Archive | November, 2012

Hunger.

25 Nov

Steve McQueen’s (no, not the blue-eyed baseball bouncing Great Escaper) directorial debut sets out to shock and emotionally destroy its audience from the outset. In fact by the end of ‘Hunger’ it is hard not to have drawn on every single human emotion. Happiness, sadness, shock, admiration, pity, compassion, anger….the list goes on and on. It does not however choose a side, nor does it attempt to portray its main character, a Mr Bobby Sands, as a villain or a hero.

It is a film about humans, humans trapped within a certain political institution, in this case specifically Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison, where the humanity transcends over the politics to allows us an insight into an examination of the human psyche and the reasons/beliefs behind someone’s decision to starve their body in the ultimate form of protest.

Although Hunger’s subject matter is deeply complex and extremely chilling it is by no means current or assigned column inches as a sought after piece of political history. It would be easy to assume that the film may not be so emotionally effective if it wasn’t based on true events, but then, you watch it.

Admittedly the films beginning could well be a representation of how the word ‘bored’ came into being, particularly for those of us raised in a viewing world of fast-paced edits and the invention of the Blockbuster, but after 10 minutes or so you are drawn into a raw, gritty and sickening world. It draws on the unwatchable/watchable parallel that despite what you are seeing is making you nauseous, your eyes and entire being are glued to the screen.

Undoubtedly the main reason for this is Michael Fassbender. Much like Bale in ‘The Machinist’, Fassbender sacrifices a lot more than his time to the project – the gradual deterioration of his tortured body is almost impossible to watch – and by giving us a compelling insight into the complexity of Bobby Sands character and mind, he proves that he is one of this generations most talented actors, with a powerful presence on-screen.

Despite its more art-house appeal – not many ‘mainstream’ films would opt for a 22 minute long scene in which the camera remains stationary – Hunger is simply a film that needs to be, no, has to be watched. If not for Fassbenders perfect performance, or for McQueens incredibly compassionate and unique storytelling, then for the men and their families whose lives this film is based on, and for a piece of history that should simply never be forgotten.

Verdict: ‘Bored’. Intrigued. Captivated. Disgusted. 22 Minutes. Compassionate. Sickened. Astonished. McQueen encapsulates everything that should be right with cinema – a rollercoaster of emotion that leaves you completely satisfied. A true masterpiece.

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22 Nov

I have been really “busy” watching films lately and over the next few days I will be working on some reviews for the following films:

Warrior  –  Shame  –  The Room  –  J.Edgar

Keep an eye out.

Aside

Big Thumbs Up.

15 Nov

Thank you everyone who has visited my Blog so far and read the articles I have written. Hugely Appreciated.

We Will Always Remember

11 Nov
Rememberance Sunday – A day to remember those brave people in the First and Second World Wars, whos lives were turned upside down when National Service knocked on their door. They fought for this country without choice and laid down their lives so that ours would remain safe, and ensured that Great Britain would remain Great. Alongside those that fall around us today in this unstable world, we must remember the ones who ensured we still have a world to live in. My gratitude and pride for those lost souls is emmense. As everyone around the world will be saying today – Thank you.

You can’t handle the Truth.

7 Nov

As I am sure you will discover along this long and ‘most excellent’ journey, I am a huge fan of documentaries. Not just ones made for television but the elaborate and vibrant few that make it into our cinemas so that we can enjoy the revalations alongside a nice salty flavoured side of popcorn. As we head into Christmas and then 2013, a huge number of documentaries are being sent our way, some being on the more controversial side – David France’s ‘How to Survive a Plague’ approaching the subject of how AIDS has become a manageable condition rather than a death sentence – and some simply to fill us with awe and wonderment, like ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’ featuring the original 1980’s skateboarding dream team that included Tony Hawke and Steve Caballero.

Some of my favourite documentaries are those of Michael Moore, of which I’m sure I will recieve some criticism as his standpoint and style of film-making can often seem biased and propoganda-esque, but if not for the completed projects, there are so many incredible moments and insights into humanity to enjoy. Take for instance this interview with Marilyn Manson which is extracted from Moore’s 2002 film ‘Bowling for Columbine’ about the Columbine School shootings and its effects on America.

