Friday, 16 July 2010

Moon (2009)

My rating: 6/10

After having heard a lot about this film, I was very intrigued to watch it. So when I saw it on TV I thought I'd give it a go. Whilst I wasn't blown away by this film, I still found it pretty good.

Moon offers a very original script, we are shown our protagonist Sam maintaining the computers for a new source of energy found on the moon. His contract lasts three years and he is up there by himself with the exception of his computer companion Gerty. After suffering an accident, Sam wakes up to find things are strange, he encounters another form of himself who claims to have only been on the project for a week. With a lot of confusion both Sam's start to try and figure out what is going on.

So as you can see, the premise for this film bares no similarity to anything else we've seen. A lot of dependence is placed upon our lead Sam (Sam Rockwell) but luckily that pays off. Rockwell keeps our attention and focus without making us ever feel the need for any other stage presence. Kevin Spacey (Gerty) provides us with a very creepy form of a robot, he is very reminiscent of HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey) We immediate gain the sense of distrust from him.

While on the surface, Moon appears to be a big Sci-Fi mystery thriller, it beholds a lot of darkness about it. Issues of mistrust and anguish bubble deep below and come out in the physical demonstration of the two Sam's fighting. It seems like this could be construed as a metaphor for insanity and what being completely isolated for that amount of time can do to your mind. Another example of this would be right at the beginning, Sam sees something that isn't actually there. Although because it is very insignificant to the rest of the plot, it is easily brushed over and forgotten about.

The music gives way to the eerie atmosphere of the film as well as the loneliness. Many of the notes were single crotchets played by themselves which creates a direct parallel to the Sam's situation and feelings. As well as loneliness, it almost felt creepy which highlighted the substance in the plot.

This film was rated a lot higher by the majority than what I have given it but I feel I have my reasons for this. Although original and engaging, like I mentioned before - it didn't blow me away. There were moments I felt like I should be emotional but just didn't feel anything for the character or situation. The ending for me felt messy and rushed, but maybe that was just me not liking the mystery aspect that was retained until the end. As well as this, I felt it had it's flaws. (SPOILER...) Sam had been through all this anguish to find out the truth, and once he'd found it out he wanted to go back to earth and uncover the lies. But he was willing to leave another clone behind doing the job he'd been awoken to do. Why does he not think that clone will uncover the truths like he did? Surely that would create EVEN more mess?
Another reason why I haven't rated it as highly as most others is the fact I don't really want to watch it again. It's not a film I would buy on DVD or look forward to a second viewing of, a first viewing was enough for me. But it entertained me and so I feel it did its purpose. I would truly rate this a 65% although obviously that isn't possible!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Last Chance Harvey

My rating: 6/10

Last Chance Harvey is a very endearing film. The Director/Screenwriter Joel Hopkins has quite a sparse repertoire but that aside, he is able to create a film that beautifully responds to the obviously great performances of Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson.

The film itself is fairly simplistic. We are introduced to both our leads Kate (Thompson) and Harvey (Hoffman) separately and are given the necessary background of their life. The main point that is vital to come across is that they are both very lonely people. Kate receives regularly phone calls from her mum and is only too willing to talk, and Harvey is clearly still at a job where his presence is no longer required. Harvey flies to London for his daughters wedding and realises that his presence there no longer seems required since his daughter's Stepdad has replaced that role in her life.
Although Kate and Harvey have had a couple of minor encounters before, they meet properly at the airport bar and form an unlikely friendship.

So the film as a whole is nothing spectacular or amazingly exciting, but like I said before it is endearing. Hopkins script is charming and witty in a nice subtle way. I think the characters are charming and intriguing. This mainly has to do with both of their age. Neither of them are young, or have had great experiences with relationships and so the development of this one with each other makes an interesting watch.
Hoffman and Thompson are able to portray a great kind of awkwardness which is another element that adds a real charm to the film. It is a nice quality to see on screen as this kind of awkwardness is usually depicted most in teen romcoms. Harvey and Kate's first kiss for example is the epitome of an awkward first kiss. But this is nice as it shows how inexperienced and out of touch the two character's are at forming a romantic bond.

