Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween (1978)

Tom:
Halloween,1978,USA
Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence & Nancy Kyes
''Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.''

Forever imitated, never replicated.

John Carpenter's seminal slasher created an everlasting impact on the horror genre when it was released in 1978. Although Bob Clark's overlooked classic ''Black Christmas'' was released four years prior and innovated a lot of techniques used in this film, 'Halloween' is still recognized as the beginning and inspiration of a long line of slashers including 'Friday the 13th' among others, but why is this film recognized over 'Black Christmas' ? simple, because 'Halloween' is the pinnacle of the slasher sub genre.

The film features the film debut of Jamie Lee Curtis, who stars as Laurie Strode, A typical good girl who has to put up with the constant rambunctious behavior of here friends (P.J Soles & Nancy Kyes), on Halloween night, Laurie is babysitting as are her friends but little does she know that the embodiment of evil, Michael Myers an escaped mental patient whom was locked up for the murder of his sister at 6 years of age, has escaped and the small town of Haddonfield is in his wake.

The film features one of the greatest and most iconic horror villains in film, Michael Myers. The beauty of Michael is his lack of humanity, his lack of characteristics, his lack of emotion. Michael is a blank canvas, he is nothing, he is but a mere shape that represents pure evil.The character is so calculating and so terrifyingly intelligent, he never runs he just moves at a brisk walk,he simply knows that he is going to catch his prey. John Carpenter intentionally made this character unrelatable to audience members, its works as we can support what we don't fully understand.

When you watch 'Halloween' you realize just how great a Director John Carpenter was, especially when he was limited by a small budget. The film is so masterfully orchestrated and so terrifically photographed, Carpenter's placement of the camera is exceptional and he creates some of the most horrifyingly simplistic images put on film. I'll always be a Carpenter but hes career did fizzle out which is really a shame, but fortunately hes legacy features films like 'Halloween', 'The Thing' & 'They Live'. In addition to his directorial duties on this film, Carpenter created the classic Halloween theme, which is still enduring and still terrifying to this day.

Jamie Lee Curtis is terrific in her film debut, and is personally my favorite horror heroine. Donald Pleasence is also great in his small role as Dr. Sam Loomis, a role which would be stretched out in the sequels, He is the perfect Van Helsing to Michael's Dracula

Honestly, what can really be said about 'Halloween' that hasn't already been said in the 34 years since it release ? This is truly influential film-making and shows what can happen when imagination is more important than budget. An immortal classic and quite simply one of the greatest Horror films ever made.

*****

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Halloween III: Season of The Witch (1982)

Tom:
Halloween III: Season of The Witch,1982,USA
Director : Tommy Lee Wallace
Stars: Tom Atkins, Stacy Nelkin & Dan O'Herlihy
 
                                                     'They're fun, they're frightening and they glow in the dark.''

I have an odd obsession with ''Halloween III: Season of the Witch''. Its sheer absurdity and ridiculousness takes hold of you and demands multiple viewings just so you can realize its utter madness. I am a huge fan of John Carpenter's ''Halloween'', its one of my favorite films of all time and arguably the greatest slasher let alone Horror film ever made. A brilliant film, orchestrated with brilliant mastery and timeless cinematography. 3 years later there was ''More of the night he came home'' when 'Halloween II' came to cinemas. A decent enough sequel that seemingly saw the end of Michael Myers and the Halloween series, but no! Carpenter had originally envisioned Halloween as an anthology series and this third installment was the beginning of that, but fans of the original could have never expected what was coming their way.

Tom Atkins portrays possibly the worst film hero ever put on film,Dan Challis, a womanizing,alcoholic sleaze who moonlights as the worst father on earth. The man may not be able to save his marriage but he sure as hell can save Halloween from the stone henge stealing Irish!

You are unlikely to see a film quite like 'Halloween III' It is truly a once in a lifetime experience, The stars aligned when this film was being created. The film is perfect is ridiculousness, instead of a masked killer who represented the embodiment of evil, we instead get an Irish mask making company, who steals stone henge!and when the children watch thier Halloween commercial giveaway, the child's faces will implode and turn into snakes, insects and what not, How do you make that leap ? I'll tell you how, Crack and lots of it.

The are some timelessly campy performances here, As mentioned above Tom Atkins, hes great in a horrible unspeakable way (but hes mustache steals the show!). Character actor Dan O'Herlihy is so much fun here, you can really tell he knows what he is apart off and hes just letting go and camping it up, hes speech about the origins of Halloween is one of the films highlights.

