Film Review: Gravity

Posted on by 5WC in Film

There are plenty of reviews all over the internet from professional critics and amateur bloggers alike giving you every conceivable thought on Gravity. Whether it’s from the sublime to the redicoulous, the implausible to the technical breakdown whatever you want to know about Gravity shouldn’t be hard to find and so it seems a little bit pointless for me to spend paragraphs now giving you feelings on it.

I will quickly just say that for me, Gravity is a technical masterpiece, it is film making at the cutting edge of what is achievable. But, that is both a good and bad thing. I feel with Gravity that because they wanted to be a game changer, they wanted to make you completely rethink everything you know and feel about 3D they have essentially said “to hell with the plot, this is about 3D”. And so, you are left with a movie that doesn’t really make sense, and has a lot of parts that feel more like they are just there to allow them to show off what they can do visually and with CGI, than for any narrative or story telling purpose. On IMDB I gave Gravity 8/10 and I stand by that. It’s brilliant but it’s rooted so much in 3D that I don’t see how it’s possible to watch it in anything else. I can’t see how, watching it in 2D, where it would stand up only on its plot, you could ever enjoy it.
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Film Review: The Book Thief

Posted on by 5WC in Film

It’s been a very long time since I’ve come home from the cinema feeling as dejected and disappointed about a film as I do right now. Even The Monuments Men left me feeling better than this. There was just so much promise to The Book Thief that to have been let down this badly just feels almost unforgivable. Based on the novel by Markus Zusak and with a trailer that promised so much, that to me, promised a deep harrowing tale, to receive this as the end product, the final movie, is actually proving hard to put into words just how far the fall from grace, from the pedestal I created has been.

I had seen and heard reviews in the run up to getting to see it that it wasn’t as good as it should have been. There had been a familiar thread to opinion that implied that’d taken a 9 out of 10 book and turned it into a 5 out of 10 film. But I was hoping that it was just another case of a film, like The Railway Man for instance, which is draws upon a book for it’s inspiration rather than relying on it to provide every last detail and that as a result, both become virtually incomparable to each other but both able to stand on their own two feet.
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Film Review: Die Another Day

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Well I knew this day would come. It’s been creeping up on me, getting closer and closer, until last night, it finally arrived. I had reached Die Another Day. I don’t care how many Bond movies you watch, whether you secretly love Pierce Brosnan, or if you simply have the most masochistic personality possible, there is nobody out there who can possibly think Die Another Die is a good film. Because it isn’t.

Everything about it is just wrong. It was released in the middle of The Matrix trilogy at a time when film making, special effects and stunt works had essentially been turned on its head and revolutionised as a result of Neo dodging bullets and a 360 camera pan. As a result, you can see that the production team tasked with creating Die Another Day felt a need to embrace these new principles, to make Bond feel up to date and fresh in it’s style and cinematography and yet, they’ve failed so spectacularly that it doesn’t just ruin the movie, it makes it feel cheap.
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Film Review: Shadow Dancer

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I am still not 100% sure how I feel about Shadow Dancer. I certainly didn’t expect the type of film I ultimately ended up watching, but that is both a positive and a negative when it comes to forming an opinion and view as to where it’s actually any good. Shadow Dancer follows the life the of a single mother and IRA sympathiser who is turned into a MI5 spy; you can therefore, forgiven for thinking that this film has the potential for top quality action and gripping, tense twists that will leave you shaken to the very core. And based upon the reviews you’ll find online, from both the mainstream media and viewing public alike, things should fall that way.

Instead, what I found was a cold and sad story that never really wants to play with its audience but rather, asks that it audience to sit quietly and observe. It’s a library. What I mean by that, is rather than draw you and play with your emotions in a “cat and mouse” type of way as you’d expect, it simply takes you on a journey of reflection. It’s more a case of showing you just how pulled apart, and broken her life has become and how her loyalties can be tried, tested and examined by everybody around her and then simply asks the question of those watching: “how would you deal with all this?”.
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Film Review: The World Is Not Enough

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I have a problem with The World Is Not Enough. This movie is simply two things smashed together in the vague attempt to make a film that works and as shocking as this may seem, it doesn’t. There is a simple reason though why it fails so spectacularly to work. The two parts they chose to place together were the sound bite and the action stunt. So we have a film that limps sadly from stunt to stunt using a plot that wants to stand the test of time and leave you shaken not stirred.

Even the title demands to get in on the action.

