Tag Archives: review

The Problems Of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ (SPOILERS)

spidey33

Evening all. Some people reading this will know, from my activity on Twitter and on the Bastnerds podcast, that I have been an avid Spider-Man fan for the best part of 25 years. I recently took part in a spoiler podcast with Chris Byrne, Christopher Ejizu and Amon Warmann for Marc Webb’s latest effort – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′.

On the recording, I was pretty critical and decidedly negative about the movie as a whole. Give it a listen here.

Now, instead of a review. I decided it would be more ‘my style’ to basically talk about why I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as others. There are more issues than what I talk about here. These are the worst offenders, in my opinion.

So here it is, my ANAL-sis for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′. Yes there are SPOILERS, so don’t moan.

 

1. Jamie Foxx’s character is fucking wasted…. And I don’t mean drunk.

erer

Jamie Foxx plays electrical engineer Max Dillon at Oscorp, later transformed into the villain ‘Electro’. From the marketing (extensive within the first 6 months of promotion) of the movie, Electro is extremely prominent and was confirmed as the ‘lead protagonist’. However towards the tail end of the marketing campaign, I noticed that the focus shifted from Electro and more prominently to Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) and Oscorp. This seemed odd – but I remained excited to see the final product.

Now I’m not saying that Electro is a BAD character, or that Foxx doesn’t do a great job. Quite the opposite actually. The issue with Electro is that his character is built up to absolutely be a potentially awesome and dangerous villain for Spidey (Andrew Garfield) – but as soon as he’s built up, he’s left hanging in limbo. While Osborn’s ‘sickness’ plotline is fast-tracked through the movie’s midway point (more on that later). Dillon is the sympathetic, misunderstood man that becomes endowed with immeasurable power while struggling to fit in with the norms of society. Max, through his own admission,  just wants to be noticed. In terms of personality, being polar opposite of Spider-Man is a potentially fruitful plot device – As we could potentially see the character gradually unravelling through his jealousy of Spidey’s attention – THEN develop him into Electro, powers and all. Give him something to run with first. The direction they took the character was rushed and half-resolved until a convenient way to bring him back into the narrative was presented through Harry Osborn.

*Side note – that whole Doctor Kafka/Electro conversation felt completely ill-judged and seemed to be hammed up as fuck.*

 

2. Uncle Ben’s murderer…. Yes, remember now?

ftg

Ben Parker (portrayed by Martin Sheen) is the moral compass and strongest paternal figure of Spider-Man/Peter Parker. So whether you’ve seen the comics, the cartoons or the movies themselves, you know that he’s a prominent fixture in Spidey adaptations.

Marc Webb’s first Spider-Man movie was pretty much a retread of Raimi’s original in regard to Peter and Ben’s relationship. Culminating in a robbery that Peter had the opportunity to stop, electing to ignore it. Which in turn resulted in the fatal shooting of his dear old Uncle. In ‘ASM 1′, there’s a meaty sequence where we see Peter attempting to find the killer, using a likeness as a template. Unfortunately, there’s no resolution. And Peter vows to find his uncle’s killer. So were we expecting to see this plot point, this massive part of Peter’s life at least continued? Of course……..

Barely even mentioned. That’s right.

 

3. Hollywood 101 – Using the last shot in the movie as the last shot in a trailer.

4r2w

Paul Giamatti’s  Aleksei Sytsevich is introduced at the top of the movie. Attempting to steal plutonium (why? who cares!), and is quickly and effortlessly thwarted by Spider-Man (again, spoiled by the trailers and tv spots). At the film’s end, we find out Oscorp made a big robot suit, and apparently Sytsevich is qualified to operate it….. Enter ‘Rhino’, his giant robot suit and its Transformeresque nonsense that pulls Spidey out of the doldrums and back into saving the day mode. Cue the dramatic final shot…. That we’ve all seen months prior. Killing any anticipation for the next movie.

Way to go guys, you fucking turnips.

