Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Movie 43 Review

“A Very Bad Mistake”, that is one of the tag lines for the film Movie 43. I don't think anyone who is so unfortunate as to view this film will disagree. Movie 43 is potentially the worst film I have seen and should be avoided at all costs. None the less the rest of the review can of course be found below.

It seems that once every year or so a film that features an extensive and well regarded cast is released (usually a romantic comedy and films like New Years Eve and Valentines Day). In spite of the wealth of talent available, such films usually end of being rather bad. Movie 43 is the latest such film and stars a wealth of both well regarded and upcoming actors and actresses including Kate Winslett, Dennis Quaid, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Richard Gere, Naomi Watts, Gerard Butler, Kristen Bell, Chloë Grace Moretz, Liev Schreiber and many more. It may seem odd that I have listed so many of the cast but the list is simply astonishingly big, but more puzzling is why any of them, let alone all of them decided it was a good idea to star in this unfunny, boring film with no redeeming qualities.

Movie 43 isn't much of a movie rather it is a series of poorly conceived skits that have little to no connection to one another. Whilst this is something that would be more at place on television I wouldn't say that it in of itself is necessarily a bad thing (though I am far from found of the idea). With that being said none of the skits are even mildly entertaining and the attempts at humor throughout often rely on meek attempts to shock or offend the viewer in a misguided attempt to presumably be outrageous. Nothing present is even mildly entertaining, none of the punchlines work and no moment is anything but a dreary movement towards the end of the film. In fact I would say that it is impressive that any video and audio presentation can be as painful and boring as Movie 43 is to watch, let alone one with so much talent present.

I have seen several thousand films and never did I think I would watch a film that made me wish I was enjoying something as dreadful as Batman and Robin or similar which is something Movie 43 manages to achieve. Which I guess could be considered an impressive feat for masochists. For everyone else it makes Movie 43 a film best avoided. In other words Movie 43 makes some of the worst films one will have had the misfortune of viewing seem notably more pleasant and relatively enjoyable in hindsight (much like having one limb cut of by a sharp blade is relatively enjoyable in comparison to all your limbs being cut of by a blunt tool).

In the very rare chance that it isn't obvious I wish to state as plainly and simply as possible, Movie 43 may be the worst film I have and hopefully ever will have the misfortune of viewing. I wouldn't recommend just staying far away, I would recommend fleeing and never looking back.

Note: For anyone wondering if Movie 43 could potentially fall into the so bad its good territory. It simply doesn't.

Monday, 23 September 2013

De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone) Review

Directed by Jacques Audiard, Rust and Bone is a film about an unlikely friendship between two damaged individuals who find solace with one another which in turn allows for two rather different healing processes to begin. Whilst this idea is sound and commonly used in story telling, in Rust and Bone it often is far to predictable and forced with the two stories often felling out of place and rarely adding to one another.

Rust and Bone opens with Ali, a vagrant man who is travelling with his son to move in with his sister and is shown to be living of stolen goods and what they can find as leftovers on trains. Ali appears to be simply drifting through life with no purpose or direction and upon moving in with his sister is able to get a job as a bouncer and whilst at work meets Stephanie. Stephanie is an attractive whale trainer who shortly after meeting Ali is in an accident that leaves her in a wheelchair, depressed and alone. For obvious reasons she is unable to continue her work and some time after her accident calls Ali after the brief chance meting they had. Problematically little time is spent developing the initial circumstances of Ali or Stephanie beyond the above which is where issues in the film begin to arise. Whilst we are provided sufficient reasons for Stephanie to call Ali (she is alone, unhappy and seemingly has no one to turn to) we are never given any reason for why Ali would have any interest in this woman, beyond physical attraction or potentially his hinted at loneliness. However as Ali is shown to care little for those around him to the point of being abusive to his own child the beginnings of Ali and Stephanie’s relationship ultimately comes across as forced.

Despite this the narrative of Stephanie healing both physically and emotionally provides for compelling an engrossing story and the development of Stephanie throughout fells true to what we know of the character. This is helped in small degree by the simply exceptional performance by Marion Cotillard that was snubbed at the Oscars. Likewise Matthias Schoenaerts as Ali provides for an equally strong performance though whilst Ali's journey does lead to what many will no doubt consider a satisfying conclusion the manner in which it gets their does not fell like a natural progression for the character. As a result much like the start of Stephanie and Ali's relationship the character arc for Ali is somewhat forced and largely unsatisfying.