Hopkins has chosen some very pretty settings for this film which just adds to the whole appealing nature of the film. Dusk is a common setting, where the sky is pretty. The background often shows a wonderful shot of a beautiful scenery which provides the feeling of romance. The music adds to the charm and gives the film a very uplifting, happy feel. Although a different composer, it is very reminiscent of The Holiday, probably because of the feel good and endearing vibe that it sends out.

The small sub-plot that is included featuring Kate's mum and her Polish neighbour provides a lovely essence and break point to the main. It is a nice layer to add that shows your time for love is never over. This being a message I think is emphasised throughout this films entirety. The wedding of Harvey's daughter demonstrates the ideal path and age of love, Harvey and Kate provides a longer path, and Kate's mum shows that there may be a few wrong turns but affection can still be found.

For me, this feels like a tamer version of An Affair to Remember. The vibe of the film feels the same, especially with the obvious snatch of idea where Harvey tells Kate to meet him in a certain place at a certain time, but doesn't show up due to an accident. I say tamer, because the distance, time and heartbreak that follows in An Affair to Remember is quickly brushed over in this film, providing a quicker ending. But the relationship before this happened hasn't developed that deeply and so seems probable that these things would happen quicker.
Although I enjoyed this film and loved the emotion and charm that it brought, I do feel that it could do with being longer. It felt like it was over before it had really began. The relationship didn't seem to have been given enough time to develop properly and it all seemed like it was forced to happen too quick in order to fit a specific time span (exactly 90mins).

Overall though, it is a lovely film. Hoffman and Thompson provide their typically good performances in showing us two older people finding love later in life. Although the script is not spectacular, it has a nice unique wit and allure to it that simply provides a smile. It's a nice story with nice characters and overall it just makes you feel nice inside. Although I may not be rushing towards a second watch, it is definitely worth a first!

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

My rating: 9.5/10

Ferris Bueller is definitely the ultimate teen comedy around. It is one of those films that can be enjoyed from pre adolescence to heavily post adolescence!

The story is simple, Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is the best in skipping school and getting away with it. With his best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) and his girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) he basically just does all the things that anyone would do if they could. From singing in a parade, to scamming an expensive restaurant to driving a vintage Ferrari.

So as you can probably expect this film is filled with fun. There are no complexities to it, it's just a light-hearted comedy formed for your enjoyment. Naturally, the skipping school isn't AS easy as they'd have hoped since the school principal is determined to catch him out, as well as his jealous sister who detests the favouritism Ferris receives.

This is undoubtedly one of Broderick's most iconic roles. He plays the youth with such perfection you can't help but get sucked into Ferris's world. Every guy who watches this film will want to be Ferris, and every girl who watches this will want to be Sloane. It is truly a very engaging, feel good film that is very cleverly written.

Ok, so where's the substance? The substance is there in the form of Cameron. He is a depressive youth who misses a lot of school through 'illness'. The film retains some nicety as we see his story play out and reach a resolution.

This really is a must see film. There are may iconic scenes and characters that have been ripped off by many programmes. And as well as this, you cannot avoid the 'Ferris Bueller' references and jokes in many of the other programmes that Alan Ruck is in.

The Tagline to this film was, "While the rest of us were just thinking about it...Ferris borrowed a Ferrari and did it...all in a day". Is there any more needed to be said to capture the essence of this film?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Lion King

My rating: 10/10

Ok, so first of all I will start by saying that this is my ALL TIME childhood favourite. I have watched it more than I could possibly count and even bought it on DVD when I had it on video just because it felt criminal not to.

So, it may seem like the review I am writing is obviously going to be biased towards my childhood attitude. However I think that that cannot be further from the truth because anyone who has actually seen this film CANNOT deny how brilliant this film is in everyway.

I will give a brief outline but I am assuming the vast majority of the population have seen this at some point in their life. The lion king follows a young cub 'Simba'. Heir to a thrown that he is manipulated to believe he does not want by his evil Uncle Scar, Simba runs away from his family and friends. Growing into a man with his new best friends Timon and Pumbaa guiding him he eventually ends up going back to claim what is rightfully his.

