film

The Theory of Everything- Review

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Directed by: James Marsh

“A wonderfully put together film, coupled with a phenomenal performance by Eddie Redmayne.”

I have never been a dab hand at science, or anything for that matter. The only really good impression I can do is of a man with no talent. So when buying a ticket to see James Marsh’s the Theory of Everything, I was a trifle concerned. I assumed that even the most layman explanation of one of Stephen Hawkins’s ideas, would’ve left me scratching my head wondering when the staff were going to hand me a Winnie the Pooh colouring book. I braced myself for the moment I would be handed some crayons, and ask politely to wait in the corner, until the biopic of one of the world’s greatest minds had finish. I’m pleased to say that this film is neither baffling, confusing, or boring. It is in fact brilliant.

Based on the life of the great physicist Stephen Hawking, this is a wonderfully put together film, coupled with a phenomenal performance by Eddie Redmayne. It’s a performance that may just seal the deal of an Oscar. Starting in Hawkins’s early school years where he meets his sweetheart Jane, (Felicity Jones) the couple seek to battle Stephens debilitating disease-motor neuron syndrome (MS). Both Redmayne and Jones give a wonderfully evocative and convincing performance that, on numerous occasions, draws heartbreaking light on living with MS. Redmayne acts the role of an MS sufferer so convincingly, that you completely forget he’s an able-bodied actor.

As Stephen Hawkins’s story is told over the years, the film does a sterling job of both outlining his life and his work in a comprehensible and coherent way. There are no moments in the film where the pacing seems to drag. It’s also eager to show the achievements Hawking has made, despite his crippling battle with MS.

Verdict

Whether you already possess a wealth knowledge on Stephen Hawking or not is irrelevant, and wont mar the enjoyment if you (like me) don’t. The filmmaking is solid as are the acting performances, and provides an interesting insight into one of the world’s greatest physicists.

4.8/5

Luke H

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Locke Review- Directed by Steven Knight

 

 

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“An interesting, well written film even if bearing a somewhat muted ending.”

 

Tom Hardy is an actor now associated with big Hollywood blockbusters. Ask anyone about Hardy, and some will point at Eames from the loud crash and bang thriller Inception, most will point to Bane from the Batman Trilogy. This is an entirely different film altogether. This film is put together on a much smaller budget, and is staged in an even smaller set. However just because Tom Hardy has traded his usual place of standing amidst the chaos of an anti gravity hotel or a network of eerier subterranean tunnels for the comfort of a BMW 5- Series, this isn’t a film to be disregarded.

 

Locke is the story of one man’s life unraveling over the course of a single car journey. Ivan Locke (played brilliantly by Tom Hardy) is first introduced to us as a pragmatic man who has it all. He has a successful job, a loving family, and tomorrow is set to be the crowning moment of his career. But after a series of phone calls, he is forced to put all that he has built in his life on he line.

 

For those who have seen any trailers or commentaries of the film, would’ve probably seen that this film has been sold as a nail-biting thriller. However after watching all 90 minutes of the film, I would summarise that this is more of a drama than a thriller. Those seeking heart-pounding action will therefore have to look elsewhere. Set entirely in the inside a car with the lone Tom Hardy, the film’s plot is carried by faceless callers on a hands free phone. They’re predominantly comprised of Locke’s wife (Ruth Wilson) a co-worker named Donal (Andrew Scott) and a woman named Bethany (Olivia Colman) whom is having Locke’s baby.

 

As each of the phone calls unravel the mystery behind Locke’s reason for taking an unscheduled detour, the dramatic tension continues to build as bit by bit we watch Ivan Locke’s life begins to crack and crumble. Tom Hardy delivers a stellar and engaging performance which (in a film this understated) is essential. This film bears no attempt to detract from the acting with fancy CGI, car chases, gunfights and people being shot in the face. Instead, it takes the innovative approach to simply focus on one man and his mistakes. Bearing this challenging role in mind Hardy does incredibly well to give his character depth, and the accompanied voice acting helps sustain your interest right from start to finish.