 

4. Harry Osborn and The Mystery Of Harry Osborn.

fvbret

Dane Dehaan’s casting as Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn, was particularly one of the movie’s strongest. Dehaan is absolutely commanding in his conveying of emotionally tumultuous characters. He does indeed showcase this as the young Osborn, later as this movie’s incarnation of The Green Goblin (never Christened/labelled). But like Max Dillon’s character, it’s underdeveloped and a hugely missed opportunity to demonstrate one of the key relationships in the life of Peter Parker. Harry just appears out of nowhere after a decade (?) away and there’s no real in-depth insight into their friendship or what’s been going on with Harry himself – the whole thing feels rushed and only as a servant to get things moving with the Sinister Six development. This becomes more apparent when Harry’s ‘sickness’ conveniently becomes more aggressive after his father Norman (Chris Cooper) is killed to death by the unnamed genetic disease. Peter and Harry’s brief time together feels vacuous because we, the audience, have seen Peter go through these differences and changes in his life, without Harry around. For the friendship to look and feel natural and resonate – Harry needed to be a figure in Peter’s life during the events of first movie.

Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies showcased the pair as school friends right from the get go. We knew exactly what motivations Harry had for going after Peter by the third movie, and it was an actual, properly constructed plot that made sense in terms of the story and its development of the characters. Here, it’s condensed into about 30-40 minutes.

 

5. Richard & Mary Parker Became Sony’s Bitches

4t5w

Maybe not everyone felt this way.

We know Richard and Mary were both involved in Oscorp and the experimentation that was going down. Spider-Man himself being a successful result of this. To me, this all seemed irrelevant to the story as a whole. Peter just wanted to find out why his parents had to leave him and to understand the reasoning behind it. Now, as the second movie progresses, we find out that Richard worked with Norman on many ‘cross species’ experiments in aid of potentially curing Monster Mash and his fingernails. Eventually leading to Richard removing himself from the project and thus getting ‘removed’ permanently on an airplane during the film’s opening sequence.

From this, and the subsequent reveal of Oscorp/Ravencroft’s intention to create a group to, I dunno, take over the world… It felt like the true nature, the raw humanity and the effects of the Parkers’ absence from Peter’s life had been substituted, or rather discarded in favor of just a cheap. convenient method of pushing the establishment of more villains. Sequel bait, folks! $$$$$$$$$££££££££££$$$$$$$$$$ 

 

 

 

So there you go. Anyone agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts.

 

Love you lots.


Inglorious Bastnerds Spoiler Podcast: ‘Captain America – The Winter Soldier’

rw345

It’s time once again for another spoiler special for myself and the Bastnerd boys. Chris, Ian and I (@Celluloidical) are joined by regular guests, film journos – Amon Warmann and Mr Christopher Ejizu as we dive deep into the latest Marvel Studios outing – Captain America – The Winter Soldier. Which opens in the US on April 4th. (Sorry guys. We got there first – again!).

Aside from the obvious spoiler warning. I say this. Unlike Total Film, we actually have varying opinions. As opposed to just bitching and moaning. So, yeah.
Anyway, follow the guys and rate, subscribe to the podcast/sites and leave a review. Thanks and enjoy.

Click here to visit the podcast page.

 

@CinemaTronix (www.cinematronix.co.uk)

@i_nesbot (www.redbubble.com/people/inesbot)

@awarmann (www.amonymousblog.com)

@movieumpire (www.movieumpire.com)

 


‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ – My Thoughts

"Gard Gard Gard Gard..."

“Gard Gard Gard Gard…”

So it’s been a little over a week since the long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s much-adored ‘The Hobbit’ (Part 1, mind) was released, and I’ve been itching to give my opinions on Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth…….

Spoilers ahead, here are the moments of greatness, and in some cases – shiteness of ‘An Unexpected Journey’…

 

What Was Great.

1. Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

A given, right? After the announcement of ‘The Office’ alum’s casting, I never stopped thinking it was nothing short of genius. His performance is laced with an air of naivety, disengaged charm, and an almost sense of self-preservation at the film’s beginning. Freeman captured everything I wanted to see in this character, and the encounter with Gollum and subsequent conclusion of the movie was some of the most entertaining and highly focal points for me.

2. The Design

JHOWEGANDALF

A lasting impression of the LOTR trilogy was the design work inspired by conceptual artists Alan Lee and John Howe. Their astounding and beautiful interpretations of the various locales, architecture and characters of Middle Earth are further realised in ‘The Hobbit’, and will receive a whole new audience of fans. Much to thank those guys for.

