Category: Film

Film Review: Independence Day

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It’s scary to think that it’s nearly 20 years since Jeff Goldblum declared “Check Mate” and Will Smith told the world that he just had to get himself an extra terrestrial space craft as aliens flew 90 billion light years to come down here and start a fight. If we are currently living the era of the comic book franchise then Independence Day comes slap bang in the middle of the testosterone filled arms race of the 1990s when it appeared that the films were directed solely at men and the bench mark for a good story was not the cast, the script or the plot but rather how much petrol you could ignite and how big an explosion you could make. Con Air, The Rock, Armageddon, Jurassic Park all arriving as I neared my teenage years and along with Independence Day, cemented my love of cinema not through exquisite refinement but rather, simple visual action; and throw away one liners.

And I loved it, I remember seeing Independence Day in the cinema and being enthralled, I brought it on VHS (in a case that had an explosive lenticular cover) and even up-scaled to DVD when it was released on that. But I was young, and influence by a good fire ball and dreams of saving the day. I didn’t look at movies as I do now. I didn’t question plot holes, poor acting or implausible twists. I simply watched the film and got swept up in the entertainment. Read more

Film Review: Moulin Rouge!

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It’s been a very long time since I saw Moulin Rouge! In fact, I am fairly certain I have only ever seen it once before. A long, long time ago during it’s big screen release and I remember it well because I watched it from virtually the front row – this was back in the day of unreserved seating and I arrived late. But craning my neck and 20 foot high characters is not the reason I remember it so vividly, but rather, because the night I watched it, I was with a girl on our first “proper” date.

The relationship didn’t last, and didn’t end well, and as a result I have always shied slightly away from the film because of the memories it potentially stirs up. Even the merest mention of the name and I can picture the cinema and feel the excitement of sitting their next to the girl of my apparently short sighted dreams, and I watch something else instead. But 14 years have passed since I was sitting in that cinema, and they say that time heals all wounds, so things felt right to take a trip back to the Moulin Rouge! Read more

Film Review: What We Did On Our Holiday

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It’s a strange situation, I had heard good things about What We Did On Our Holiday and yet having watched the film I can’t for the life of me see where or why this praise was earned. I just found it farcical balderdash and a poor imitation. A side from a few quick one liners dotted sporadically throughout, I struggle to find any redeeming feature.

It was written and directed Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin and is obviously their way of attempting to bring the successful formula for Outnumbered, their hit BBC sitcom in which two parents are run ragged by their three ad-libbing children, to the big screen. The problem is though, the formula doesn’t translate without the characters. Firstly because you spend the entire time comparing the characters from one to the other, and secondly, because the story becomes too stretched out, and the madness of a flexible script ends up more distracting and annoying as time goes on. Read more

Film Review: ’71

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Like a lot of people I have an indifferent relationship with The Troubles in Northern Ireland. They didn’t directly affect me, after all, while close they were still happening in a different country and my relationship and knowledge to them is born out the media portrayal. Imagery more powerful than fact, with the depiction of guns, poverty and painted murals used to shape my opinion rather than reasoned debate and learned understanding.

I’d heard very good things about ’71. Both as a film and as a performance by lead Jack O’Connell. Set on the mean streets of Belfast directly at the height of The Troubles, it is a film that is collectively lauded by critics. Most shouting from the roof tops about how director Yann Demange has so graphically managed to turn the residential streets of Belfast into a full, and inhumane, war zone. Read more

Film Review: The Bone Collector

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I was captivated the first time I ever saw The Bone Collector. So much so, that I actually spent time looking, hoping, it was possible to get hold of a copy of the book used. Not the novel on which the film is based, but rather the book that appears on screen. Sadly though, the book is just a prop, but that didn’t lessen the impact of the film. In fact, I’d go as far to as say that The Bone Collector was the first film that truly grabbed me.

I really do rank it as one of my all time favourite films, I just have a love of psychological thrillers, those dark sinister tales that aren’t true horrors, with in your face blood and violence, but rather simmer away, niggling inside your mind, playing on basic fears. The power of scaring through the unknown, through panic anxiety and suspense. Read more

Film Review: Evolution

Posted on by 5WC in Film

To this day I am still not exactly sure if Evolution is meant to be a serious alien comedy or a parodying spoof. I think I have this problem because the tone of the film is one that feels almost as if they are making a joke of a joke, and therefore, you never quite feel fully trusting of it. Nethertheless though, I still thoroughly enjoy it.

I do wonder though if my mistrust in its intentions is actually born out of the fact that for every hyper real situation, plot hole or clichéd one liner you still have to accept that the basic idea of the film has just enough plausibility to make you think that it’s actually possible. Ludicrously silly but possible. Read more

Film Review: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Posted on by 5WC in Film

The British film industry has made a very simple type of film, successfully, for a number of years. It’s found a defining formula that allows it to keep its head held high and offer a usually refreshing change from Hollywood’s seemingly endless franchise blockbusters and comic book spin offs. Films like Pride, Mr Turner, Philomena all good examples of the narrative character driven movies that are shaping and defining what a “British” film now is.

However, that British genre is splitting, because while traditionally it’s films are aimed at all generations, designed to be feel good family entertainment, connecting all age groups through timeless stories of hope and factual depiction, over recently years there has also been a rise in the more mature film. Both in terms of casting and audience. Films specifically designed to fill a gap, mainly the mid afternoon snooze slot, where tea and biscuits is more preferable to popcorn and cola. Read more

Film Review: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

Posted on by 5WC in Film

One of the big, almost revolutionary strengths of the original Star Wars trilogy is that it didn’t start at the beginning. It didn’t walk you slowly into the story, introducing characters and their histories. Instead it just dropped you straight into the action and left you to enjoy the ride. And as the final part of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith does essentially the same.

It isn’t hamstrung by having to start the story, or introduce characters, Episodes 1 (The Phantom Menace) and 2 (Attack of the Clones) have already done that and so it’s free to just give you action, adventure and a decent narrative story line. The reason I think the movie works so well, and is easily the best of the it’s trilogy, is that it is nothing more than a bridge. It’s story simply links that which went before to what we already know in the future. It’s doesn’t have to invent the plot, rather link two together. Read more

Film Review: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones

Posted on by 5WC in Film

So we jump forward ten years from Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace and arrive at a time when everything has changed and yet somehow stayed statically familiar. Episode 2 – Attack Of The Clones instantly feels connected to what has gone before it but because the characters have aged also feels removed. Watching them so close together you can feel that they naturally flow into each other, but also that they are basically two independent stories.

Sadly though, while I sense their shared history, I just fail to really buy into Attack of the Clones. Everything just feels to necessary. Forced together to fit a bigger picture rather than being a coherent story. It also swings wildly between action and romance and neither really convey the strength to carry the film. The fighting too weak and unsatisfactorily simple, the romance too dandelions and buttercup meadows. Read more

Film Review: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Posted on by 5WC in Film

When a story is created out of sequence it’s hard to know whether you should watch them in cinematic or chronological order. Do you watch Lord of the Rings before The Hobbit? Should you watch Episodes IV, V and VI before the prequelling I, II and III?

I, however, arrived at the Star War franchise in numerical order. My first foray into the work of the Republic, Jedi and Jabba the Hut came with pod racing, Jar Jar Binks and a boy named Anakin. Which means that whatever anybody says about it and about where it ranks in the franchise as a whole, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace holds a dear place in my heart. Read more