 

It is a big strength that the film is also incredibly well written, for if it wasn’t this film could’ve quite easily been a dull, uninspiring mess. Everything from Ivan’s background, to the mistakes he has made has be fastidiously considered and carefully crafted. This makes for some quite touching, amusing and memorable moments throughout.

 

However this film isn’t without its weaknesses. It’s an interesting, well-written film that for me possessed a somewhat muted ending. As his journey comes to a close and we finally come to terms with the changes of Locke’s life, the film makes an attempt at a resolve on some aspects of Locke’s life. This hinders the closure of the film leaving you with an uncomfortable ambiguity as to how Ivan Locke is going to confront the situation he has found himself in.

 

Verdict

 

4/5

 

Even with a muted ending, the acting and well written tale that has been woven into this original piece of film making definitely deserves a watch.

Luke H

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Review- Not A Disney Castle In Sight!

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Hey everyone! doing my review a little early this week as for once I am prepared. I know right! bet you’re glad you were sitting down for that bombshell. Anyhoo If you haven’t guessed by the title (Then I’m seriously worried about you. Get some help.) this is a review about the latest Marvel film Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Now I’m a big comic fan boy and even I was surprised when Marvel announced that this film was going to be made especially when there are many other, much more popular, characters just waiting in the wings, *cough* Deadpool *cough*, but the more that emerged about this film the more I started to get really excited. The film looked like it was taking the Marvel universe to new plains and was going to open the gates to all the Sci-Fi story lines and characters Marvel has in its locker. The cast choices, while at first left me confused, were fantastic and after seeing trailer footage I was ready to see what was in store. Then I remembered Disney owned Marvel and I cried a little inside. Yes Avengers was epic and set the standard for the genre but since that first outing I have to be honest Marvel films have been a little hit and miss for me. Cap’ America 2 was decent, nothing to shout from the roof tops but stood its ground well, Thor 2 was a little meh but then again so was the first and Iron Man 3 was like watching a child fail at sport while their overly aggressive parent shouts at them to keep going. I was apprehensive.

Now this movie puts all those others to shame. After the little BSA ticket it’s just like BAM! right into the film. No logos or nothing. After a short set up the Marvel logo flashes and the film carries on and introduces the main character, his name’s Peter Quill(Chris Pratt) by the way, all the while doing the obligatory opening credits of who worked on the film. Luckily they don’t stop what’s going on and shove it in your face who made this movie, instead they put the names in corners and at the bottom of the screen to leave you to enjoy what you’ve paid to see. Now this may seem small but I feel like it sets the tone for a film. It says “Hey! We ain’t fucking around with your fancy pantsy ego boosting shit! We’re here to entertain you so you’re gunna need to pay attention from the get go! Capiche?” and I love it.

Now this is a spoiler free review so I won’t tell you any story specifics but this movie actually has a rather good one. The story is neat and tight and constructed rather well. You’re given enough information that it’s easy to follow but not so much that it becomes overly predictable (granted there are a few clichés dotted here and there but they’re forgivable). The ending to a lot of comic films I feel are where they get let down the most with the majority not having the satisfying feeling that films should have, in particular with final/boss battles. This film, and this is just my opinion, doesn’t suffer from this at all. The finale is just as epic as it should be and the ending is incredibly satisfying! Oh and for all of you that are reading this wanting to know the after credit sequence all I will say is that Guardians takes to the comic book trope like a duck to water.

The acting is some of the best I have seen in a comic book movie and every character feels real and really brought to life. I was most apprehensive about the WWE wrestler Dave Bautista being cast as Drax as wrestlers haven’t exactly made the best actors but He does incredibly well in the role and, other than the fact his arms are the size of my head, you wouldn’t have guessed that acting (don’t start with that wrestling is basically acting crap) wasn’t his first profession. Vin Diesel does incredibly well in the role of Groot with, and this isn’t sarcastic, some well delivered subtle voice acting. Same goes for Bradley Cooper as Rocket(Racoon). Zoe Saldana shows us again that she’s a fantastic actress in her role as Gamora . And not forgetting Chris Pratt who brings it all together in with a performance of the highest calibre.