This leaves Rust and Bone with two conflicting stories or at least two stories that don't weave together in a compelling or additive manner. Thankfully the performances of both leads and the support cast is superb throughout which makes even the less then stellar moments engaging and helps give the film an enough emotional punch that empathy for both leads is achieved despite the stories short comings.

Their is a lot to like in Jacques Audiard Rust and Bone, despite this the film often fells forced, far to predictable and left me with the sense that both stories could have been better serviced had they had more time to develop. Despite this Rust and Bone has enough emotional punch carried largely by the strength of the two leads performances to come recommended.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Wrath of the Titans Review

Two years after the anticlimactic and underwhelming Clash of the Titans reached blockbuster success the inevitable sequel Wraith of the Titans was released with a new director and promises that this film would correct the numerous issues present in the first film. Whilst it is clear that an effort was made to do so, Wrath of the Titans still fails to achieve greatness and instead descends into mediocrity alongside the first installment.

The action in Wrath of the Titans is acceptably fast and frenetic and at times even manages to be spectacular. It however also suffers from a severe overuse of quick cuts which often left what was occurring on screen confusing and disorienting (this was made even more irksome in 3d as such editing simply does not lend itself to a comfortable 3d viewing experience). Their however are a handful of lengthy action shoots that manage to linger long enough to draw undue attention themselves but aren't so short as to disorientate and it is in these moments that the action shines and can be enjoyed. Such moments however are few and far between and fail to elevate the action beyond what is expected from such a film which leaves Wraith largely relying on its story which despite some promise is ultimately unsatisfying and barely present.

At its core Wrath of the Titans is a father and son story with this being paralleled in several relationships. However the reason for this focus is not present and what could have made for an interesting framework as fathers, sons and brother where caught in an epic battle is instead barely present as the film moves at such a quick pace which doesn't allow for what is occurring on screen to resonate beyond a superficial wow level. This is further accentuated by mediocre acting (save a few campy yet undeniably fun performances from veterans such as Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy and Ralph Fiennes) and comedy that breaks up the mediocrity of the story despite more often then not falling flat as a result of being overly predictable and ultimately just another flavor of dull. I can't help but find this to be unfortunate as had more time been spent developing the already existing framework and had the epic struggle between fathers, sons and brothers been more developed we could have had an interesting film that didn't rely solely on its visuals to entertain. Hence just as was the case with the series first entry Wrath of the Titans biggest flaw could be seen to be its inability to create characters you cared for. Wrath of the Titans also shares another massive weakness that was present in Clash of the Titans and ends on an anticlimactic note with the final battle ending just as it felt like the action was getting interesting.

In spite of all the issues present Wraith of the Titans isn't horrible by any means, rather it is nothing more then a mostly passable action film that is unable to prove itself a notable improvement on the series similarly underwhelming first entry. Hence Wrath of the Titans does not come recommended.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Most Anticipated Releases for the Remainder of 2013

As we move out of the  winter (or summer depending on where you live) blockbuster period and towards the award and Christmas movie release schedule the quality of recent releases can become rather heterogeneous. It is a time of year where we often find some hidden gems or films with niche audiences released (like the recently released Riddick). Sadly it is also a time when studios often release films that are expected duds in terms of quality presumably to try and take what advantage they can of what tends to be a less competitive release schedule. Despite this their are several film releases I am anticipating. Below are my most anticipated titles for the remainder of 2013.

The Counselor

My main interest for The Counselor comes from the involvement of Ridley Scott who is of course directing and Michael Fassbender (who was easily the highlight of Ridley Scoots most recently released film Prometheus). I do have some concerns and reservations regarding this film which I justify based on some of the issues present in Ridely Scott's most recently released film Prometheus. In spite of these concerns I cannot wait to see how The Counselor turns out. I however am disappointed that both Ridely Scott and Martin Scorsese have seemingly abandoned 3d despite numerous comments both have made and of course as both Prometheus and Hugo are simply breathtaking in 3d.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

No doubt an obvious choice and one that needs little explanation, afterall how many times can one here and read that it looks to be a fun filled fantasy adventure film. Admittedly The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was a colossal disappointment and its trailers (especially the teaser) where even more tantalizing then what we have seen for The Desolation of Smaug (which looks as if it could also contain more fan service then I would like). None the less the prospect of seeing the next chapter still has me excited. It also helps that it has been shoot at 48fps (often refereed to as HFR) as apposed to the traditional 24fps which provides for a much smoother image and an experience that currently cannot be experienced at home. Furthermore it also stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug and The Necromancer (both of which briefly appeared in An Unexpected Journey) and who doesn't want to see that?


