Tuesday, 31 January 2012

January viewings

I've only taken two cinema trips this month, but still watched a few films for the first time on DVD or TV which are worthy of a mention.

Revolutionary Road (2008) 3/5
My Cousin Vinny (1992) 4/5
Brighton Rock (2010) 3/5
The Muppets (2012) 4/5
The Graduate (1967) 5/5
His Girl Friday (1940) 4/5
Couples Retreat (2009) 2/5
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) 3/5
Kill List (2011) 4/5
The Brothers Grimm (2005) 2/5
Like Crazy (2012) 3.5/5
Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) 4/5
Annie Hall (1977) 3.5/5
Pin It Now!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Like Crazy (2012) - review

Running Time: 90 mins
Directed By: Drake Doremus
Starring: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley, Alex Kingston, Oliver Muirhead
Screenplay: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones
UK Release Date: 27th January  - UK

Quick Plot: While at college in LA, British student Anna falls for American student Jacob and overstays her visa to be with him. After visiting her family in England, Anna finds herself unable to enter America and is deported. Forcing the couple apart, they battle timezone differences, new jobs and friends to try and maintain their love for each other.

Review: A film focusing on the realistic power of young love is rarer than first thought. Drake Doremus’ Sundance winner Like Crazy grasps a truly believable story between a young couple as they come to terms with being apart after a summer of passion and sweet romance.

Shot with a held hand camera and a script mostly improvised by the actors, Like Crazy is realistic enough that it feels almost like a documentary. It’s as if there is a real Anna and Jacob who went through a long distance relationship. It could even be argued that there is, as Doremus revealed the story is based on his and co writer Ben York Jones own experiences of when they were younger. However, mostly it’s easily relatable; looking at a real life setting, characters and events, there is at least one part of Like Crazy people have been through or will go through in life.

Even though the premise of the film is easy to follow, it’s Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin who keep the story alive and engaging. By being given a rough outline of the story by Doremus, the pair delved into the characters minds and aspects using a lot of improvisation to bring Anna and Jacob together. Alone, they are great however on screen together are their best moments as little dialogue is needed. In simple touches, eye contact and actions they overpower the film in tenderness with not a clichéd line or moment in sight.

Like Crazy has the perfect balance of acting talents, while the main focus of the film remains on the leads, Alex Kingston and Oliver Muirhead make a fine add on as Anna’s parents in a small role with a lot of meaning.

Without Jones and Yelchin’s passionate chemistry, the improvised script and gentle, realistic feel from the camera angles wouldn’t be enough for the film to survive as a sweet, indie romance. Luckily, their acting is the glue to it all, keeping it together over a few shabby moments. There are obvious flaws in the plot, where character decisions are foolishly considered or the rush of the story jumps from heartache to happiness and back again. It seems romantic that Anna would not return home in line with her student visa but realistically, you’d reconsider it as two months away from Jacob to then return without overstaying the visa is better than being deported and not being able to move back for a few years.

Furthermore, at times the characters seem irritably conceited and reckless. Actress of the moment Miss Jennifer Lawrence and a not so twilightly Charlie Bewley are used respectively as contrasts to Anna and Jacob as each one of the pair’s new interest in LA and London. They gain a lot of sympathy by being dumped and taken back when Anna and Jacob want them, which makes the lead characters a little off-putting and less relatable.

But it’s the realism the film holds which makes it so captivating. It’s not a sweet, happy tale of young love but an honest one. The couple’s strain after being separated is heightened in many ways over missing each other’s calls, questioning the trust of each other when they are absent and then once reunited.

Playing out away from the norm of romantic dramas, Like Crazy is about real young love and the print it leaves on all of us.


Like Crazy trailer
Pin It Now!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Oscar Nominations 2012

It's that time of the year again! Even though I haven't posted anything about awards for the last few weeks, I felt the need to blog and say something about the Academy Awards nomination.

This time last year I was overjoyed at the fact I had seen 8/10 Best Picture nominees but this year I find myself not being able to share a real opinion having only seen 2/9. But I'm still going to (irreverently) comment and * my choices to win...

Best Picture
The Artist*
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

- Ok so I know I haven't actually seen The Artist yet, but I want it to win. I've heard such great stuff about it, not just from critics, and it'll be glorious to see it win! As an unpopular opinion, the Best Pic category looks 75% decent. Hugo and The Tree of Life were beautiful and I'm sure War Horse, Midnight in Paris are too. Though, I have absolutely no idea what Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is doing, seeing as it currently stands at a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.2 on imdb. I didn't think The Help was particularly Best Picture worthy either. What about 50/50, Drive, Shame and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?