Although not taking Directorial duties, Mr Carpenter is involved here serving as a producer and creating the music, this film another great 80's Carpenter theme.

''Halloween III: Season of the Witch'' is an unbelievable film, Is it good ? absolutely not but I love it anyway. Its campy fun,highly entertaining and has to be seen to be believed. The film really makes me wish I lived in the States so I could experience a Halloween.

***1/2

Monday, 29 October 2012

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Tom:
Killing Them Soflty,2012, USA
Director: Andrew Dominik
Stars: Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins & James Gandolfini

                                                                           "America is a business not a country"

'Killing Them Softly' is an intense, violent and intelligent thriller that has a lot to say about the current state of America. The film is Directed by New Zealand born - Australian Filmmaker Andrew Dominik, who with his first 2 directorial efforts has impressed many. In 2000, his made his directorial debut with the Australian film 'Chopper' and in 2007 garnered critical acclaim with the brilliant 'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford', his most recent film 'Killing Them Softly' reunites Dominik with 'Jesse James' star Brad Pitt, but this time instead of a historical 19th century Western, its a dark, drab little crime film, but what hasnt changed is Dominik's incredible craftsmanship and ability to create a compelling film.

Pitt stars as Jackie Cogan, a professional enforcer, who is enlisted to investigate the heist of a mob protected poker game hosted by Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta).

'Killing Them Softly' does not feature an elaborate plot summary, and that's a blessing. I've read of many who have been disappointed by the film because they entered expecting an action blockbuster with Pitt killing men by the twenty's with a shotgun. To be honest I had not seen a trailer for this film, I only saw the poster and a couple of screenshots before seeing the film. I was so thrilled when I discovered the film wasnt filled to the brim with senseless violence but with great dialogue and a character driven story, and I was utterly surprised when I Realized how 'Indie' this film felt. It really felt like an independent Australian film until the arrival of Pitt's Character.

On all technical levels, 'Killing Them Softly' is a success. As would be expected, Dominik directs the film  fearlessly and with sheer brutality, he doesn't pull any punches and while the film isn't very action orientated it does feature incredibly realistic violence, there is a beating scene in particular which has to be one of the most violent scenes on film I've seen in a while. I also thought Dominik wrote a very intelligent screenplay, while the film doesn't achieve a whole lot as a story, I definitely though it featured very smart and compelling dialogue and exchanges between characters throughout the film.

One of the films strongest points is its fantastic performances. Brad Pitt is as excellent as always and really does a great job in this role. Relatively newcomers Ben Mendelsohn and Scoot McNairy are absolutely fantastic and really hold their own against such established actors. James Gandolfini isn't bad and I understand his character's purpose but I'm not sure he was really right for the role and his payoff is a little disappointing. Ray Liotta always does a great job and takes some brutal hits throughout the film, and I have grown to believe that Mr Richard Jenkins can do absolutely no wrong (excluding Step Brothers) the guy is just brilliant and can elevate a film with his mere presence, a brilliant actor.


In my mind 'Killing Them Softly' is a great film, sure there really isn't much of a plot and it is filled with political subtext (not necessarily a bad thing) but it is so compelling and so well orchestrated and features terrific performances. Absolutely one of the years best films.


****

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Days Of Heaven (1978)

Tom:
Days Of Heaven,1978, USA
Director: Terrence Malick
Stars: Richard Gere,Brooke Adams & Sam Shepard


''I was hopin' things would work out for her. She was a good friend of mine.''
 
Terrence Malick's 'Days Of Heaven' truly embodies the beauty of film. The film is only rivaled by the likes of Stanley Kubrick's ''2001: A Space Odyssey'' & ''Barry Lyndon'' when it comes to the most beautiful and awe inspiring imagery ever put on film.

The film tells the tale of a brother Bill (Richard Gere), His sister Linda (Linda Manz) and his girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams) who he refers to as his sister to prevent misconceptions. After Bill is fired from his job at a steel mill the three travel across country until they,along with many others, find work on a farm owned by a farmer (Sam Shepard), who falls in love with Abby and asks her along with Bill and Linda to stay on the farm after all the seasonal workers leave. The Farmer is terminally ill so Abby decides to marry him in order for the three to inherit his money when he passes. The Farmer eventually becomes of their plans which creates a love triangle.

