Reviews written by registered user
|61 reviews in total|
Speaking as someone who has not seen the Swedish adaptation of the
famous series or read the books for that matter, I had little to go by
on what to expect other than what i had seen in the trailers and heard
about from friends, so I was going into the film fresh and I can say
that I highly recommend it.
As with The Social Network, Fincher strikes the perfect balance between involving the audience with all the information on screen while not overloading them at the same time. It is tricky to do, but with his talent in directing, the film's two hour plus running-time goes by in a flash. The film is in many ways a master-class in all that it does; from perfectly honed performances to the fantastic editing (edited by the Oscar winning team who did The Social Network and won again for this).
Prior to this Rooney Mara had a only a few noticeable roles to mention, but does a fantastic job settling in as the film's protagonist, Lisbeth. Daniel Craig gives a subtle understated performance as her partner who work together to solve a 40-year old plus murder. Supporting actors including Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgård are also brilliant.
The only weakness that I can think to mention is that we are sometimes unsure of who the main suspects are as the film moves at such a pace, however this is not Scooby Doo and the film features several scenes to remind you of that.
Whether or not Fincher chooses to continue with the series, he has made yet another fantastic film that is well worth checking out but not when eating.
The concept for Safe House sounds cool and exciting with lots of
promise - A CIA agent's safe house in South Africa becomes under attack
when an important person is interrogated. From there, the agent must
keep the VIP safe as they are chased through SA until the CIA can get a
team in and rescue them. Sounds simple enough. The story has plenty of
opportunity for some fast-paced action and with Denzel Washington and
Ryan Reynolds leading the way this could be really good. Training Day
in South Africa? Far from I'm afraid.
Despite starting off with a lot of unnecessary shaky hand-held camera angles, the film soon gets going as Denzel is captured and brought into the Safe House. From there he is questioned and things start to look bad as a knife is brought out when... mysterious bad guys break in through one single door and manage to kill everyone except the leads. The film could have had a mini Assault on Precinct 13 style action scene but it is poorly handled and gets the film off to a bad start.
Sold as a straight-forward action film, it does just that but despite a few impressive hand-to- hand fight scenes, the action is just poorly shot and that really hurts the film, particularly towards the end. It is also just too long at 115 minutes for such a paper thin story. Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga and Brendon Gleeson are given little to do with roles that should have gone to smaller actors, so you don't see how truly wasted they are.
Denzel is always great in whatever he does but the film remains humourless throughout it's running-time, when the role needed a touch of charisma to help make it more enjoyable. Reynolds (who was great in the mediocre Smokin' Aces) manages to give a decent performance but again, without any humour in an action film like this, it becomes over- serious and tedious towards the end.
If the film was shorter, the dry, serious tone wouldn't be as much of a problem but as it is, this has been done before and has been done better.
Sometimes when you see a director's name on a new film, you imagine it
to be like their previous work. In this case I was expecting The Road
or something on that level but with prohibition instead of an
apocalypse, so it made for a refreshing change to see that John
Hillcoat has taken a different direction in his new film with a
lighter(ish) atmosphere. The screening I was in had the audience
laughing at the jokes and cringing at the violence, which combined with
a well-told (if well trodden) story, made for an enjoyable viewing
While the story of the film may appeal to fans of that era, it is the cast which will likely be the reason why people will come to see this film. It boasts a good list of names and are all brilliant. Tom Hardy brings out another terrific performance as Forrest, the middle brother, Shia LaBeouf gives what could be his strongest performance yet as the youngest and Jason Clarke as the oldest brother is great but doesn't get the screen time, which is a shame since he brought his character to life with such energy, I wanted to know more about him. Speaking of screen time, much has been said about Gary Oldman and while it is true that is only in the film for no more than three scenes roughly, he does a great job, showing his dedication to even the smallest of roles.
Guy Pearce stars as the city police officer who shakes things up from the moment he arrives on screen, and while his performance does veer on the comic, almost belonging to another film entirely, he is fantastic to watch and gives energy to the film. With such a strong male cast, Jessica Chastain manages to hold her own and bounces off Tom Hardy's character well. Even the smaller performances of Mia Wasikowska and Dean DeHann impress. Although LaBeouf's and Wasikowska's relationship needed more time to truly develop.
