Monday, March 29, 2010
Dir: Jim Field Smith
Kirk (Jay Baruchel) works in airport security. Molly (Alice Eve) is your token hot chick who also happens to be a fully qualified lawyer but chooses to instead work as an event organiser, you know just a typical gal! The two meet when Molly accidentally leaves her iPhone (not so subtle product placement) in a tray at a security check point, of course Kirk finds said phone when Molly's oh so snarky bestie (Krysten Ritter playing her typical supporting best friend role - someone give this girl a lead already!) calls to find out who has it. After a rendezvous to give the phone back Kirk and Molly begin dating as everyone around them wonders - why the hell is a 10 (Molly) slumming it with a 5 (Kirk)? In the background we also have the story of Kirk's ex-girlfriend Marnie, played wonderfully (and annoyingly) by Lindsay Sloane. He's been trying to win her back for two years, so how will his new relationship with Molly change things? The ultimate question posed here though is - can a relationship between Beauty and the Beast really last?
Well, in the world of Hollywood of course it can - you don't need the smarts of a lawyer like Molly to realise when you see this film it's going to be happily ever after for all involved. The trouble occurs when Kirk discovers Molly started dating him after a bad break up with a fellow stud muffin - and surely a relationship with a fugly, or in this case wimpy, guy means there's no chance of getting hurt right - ahh yeah. That's how paper thin this plot and screenplay are, it's like weak tea - you'll drink it if someone serves it to you, but you really won't enjoy it.
I've been a big fan of Baruchel for a while, I loved him as the... well the same sort of character he plays in this film, the wimpy freshman in Judd Apatow's criminally short series Undeclared. I even watched I'm Reed Fish just to see his performance, and his bit parts in various Hollywood comedies of late. Basically he plays this role perfectly, because perhaps he IS this character, he nails the bumbly, nervous and cute geek and so I really had no problem with him in this film. The same can be said for Alice Eve who is nothing short of delightful to watch on screen and who caught my eye in 2006's Starter for 10 with James McAvoy. Baruchel and Eve have a great chemistry and it's fun to watch them interact on screen, but ultimately with a screenplay that is as thin as a well worn pair of underwear their charm only gets this film so far.
There's definitely a hint of Apatow wannabe here, the 4 friends (who really wouldn't be friends in real life at all), the "witty" or "snappy" dialogue that attempts to be crude but comes off lame - 'Go shit in your hand' being a fine example. Perhaps delivered by Apatow favourite Seth Rogen this would have garnered a few laughs, here it seems too unsophisticated for what is essentially a sweet story. Writers Sean Anders and John Morris continue to collaborate after 2008's Sex Drive which again had its moments but was ultimately lacking. Up next for the duo is 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine which I'm looking forward to despite some mixed reviews from the States.
Those going into She's Out of My League wanting a romance will find a sweet story doused in lame attempts to be funny and shock the audience. Yes the shaving scene is amusing, but it's not going down in history like that famous There's Something about Mary scene. Those wanting an Apatow, boys only, frat type comedy may find a little more here for them, but it ultimately tries to be two things (super sweet and super crude) at once and in doing so fails. There are some enjoyable moments and solid performances particularly from Kirk's heftier friend Devon (the rather amusing Nate Torrence) who compares most situations to a Disney movie - it's hard not to crack a smile when he calls Molly Princess Jasmine in a hushed yet excited breath.
Worth checking out on DVD but save your $17 in my opinion.
2.5 / 5
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Dir: Lisa Azuelos
Saw at ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE French Film Festival 2010
LOL (Laughing Out Loud) is a film about the relationship between a mother and daughter. Lola (Lol) heads back to school after the summer break only to discover her boyfriend has cheated on her. Lola's mother, Anne, is secretly seeing her ex husband again. As each one moves on from their past relationship and pursues someone new their own relationship will be put to the test as a daughter discovers and a mother remembers who she really is.
This is such a fun film, I was very aware that I was sitting in the cinema grinning like a right old fool the whole way through. It was high on my priority list for the French Film Festival and I'm so happy I found the time to catch up with it, now the only problem will be tracking down a copy of the DVD so I can watch it again!