With a plot like 'Days of Heaven' features, The Director Malick walks a thin line of easy falling into melodrama. Luckily the man knows how to prevent that as he puts more emphasis on the atmosphere,the tones and the environment rather than the performances and characters, which is a large risk but Malick is able to orchestrate it to near perfection.

Malick has gained as much criticism as he has admiration over the years, Mainstream audiences usually complain his films are too slow or too pretentious and self indulgent. To me, this is a moot point, Terrence Malick creates unforgettable experiences, truly unique films that have the ability to divide audiences and be talked about for decades. 'Days Of Heaven' is a perfect example of that, The film has been ridiculed on one hand for being a 'chore' to watch, and hailed on the other hand as a masterpiece of cinema, Personally I'm one of those hailing it.

A masterpiece on all the technical levels, beautifully photographed, Incredible cinematography, solid performances and very well executed by Malick. Richard Gere gives the performance of his career, Sam Shepard is great as is Brooke Adams, and the young Linda Manz is very good.

The film is truly an enthralling and beautiful experience and one that I cant recommend highly enough. The film truly captures your imagination from the first frame to the last, and willing to take the journey you will have one of the greatest experiences film can provide.

''Nobody’s perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you.''

*****

Night and Fog (1955)

Tom:
Night and Fog (Nuit et brouillard), 1955, French
Director: Alan Resnais
Narrator: Michel Bouquet

"Those of us who pretend to believe that all this happened at a certain time and in a certain place, and those who refuse to see, who do not hear the cry to the end of time."

Powerful, Horrifying,Heartbreaking,Haunting,Unforgettable.

"Night and Fog" is the definitive film of The Holocaust. In 32 minutes we are taken on a journey through the darkest time in human history.

Only 10 years after the Last of the concentration camps closed, Director Alain Resnais and Jean Cayrol give us an unrelenting and incredible look through the most notorious concentration camps with some of the most graphic footage to ever be witnessed. Scenes as decap

Francois Truffaut once called this film the greatest film of all time, How can that be argued with ? In my view there will never be another film that could replicate the everlasting effect of this film. We can never stop what happened but we can remember the Jewish who lost their lives to a ruthless Power hungry dictator and his sadistic henchmen.

"Night and Fog" is a haunting experience, but its an experience that has to be taken. You make never shake the effect from this film, It is truly something that has to be witnessed no words can truly describe ''Night and Fog'' , This is a brave film because it dealt with an issue that the world would have rather forgotten.

*****

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Shining (1980)

Tom:
The Shining,1980, USA
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall & Danny Lloyd
''No sir, You are the caretaker,you've always been the caretaker, I should know, I've always been here.''

NOTE: This may be a highly sentimental review as this is the film that changed my life.

To fully explain my love of this film I have to go back to the beginning. I was struggling in year 8 around four years ago, I didn't really have anything to get me through, but I did enjoy watching films. One Night my Father brought home a copy of 'The Shining' for $4.95 from Video Ezy. He had never even seen the film so I'm not really sure why he purchased it, maybe because the cover featured the famous image of Jack Nicholson in the ''Here's Johnny'' scene. It was around about 8:30 at night and possibly in a moment of misplaced arrogance I thought I could finish the film before going to bed so I put the film in the DVD player, 11 minutes and 58 seconds later I turned the film off and slept with one eye open.

The next day, the images of blood flowing from an elevator and two little girls standing hand in hand burned in my brain, after school I tried again,as I sat in awe and I watched the film that changed me as a person and introduced me to a man I idolize to this very day, Stanley Kubrick.

There really isn't any words that can describe my passion and gratitude toward this film, It truly is more than just a movie to me. It also doesn't hurt that it is one of the greatest motion pictures ever made. There is not another film on the planet that advocates audience participation like 'The Shining', Never for a second of the films running time do we feel like a mere bystander, we feel apart of the events occurring, we are in the hotel with the Torrance family, we are the camera.

To this day, audience members such as myself attempt to decipher hidden meanings in the film, this is a credit to Mr Kubrick, Stanley specialized in many things and one of them was intricate detail. I have no doubt in my mind that there is a world of hidden secrets and images in this film and only Stanley could keep all of them to himself and keep audiences searching. Is the film really about Native Americans or The Holocaust ? do the ghosts exist or is it just cabin fever ? Is the film a way of Stanley trying to tell us the truth about the moon landing ? I have no idea but these questions still keep me up at night.