3. The Trolls Scene

trolls

Take Freeman’s Bilbo, throw in a few ponies, add a couple of daft, bumbling Kiwi trolls with a hunger for bearded midgets…. And you get one of the most endearing, faithful sequences in the entire movie. Grinned from ear to ear during this one!

4. Gollum and The Return Of Andy Serkis

34343

How could I do this list without citing Gollum and Andy Serkis in some form…? I’d be lying to myself if I ever did. The show stealer in the LOTR trilogy, and the catalyst of the events that lead up to the epic Jackson saga returns to give us an uncompromising reminder of why he is such a memorable part of modern cinema. It’s weird to think that I will never see Gollum again on-screen in this capacity, so I’ve really taken Serkis’ performance in this film to be somewhat bittersweet. Alas, it’s an amazing reprise from Andy.

5. The Location Shooting

HELLOFROMLOCATION

Since the release of ‘The Return Of The King’, the influx of green screen and blue screen has contributed to the exhausting cookie-cutter popcorn flicks that have littered Hollywood for a decade. However Peter Jackson, his team at Wingnut, New Line and WB persevered to keep the grandiose and breathtaking scale that the LOTR trilogy took on. The location shooting vlogs that were posted through the early parts of last year, gave us an incredible insight into the huge amount of work that is put into such a mammoth task. What we see on-screen are the fruits of that labor. Beautiful stuff.

What Didn’t Cut The Mustard (My opinion…)

1. The Dwarves (SPOILER ALERT)

"Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub"

“Hugh, Pugh, Barney, McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub”

Yeah, I know. Old record, old record. Certainly with the amount of characters that ‘The Hobbit’ boasts – it would be pointless to have a gripe about screen time for 13 dwarves. But mine isn’t about that – it’s the execution. Of the Company, with the exception of Thorin (Richard Armitage) – Balin (Ken Stott), Kili (Aidan Turner) and Bofur (Jimmy Nesbitt) are the dwarves with the most screen time/dialogue in the movie. We are also given a slight nod as if to suggest that these characters will be much more prominent and of greater importance in at least the second movie. What actually frustrated me was how forgettable they all were. Next to no characterisation for most of the Company, and when we do see some it’s either far too early in proceedings or just too little too late.

2. Old Bilbo (As Played by Ian Holm)

GRGR4

Love Ian Holm – let me make that perfectly clear. Awesome beyond belief in the LOTR films, and perhaps one of my favourite actors of the entire trilogy. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing him return briefly in his scenes with Frodo (Elijah Wood), which allowed a nice bridging point between the LOTR movies and these new films. But something really bugged me. It’s a small nitpick – but it’s so fucking unbelievably obvious.

It’s the hair.

Ok, yeah – “What the fuck, Scott? Get over it…” – Well I fucking can’t, ok?

It’s been 12 years since we last saw old Bilbo in Bag End. So Weta digital have used their magic to ‘de-age’ the veteran act0r to make him look more similar to his younger self. The hairpiece however, is not Holm’s own hair we can easily assume. So why did they do this….?

Yeah, really... I'm moaning about this

Yeah, really… I’m moaning about this

I’m a big continuity buff, and a confessed moaner. But come on, really? The hair is completely different. The reference points are in the DVD cabinets of nearly every single person that worked on the movie!

On the left, a still of ‘Fellowship’, the hair is bushy, almost feathered, also fairly thick and at cheek length. On the right hand side, we see Bilbo as he appears in ‘The Hobbit’. The hair is thinner, lank and also nearly at CHIN length. Bilbo’s appearance in the new movie is one that precedes events in ‘An Unexpected Journey’ – but also takes place in the same time line period as the beginning of ‘Fellowship’… e.g THAT PICTURE ON THE LEFT. Come on, now. It’s a silly mistake that shouldn’t have been made. It’s absolutely glaring.

Meh…. Next….