Best Director
The Artist - Michel Hazanavicius
The Descendants - Alexander Payne
Hugo - Martin Scorsese *
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen
The Tree of Life - Terrence Malick

-This looks a strong category! (But no Fincher?) Having only seen two, I can't really decide out of them all but know that each of these are definitely honourable. But for me, I want Marty to nab it. I adored Hugo and was very happy Martin won the Golden Globe.

Best Actor
Demián Bichir - A Better Life
George Clooney - The Descendants
Jean Dujardin - The Artist*
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt - Moneyball

-I don't knowwww. I'm happy Oldman has been nominated which could be another unpopular opinion, but again, even though I haven't seen it, I like the idea of Jean Dujardin winning but it will be close with Clooney of course.

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh - My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Nick Nolte - Warrior
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Max von Sydow - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

-I don't have a preference for Best Supporting Actor. I've only seen My Week With Marilyn from this list and even though I thought Branagh was excellent, it could really be anyone. From a friend I've heard Beginners is fantastic and Plummer's Golden Globe was agreed with. It'd be great if Jonah Hill won though- imagine!

Best Actress
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis - The Help
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams - My Week With Marilyn*

-Queen Meryl has it in the bag, but I'm still completely taken by Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. She really got into the role and performed it well so she's my favourite. If Rooney Mara wins I might cry of happiness because she's adorable.

Best Supporting Actress
Bérénice Bejo - The Artist
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer - The Help

-Even though I haven't seen The Help, I feel Chastain's nomination would be better for Tree Of Life, but her role in The Help has had a lot of buzz around it. I like the idea of McCarthy being nominated, but not winning it. This one is going to be tough to call.

Best Animated Film
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2*
Puss in Boots*

-I'm gutted because each year, I've pretty much seen all of the nominations for animations but this year I've seen one. ONE. I'm appalled at myself and don't think Rango lives up to winning anyway. Heard good things about Chico & Rita, Panda and Puss and don't quite know what A Cat In Paris is. I'd be happy for Dreamworks to win so either of them two.

As for the rest, I will cry tears of joy if Man or Muppet wins best original song. For over a week now I haven't got a day without singing it in my head (sometimes out loud). Rio was very catchy though.

I feel like I've slacked with listening to film scores this year. Not one of the scores I've downloaded which I've liked from a film are nominated so I have no idea.

For the complete list of nominations, click here.

The nominations this year are a bit...meh. I mean, some are obvious winners such as The Artist and The Descendants. Hugo leads the list with 12 nominations so I really hope it does well.
Others are shocking. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for starts and then Transformers 3 with 3 nominations? What is going on?!

No Ryan Gosling? Fassbender? Shame or Drive for Best Pic? Do the academy not want them both to attend the ceremony looking handsome in suits, etc? Ok, their good looks aside, their performances have been praised by critics but they're obviously too good for the academy..
Also very shocked there is nothing for Tilda Swinton in We Need To Talk About Kevin. Something's not quite right.

watch the Oscars hosted by Billy, as I'm quite a youngling, so I am very much looking forward to this!

The Academy Awards are on Feb 26th. Be sure to check back a few days after to see my thoughts on the event.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Muppets (2012) - review

Running Time: 103 mins
Directed By: James Bobin
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Kermit the frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie bear, Walter, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones
Screenplay: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller
UK Release Date: 10th Februrary 2012 - UK

Quick Plot: After being a fan of The Muppets for his whole life, young Walter ventures to LA with his older brother and his girlfriend to experience The Muppets tour! To his dismay, he is greeted by a ghost town and an evil businessman, Tex Richman, who plans on destroying the studio to dig for oil. Walter is determined to bring the gang back together and raise money before Richman gets to the plot.

Review: It's been almost 12 years since a Muppets theatrical release, although it feels as if no time has passed at all! In quite possibly the most feel good film of 2011, The Muppets is entertaining, bright, quirky and a great deal of fun.

It's absolutely glorious to see Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzie, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang back together on screen. There is an abode of unexpected nostalgia surrounding The Muppets from the moment the first song is acted out, causing smiles from the familiar scent of a Manha Manha's and Being Green. In a family movie world surrounded by 3D and CGI, The Muppets is fresh but it does not stray far from the previous franchised films altogether. On screen, the beaming presence from the actors, and matched vibe brought over from the director, make it clear this new Muppets film was crafted by passionate fans of the Muppets legend.