While the main focus of this film is the daughter, Lola, and her friendships and relationships, there is enough of the adult relationships to enjoy for say, an older crowd. Towards the end of last year The French Kissers graced our screens, and LOL (Laughing Out Loud) would make a great companion film. Both deal with typical teenage problems but in a light hearted manner. I wasn't expecting LOL to be so hilarious and yet touching at the same time. The one distinction I'd make between the two films is that LOL definitely comes out as more of a girls film, whereas The French Kissers could easily be a French equivalent of American Pie.
The acting is all of a high standard, I was quite impressed with the teenage cast - and probably more impressed with the film's hair stylist - they are some trendy looking teenagers let me tell you! The world created here is a little bit too pretty but entirely charming and inviting. This is definitely worth seeking out if/when it gets a general release or a DVD release.
4 / 5
Of course I couldn't review this film without discussing the very sad news that Hollywood has sunk its greedy, fat claws into the story for a remake. I generally have an issue with Hollywood remakes but even more so when you cast the likes of Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore. Instantly I am sad that a large audience is going to see this story with those two Muppets in the leads. *Sigh* Oh well, I'll remember the original fondly and laugh at the remake (and not in a good way).
Dir: Allen Coulter
I wasn't going to write a review for this film, it was about two Sundays ago that I went to see it, having heard about the controversial ending, having seen the mediocre reviews, I thought I should at least see it and decide for myself. After walking out of the cinema I wasn't filled with the 'how dare they' semi rage I had read about, it was just lazy filmmaking, lazy script writing that lead to that ending, and to a completely mediocre film for that matter. Remember Me is an entirely forgettable film - and I'm not trying to be clever, playing along with the dreadful film title - which in the context of the film is for lack of a better word, retarded.
Latest Hollywood "Oh my God I LOVE him, he's so HOT!" heartthrob Robert Pattinson plays sultry, I'm so deep I write in a leather journal, Tyler Hawkins, while "Australia's own" Emilie de Ravin plays traumatised from a young age so in case I die during dinner I want to eat my dessert first, Ally Craig. Tyler gets into fisticuffs as some way of dealing with his brother's suicide, the cop who hauls him in is Ally's dad, now overprotective of his daughter since his wife's murder (to which Ally was a witness). As a revenge bet Tyler's "zany" friend Aidan convinces him to ask Ally out, and then dump her sorry ass and...uh... yeah then that'll show her dad what a dick he is... apparently. But of course this doesn't go exactly according to plan, as Tyler and Ally fall in lurve.
As a nice little side story Tyler's dad (Pierce Brosnan) is a high flying dick who doesn't have time for his daughter, the too smart for her age and doesn't fit in Caroline (Ruby Jerins). What it all amounts to is a group of characters with so many issues and problems it's depressing to watch. A water fight by the sink is thrown in for larks, but ultimately there's no uplifting tone despite the efforts of the filmmaker with his "shock ending". Shock as in, Uh - that's it? THAT'S how you're going to end it all? Burton had a better ending with Alice in Wonderland and THAT ending was the biggest steaming pile of... okay no need to get carried away.
Without giving away the "twist" ending I think it's fair to say Coulter expected the ending to be inspirational, the whole 'appreciate life and live it to its fullest' but he relies heavily on the emotional residue inside most of us concerning a certain world event - okay if you haven't seen it and don't want to know the event skip this sentence: The event is September 11, 2001 - yep he uses the World Trade Centers to kill off one of his main characters... like I said, lazy.
Throughout the film we are subjected continually to cliches and a supersized meal of corn, nothing is believable and even if a film and its characters don't have to be believable, they should at least be likeable.
Some will like this film, they'll think it's sweet and that's fine, I just don't take sugar in my cup of tea! What scares me after seeing this film is that writer Will Fetters has 'A Star is born' in 'Under development' on IMDb... Cripes! Ruined before I even get to see it!
