Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Woman In Black Review

The Woman In Black


12A


Directed by James Watkins


Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Ciarán Hinds


Having studied this classic for my drama final piece last year – The Woman in Black is one ghost story that I have been forced to get familiar with. Originally written by Susan Hill, this famous novel was later adapted into an incredible play by Stephen Mallatratt. And now, the story has been revamped once more onto the silver screen for a whole new demographic.

The story itself follows the young lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) to the village of Crythin Gifford in order to sort through the affairs of the late Alice Drablow at Eel Marsh House. However it soon becomes apparent that the house holds some spooky secrets that terrorise the villagers and Kipps vows to resolve them.

As far as horrors go, The Woman in Black meets expectations. Radcliffe has managed to shake off his Hogwarts robes (no Equus pun intended!) and, in my opinion, is well on his way to establishing himself as an actor in his own right. The movie provides some genuine jumpy moments but sadly goes for the deliberate loud noise thrills as opposed to a more sophisticated psychological scare. However given the certificate, this is not surprising and it did evoke a fair few shrieks from the viewing party.

Towards the end it all becomes a bit repetitive and predictable but that is weighed out by the solid performance by Hinds and the adorable young child actor who plays Kipps’ son. On top of this, the opening scene is hauntingly striking and gets the film off to a promising start.

As a stand alone film, without reference to the book or play, The Woman In Black succeeds in scaring the audience and is no doubt entertaining. However, in comparison to the West End play – it misses a crucial point: that imagining the unknown is often more terrifying than the reality.

Rating: 6

Have Your Say: Did you think the fear factor was a bit much for the 12A family rating? Please feel free to voice your opinion by commenting on this post.







Monday, 27 February 2012

The Artist Review - Guest Blogger

The Artist


PG


Directed by  Michel Hazanavicius


Starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo

On the back of the success of The Artist at last night's Oscars - I thought you may appreciate a review. As I am always one to support my fellow Amateur Reviewers, this one comes on behalf from a fellow film fan...

"A few nights ago, I went to my local cinema to see The Artist. As a young person in a cinema, literally full of people’s grandparents, I didn’t have high hopes for this film, not to mention the fact I am prone to getting bored easily and a silent film, so I thought, would hardly keep my attention.

Set in 1927, the film is based around silent movie star George Valentin (Dujardin) and aspiring actress Peppy Miller. As Valentin’s career falls to pieces with the introduction of ‘talkies’ and Millers career shoots sky high, we see Valentin become bankrupt and fall into a state of depression. This is a movie of growing romance which is by no means short of a few laughs, many of which come from the fantastic performances of Jack (Uggie the Jack Russell), Valentin’s faithful dog, whose playful antics will certainly make you laugh out loud!

Very short on criticisms of this film, the musical score by Ludovic Bource was so vibrant and fantastic, and the fact the movie was silent and black and white only made the film that much better, I felt I was much more able to focus on the film without having to worry about listening to what the actors were saying, and due to the fantastic on screen chemistry between Dujardin and Bejo, few words would have been needed! This film is a nice, simple, happy story and is by no means an ‘Inception’, you won’t leave the cinema wondering what the last hour and a half was all about!

An absolutely superb movie, one of my favourite films so far of the year! The audience’s eyes were glued to the screen for the entire movie and nobody uttered a word. Who would of thought, that in an age of 3D, a feature length silent film would do so well!"

Big thank you to our guest blogger - this is one certain recommendation!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK7pfLlsUQM

The Oscars 2012

Late night yesterday, staying up to watch the Academy Awards! So here's my post reviewing all the winners (and losers) - as well as commenting on some of my favourite looks (despite it not really being my area of expertise!)

Best Picture: The Artist

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
I was really rooting for Gary Oldman in this category as I thought his performance as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was incredible - however it seems The Artist really did own Hollywood last night!
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Though I will admit Streep's portrayal of Maggie Thatcher was excellent - The Girl With The Dragon tattoo blew it out of the water in my opinion and I was backing Rooney Mara all the way. As far as I'm concerned - she is Lisbeth Salander.

Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help

Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
In case you didn't realise from my review yesterday, I loved Warrior and was consequently hoping to see Nick Nolte scoop the award in this category, however kudos to Christopher.

Directing: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Cinematography: Hugo

Art Direction: Hugo

Costume Design: The Artist

Makeup: The Iron Lady

Foreign Language Film: A Separation, Iran.

Film Editing: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Sound Editing: Hugo

Sound Mixing: Hugo

Documentary Feature: Undefeated

Animated Feature Film: Rango

Visual Effects: Hugo

Original Score: The Artist

Original Song: Man or Muppet from The Muppets

Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants

Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Was so happy to see this finally recognised. This charming ode to my favourite city in the world was one of the best films last year.