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A lot of the time during this film I couldn’t help but feel that I was watching this generations Star Wars. God I’m going to get slaughtered for that comparison but its honestly true. The epic scale of everything and the level of detail in the different races and species that feature was very reminiscent of episode 4-6. It has the same strange charm about it as well. The film did something that most films of this genre can and that’s fill the viewer with that sense of wide eyed wonder. Sure super hero films do that for kids but kids get that same sense when they discover that the light in the fridge turns off when the door shuts. I’m talking about that feeling in Adults. Honestly try and think back to the last film that left you with the feeling of amazement. I have to go pretty far back. That makes me sad. The visuals were just brilliant especially(and I can’t believe Im saying this) in 3D. Yeah, really. It genuinely does add a depth to a lot of the action and sequences and there were a few moments where I was just like “3d was made for this kind of shit!”. The CGI was some of the better ones that I’ve seen and the mixture of practical props and CGI really work well.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Is quite possibly my favourite Marvel film to date and is definitely worth the price of a ticket to go and watch. I would give it a solid 8.5/10. It really does entertain but it still can’t shake the knowledge that you’re watching a good comic book movie not just a good movie and for that reason I can’t score it a 9. So very close though.

Oh and the soundtrack is fucking awesome!

 

Thanks for reading!

-Joe

Maleficent-Review, Why is everyone Scottish?!

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Hey guys sorry for the late upload, was planning on doing this for last week but kinda got a little side tracked. Anyhoo I went to see the new Disney film Maleficent and thought I’d share my thoughts on it with all of you!

 

Maleficent, for those who don’t know, Is a film where the well known version of sleeping beauty is taken and told from a different point of view, this being the antagonist in the form of Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). This kind of film has been done before but honestly I don’t think it has ever been done better on the big screen. Angelina Jolie, despite my initial worries, is absolutely brilliant in her role and really helps carry the film. Not to say the supporting actors are bad it’s just no one else really gets explored in terms of character apart from her. The pacing of the film is good although it does seem far shorter than the actual run time suggests, which I take as a positive but others may not see it the same way.

The film has a coherent storyline so those of you that fancy going to see the film without knowing anything about sleeping beauty fret not. One thing I would say though is that although this is a PG rated film and yes there isn’t any swearing, blood, gore or anything along those lines I don’t think I could recommend taking your children to see it. The film is quite gritty and dark and although it makes for a great engaging film for adults I could easily see children finding incredibly boring and then in turn being incredibly annoying as your trying to make them sit there quietly for two hours. So yeah, watch on your own if you can!

Just remember though despite the grittier re-telling this is still a Disney film so of course they have comic relief characters, this time in the form of the three fairy sisters, and moments of slight cheesiness but other than the odd occasion the film does seem much more catered towards adults. The visuals in the film, especially in the introduction bits where everything is bright, are gorgeous and the CGI in the film is incredibly well produced, and without spoiling anything, especially in the fight/action sequences. On the same note with the costumes, they are terrific especially the work that must have gone into Angelina’s horns.

Sharlto Copley does an outstanding job as Stefan and his character progression was one of my personal favourite parts of the film. Another Actor who I have to mention is Sam Riley who plays a very well preformed Diavel, especially the on screen chemistry between him and Angelina Jolie. One strange thing though that my girlfriend pointed out to me after the film had ended was that almost all of the humans in this film had Scottish accents. Now it doesn’t really bother me but it is a little strange as it must have been a conscious choice by the director and writers as Copley was born in Johannesburg so it’s not like it  was a coincidence. But apart from that this is a great film that I thoroughly recommend going to see.

 

Maleficent gets an 8/10 and is highly recomended.

-Joe

X-Men: Days Of Futures Past – Review!

