fun to be had. Rock music fans will enjoy it that little bit more though.

                The film has been very well adapted to the big screen from the stage. There are segments in the film that could not have been achieved on stage as well which enhance the characters stories, such as that of Dennis (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny’s (Russell Brand) flashbacks. The set’s used also take advantage of the bigger performance space to bring more to the film than is possible on stage, such as Stacee Jaxx’s massive dressing room and the feeling of actually being in The Bourbon Room with its stage, bar and dance floor.

                The direction of Adam Shankman is to be commended. From the beginning when you see the beginning credits start and “Paradise City” playing in the background, you feel like you are about to witness an extravaganza and it makes you eager for the movie to get started.

                In saying that, the film doesn’t really have a feeling of amazing achievement of the characters through it when they are breaking through in their careers. The ending isn’t really as inspiring as you would like, but it isn’t by any means bad. It just feels as though final number may have had a bit more to give.

                The two lead actors in Rock Of Ages, Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta are good choices for their roles. However, it is clear that Hough’s background is more in singing and dancing than in acting. She can be a tad boring at times, and isn’t really the type of girl you would expect to be obsessed with rock n’ roll music. There is no denying she has a good voice, but seems a bit out of place in The Bourbon Room. However, if this is the way Sherrie is supposed to be on stage, then she should be that way in the film as well.

                Tom Cruise completely steals the show as Stacee Jaxx. He is completely believable as the 80’s rock sex symbol and it would not surprise you if someone told you that he really was a rock star in the 1980’s. He looks the part and his mannerisms, such as his walk, are perfect.

                Catherine Zeta-Jones also does well. She is very funny as the mayor’s wife and it is great to see her on the big screen again.

                Alec Baldwin is very, very funny in his role. It’s a very different role for him, but he is extremely likable and his chemistry with Russell Brand is great. Brand, as always, delivers some stellar lines throughout the film.

                There are not enough film musical’s going around these days, and Rock Of Ages is the film musical for those who are not usually fans of musicals.

The Internet Movie DataBase
El Brooklyn Taco