3. The Seemingly Non-existent Use of Human Actors for Goblins/Orcs/Trolls/Whatever

Looks stoopid

Looks stoopid

I was excited to see more of the amazing work from Weta’s visual effects and makeup department. But sadly, we weren’t so lucky this time around. The creatures that are featured in the movie are beautifully realised. However it just didn’t have that same magic as having real actors in the performance. It didn’t really tarnish the film on an enjoyment scale, rather just made me question whether Jackson is heading down the same dark path as another certain filmmaker did a long, long time ago.

4. The Film’s Opening Hour

"WE ARE LAUGHING!"

“WE ARE LAUGHING!”

‘An Unexpected Journey’ has a run time which may agitate and even frustrate some theatre-goers. But personally, I didn’t mind it at all. But the first adventure of Bilbo and the Dwarves has such a slow build up, it really did test my patience for the first 45 to 60 minutes. In particular the meeting at Bilbo’s house. Christ… such… a…. fucking…. drag…. Leave already!

5. The Smaug Money Shot

rg

After a successful third act. I really was looking forward to finally getting a glimpse of the dragon, Smaug in all his hellish glory. This was not the case.

With the extreme lengths that Weta went to prevent us viewing folk from seeing the antagonist during the (seriously too long) prologue, I was convinced that we’d get to see him rolling around in his gold like a pig in shit. What we got was an eyeball…. Haha, a great eye. Maybe that was a little joke on their part. Well, you got us. Fuck you anyway :-)

—————————————————————–

Let’s just be clear on one thing…. I LOVED this movie. Thank you to everyone that worked on it!


Best & Worst Of 2012

2012r34r3

 

No filler. Let’s do this.

Here are my Top 10 Worst films (viewed by me) released in the United Kingdom over the last 12 months. My review of the movies (if applicable) can be found at the link after the title/director

 

1. ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’ (Paul W.S. Anderson) http://boxd.it/uIU3

2. ‘Friends With Kids’ (Jennifer Westfeldt) http://boxd.it/j4Hh

3. ‘Twilight – Breaking Dawn Part 2′ (Bill Condon)

4. ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (Genndy Tartakovsky) http://boxd.it/uxt1

5. ‘The Five-Year Engagement’ (Nicholas Stoller) http://boxd.it/j4FP

6. ‘Prometheus’ (Ridley Scott)

7. ‘A Thousand Words’ (Brian Robbins)

8. ‘Snow White & The Huntsman’ (Rupert Sanders)

9. ‘Paranormal Activity 4′ (Henry Joost/Ariel Schulman)

10. ‘Dark Shadows’ (Tim Burton) http://boxd.it/ebrb

 

With the proverbial turds flushed down the commode. Here are my favourites :-)

Celluloidical’s Top 10 Films Of 2012

1. ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (Wes Anderson) http://boxd.it/eMBH

2. ‘The Avengers’ (Joss Whedon) http://boxd.it/btpr

3. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (Christopher Nolan) http://boxd.it/jSSp

4. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (Peter Jackson) http://boxd.it/BvJZ

5. ‘Looper’ (Rian Johnson)

6. ‘Dredd’ (Pete Travis) http://boxd.it/rLKz

7 ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ (David O.Russell)

8. ‘End Of Watch’ (David Ayer) http://boxd.it/zzsT

9. ‘Skyfall’ (Sam Mendes) http://bit.ly/ZLxnIf

10. ‘Chronicle’ (Josh Trank)


The Acting Masterclass #2 – Michael Fassbender

Image courtesy of CinemaBlend.com

Image courtesy of CinemaBlend.com

One of the most captivating performers to emerge from the last 10 years, German/Irish actor Michael Fassbender is certainly proving his worth.

After his breakout performance in Zack Snyder’s graphic novel homo-erotic fest, ‘300’, Fassbender began a working relationship with London artist/filmmaker Steve McQueen (not that one), and was critically acclaimed for his role as activist Bobby Sands in ‘Hunger’.

Since then, Mr Fassbender has undoubtedly become one of the most popular and sought after actors working in Hollywood.

My admiration for him stems from his ability to inhabit so many diverse and original characters. One that has been a huge testimony to this is his astounding portrayal of a sex addict in McQueen’s ‘Shame’. A film about a high-flyer working in New York that has an emotionally crippling form of hypersexuality, and engages in frequent acts of onanism and intercourse.