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Hey everyone! I was all ready to do a review today about a game but then I went to see the new X-men film last night and thought that I had to write about it. Now im gunna keep this review no- spoilers  which means I can’t really speak about all aspects of the film in detail so there are gunna be a few points that I really wanted to speak about (and I probably will do at a later date) that I am going to leave out to save you from having the film spoiled. So here goes.

 

First off this film is great and you should go see it. The film itself is well paced and directed and Brian Singer does a great job bringing to life the X-men we all know and love while also showing Brett Ratner how its fucking done! This is up there challenging for the best X-men movie rather easily but I still feel it needed to do a little more. The trouble with a film world this big with so many mutants available to use is that you can’t fit them all into a normal length movie so what the film does is just show you small glimpses of certain characters, rather than setting up actual character development, more in line with a cameo. Now this is a sort of bitter sweet thing because if you’re a fan of the comics and know the characters that they show you’re delighted that they made it into the film and then kinda disappointed that they couldn’t have been in it for longer. but that’s just a nitpick more than anything.

The storyline is tight and well constructed and a lot of the time doesn’t hold your hand the whole way like some comic films do. The story jumps around a lot so you do have to keep track of multiple storylines but it’s not too much of a bother because the film keeps you engaged and interested in what’s happening with the main characters. The film itself is kind of a strange one to place as it seems like it’s trying to take itself more seriously with some much heavier themes but then also contain the wit and humour we’ve grown to expect from marvel films. Personally I like it and I think its pulled off really well in this film but I can see that it might worry a few fans and maybe some parents that take their children to see this thinking it’s a nice family film which is exactly what it seems it’s trying to get away from.

However because of all the jumping around between characters the film feels a little hollow in some places and does leave you wanting more, but not in a good way. Now don’t get me wrong as a comic book movie this is great but as a movie its good. It is taking a step in the right direction where people will think of marvel films as great films rather than just great super hero films. It may not sound like there is difference their but trust me there is a big one.

As I said though you should definitely go see this film and im gunna end the review their before I go into spoiler mode. I give this film a 8/10 and is a must see for any super hero fan.

 

Joe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

spoiler-alert

 

 

 

Spoilers be here! Do not read this final tid bit if you don’t want the ending spoiled in some way, no major details but just sort of in general. So Yeah stop reading if you want to stay pure and innocent.

Sorry I just had to say this one last bit otherwise I’m gunna explode, I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say thank fuck that the ending wiped out all events of X-men 3 and Wolverine- Origins (I assume), but after the ecstasy left me that those shitty films are no longer cannon it also made me sad that we have no idea what IS canon anymore, did X-men 1 and 2 even happen? in this new future are Magneto and Charles still frenemies? Ahhh the questions without answers! anyway that’s all that I wanted to say. If you’ve seen the film please let me know what you think, also one last bit before I sign off, how disappointed were you with the whole rogue thing?! Use her in the adverts and then have her for not even 5 seconds at the end! Im not even sure if she says a line! Sorry rant over thanks for reading and im sorry if this bit spoiled anything for anyone but I did warn you.

Raid 2: Review

 

 

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Directed by Gareth Evans

 

“If you like a film with action and serious ass kicking, you’ve come to the right place.”

 

Apologies for the delayed review, but I thought it best to wait, and watch Gareth Evans’s heart pounding “Raid” sequel at my local cinema.

 

