Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Little Joe (2019)
Watch the trailer - it's cheaper than watching the movie and a lot better!!
And the trailer was soooo promising !!! The colour palette was so different and I was looking forward to this critically,star-making turn by Emily Beecham. Thought-provoking sci-fi films so thin on the ground these days. Ended up crushed by disappointment. Does Hausner think that the current movie audience has never seen "Little Shop of Horrors","Invasion of the Body Snatchers (any version)","Village of the Damned (any version)","Day of the Triffids(any version)". Pushing it as an arthouse movie will not hide how derivative it is. Saw it at HOME,Manchester with a reasonably wide ranging age group (no teens and under though) - lots of laughter indicates even as arthouse sci-fi the film fails miserably.
The acting is robotic and shows a lack of control from Hausner. What a waste of Ben Wishaw, Kerry Fox and the great Lindsey Duncan. I do hope that Beecham gets better roles. She might have won Best Actress at Cannes in 2019 but that says more about that jury than it does about her acting skills. It says something when the best performance is by a plant!! I'm surprised that the script got past the read-through stage.
Who thought that the music - sorry, soundscape,- made up of a mixture of Kabuki music and the "playing" of primitive instruments would add to the tone of the movie? Must be because Teiji Ito is a friend of the producers and was at a loose end and didn't need to be paid.If he did get paid, I await his next project with true dread !!
In the end we've got a 105 minute-long Kenzo "Flower" advert with an irritating soundtrack and laughable dialogue. In their shoes,I'd be looking for compensation for the damage it will do to their brand !!
Leave real-life at the door and just go with the flow !!
This film just goes to show that Gotham City is one helluva' town. What a great start to a potential franchise !! Action-packed,full of crazy stunt work,as colourful as the comic book pages that these characters have sprung from - this is the crazy movie that should have been the flip side to Wonder Woman. Margot Robbie,the producer,shows she has the chops once more to put together a crowd-pleaser. Margot Robbie,the actress, shows yet another side to her talents - she's done serious, now she can do comic edginess. Could she ever play a comedy role? Her timing here and the way she breaks through the fourth wall implies that that step is not too far away.
As for the director/writer team of Cathy Yan and Christina Hodgson,Yan shows that for a second film she is a capable director of action and Hodson shows that she is well-tuned into the fantastical DC universe - her work on "Bumblebee" showed she could bring to life cartoon characters into a modern setting.
As for the cast, Robbie is good,Smollett surprisingly so, Winstead's part is a little underwritten for an actress of her pedigree,Cass is an interesting newcomer with an ability to hold her own amidst her elders,Perez can do little with a stereotype role of a capable female detective disdained by her male colleagues. It is the villains that are the let down here. If Messina's Victor Zsasz had been the main villain and McGregor's Sionis his sidekick, then the balance between the goodies and the baddies would have been a bit more horizontal. As it is, the audience doesn't get the truly psychotic showdown that the film is gasping for. Still, if there is a next film, then, maybe, Robbie, the producer,will address this and the film will get 9* from me.
One last thing, I'm assuming that Weta Digital was responsible for creating the Hyena. If not,and he/she is for real, then Robbie needs to sign he/she up right now !!!
Why the adulation?
To beat Scorsese,Mendes,Tarantino and Philips AND to beat The Irishman,Once upon a time...,1917, et al - I really was expecting this to be something special. I saw it with an afternoon audience who were mostly in their "twilight" years and the majority of comments at the end expressed puzzlement that this was the best picture of 2019. Lack of laughter during the performance implied that the film missed its' mark as a comedy. Perhaps its' role as a satirical social commentary of the gulf between the poor and the rich in South Korea might have been hitting targets but surely that would only be appreciated by a minority audience.
Personally, I felt that Ho had been given a box set of Ealing comedies made by the likes of Alexander Mackendrick, Charles Crichton, Robert Hamer and Henry Cornelius and simply transferred the tone to a South Korean environment. Of course the influence of Hollywood's "wild man", Quentin Tarantino,had to appear in order to appeal to a modern audience and of course it is there in the second half. I can only imagine that nowadays, the voters at Cannes and the Academy are made up of people too young to remember films such as "Kind Hearts and Coronets","Whisky Galore","The Lavender Hill Mob" and "Hue and Cry". Otherwise they would have realised that what is being exhibited is not "new" and different but is a retread of old classics.