2 / 5
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Dir: Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey
I vaguely remember discussing the book of Kells at high school, but somewhere between the Dead Sea scrolls and maybe not paying attention I can't for the life of me remember what the book was or why it was so important. After having watched this film I can't say I'm more informed on the matter, so to Wikipedia I go!
"The Book of Kells, sometimes known as the Book of Columba is an illuminated manuscript in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was transcribed by Celtic monks ca. 800. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure." Wikipedia
Okay, so not really the base material you'd think would make a great kids' film right? I suppose I should stop myself there and state that animated films are not just for kids, but I feel safe in saying that they are the intended audience (at least for non-Pixar animated films). Unless you're a movie buff, a fan of animation or the parent of a young child chances are the average adult will not see a single animated film during the year, which is a shame because The Secret of Kells is an animated film more suited to adults than children.
First the negatives. The pacing is a bit off, it takes a while to warm to the story and the characters but when it gets going it's well worth the wait. The story itself is interesting, but ultimately lacking. The film really does soar on the strength of the animation, as for a large proportion of the run time I was asking myself What is going on!? I fear young children taken to see this, or plonked down in front of the TV to watch might grow restless when it becomes apparent that there are no talking animals or catchy songs written by Randy Newman.
The biggest positive about this film, and the reason to see it, is of course the animation - the art design - and it really is art - can literally take your breath away. There's so much to take in with any single frame, and along with the colours the use of geometric shapes combines to create something truly special and memorable.
This film only bubbled to the surface after being nominated in the 2009 Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards. Up against Pixar favourite Up it really stood no chance, but when stood alongside other nominees The Princess and the frog, Coraline, Fantastic Mr Fox and Up it becomes clear how amazing the animated film cateogory was last year, and how The Secret of Kells is an amazing accomplishment in animation. In fact each nominee from last year's selection are amazing accomplishments in their own right, from the stop motion animation in Fantastic Mr Fox to the return to 2D animation in The Princess and the frog what a wonderful time in animation history.
But I digress. The Secret of Kells is not a film for everyone, and as I said before I'd be reluctant to expect a child to appreciate the beauty of this film, but despite not being fully engaged with the story I'd watch it again just for the visuals, in one word - spectacular.
4 / 5
Thursday, March 18, 2010
2009 (2010 Australian release)
Dir: Paul Weitz
A young boy named Darren Shan meets a mysterious man at a freak show who turns out to be a Vampire. After a series of events Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak and become a Vampire. (imdb)
Ok so a lot of people are saying, Oh here we go ANOTHER Vampire film. Well, you may as well say that about every film - Oh no, ANOTHER war film, ANOTHER romantic comedy, ANOTHER (fill in the blank). Sure those are film genres and Vampire films are a tad more specific, and of coure Vampires have been hot property of late following that franchise we shall not mention by name, BUT just because the film we shall not mention by name saturated the notion of vampire's in the general public's eye doesn't mean there isn't room for others to explore the well loved paranormal theme. That said, this film is a stinker.
It's a shame really, I was kind of intrigued after watching the trailer, John C Reilly delivered some funny lines and I thought hey, we might have a film that mirrors the comedy of the Buffy movie (yes I will admit to being amongst the minority that enjoy the film that came before the TV series). But alas, it was not to be. Reilly does have the fair share of snappy and humourous dialogue, but it's too few and far between to make this a funny film. There's still the common divide between vampires who kill and those "vegetarians" but the addition of some colourful "freaks" provides a few interesting scenes.
The film dragged on for me, I felt bored - something that's rare for me when watching a film. Overall there was an NQR feeling about this movie, and I sincerely hope there's not a sequel in the works.
Avoid like the plague.
2 / 5
Monday, March 15, 2010
2009 (2010 Australian release)
Dir: Jim Sheridan
Why couldn't you just stay dead! OR, why the hell did you have to remake a perfectly remarkable film? Oh, because people don't like to read subtitles and hear a foreign language? Oh that's right people like to see "celebrities" in the movies they pay their hard earned money to see. Never mind the fact that in this film Natalie Portman is as believable as a mother of two young girls as I would be playing Gandhi. Okay, so maybe that's a stretch but really, since when do you suddenly look like a mother just by wearing some oversized sweaters?