For those who have seen the first Raid film will already know of the Indonesian martial arts action film. The first thing to mind will be the close quarters, corridor to corridor, adrenaline filled chaos. And this is by no means diluted in the sequel. In short, if you like a film with action and serious ass kicking, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Whereas the first film had great fights and martial art scenes in it, the actual story fell somewhat short and ended up being a chuck away sideline. It acted as just an excuse to grab a high-powered rifle and shoot some people in the face. This issue has definitely been addressed within the majority of Raid 2. The story is set in the aftermath of the first film, with our favourite win chun expert “Rama” being sent undercover, to find and root out both criminals and corrupt police officers working with the biggest crime lords In the city. Throughout, there is deception, betrayal, hardship and more blood spraying out of people than you can shake a stick at. Whilst there is much more of a story arc present thus addressing the issues in the first film, there are still issues. At numerous points when watching I did find myself scratching my head wondering what on earth was going on as new characters seem to just appear from nowhere, hell bent on killing random people in the film. For the most however, these confusions iron out and become clear as the film progresses towards the final grand conflict. Even so, a few confusions are still apparent for some way into the movie, as they reintroduce people from the first films that were killed, but they play different characters in the sequel. Consequently it does take a good few minutes to adjust, but this has probably happened, as there aren’t a great deal many actors with black belts and first dans at Hollywood’s disposal. Doubts are also cast over the films rather abrupt ending.

 

But now for why you would choose to see the film in the first place, the action. And oh my God it’s good. The combat in the whole film is fluid and tangible. The hand to hand is awesome, and the gore is fruitfully satisfying and abundant. Put it this way, if you are a woman who is turned on by men fighting and destroying everything in their path, then this flick will send your flaps into overdrive. All the key stars in the film are martial art experts in real life, who put on a great show, especially when they fight each other. Many scenes have that moment where you scrunch your face and go “Awww” because the action on screen is just so stylish. The whole movie is much slicker than the first, and whilst the pace is slower in this film, you never find yourself getting bored and clock watching. The sequel branches out featuring car chases, high-octane gun fights as well as the franchises signature machete and knife conflicts.

 

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You wouldn’t want to get in the way of these two!

Verdict

 

Whilst there are still issues with story, the plot is much better developed than its predecessor. But for bloody hell sake, see the fights and action in Raid 2. It is likely to be the best this year.

 

4.5/5

 

– Luke H

 

Snakes: Mankind Has Found A New Enemy- Review

If you see this picture in stores (for F**K sake burn it.)

If you see this picture in stores (for F**K sake burn it.)

Snakes: Mankind has a new enemy-Review

Directed By Phillip Roth

 

“Watching this film is a bit like contracting herpes, no sod wants to.”

 

There are many painful things one can be subject to in this life. Things such as stepping on a plug, eardrum piercing injections, or being violated by a 60-year-old hooker wearing a leather studded strap-on. All, I’m sure, are unpleasant experiences. However, even such harrowing activities are but a picnic, when compared to watching this abomination of a film. I’m a student writer, and would like to think that I have a good few words at my disposal, but I am yet to even fabricate the phrases needed to describe this stratospherically appalling film. If you type the title of this film into Google, you will receive literally no results. There is not one trailer, movie review or profile about it. Not even a film screenshot. You see, this film is about as welcome in the cinema industry, as a sex offender is in a Primary school. Even IMDB wont touch it, that’s just how bad this movie is. Take it from me when I say this, Snakes isn’t a film that’s so bad it’s good it really is just bad. I wouldn’t wish this film on my worst enemy. Not even Piers Morgan.

 

Watching this film is a bit like contracting herpes, no sod wants to. Yet still, I did manage to finish the movie that, even whilst drunk, is a challenge not to walk away from. So here are what I believe to be the biggest of many reasons, as to why this film makes the latest Die Hard film look nothing short of a masterpiece.

 

Firstly the title. The movie is called “Snakes” which is plural and implies that there are many snakes that threaten mankind. There aren’t. In fact the story focuses on one giant genetically modified snake, which has broken loose in a military facility and is eating all and sundry. With a story like this you know you’re not going to get Shawshank Redemption, but they could’ve at least got the title right. I think it says a lot about the brains behind the operation of the movie, as well as the company who gave such a film the go-ahead. The director must have been a genius, managing to pitch this fecal specimen of a movie to a board who turned to the director and said, “Yes this is going to be a good film. Here is some money.”