Jack Nicholson gives one of the most iconic performances in all of film as Jack Torrance, It is truly remarkable but it may take you multiple viewing to truly appreciate how good it really is. In one of the most under appreciated performances in film history, Shelly Duvall stars Wendy Torrance, In my view she is incredible and gives such a realistic performance, its a shame people are so negative towards her. Danny Lloyd is terrific in his only acting job as young Danny Torrance and Scattman Crothers is as excellent as he always was.

I could honestly write about this film for days. It has truly changed my life by introducing me to the art form known as film which has become my greatest passion. After just completing my millionth viewing of the film all I can say is, Here's to the next Million!

*****

Friday, 26 October 2012

Argo (2012)

Tom:
Argo,2012, USA
Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston & John Goodman
                                                ''The whole country is watching you, they just don't know it.''

Say what you will about Ben Affleck, but that man knows how to make a film! After garnering much critical acclaim for his first two feature films, ''Gone Baby Gone'' in 2007 and ''The Town'' in 2010, In 2012, Affleck returns both behind an infront of the camera as he tackles the true story of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis.

Affleck stars as CIA specialist Tony Mendez, who has been brought in as a consultant when six Americans are held Hostage in Iran after taking refuge in the home of The Canadian Ambassador. Running out of options and time, Mendez suggest creating a fake movie production of a Star Wars like Sci-Fi film titled 'Argo' to go into Iran,retrieve the Americans and escape. This creates a complex and celebrate set up as Mendez enlists the help of Academy Award Winning Make-Up Artist John Chamber (John Goodman) and Film Producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin). Mendez heads to Iran with the lives of six people in his hands.

First off, the film is expertly Directed by Affleck, the man really understands how to depict visceral realism, he succeeded with that in 'The Town' and he goes one better here, creating horrifying,intense and nail biting riot scenes that make you feel like your involved. Affleck handles the source material with brilliance and creates a highly realistic depiction of the 1970's, from the cameras to the clothes it feels like this film was made four decades ago.

There are great performances all throughout the film. Affleck does a fine job in the lead and supported by an excellent cast. John Goodman and Alan Arkin are both fantastic and provide some much needed comedic relief at times. As always Bryan Cranston is terrific, he doesn't really get much to work with but he does an admirable job anyway. The cast that play the hostages are also very good and give realistic portrayals.

I'm really sure how truthful the film is but as Roger Ebert once said ''I believe films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions.'' 'Argo' truly captures emotion, It is a frantic and triumphant tale of courage and standing up in the face of adversity.

'Argo' is easily among the very best films of 2012, Phenomenal Direction and terrific performances. Affleck is 3 for 3 Directing wise! Highly Recommended.

Bronson (2008)

Tom:
Bronson,2009,UK
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars: Tom Hardy,Kelly Adams & Luing Andrews

''You don't want to be trapped inside with me sunshine. Inside, I'm somebody nobody wants to fuck with do you understand? I am Charlie Bronson, I am Britain's most violent prisoner.'' - Charles Bronson

Tom Hardy is absolutely impeccable in this fantastic,enthralling and gritty true story of Britain's "Most Violent Prisoner'' Michael Gordon Peterson, or better known by his alter ego Charles Bronson.

I was a huge fan of Director Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive (Who wasn't) The film was just so well made and so beautifully Directed. I had always heard about ''Bronson'' but not until last week did I actually know that Refn actually Directed the film. I finally got around to seeing it, and what an immersing and incredible experience it was. I am now already prepared to call Refn a great filmmaker, Hes job here is phenomenal, he moves this film along at a rapid pace and in only around 90 minutes Refn is able to create an intricate portrait of Bronson's very eventful life.

As good as Refn efforts are behind the camera they would be in vain if he didn't have Tom Hardy in front of it. I'm trying to think of an exact word in which could describe his performance, I think I'm going to have to go with 'complete', yes that may be a lackluster word for such a remarkable effort but I choose it because it is one of the most well rounded and realistic performances I have seen in a long time, Hardy IS Bronson, He becomes him, He is completely immersed in such a unique human being and immortalizes him on film.

Bronson is such an amazing experience, I can not believe it took me so long to finally get around to watching it. Nicolas Winding Refn does an incredible job with the source material while Tom Hardy gives the performance of a lifetime.