I've watched ho's "The Host" and "Snowpiercer" and can't help but feel that he has potential but is not the maestro some,usually sensible, film critics claim. For one thing he needs to tighten up the pace of his storylines and keep to a central theme without going off at a tangent. There is also a whiff of patronisation here which implies that everyone in the "industry" were surprised that a South Korean could come up with a global hit. The moneymen are surely thinking that this is not a breakout hit for Ho but a breakin hit into a lucrative South East Asian market. Would it be the same hit if it had not been awarded "Best Picture"? I doubt it very much.
Iannucci,"the Master of Political Correctness Gone Mad" strikes !!
One of the constant ongoing mysteries of modern cinema is how Armando Iannucci manages to attract top quality actors to appear in his rubbish films and television programmes. I have to admit straight away that I was never a fan of the profanities of "The Thick of It",fell asleep during "The Death of Stalin" and am an ardent fan of the works of Dickens. So I was never going to give Iannucci an easy ride on his "take" of "David Copperfield" but surely I cannot be the only one to see this film and think it ma travesty of the original source.
"David Copperfield" was never meant to be a funny book. It was meant to be a clear depiction of life amongst the lower classes during the time that Dickens wrote. The characters were not caricatures but real people. Iannucci has come along and divided the characters quite clearly on racial lines - the bad and the mad are white and the good are not. Spurious justification that "this was how it really was" is laughable.
Do not go and see this film if like Dickens. Do not go and see this film if you are expecting a comedy. Do go and see this film if you are a blinkered supporter of "political correctness at ll costs". You'll be the only ones in the cinema laughing.
A Hidden Life (2019)
What happened to the Terence Malick who made "Badlands" and "Days of Heaven"?
Malick's latest takes 173 minutes to tell a 90 minute story. With sledgehammer tactics he tells the story of an Austrian farmer who refused to give an oath of allegiance to Hitler during the Second World War and the consequences of the act of principle.
It looks brilliant and you can easily believe the farming life lead by the two main characters and the conflict caused by the farmer's stand not just between him and his wife but also against the community around him who,pragmatically,adopt Nazism in order to get on with their lives.
But the over-use of the "fish-eye" lens and the excessive mobile camerawork really makes the camera a character in the storytelling and that really is distracting. And the constant voiceovers depicting conversations between husband and wife when the one is incarcerated and the other is truly lumbered with trying to run a hill farm with rapidly diminishing livestock and three young girls chosen for their unchanging, angelic, good looks and not their ability to help the mother in the most trying of circumstances.
The film purports to tell a true story. What I found amazing was that husband and wife could exchange letters with exceptional regularity given that they were in a most brutal war and secondly, that the Nazis are here depicted as a tolerant bunch who allowed this "good" man to last as long as he did without "disappearing".
Oh, and in the final section you might need to have a smattering of German as someone forgot to add subtitles in the key trial scene.
THE Joker and more !!!
Joaquin Phoenix is a shoe-in for Best Actor at next year's Oscars unless Daniel Day Lewis comes out of retirement and does something truly extraordinary. This film will bridge the gap between comic book geeks and serious cineastes because of his performance and the direction of Todd Philips. Never has Gotham looked so exhausted as it does here. No surprise that it is Joker's breeding ground. Helpless and hopeless, no wonder that he turns against the "haves".
The Joker has proved an iconic role. Just as we talk about Olivier's Henry V or Karloff's Monster or Chaney's Lenny, in the future we will be looking at Phoenix and saying "yes,it's his defining role". His speech, his body shape, his eyes - all come together to chill you to the bone. Yet there is poignancy there and inevitability and anarchy. The best film of 2019 with nothing to beat it unless Abrams pulls something out of the hat with "The Rise of Skywalker".
The Informer (2019)
Great, absorbing thriller with good guys, bad guys and guys somewhere in the middle. Sicario 2 was the last one that I enjoyed as much as this. It was like reading an Elmore Leonard story but without the humour. I understand that the UK did a good job of standing in for New York. What a surprise because it did feel like the Big Apple. I liked the flow of the film. You did not always follow what was going on - I'm still not sure of the role played by the drugs in the tulips - but the scenes did not linger. The film was a little open-ended. If the make The Informer 2, I would buy a ticket for it.
Summer of Rockets (2019)
Once more BBC conned out of shed loads of money by Poliakoff.
When will the BBC learn to not indulge Poliakoff in his fantasies. Actors of quality make the most of dialogue of sub-Coward quality in a 6-hour production that,at best, creates a Mr Bean adventure as if it written by Ian Fleming.