Jason Segel will forever be praised for bringing The Muppets back on the big screen and, better yet, he's grand to watch alongside them. Segel's singing isn't half bad and paired with the ever so delightful, Disney favourite, Amy Adams; they complement each other to give a full hearted performance in musical numbers and their sweet character relationship. But as expected, The Muppets are not over shadowed, being central to all of the attention they do what they do best; sharing the third best gift- laughter. Was that cheesy? Yes. But is it true? Absolutely. New kid on the block Walter has everything that defines a Muppet; a perky mind set, distinctive voice (by Peter Linz) and even a signature song, but it’s Walter’s exhilarating affection which makes him so likable. Children will adore the newcomer as he represents many kids, mostly big kids, across the world as a diehard Muppets fan. It’s a shame the pinnacle of the film for Walter feels unsatisfactory, however gloss that over with the hilarity of his better moments and it’s soon forgiven.

Like any Muppet movie, it's full to the brim of celebrity cameos, which is entertainment enough. Some of the appearances are completely unexpected and there's no other response to seeing them but to laugh. Perfectly timed, perfectly chosen, overall it’s one of the greatest parts of The Muppets. Most of the cameo roles, who are obvious pals of Segel and co., continue to bring light on screen with their appearances (Emily Blunt especially), because their madcap characters are obviously some of the most fun they have endured in a film.

Unsurprisingly, the soundtrack stands as the heart and soul of the entire film. Full of upbeat, cheery tones bringing genuine enthusiasm and fun to the Muppets, it's impossible not to smile at the musical numbers. Then, in the usual Muppet manner, most of the musical numbers delve into comedy- in particular the fantastic 'Am I a Man or a Muppet' performed by Segel and Walter.

The icing on the cake for The Muppets is that collectively it isn’t perfect. There are moments where a few jokes feel repeated and certain characters start to become dull, but as soon as The Muppets starts to feel low it shoots right back on top with an epic musical number, sweet cameo or touching awakening for a character or two.

Fans who have anticipated the return of the Muppets will consequently be overjoyed in this resurrection while unhappy folk who don’t obviously won’t. Remember, Life’s A Happy Song.

The Muppets trailer

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


So it's 2012. My second year with my blog!

When I started off, I didn't expect to still be posting after a month, as I usually give up with stuff like this. In the first year I have received just over 14000 views and I still can't believe it. I didn't think I'd get anywhere near this much recognition with my posts, so thank you to every single person who has visited, even if it has just been to read one blog post or just voted on a poll- it means a lot that people have taken their time out to visit my blog.
Not only that, I have been lucky in the response and opportunities I have received in 2011. I got the chance to help out Lionsgate with The Hunger Games by participating in testimonials about the books and what I am hoping for from the film. I got a chance to see The Lion King in 3D a month before it's UK release from Disney which I am extremely lucky and thankful for. Back in August I attended (I brought tickets myself so it wasn't an opportunity) a day at the Empire Big Screen which was fantastic! There I met a fellow film blogger iamnotwaynegale and have since been very happy to write a few words about trailer releases over at her site for the past few months. James King reviewed a review I made for a Virgin Media Short back in November which is very overwhelming to think of, I am very lucky.

Reviewing each film I saw at the cinema last year what a bigger task than I expected. But I'm glad I persevered because by looking at my first review (don't look too much, it's awful!) and my last one, I can see a clear improvement in the way I construct my reviews. My writing has improved the most which is my main achievement. I still have a long way to go before I am at any type of professional standard, but I'm happy with how I have progressed.

This year I hope to continue in writing reviews and hopefully more film related posts. A few new polls, some film news here and there and some round ups of winners and events at awards season! I am aiming to review cinema releases like I did this year, but with my 6th form work and exams, it's going to have to be second priority. My plan is to still review a film even if I don't end up posting it a few days, weeks or even a month after my viewing. Instead of new releases, I will also aim to write a few reviews of films I see on DVD or TV as I adore old cinema just as much as upcoming releases.

Who knows what 2012 will bring! Un-film related, I have exams in a few months, my first plane journey and a big birthday towards the latter of the year. As for films, I'm mostly excited for my big 5- The Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spider-man, The Avengers, The Hunger Games, The Hobbit as well as Brave, Snow White and the Huntsmen, Prometheus, Dark Shadows and The Perks of being a Wallflower. Then there are other, smaller, films which I am anticipating.

Here's to 2012! If you are still reading then I hope you have a great 2012!

Happy Feet 2
On Christmas Eve I saw Happy Feet 2 but because of Christmas, I had no time to write a review. In case anyone is interested in my view on the film...
I enjoyed it. The baby penguins are cute but it's nowhere near as good as the first film. It broke records the first film and you can see why. The second feels too much similar and at parts it just felt over repeating. I laughed at it though because of the krill (Matt Damon and Brad Pitt) they were hilarious. Probably unneeded but they did their job right. My younger cousins enjoyed it which is all I'm happy about.
Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...