****

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Tom:
Hotel Transylvania,2012,USA
Director: Genndy Tarktakovsky
Stars: Adam Sandler, Selena Gomeza & Andy Samberg
                                                 ''Welcome To Hotel Transylvania!''

I was honestly quite anxious to see this film, Being a huge fan of the Horror genre and I enjoy throwbacks to the classic Universal Monsters, My slight excitement was dashed almost instantly when I discovered 'He who must not be named' (Adam Sandler) was involved. Not only was Sandler the lead voice actor here but it just seems like he brought all his friends (Kevin James,David Spade) on board and would take over control of production with his trademark brand of garbage, I put those thoughts aside and finally saw the film.

While ''Hotel Transylvania'' is not a classic and redeeming love letter to the horror genre as I would have wished, but at the end of the day I'm guessing its not what it was intending to be after all it is intended for an audience of children who have not seen those films from the 30's and 40's.''Hotel Transylvania'' is not a failure though, there is fun to be had here, there is a few humorous moments throughout, and also there is a decent message in the film about breaking down the barriers between races so to speak, as the Dracula (Sandler) is the owner of a hotel, for monsters where they can escape from the evil wrath of the humans, This coincides with the 118th birthday of his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) who dreams to go out to the human world, His plans to shelter his daughter are tarnished with the arrival of Johnny (Andy Samberg) who strikes up an instant connection with Mavis.

''Hotel Transylvania'' features a decent enough voice cast that isn't detrimented by the evil presence of Sandler. Kevin James is good as Frankenstein, Steve Buscemi is also good but underutilized as Wayne the Wolf Man. Andy Samberg isn't bad as Jonathan,The Human. David Spade & Jon Lovitz do their usual annoying schtick. I wasn't really aware of who Selena Gomez was before watching this film, She isn't bad here but she is essentially playing a role that any girl could pull off.

At the end of the day ''Hotel Transylvania'' is a fun watch, Yeah its instantly forgettable and probably is not something you will ever pick up and watch again someday but for a one time viewing it is fine. It is has its funny moments and some nice references to the mythology of these legendary monsters. ''Hotel Transylvania'' is fun but not compulsory

***

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Lawless (2012)

Tom:
Lawless,2012,USA
Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Guy Pearce,Shia LaBeouf & Guy Pearce



'' It is not the violence that sets men apart, alright, it is the distance that he is prepared to go.'' - Forrest Bondurant (Tom Hardy)

Set in The Great Depression, John Hillcoat's ''Lawless'' tells the tale of Three Virginian brothers at war with a ruthless new deputy over the profits of their bootlegging business. The film has been very well received by film goers and most critics for its brutal and unforgiving take on the time of The Depression. The approval from audiences is definitely deserved as ''Lawless'' is one of the landmark films of 2012.

The film is based on a true story and adapted from the novel "The Wettest Country'' by Matt Bondurant, The screenplay is penned by Nick Cave and Directed by John Hillcoat, both of whom do an impressive job creating a film that not only works on a historical level but as a modern crime drama that is easily accessible to the average film goer.

I heard the film was extremely violent, while expecting it I was still blown away by some of violent action scenes that took place in the film. It was terrific that this film had the guts to include such brutality, Everything felt so horrific,hard hitting and realistic, which is a credit to the Director and the stunt coordinators.

The films best attribute though is its incredible performances. Tom Hardy continues his terrific run with another strong performance, as does Jessica Chastain. Gary Oldman is as fun and entertaining as ever in his small role, and even Shia LaBeouf is good. The true show stealer though is Guy Pearce as the truly vile and disgusting character Charlie Rakes, its truly a remarkable showing from one of Hollywood's most underrated actors.

''Lawless'' is a terrific Crime Drama, Its beautifully shot and features some fantastic performances, If you haven't already, I highly recommend checking out ''Lawless'' one of the years best films.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

Tom:
Paranormal Activity 4,2012,USA
Directors: Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Stars: Katie Featherson, Kathryn Newton & Matt Shively


                                                       ''He looks just like his mother...''

I'm sure the production team of the "Paranormal Activity'' have a checklist where the make sure to address the following in their films :

- Several hundred fakeout Jumpscares
- Person or Persons being pulled out of a bed by an invisible entity
- Disturbed children
- Pets that get in the way.
- Katie Featherson
- Abrupt climax
- Ambiguous ending that sets up for a sequel

There is no doubt that there is an obvious and simple formula behind these films, and with the fourth installment in the franchise "Paranormal Activity 4", all these elements return without any real exception.

