Tag Archives: 2010

#2 ‘The Fighter’ (2010)

Cast:-

*Mark Wahlberg

*Christian Bale

*Amy Adams

*Melissa Leo

*Jack McGee

Director:- David O.Russell

The most common trait of a sports-related flick is a bog-standard story arc of accomplishment-a great fall- to a climb back up to the top of the mountain. We find reasonance with them as we see them as not superhuman beings, but real people, with real flaws.

One of those, is the story of Lowell, Massachussetts boxing hero ‘Irish’ Micky Ward. A local legend, and half brother of Dicky Eklund, a fighter most notable of his 1978 contest against Sugar Ray Leonard.

At the header of the film, Eklund is Ward’s sparring partner. Prepping him for a fight which could possibly make him a star in the world of boxing. But due to Dicky’s deteroriating well-being and state of mind through a crack-cocaine addiction, Ward’s hopes are swiftly swept away. Their family are left to pick up the pieces, while the two brothers re-asses their lives and what had lead them to that point.

The two leads are supported by Amy Adams as Ward’s future wife Charlene, who is met with hostility and coldness from the Eklund family. Adams is ok, just ok. It’s really a role that anyone could’ve played. The ‘concerned wife’, or ‘love interest’ – it could take any shape or form, it’s essentially a bit-role that takes the heat off of the lead. However, Adams doesn’t really dissappoint as such – just delivers what I would generally expect from such a role. She’s a beautiful actress with a great future, and really should be pushing for more work like this.

Mark Wahlberg is fantastic as Micky Ward. His determination billows through the film’s entirety and there’s a hunger to really show those acting chops that I haven’t seen from Wahlberg since ‘The Departed’. During the second act of The Fighter in particular, where Ward is down and out – you get an ominous feeling of nostalgia as he channels Jake La Motta from Raging Bull, and Rocky himself. To great effect I might add. The fight scenes involving Wahlberg are extremely worthwhile to watch and look incredibly real. Apparently, after years of dedication to training, Wahlberg refused a stunt double, and took the hits himself during those sections.

If there’s one thing The Fighter will be remembered for, it’s Chtistian Bale.

This guy is THE standard. An overwhelming resume, including Empire of The Sun, American Psycho, The Prestige and Batman Begins, has lead up to perhaps his most convincing and powerful role to date. Maybe his defining role. Bale was required to lose weight for the part, which he would find far easier than most people as he’d lost a great deal of weight before shooting The Machinist. He also studied conversations in order to grasp the real depths of Dicky Eklund in preparation for filming.

The film’s central theme is one based on redemption, particularly on the part of Eklund (Bale). As a fallen hero, he see’s his younger brother as his chance to make right all the past wrong-doings he has under his belt. Though you do get a slight inkling of envy throughout the film, due to Ward’s ongoing hunt for glory, and Eklund’s career already passed. But it’s the film’s ending that dramatically washes away any doubts that may have given a preconception that this was simply Ward living out Eklund’s dream. Christian Bale makes a stunningly heart-wrenching speech about his pride for his brother. The scene itself lasts only a few seconds, perhaps a minute – but it just blows you away with the sheer joy and unfathomable happiness he expresses in the words, while Wahlberg humbly acknowledges. It really is something else. Look out come awards season.

The Fighter is no sports film, as such. It’s a well-thought out, and powerfully acted tale of two men’s struggle to redeem themselves.

It’s not how they do it, it’s why they do it.

9.5/10


#1 ‘Inception’ (2010)

Cast:-

*Leonardo Di Caprio

*Ellen Page

*Joseph Gordon-Levitt

*Ken Watanabe

*Tom Hardy

*Dileep Rao

*Cillian Murphy

*Michael Caine

*Pete Postlethwaite

*Tom Berenger

Director :- Christopher Nolan

This is my first review. I’ve decided that I’ll avoid spoilers in respect to anyone who has yet to see the film.
Here’s a quick retrospective of events that lead up to the release of the film.