The Lion King was left to the hands of Disney's C Team as everyone else was sceptical of the idea and didn't think it would be a success. It was the first Disney film that was completely their own idea and what a fantastic job they did of it. The storyline in itself is just incredibley original and manages to be very engaging, humorous and emotional.

All of the character's are amazing and very strong. We are provided with some very famous voices as well that just improve the stength of them even more, Jonathan Taylor Thomas/Matthew Broderick (Simba), Rowan Atkinson (Zazu), Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi), Jeremy Irons (Scar), James Earl Jones (Mufasa).

The music...Elton John? Need there be anymore said? One of the best soundtracks in a Disney film. Written perfectly to suit the whole mood and feel of the film and its characters. The Circle of Life as an opener? Engaging and sets up the story so brilliantly. 'I Just Can't Wait to be King' being my favourite Disney song of all time. I Defy anyone to not love that song! 'Can you feel the love tonight' - magical song which is perfectly parallel with the magical setting. 'Hakuna Matata' one of the best songs that sums up the sillyness and comedic essence of two characters.

You have probably picked up on my love from this film as even when I'm typing I cannot contain my enthusiasm and love towards it. It is overall such a beautiful film. The storyline is brilliant and it brings up so many emotions. We become attatched to Simba's character as we see him grow physically as well as, as a (I want to say person but I'm thinking the correct word to use here would be Lion?) The songs just capture the essence of the story amazingly and the balance between seriousness and comedy is done to perfection.

This is without a doubt the best Disney film. With regards to the sequels...number 2, fairly entertaining worth a watch. Number 3 - ATROCIOUS! It completely spoils the concept of the first film.

Get Him to the Greek

My rating: 6.5/10

I absolutely LOVED Forgetting Sarah Marshall and so there was no way in hell that I would not go and see this film! What made it even better was that my friend managed to get free tickets to the preview of it!

I was not let down by my high preconceptions. This film just kept on delivering to me and surpassed my expectations. We are thrown into the world of the famous rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) from the beginning and get a quick fill of his life and success. We are then presented with our second lead, Aaron Green (Jonah Hill)as he proposes the idea to his boss Sergio (P Diddy) to host an Aldous Snow reunion concert at 'The Greek'. So, our inciting incident has happened. Aaron has been told he has 3 days to get Aldous Snow from London to LA in time for the concert. Sounds simple, but naturally this film does not follow the rules of simple. Aaron is thrown into a world of Sex, drugs and wild parties which is inevitably completely out of his comfort zone, and inevitably going to provide a lot of laughs.

Get Him To The Greek in my opinion is non stop funny. Having already been acquired to the character of Aldous Snow in Sarah Marshall, there is no question about what to expect. Jonah Hill plays the sort of awkward character you'd expect him too and so the film just delivers with a combination we know will provide a conflicting comedy.

There is no denying that this film is predictable in every way possible, but that works. It is not designed to be a thriller with lots of twists and unexpected turns, it's designed to make us laugh and it is more than likely that at some point it will do so.

I understand that when writing this I am writing fresh from my first viewing of it. I am already aware that this will no doubt have the 'Borat' effect on me. By that I mean, I thought Borat was a continuous laugh out loud film when I saw it at the cinema, however it failed to amuse me as much when I watched it again. Even so, I don't think that factor should falter the film's credibility.

One of the most surprising factors that I was not expecting this film to contain was P Diddy's good performance. His role as Sergio was actually pretty brilliant and I don't think many people would expect him to perform as well as he did. It is this reason as well why the film surpassed my expectations!

Ok, so if I liked it THAT much...why have I only given it 80? The reasons for this is simply because, yes. It is a good, funny film, however as much as I enjoyed it I don't think I can place the quality of it in the same ranking as the likes of LOTR, Shawshank and the other many greats that are out there. It would feel criminal for me to give it 100 because it entertained me with it's comedy, when other films take my breath away so much more with the amazing creativeness and the quality of every other aspect that is putinto it. Get Him To The Greek would be an absolute flop, if it were not for the casting and the script. They are the only good things about this film. And a good job too that they manage to work.

But overall I would recommend this to anyone who has a good sense of humour and appreciates this style of comedy. I won't be rushing out to see it again any time soon, but that is simply because I don't want to ruin the great memory the first impression has left in my mind!