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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sunshine

How would we cope under the most extreme circumstances imaginable? That is the question posed by Danny Boyle's latest offering, and the answer seems to be that anybody can be pushed over the edge, it is just a question of what and how much it takes.

Danny Boyle seems unable to settle on a genre specialty, but it also seems that whatever he turns his hand to he can make work (with the exception of romantic comedy - A Life Less Ordinary anyone?). In his latest, the sun is dying, and we join the 2nd attempt to try and restart the star by delivering a nuclear bomb to kick-start it. Having been alone in space for the past 16 months, the eight-man crew is approaching its destination, but nerves are starting to fray. Then they pick up a signal rom the ship that made the first, unsuccessful, attempt. Inevitably they go and investigate, and problems ensue. When the inevitable disaster occurs, jeopardising the mission, we begin to see how people deal with extreme circumstances, and how their sanity is affected, in different ways. Elements are recognisable from Alien, Solaris and Event Horizon, and the film certainly benefits from all of those influences. The claustrophobia, the understated technology, the dark corridors, the unseen menace, all recognisable but effectively used.

This is not a typical science fiction per se. There are no aliens, no space battles, and no ultra-advanced technology on show. Instead Boyle chooses a more philosophical tangent, leading to questions of exactly what defines humanity, and the value of a single life weighed against the future of mankind.

The casting is excellent, with many recognisable but no particularly famous faces, the biggest names being Batman Begins' Cillian Murphy and Fantastic Four's Chris Evans. This lack of star names, combined with a cast of only the eight crew somehow makes the loneliness and the feeling of being a huge distance from home with a long way to go seem even more real. We really begin to feel with the crew as they try to hold it together long enough to complete their vital mission. Cillian Murphy in particular is a piece of inspired casting, as in many of his roles he has always appeared on the very brink of insanity anyway, so he has the close-to-crazy act down to a tee.

The CGI of the sun is extremely impressive, particularly considering the relatively low budget of the film, and the simple but intense story has viewers on the edge of the seat virtually from first act to last. The suspense is built gradually but extremely effectively, to the extent where you can feel your sanity heading the way of the astronauts' as the conclusion approaches with increasing speed.

Overall a very effective study in what a tenuous thing sanity is when faced with huge odds and a great threat. Thrilling, gripping and thought-provoking, and another genre nailed by Boyle - now if only he could crack that pesky rom-com!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Layer Cake


I went into Layer Cake with no expectations. I didn't like the whole cake idea, it was okay to a certain extent I guess. I did however enjoy Lock Stock and Snatch. Layer Cake is a different kind of animal.
Whilst Lock Stock and Snatch were more comedy based, Layer Cake has this more serious approach, no names flashing on the screen, identifying any of the characters, so you have to pay extra special attention!
There are several flashback/sub plots which don't particularly help as they can confuse you if you're not paying attention. There were many characters introduced to you in a short space of time and then suddenly going off at a tangent involving some of the 'slightly minor lead' characters.

You can see the influences of other directors in Matthew Vaughn's end product. The direction style is good and the montage is solid.



Daniel Craig gives a good solid performance. His narrative does help place him well in the movie. His narrative in the beginning is definitely something that draws you in. The rest of the performances are pretty good. Tamer Hassan has a minor role. After seeing the major role he had in The Football Factory, he can act, he should have possibly had a larger character. His character does not shine across as that 'demented' as that in The Football Factory. Sienna Miller was underused also, which was a shame.


Although there are some problems with the story, Matthew Vaughn has made a respectable movie. This being his debut, he has nothing to be ashamed of. As long as he works on the clarity of the plot more, he will have no problems securing full audiences. Layer Cake gives a good reputation to British films instead of the some rubbish released over the last few years.

I enjoyed the ending, it was good, I'm not going to say anything about it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Despicable Me :D



First of all, I would like to thank Liza for recommending this to me for reviewing, her kids love this movie, so do I.
Since I reviewed Toy Story 3, it's rather knee-jerk to compare Despicable Me to the animation giant. But you shouldn't. Despicable Me doesn't have the heavy, dark tones of the final Toy Story and, therefore, is probably better suited to smaller children. As with the best family films, though, adults will love this story as much - if not more - than their little ones.
It's so fluffaaay I'm going to die :-D
Minions :)

And here's why. It is incredibly rare to see a single dad portrayed in such a positive light. While Gru has an admittedly "bad" vocation, there are unbelievably sweet moments between him and the three children, probably aided by the juxtaposition of tiny girls to a large, "bad" guy.

The nepotistic supporting cast from Saturday Night Live (even Jack McBrayer works for Tina Fey) is fantastic. One pleasant surprise was from Gru's minions: they did not steal the show. Not that they should've- the little yellow guys were funny and entertaining, but one would expect from the previews they would ultimately be the best part of the film... and I'm happy to report that wasn't true.