I should start with a quick rundown of the film's plot, but why waste time and the energy it takes to make my fingers connect with the keyboard when I can just link to my review of the film Brødre because Sheridan's Brothers is not merely a remake of this gem of a film, but an insulting rip off that replaces every ounce of passion and honesty with Hollywood bullshit.
I am aware that I am sitting quite alone on my little pedestal here, most people are praising or at least enjoying Brothers and I suppose if I hadn't seen the original I too would have been quite impressed with the story. But as I sat down to watch this film I felt like I was taking crazy pills, I wanted to yell out, is this a joke!? Surely they haven't ripped entire lines of dialogue! Surely they would remake it with some amount of originality, some sort of American spin apart from casting American actors? Surely! Well, apparently when Sheridan set out to remake Brødre he well and truly meant to remake it, word for word. Quite frankly I'm surprised screenwriter Susanne Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen were okay with how the remake transpired, though it's surprising how supportive some become when it comes to a Hollywood remake and the money that comes with it.
I will discuss one scene which did impress me, and many others I'm led to believe. It's the dinner table scene, the one where the incredibly talented and cutee-patootee Bailee Madison buts heads with her father Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire). There is fire in this scene, and it's raw, there's no heavy handed direction and thanks to a stellar performance from Bailee it's definitely a lump in the throat scene. I only wish this had been sustained throughout the film, and not contained to one or two scenes.
Overall the film is contrived with a mass produced American feel, and it lacks any real sense of reality. The reactions throughout the film of the three adults (Portman, Maguire and Gyllenhaal) to some extremely heavy issues are melodramatic soapie performances, there's no heart and there certainly wasn't any believability in my opinion. A few neat scenes do not save this film from being not just a waste of time but a slur on the brilliance of the original.
To those that have only seen Brothers take my advice and seek out Brødre, although I doubt it will have the same impact after having watched the ghastly Yankee version. To those that have seen the original there is no need to see this film, it doesn't deviate enough from the source material to warrant it worthy of your time.
1 / 5
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Dir: Claude Miller & Nathan Miller
Saw at ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE French Film Festival 2010
I stumbled upon this film purely because I wanted to see something at the festival on the first Friday night, and after a look at the short blurb thought this will do just fine.
I'm Glad My Mother Is Alive is a directorial collaboration between father and son Claude and Nathan Miller. Claude Miller is an established director, although I'm ashamed to admit I haven't seen any of his films (fear not, I shall remedy this pronto). What I knew before watching this film is that it's based on a true story the film's producer, Jacques Audiard, discovered. This continually comes to mind while watching the film and although I don't know how much of the events have been elaborated it was still quite grounding to think of the real Thomas and Julie out there.
Thomas (Vincent Rottiers) and his younger brother Patrick are put up for adoption when it becomes clear their young mother Julie (Sophie Cattani) can not look after them properly. Using a series of flashbacks we see her through the 5-year-old Thomas's eyes, from entertaining men in the small one room flat, to leaving the boys alone while she went off for a job, it's clear she's not exactly mother of the year material.
The 12-year-old Thomas is struggling with his adoptive parents, his younger brother doesn't remember their biological mother and has had his name changed to Francois. It's desperate times that prompt him to seek out Julie and he finds her pregnant and living with a new boyfriend. He pretends he has the wrong floor, leaves and doesn't think of her again until he's 20 years old.
Up until we see Thomas at 20 the film has a steady pace, it shifts between the two perspectives with ease and being equally captivating you're not longing for one more than the other. It's an intense family drama at this stage, looking at the psychological and emotional affects of adoption on young children, how it can vary from one sibling to the next; Thomas is acting out and is eventually sent off to boarding school, Francois is, I suppose, the Golden child whose memories don't stretch far back enough to know any better (or in this case, worse).