Carrie is easily my most anticipated film for the remainder of 2013. I am far from a large horror fan and remakes are something I am usually not all that fond of as they are notorious for adding little that the original didn't already cover and are far to often simply terrible films (this is especially true when it comes to remakes of horror films). However in this case I have not seen the original film and some excellent 'remakes' such as Let Me In and The Girl With T he Dragon Tattoo coupled with some excellent trailers has me thrilled to see how Carrie turns out. Hopefully it is not only a good film but provides a new twist on the source material so that it can stand on its on and not be viewed as simply a remake of a much better film (as Let Me In was able to achieve which also starred Chloë Grace Moretz).

Monday, 16 September 2013

Silent Hill Revelation Review

Leading up to the release of Silent Hill Revelation Michael J Basset who both wrote and directed the film showed in several interviews that he understood the source material and thus I was rather exited to see what the results where. This was especially the case given that the first Silent Hill excluding the poor ending is an accomplished horror film that makes some effective changes to both the story and world that the game series takes place in that successfully enhances the experience and was one of the very few movies based on a video game that is recommendable. Unfortunately Silent Hill Revelation is unable to reach the same heights as the first film and catastrophically has even lower lows then the poor ending to the first film.

Silent Hill Revelation as one would expect is a continuation of the first Silent Hill film and follows Heather Mason and her father living on the run from the police for reasons that involves one of the many unnecessary and convoluted portions of the 'story'. Silent Hill Revelation both in terms of the characters present and the story is simply a mess with very little care taken. The extent to which this is the case can be shown when the filmmakers fell fit to develop a romantic relationship between two characters who have been established to be cousins. Most egregiously this isn't part of the horror present rather it seems to be quite a large oversight by the film makers. Admittedly their is a brief campy cameo by Malcolm McDowell which provides for the only modestly entertaining albeit unnecessary scene in the film. Otherwise none of the actors or actresses are anything but horrible in their roles despite the obvious talent that the cast have shown in numerous other productions. Lines fell forced and memorized and numerous accent changes are present. I usually am able to forgive such accent slips and more often then not don't even notice them, sadly the all around poor stilted acting seems to have emphasized the issue in this film moreso then had the acting been otherwise competent.

Silent Hill Revelation is based on the game Silent Hill 3, a game which had an oppressing atmosphere and understood how to tell an admittedly minimalist story in both a creepy and scary manner. Sadly Silent Hill Revelation only succeeds in creating any sense of atmosphere in one of the few positives I can muster up regarding this film, which is the use of 3d which is reasonable well done save some poor use of gimmicky shoots. None the less several moments where we see characters as they walk through the ash ridden Silent Hill are visually striking if nothing else. Sadly all other areas regarding Silent Hill Revelation's atmosphere is beyond poorly done. Creature design is strong when it follows the source materials design but when it strays it is generally laughably bad. The worst offender is a mannequin monster who presumably is meant to be hunting down the protagonists resulting in a tense and riveting scene, however the actual result is a depressingly hilarious scene with an out of place an obvious cgi looking mannequin and a scene that lacks any sense of tension. Likewise scenes that involve the well designed monsters from the game such as the nurses or pyramid head are poorly staged to a degree that removes any degree of tension or excitement that could have been present.

Ultimately Silent Hill Revelation is a disappointing vacuous waste of an opportunity which is perplexing given Michael J Basset in interviews showed that he seemed to understood what worked in the source material (I assume an overly limited budget, studio tampering and lack of talent are all possible causes) . Sadly none of that knowledge has been successfully translated into the film Silent Hill Revelation which is often unintentionally hilarious in a sadly depressing manner. Hence I strongly would urge those who have yet to see the original Silent Hill film to consider giving that film a chance and those wanting more to perhaps try out the original game trilogy released on the playstation one and two. Simply put I would recommend staying far away from Silent Hill Revelation.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Sleeping Beauty (2011) Review

Sleeping Beauty is a film by Julia Leigh which follows Lucy, a student who struggles to afford her rent, has a strong relationship of sorts with a suicidal alcoholic and undertakes in prostitution. One may think at first that Lucy is struggling, however it becomes clear that Lucy thrives on her self destructive behavior and her situation seems to be largely a result of her own doing.

