Archive | November 2009

Harry Brown (18)

Harry Brown has certainly received a lot of hype with some calling it the British Gran Torino – very high praise indeed. It promised a grim and bitter plot as well as the chance to see Jack Carter shoot hoodies! On the most part Harry Brown delivers, it is a thoroughly tense and action-packed tale which is nothing short of exhausting to watch as Caine’s wheezing pensioner goes super-vigilante on the local hoodlums! Sadly though, despite being pretty entertaining it lacks real bite and falls flat in some crucial areas. Harry Brown seems to dodge the usual psychological arena of the revenge thriller and skips to the bit where Michael Caine kicks some ass, sorry ‘arse’, in Dirty Harry-like fashion. On the one hand it attempts to tackle the very real subject of inner-city crime but on the other it is set in a completely sensationalised and almost fantasy-like world. As a result Harry Brown is an intriguing film with very questionable morals and one that certainly shatters the senses. Read More…

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Akira Kurosawa

Okay folks, time for a history lesson in filmmaking. In this next segment of the director reviews I am looking at the mighty Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, easily the most popular and critically acclaimed filmmaker in Japanese history and a massive figure in the film industry as a whole. His influence on world cinema is immeasurable as he inspired directors before and after his death in 1998 with many famous names like Sergio Leone (who made two of Kurosawa’s films into Westerns – A Fistful of Dollars & A Few Dollars More), Ingmar Bergman, Takeshi Kitano, Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Sam Pekinpah and Francis Ford Coppola all citing his influence in their work. He was an unrivalled perfectionist and a master with the camera. He truly had a gift for attaining the perfect images and he made this his art. Although he was a very humanist writer and a lot of his stories offer glimmers of hope, generally his films offer a bleak insight into a world of disease, war, malice and betrayal. It seemed only fitting that he chose Shakespeare’s King Lear as the story for his masterpiece Ran. Don’t let that put you off though, Kurosawa’s wit was as sharp as his eye and his films offer clever and often hilarious moments. He also writes some of the most touching stories I have ever seen. I’m not one to cry in films but Ikiru and Dersu Urzala were two films that had me on the brink! I have once again selected four films that capture some of Kurosawa’s best traits and are genuine masterpieces of cinema. Enjoy! Read More…

Wes Anderson

After seeing Mr Fox my appreciation for cult director Wes Anderson’s work has reached a new high and I think this is the perfect time to have a brief look at some of his films to examine his impact on modern cinema. He has achieved quite a cult following and is very popular in the film industry but he has come under a lot of stick due to his slightly pretentious and strange style. Some have even said his work is devoid of any real emotional weight. Wes Anderson’s vision however is one that is strangely upbeat but at the same time very deadpan and brutally honest. This by no means suggests that his films are emotionally vacant – quite the opposite. Anderson’s stories are generally about flawed, misguided protagonists, often with questionable morals and attitudes who learn by trial and error to appreciate their flaws as well as their strengths.  We also see characters who look for redemption, purpose or success and we see dysfunctional families that learn to cope with one another despite the wrongs they have done. We find that redemption, success and forgiveness are never impossible in Anderson’s tales. Despite this Anderson’s films are far from being sentimental and gushing but are performed in the most subtle, honest and understated fashion. This combination results in his films being ones of quiet beauty and deep intimacy. I have selected four of Anderson’s films which display these traits and that you need to see if you haven’t already. Read More…

Jennifer’s Body (15)

After scoring one of 2007’s best movies with Juno, many have waited with baited breath to see what Diablo Cody’s follow up would be. Few would maybe have predicted she’d go from subtle, sharp teen pregnancy to out there, hip slasher horror Jennifer’s Body. If Cody is one of the current female powers in film, then surely another would be demonic protagonist & box office babe Megan Fox. The two combined sent many fans into spasms of orgasmic pleasure at the very thought and to a certain extent their wet appetites will have been fulfilled.

Jennifer's Body

It was only now he realised why he shouldn't have had that milkshake with their meal

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9 (12A)

‘9’ is the curious tale of nine ‘Halloween Sackboy’ style characters in a post-apocalyptic landscape fighting for their survival. The full-length feature début from Shane Acker, it treads interesting water between child and adult audience failing to fully connect with either side. Produced by Tim Burton, and partly written by the woman behind The Corpse Bride it shows a lot of promise, but sadly doesn’t match it’s stunning visual aesthetic with a story that hits home.

9

He was pretty sure he was about to lose Hide and Seek...

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Dan Aykroyd: Smarter than the average bear?

It has recently been reported that Dan Aykroyd has signed up to be in Warner Brother’s upcoming Live Action/CGI take on Yogi Bear. With Justin Timberlake also reportedly sign on, speculation is rife that the pair with voice the loveable double act of Yogi and Booboo. Anna Faris (House Bunny, Scary Movie) is also on board as a documentary film maker.

So, is anyone excited by this news? Will Eric Brevig (Journey to the Center of the Earth) make this a winner or is it destined to fail? With remakes so unpredictable thetwenty takes a look a 5 essential Aykroyd moments (in no particular order) to try and decide if this could be another hit for Brother Elwood…

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