In the movie, his regimented lifestyle spirals out of control when his estranged sister, Sissy (Cary Mulligan), turns up on his doorstep. The most vivid turning point of the movie for me is at this point, where Fassbender’s character, Brandon, immediately begins to display signs of stress, aggravation and almost seething mental torment at the spanner his sister throws in to the works. Fassbender displays this with a conviction that is truly engaging – his uneasiness being a stark contrast to his behaviour around his co-workers, his friends and more predominantly with women. The character of Brandon, for me, is perhaps the most personal, insightful and beautifully performed role by the actor. It also has an incredible pay off.

Though his affinity with independent film has brought him much success. Fassbender has also made an extremely popular and easy transition into mainstream cinema. Last year, he starred as a young ‘Erik Lensherr’, delightfully preceded by Sir Ian McKellen, in the 60’s set comic-book movie, X-Men: First Class. This year, he featured in the lukewarm/fairly positively received ‘Prometheus’ as the android ‘David’.

In First Class, Fassbender oozes charm, danger and Bond-esque cool. Notably basing much of his performance on Sean Connery’s 007 and the overall aesthetic of Dr. No in many of his one-to-one scenes, not to mention disregarding Sir Ian’s performances of the character of Erik, and completely making it his own. It was a breath of fresh air to see such a well-known villain take on the role of the sympathetic, a man who could be a hero tragically fall that we, the audience, can so easily root for. And this was very much down to how Michael approached the character, his reasonings for his actions, his methods and his emotional turmoil.

Oddly enough, his most recent successful performance, in ‘Prometheus’ – is a completely different animal. His mysterious motives kept relatively in the dark for the duration of the movie is overshadowed by an obvious and unflattering form of self-possession. He teems with icy demeanour, and engages the other characters almost subjectively in parts. Fassbender plays this off with such an arrogance, and knowing, that it’s nearly impossible to not notice or appreciate the dedication he put into the character. Unquestionably the film’s saving grace in my opinion.

Of course, no actor can be without their stinkers, and Fassy in no exception, from the ‘promising on the outside’ ‘A Dangerous Method’, which I found utterly non-compelling and marred by a dire script. To the meathead favourite ‘300’. But these are examples of the ill-conceived. Frankly, I see this man becoming one the greatest actors to ever grace the screen. 2012 may have been the year of Fassbender…. But let’s see how the next one pans out….


#26 ‘Skyfall’ (2012)

20121126-140029.jpg

Cast:-

*Daniel Craig

*Judi Dench

*Javier Bardem

*Naomie Harris

*Ralph Fiennes

*Ben Whishaw

Director:- Sam Mendes

(Not much plot retread, only my thoughts)

Skyfall is undoubtedly one of the biggest revelations of the year for me. Ignoring the reviews and opinions of the many users on Twitter – I went into this with a horrible taste in my mouth left by the sleep-inducing entry that was Quantum Of Solace. And with expectations low, i was conpletely won over.

By almost literally going back to basics, and learning from convoluted mess made by the last few Bond films, Sam Mendes has effectively brought the elements of vintage James Bond – and seamlessly integrated them into the modern broken and fallable incarnation of the spy.

Sure, this film is ‘big’, but it’s only in small doses, and does more than compensate. The action is story driven, and actually plays out for audience and character reaction. Something sorely misused and underplayed during previous films (sorry, Brosnan). The direction of action is steady, crisp and not rushed (unlike others) – which makes the film all the more enjoyable and doesn’t affect the run time negatively.

Daniel Craig’s Bond is a lost soul more than ever but it’s this dark, deep-rooted pain that encapsulates him that makes him probably the most interesting and connective Bond that we have seen on screen. The suave, sexy, cool facade is all there, however Craig conveys the apparent tumultuous internal conflicts of 007 quite effortlessly. He is far more comfortable in the role.

At the films opening we are diverted away from the quote on quote – typical Bond opener. As a shadowed Craig walks through a dimly lit walkway, eventually meeting the camera with his trademark icy blue stare. It’s instantly memorable and a testament to the old adage ‘less is more’ – and indeed it is.

