If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Four movies reviewed!
Last weekend saw a lot of new releases finally hit the shelves here in Ireland, and so it was the perfect conditions for three days of movies, along with my trip to see Prometheus. (you can find my full review for it here) Sadly, I won't be able to go into very much detail on them, but it should provide an insight into their qualities, and also their slip-ups. So, slightly overdue, here they are.
So much has been said of this film already, that it almost serves no purpose to describe it again, but I'll try. Michel Hazanavicius's movie of a silent film performer in the late 1920's, and his subsequent struggle as "talkies" begin to take over the business, is nothing short of an absolute masterpiece. Jean Dujardin's silent performance here is outstanding, his strong mannerisms and personality just captivate your attention. And along with his love interest and fellow actor Berenice Bejo who plays Peppy Miller, provides a combination the likes of which I have not enjoyed on screen for a very long time.
Everything about this silent film is perfectly implemented, from the musical soundtrack that plays through the majority of the scenes, to the stunning camerawork to highlight the shadows and perspectives, and the cast which just flows with enthusiasm and talent. The scenes of sound which are incorporated here, of which there are two, are so striking and powerful, they'll stick with you for a very long time. This movie has a significant message and delivers it with pin-point accuracy. Even if you are not aware of the genre in a large way, you'll still hall in love with The Artist. This is Better than Sex, and despite the fact that I had to wait six months to see it, it was worth the wait in every way. This will be long remembered after its Academy Award success has been forgotten, and for that integrity alone, this is an absolute must-see.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Now, this is a more difficult film to break down, since its agenda is not so clear-cut. Thomas Horn plays a young kid who has been left emotionally traumatised by the death of his father (Tom Hanks) in one of the Towers at 9/11. Despite being incredibly smart, he has a tendency to expect order in everything in life, from which the death has shaken the roots of everything that he is. However, he finds a key one day in a broken blue vase, which he suspects ties into the games he and his father used to play. He believes that finding the lock to this key will explain everything, and takes it on to solve this puzzle no matter how long it takes.
Through the first third of the film I was finding it very hard to get into the groove, as it is very.... different in how it does the storytelling. Things feel broken and ideas are cluttered, it's hard to invision where the movie is trying to go. Thomas visits everyone in New York City by the name of Black, since this was written on the envelope that the key was in. His method to solving the mystery feels as if it hangs by a thread of hope, and very often that thread almost gets severed due to his frame of mind. However, after the introduction of Max von Sydow, who is renting a room across the street and cannot talk, the film takes a step in the right direction. The kid's real problems begin to surface and bring clarity to everything we have seen so far. The role of the mother played by Sandra Bullock becomes more prominent as well, and includes scenes that really pulled at my heartstrings.
The conclusion to the film was wonderful, and made me see everything in a new light about it. Add to this some wonderful production values, truly outstanding performances, and a genuinely heart-felt story, and this is a Full Price film. It may seem hard to get into from the offset but trust me; it will all be worth it at the end. Well worth checking out.
Man On A Ledge
*sighs...* Do I have to talk about this "movie", if it deserves that title? Well, I suppose I should get the word about it out there, to help direct people to better titles.
Here we have a relatively normal heist movie, with the twist that the Protagonist is an escapee from prison and is on a building ledge, saying he will jump. However, he is using this as a smokescreen to clear his name of a crime that he apparently had no hand in. This man is Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), and he spends the majority of the film talking to a negotiator played by Elizabeth Banks. While this goes on and the crowd below follow the progress from the streets, the heist attempt is taking place to find the item that Nick supposedly stole.
The problem with this movie from the get-go, is its implausibility. Almost everything from the dialogue to the heist and the action sequences seems to have been put together using a glue pen and a keg of Tippex. There are crash scenes that even Bond would be left gravely injured from, that Nick just runs off from. And the inclusion of the redemption story into the jumper situation is vastly flawed right down to the core. It never stacks up to being a plan that can work or would even be considered, the films just expects the audience to just blindly follow every dumb decision it makes just because "it is fast-paced)
I have to call shit on this, the performances are nothing outside of underwhelming, the script has a mind of its own, and the simple fact is that none of this would ever be realistic, despite the film constantly trying to make you think otherwise. This is the lowest common denominator of action thrillers, never applying any excitement and instead thinking that showing Genesis Rodriguesz in her bra and knickers will make you like it. Sorry movie, that trick does not improve the quality of what you are. This is a low Some Ol' Bullsh*t, it doesn't become offensively bad, but gets very close to that by just insulting the audience's intelligence. Avoid this one folks, you should have gotten the jist of it from the moment I said "Sam Worthington".
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
This is going to be one of those ratings where the outcome will be literal, as opposed to a quality measure. Because this sequel to "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" was.... quite a bit better than I was expecting. Josh Hutcherson plays a young kid who is attempting to discover the Island from the Jules Verne novels, when he intercepts a radio signal that he suspects may lead him there. His stepfather (Dwayne Johnson) is sceptical at first, but agrees to help him in an attempt to bond with him more. The break the code and find the co-ordinates which are just off the island of Palau. They find a tour guide that can fly them there, but they get swept up in a tornado and wake up on a dark shoreline. However, it turns out that the co-ordinates were correct, and they have found the island, which they begin to explore and uncover its secrets.
Even there I have extended the storyline beyond what it needs to be, it is as simple and as linear as you can imagine. So if you are in search of a true Jules Verne novel adaptation, this is not it. However..... this is the best visual representation of the island I have seen. It is gorgeous and lavish in detail, from the distant gold volcano to the local animals and strange ruins. It really is a feast for the eyes, and that is exactly this film's goal - a visual thrill-ride. And at home, on a lazy afternoon, that methodology worked very well indeed.
The acting here is acceptable, nothing to write home about. Dwayne and Josh are joined by the tour guide Luis Guzman, his daughter Vanessa Hudgers, and Josh's long lost grandfather played by Michael Caine. Each plays the typical adventure personality, but does enough to keep you watching. There are points of just dumb filler that should never have been placed in, but thankfully they are sparse enough for you not to be thrown off by them. As I said, the ace card is the effects and visuals, and even the camera work is very good, creating some very impressive scenes and imaginations of Verne’s world.
I had fun watching this film, it may not be one that I will remember for a long time to come, but it was a nice way to spend an afternoon, and makes for a perfect family flick. Which is why it gets a High Rental, it makes for a great film to rent for the family, or if you just want to lie back and see some dazzling effects. It has no stamp of quality as a film, but is still one to add to your list for 2012.
Thanks for reading! ^__^