Despicable Me is LOL funny throughout, warm, goofy, and will not disappoint. I'd say you're a despicable parent if you don't take your kids to see it immediately.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

American Psycho





'American Psycho' is NOT a slasher movie. It is a depiction, a fantasy if you will, of the life of modern man and his place in society.

Nothing is enough. Money, sex, social stature, there is always someone else who has more and everyone else expect from you to try harder for even more.

This movie is about eliminating competition the easy way. By killing your opponents. By eating your sexual partners. By destroying everyone around you.

'American Psycho' retains the balance between this psychotic state, a chilling thriller and a very funny movie.

The scenes that show Patrick playing music for his guests are absolutely hilarious, as he comments very seriously on records by artists such as Whitney Houston, Phil Collins and Huey Lewis & the News. The funny thing is that he chooses the most commercial or sold out records of these artists, to explain how much better they are compared to their previous, more artistic work. Another message of the state of the receivers of commercial art.

You can analyze 'American Psycho' for hours. It can be perceived both as a deep and a fun movie. Even if you don't like the story, you will love Christian Bale's excellent performance.

Enjoy.

10/10   ..... "I have to return some videotapes" <3 Drowsy

Friday, March 18, 2011

Toy Story 3


As a 20+ year old, i have always enjoyed Pixar's movies. I cannot label them as cartoons as there is nothing cartoonish about their stories; they have heart, meaning, feel-goodness with the right touch of class & humor. The formula is A1 yet without feeling overused.

Toy Story 3 is once again a hit. We are treated to our favorite familiar characters and reminded again why we like them so. They are heroes who share the same values of team spirit, bonding and camaraderie. No one gets left behind. The technical aspects are again flawless. 


This is one series of sequels i do not mind seeing for Toy Story 4, 5, 6...this is coming from someone who adamantly refused to watch Toy Story 1 & 2 and UP..up and until last week i forced myself to..and i was so blown away by all three i have never been gladder to be proved wrong.

Watch this, and Pixar, don't stop making movies for us.





Fight Club



I am, unfortunately, not one of the faithful Chuck Palahniuk readers who had read the book BEFORE they saw the movie. I, however, couldn't wait to read the book after seeing this film. I've read the book 5 times since and seen the movie more times than I can remember.

Simply put, this movie changed my life. Not just on a personal level (on which I will not comment here except to say I'm now a major Palahniuk fan) but also as a movie-watcher. I view movies differently after seeing this movie, because it broke down doors.


This movie is literally the first time I ever came upon something that, at first sight seemed incredibly stylish, sophisticated and entertaining. The plot lured you in before turning you upside down, the acting was nothing short of perfect (has there ever been a more memorable character than Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden?), the music, the screenplay (based on what is now my all-time favorite book), the lighting, the pacing, the everything! Virtually everything about this movie took my by surprise, save for one man.

David Fincher, director, was probably the only reason I 

went to see this movie in the first place. His work on 'Seven' and 'The Game' had me excited to see what he would do next, but I came to this movie expecting a stylish flick that offered a good plot and hopefully some good acting but what I got was so much, much more.

Honestly, how many times have you seen a movie that, with every viewing, gets even more complicated yet so simple that you can't help but laugh. Every time I watch this movie I notice something new about it, such is the depth of what is on the screen. Then there's the tiny issue of the story of Fight Club, penned by Chuck Palahniuk (who has one of the most fertile imaginations around. Don't believe me? Read 'Survivor' and weep!) the story is nothing short of incredible, a pure shock-value social commentary on the state of the world at the end of the century. You'll cry, you'll laugh, you'll do all the clich├ęs but most importantly you'll identify with every single thing on the screen.

This movie rates as one of my all-time favorite movies and, simply put, if you haven't seen it yet then quit wasting your time OnLine and get to the nearest videostore! 

The Shawshank Redemption






I have never seen such an amazing film since I saw The Shawshank Redemption. Shawshank encompasses friendships, hardships, hopes, and dreams. And what is so great about the movie is that it moves you, it gives you hope. Even though the circumstances between the characters and the viewers are quite different, you don't feel that far removed from what the characters are going through.


It is a simple film, yet it has an everlasting message. Frank Darabont didn't need to put any kind of outlandish special effects to get us to love this film, the narration and the acting does that for him. Why this movie didn't win all seven Oscars is beyond me, but don't let that sway you to not see this film, let its ranking on the IMDb's top 250 list sway you, let your friends recommendation about the movie sway you.


Set aside a little over two hours tonight and rent this movie. You will finally understand what everyone is talking about and you will understand why this is my all time favorite movie.