Though the story is generally reminiscent in some parts to ‘Goldeneye’, the exposition clearly takes the motives of the film’s principal villain, ‘Silva’ (Javier Bardem) to a sinisterly twisted level. Adopting a sadistic, perverted lust for revenge against former ally ‘M’ (Judi Dench). The character is also unquestionably a stark reminder of what James Bond himself could become if he continues down the path he treads. Conclusively, Skyfall is what I’d call Bond’s ‘crystal ball’ movie.

Saying that, however – the film is also 007’s story of resurrection and redemption – both literally and figuratively. All tying up at a showdown at Bond’s childhood home. Leading to an extremely familiar set up at the close of the film – a promising and exciting prospect. Coupled with a tag line of ‘James Bond Will Return’ – it gets you frenzied with anticipation.

Suitably polished off by the reintroduction of ‘Q’ – portrayed eloquently by Ben Whishaw and a particularly impressive turn of ‘will he, won’t he’ from Ralph Fiennes’ Gareth Mallory, chairman of the Intelligence & Security Committee and somewhat overseer of MI6. Fans of new and old will find something to sate their appetites.

Beyond that, there is so much to behold with Skyfall. I implore any film fan to give this a watch.

;

8/10


‘The Shining’ (1980) – Screening Reaction

“Are we there yet?”

So last week I was fortunate enough to get tickets to a special screening of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’. Here are my thoughts after my first rewatch since buying the DVD.

An undeniably perfect example of pure terror and the degeneration of the human psyche. Jack Nicholson carries the weight with conviction and ease. Littered with allusions and unanswered questions – it’s a testament to modern horror. It instills fear, it instills dread. With an absorbing, but blank setting that in itself becomes characterised through the unravelling of events – The Shining culminates in one of the most memorable climaxes I’ve witnessed in any movie. Giving audience perspectives of the 4 main characters without losing any sense of atmosphere or tension of whats to come. Simple, but effective editing and cinematography used intelligently.

Beautifully photographed and amazingly acted. A Kubrickian classic.

9/10


#25 ‘Prometheus’ (2012)

Fass obviously saw his future wang endowment after gazing into his cosmic crystal ball

Cast:-

*Noomi Rapace

*Michael Fassbender

*Charlize Theron

*Logan Marshall-Green

*Idris Elba

Director:- Ridley Scott

MILD SPOILER ALERT!

Without question, Prometheus is the most anticipated movie of 2012 – argue with it what you will.. But it’s a cold hard fact. Namely because it heralds the return to the sci-fi genre of one Sir Ridley Scott – one of the greatest filmmakers of our time. And after over 30 years since his first sci-fi feature, Alien, Mr Scott returns to the franchise that chained one of the greatest film series of our time. But has he, and such a wonderfully talented cast delivered what we’ve eagerly been anticipating?

In a nutshell – Prometheus is a sci-fi spectacle that delves into one of the most posed questions by the human race. Where do we come from? After discovering ancient markings courtesy of ancient civilisations that have a striking parallel – Doctors Elizabeth Shaw (Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Marshall-Green) lead a 17-strong expedition paid by the Weyland Corporation to investigate a distant planet literally written in the stars, in the hope of finding the answers they seek to the beginnings of human life.

On a production standpoint – Prometheus is visually astounding. Seamlessly blending physical sets with amazing computer generated imagery. Landscapes and beautifully shot vistas are undeniably epic in their scale, beauty and atmospheric effect… And give the film an extremely grandiose aura, harkening to some of Scott’s more recent work. It certainly gives credence to the frequent statement from various medias that Prometheus is a BIG film, in all its aspects and ideas. Building a whole new blueprint to work from (Yes that’s a minor spoiler, this film does bait for sequels). With a production on this scale and a superb bout of timely effort by the designers, the performances and stunt work in some external action scenes are lifted to a higher plane – far away from the craptastic green screen factory line that Hollywood have churned mile after mile of uninspiring bloke flicks on a continual cycle. A very refreshing and welcome shift for a big budget production. No doubt Ridley has set a benchmark here.

Unfortunately, that is where the film’s positive notes end. Because the film, as an entire package, is extremely disappointing.