 

The story. As already mentioned, it is a simple plot concerning a giant GM snake that wreaks havoc in a military base. How did it get there? By a military aircraft getting shot down, and the snakes container being carried off for research. The snake is let loose and it kills everyone. A small group of survivors made up of a few soldiers, a clever scientist, and a hot woman with no real purpose being there, try to kill the snake (I know right? It’s so original..) In the end all but the scientist and hot woman with no real purpose being there, manage to kill the snake and the film abruptly ends, which comes as something of a relief. Now I know I have just spoilt the film, by disclosing the ending, but you really should thank me. I’ve saved you from an hour and a half of woeful torment, bad acting and hideous hideous special effects. You now have an hour and a half of life with which you can achieve great things, whereas I have squandered my share. Think of what I could’ve done with that time. Started a novel, written a poem, gone out and met the woman of my dreams, I could’ve had a fantastic wank, or visited my relatives. No. Instead I watched Mankind’s real enemy, and it turns out to be in the form of a DVD.

 

CGI. The computer-animated special effects were so wretched; they made old footage of Hitler’s speeches look cutting edge. The snake itself looks like it has come from those old snes consoles. It looks even worse when it attacks people, looking about as convincing as Josef Fritzl’s defense lawyer. These bad graphics also have a determent effect on the continuity in the film. In one scene where the container is opened and the snake is let loose (because for some reason they thought that it was a good idea,) you can’t help but notice the container is far smaller than the size of the snake. One can only presume the container is a sort of Tardis. Regardless, inaccuracies like these are abundant.

 

The acting throughout the film is, surprise surprise, dreadful. Mind you, it isn’t really their fault when the people writing for their characters cant even get the name of the film right. The military crew is dull and uninteresting, the scientist is irritating, and the hot woman with no real purpose being there adds nothing to the story. Not even in the cliché way of love interest. She isn’t even really attractive, lets face it, if you found out that the actress you were talking to starred in this bollocks, you’d avoid her like the plague for having such terrible judgment.

 

Verdict

 

Do I really need a verdict? Probably not, I think I’ve made my point so I’ll conclude with this-

 

If you see this film in stores don’t even hesitate, just run. Leave the kids behind it’s too late for them, they’ll fend for themselves. I can’t possibly stress enough how bad this film is. If I were forced to choose between being violated by an STI ridden 60yr old hooker and her studded strap-on, or watch this film again, my pants would be down my ankles before you could say, “anal bleaching.”

 

-220,678,000 kelvin/5

(I know Kelvin is to do with temperature but I needed something to emphasise how low the score is for this dire piece of hell.)

 

More evidence of just how hideous this film is can be found on the reverse cover (If you dare to even pick it up in public.)

More evidence of just how hideous this film is can be found on the reverse cover (If you dare to even pick it up in public.)

Only Lovers Left Alive, REVIEW

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Aw man, where do I start?

I’ve been looking forward to this film since last year and finally got to sit down and watch it, and I was so not disappointed. It’s more than I ever hoped for.only-lovers-left-alive02

Two centuries-old vampiric lovers, Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton) (har-de-har) are the main characters of the film, married but living separately for a reason never quite stated. Eve is living it up in Tangier, sampling the music, books – so very, very many books, oh lord – and, of course, the ‘good stuff’ blood, all while maintaining a thriving, beautiful friendship with fellow vampire and lover of literature, Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe (John Hurt). This was one of the first moments I squealed out loud, Marlowe being something of a hero of mine. And he is an absolute darling in Only Lovers Left Alive, frozen in perpetual old age thanks to his vampirism.

And also a hero of our other eponymous lover, Adam, who is hidden away in his fittingly old, almost rotting house in Detroit, as far from other people as he can be without actually leaving the city. He is a musician, only ever playing live, rarely (if ever) putting his music ‘out there’, and collecting vinyl and instruments – so very, very many instruments, oh lord – while suffering through a consuming existential crisis. Let me tell you, vampires with existential crises are one of my favourite things, bless their crazy immortal hearts. More often than not, though, it turns into self-pitying drivel with no way to even remotely sympathise or empathise with the character. Adam is not so. A little pretentious, even stuffy, he may be, and certainly self-pitying. But you understand him, even as you rail against his suicidal efforts with a .38 wooden bullet. Eve quickly puts a stop to that, though, when she leaves Tangier to visit her husband and wastes no time in reigniting their love affair. Or maybe it never faltered? Even Marlowe states they can’t live without one another. We see their great, troubled rock-star and artsy sophisticate lifestyle for a short while in all of its ageless, lofty perfection, until Eve’s troubled but more troublesome younger (or younger looking!) sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska) shows up on their doorstep. Existential crisis aside, here’s where we start to see the problems that come alongside immortality.