Lucy answers an advertisement for work that ultimately sees her working as a 'sleeping beauty', whereby she is drugged and left in a room asleep which is then rented out to (older) men who can do as they please, except have sex. Oddly Lucy never shows interest in being involved for the money, rather her motives are entirely unclear and this is one of the many areas whereby Sleeping Beauty stumbles. In spite of how strong Emily Browning's performance is as Lucy, their is a lack of any depth to the character as motivations are never explored and Lucy is devoid of any personality beyond being self destructive. Likewise the supposed theme 'present' regarding the desires of men is never explored, rather the film fells comfortable with simply pointing out that men can have some questionable 'desires' and never takes it any further which makes for what is and insufferably uninteresting film and one that tries to rely on shock value for the sake of being shocking.

Sleeping Beauty however is meticulously shoot and is generally gorgeous to look at, however the editing is often heavy handed and features far to many unnecessary scenes that ultimately lead no where (much like the film). Initially I thought this may be an analogy for youth, but as the film continued this become continuously less likely. Ultimately Sleeping Beauty is without direction or purpose, this is unfortunate as had their been a more focused narrative, more depth to the characters present and and actual exploration of the ideas and themes present, we could have had a truly unique and interesting film. Sadly as it is Sleeping Beauty is a film that whilst undeniably unique is devoid of anything of interest or anything I could describe as entertaining.

My recommendation, stay far away.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Kick-Ass 2 Review

The first Kick-Ass film was released in 2010 and to my surprise was not only slickly directed, funny and full of unique and engaging action along with fun and interesting characters but has also since become my favorite film based on a comic book (and one of my favorite films period). Three years have since passed and the director from the first Kick Ass (Matthew Vaughn) and the screenplay writers (Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn) have been replaced by Jeff Wadlow who was in charge of both the script and for directing Kick Ass 2. Sadly whilst some parts of Kick Ass 2 prove to be a welcome continuation of the first film, other moments simply fell of out place and are at times poorly done.

As we continue the journey at the start of Kick-Ass 2 Dave has retired from being Kick-Ass and Mindy is skipping school to continue training as Hit Girl. Sure enough Dave gets the urge to become Kick-Ass again and to form a super hero team and thus starts to skip school in favour of being trained by Hit Girl in the hope of becoming a team with her. Oddly though we are left wondering what Davids motivations are to become Kick-Ass again, with the only reasoning given being that he was bored. This in of itself isn't a terrible reason within the scope of this film, but is none the less and area that could have had more attention given to it. This result of Dave training with Mindy is of course Dave getting beaten continuously as he trains and in an obvious but none the less fun homage to the first film shoot by Mindy whilst wearing bullet proof material. This along with the evolving relationship between Dave and Mindy proves to be the films greatest and sadly underutilised asset.

As Mindy and Dave finally appear to be making some progress with the training, the surreal world that Hit Girl inhabited collides with that of the world that Marcus(Mindy's guardian) inhabits. This ultimately results in a Mean Girlsesque scenario whereby Mindy no longer dons the costume or attitude of Hit Girl and attempts to live a normal teen life. This is a point in the film I imagine will be divisive amongst fans, I however found it to be a refreshing change of pace for the character and one that added more depth to an already interesting character. Sadly not all elements in Kick-Ass 2 work as well as this. For instance as this is occurring Chris D'Amico who was Red Mist in the first Kick-Ass becomes 'The Motherfucker' and begins to plan his revenge on Kick-Ass. Unfortunately in this film Chris D'Amico is elevated to being the lead villain but lacks the presence to fell like a genuine threat and has his goons do all the dirty work for him, which leaves the villain nonthreatening at best. For obvious reason this is not ideal and the film had several opportune moments to give The Motherfucker moments that could lead you to genuinely see him as a villain and threat, but the film at each instance attempts to lighten the moment with humour. This humour more often then not is not only out of place and a detriments to what is meant to be the threat in the film but is also profoundly unfunny. Thankfully their is one new inclusion who is simply a joy to watch who comes in the form of Colonel Stars and Stripes played by Jim Carey who Kick-Ass joins along with several other 'super heroes' forming Justice Forever.

The action scenes prove to be rather hit or miss and in general lacked the intensity and originality of the action present in the first film where I found each action scene to feature its own identity and be wildly entertaining. In terms of the action the worst sin present is some middling use of shaky cam. Shaky cam is something that can be used to great effect, but here its only achievement is to disorient and confuse the viewer in a negative manner. This isn't the case for all the action present which makes it all the more confusing that it is present at all and it isn't so prevalent as to ruin any of the action scenes, rather to simply detract from some moments. One highlight of the film and a stupendously fun action scene involves Hit Girl fighting several of 'The Motherfuckers' goons upon a moving van. Sadly despite some spectacular scenes of similar quality to this their is sadly one unforgivably bad scene (more on that soon).