Prometheus’ running idea of challenging opposing beliefs is highly abundant throughout the film’s first half. Irrevocably, it does nothing to drive the plot or premise of the film – leads to absolutely no character development or actual culmination, and certainly does not make for memorable, or even notable dialogue between the crew mates. A strong aspect of Scott’s ‘Alien’, was the camaraderie between the team aboard the Nostromo. As opposed to this film – With what is a rather extensive crew,  are barely even given arm’s-length to stretch their characters and are, as predicted, merely just lambs to the slaughter. Shaw and Holloway’s relationship is kind of a surprise(?)… we get a teeny bit of insight on their past during one scene midway through the film – but as a whole, the exposition police are still at the station eating donuts.  Shaw, individually, is actually given a few brief flashback moments thanks to some nosey digging of synthetic bod ‘David’ (a pitch perfect Fassbender). But it only amounts to more questions surrounding the Doctor’s ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ of there are really answers out there for what she’s looking for. It’s a real shame, as these ideas surrounding the subject are logical and reasonable – but it’s not constructively or appropriately developed. Rapace borders from passionate scientist come religious optimist (notably pitted against her partner Charlie – who is more privy to the scientific theory of humanity’s origin), to a reasonably small-scale heroine. In perhaps one of the closest scenes to Kane’s chestburster surprise in Alien, Rapace’s Shaw is subject to some pretty gut wrenching stuff. Subsequently stepping over that border aforementioned. For me, Noomi Rapace doesn’t really excel here – more a case of what she was given to work with.

Elsewhere there’s an impressive performance from Charlize Theron, as Weyland overseer, Vickers. Using her icy attributes and pragmatic nature to carry the film’s more ‘diplomatic’ moments and rather channelling franchise poster-girl Ellen Ripley. Idris Elba was a major surprise as perhaps another throwback to the early Alien movies, playing the ship’s captain – Janek. There’s a definite attitude, a groove that he runs on – engaging in some interesting sequences with the two female leads. Though his screen time was small at best, he was perhaps one of the more characterised crew members of Prometheus.

Michael Fassbender, is on another level as the ship’s caretaker/android ‘David’, who oversees the operation of the Prometheus for the two years that the crew remain in stasis. Our introduction to David is probably my favourite sequence in the entire movie. Fassbender almost seems like he’s fresh out of the mould – the mannerisms, a cold and disconcerting tone and quite often humourous nature really notches up some points. Really something. Proving yet again that he is one of the most versatile and talented actors working today.

Prometheus – though with its stunning visuals and fairly strong cast. Massively falters on its most important aspect – the story. With a very intriguing premise, and being overwhelmed with anticipation being such a huge Ridley Scott fan – I was disheartened to see such a promising start keel over near the half way hurdle. It spills out of steady hands into a structure that is fragmented and a very loosely ended narrative. Seriously dampening the efforts from the cast.

Without speculating about sequels – there’s an immediate brain wave after watching the film that not enough back story or development is given to the planet-dwelling (sort of) antagonists. Rendering the film’s last 20-30 minutes nose-pinchingly redundant. Additionally, one of the film’s most important and key moments – unfortunately destroys the entire idea of this being an Alien prequel, completely blowing one of the most mystifying aspects of the franchise’s history out of the water. Fact is, yes it is an Alien prequel, regardless of what’s been reported (sharing ‘strands of Alien DNA’ is a double-entendre, people). Even though some of the references to the franchise are incidentally misplaced that it almost seems less ambiguous and more ‘here look at this little easter egg we tacked on’.

Undoubtedly, opinions will be split right down the middle for Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction, and though the film sets out to ask the great question. We are left asking ourselves a shit load more by the end…

6/10


#24 ‘La Vita è Bella’ (1997)

“COME TO THE CABAREEEET!”

Cast:-

*Roberto Benigni

*Nicoletta Braschi

*Giorgio Cantarini

Director:- Roberto Benigni

Co-written and directed by Italian actor and comedian, Roberto Benigni. The much acclaimed Holocaust-set fable – La Vita e Bella (Life Is Beautiful), stretches far across the plain of contemporary Wartime motion picture. Bringing us a story of real beauty during horrific adversity – inspired by Benigni’s own father’s internment at a Nazi concentration camp.