Serious money has been thrown at this supposed recreation of life in London in the late 1950s tacked onto some serious delusions about his family being tied up with the spying game. It feels like Poliakoff has asked Wikipedia what happened in 1958 and then picked the juiciest bits and stuck them together in the presentation to the bods at the BBC, who saw a host of potential awards and then gave him a blank cheque .
I always seem to fall for the flannel that accompanies one of his "works" as the public relations drive to advertise it can be major. But now I have come to realise that there is a direct link between the size of the advertising campaign and the size of the "turkey" created. With "Summer of Rockets", there was not a big enough oven.
Why on earth has a second series of this comedy(????) been commissioned?!?!?!
From reading the reviews I can see that this series really does divide its audience. Up front I'll say that I did not like it at all. Admittedly I'm a 65-year old man who was interested in a character that was being touted by the BBC as an icon for the young, modern,woman,who has a granddaughter of a similar age to Fleabag and was seeking an insight into what she might be facing in this modern world of ours.
Surely,I can't be the only one who thinks that this self-absorbed,predatory,sex-obsessed,foul-mouthed,deluded,backstabbing,kleptomaniac cannot possibly be that icon. Any woman with a modicum of intelligence, feminist or not, would run a mile from associating with such a person.
As for the men in the show, from blood relatives to the casual flings, these all come out of any script-writing schools' "Male Stereotypes 1.01". Bill Paterson, what on earth are you doing in this trainwreck !!!!
Surprisingly the only character I admired was "Godmother", played by Olivia Coleman. Initially I thought that here was a quality actress following in the footsteps of Sir Laurence Olivier in his later years - remember "The Betsy" anyone?-, slumming it just for the pay cheque. But the steel she gradually revealed through the first five episodes that came out, full force, in the final episode, showed that her role was desperately needed to provide someone as a counterpoint to Fleabag. This was a character who was focussed in what she wanted and how she was going to get it and,quite frankly,never was charm used as such a scary weapon of war. You might not like her but you definitely had to respect her. Just imagine what she would be like as Margo Channing...
I would dearly love to know what sort of viewing figures this show got on the digital BBC3 to a)warrant a second commission and b) get a transfer to the BBC1 main channel. If this is what passes for comedy nowadays, I'm going to go back to watching my "Fawlty Towers" DVD.
What a load of tosh
Less than a week into the new year and we have a prime candidate already for the worst film of the year. Inarritu has shown that his view of creating a production for the theatre is so hackneyed it is a rival for Mel Brook's "The Producers" but without the laughs. Here, as the director, he is self-indulgently showing off his abilities to the audience - watch me use time-lapse photography instead of cutting to move the time of the action along; see how I have learnt how to move my actors around the set from my regular viewing of the"live" episodes of "Coronation Street"; aren't I clever in the way I track my camera from the outside of a building into the inside via a balustrade and a window; what about the way I position my camera within the confines of a dressing room so that you don't see it recording what's going on inside - all this trickery highlights his inability tell a story in a way that involves the audience. I was looking forward to seeing Michael Keaton show his acting chops in a role that he was born to play - washed-up TV star trying to make a comeback into celebrity and the acting game in general but flirting with madness whilst trying to do so but his "Birdman" alter-ego kept getting in the way at the behest of his director. But his was not the only talent that was wasted. The rest of the cast were similarly handed caricature-driven roles that they could do nothing new with - Edward Norton playing a "prima donna"actor brought in to bolster the box- office appeal of the play and who has his own ideas on how to play his role; Naomi Watts playing an actress given her first role in a Broadway show and being crippled by nervousness to the extent that she is sick prior to the opening night performance; Andrea Riseborough as Keaton's new girlfriend possibly impregnated by him and not sure how to deal with this; Zach Galifianikis as the producer only worried about the money and the show's success; Emma Stone as Keaton's ex-drug addict daughter trying to keep Keaton and herself stable as Keaton goes off the rails - is there anything new here? I don't think so. The only reason I give this film one star is because of a short scene between Keaton as actor and Lindsay Duncan as Broadway theatre critic were she attacks him as a Hollywood invader of the "High Art" of Broadway and he attacks her for just being a labeller of theatrical types. This scene happens towards the end of the film and sadly comes too late to save it from its crassness. What a film it would have been if this had been the theme running through it. "The Sweet Smell of Success", "Topsy-Turvy" and even "The Producers" need not worry about their reputations for examining the theatre and the folk that work within and outside it. They are classics. This film is decidedly not.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Best Film Ever.....Hmmmm.