 

There’s a lot that’s hinted at throughout the film but never fully explored, which is equally fascinating and frustrating. Eve asks tomhiddlestonAdam at one point if he was ‘having trouble with one of the others’, obviously meaning another vampire. How many vampires are there? Is trouble between them common? You’d think so with how much Adam utterly loathes Ava, but then, look at their relationship with Marlowe. There’s  a problem with blood, too. Something has contaminated it, rendering it undrinkable in many cases due to a risk of actual death, and making it sickening to vampires at other times (“What do you expect? He’s from the fucking music industry!”). They therefore drink altered blood, likely purified in lab conditions from what we see i.e. The Good Stuff. Trouble is, it’s limited and not particularly quick to make, I assume. Though Adam still regularly collects his from a well-paid doctor at a local hospital, dressed as a doctor himself by the name of Dr. Faust, which gave me a good laugh. Talk about a deal with the devil.

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This is just one of the tongue-in-cheek little artsy references that really made the film for me, aside from Hiddleston and Swinton’s flawless performances that truly created the grace, mystery and darkness of great vampires. The focus on music, what is creates, what it does to us, is beautiful and heartbreaking and thoughtful, the shots and lighting create the absolute perfect atmosphere, gritty and flowing all at once. And I adored the character interactions. It was natural and represented each relationship uniquely and distinctly, even as it managed to sort of slip up every now and then and remind you that these beings are of an unfathomable age.

 

I can’t say much more without spoiling things, but this is definitely a new favourite film for me, and I see many re-watches in the near future.

4.5/5 stars! So fucking good!

-Meg

The Grand Budapest Hotel Review

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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4.5/5

“A charming, funny, and profoundly eccentric film”

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy drama written and directed by Wes Anderson and inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig. The film recounts the adventures of an eloquent and charismatic concierge named Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) who runs the legendary “Grand Budapest Hotel” amidst two great wars. To accompany Gustave on his adventures is his dutiful lobby boy Zero Mustafa (Tony Revolori), who soon becomes Gustave’s most loyal friend. The story centres on Gustave’s inheritance of a priceless work of art by one of the guests who, shortly after becoming infatuated with him, dies and leaving the painting in his possession. The rest of the family take hum bridge to this decision and try by any means necessary to get the painting back. Aware of this tricky situation, Gustave decides that the best course of action is to steal his own painting and thus set sail a series of events, which sees Gustave end up in prison over the suspected murder of the recently deceased guest.

The Grand Budapest hotel is a film brimming with innovative and clever Ideas, which help this film to stand out from the rest. The plot for example starts in the present, moves into the past, then even further back in history to where it all started. In the opening of the film, a teenage girl approaches a monument to a writer in a cemetery. In her hand she is carrying a memoir written by the author regarding a trip to that he once made to “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Here the film then cuts to the hotel which has clearly fallen on hard times due to the war, with the place being under furnished and the guests few. From here the film follows the author as he explores the hotel and meets with an elderly man who happens to be the owner. From here the elderly man then begins to recount the story of the Legendary Gustave H. (a former concierge of the Grand Budapest.) From here the film then cut to where a majority of the story takes place, during the life of Gustave. Essentially it’s a story within a story within a story. Storyception.

This unique narrative approach also has a profound effect on the way in which the film is made. Clever work with the cinematography of the film has given the landscape a two-dimensional look about it, to give the impression that the setting is an illustration in a book. This charming feature pays homage to the fact that the entire film is in essence a story coming to life.  It is all done beautifully well.

