Monday, March 12

Film Review


Not a film to watch whilst eating, this total gross –out horror tells the grim tale of a small southern North American town that gets thoroughly worked over by a mutating, flesh eating, tentachled, alien menace.

This is a film which isn’t to proud to aspire to B-movie status and then stop, is fully aware that B-movies could scare as much as they provoke fits of laughter which are only halted by something so hideous your gag reflex kicks in, but so ridiculous your laughing again. A mutant head-butting deer, anyone?

The Pursuit of Happyness

I will start this review by stating three prejudices and biases I have:
1. Movies based on true stories suck!
2. Movies with Will Smith in are great.
3. Movies based on true stories with Will Smith in are fantastic.

Now these nuggets of BS can be attributed to films of my past, thusly:
1. Perfect Storm- a film so bad I left the cinema and screamed abuse at the screen before the film had even got two thirds in.
2. Men In Black! Independence Day!
3. Ali.

So, if we look at the third assertion in each list then The Pursuit of Happyness should be a fantastic film! It’s not, it’s average in every respect apart from it’s length, which is too long.

Mystic River

Fell asleep (due to utter exhaustion through self neglect, not due to the film) close to half way through and then woke up at the end and I didn’t feel like I’d missed anything of significance. The whole ending is signposted so early on its hard to get excited about such an obvious conclusion.

However Sean Penn’s performance is fantastic and so different from his other recent more recent treats too. If I came away from this film with anything I came away knowing Sean Penn is one of the greats of our time.

Billy Elliot

I watched this film with an Australian and was worried that the Newcastle setting and thick accents would be far to foreign for an Ozzie. Twenty minutes into the film and I realised that 1970’s northern England is place in as foreign to me as my friend.

Thankfully the director and actors do a fantastic job of describing the scene, the tension, the political climate and they never forget that this is a story first and foremost about following your heart.
Brimming with artist flair, evident in the choreography, cinematography and the direction, this film is a delight to watch, an amazing film.

Sex and Lucia

A Spanish language film with amazing cinematography, an amazing story which is well acted and handle with aplomb by a fabulous cast. As unrealistic as the situations these characters find themselves seems you’re led willingly as the viewer, eager to see what twist leads to the opening scene (a flashback) and an apparent suicide note. This is proof that there are some stories only film can tell, a masterpiece.

Akeelah and The Bee

Feel good movies don’t come much more cliché than this, but fortunately, the fact that this movie conforms so closely to all other coming of age, feel good movies works in its favour. The situation Akeelah finds herself in is fantastical enough in context but small enough to be believed and understood by the audience. It always feels like a personal struggle that Akeelah is capable of winning. She’s hampered by insecurities and immaturity but the one lesson she learns helps her overcome her hurdles.

Standard fare, but entertaining to the last.

For Your Consideration

Hollywood satires aren’t for people like me. I appreciate that Hollywood is full of vacuous bimbo’s, despicable pond-scum, and fickle users, but as long as they keep turning out great films that make me munch popcorn mesmerised… well, I don’t care.
‘The fame and the backstabbing is hard, boo hoo, and it’s pathetic how these people act’, OK, but it’s not funny.

Pan’s Labyrinth

When you first see the extent of the villains cruelty in this movie you root relentlessly for his demise, and try to ignore the nagging feeling that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a portal to a world of immortals, a mythical escape for the young protagonist of the story. Her fantasy world is in stark contrast to the real world of war and sacrifice that surrounds the Labyrinth itself, but is as threatening and as dark for the viewer, and sometimes even more threatening.

Pan’s Labyrinth is a fantastic film, maybe one of the best of last year. How it was overlooked in the Oscars is an absurdity of such preposterous proportions as to be unfathomable.


Another Spanish language film, this time staring Penelope Cruz as a woman trying to cope with the death of her husband whilst running a new business venture and discovering more about her late mother than she may want to.

Volvre manages to make big events seem small and cursory whilst highlighting the characters emotions with the most subtle of set pieces, gestures and scenes. In one poignant scene the despair of being unloved, unappreciated and trapped is communicated without the lead saying a word.

Cruz was nominated for an Oscar in this role and she deserved that recognition. Another amazing film.

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