Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

SF: I wasn't too keen on seeing this film, especially as I'd heard very mixed reviews about the book. Thankfully I need not have worried. This film is excellent. The acting is engaging and never over played, the story compelling and the direction spot on. Yes I saw a few things coming but it didn't matter. Well worth a watch. 7/10

50Eggs: n/a

DonkeyB: Another literary adaptation, another plot device to allow narration. This time I haven't read the book so the device might be in the book. However, this makes a more interesting counterpart to 0D30 than The Great Gatsby. Very good; interesting, thought provoking people should see it. It's not perfect- there are parts which seem a little trite and it falls back into cliche once or twice- but it's a film that's trying to be about something and it has an opinion. 7/10

Overall: 7/10

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Great Gatsby

SF: As a novel The Great Gatsby really is a masterpiece. I've seen a few different takes on it over the years so my opinion is going to be very tainted. My first impression was that visually this fulfills everything a Baz Lurhman film alludes too. There are plenty of points that I thought really captured the mood of a particular scene. But for all its glitz and glamour the subtle character driven core is sadly lacking. This is a mere silloete of a superior work. The more I think about it the more I find missing. Suffice to say DiCaprio and McGuire do fantastic jobs, no doubt in another interpretation I would have loved this entirely. However to me The Great Gatsbty was more than we are shown in this pale, overly long offering. 3.5/10

50 Eggs: Good things: the soundtrack is inventive and clever, the visual style is interesting (several shots looked like paintings) and Carrey Mulligan manages not to stink up the screen for once...in fact I'll begrudgingly admit that she is pretty good in this. Bad things: the story is on the dull side. I accidentally took a micronap and my foot spasmed into the back of the chair in-front of me. 5/10

DonkeyB: Ech. I should start by saying that I love the book. It has a pretty good case for being the greatest novel ever written, it is certainly one of the best five I have read. I have seen the 1974 Robert Redford film version. I have an audiobook version with Tim Robbins reading..... Last year SF and I attended a London staging of Gatz the Elevator Repair Service's staging [reading] of the complete unabridged text over 8 hours! I like it... alot. That being said the plot is really not all that important- it's a basic melodrama which wouldn't be out of place in your average soap opera- it serves the same function as the plot in Shakespeare or an opera, its only there to hang the art on. In that respect it is not really filmable.

I deliberately didn't read or listen to reviews before I went to see it, here is a rare occurrence where I felt like I had the required skills to judge the merits of the film and it wasn't just hubris on my part.

Parts of the film look fantastic (literally), however the green screening is a bit shonkey; from about halfway through the actors all looked cut out and stuck on the out of focus background, which is exactly what they were. The film itself is frustrating: the overall impression you get is that no matter how much Luhrmann loves the book- he didn't get it. The parts of the film which deals with the parties are pretty well done, but its pretty clear Baz thinks these are what his film should be about! Mr Z's soundtrack I hear has been contraversial but it really shouldn't be, I thought it worked well.

PLOT SPOILER not sure how to discuss this without giving away part of the plot (which isn't important remember so carry on reading), it appears that Baz thinks the Great Gatsby is a morality tale in which the upstart, nouveau riche, millionaire bootlegger gets his comeuppance for all the wild parties he threw and drags everyone he encounters down with him. Whereas the book is subtle and haunting and sad, the film is loud, over the top and simple. It is quite frustrating because I think DiCaprio genuinely understands Gatsby the character, but also what the book is about. I just don't think Baz does. It is not terrible it just isn't The Great Gatsby. 5/10

Overall: 4.5/10

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Star Trek - Into Darkness

SF: Enjoyable second instalment to the Trek reboot. I think most fans will be pleased with how this turns a few things about. Like its predecessor, a nice blend of action, humour and twisty sci-fi plot surprises, what more could you ask for? Cumberbatch pulls off his villainous role perfectly and does anyone else wonder if Chris Pine is wearing lipstick? Chances are I'll go see this again and soon. Which is all I can say without spoilers 8/10

50 Eggs: I don't know why it's called 'Into Darkness', but no matter, this is really good. The action is brilliant and the story pleasingly 'Trek', even continuing the split reality theme of the last film. The only downside is that it cant quite live up to its immediate predecessor as it lacks the surprise factor...also I'm pretty sure there is a plot hole that I've yet to solve by scanning the FAQs. Still, a great addition to the series (so much better since the reboot), and I'm adding a point on as I saw it in Imax 3D - it looked amazing. 9/10

DonkeyB: I think it is called into darkness because its in 3d (for some people) and therefore by definition darker. Before you consider my review you should know the following: I've never seen any of the first 10 Star Trek films (in fact I wasn't really aware there were 10, in my mind I knew a few existed- if you asked me to put a number on how many I'd have guessed 4), I've never seen an episode of any of the tv series all the way through and I saw the last film on a plane and probably fell asleep because I don't remember anything about it. So here's what I thought, the plot was difficult to follow but that's a good job because its ludicrous. It is funny in places- mostly Spock who in my (informed only by popular consciousness) opinion seemed perfect. There is an unnecessary undressing scene for one female character to rival deep blue sea (the shark one). It looks pretty good, but it should have been called Star Trek- "get out of my face with that camera", because I was constantly trying to lean back as every shot looked zoomed in. The captioning and subtitling are oddly positioned. It is TOO LONG. There are two too many endings. There are lots of shots which make you think that Abrams was rehearsing for Star Wars, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some Trekky people hate this film with a passion because it is much more of a space action film than anything with any intellectual weight. All that being said cumberbatch is annoyingly brilliant as usual and I wasn't bored. 7/10

Overall: 8/10

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Evil Dead

SF: As a fan of the original, this was going to have work very hard to impress me. Firstly, at no point did I laugh. The point of Evil Dead was that its soo over the top its funny and yet very creepy. Secondly this is just your bog standard uber violent horror. If that is all you are after you won't be disappointed. Recent offerings mean that cinema is littered with these run of the mill films. In its favor I might not sleep for a while. However this it is not what an Evil Dead remake should be. Perhaps if I had nothing to compare it to I might have liked it a tad more.  Sadly it looks like comedy horror is becoming a lost genre. There are better offering out there 5/10

50Eggs: The remake of a film I haven't seen that inspired one of my favourite ever films, 'Cabin in the Woods', was always going to be a difficult one to review. But to keep it short; I liked it. The set-up contains a few of Horrors usual 'why are you doing that?' moments (i.e stop reading from the creepy book!) but equally comes up with a fairly believable mechanism for why the cast don't just leave at the first sign of trouble. That helps to keep you invested throughout the build-up and to then have sympathy for the characters during the absolutely relentless, eye watering violence that follows. 8.5/10

DonkeyB: n/a

Overall: 6.75/10