After releasing his 2008 stellar superhero sequel, The Dark Knight, director Christopher began to work on a long-outstanding project revolving around shared dreaming, and the inner workings of the subconscious. A subject that had been explored to a certain degree before – but not in a true ‘Hollywood’ sense. After his experience on ‘bigger’ films, such as The Prestige and the Batman films, Nolan found himself in a better position to bring this 10-year-old script to life. Inception, prior to release, was a film kept fairly under-wraps in terms of story and plot. The synopsis really only gave expectant audiences the knowledge that it was a film based on dreaming….. And that Nolan likes Ken Watanabe and Michael Caine… a lot. The trailers, while looking very impressive in terms of visuals and action sequences, gave us no real insight into what this film was really about. On the positive, Nolan’s cemented credentials due to the worldwide success of The Dark Knight was more than enough proof that this film was going to be his ‘ace in the hole’. And much to my suprise…. it is.

The film’s main protagonist is skilled ‘extractor’ Dominick Cobb (Di Caprio), who is able to retrieve important information stored deep within the minds of other people, known as ‘marks’. Cobb’s partner, Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) holds responsibility of finding all available background information on the subjects, prior to the job. It is hinted, or near-established early on in the film that the two have worked together on various missions in previous years. At the beginning, their target is Mr Saito (Watanabe), the owner of a Japanese corporation who holds information Cobb is looking to acquire. However due to an unfortunate error within the mission, Cobb is forced to take a job from Saito. The job, inception. The planting of an original idea in the human mind. Saito tasks Cobb and the rest of his team (Arthur, Ariadne (Page), Eames (Hardy) and Yusuf (Rao) to take down a rival conglomerate (ran by the ailing Maurice Fischer, played by the late Postlethwaite) through convincing his son, Robert, to break up the company in order to overtake his rival. The plot itself is fairly simple. However it’s told in a very clever, and complex manner. It literally pulls every move possible to engage the audience in its intricacy. The dreamscape visuals themselves are at sometimes awe-inspiring to look at. And the idea of dreams within dreams, a very-often wondered concept, is explored throughout the film’s entirety. Which may alienate some viewers. From the outset, you would expect this film to be your run-of-the-mill action-packed summer blockbuster. With the inclusion of some Hollywood heavyweights, respectable eye-candy, good ol’ reliable CGI (which is absolutely stunning in this film), and veteran cameos. But, as we should know by now – Christopher Nolan is a director who respects the true art of film-making, and that’s telling a story through the eyes of the character, not the visual.

Each of the characters in Inception have a pivotal role in the progression of the film, and each is brilliantly brought to life by their respective actors. There’s no real bit-parts as it’s an equal team effort to get the job done – It’s these sort of films that are really scarce these days, so it was a definite plus in my books. Tom Hardy is particularly impressive as the cunning and charmingly witty-Brit ‘forger’, Eames. Who studies and later takes on the identities of individuals within dreams. It’s such a refreshing change to see a summer movie with so much fluidity, chemistry and above all talent within the ranks of its cast. After much thought, I did wonder if this kind of story could really be adapted on-screen by any other current director but Nolan. It’s easy to conclude, judging from his other work, to believe it would, and really should not.

His devotion to his craft is apparent in every scene, dialogue and altercation between characters. It’s not a one-dimensional film by any sort. It includes elements of tragedy, regret, psychological warfare, science fiction and an obvious nod to heist films. Inception is not only a landmark in Nolan’s career. But also in science-fiction (akin to The Matrix), action, visual effects, story and film-making overall. The complexity of the story and its intuitive delving into the human psyche during induced dreaming are remarkably thought-provoking. It does leave a very bewildering, albeit lasting impression. Complemented by yet another mind-blowing score from Batman composer Hans Zimmer.

This, overall, is something I would deem impossible for a film that was released in the summer. Come on, we know they all blow really…. :D

So, were the majority of critics right? Was this movie worthy of all its acclaim? Yes, indeed. Was it perfect? No, but pretty damn close. Some plot-holes involving exposition were easy to spot, but I put that down to it all being a part of the mystery. Maybe it will be tied up at some point or another. For me, I hope not. Some of the films ‘confusing’ parts may give you an urge to give the off button a press. As it does need undivided attention as I discovered. Giving it a second watch will fill those empty cracks for certain.

In conclusion… A beautiful, imaginative piece of film-making. This is undoubtedly the standard that future motion pictures will only dream to reach.

9.5/10


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