Benigni portrays the lead, Guido, a Jewish man with an extremely light-hearted view on life and an imagination that bears no barriers. Who falls for a young aristocrat, Dora (Benigni’s real-life partner Nicoletta Braschi) whom is to be married off to a pompous idiot by order of her overbearing family. Dora eventually falls for the charismatic Guido, and they later marry and have a son, Giosue (Cantarini).

Though such a delicate subject matter, the Holocaust has been a popular topic of narrative for many films. Most notably dramas or thrillers. Here, in a rather unexpected turn, the film opens as a more comedic, slapstick affair. With our lead ensuing in some laugh out loud high jinx from literally the get-go.

The movie had received a widespread seal of approval and accolade on release, however there were a minority of critics that were completely alienated from its detour into unfamiliar territory. With such a well-documented historical event of genocide being skimmed with a humour-laden first act. It would be remiss to not take these opinions into heart, although this certainly gives creedence to what I believe to be, the film’s true message. That hope, love and optimism will conquer all.

Guido is a man who truly loves life and his family, and during the films early parts he lavishes his ‘Princess’ with charm and poetic tenderness throughout their courtship. Becoming transfixed on his physical performance as well as his dialogue, his comedic exploits are cleverly controlled and timed perfectly, and its heightened even more so by his very caricature like features. After their eventual separation into internment by the Nazi’s. Guido is forced to protect the purity of his young son, by claiming the war is merely a competition, with the eventual winner being awarded a brand new tank.

Giosue, played by the very talented Cantarini, is in awe of his father and is blissfully unaware of the true nature of circumstances. I did find an immoral sensibility to this plot point – as there is a distinct lack of on-screen violence that would typically transpire in such a film, and Giosue’s exposure to this would have adjusted his emotions toward his father’s stunts. Therefore dampening some of the film’s aesthetics.

In terms of atmospherical and tonal points, La Vita e Bella is truly marvellous in its first and second acts in particular. With some amazing composition accompanying a few wonderfully played-out scenes, and a gorgeous visual setting. And though I can foresee many viewers becoming slightly alienated by the film’s harrowing and unnerving latter parts, I still strongly found that this change in the narrative does in fact glaze the story with real heart and true sacrifice for the people a man loves

8.5/10


My Top Ten MCU Moments (2008-2011)

So last Thursday, in an extremely time-consuming preparation method for the soon to be released ‘The Avengers’ – I decided to watch all 5 films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. As most will know, the films are interconnected and will culminate in the ensemble piece this month. Here are my top ten moments, spanning all five movies, leading to ‘The Avengers’.

10 – Thor’s Exile To Earth (Thor)

Best quote from the entire film… Odin (Anthony Hopkins) – “HEEEEUUURGH!”

Amazing :-)

09 – Banner Becomes The Hulk At Culver University (The Incredible Hulk)

Norton’s face @ 0.02 is a major grin win

08. Stark and Rhodey Take On Hammer Drones (Iron Man 2)

Probably shoe-horned in for fan service, but it’s still a cool scene to see on the big screen 

07. Loki finds out his true parentage (Thor)

Hiddlestone is absolutely divine here. Stellar chemistry with Sir Anthony

06. Birth of The Super Solider (Captain America: The First Avenger)

While this film didn’t live up to everyone’s expectation – this again was a great scene to see immortalised at last

05. The Hulk vs The Abomination (The Incredible Hulk)

A great climax to the often overlooked chapter in the MCU

04. The Star Spangled Man (Captain America: The First Avenger)

Probably not an obvious choice, but this sequence is fun, visually great and backed by a brilliantly composed song

03. Thor vs Loki (Thor)

Again, Tom Hiddlestone throws down some of the best dialogue of the movie. Intense and emotionally compelling. Also cements his ‘evil’ turn after a snarky “Haa haa!” when he takes Thor down. Niiiice

02. Nick Fury Approaches Tony Stark About The ‘Avenger Initiative’ (Iron Man)

This moment was the comfirmation that ‘The Avengers’ was happening. Geek out to the maximum

01. Iron Man – the entire film (Iron Man)

Sure, it’s not a ‘moment’ per se. And the Nick Fury scene wasn’t technically in the main film…But Jon Favreau’s brilliantly acted, written and produced Iron Man film that paved the way for the MCU, is damn near-faultless. 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,256 other followers

%d bloggers like this: