Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
ListsAn error has ocurred. Please try again
The Lovely Bones (2009)
Peter Jackson was sadly the wrong person to direct this film. He is a director who works good against a broad setting yet fails in bringing the heartbreaking realism needed to make this film have what it lacks - authenticity. The film is a multi layered and a large problem is that many of the levels that need to work in order for the film to be a success - don't. Part of the problem stressed by many are the overlong and overwrought heaven scenes. Jackson seems to desperately be trying to imitate Terry Gilliam in a film that doesn't need that visual quality. I'm not sure whether he is incapable of having a film without experimenting with visual effects but this left me repulsed. The next problem is linked to the first. Because we spend so much time in this CGI heaven we miss out a lot of the best thing about the film which are the quiet moments where the family deal with their grief. Because the heaven scenes get in the way whenever we return it feel like something happened that the audience missed which gives that part of the story a jolted feel. Another is Mark Wahlberg who is a good actor but he is not good enough to handle a role of such emotional depth like this. The next is Stanley Tucci. Tucci is a brilliant actor and is genuinely creepy. He gives the best performance but because of the weakness of the script it seems more like a character study than a real character. Because it does feel like a character study it feels awkwardly mixed in with the rest of the film like it doesn't belong there. One other things is the wretched music score. I beg of Peter Jackson to stick with Howard Shore! If there are strengths then they would be this. Rachel Weisz is good an unlike other people I did sympathize with her character. Susan Sarandon is decent and so is the cinematography, that's it!
Stick It (2006)
A messy film that generally has no story
After watching the film I felt rather cheated. I don't normally enjoy these sort of films but I have been proved wrong with films such as 'Centre Stage' which I thought had a good story, interesting characters and whilst entertaining to its target audience which is generally teenage girls it dealt with themes like anorexia and bolemia. This film doesn't have any of that. It doesn't have a good story, in fact it doesn't have any story. You have a rebel (Missy Peregrym) who is sent off to do gymnastics after having quit a number of years before. That's all, they enter some competitions and it gets rather predictable from there. Why the brilliant actor Jeff Bridges would associate himself with this film, I have no idea but he must have been offered a huge pay-cheque. The characters are annoying and one-dimensional and it fails to deal with any themes which are relevant, interesting and necessary. Don't see it.
Shame, shame, shame
Baz Luhrmann's first film since the Oscar winning film 'Moulin Rouge' is a love letter to his home and my home 'Australia.' What's the problem then? Well, the movie sucks, that's the problem. The film has an extraordinary budget, the highest for any Australian film yet that really isn't much considering the sort of films we release. And for all that budget Baz Luhrmann's sweeping epic has some of the worst visual-effects I have ever seen, one of the worst scripts ever-written which is a sad rip-off (not homage, rip-off) of such films as The African Queen, Gone With the Wind and Out of Africa especially the latter two. Many performances in particular Nicole Kidman's are stiff, unrealistic and incredibly over-the-top. It deals with themes like the stolen generation in a sloppy manner which serves no purpose to the story and feels terribly forced. It could have been three movies. The romance is terribly done as there is no chemistry between Kidman and Hugh Jackman's character 'the Drover.' But overall the fault lies with Baz Luhrmann who takes the story which does have a little potential and tells it in an over-the-top, flamboyant manner which does no justice to the land in which he tries to write a love letter to. The length is self-indulgent of him and the Aboriginal mysticism feels forced and contrived. I wouldn't mind a film about that but it feels entirely out of place. This film is a terrible disappointment.
The Black Balloon (2008)
A decent thought-provoking film
My heading summarizes my thoughts of the film in its entirety. The film is decent on all levels though it never breaks down the barriers of brilliance. The film is directed by Elissa Down and was co-written between her and Jimmy Jack. Elissa Down grew up with an autistic brother which is the main theme of the film. It is directed in a simplistic, true and heartfelt manner which suits the story perfectly. This isn't a film that tries to take on the universal disease that is autism but is a quiet and beautiful film which gives hope to those who watch it as we see a content family that deals with having two sons of similar age. One, our protagonist, is Thomas while the other is his autistic brother Charlie. Thomas is going through adolescence and is having his own troubles like a new girl at school called Jackie. Some scenes hold such emotional power that I found myself in tears. It is worth seeing.