My only major complaint about the film is the pacing and movement from scene to scene. After once particular scene, the film just cuts to black similar to a TV programme when on a cliffhanger. In one scene a character has bruises and in the next he doesn't, one scene looks like a hot day in Virginia, in the next it is snowing and then it isn't. Some indication into the time would have helped the film but that is only a minor complaint.
Ultimately it's the performances that make the film. While it may not be entirely original, it is certainly entertaining. Hardy's performance shows that he is well on his way to becoming one of cinema's greatest.
Based on the board game of the same name, I guess you can say that
Battleship delivers on what it promises but with aliens for enemies.
There is a lot of action, but unlike the board game that features a lot
of hits and misses, the film tends to miss most of the time.
After a tedious introduction, the aliens are eventually introduced and ILM take over delivering visually impressive effects again and again but unfortunately there is no sense of danger or emotion. With three ships caught in a force field as they are shot upon to pieces, there should be a sense of danger but there isn't any. Instead the film plays its biggest hand first with a lengthy mind-numbing action scene, taking away any sense of escalation for the film.
While the CGI is great, it lacks any sense of immersion, choosing wide (shaky) shots of the action, rather than getting in close to the characters who are in danger and could soon die. Yet the film will zoom in up close to a sphere-like robot as it mindlessly destroys a freeway. It is ironic then that the best scene is almost devoid of effects, as the characters use a computer, similar to the layout of the board game, to fight the aliens at night. There is a slight sense of suspense and allows for a break from the rest of the mindless action.
CGI effects aside, the script and direction is all sub-par, giving uninteresting scenes so that we, the audience might relate to the characters. The actors are all poorly used including Liam Neeson who can usually help a film like this. However, Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano helps to keep the film's head above the water whenever he is on screen, providing military tactics to Taylor Kitsch.
By the end, the film is an unsatisfying mess, taking a couple of minutes towards the end for everyone to have their photo taken together using a product placement phone... With The Avengers currently out and so many other great films on the way, there is little reason to choose this.
Putting Thor, Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man all into one film was
never going to be easy, what with die-hard fans of certain characters
demanding they each have their moment to shine. However, Joss Whedon
succeeds in creating such a balanced film with a huge cast, he makes it
look effortless. Avengers Assember/ The Avengers (take your pick) is
one of the best films of the year and it hard to think of any other
director who could have pulled it off. Sure there are many other great
directors out there, but Whedon ensures that you don't to have of read
the comics to appreciate this.
The cast, direction, the script, the editing (very smooth), cgi, cinematography etc is amazing but I'm sure this has already been a lot mentioned about it. What made the film for me personally is the sense of camaraderie between all the characters as they work together, that is essential in any war/ team film that depicts people working together. Each character is also nicely developed, particularly Bruce Banner aka Hulk. Supporting members including Nick Fury, Hawkeye and Black Widow are also given their time to shine, and each actor is well cast.
While Loki's motif could have seen a little more development, the film feels nicely rounded and the action is amazing to watch as New York is torn apart. The film is funny in places but never feels goofy or unnecessary (pay attention Michael Bay). Whedon's ability to keep the action fresh ensures that this film never falters and becomes tired.
Avengers Assemble is an amazing film that gives the audience what they want and more, and is a sure contender for the best superhero film to date. While The Dark Knight Rises comes closer to its release, it is important to note that these are two very different films. Regardless, there is something for everyone and I strongly recommend watching it on the big screen.
Over a week after seeing the film, giving me time to decide whether as
good as the hype made it out to be, I am now ready to give my opinion.
First-off The Hunger Games is a good film, whereby the cast are great,
there is a sense of atmosphere and delivers what it promises. However,
is it as good as how everyone hoped it to be? Well what is but this
film has many flaws.
While I can't blame a teen-oriented film for not showing the killing of multiple young people clearly, blood and everything, the director thought it would be better to zoom in hand-held camera with quick cuts so you never get a clear view to avoid offending its audience and receiving the 15/R rating. The overall effect is distracting and cheapens the film. If you intend to show something, then show it! The film's half-hearted attitude to the violence felt indecisive, not sure whether to stay true to the books or to make something family friendly.
