Sunday, 29 April 2012

The Avengers (2012)

Running Time: 143 mins
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston
Screenplay: Zak Penn and Joss Whedon
UK Release Date: 26 April 2012

Quick Plot: Earth is under attack from evil frost giant Loki, so Nick Fury realises it's time to round up the S. H. I. E. L. D crew of Iron Man, Bruce Banner, Captain America, Thor and co. in hope to avenge the earth (pun intended). Although throwing together a bunch of different superheroes might not run as smoothly as earth hopes.

Review: It’s every teenage boys dream come true. The greatest superheroes known to film are finally together and protecting mankind on earth in Marvels, The Avengers. Waiting for what seems like decades, Joss Whedon has grasped every ounce needed to complete the Marvel film to a fan boy’s expectation.

There’s nothing else quite like the Marvel cinematic universe, so the film itself is very cleverly crafted, with actors from other films and references left, right and centre it makes the film part of a famous series. Yet, it also stands alone as one of the greatest superhero movies to date. With four of the main character’s backgrounds already represented to us through 5 films, The Avengers starts in the deep end and the audience is already on the good side. Even if you haven’t seen the likes of Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk before (but if you haven’t, where have you been?!), enough is explained through short remarks and tiny flashbacks that everyone is up to speed and in the know of what exactly is going on.

The earth’s in trouble and Nick Fury knows it’s finally time to call in the big guns; the lost in time Steve Rogers, billionaire Tony Stark, the two men in one Bruce Banner, Thunder God Thor and S.H.I.E.L.D’s dangerous assassins Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton.

With more than one superhero on the scene, you’d expect the film to drag in certain areas and race through with others, but their time is spread evenly and it’s exciting. Introducing each character to most filmmakers would be a time consuming task for a feature, however their stories are woven in the plot, with tension between them all, helping the whole film to flow as one.

The entire cast is the glue to the film and if even one of them was played by someone else, I find it hard to believe the film would be the same. Evans, Downey Jr, Hemsworth and Ruffalo are incredible, like always, making their own character genuinely real for the screen; Ruffalo especially, as he is the new actor on the scene as Bruce Banner. 

This is the Hulks finest hour and it’s clear that from the mixed reactions to his own films, the Hulk is the best when he’s with the team. Both green and in human form, Ruffalo has fitted right into the role, delivering an immaculate portrayal.

Then, there’s probably the best assassin duo in the world; Black Widow and Hawkeye. Though they’re more unknown, they piece together with the team and get some impressive, all-out action in the film. Hawkeye’s bow and arrow pieces, with very smart camera angles, are absolutely unbelievable and, super or not, stand out. 

Loki in Thor was evil enough, but Loki in The Avengers is so wickedly demonic that he’s actually perfect. No one can argue against the fact that Tom Hiddleston is fantastic and in The Avengers he steps up to levels that simply don’t exist for some actors, proving that Hiddleston can range to different characters. His malicious words and threats are gripping, while also leaving him on the receiving end to one of the film’s funniest moments. Loki fits the role for best villain ever.

Now The Avengers is nowhere near a comedy film, but the humour it does entail is absolutely pristine. Whether it’s Tony Stark doing his best Shakespeare impression, or the Hulk getting angry with Loki, laughing is quite simply unavoidable.

If I were to be picky, the flaw would be the robotic villains. But even then, with everything else going on, all together they make it brilliant. Each and every action scene throughout is spectacular and gripping; however nothing tops the final battle sequence. 

In all honesty, The Avengers only needed a few slip ups for it to become a letdown but, of course, this is Joss Whedon we’re talking about. With the most characteristic, visually stunning actors around today, The Avengers has it all; comedy, action and all round faultless superhero clichés. It’s an understatement to call it perfect.

The greatest superhero film is now in existence and you’ll be a fool to miss it. 

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Mirror Mirror (2012)

It's been over two weeks since I saw Mirror Mirror but nonetheless I wanted to air my opinion on my blog. However, with A Level work, posting on here isn't my priority and instead I've been adding to a 'what was good/what was bad' post instead of a conventional review. Finally I've finished and, after this little introduction, here's what I thought of Mirror Mirror.

What was good:

You could not cast a more perfect prince for Snow White than Armie Hammer. He’s tall, charming, handsome and features all the mannerisms of a prince. Hammer continues to prove that he is going on to become a tremendous actor and I think his performance as Prince Alcott really deserves a lot of praise. When he needs to be charming; he's charming. When he needs to be a hero; he's a hero. When he needs to be a puppy; he's a puppy. (And when he needs to be topless; he's topless!)

Mirror Mirror is a film for more than one performance though, Julia Roberts is equally fantastic. Her evil queen is really evil but had a pantomime-y comedy to her which makes the film very pleasant to watch as a family film. Nathan Lane is hilarious too, which isn't surprising. There's a definite side kick humour just in his voice and movements, always seeming weak but coming out on top.

'And the award for best costume department goes to...' Visually, Mirror Mirror is stunning. I can't quite think of a film, out in the last few years, that features costume with such refined detail and sheer beauty that the gowns in Mirror Mirror have. I mean, look at the picture of Lily Collins with a swan on her head and Julia Robert's gown. The first is completely bizarre, but both are gorgeous! The colours are vibrant and bold, keeping to the fairytale charm and fitting in to the fairytale family genre.

