Film Review: Armageddon

Posted on by 5WC in Film

When I relaunched this blog, I wasn’t planning to restart writing film reviews. I haven’t put down my quill of opinion, but found previously, sharing my thoughts caused some of the love of film I hold to be lost. I reached a point where I was watching a film so I could write a review, rather than writing a review because I’d watched a film. It had become a job I felt obliged to do and taking a step back was the only way regaining the enjoyment.

Watching Armageddon, however, I felt I had to air my thoughts. It is a shockingly awful film, but at the same time, it is wonderfully brilliant. It sums up, exactly, the reason I started writing film reviews. I would joke that I was fed up of listening to critics, waxing lyrical about how a director had “invoked the imagery of a 4th century Rubicon painting, while combining the thinking and philosophy in a lexicon of hybrid ideas, with the left wing Neoplasmic tones of the 16th century French romanticist Dubois”. When, in fact, I’d really spent 2 hours watching animated cats! All I wanted to know was if I went to the cinema, and spent £10 on a ticket, would I enjoy it, or would I be wasting my money? Read more

Goodbye Film, Hello TV Box Set

Posted on by 5WC in Television
Television Box Set - Header

You may have noticed that for a blog which was fast becoming nothing more than an apparent daily film critique things have slowed down a little, and also, become a bit more varied. The reason is simple: I haven’t been watching as many movies. In fact, it’s been nearly two months since I last watched a film at home, and in that time I’ve also only averaged a trip to the cinema once a week.

The reason is I was watching too many films and therefore, writing so many follow up reviews that my enjoyment in them completely waned. I would watch them but concentrate on my thoughts, emotions and responses rather than the narrative and the plot. I would focus on what I was planning to write rather the story on offer. I truly reached a point where it felt like a job and when you’re not being paid you have to ask yourself “what’s the point?”. Read more

Film Review: Black Swan

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I’ve spoken before about how I find it fascinating how your reactions to movies can change over time, over mood and over life experiences. That a film that you once thought poor or emotionally removed can suddenly create sensations and responses far beyond from any memory you may hold and Black Swan has become exactly that type of film.

I first saw it not long after Natalie Portman picked up her Academy Award for her performance as Nina/The Swan Queen. People were raving about it as a work of exquisite film making and emotional story telling while lauding Portman for her the technical brilliance. And I sat there and watched it and just felt detached. I remember feeling cold and uninspired by this dark and warped tale that seemed too extreme and polar in the story it told, the characters it used and world it conveyed. I knew it was good but I didn’t understand why you’d enjoy it. Read more

Film Review: Young Adult

Posted on by 5WC in Film

There can be no question that when it comes to Mad Max: Fury Road, it is Charlize Theron who steals the show. So impressive and central is her performance that a lot of people are even arguing that it is in fact, her movie rather than Max’s! But this limelight seems odd, because she’s an actress that I have always felt has snuck somewhat under the radar. An A-List name who shies away during a film. Her filmography is impressive: The Cider House Rules, Men Of Honour, The Italian Job, Snow White & The Huntsman just a few example, and also the films I own, yet thinking about them, I struggle to remember her roles with any clarity.

I also own Young Adult, in which she takes the lead, and once again I remember nothing about it, or her. But having seen her stunning performance in Mad Max I was somehow drawn back to it. Wanting to remember, prepared to take the risk. But there was just something a little uneasy in the back of my mind, the box art, the title, all seemingly implying a cheap, throwaway comedy and that unease grew when the opening titles rolled and the name: Patton Oswalt appeared on screen. Read more

Film Review: 50/50

Posted on by 5WC in Film

When it comes to finding a topic with which to poke fun at and use as a foundation for a comedy Cancer is probably not going to spring straight to mind. In fact, I’d even bet that there are people out there who feel that it should be constantly off limits, that it is wrong to even imagine laughing at a life touched by the illness, let alone actually doing so.

But that’s exactly what 50/50 does. It takes the difficult and distressing subject, one that people find painful and instantly sobering, and reminds you what is important. That no matter how broken the bigger picture may seem, it’s the little pieces that create it. Those happy memories, moments of compassion and simple jokes that make us who we are and give us the strength to live our lives. Read more

Film Review: (500) Days Of Summer

Posted on by 5WC in Film

If I’m honest I had no real desire to watch (500) Days Of Summer. In fact I had almost completely forgotten it existed or that I owned it until I was writing my review for Almost Famous, and when looking up Zooey Deschanel’s IMDb page saw it referenced in her filmography. But even then it wasn’t enough to draw it back into my life. It simply planted a seed.

And that seed germinated purely by chance because I was essentially, running late. I needed something fairly short to watch before heading to bed. That or accept a late night, and I like my sleep too much these days. So, while scanning back and forth across my DVD collection, it jumped out like a sore thumb, it’s name slightly framed thanks to my recent musings, and on inspection at only 91 minutes long, fitted my running time restriction perfectly. Read more

Film Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Posted on by 5WC in Film

On paper this should be an absolute winner. The opening to Stieg Larsson’s mammoth Millennium trilogy, directed by Hollywood heavyweight David Fincher and backed with a seriously impressive cast list. There is so much potential to like that it appears the only real debate is the actual need for the film. After all, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and it’s sibling sequels, already exist in well received native Swedish versions, but the success of the books meant that a wider, English version, was always going to be made.

This is only the second time that I have seen Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, and I remember the first time around being so encapsulated by the story and the film that I actually went out and bought the book of The Girl Who Played with Fire because I wanted to know, as quickly as possible, how the story continued. Read more

Film Review: Greenberg

Posted on by 5WC in Film

There is a movie currently showing in the cinema called While We’re Young, and if I’m honest I vaguely fancy seeing it. I quite like the look of the trailer, although I think it’s got a slight air of throw-away forgetfulness about it – today’s news tomorrow’s chip wrapper and all that – I’ve also heard it described as a cross between Greenberg and Frances Ha, and considering Francis Ha got stuck in my head to the point that I actually named it one of my top movies of 2014 I did wonder if I was potentially miss judging it.

It’s been a few years wince I watched Greenberg, and I didn’t really remember much about it. Truthfully, I didn’t remember anything before hand. But the fusion with Frances Ha (not actually that unsurprising considering that all 3 movies have been directed by Noah Baumbach) suggested that it would make sense to reacquaint myself with it; one in vague preparation and two, just general curiosity. 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