This is a much talked about issue and there is more that could be said, however the film does have its moments. Half the running time is set before the game begins and creates a tense atmosphere as the games move closer and closer. As mentioned the cast are great and the film allows time to develop their characters. Some scenes, particularly flashbacks, did feel poorly handled though and if more time had been spent developing them, I believe it would have improved the film immensely.
As it stands, the film is good, however the direction is not all that strong. The climactic fight felt poorly handled, which is a shame since it also successfully developed the antagonist. Two CGI scenes were weak and did not add anything to film. While I did enjoy it, the film lacked a certain edge needed to keep me invested in what will happen next for the characters. Looking at the box office, hopefully the sequel will build on what this achieved and make up for its shortcomings.
Sometimes you can determine if a film will be for you by looking at the
director; for example Spielberg and Nolan because their films remaining
consistent in what audiences expect from them. Martin Scorsese broke
the mold with Hugo - a film made a much wider audience and that
children can watch. Before I make comparisons with them to Paul W.S.
Anderson, this does differ slightly from his usual mix of bloody
violence and the usual dark atmosphere. The Three Musketeers is bright,
breezy and entertaining - the later being something he has tended to
miss in last few films.
While it is certainly not perfect and no where near Pirates of the Caribbean, which it so clearly aims for, the film is fun to watch if underdeveloped. Characters are introduced quickly and the action soon follows. For a film advertised on its CGI-heavy action scenes, it is the sword fights between the Musketeers and the Cardinal's men that are the most enjoyable to watch. The fight choreography can be brutal if a little bloodless while the CGI airship battles lack a sense of danger.
The four leads (Macfadyen, Evans, Stevenson and Lerman) make the most of a sub-par script and keep things moving. It is only when they are not on screen that the film begins to drag. While Waltz, Bloom and Mikkelsen are good villains, they are never given the dialogue that will allow them to reach their full potential.
Regardless, at just over 90 minutes, there are worser films out there and this is one worth checking out if you are interested. Just don't expect to find yourself watching it again.
For those who grew up on the original, this was never going to compare
but for the rest of us regardless if you have seen the first or not,
had the possibility to surprise. While it delivers on stunning visuals
and a brilliant soundtrack, the film outstays its welcome with a weak
In the first half, we are introduced to this new and exciting world where there are arena tournaments between two fighters, light cycle races and unique backdrops. It looks and sounds incredible, how the film did not get an Oscar nomination for its effects is still a question to me. However all that was enjoyable in the first half becomes diluted as the film tries to establish an annoyingly complex story about Clu, the antagonist trying to enter the human world or something like that. There is also a character twist but with all the henchmen looking the same, it became hard to differentiate one villain from the other.
Obvious connotations to God and how he does not intervene with the world can be made with Kevin Flynn, played charmingly by Jeff Bridges, but never resonate to much. The film starts to loose its way when it could have been great, Kevin makes a dramatic entrance to save his son, Sam and friend but instead just escorts them out. Any other director would have used this scene to its full potential and had an exciting fight scene where one fights many.
Something similar happens later when Sam is locked in room with two guards. Again the set- up is great as he prepares to fight but what happens next takes place outside the room. It is disappointing, maybe an issue due to the budget but something things are better shown than implied when the protagonist is the avatar for the audience and they are new to environment.
But it is the first half that you will remember by the end of the film. The cast are good and Garrett Hedlund makes for a solid protagonist. The CGI is brilliant justifying the purchase of a blu-ray to bring the action scenes to life in HD. While the second half falls flat in places, the never does anything offensively bad making it worth checking out for fans of action and science-fiction films.
From the trailers, many predicted a knock-off version of 300. Then news
of 3D being applied in post-production brought the inevitable
comparisons of Clash of the Titans *shudder*. However what kept my
interest and others was the involvement of Tarsem Singh, recognised for
creating visually amazing films and as I left the cinema, I was glad
the film did not disappoint.
