Sunday, 22 January 2012
War Horse (2011)
It's a very "nice" film. Yeah it drags a bit in the middle,some of it felt like something I've seen already in other films and is longer then it should be, and it's rather cheesy with a lot of sap, but I guess I enjoy this type of "sap". Spielbergian sap is the good type of sap. I also really liked the fact that it gives the viewers different perspectives of World War 1 along with the horse being the main character. All the characters were nicely developed with the story of the two German boys and the farm boy having the most emotional impact towards me. I also found it interesting that the Germans "invaded" their own peoples homes...I never knew that....Very nice cinematography and visuals,they were a bit literal of it's meanings like the whole orange shadings in the end of the film, but still. I also liked the nice classic score that was done by John Williams, it definitely brought the overall feel of the early 1900's and the first war. Overall,it's not as amazing as Nick Lyonssays it out to be, but it's good stuff.
Saturday, 14 January 2012
Just another coming of age romantic comedy with a British twinge. The plot is nothing new but debut director Richard Ayoade manages to make the film thrum with quality. I'm definitely looking forward to more of his films. The cinematography was quite nice. All the actors are great with the two main leads, Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige, driving the film with their quirky and realistic yet at the same time slightly over dramatic relationship. The film does begin to falter a bit near the middle due to the film focusing more on the falling relationship of the main leads parents then their own. Still, it was entertaining from the start to the end with plenty of references that may excite some of you film lovers, and managed to once again confirm to me that love is just so damn messy.
Saturday, 7 January 2012
Another Earth (2011)
When I first saw the words "Another Earth" on my Youtube suggestions, my interest was automatically sparked, as I am quite fascinated by any sort of news that is what you could say.."out of this world". So I click the video, with the idea that I am about to either watch a spam video or something truly amazing. The video ended up being a trailer for a film. So despite my heart sinking, I was still intrigued to see what this film was about. After viewing the trailer, I was truly amazed at what I had seen. The film seemed to have so much potential of being a masterpiece. Most didn't agree but I stood tall with my opinion...Anyways, I finally got to watching one of my most anticipated films of 2011...and I was disappointed.
The film is about a girl and an accident she has that ruins her life and the victims life fully...oh yeah and then there's the whole preposterous "Second Earth" gimmick. I didn't HATE it...but I didn't LOVE it as much as I was hoping to. The mere sight of Another Earth just above our dear Planet was just...truly mesmerizing...but that's all that I did find that was actually better then average...which this film is. The reasons I say that are because a lot of the film felt very amateurish in almost everything. The characters weren't much explored properly ,the screenplay went to a stupid twist in the middle and the technical aspects were weak to the point of annoyance. Those 3 aspects are one of the main aspects that carry a film to greatness. I actually liked all the characters at first, and I was able to sympathize with the main characters troubles but for a girl who says she doesn't want to make mistakes, she sure made some stupid mistakes. ***Spoiler Alert*** (I really hated the fact that she went along and slept with the man whose life she ruined...like it just got really ridiculous...I didn't feel that the characters had enough development to even make such a decision.) Anyways, the ridiculous twist in the middle made me get annoyed towards most of the film afterwards. Then there's the ending. What the fuck? I mean it wasn't bad but it was rather cheesy and lazy...in fact the screenplay overall was lazy and dull. There were many moments where I was just waiting to see something that I haven't seen in so many other films...but it never came...
You notice how that whole paragraph above is constantly referring to the weak characters instead of what this film should be about? Yeah that was a problem as well. The film seemed to have lost it's overall focus towards the "Another Earth" after the middle of the film. I mean it tried to show that it was being a philosophical film by using metaphors, some good thought provoking messages, abstract images that I don't fully understand, which was fine in my opinion but those moments weren't enough. If it wasn't for the whole setting of the EARTH 2 to give the characters a chance at redemption in their lives; which is quite an interesting thought, the film would be pretty bad. Yeah it was a gimmick. I have a feeling we can expect more of these ANOTHER EARTH gimmicks. Once again I seem to sound like I truly hate this film. Which is not true. There were some redeeming aspects but I thought it was disappointing. I don't feel like talking much about the positives...what ever I mentioned earlier was pretty much it. Overall, Another Earth wastes an intriguing premise by trying to make the audience sympathize with weak characters while throwing in a couple unique and thought provoking messages about redemption and humanity, for which I ended up not even caring about anymore.