The film takes a sharp turn when at the age of 20 Thomas decides to again visit with his biological mother. This time her son, Tommy, is 4 years old and Thomas is instantly attracted to this family he never had. He begins to babysit his half brother, and eventually invents a job interview in the area to allow him to stay at Julie's apartment. And this is where it begins to get a little, shall we say strange. I don't want to go into too much detail because the emotional impact of the twist in this film is well worth the surprise, the entire audience literally gasped in unison!
It's a testimony to the masterful film making that we can see the trauma and emotional distress Thomas has experienced because of his mother, we're not just told this, we can actually feel it in every movement he makes on screen. There's a desperate longing from Thomas, a sort of desire to rewind and have the perfect family from the very beginning. There's also a hint at sexual attraction, which I'm quite happy to report is not pursued - it's not one of those films in case you were wondering!
Overall this is a beautiful film, it's quite a slow burner but is a film that allows you to really become invested in the characters. While the pacing speeds up towards the end, and really does begin to feel almost like it could be a separate film, it's incredibly rewarding after the journey we've just taken with Thomas. I took a moment after the lights came on and people began to file out of the cinema to think about this film and the feeling it left me with, I'm leaning towards saying something akin to melancholy. At only 90 minutes this is a rewarding film, just don't expect an upbeat family drama.
3.5 / 5
Dir: Paul Greengrass
n Green Zone the year is 2003 and Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his unit are stationed in Iraq in search of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. As each location yields no weapons Miller begins to grow suspicious of the intelligence provided to the United States and questions who the source ‘Magellan’ really is.
Meanwhile Defence Intelligence agent Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) is there to remind Miller it’s his job to execute the mission and not to raise questions. Miller teams up with Gordon Brown (Brendan Gleeson) the CIA bureau chief who is also out for the truth. Finally, foreign correspondent Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan) is reporting from the Green Zone, the common name for the International zone in central Baghdad, and was the reporter to gain access and break the story about the source Magellan through a connection with Poundstone.
Thanks to a tip off from an Iraqi citizen, Freddy, Miller discovers the location of a meeting where he spots General Al Rawi the “Jack of Clubs”. Al Rawi escapes but a few of his men do not, and soon a notebook is recovered which points to the location of Baathist safe houses in Baghdad. What follows is Miller’s journey to find General Al Rawi and uncover the truth about the manufactured US intelligence.
Full review appears over at Watch Out For.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Dir: Tim Burton
Despite what we were led to believe when the news first broke of Burton's Alice in Wonderland this is not an adaptation of the beloved story, nor a re-imagining but rather a sequel of sorts - combining both books by Lewis Carroll with a splash of Burton's trademark "weirdness". Think of it in terms of Return to Oz when Dorothy revisits Oz only to discover the land has been taken over by the evil Nome king and Princess Mombi. In Oz Dorothy remembers her adventures but is told by those around her the memories are just bad dreams. In Burton's Alice it's quite the opposite, Alice herself believes her dreams of a strange place called Wonderland are in fact just that, dreams.
Perhaps my level of excitement for this film is where it all started to go wrong, after all you should never build something up too much or it has no room to impress. Even after the media reviews began appearing the week before the film's release, ranging from horrible to mediocre, I still held hope that I would be that person who would see something in this film that others missed. Alas I too joined the flocks of 'how disappointing' - but really, 'disappointing' just doesn't cut it, it's more like 'wasted opportunity'. Here we have one of the greatest children's stories ever committed to paper; here we have a story that has faithfully and lovingly been adapted to the screen numerous times, and now here we have Tim Burton's experiment.