Kick-Ass 2's most egregious of errors is its humor often falls flat, most notable is the humor surrounding the 'new' villain who names himself the Mother Fucker as previously touched on, who comes of as uninspired and as if it assumes it is more amusing then it actually is (it also doesn't help that the Mother Fucker doesn't fell at all threatening throughout the film). Worst of all is Kick-Ass 2 not only uses toilet humor but does so in a way that is anything but funny, which results in easily the worst scene in the film involving stupidly over the top projectile vomit and spectacularly poorly done diarrhea effects. If this wasn't poor enough the film then seems to take such pride in said scene and references it during the climactic battle of the film.

Despite the several faults present the evolving relationships between Mindy and Dave manages to mostly save the film from itself and what it doesn't make up for Jim Carey's brief but scene stealing role as Colonel Stars and Stripes certainly comes close at doing so. Hence whilst I can't say that I wasn't hugely let down by Kick-Ass 2 I am also likely a bigger fan of the first film then most and no doubt had higher hopes and expectations for Kick-Ass 2. Hence whilst Kick-Ass 2 is not as good as the first Kick-Ass it still manages to inject enough quality action, fun characters to come recommended to fans of the original despite some middling use of shaky cam and one truly terrible scene. However if the original didn't wow you as it did me, you may be better of waiting for a rental if not skipping th.

Note: I must mention that whilst the score in Kick-Ass 2 fails to reach the dizzying highs of the first films score, it is none the less more then up to the task and features several well done variations of themes from the first film along with some new well fitting themes.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

À bout de souffle (Breathless) Review

À bout de souffle (english name: Breathless) is the first feature film by Jean-Luc Godard and I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I had only somewhat recently seen his first feature film Breathless, which seems to be so often remembered as one of the 'best' films of French New Wave cinema.

Breathless follows Michel Poiccard a character who at first is seemingly a sociopath and early in the film murders a policeman for very little reason. The film quickly cuts to Paris where we see Michel stealing money, cars and anything else he desires. His aim is ultimately to escape and go to Rome with an American named Patricia Franchini, a person whom he had meet only a few weeks earlier and throughout the film the love Michel and Patricia have for one another is highlighted and put into question.

In spite of all of Michel's reckless and at times violent behavior Breathless remains a story about love, youth and the felling of being infallible when in love. It is of course not as simple as that as Breathless not only features several strong performances but also features characters who all have their own unique desires and motivations which throughout the film blurs just how true the two leads love is (and is a questions the characters ask themselves throughout).

In spite of all this to me what is most intriguing is that contradictory to Michel's frequent sociopathic behavior he genuinely seems to care and love Patricia which becomes more evident throughout the films proceedings. The point and purpose of which i'm sure could be debated endlessly, as is the case with many of themes and ideas present in the film.  But suffice to say their is more to the story then is in most films, especially those that are love stories.

Whilst Breathless is inescapably stylish and no doubt groundbreaking their are numerous jump cuts present (whereby the shoot cuts from one angle to another angle that is extremely similar). Whilst i'm sure many will detest the suggestion, but I personally felt that such cuts detracted from the scenes they where present in and I have been left puzzled by the purpose of their inclusion.

Breathless is a film that many will view differently but ultimately is a film that I intend to revisit and left me breathless (pardon the pun).

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Musing of a crazed film watcher introducing himself... sort of....

Having previously run a blog dedicated to films that I went on permanent hiatus for quite some time I had sadly abandoned writing about films for far to long. However after much contemplation I have decided to restart and reopen under a new name and with a new purpose. On my previous site I focused more on the technical side of films (in particular the quality of blu-ray transfers) and went on a hiatus that ultimately lead to me closing the site. The reasons for which where varied but the most notable reason was that I felt that I had almost got lost in said technical 'jargon' and was missing out on discussing my reason for creating the blog, to write about the films themselves. Hence in my new blog I hope to focus on the films themselves, although as 4k starts to loom ever so near on the horizon this may change albeit in a no doubt infrequent manner. I currently have no schedule in mind and at least for the time being shall be posting in an ad-hoc manner. In any case I hope any fellow film lovers who stumble upon this blog enjoy what is to come.