As easy as it is to criticize. I cant help buy enjoy these films, their hasn't been a landmark film amongst them but their usually a lot of fun, With the arrival of the latest film, I heard numerous critics and audience goers label as the worst of the franchise, This lowered my already mild expectations.

In all honesty "Paranormal Activity 4" is very cliched and Its very familiar, its almost impossible to label it a 'good' film but it is possible to label a 'fun' film and what more can you ask from a found footage Horror film ?

There are plenty of fakeout moments, unnerving scenes, people staring at others etc. For the first time in the series though, I thought actors other than Katie Featherson were giving a decent performance, Kathryn Newton as the main heroine is actually really good here, and in what would usually be the most irritating character, Matt Shively is actually a lot of fun and always humorous.

I really like Directors Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, They did a great job with their 'documentary' "Catfish" in 2010 and when they were announced as the Directors of ''Paranormal Activity 3'' I was very excited, and they didn't disappoint providing the best film of the series. When I found out they were staying on as Directors I was stoked, but they just make the exact same film with different characters, These guys are very talented and I'm sure they have a great future but they need to get out of this franchise while they still can.

When watching this film, I felt like the filmmakers basically told me that "I'm sorry, we have nothing for you story wise but look hes a cool visual using XBox Kinect!'' the story is almost non existent at this point and is obviously being drawn out for many more sequels, while entertaining "Paranormal Activity'' is nothing more than cheap money grab, while I'm most likely going to continue seeing these films, I really want something more, not just one new interesting visual in each movie, I want story progression, Throw in all the jump scares you want but please give something that remotely resembles a story! Is that so much to ask ?

Friday, 19 October 2012

End Of Watch (2012)


Tom:
End Of Watch,2012,USA
Director: David Ayer
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal,Michael Pena & Anna Kendrick

 '' I am the police, I'm here to arrest you, you've broken the law. I did not write the law, I may disagree with the law but I will enforce it. No matter how you plead, condole, beg or attempt to stir my sympathy. Nothing you do will stop me from placing you in a steel cage with gray bars.'' - Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal)

"End Of Watch'' Achieves a level of realism that most cop dramas can only dream of. Brilliant performances from the two leads,Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, Who have unbelievable chemistry and truly get the most of each other and help each other create such human and great characters.

The success of this film though has to be attributed to Writer- Director David Ayer, Who does an absolutely phenomenal job creating such a realistic, gritty tale, He is truly able to display the life of a police officer in all its glory and misery, Ayer find the optimism in such pessimistic situations.

I hail this film for truly showing the dark and disturbing sides of being a police officer, not straying away from the darkness people are capable off. The film also provides some very humorous interactions between characters that make this film even more entertaining.

The only determent this film has in my opinion is the inclusion of scenes with the Gangsters planning their revenge on Gyllenhaal and Pena's characters, that's a very minimal complaint though, I would have just preferred that they weren't included. Also their are some Cop movie cliches the film falls into at times.

a truly riveting and profound film, That uses the technique of hand held footage to great effect. A very dark,disturbing yet humorous and realistic film that is an easy candidate for best film of 2012. Thank you David Ayer.


****

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

Tom:
Safety Not Guaranteed,2012
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Stars:  Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson & Mark Duplass
''There's no sense in nonsense, especially when the heat's hot.''

One of the years best surprises. On the surface its a film about time travel but at its heart, 'Safety Not Guaranteed' is so much more, Its a story of heartbreak,loneliness,love,regret and friendship.

The film can easily be brushed aside as an overly ambitious indie comedy, but the film succeeds in so much in areas that more prolific films fail to, Character development, There is so much to almost every a character on screen, you truly feel the human side of these people, Screenwriter Derek Connolly has done a fantastic job with the script, creating such a real atmosphere in such unreal circumstances.

There are many terrific performances throughout the film, Aubrey Plaza does a very good job in the lead role of the film, she is very likeable and easy to support. Jake Johnson is also great,playing a character whom would usually irritate me but hes able to find the human side in his role.Supporting players such as Jenica Bergere and Kristen Bell are also good, but in the end it was Mark Duplass who stole the show, He brought so much to such a quirky role which could have been dangerous if he went to over the top, but he is fantastic playing such a tragic and misunderstood character.

'Safety Not Guaranteed' is a beautiful and highly enjoyable journey of a film, With good Direction and Writing as well as terrific performances, The film has to be considered one of the best of 2012.