I'm always sceptical of films which arrive on my local multiplex screen with a massive reputation for quality. Is it orchestrated by the film's marketing department in order to get bums on seats? After all we are talking masters in the field of media manipulation, aren't we? So cautiously I approached this film. Having watched "The Railway Man" earlier in the week, I was prepared for another "hard watch". What I was not expecting was to be put through an emotional mangle that left me pretending I had something stuck in my eye that need a good few minutes of "tearing up" before I could leave the cinema - and I was not the only man doing this. I have never had it brought home to me so forcefully what the concept of slavery in the USA of the 1850's was about. How white folk treated black folk as chattel was an ethereal idea for me often coloured by films such as "Gone with the Wind". Steve McQueen's film confronted you with the brutality of it by showing you the viewer what it entailed unflinchingly. To do this he has gathered a technical team and a group of actors and committed them to being at the top of their game in order to show the cinema-going world what slavery is, so that the next time you see a newspaper headline that talks of "human trafficking" you are aware that slavery has not completely gone away and still needs to be stamped out and its' perpetrators brought to summary justice. What would a modern equivalent be? Emily Watson criminally drugged up on a night out and then enduring a "taming" process in order to end up in a middle-eastern harem. Fanciful thinking? There are too many stories in the press of girls from Eastern Europe and China enduring this shameful activity for you to realise that slavery has not gone away.
But what about the film and the performances in it? I always thought of Chiwetel Ejiofar as the jobbing black actor with the unpronounceable name whose portfolio of performances made him hard to pigeon-hole but here I think I have seen an actor make full use of his natural equipment i.e. body, speech and, most tellingly, eyes, to create a performance that has seared itself into my memory. His is a complex portrayal of a man wrenched from the comfort of his environment and forced to see and endure man's inhumanity to man. How he shows us what it means to be changed from a "man" to a "thing" deserves all the accolades he gets. As for the rest of the cast, it would have been easy to make them into "types" - the "good" slave-owner, the "evil" slave-owner, the "evil" slave-owner's wife, the beautiful slave-girl, the brutal overseer etc.. McQueen certainly does not do that here. With John Ridley, he has given the actors a chance to invest themselves into making a "living" document that really made me feel as if I was there. We all know that Cumberbatch, Dano, Fassbender, Giamatti and Paulson are pros and have added another excellent role to their respective c.v.s. The major discovery here is Lupita Nyong'o. We see her initially dancing in a free-spirited way that obviously attracts the lust of her owner and the hatred of the owner's wife and then we see her being broken. You would have to be made of stone not to shed tears at seeing the way this is done. Her "Patsey" will live long in anyone's memory and if justice were to be done then her performance will receive the highest awards. Watch out for her - she is a star.
As for the technical team, John Ridley wrote the right words, Sean Babbit is getting ready to step into the shoes of Sven Nykvist, Joe Walker's editing helped to make the unwatchable watchable and finally talking about the totally unexpected, Hans Zimmer, yes, HANS ZIMMER, wrote the music. So "Best Film Ever" - no. But sooo close... Now when I watch the "slap" scene in the film "In the Heat of the Night" I will truly understand what was going on and why it was such a shock. Thank you for that Mr McQueen.
Only God Forgives (2013)
Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick,Slow
Who would have thought that this year there could be a worse film than Springbreakers and yet here it is. I had not seen "Drive" or any other films on which Refn's reputation rests so came to this film cold. Within ten minutes I was trying hard to resist the temptation to yawn. Within twenty, that urge was becoming a need to leave the cinema, like several others who had lost patience with the film,in the hope that I might get a chance to catch something more worthwhile of my entrance fee at the multiplex. What's wrong with this film - where to start? Everything leads to Refn. Slow,sorry,snail pace, stomach-turning violence, impenetrable red colour palate of the cinematography, deafening "modern" soundtrack, criminal mis-direction of quality actors - all come down to him. It is his poor use of the actors that I find most problematic. Ryan Gosling has proved his acting talent - "Blue Valentine" is an exceptional tour de force - and here he is a blank. If that is intended then it is down to Refn. The fact that the film comes alive whenever Kristin Scott Thomas is on screen must be down to her ability to rise above the banality of Refn's direction. I kept thinking of the similarity of Refn's current career to that of Michael Cimino and hope that this is not his "Heaven's Gate". For those people who want to see a proper "existential" film noir, catch Walter Hill's "The Driver". It can be done.