Alan Menken producing ANY film score will always work for me. I adore everything the man creates (being a huge Disney fan) and it always fits together with a film perfectly. Mirror Mirror isn't Disney, but there is something about it which reminded me of the always happy ending, disney flicks. It's very sweet.

What was ok:

Being both quite good and sometimes flat, are the seven dwarfs. I like the basis of each of their nontraditional names, habits and appearances but their jokes are the same throughout, never really lifting up. Their introduction to the film as the bandits is very comical and their fresh personalities do make for a family viewing as it's very hard to not laugh at some of their jokes.
Up until the last quarter, the dwarfs serve their purpose in the film as the funny bunch who help Snow. But once she's found her rhythm in getting back her throne they kind of just deflate.

The random song and dance at the end. Even though it adds to the spontaneity of the film, I don't think it fitted in. But it's really catchy (I know, I've listened to it more than once since I saw it) and is a nice little fun add on to the end.

What was not as good:

The weak link for Mirror Mirror is, sadly, Snow White herself. Lily Collins lets Snow be very pretty and sweet, but that's about it. She's not anywhere near as likable or compelling as Prince Alcott or the Queen and Snow's scenes, with the exception of the last 15 minutes, lack excitement. With what she's been given, Collins does gives Snow a good try in the more nontraditional, fight scenes and it's not that the character is unlikable. But when Roberts and Hammer make the Queen and Prince really quirky, fun and pleasing, the Princess needs to be more than that to shine. Collins will have her outbreak soon I'm sure, but Mirror Mirror doesn't allow her to stand out.

Despite my little criticism of dissatisfaction at the end, I enjoyed Mirror Mirror a lot. I found it fun, cheesy in places, cute and everything a Grimm fairytale tale needs to be in a film. After finding the trailer amusing in a bad way, I'm glad the film went on to surprise me because deep down, I kind of knew it wasn't going to be rubbish. There are a few places I could pick out that didn't work, but overall it's worth a watch.

However I am excited to see how Snow White and the Huntsman will compete later this year.

Mirror, Mirror 3.5/5

Mirror Mirror trailer
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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wrath of the Titans (2012)- review

Running Time: 99 mins
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, Toby Kebbell, Edgar Ramirez
Screenplay: Dan Mazeau, David Johnson, Steven Knight
UK Release Date: 30th March 2012

Quick Plot: With the war between gods and Titans continuing, Perseus the son of Zeus, must join with other half Gods to free his father and save the gods from the prison of Tartarus.
Review: With the amount of money it made, it was no surprise that a sequel to Clash of the Titans was knocked up. Obviously, the Clash makers wanted the same result and have secured this by introducing a few new cast members, adding curly hair to Perseus, oh, and producing some out of this world, glorious CGI and 3D.

Set a few years after Sam Worthington's legendary defeat of the Kraken, Perseus declines his father's offer to live with the Gods and remains on earth as a human. With his wife killed off before Wrath begins, Perseus struggles as a fisherman and a single father, refusing to pray for help from his relatives. Neeson's Zeus quickly enters asking for help from his son as the God's immortality is at risk. Confusion arises within the first ten minutes over the array of different accents. Perseus Australian, his boy British and everyone else either British and/or American. The confusion is forgotten soon after with a small Perseus vs. fire breathing demon battle, which sets the pace of the film; bewilderment, among a blend of careless dialogue followed by extreme CGI Titan fights.

Killing off the delightful and forever charming Gemma Arterton in the first, consequently brings Rosamund Pike as the female focus for Wrath, to create an appealing, attractive likeness to the male implied genre. Pike, like Arterton in Clash of the Titans, does all she can with the material she's been given, but she's not used to her best ability causing her performance to lack engagement. Having a small soft spot for aussie Sam Worthington, I will watch him in any film, but his passion for Wrath of the Titans isn't nearly as exciting as his enthusiasm must have been for Avatar, causing Perseus second time round to feel a lot like the first time. Clearly, Toby Kebbell is used to add a bit of comedy and like the rest of the cast, delivers the fun he can but his appearance and the use of jokes feels like Agenor was created with Russell Brand in mind.

Yet with the mess of the script and the absence of anything exciting, the effects are completely exhilarating. Many people were disappointed with both the film and 3D conversion in the first film, but this time round the 3D is something to enjoy. With fire, Cyclops’ and spears being thrown right into your face; Wrath of the Titans is worth the 3D. Personally, it’s one of the best 3D film’s I’ve ever seen.

Though visually and technologically the film is and will be a financial success, there is nothing mentally engaging.


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Sunday, 1 April 2012

March viewings

March was a poor attempt at cinema viewings for me. But I saw quite a range of films on TV and DVD for the first time.

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) 5/5
The Raven (2012) 3/5
Son Of Rambow (2007) 4/5
Chalet Girl (2011) 3/5
Warrior 4.5/5
American Beauty (1999) 5/5
Tyrannosaur (2011) 4/5
Battle Royale (2000) 4/5
The Hunger Games (2012) 4/5
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) 3.5/5
Geek Charming (2011) 3/5
The Ides Of March (2011) 3/5
The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) 3/5
Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee (2009) 4/5
Forever Young (1992) 2/5
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