It is undeniable that even out of complete context this form of film, the raw documentary interview and style, can have a huge effect on the viewer. This is why even if I disagree with a premise or an idea I still emerse myself in this world created by truth-seekers, intelligent researchers and journalists, hoping to come out of it with my eyes and ears ever so slightly more open.

This is why I have put a few trailer links up at the end of this piece for the documentaries that I am most excited about, including the afformentioned, so that you can hopefully do as I do and indulge yourself in the ‘truthful’ world.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

4 Nov

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Apparently the answer is no longer Ghostbusters. For this will be the second franchise that is hoping to be saved by the one, the only………If you smeeeeelllll what the Rock is cooking………Mr Dwayne Johnson. For the Fast and Furious this combination worked perfectly, Johnson sizzled on screen, providing adrenaline and traction to a sequel whos predecessors had gradually run out of steam (and/or petrol). My fear however is that not even The Rock can save John. M. Chu’s latest film, G.I. Joe: Retalliation.

The latest installment that is based upon the 1964 issued action-figure G.I. Joe, sees the very average Joe’s not only fighting against Cobra (remember that bad guy from the first film) but fighting for their safety and that of the general population, which is supposedly being threatened by their own U.S government. Now you may be able to tell from the slightly sarcastic tone of this blog entry that I am not a fan of the first dolly inspired movie. In fact, for me, it was one of the worst films I have seen. Sloppy storytelling, bad characterisation and indecent special effects all made for an uncomfortable and frustrating watch. It is therefore a fear of mine that the second will be of a similar calibre.

Now you may disagree with me, you may be thinking that surely Chu, the man who brought us the 2011 classic ‘Justin Bieber: Never Say Never’, will get this one right, but lets be completely honest, it is highly unlikely. The just released trailer does instill a few ounces of faith however as it does look like a good action film, with much improved SFX and plotline. My only hope is that it doesn’t break these trailer-promises so that then G.I Joe: Retalliation can be added to the short list of ‘sequels better than the film before them’.

And if all else fails, Bruce Willis is also in the film. Yippie-ki-yay.

G.I Joe: Retalliation is set for deployment 27.03.2013.

Under Construction.

3 Nov

I find myself perplexed and excited by this shiny new world that I find myself in, yet somehow I feel like I have come home. I have been on WordPress for just two days now, thanks to a recommendation by a friend who is an incredible blogger (when I discover how to link her page in to this post, I will), and so far I love what I see.

 

For a long time I have wanted a space to write down all of my opinions about my top passion – Films – and now I have found it. Tumblr was great for a while but I always became sidetracked by pretty pictures and amusing cartoons, so I am hoping that this blog will remain slightly more professional! Focus Amy, focus!

 

Obviously though, as I have only been on here for a short time, I’d ask you all to bare with me while I get the page up and running. I have a few ideas already about what I’d like to do, currently I am working on some bite-sized trailer reviews which I hope to group together for all of you to entertain yourselves with. I’d also like to attempt a personal ‘Top 20’ – 10 seeming too small for my insanely wide taste bracket.

 

But whatever happens with my blog, I am sure that along the way we will all have fun. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

El Orfanato (The Orphanage)

2 Nov

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It’s Thursday and I am enjoying a well earned day off from work. In order to use my time wisely I have arisen early to fill the day with pleasure, which essentially means watching films that I have not yet seen. First up, just for a light start to the day, Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘El Orfanato’ or better know to the English tongue as ‘The Orphanage’.

Being many years since its release, I have read and heard a lot about the film, many proclaiming it is the scariest horror movie they have seen, others expressing their joy at the ending. I agree with the latter.

We are thrown into a world that is in upheaval, a family dealing with the pressures of adoption and HIV whilst they move into a new home – the orphanage in which our main protagonist Laura, was raised when she was a child. This world is further complicated by otherworldy happenings within the house that lead to the disappearance of the couples adopted son Simon.

Due to the information that I have unconciously accumulated in the past 5 years I expected the film to be extremely scary, and it is. However it is scary less in the sense of your typical horror movie and more in the sense that you feel pain and fear for a family being ripped apart by a supernatural phenomenon. The editing, lighting, set and stunning score help to create a feeling of isolation and desperation so that we are really with the family throughout every emotional deterioration. There are a number of ‘hide-behind-your-hands’ moments, cliches if you will, but rather than being an overwhelming presence, they are small in number and so beautifully placed within the story.

