Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Film Diary 20-03-13

With the non new movies I watch I am going to group them together in one post as a movie diary, unless I think a certain movie or maybe a few movies deserve their own post.

Depending on how many movies I watch, the movie diary will probably be a weekly post, or a twice weekly if I watch a lot. It will consist of smaller reviews than the main reviews.

I may not include all the movies I watch here, the ones I dont include I probably dont really like or feel I dont have much to say about.


Second watch for the is it/isn't it Alien prequel. First time round, it was disappointing, but not as terrible as everyone claimed it was. On the second watch I am pretty much the same with it. Alien prequel status aside, as a stand alone movie it is a very average Sci-Fi movie with decent enough story and effects but lacks major originality and anything to really pull you into the story.

The story is simple enough, scientists discover a map left behind from possible our creators and with the financial backing of a large company they head out to discover their origins.

But when they arrive on the planet they discover everything is not what it seems.
Like I said this is a so-so movie, it looks good, it feels like it belongs in the Alien universe but it doesn't at the same time.

The performances are what you would expect in a movie like this, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba are fine but are not given too much to do. Naomi Repace is good but feels like she is a little too good for this movie but the outstanding performance is Michael Fassbender's android David, he emotionless but clinical performance  with a bit of childish fascination with everything thrown in is the best thing about this. The rest are just fodder really.

                      "Big things have small beginnings"

But it is the story itself that lets in down, if they hadn't spent as much time on the 'engineers' and the so called discovery of the origins of mankind and actually made it more of an Alien prequel it would have been much better.

While there is loads of hints and nods to the Alien movies, that's all they are, hints and nods, and this should have been a return to that universe.
As I know they are making a sequel to this, I will be curious to see if they move closer to the alien movies or just continue like this.

Rating: 2.5/5


Directorial debut of Brandon Cronenberg, son of David. And it is very clear from this debut that daddies movies are a huge influence, though I doubt he calls him daddy.

And while he is very influenced this is by no means a cheap knock off, this is a very confident and talented film maker.
The influence of his father is clear from the story and feel of the world Brandon creates.

Our main character Syd March becomes infected with a virus that kills one of the most famous celebrities and must unravel the mystery of her death to try and save himself.

The world in which Syd March occupies is a bleak and oppressive world that idealises celebrities to the point where a whole industry has grown collecting and letting people experience celebrities diseases. also this world let you eat meat injected with celebrity DNA.

Now I could bang on about Cronenberg's cynical look at celebrity culture, but even from the synopsis of the movie that is obvious, it is easier to talk about Brandon Cronenberg himself or more importantly his abilities as a film maker.
He creates a world that as I said, is oppressive but also clinical and rough at the same time. Everything has a minimal quality and a sort of polished roughness to it. And while none of the actors really shine or stand out, although I did like the main actor, Caleb Landry Jones, who does a very good job of looking on the verge of death throughout the movie, the rest do the job required f them to further the world.
Overall very solid debut and looking forward to more from him.

Rating: 4/5


                "Death to Videodrome, long live the new flesh!"

After watching Antiviral I was in the mood for a bit of Cronenberg and what better way to get a fix of Cronenberg than Videodrome. And it was the first Cronenberg movie I had ever seen so it was a nice bit of nostalgia.

James Woods plays a sleazy TV programmer who soon gets caught up in the out of control future of TV interaction.

Woods is great as a man who thinks himself untouchable and soon finds himself being dragged into and manipulated into something beyond his control and ability to understand.

The story aside it is the style of the movie that appealed to me when I first saw this. That and what has become a trademark of Cronenberg, body horror. And with a simple phase within the movie it was defined, "long live the new flesh". But he uses body horror in a way that was different form the type of movies I was watching at the time, late 80's and early 90's schlock horror, with little to offer apart from overused stories and styles. But then I saw This, and it was like a revelation, It had story, style and good original effects and designs.

I really would like to do a 'Director's Spotlight' on Cronenberg in the future as I am a huge fan of his style.

Rating: 4.5/5


I cannot remember where I heard about this movie and I cannot remember if it was recommended or not but I thought I would give it a go anyway.

Low budget tale of a superhero group being tormented by their arch-enemy.

Cant say this is a great movie but it is not a bad movie, there is a lot of potential here. the style is simple but confident, and while the performances are poor, they seem to fit the overall style of the movie.  
the most positive thing is the score which sounds like it belongs in a much better movie.

I can see what the makers where going for, trying to bring a mix of Watchmen and Saw but fails, maybe due to budget and performances but it show potential and maybe with a decent budget and some guidance this could be remade into something quite good.

Rating: 2/5


Classic stuff from Spike Lee here. On the hottest day of the year a series of trivial events lead to racial tensions and underlying bigotry boiling to the surface and exploding in violence.

It has been a long time since I watched this, and that is something I wont let happen again, this movie is so good it deserves to be watched regularly. Spike Lee's story and direction are so confident and pinpoint perfect here as he knits together what at first appear to be a bunch of trivial events. But Lee uses certain characters to join these events together and a larger story soon unfolds.
A lot of characters are quickly presented but each plays their part in this little micro world that is literally at boiling point as the weather and there own bigotries boils to the surface.

It's hard to talk about the story as it is just little encounters throughout the day, mostly following Lee's Mookie as he delivers pizza for Danny Aiello's Sal, an Italian pizzeria owner in a predominantly black neighbourhood.

While the story is great and the way Lee ties all the little bits together is fantastic but what I was in awe of this time around was his direction. The flowing camera as it follows characters around, especially Mookie. And every scene is busy, there is always something going on, even in the background, someone is doing something that might not be important but really gives you the feeling that the neighbourhood is bustling with life.

Every character, ad there are many serves a purpose, to comment like a Greek chorus or to antagonise. While the end result is slightly nihilistic and inevitable  sympathy cant help but to be give to characters that are pushed to boiling point by external forces. Aiello's Sal is the prime example of this, while he tries to help his so be a better person and seems to genuinely care about the neighbourhood, however, when challenged his natural prejudices come to the surface. 

I cant wait to watch this again, and take in everything.

Rating: 5/5


I have watched this several times and really enjoyed it each time, but can never remember it long after and am not sure why. It is a good movie and very funny in places. The cast is solid and Ben Stiller is great in this. 
But why can I never remember it a few weeks after seeing it? A mystery!

Ben Stiller plays a neurotic adoptee searching for his real parents as he tries discover his identity. He heads out on the road with his wife, new baby and someone from the adoption agency.
Mix-up with the real parents, sexual tension and the inclusion of some gay married FBI agents make for a fun an very funny road trip.

Rating: 3/5


Another rewatch, but this time its a movie I knew I would really enjoy on rewatch. 

I think by now everyone knows the story, two 'tributes' from poor districts are sent to the capital to compete in a tournament to the death, The Hunger Games.

This was one the biggest movies of last year and well deserved its success. The story is good and well flushed out, the characters given enough time to develop and grow and the world build is subtle to begin with but soon expands as the story moved to the capital.
But the real success is the performance from Jennifer Lawrence, she inhabits the character of Katniss perfectly.
The supporting cast are good too, Woody Harrelson in particular is solid and Josh Hutcherson is fine too, doing his job but no more.
And while this is only the first part of a three part story it works as a stand alone movie and works very well.

Once the story moves to the contest itself, the action is swift and well done and is paced perfectly, hitting all the beats necessary to reflect the book. 

I am very much looking forward to the next part.

Rating: 4.5/5

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