Live Action Short Film: The Shore

Documentary (short subject): Saving Face

Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore


Now on to the fashion. Rooney Mara and Jessica Chastain are fighting for the best dressed crown in my opinion! Both looking stunning as ever. And of course, no Oscar post would be complete without a sneaky little picture of the King of Hollywood himself: George Clooney! Oh and for all the Gary Oldman fans out there - keep scrolling down! Feel free to comment your thoughts and opinions - I'd love to hear what you have to say!






Unfortunately this marks the end of Award Season 2012 and what a year it has been...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Out Now On DVD

Warrior

12A

Directed by Gavin O’Connor

Starring Nick Nolte, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton



I would like to say, I am not a DVD veteran, so for me to go out and buy a DVD on the first week of release is a mark of how much I wanted to see this film again. Warrior is about the story of one broken family and how they try to pick up the pieces amidst various tribulations. Set in Pittsburgh, we see our two protagonists find their way back to Mixed Martial Arts and enter the Sparta Tournament in Atlantic City each with different motivations.

As the biggest Tom Hardy fan going, I was more drawn to this film at the prospect of multiple scenes of him shirtless, however I would like to point out – that is only one reason to buy this film! You don’t have to know the first thing about Mixed Martial Arts to enjoy the movie as it is just as much about family ties as it is about the sport. That said, my whole family were fist pumping and cheering throughout all the fights!

Warrior is visually stunning and follows all the classic sports movie traits, so expect split screen training montages and lots of skipping. But surprisingly, this didn’t offend me and I found the entire film to be extremely emotional and inspirational. Just ask the kid next to me in the cinema (you know who you are!) The National feature heavily on the soundtrack and About Today accompanies one of the most emotionally draining and memorable pieces of cinema I have ever seen at the end of the film.

Superb acting from Nick Nolte who very much deserves the Academy Award nomination for this role (I can only hope the Oscar goes to him, as this film has been greatly overlooked). Tom Hardy bulked up an incredible 28 lbs in muscle and it really shows, he looks menacing but at the same time incredibly vulnerable – something which Hardy does too well. His onscreen relationship with Joel Edgerton is extremely believable and they both did well to lose their native accents in favour of the American one they adopt in Warrior.

The extra features on the DVD include lots of stuff about MMA, fighting strategy, deleted scenes and a brilliant tribute to Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Jr. who the film was dedicated to. This DVD is most definitely worth a watch, even if you caught it in cinema first time round.

Rating: 8

Buy this if you loved: any of the Rockys, or The Fighter.

One to watch: Joel Edgerton. This Aussie looks to be on a collision course to success after his amazing performance as the underdog, Brendan, in this film. Look out for him in The Great Gatsby – I have a feeling Edgerton could become a household name.



Saturday, 25 February 2012

Chronicle


Chronicle

12A

Directed by Josh Trank

Starring Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan



So last night I went to watch the film Chronicle for the second time in as many weeks and have come to the conclusion that it is probably the best film I have seen so far this year (yes, I am aware it is only February!)

The film documents the antics of three ordinary teenagers who end up with a supernatural power: telekinesis. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is merely some superhero origin story, where three unlikely kids save mankind right under the noses of the American Government. Chronicle is a far cry from the clichés that have plagued this type of genre for so long.

We see our protagonist, Andrew gain two unlikely friends (in the form of his cousin Matt and the popular Steve) and they bond over their equally unlikely talent. While being nothing like a comedy, there are some brilliant moments when we see what teenagers would actually do with such powers. Of course they would get their own back on school bullies, doss around in the supermarket and play football in the sky. I’m man enough to admit that saving the world would not even make the top 10… What’s equally amusing is Max Landis’ script which captures the teen sociolect to a T. My friends and I found ourselves sitting there saying - “they are so us!” In fact, it was actually a little freaky how similar we were…

The third act goes slightly haywire, and for once, it’s genuinely unexpected given the fact the trailer gives so little away. But what I will say is that down town Seattle gets quite the beating. It will take a while to get used to hand held style it’s shot in, however due to the inventive use of cameras you don’t get that Cloverfield-motion-sickness-feeling.

Chronicle has done immensely well on the low budget, with little known directors and a young director so I am landed to see that it has done so well! A truly original story that’s thought provoking, hilarious and harrowing in equal measures. So if Chronicle is still showing in a cinema near you, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Well done Josh Trank!

Rating: 9 (thought 10 was a bit much for my first review…)

One to watch: Dane DeHaan. Expecting great things from this actor (anyone else notice the uncanny resemblance to Leonardo DiCaprio!?) and am extremely keen to see him in A Place Beyond The Pines, Kill Your Darlings and The Wettest County In The World.




Greetings!

Massive film and TV fan, my friends told me to make a blog (probably because they were bored of hearing me harp on about my latest favourites) so here it is! I'll try to keep you posted on what I am loving in cinema's, on TV and on DVD. Don't expect great things, the blog's called amateur for a reason...