Saturday, 26 November 2011

My Week With Marilyn (2011)

Running Time: 99 mins
Directed By: Simon Curtis
Starring: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Dougray Scott, Dominic Cooper, Julia Ormond
Screenplay: Adrian Hodges
UK Release Date:
25th November 20111 - UK

Quick Plot: In 1956, the gorgeous Marilyn Monroe arrives in the UK to shoot The Prince And The Showgirl, directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier. A young production assistant, Colin Clark, gets a life changing week when he becomes a close friend of Miss Monroe.

Review: For me, I was always interested in seeing My Week With Marilyn as I am a huge fan of Michelle Williams and the lady herself, Marilyn Monroe. I can't say I've seen enough Monroe films for my liking, but I've seen enough to know what a talent and inspiration she was and still is.

Based upon two memoirs by Colin Clark, the film centres around Monroe's insecurities behind the camera and her relationships during 1956. Sir Larry soon realises that asking Marilyn Monroe to star in his film was a mistake after she is constantly late on set, incredibly dependent on her acting coach and highly prone to sick days. As expected, Branagh nails his performances as Sir Laurence Olivier who at first hopes to woo the gorgeous showgirl but instead is aggravated by her and her acting coach. With a few outbursts both funny ('but why can't you get here on time for the love of fuck!') and not so much, he gives a remarkable performance and is sure to wrap up a nomination for two in a few months time.

Without the press that circulated films back in the 50s compared to today, it's not fully certain what is and what isn't true about Marilyn Monroe's career and life style, so for some, My Week With Marilyn is heartbreaking discovery about one of the most famous actresses ever. Absolutely perfect casting was done for Williams as Monroe because not only does she look the part, she plays is beautifully. By going all out into perfecting each character inside the woman, Williams successfully wins over the audiences in the film and us with the glamorous, passionate actress and the lonely, frightened little girl Marilyn was. Michelle Williams obviously set out to faithfully portray the role but she also added her own charm Monroe. Meanwhile, Eddie Redmayne isn't necessarily a stand out performance in My Week With Marilyn, but he should not be forgotten as he has come a long way for his role Colin Clark. Clark's innocence begins to disappear when he falls in love with the show girl, but of course, the naivety is still there and Redmayne's portrayal of Clark is magnificent.Other British talents such as Dench, Ormond and an American Cooper give as great a job as always as well as Watson's small, pretty appearance in a few scenes.

One of the memoirs cleverly titled 'The prince, the showgirl and me' is proof alone that the relationship between Clark and Monroe was something similar to a fairytale. It's a tragic love story. It's a true account but it's something a lot of films storyline are based on. Unknown man/lady...big Hollywood actor/actress and a love affair. There are no sex scenes, but the passion shown between Monroe and Clark's affair is enough for the film to be a believable, true, love story. Williams and Redmayne's chemistry helps push the beauty of this relationship onto the screen and in the end it falls into a heartbreak.

It's not spectacular and nothing major happens as most things are either well known or seen coming but the performances are all extremely charming and keep you interested. It's definitely a film for critics and film lovers and it's going to have a lot of award nominations in the next few months. No doubt for Branagh and Williams.

Stunning performances which draw you into a very complicated yet important part of Marilyn Monroe's life and career.

My Week With Marilyn trailer
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Monday, 21 November 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Running Time: 117 mins
Directed By: Bill Condon
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattison, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen, Billy Burke, Anna Kendrick, Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Ashley Greene
Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg
UK Release Date:
18th November 20111 - UK

Quick Plot: The penultimate installment of the Twilight Saga and Bella and Edward have got married. After a night of passion, Bella finds herself pregnant with a half-human-half-vampire baby; but it's killing her from the inside as Bella's body can't cope with the strong fetus.

Review: I admit, it wasn't so long ago when I could have qualified as a Twi-hard. I have read the books, owned a poster or two, constantly had battles with myself over team Edward or Jacob; but then after the hype of the films got out of hand, I tried to distance myself from the franchise. It helped that I didn't like the film for Eclipse. However, I find myself moving back towards my twi-hard days after seeing Breaking Dawn.

I had such low expectations of Breaking Dawn because of the awful reviews it has received over the past week, so I really was expecting a laugh out loud fest. But because of my low expectations, I think I enjoyed it! The first 30 to 45 minutes anyway. I have no shame in saying that the wedding scene is stunning and that I could now probably count it in one of my favourite wedding scenes ever. Then after that, it's purely a romance film with Bella and Edward; which I think is why I liked it. The pair certainly have chemistry and it was an absolute delight to see them together.

With the exception of Taylor Lautner, most of the cast in Breaking Dawn are all really great actors and they did their best with what they had been given in the script. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson deserve a lot more credit than they are given for their roles as Bella Swan and Edward Cullen because it's not their fault that the characters are badly written. Pattinson, in my opinion, played Edward the best he ever has out of all four films. He's made him more than just an uncomfortable stare and really given him a lot of emotion in Edward this time round. As most critics have mentioned, Stewart's Breaking Dawn Bella is more sophisticated this time round and the lip biting has finally stopped! She deserves a lot more recognition for this film out of the four films too. It's a shame that actors such as the lovely Anna Kendrick and Billy Burke didn't get as much screen time as we all probably would have wanted, but I guess they're not important in this story. Nevertheless, the pair definitely owned most of the laughs at the beginning with their wedding speeches.

Breaking Dawn was always going to be silly because the whole concept of the book is silly. This is probably more of a criticism for the book but the film still went along with the stupid, intense build up to nothing that the book had. I completely hated the ending of Breaking Dawn and will forever hold a grudge against Stephenie Meyer for ruining the series for me. This is why I can't say I'm looking forward to the final part, even though I so badly want to be excited. Unless the whole ending is changed, then yes, I might look forward to seeing it but the only reason for me to see it is because of the actors who deserve it.
Other parts I enjoyed were the sweet flashbacks and references of the previous films, especially Twilight. It may have been my twi-hard phase but I straight away noticed the two or three tracks of the soundtrack that were brought back from some of the most memorable scenes from Twilight. It was quite heart warming to feel the same feelings I felt when seeing Twilight for the first time. Even though I like Breaking Dawn for trying very hard with the visual effects, this film is probably the worst for the wolf effects. I couldn't help but laugh at a scene between the wolf pack where they can hear each other's thoughts but instead can only growl. There are other visual effects that I understand have to have been used to show a certain part of Bella's body working, but it all felt too different from the others and stood out as quite uncomfortable and prolonged.

Breaking Dawn isn't half bad at all. It's .5 better. Not the worst one but not the best. Just enjoy it.

Breaking Dawn trailer
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Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Rum Diary (2011)

Running Time: 109 mins
Directed By: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Johnny Depp, Richard Jenkins, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Rispoli
Screenplay: Bruce Robinson, Hunter S. Thompson
UK Release Date:
11th November 20111 - UK

Quick Plot:
Journalist Paul Kemp decides to move from New York to the island of Puerto Rico where he writes for the local newspaper and begins a flirtatious relationship with Chenault, the fiancée of a pompous business man Sanderson. It's not long before Kemp realises that Puerto Rico isn't what he had expected.

The Rum Diary was worth the wait. It has taken nearly 50 years to get published, adapted and then filmed and it's certainly worth that time. But although it is great to finally see it, I can't help but feel let down with it. Johnny Depp is ideal for the lead role of Paul Kemp and, even though the character is fairly younger than Depp's real age, he can pull it off. We've seen him in enough different roles for Kemp to be an easy character (compared to the likes of Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, etc...).
However, acting wise it's Ribisi who gives the best performance in The Rum Diary as Moburg, another reporter for the newspaper. With his wacky enthusiasm and obvious drink problem, he adds the humour even if it is a little deficient. Amber Heard is merely used for her appearance and, although it works, when watching her in play Chenault you kind of want her to have more of a input to the story.

The Rum Diary does have a funny hint to it which is mostly the situations Kemp and his friends get into. With a very witty script, the characters have fantastic come backs for their situations which makes the film likable. Most of the jokes centre around Kemp and other characters drinking habits but the big laugh out loud moment is the car scene, which I'm sure everyone has heard of by now. There are a few more creepier scenes involving voodoo and cock fighting, but there's not enough focus on them to give them anything more than laughs. 
The 120 run time was definitely noticeable as the film seemed to go on for a longer time than that. It takes it's time to really hit off and become fun which is all down to Heard and Ribisi's entrances, then closer to the end, the film starts to fall down again. Though if you stick with it, I'm sure it's enjoyable but it's certainly not for everyone.

Funny and entertaining. At one point you'll feel as if it's dragged, whether at the beginning or end. Depp delivers what he usually does and, for that reason, the film works great.

The Rum Diary trailer
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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Tower Heist (2011)

Running Time: 104 mins
Directed By: Brett Ratner
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Michael Peña, Alan Alda
Screenplay: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson
UK Release Date: 2nd November 2011

Quick Plot: After the downfall of 'business' man Ponzi, the pension and money of hard workers of a high rise block in New York are lost. Josh Kovas, fellow workers and a squatter team up with a criminal in order to get back what is rightfully theirs.

Review: With a very 'cool' cast, Tower Heist should evidently be a cool film. Sadly, this is not the case.
Though the cast are great themselves, Tower Heist doesn't give any room for them to adapt to give a funny atmosphere for the audience to be in. Instead, they work very well with what they've got to give the best they can and overall there are probably about 4 or 5 funny moments with only about 1 or 2 really funny moments. Before you start thinking that this means Tower Heist is rubbish- read on. The terrific cast saves it, because of their charisma (Affleck and Broderick mostly) and overall it's not a bad film at all.
Until Stiller has the heist idea, the film is moderately slow and painful to watch with the exception of a very funny Peña (who's part in 30 Minutes Or Less earlier this year had me in stitches). Then a very angry Stiller has a little scramble with Steve McQueen’s sports car and a golf club, which is probably one of the best scenes in the film, and not because it's funny. Tower Heist then moves slowly again until Murphy is picked up and with his foul mouth and hilarious character. That being said, Murphy does not get anywhere near as much time on screen as he should and therefore the film is at a lost cause.
Once the action does pick up it's obvious that the laughs are coming from Affleck and Broderick- like I mentioned. Affleck providing most of the jokes without his character meaning to and Broderick being pretty normal though effective. Alan Alda is also funny with his attitude in the mischievous character Ponzi - it's very easy to hate him.
This isn't a film of performances though. Just a regular film and it lacks any wit in the script and any charm in the characters themselves meaning it's just basic.
Though it seems extremely fun once into the story, the feeling is lost quickly after. Technically it's saved by the cast, but even they can't win it over fully. Yes you'll have fun watching it and every now and then you'll chuckle. But from some of the comedy brilliance 2011 has shown, Tower Heist is forgettable.

Tower Heist was never going to be fantastic and that being said, it's pretty average. It's a shame the actors aren't given more to work with. Though at the times it seems fun, it's easily forgettable 10 minutes after it's finished.

Tower Heist trailer
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