Stuck in Love. (2012)
A family of writers with "life and love" problems etc..
Fed up with the blockbusters that have swamped my local multiplex, I was looking for something a bit more serious and thoughtful and decided to give this a go. Not knowing much about its history I was struggling initially with the concept of a family of writers - father, teenage son and daughter in her late teens/early twenties - who were successful enough to own a fabulous house on a secluded seashore. Then there was the hackneyed plot device of father being a writer with writer's block caused by his wife leaving him and marrying a gym club owner and him stalking her to see if the new marriage was successful or not - couple of comic moments there that made me smile - but I was still going to give it a chance. Then there was the teenage son, a disciple of Stephen King, wanting to write stories of a similar nature but lacking experience of the world which his father advises him to go out and get. This involves a "damaged" fellow student who is, of course, stunningly attractive. Then there's the daughter, who can't be more than 20/22 who has just had a book published, which turns out to be the second book that she has written. As you might have guessed I was straining to hold in my disbelief. I won't describe any further characters or events because you the viewer will say that you've seen this in other films. And that's the problem with this film. The characters and situations have been seen before in countless films and the question to ask is does this film do this any differently? But in spite of this I found myself warming to the film and wanting things to turn out right for everyone. You get to be my age - 60 this year - and you hope that there is still room for this type of film to be made, where skyscrapers are not toppled by alien invaders, where mythic warriors fight do not fight dragons etc... I admired the writing and directorial talent of Josh Boone and the acting skills of both established actors like Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly, who are never less than excellent and a new generation of actors - take a bow, Lily Collins, Nat Wolff, Logan Lerman and Liana Liberato - whose future careers you hope will develop the talent they show here. A special word for the cinematographer, Tim Orr, who gives a subtle washed out tone to the film that underscores the troubled waters that the characters are trying to navigate. All in all a satisfying way to spend a couple of hours at what my generation called "the movies".
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Derek Cianfrance- the heir to John Sayles.
I'd heard so much about this film that I was fully prepared for crushing disappointment. I'd watched "Blue Valentine" and wondered if Derek Cianfrance was a one-shot wonder. So the film started and would it be 140 minutes of missed opportunities. First shot, Ryan Gosling's perfect "abs". Soon after Eva Mendes's nipples completely unfettered - where was this film going? And yet... I'd recently watched John Sayles's "Lone Star" and was struck by many themes that they had in common - sins of the fathers having an impact on the sons, doing the "right thing" even when under pressure. This was a similar picture of small town life that was not as doom-laden as the stories of Cornell Woolrich or Jim Thompson. Unlike other films that I had viewed that purported to show a slice of real Americana - the rubbish "Spring Breakers" still brings on nightmares - these people were just simply trying to play the hand Fate had dealt them the best they could.
140 minutes just flashed by. The story enfolded me and did not let me go until the credits came up. I have despaired that texture, coherence and storytelling skills are absent from the current crop of American filmmakers but Derek Cianfrance as director and co-writer is to be treasured and nurtured. His actor-management skills are superb and bring out the best in his players the way Mike Leigh does with his. Not only that, his control of the photography and choice of music shows a talent that is beginning to hit its stride. All the actors contribute as an ensemble. The headliners - Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes - show that their talent continues to grow. Rose Byrne in an all-too-brief appearance plays an effective supporting role. Even the old warhorses Harris Yulin, Ray Liotta and Bruce Greenwood show what skillful actors they are during their fleeting time on screen. And as someone to watch for the future, watch out for Dane DeHaan - a young man with major potential. Choice of music is important throughout the film. Check out the scene where Gosling watches his son being baptised in church. I was not the only one shedding a tear in the audience. Finally, major credit to all the members of the makeup department. The talent it took to thoroughly de-glamourise a hot babe like Mendes - it is Oscar-worthy !!
Two films to see, a tossed coin came down tails and "Spring Breakers" was the choice. The gods definitely hated me - how on earth did this terrible film get financial backing???? Then got a chance to see Trance.So refreshing to see a film that made its audience think. Danny Boyle has not quite topped his opening Olympic Ceremony but if Brazil needs someone to make the World Cup memorable then this Radcliffe-lad is the MAN!!!. Trance twists and turns like a constipated rattlesnake. Is it as great as Memento? Not quite but the imagery is startling, the music is wonderful and the performances - who thought Jaime McEvoy could play such a role, Rosario Dawson the next Linda Fiorentino? and Vincent Cassel gets better and better - were brilliant. I wish my flipped coin had come down heads.