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New Story, Same Feel
Okay, so every person who has reviewed this episode/season thus far has started with the same thing and i'll be no different, it was always going to be difficult to top (or even match) season one, for a lot of people, the first season was the best show on television last year. Going forward, you have to view this as a completely different entity, otherwise you're already closing your mind.
One of the main draws of the show is it's characters, disintegrating into themselves and it looks as if this season will be no different, our 4 main characters are Ray (Farrell), Ani (McAdams), Paul (Kitsch) & Frank (Vaughn), all with the exception of Frank showed their vulnerabilities straight off the bat, Ray in particular facing some big emotional, violent issues that will no doubt play a big part in the unraveling story.
To keep the rest short and sweet (& spoiler free) here's a breakdown of high/low points of the episode;
+ Colin Farrell is turning in a fantastic performance, already looking like an inspired choice as the main role.
+ Visually stunning, great score/soundtrack.
+ Complex characters.
+ Slower pace and build-up actually enhances the overall enjoyment.
- Vince Vaughn has had a fairly slow start to his part in the story, I have no doubt that it will explode into action further down the line.
In summary, a very strong start to the series, the story will branch out now as the characters come together, my main hope for the next episode is to see Frank's character show his darker side and see just how far Ray will go to satisfy his.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
I could go on for pages and pages about this movie but I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
'There Will Be Blood' is a masterpiece due to two factors, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day Lewis.
First of all, Paul Thomas Anderson is a proved visionary of cinema and he's quite obviously mastered the art of storytelling through character development on screen and most importantly, he knows how to get the absolute best out of his actors. Although 'Boogie Nights' and 'Magnolia' showcased a magnitude of talent in its ensemble performances, this film is all about Daniel Day Lewis.
In my opinion, Daniel Day Lewis is the greatest actor on the planet, his range is unequalled and I have never come away from one of his performances not in complete awe. This is his greatest work, both subtle and grandiose, genuine and brutal, it is something to be marvelled at and a best actor Oscar has never been so deserved as the one that he picked up for this.
Just like Joaquin Pheonix in his latest 'The Master' you come away from this viewing almost exhausted at the raw emotion that spills out on the screen throughout the movie.
Perfect filmmaking, this is why I watch movies.
The Social Network (2010)
The Power Of Great Direction
So there I was, sitting in the cinema waiting to see 'Inception' greeting every belated trailer with a groan, each one prolonging the time till I could finally see one of the most anticipated movies of the year and there it was, I turned to one of my friends "my god..a film about facebook?!.." To say I was skeptical for those few moments would be an understatement, I was almost angry, like a footballer who releases an autobiography 5 years after he starts his career I just didn't understand the timing of it, who cares anyway?
"I think this is Finchers new movie actually"
"DAVID Fincher? He's made a film about facebook?!"
Almost immediately 'Social Network' became a movie that I needed to see. David Fincher is one of the true masters of delivering some of the greatest films of the past few decades. The gritty 'Se7en' and the intelligent 'Fight Club' had been two of my favourite movies growing up, the latter of which I had the privilege of studying in college quite in depth and although I missed 'Benjamin Button' (only god knows why it took me until 2013 to watch!) I had thoroughly enjoyed the enigmatic 'Zodiac' as well.
'Social Network' became my favourite Fincher title almost immediately. It is one of those rare works that feels so effortless in its brilliance which is due to the incredible work from both Fincher and Sorkin in creating this modern masterpiece, the way I see it the film relies heavily upon three aspects which are executed with perfection.
First of all, the score for this film is sensational. I've always been a huge fan of Trent Reznor & Nine Inch Nails but with his partnership with Atticus Ross and his ongoing collaborations with Fincher (also see 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo') I can only see them becoming the most formidable artists in the industry, every minor note resonates perfectly throughout the film and creates a beautiful texture on top of an already excellent piece of work.
Secondly, Sorkin's razor sharp screenplay is something a director can only dream of receiving, the dialogue never falters and it is always witty, sincere and hilarious all in one (which can also be attributed to the performances of the actors involved)
But most of all, the atmosphere that Fincher is able to create visually is stunning, huge credit must also go to long time collaborator Jeff Cronenweth, together their formidable partnership and undoubted perfect understanding of each other's work is clearly the factor behind this film being one of the best movies of the past decade
Great performances from Eisenberg, Garfield and Timberlake also help this movie stand head and shoulders above most and as one of the most promising young actresses in the business, Rooney Mara is given her first chance to truly show her quality in a small role.
It's difficult to say where 'Social Network' will stand when we look back on Finchers body of work but one things for sure, if it isn't seen as one of his truly great masterpieces then he is sure to become one of, if not the most powerful director in the industry for years to come.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Great Leonardo!
I have been using IMDb for years & have never posted a review but after seeing TWoWS I felt I needed to finally enter the domain of amateur critics.
I've always been a fan of Scorsese's since I was young, some of most memorable cinematic moments come from his earlier works but for me, when he teams with Di Caprio, it's a match made in the highest reaches of movie-making heaven. 'The Departed' is undoubtedly one of the best crime thriller's to ever hit theater's with outstanding performances from multiple cast members but 'The Aviator' was the role that took Di Caprio to that next level, Scorsese provided him the stage to perform and carry the movie to what I feel will go down as one of the greatest artistic portrayals on film.
Everyone did not share my love for 'Aviator' but it looks to be a different story altogether with TWoWS with the film already receiving fantastic reviews and praise despite the controversy about the extraordinary excess portrayed. For those who haven't seen it and are sitting on the fence due to the criticism remember one thing, this is a Scorsese movie and you are almost always certain to be a part of a truly visceral experience, Scorsese is used to pushing the boundaries of what is usually acceptable to a mainstream audience and this is no different.
At 3 hours the film never feels overdrawn, the characters are fantastically written (which is attributed to Terrance Winter's screenplay) and some truly memorable performances (Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughy are both excellent) but it is Leonardo Di Caprio's execution of one of the most sincere slime balls ever portrayed on film that you MUST watch this film for.
The best achievement I attribute to it is that without him, for this movie to be ANY BIT as good as it has turned out, you would only be looking at a very select few actors in the business.
Will he finally get an Oscar? That remains to be seen..