Before you think I'm completely trashing this film there were several things I did enjoy. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen is amusing and surprisingly solid, her scene interrogating the frogs over some missing tarts is a definite highlight. The problem is the Red Queen's motivation for being "evil" is insecurity stemming from an ol' case of sibling rivalry. The other problem is that the Red Queen really isn't that evil, not nearly as evil as we're led to believe by the reactions of Underland's inhabitants (that's another thing - Alice misheard 'Underland' as 'Wonderland' - is that really necessary?). You want evil? Again I'll go back to Return to Oz, that Princess Mombi
was one evil bitch! Enslaving a hoard of men with wheels as feet, cutting off women's heads to display in cabinets and interchange with her own hideous head as she pleases, imprisoning the rightful Queen of Oz in a mirror and with one evil voice to boot - Dooooorothhhhy Gaaaaaale! That's evil, that's creepy - not some bobble head. Granted the Red Queen's famous catch phrase is 'Off with their head' but it's delivered comically and the final fight scene in the film only serves to prove how flimsy the Red Queen's hold over everyone really is. Okay so I was meant to be pointing out things I actually LIKED and seemed to have strayed a bit there, I guess this is a film that the more I think about it the more I can pick it apart.
If the Red Queen isn't evil enough then the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) is portrayed as one hell of an annoying character. Much like the Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story I can't rally behind someone who can barely produce a whisper and in the case of the White Queen has a severe case of the limp wrists.
The Mad Hatter is not as mad as he is Bipolar and could surely win an Elijah Wood lookalike contest if he took the time to enter. Of course like many I love watching Johnny Depp on screen, and like Bonham Carter he gives us a solid, dedicated performance. His character is given a little too much 'Scarecrow I think I'll miss you the most of all' treatment but is up there as one of the main reasons not to leave the cinema when watching this film. One of the reasons to throw fruit or other discarded food items at the screen is the Mad Hatter's "special" dance at the end of the film, and I use the word special with more than one meaning. Whoever thought this dance was a good idea (and whoever choreographed it for that matter) should be publicly shamed and banned from making movies for life. Perhaps a little extreme but I struggle to remember a more cringe worthy moment, something akin to a dad joke.
I quite liked the start of the film, our introduction to Alice's real world, it felt natural and delivered several laughs, if only they could have kept that flow in the closing scenes of the film. Instead we're given a checklist of 'Hey I'm back from Underland and I've discovered I can do whatever I want to do, I will now proceed to tell you all individually something I was too afraid to tell you an hour and a half ago'. It feels contrived and cheap.
Speaking of cheap, what gives with the 3D? This is an issue most people have with the film so I won't go into detail except to say I would have preferred to see this film in 2D. With such an amazing story, great visuals, beautiful costumes there really was no need to go all gimmicky with 3D unless you were going to go to level Avatarded, which Burton clearly couldn't be bothered, or couldn't afford, to do.
Overall, and I'm winding myself up here for fear of writing too much, this film held such promise and it really failed to deliver. It sits uncomfortably between cheap kids' entertainment and attempting to deliver enough action for an adult audience. It doesn't push the boundaries at all, doesn't highlight the fear necessary when facing such opponents as the Jabberwocky (and why the HELL is the Jabberwocky talking to the sword!?) and seems pleased to come out as a pleasant film. Mia Wasikowska calls her performance in from her hotel room, there's an uncomfortable reliance on CGI for characters that could have been live action, and Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum is amusing at first but quickly just becomes another Little Britain skit. Oh boy, here I go again...
I'd say see this film because there is enough to enjoy for a somewhat pleasurable experience, but it could have been brilliant... and I could have been a doctor I suppose, some things are never meant to be.
3 / 5
Thursday, March 4, 2010
2009 (2010 Australian release)
Dir: Paul Middleditch
With the tagline : “It only takes one prick” the humble New Zealand comedy drama, Separation City, delivers an enjoyable and somewhat realistic depiction of love and marriage, and what happens when you let the “little head” rule over the big head.
We meet Simon (Joel Edgerton) and Pam (Danielle Cormack) on their wedding day, when they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other. Flash forward several years and the couple are set up in a more than modest home by the ocean; they have two young children, a close knit group of friends appropriately named ‘the Family Group’ and a pretty much non-existent sex life.
Full review at Watch Out For
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Dir: Lasse Hallström
It's not your fault that this film is lame with a capital 'L', your dad - Nicholas Sparks - is a lame dude. His novels are sappy, unrealistic tripe that hopeless romantics lap up like kittens in front of a bowl of cream. I love romance, don't get me wrong, I love watching my fair share of sappy films, but you my Dear John were depressing, not romantic.