- Alexson Philipiah
Thursday, 5 January 2012
Source Code (2011)
Basking in the success of his debut independent film "Moon" which managed to garner critical acclaim and a decent box office of about 9 million with a budget of 5 million, director Duncan Jones decided to go commercial with "Source Code" which has a budget of 32 million while earning around 123 million AND earning good reviews but with most critics confirming the fact that the film was not as great as his debut flick. Some may say that the money got to him or that he's lost his touch but I have to say that he did stagger a bit with this film but I still enjoyed it.
"Moon" is one of my top 10 fav films of all time and so I had a lot of expectations with this film and I have to say I was beginning to worry when I saw the horribly designed posters for this film. After viewing the film, I can say that it's good but not great...and slightly disappointing.
The reasons I loved Moon so much is because of the certain sophisticated and intelligent direction involved, the emotionally heartbreaking acting and screenplay, the creepy but amazing score from Clint Mansell,etc. The opening scene of Source Code made my heart sink a bit as it was just boring shots of trains and a city with a bit of a cliched background score. Then as the film starts and goes past the first extremely entertaining 30 min, I knew that the overall reason that this flick was made was to elaborate some of Jones genius ideas AND to earn loads of money. The reason I say that is because Source Code lacks a lot of the sophistication that Moon had and there was a lot of spoon feeding of information. I like to be challenged and yes the film does do that but only for a while before it explains everything..obviously because producers probably forced the director to do so, so that audiences do not get turned off by it's intelligence. It's things like that which make me slightly annoyed. I also felt that the film seemed to focus more on the relationships of the characters (with most of them being rather bland) then it did on the overall themes of the science of the "Source Code" device and the War On Terror. It definitely could have gotten deeper with it's story. The film seemed to remind me of a video game at times as the main character goes into the world, does a bunch of stuff to find out the bomber of the train in which the explosions takes place,then get's killed, and tries again in that same world where reality is not relevant.
In terms of acting, I found it solid but disappointing, as Sam Rockwell gave quite a devastatingly emotional performance in Moon while Jake Gyllenhall seems to be aiming to give a charismatic performance. I liked him but this is where I began to lower my expectations and realize the true reason for making this film overall. All the other actors were decent but lacking much development. I have to blame it on the screenplay which is not bad but it could have been more serious and focused in the second half with such an intelligent premise. Not much to say about the cinematography and the score as it was rather mediocre. The direction and editing was good though. No matter how many flaws the film had, the direction manages to keep me entertained and mentally stimulated for it's running time of around 1 hour and 40 min. Repetitiveness was something that I felt began to become a bit of a problem but the film soon ended and it also did tried to use some decent editing skills to make time pass by.
3 reasons that made me really like this film are firstly, to see the main character not have to worry about his consequences, as that is something every single person is dying to be able to do. I have tons of scenarios in my head that I would love to do but can't because of the fact that I am afraid of the consequences. The second reason is the fact that Duncan Jones has managed to come up with such a genius of an idea. I mean where the fuck did the idea of a "source code" come from...the device is something I personally believe COULD be real one day...not now obviously but maybe sometime in the distant future...The last reason would be that despite the flaws, I found a lot of the stuff to be emotionally satisfying. I really loved that one scene where the main character is sitting on the floor in the train handcuffed to a metal bar for stealing a gun, telling his friend about what he would do if he had a minute to live with the explosion coming in slowly behind him, showing the reactions of his friend and him before both are killed. The ending scene was quite "cheesy" but still emotionally satisfying.
Overall, my expectations were turned around quite much towards Duncan Jones after watching this film, but I still really liked it due to it's charismatic performance by Jake Gyllenhall, the good editing and direction from Jones, and due to the overall genius of a plot. Maybe I might have been a bit too negative towards this film in my review but I have you know I really liked it as it is a solid hollywood blockbuster science fiction flick...it's a lot better then most of the crap blockbusters that have come out this year.
- Alexson Philipiah
Wednesday, 4 January 2012
So why haven't I ever heard of this movie? I'm saying this because it has a pretty big budget..and managed to earn over a hundred thousand...which means the marketing must have been quite good. Coming into this movie I had no idea of what it was other then the fact that it was probably about Keanu Reeves beating the shit out of some demons, trying to save the world...as it shows on the cover of the DVD. So I thought it looked like a fun watch. and like I thought earlier, the movie ended up being exactly what I thought it would be about with an extra story and some spiritual themes thrown in to keep the audience entertained for it's running time of around 2 hours. The reviews seem to be pretty darn mixed to negative towards the flick by professional movie critics but I personally am going to have to say I disagree...I thought it was pretty darn cool.