An interesting but flawed film
This was the first film I saw in 2008 which would then go on to be nominated for Best Picture and overall in the scale of things I would rate it fourth of the films. 1st would be Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, 2nd would be Stephen Daldry's The Reader, 3rd would be Ron Howards' Frost Nixon and now fourth is David Fincher's 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.' To describe the plot in one sentence it is about a character called Benjamin Button who is born old and grows younger. The film is about his life including some of the people he meets and the love he shares for a character named Daisy. The best performance is by Brad Pitt who gives an emotionally restraint performance throughout the whole film which is quietly beautiful. Taraji P. Henson is also wonderful as Queenie who is warm and lovable. There are elements of the story that are interesting and the make-up and visual-effects are absolutely amazing. There are also memorable and witty side-gags like a character that claims to have been struck by lightening seven times though the gag overstays its welcome. There is many other things to admire but there are some things that drag the film down. The first and foremost problem is Eric Roth screenplay. I can understand that he had to work with a short story about three pages long which had no characters except Benjamin. But I felt that he tried to repeat Forrest Gump's success (something he too wrote the screenplay for) by using the same storytelling techniques which feel more like a gimmick here and unnecessary. Some of the dialogue is also very hockey and cringe-worthy. Another problem is the usually wonderful Cate Blanchett whose performance I found to be rather over-the-top and tedious. There is also a large section of the story featuring a character played by Tilda Swinton which goes absolutely nowhere and contributed to the problem that the film was far too long. Problems aside it was still a worthy piece of entertainment but I would have preferred to see 'The Dark Knight' and 'Revolutionary Road' get nominated for best picture over this and 'Milk.'
Another failed attempt
This film isn't terrible. In fact it is a good film but I am still waiting for a film that does justice to the problem of homophobia and also shows that homosexuality is entirely normal. I thought that 'Brokeback Mountain' was dreadfully padded out by the unreliable and overrated Ang Lee and my problem with this film is that it doesn't do justice to the story of Harvey Milk and the fault lies with Dustin Lance Black the screenwriter and Gus Van Sant the director. Now both did decent jobs but I would have liked to see cinematic vision from both. This is an important story to be told but it is told in such a dry, conventional manner. This is a film which calls for a wide-scope and while it can be up-close and personal to the man himself which it does successfully more due to the skill of Sean Penn than anyone else but even though it is up-close and personal there needed to be a wider scope to truly understand the cultural relevance of a man like Harvey Milk. Gus Van Sant has taken risks with films like 'Elephant' and I wanted to see him experimenting here but instead I received a rather conventional almost gutless one. The dialogue is wonderful and witty on a high note and the performances are exceptional from the likes of Josh Brolin, James Franco (is very good at dramatic roles) and of course Sean Penn. His performance is exceptional and captures the man's spirit. I wouldn't have given him the Oscar on the point that it was a bit of an imitation more than an inhabitance of the character but I wouldn't give it to Mickey Rourke for 'The Wrestler.' For me the award should have gone to Leonardo DiCaprio for 'Revolutionary Road' who wasn't even nominated. As Harvey Milk says in the film and as I says in terms of films dealing with homosexuality 'there is still work to be done!'