I've read some Sparks novels, The Notebook and A Walk to Remember - and have seen both those films. I get his style, I see the appeal - I just don't think it's that great. What's wrong with happy endings? What's wrong with characters actually ending up together? It seems in all his stories he likes to tease us with his set up then jump out and yell 'Ha! Got ya, you thought it was all going to work out for them didn't you!' Having two characters hopelessly in love (and I mean HOPELESSLY) being torn apart is not romantic, it is not realistic even - it's just a plot device to stretch your thin story out a little more.
Okay perhaps I'm being a bit harsh John, it wasn't all that bad - chin up, okay? I got to see Channing Tatum's ripped body for a bit, that was okay - I won't complain about that (although Sparks really did try everything to get that to happen didn't he - whoops spilt my wine, what a clutz!) and overall the relationship between you and Savannah wasn't vomit inducing, just nauseating. I guess your saving grace John was Richard Jenkins, boy what a performance he gave! For such a cardboard cut-out character (semi-autistic, obsessive coin collector... really) he actually made me care - yes there may have even been a lump in my throat!
I won't say I'm disappointed John, because I didn't expect any better from you. I don't like to hold the past against someone, I know it wasn't your fault the chick in A Walk to Remember died of cancer - and let's not even get into the woeful book to film adaptation of that title, I know it wasn't your fault Allie's bitch mother kept Noah's letters from her daughter in The Notebook, but I now know what to expect when I see those horrible words 'From Nicholas Sparks, best selling author of...' on a film poster. We can't choose our family John, it's a bitch I know - but that's the way it is!
There's someone out there who's going to love you John, that someone just isn't me. I'd say you're a great guy and it's not you it's me, but that'd be a lie.
2.5 / 5
Monday, March 1, 2010
Dir: Martin Scorsese
It's 1954 and U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is en route to Shutter Island, a creepy and isolated asylum for the criminally insane. Along with his new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) they arrive to investigate a missing patient.
I made the mistake of talking about this film with someone who hadn't seen it. I knew to be careful about what to reveal and what to leave out in my quick recap of what I thought, but apparently mentioning that there is a twist was a big no no in this person's opinion. I'd found out there was a twist before I saw the movie so I didn't think much of this revelation. Anyhoo - there's a twist and of course I won't say what it is.
I was completely absorbed for about 90 per cent of Shutter Island and quite frankly disappointed with the final 10. Scorsese is undeniably one of cinema's great modern directors and I don't really need to go into why. The opening scenes on the boat as Teddy and Chuck approach the island, followed by the sweeping overhead shot as they drive towards the facility speak volumes for this man's ability to direct a film.
What impressed me with this film was its ability to recreate the feel of a 1950's movie. It's one thing to slap some suitable costumes on actors and *voila* you're back in 1950 doll-face! What the actors in Shutter Island manage to do is embody a lot of the mannerisms of the actors of that period, a slight facial movement or the way a line is delivered can automatically authenticate their performance.
Once on the island things don't seem to add up; the missing patient seems to have vanished into thin air - out of her locked cell no less, and Teddy begins questioning what is really going on in this facility. It's a thrilling ride to take, even if you are one of the people who pick up on the big twist early on in the film. All performances are solid, if only the ending followed suit. I won't go into too much detail, just to say that when the twist is revealed it's well and truly revealed in a 'ta da!' way. There's even a whiteboard brought out to explain part of the equation and an in depth flashback that whilst not entirely necessary is actually one of the most intense and beautiful scenes in the film.
While the reveal is disappointing, and almost shoved down your throat, the final scene I believe makes up for it. It's understated and open ended - and has caused a fair amount of discussion, I believe, to what it really symbolised. This is a film I could go back and watch again, to dissect scenes and ponder if it all adds up; are there any loop holes that ultimately destroy the 'clever' twist?
A dark and unsettling thriller with some beautiful imagery and the ultimate question - which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?
3 / 5