The plot is about an ordinary man named Constantine, with the amazing but also sickening gift of being able to see the "evil" and "good" spirits of the world, has to stop the certain evils from causing mass destruction of the world alongside a couple of his other friends. The plot obviously makes you understand that this is some sort of comic book film and so I began to expect some good old stupid fun but the movie is actually..quite horrific. Not horrific enough to make me have nightmares but it keeps a light horrific tone all throughout. The visuals are good mainly the parts where the character's witness Hell as it looks pretty terrifying..but the designs for the demons reminded me of a film that came out afterwards called "I am Legend"....The films plot reminds me of the plot of "Watchmen" and some of the characters, such as Constantine were also similar to characters from Watchmen. In terms of acting, I thought mostly everyone was solid but Keanu Reeves gave a very...weird performance. I mean at first he was giving off the impression of a "Clint Eastwood" wannabe then he reminded me of Rorschach (Watchmen,2009) but he also gave the impression that he is self parodying himself...I don't know...it was weird. I liked his performance as he was pretty bad ass but there was something that was just...odd about it...I don't know...hmm...A lot of the "style" of the film also reminded me of Snyder's style as there was a lot of "slow motion" scenes and great action scenes,etc. The screenplay, on the other hand was rather mediocre and the last quarter was pretty bad. I was kind of disappointed...it definitely seemed like the writer was out of ideas and added in what ever stupid ideas came to his head. The direction was decent and overall managed to have me entertained up to the horrible last quarter. I think the biggest flaw was that the film lacked character development..a lot of it was just thrown in or said through a character in minimal time and it's themes of an "uncaring God" and much that was related to the devil" were not much dug into well enough..unlike the other film that it reminded me of "Watchmen" which I thought dug quite well into it's themes.
Overall, it was an entertaining spiritual comic book adaptation that didn't bore and had me satisfied up to it's lame last quarter. Could have been better though...
The Smurfs (2011)
Despite it having inappropriate jokes, stupid songs, a ton of illogical scenes, plot holes, cringe worthy dialogue and acting, and the stupid usage of the word “smurf” almost over a 100 times…I didn’t hate it. I actually thought the it was JUST below average. It was something I consider passing by entertainment as I personally thought the villain was kinda funny but in an extremely stupid slapstick sort of way, the visuals were kinda neat, and the overall film managed to go by quite fast. I guess it’s the fact that I was expecting this film to be the worst film of all time..which it isn’t. But yeah..kill me if you want but it was tolerable kiddie fare…at least until the last quarter.
Sunday, 1 January 2012
Mayakkam Enna (2011)
It’s a very good tamil film. Definitely one of my top 10 favorites of this year. Compared to the majority of movies that come out from kollywood, this is a different film. It’s essentially an art film…and a helluva good one it is.
I first watched this with a whole different set of expectations but after watching this film, I realized that director Selvaraghavan is quite an intelligent director. I mean his last film made me hate him a lot and I lost a lot of hope in him, but he proved to me that he’s still got the freshness that he had with his film “Pudhupettai” which is easily one of my favourite tamil films of all time. What makes this film so good is that it actually has some social commentaries, metaphors, brilliant acting, great cinematography,etc which is rare to find in a tamil film.
The first half of this film is a light hearted romance story that deals with betrayal, friendships, emerging adults, etc. All the actors are great in this but Richa Gangopadhyay and Danush were just brilliant as both play some very complex characters. This is one of the rare tamil films where I actually felt a genuine connection with the characters. The story is quite good in the first half. It’s the second half where the film begins to lose it’s momentum. The second half is filled with some tamil cliches and get’s rather melodramatic. I would’ve enjoyed it more if the film didn’t have the main character getting into a deadly accident that destoys his life overall. The first half of the film is very centered towards the male main character while the second half is more focused on the female main character as she has to go through a lot of troubles with her mentally damaged husband. The second half of the film is quite dark and very depressing. A bit TOO depressing to the point where the film feels like it’s taking forever to end. Then it does with a rather cliched and predictable ending. None the less, the film does go very indepth in the relationships of these characters and making you feel horrible to watch them go through this pain. The music really brings up the emotions. There are a lot of small social commentaries like in one scene, the female lead tells a friend who tried to get on her while her husband is running around crazy on the road, about how we live in a world where feminists fight for woman rights and all but at the end of the day, females have to force themselves to be like men as we live in a sick and twisted world where if a woman shows a weakness she will be pounded immensely. I could go on and on with reasons of why this film is so good but I will end off with saying that if it wasn’t for the weaker second half, the film could have been another masterpiece from this director. It’s definitely not a film that many will understand straight up and demands a second viewing.