Like 300 and Clash of the Titans, audiences go in expecting entertainment and not a history lesson. While I have always been interested in Greek Mythology, I did not mind the film did not stay true to the stories and created its own universe. The film delivers on fantastic visuals, bloody action and a generally strong cast. While the script was not necessarily perfect, I do not remember any particularly bad lines. In hindsight, I would have preferred a bit more time developing the characters but they are given a suitable amount of backstory so that the plot can progress forward.
Once again, Singh and his art direction team deliver on striking sets and costumes. The art style is beautiful to look at and the CGI is used to support the film rather than becoming the main focus. I hope that the Oscars notice the films art directing as it is distinct and worthy of some recognition. The cinematography never faltered and assisted in bringing the locations to life.
Henry Cavill gives a strong, likable performance as Theseus and proves that his is physically capable of donning the red cape as Superman. Mickey Rouke is suitably menacing and will keep audiences on the edge of their seat, not knowing what horrible act of violence he will do next. Supporting cast members including Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff and Isabel Luca were good in their roles but needed more screen-time so that they actually felt relevant to the story. Freida Pinto's character plays a major role at the start but in the final act, she is barely anywhere to be seen. John Hurt makes a small appearance in the film and is only really there to help move the story along but he is as good as ever. Another actor that deserved more screen-time was Luke Evans as Zeus. His performance as Zeus was brilliant but was not featured enough throughout the film. The same can be said for the rest of the gods, who only really get one chance to shine at the end.
More importantly is the action in the film - while it is not as action-packed as the trailer might suggest, it certainly delivers on its entertainment value. The fight choreography is incredible to watch and is shot well, allowing for audiences to actually see what is happening. The final confrontation with Theseus is suitably and refreshingly violent while other fight scenes focus on offering spectacle.
While not necessarily the perfect action film, it should satisfy those waiting for the sequel to 300 and anyone in search of some entertainment. The film is paced well and has a satisfying ending. While some of the characters needed more time to develop, I suppose that we will see those scenes on the DVD. Tarsem Singh has created his most accessible film yet and also, to my surprise, shows that 3D post-conversion can actually work, delivering some of the best 3D moments I have ever seen.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides had a few new things going
for it and quite a few going against it, namely the budget being
reduced, which is blatant throughout the film. While it tries to
deliver on what the series is known for, it ends up feeling redundant.
What the film did have going for it was the new cast of actors and a new storyline, that is not a direct continuation from the last one making it accessible for new audiences. However like last time the plot is over complex, has too many characters and fails to bring a satisfying conclusion to any of them. The Spanish Armada are made out to be a significant force and their is a race to the fountain of youth but that never comes across. Maybe it was the reduced budget; one scene involves everyone preparing for a ship battle but no.
Ian Mcshane is a great actor and gives an intimidating performance as Blackbeard, however the script is weak and fail to make any of use of him. Unlike Davy Jones, one of the better villains in recent memory, Blackbeard simply barks orders and threatens people. There is no menace under his skin, which is a shame because he is meant to be a ruthless pirate.
Penelope Cruz, while a good casting decision is poorly used and the relationship between her and Depp is underdeveloped. Stephen Graham always brings something to his roles and does so here but is not given enough screen time. Richard Griffiths is embarrassing to watch as King George and Keith Richards appears briefly but only to help push the film forward slightly. I was hoping to see more of his character this time but instead we get less. Replacing Elizabeth and Will are a missionary and a mermaid. Their involvement is small yet inoffensive and do not hurt the film as badly as what other people have made out.
This leads me onto the mermaids, who steal the film/ have the best scene where they attack Blackbeard and his men. All the other action oriented scenes lacked any spectacle unlike the kraken scene from the second but this was very entertaining. The mermaids are presented as viscous yet seductive creatures who take men to the sea bed and kill them. It is also the only scene where there is a clear sense of danger and excitement. The films finalie is underwhelming and any drama and tension are broken by scenes of humour.
While Depp, Rush and McNally as Gibbs are good, they too suffer from what felt as if a large proportion of the film was cut down to a restrictive budget. Unlike the first two films, I feel less-likely to be returning to watch this again.
|Page 1 of 7:||      |