****

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Paris, Texas (1984)


Tom:
Paris, Texas,1984,West Germany
Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Harry Dean Stanton, Natassja

photo-paris-texas-1984-3-2

Walt: I thought you were afraid of heights.
Travis: I'm not afraid of heights. I'm afraid of fallin'.

I'd wanted to see Wim Wenders' "Paris, Texas" for so long now, That when I finally saw it, I was sure my idiotic mind wouldn't be able to comprehend its utter brilliance. Fortunently I was wrong.

I'm a person who believes very passionately in the power and magic of films, Call me crazy or overly sentimental but I believe that certain films have the power to change lives. Paris, Texas is one of those films. A tale of redemption,righting wrongs and picking up the pieces.

The film opens with a ragged man walking through a Texas desert, That man is Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton,who delivers a Tour de force performance) We as the audience don't know anything about the man but we instantly feel he's pain. Travis is found by his brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) who attempts to bring him to back to civilization and to meet the son he abandoned Four years earlier. Travis realises the hell he has put the people he loves in and attempts to right wrongs by locating his wife and the mother of his child.

Paris, Texas is an utterly amazing masterpiece.The film features Perfect Performances,Perfect Cinematography,Perfect score,Perfect Pacing and Perfect Direction.

Wim Wenders' created an unforgettable Cinematic experience with this film, One that will live with you forever. A Perfect Film.

*****

Prometheus (2012)


Tom:
Prometheus,2012,UK/USA
Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Noomi Rapace,Michael Fassbender & Charlize Theron


I had put off seeing Prometheus, I am a Huge fan Ridley Scott's original "Alien" and from what I heard, Prometheus seemed to be a disappointment.

Ive constantly seen this film referred to as a "Beautiful Mess" and I think that's probably the perfect way to sum it up. Prometheus features a overblown unintelligent script, unimaginative direction and no real good performances, with that being said, I still enjoyed it immensely!

Prometheus is judged largely on its script and storyline which is surprisingly over the top and ridiculous, featuring some really ludicrous and strange twists and turns that either didn't pay off or make any sense.
I didn't really like any of the characters on screen, with the exception of Michael Fassbender and the always brilliant Charlize Theron. Noomi Rapace is obviously channeling Sigourney Weaver, expect she inst as cool or kick ass. There are plenty of useless and cliched minor characters here (Black guy,Asian guy, Red haired Irish guy), most of which I never learned their names. It took me half the film to realize who Guy Pearce was playing, as always hes fun but under utilized. Also, Logan Marshall Green's character may be the biggest \jerk ever!

Prometheus is far from the moody,eerie atmospheric masterpiece that was Alien, Its perhaps the opposite its loud and quite explosive. I know it may not be fair to judge it next to a classic by Alien, As it is an unofficial prequel, But it just seems like Prometheus is really striving to be recognized in the same vain.

Overall, while the film is far from perfect it is a fun ride and worth the time if you don't think about it too hard and see it as mindless sci fi.

***1/2

Jesus Camp (2006)

Tom:
Jesus Camp,2006,USA
Directors: Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady 


'' Warlocks are the enemies of God! And I don't care what kind of hero they are, they're an enemy of God and had it been in the Old Testament, Harry Potter would have been put to death!''

I'm an Atheist and always will be, Ive always seen religion as a cult for ignorant people who devote their lives,thoughts and freedom to an imaginary man in the sky, and after watching the Documentary 'Jesus Camp' I am very glad I do not buy into a false entity.

This film is a very confronting look at the Christian influenced youth of today, How their lives are being taken away so early after they have begun due to them devoting every single thought and action to their religion and how vindictive and ignorant adults, Parents and priests encourage them to do so. Becky Fisher, A pastor in this film, portrays so much of what is wrong with today's society, A power hungry person hell bent on brainwashing misinformed children.

Their are scenes in this film that are truly shocking, Weather that be children praying in tongue, being ridiculed for having individual thoughts or even protesting abortion, This is truly scary content.

Still technically being a 'child' at 17 years of age it truly horrifies me to see kids whom at the most are only 10 years younger than being so controlled very much saddens me. Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady, the Directors of this film, have to be congratulated for capturing such a powerful and horrific part of cinema that should open the worlds eyes, but due to ever lasting ignorance that will never happen.
I quote Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday from 'There Will Be Blood' when summing up the adult figures in this film: ''I am a false prophet and god is a superstition''

****