But you shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, the opening sequence to the film sees Bond making one lines jokes about Swiss bankers and sexual innuendos about their female PAs which rather than pass flirtingly by, would these days have Bond arrested for sexual harassment in the workplace. Occasionally with a Bond film the opening sequence that feeds into the main titles can end up serving no relation to the rest of the plot and acts more as closure to previous story lines, but annoyingly this isn’t one of those times.
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Film Review: Broken

Posted on by 5WC in Film

According to the box it’s not only “Powerful, Gripping and Moving” (Virgin Movies) but also “British Cinema At It’s Best” (Shortlist) as well as, the Winner – Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards and hailing from Studio Canal it had everything going for it in terms of being a properly enjoyable indie film.

I should point out at this point, that when film buffs talk about “British Cinema” and independent films they are talking about films that have a production quality which falls a long way from the usual Hollywood big budget blockbuster. There is a grainy, cold, realism with which they are shot and usually, they portray life not through soap opera glasses but scary everyday acurracy to which you connect. If you want to know how good british cinema and independent film making can be watch films like Tyranosaur and Submarine. But be warned, they don’t portray life in the happy uplifting ways Hollywood would.
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The 86th Academy Awards (Oscars 2014)

Posted on by 5WC in Film, Opinion

Oscars Header

Preferring instead to get a decent nights sleep rather than sit through teary, overly long, thank you speeches I must confess that I didn’t stay up to watch the 86th Academy Awards. And the fact they were being broadcast exclusively on a Sky channel I don’t receive.

However, as I passed judgement on the BAFTA Awards last month, it seems only fair I give my humble opinion to the winners and losers on the other side of the pond.

So once again, without further ado…
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Film Review: Tomorrow Never Dies

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Well the 18th “mission” for James as the DVD likes to refer to it and amazingly enough, against most critics opinions, I think Pierce Brosnan brings Bond back to the screen in a way that works. Unlike GoldenEye where he seemed to be channelling his over the top inner Roger, this time his return is toned down and matured. This feels like a decent portrayal of 007. This feels believable.

Sadly though, where Brosnan improves other parts of the film falter. Mainly through the casting. Geoffrey Palmer as Admiral Roebuck is just one example. I’m sure that it’s a conscious decision with Judi Dench playing M, head of the Foreign Intelligence wing of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, that Palmer is used as the head of the British Navy but it does instantly force As Time Goes By into your head and that serves not as the lightheaded, pleasant nod of appreciation that I’m sure it is intended as but rather, as a distraction that lightens what should be a serious start as they set up the story and plot of the entire movie. They could only have made it worse by walking Phillip Bretherton out as Alistair!
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Film Review: Looper

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I’ve always had a slight preconceived idea that Looper was nothing more than a throw away action shoot’em up film best avoided. And I’m not sure why. Spend 30 seconds searching the reviews online about the film and you’ll quickly see that people rate it. IMDB and Metacritic both favour it and even the good Doctors’ don’t hate it. So where on earth I got the notion that it was best avoided I don’t know. So I thought it was about time to see whether the wider world was on the money, or in fact if my preconceived ideas would prove to be true and leave me with a wasted, disappointed evening.

And I can now say, with hand on heart, that as is usual with preconceived ideas, mine were wrong. Slightly. Well quite a lot actually. Looper is a good film but it’s a film with some faults. Firstly, the production team seem to have created a world that is confusing – it’s set 30 years into the future and yet time appears to have moved forward while going backwards. I know that technology now marches forward at a relentless pace that things may be invented in the next 30 years that fit the world they create but you never feel comfortable with that world. It never fits together. There is a sense that everything is dark and broken and run down; but at the same time everything is technologically advanced. The Mazda MX5 drives past the floating hover bike as it transverses the slums of the bankrupt city. It feels like a puzzle where all the pieces fit together perfectly but the finished picture just doesn’t make sense.
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Film Review: GoldenEye

Posted on by 5WC in Film

As quickly as things improved Timothy Dalton departed and in walked Pierce Brosnan, and sadly, Timothy forgot to hand back the blueprints for how to make a good Bond film. The opening title sequence to Brosnan’s reign, as he bungee jumps down the Dam before breaking into the Russian base just sum up exactly what type of Bond he plans to bring to the screen and sadly, it’s going right back to the bad old days.

It’s such a shame though because at the time, Brosnan was arguably one of the most realistic looking actors to play Bond. He looks like a soldier: he looks trained and he looks right. But then he throws this perfect fit away by channeling his inner Roger. The stunts become over the top, the one liners and stupidity become too much, and by the time the ubiquitous naked girl appears to usher in the opening titles everything has been ramped way beyond even 11 that you really question how they thought anyone would buy this. It’s just too unbelievable to be true.
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