The films overall tone is one of anticipation and hope. The film from its unnerving begginning through to its mournful end, is extremely moving. The actors are flawless, creating emotional response with the audience through simplicity and realism, and Del Torro once again cements his place in the directorial Hall of Fame. This film is a must see, a soulful restbite amongst the barrage of shallow modern horror, one that can be enjoyed by everyone. Even if it is behind your own hands.

 

Copyright Amy Evans

‘Killer Joe’ – McConaughey has never been a lost cause.

2 Nov

‘Killer Joe’ – McConaughey has never been a lost cause.

I have forever been an ardent fan of McConaughey since the first time I curled up on my sofa with a blanket and nibbles to watch the superbly adapted John Grisham thriller ‘A Time To Kill’. His acting ability is beyond most of his generation and for some unbeknown reason he has opted to do what seems like a 24 episode television series of rom-coms. Don’t get me wrong these rom-coms can be enjoyable, I love nothing more than to watch love grow on screen, but it is the darker, edgier roles that McConaughey does best.

I am yet to watch this film but the trailer and its reviews are incredible, and amongst this summers daily dosage of ‘Blockbuster’, it is the off-the-wall Indie films I look forward to the most, never disappointing and bringing the viewers back down to earth from the CGI heavens. McConaughey looks set to shine in this piece, as he does in ‘Lincoln Lawyer’, ‘U571’ and ‘Frailty’ and I just hope that he sticks to this path as it is undoubtedly what suits him.

Snow White and the Hunstman

2 Nov

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(Insert obvious opening line about a mirror here)…And who is the fairest of them all? Certainly not first time director Rupert Sanders with his début based upon the beloved fairytale of Snow White. OK, so I know what you are thinking. First time director, give him a break right? Wrong. Sanders has managed to pull in a whopping A-list cast and an incredible team around him including Oscar winning producer Gloria S. Borders and BAFTA award winning art director David Warren to name but a few, but he has left his audience with a poisonous after taste from biting into his shiny red apple.

Snow White has its moments, mostly coming from a few perfectly scripted and well acted epic speeches and the films heart pounding soundtrack courtesy of James Newton Howard most noted for Pretty Woman and The Dark Knight, but it falls so short of a great summer blockbuster even though the stories new direction is really interesting and it is what drew me in. It portrays Snow White as a fighter, a warrior who with the help of her huntsman (Hemsworth) and the seven dwarves, hopes to avenge the untimely death of her father at the hands of the evil Queen played by Charlize Theron. The only problem is that for this warrior, this woman who needs to show conviction, power and emotion they decided to cast Kristen Stewart who lacks all of the aforementioned qualities, and although fits the part aesthetically, simply does nothing to prove that she has what is takes to fill the iconic shoes of Miss. White which is a real shame. Hemsworth is a worthy huntsman however and aside from oozing with sex appeal he once again cements his place in Hollywood as one to watch, filling the screen with bursts of emotion, subtle humour and strong leadership. The most notable scene from the film comes from Hemsworth declaring his love for Snow White before he kisses and awakes her from her deathly slumber, which is delivered with such emotion and truth it will have every woman wishing for a similar fate. Theron is the true star of the show though as the evil, cold, calculating, malicious, unappreciative, powerful, vengeful and callous Queen Ravenna. She is utterly superb, delivering a performance that at times due to scripting comes across as a little exaggerated but ultimately satisfies and holds the audiences attention.

The special effects in Snow White and the Huntsman are also definitely worth noting. They are not perfect and are in places worthy of a disgruntled facial expression upon viewing but they have their moments, predominantly with the effects bestowed upon the Queens phantom army. The dark knights are essentially a manifestation of Ravenna’s power and are sent to fight the Kings army at the films beginning so that then the King can discover her in their ‘captivity’. The effects come from the dark army being killed as, when struck, the knights shatter into a million dark grey shards. It simply looks stunning and luckily the effect is repeated later on as it is possibly the best part of the film.

Overall Snow White and the Huntsman is much like a huge bonfire. It ignites from the use of bellowing speeches and beautiful costume design, it’s soundtrack crackles between the intricate flames of the storyline and it roars with some solid performances and decent special effects, but ultimately it is very wooden and by the end all you are left with is ash and a thick unpleasant stench in the air. This apple may be shiny on the outside but looks can be very, very deceiving.