The acting throughout the film is solid. From Fiennes giving a convincing performance of a concierge serving the upper classes, to Defoes rather creepy portrayal of a “family hitman,” there were no characters within the story I felt were stilted or uninteresting.  Many of the characters within also had strange or otherwise amusing mannerisms that served to further bring alive the story as it transpires.

However, this film isn’t without its pitfalls. At times the rather libertine structure of film caused some parts of the plot to not fit together comfortably, and consequently making it seem as if events and dilemmas are being pulled out of thin air. This is at it’s most notable point towards the end of the film, when the story of Gustave seems to just come to a very abrupt halt as the story claws its way back up to the present. Regardless, it is still a charming, funny, and profoundly eccentric film that has been done so brilliantly, that these pitfalls wont detract from this otherwise terrific film.

Verdict

 

A creative and innovative piece of filmmaking, backed by a solid cast and colourful plot- It is almost reminiscent of a Monty Python film

4.5/5

Angel-A

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Directed by Luc Besson,

Starring Rie Rasmussen and Jamel Debbouze.   

 

4/5

 

“A compelling romantic fable, beautifully filmed and superbly acted. It is classic Besson.”

 

Ask most people about a Luc Besson film, and most will exclusively wheel out the exotic pedigree that is the action film “Taken.”  However, if you were to glance back into Besson’s previous works you will almost certainly unearth other visual riches. Groundbreaking films such as “Leon,” and “The Fifth Element” are just a few in a noticeable list of films which are simply a must see treat. Angel-A is most certainly no exception. In fact is one of Besson’s finest, and sure to be considered a modern classic in French cinema.

 

With any film set in Paris (which is considered to be the world’s most beautiful city,) you come to expect many things; angelic views, elegant woman, stylish personas and the Eiffel Tower. What you don’t expect is a striking supernatural love story, centered on two fascinating characters that share lot of depth. Angel-A begins with two strangers who meet on a quintessentially Parisian bridge early one morning. Looking to escape his past as a failed scam artist, Andre (Jamel Debbouze) accepts the help of a mysterious woman named Angela (Rie Rasmussen.) Together, Andre watches in amazement as she battles through the French mafia, seedy club managers, loan sharks, and just about every undesirable element Andre owes money to. The philanthropic tale here could’ve quite easily been made into a typical cliché ridden revenge tale. But amidst the skullduggery and Angela’s direct bordering on smashing-your-face-open-with-a-fruit-bowl-and-robbing-your-safe approach, the film has seen great innovation. Instead of choosing to go gun ho with the story, it instead weaves the story with emotion and indictments on the human condition. This is particularly apparent with the character of Andre, who on several occasions has to confront with his conscience and decide what concerns him more- money or love.

 

The acting performances throughout are flawless, and set to carry an audience through the impending ordeals and intimate touching moments with flawless finesse. Rasmussen and Debbouze fall into their roles with immaculate ease, portraying their characters in such a way that you are powerless to remain emotionally divorced from the events onscreen. Rasmussen’s sexy but assertive femme fatale demeanor, exudes confidence with such natural flair and poise. Debbouze also gives an outstanding performance of a desperate con man that has hit rock bottom and is now teetering at breaking point.  This is all strongly supported by a fantastic network of supporting actors, whose role it is to be the catalyst for each event as the fable unfolds.

 

The film itself is entirely in black and white. This provides a gorgeous old world noir feel to each scene that, whilst being wonderful in its simplicity, has also enabled Besson to make each set dense with meaning. Throughout, the unadorned filming means that you are never distracted by erroneous background details. You instead notice the subtle clever symbolism present within the film.

 

Verdict

Whilst this film is not the usual action packed, gun-toting film Luc Besson is most noted for; this remarkable, mellow film is a compelling romantic fable. It is beautifully filmed and superbly acted, making it one of the finest sure-to-be modern classic French cinema films available.