A highly compelling drama
Ron Howard has once again a stirring and interesting drama. Many critics have cited his new film 'Frost/Nixon' as his best film to date but I still believe that his finest work is his Oscar winning picture 'A Beautiful Mind.' Ron Howard I believe is a wonderful storyteller who can experiment with films and most of the time do it successfully and it is because of his confidence behind the camera. Apart from the sloppy 'Angels and Demons' he has had a great track-record for me. Yes, even 'The Da Vinci Code' I liked. This film is based on the play written by Peter Morgan who also wrote 'The Queen.' He adapts into the screen perfectly giving it a brilliant cinematic feel with half the credit going to Howard as well. The actors Frank Langella and Michael Sheen played the same roles as disgraced former President Richard Nixon and TV personality David Frost on Broadway. Their performances are wonderfully intense in their own separate ways. Langella's performance was one bound to win awards whilst Sheen's is equal in every way but not bound for the same fate. The story follows the legendary interviews between the two and a quest for the truth about 'Watergate.' It is compelling and intense - a great piece of cinema.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The best film of the year
2008 was wonderful year for film, unquestionably. All films nominated for an Oscar were more than deserving of the awards they were nominated for or won as well. I caught this film after it won best picture, having seen the other four best picture nominees. My front-runner was Stephen Daldry's small holocaust film 'The Reader' which I thought was incredible and didn't believe that Slumdog Millionaire could top that. Danny Boyle, the director, proved me wrong. This is easily the best film of the year followed by 'The Dark Knight' for its clever storytelling, colorful characters and completely heartfelt narrative. Technically it is brought to life beautifully, the cinematography is wonderful though I would have awarded Wally Pfister for 'The Dark Knight' in cinematography over this even though this film ended up taking the award. I would have also awarded 'the Dark Knight' editing and the sound award it wasn't given. But that said it is still beautiful to look at with wonderful colors that make the screen come alive. This isn't a story told simply but at the heart of its clever, complex story is indeed a simple love story mixed with a rags to riches tale. It is funny, moving and heartwarming with a brilliant mix of drama and politics. You must see this film.
King Kong (2005)
We don't all get our dreams
It is a widely spread fact of how the film was a passion-project for Peter Jackson, a labor of love if you will. We've all heard the stories about how at eight he saw the 1933 version and tried to make his own version with sock puppets. Peter Jackson's heart was undoubtedly in this project but at the end all I could ask was one thing. Was this it? That's all? Peter Jackson is a gifted director so it doesn't make any sense. He made Lord of the Rings but moves on to Kong and self-indulgently gives it a three hour running time. The first hour isn't even on the island. It's in New York and the boat ride which while impressively recreated from the era is padded out ridiculously. He gives us off-putting comedic elements as well like the arrogant lead among many who just loves to stare at himself in the mirror. The actual film's lead (discounting Kong) is played by Naomi Watts. All the actors are wonderful including Adrien Brody (the Pianist to this?), Andy Serkis and Colin Hanks. If anyone were miscast it would probably be Jack Black but I admire the effort. The island sequences quickly move from "i'm willing to ignore my disbelief" to "this is ridiculous." Yes some action scenes were brilliantly shot but to me they felt hollow as I really didn't feel wary of the stakes. The visual effects are amazing and there are some quiet moments of true beauty between Kong and Naomi Watt's character but in the case of Peter Jackson whose intentions were honorable - we don't all get our dreams.
For me personally this film goes down in my top four of all time. No exceptions. James Cameron has proved himself time and time again that he is a master storyteller. Through films such as Aliens, The Abyss and both Terminators it is clear that he was a brilliant and confidant director as far as action and science-fiction goes. He sees a story and adds a strange quality to the film. But Titanic is so much different to his other strokes of brilliance. The film is exceptionally moving and allows room for surprises, plot development and interesting character developments in a story that everyone knows. The story of the famed voyager sinking on her maiden voyage is legend so the challenge was for Cameron to make a truthful, interesting and entertaining film about it. The acting is wonderful as Leonardo DiCaprio who plays Jack and Kate Winslet who plays Rose became superstars overnight with the release of this film and in most films I get annoyed when the supporting characters aren't given a lot to do but in this film it is more purposeful because as an elderly Rose (Gloria Stuart) tells her story it is quickly apparent that it is Rose's and Jack's story alone, no one else. Emotionally it is entirely satisfying and can leave no dry eye in a theater or home. The music has become iconic and legendary. It is composer James Horner's finest soundtrack ever and evokes so much from the film and the audience. The song after so long has become annoying but I still appreciate it for the phenomenon it is and this film is. Only one problem, the usual James Cameron problem, is the dialogue which is memorable but in a bad way as in how cheesy it is at points but all that aside. James Cameron has delivered a masterpiece and a romantic epic that sweeps you away on a journey of a lifetime. My heart won't go on from this one.