It’s taken 4 years and 5 films but you know what? They finally made a Twilight film that’s genuinely decent. Yes that’s right folks…Read More
My unplanned and unexpected fall into all things Twilight continues. Somehow I found myself at a midnight screening of the latest installment, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – part 1. I still don’t know how it happened but it did.
Of course, as I had mentioned in the post with clips and trailers of Breaking Dawn, I was kind of looking forward to this film. Not looking forward like, I was planning to see it at the first possible screening though. More like, I thought I’d give it a look on DVD. Oh well, what’s done is done.
Needless to say, I hadn’t been expecting much. Even though I thought Eclipse was alright, I wasn’t expecting anything – New Moon was that bad. Seriously, nothing happened in that movie. Nothing at all. For shame.
As it happens, Breaking Dawn is actually ok as well. Ok, not great. Or good. Just, ok. In all honesty, my biggest, biggest problem with the Twilight series is Kirsten Stewart. The girl can’t act. It’s a crying shame really because this, and Eclipse, would probably be good films if there was anything believable about Bella and Edward. Also – and it wouldn’t be an issue if the characters didn’t keep saying it – she’s just not that pretty. Every time they say it, which is more often than you’d think necessary, I wince. Really? I mean really?
The worst thing is that because she is so bad, it colours the entire series. I don’t understand what on earth Edward Cullen is meant to see in her. Except I suppose the point that he sees nothing in her, can’t tell what she’s thinking etc… Surely the possibility has occurred to him though that perhaps there’s nothing going on in there? Urgh.
And Jacob? What’s his excuse? I gather there might be something in the next film that explains that but I’ve still had to put up with 4 films of nonsense. And why is Edward so ok with her and Jacob? She even kissed him in the last film! That’s pretty much cheating in my book. He should’ve at least been a bit more pissed off. Is it supposed to be because he knows that Bella really and truly loves him? How can he tell? She doesn’t act like it.
But back to the film at hand. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – part 1. Bit of mouthful. Apart from the massive problem of the relationship still being entirely unbelievable, it’s relatively reasonable. I would hesitate to say it is well paced – there’s a rather lengthy part of the film which, as far as I could tell, was only conceived so that Bella and Edward could kiss in front of varying colourful backdrops, but aside from that painful 20 minutes, it moves along quite well. Stuff happens, the plot moves forward, it’s a marked difference from the first two films. The action and CGI is even relatively decent, the wolves look good compared to how they did in the earlier films – oh, well… I just remembered the ridiculous talking wolves scenes, let’s forget that happened. *shiver*
One of the things I really liked about the film is that it’s quite funny in parts. Genuinely funny. I would have liked more of that. I think it also helped my enjoyment that Kristen Stewart didn’t do much for a lot of the film, what with being quite sick carrying her demon child. Jacob continues to be the star performer in the series. It helps that he has more to do than anyone else, but he does that angry broody thing well. I hope he gets a chance to be a real actor after this.
The fact is, it’s really not as bad as it’s being made out to be. There isn’t anything in it that’s offensively bad (aside from Stewart). The story is pretty interesting tbh. The stuttered attempts to make Twilight more mature are, for the most part, successful; the honey part of the ‘moon was dealt with particularly well. Other parts, were… perhaps alluded to more than dealt with…
I’m surprised there wasn’t more about… not having the child. You know, since they were all pretty sure it was a demon who was killing her from the inside out. The films’ seem to have quite a conservative agenda in the sense – no sex before marriage, it’s a baby not a fetus etc. I guess they didn’t want to dwell on that aspect, it is a young adult film after all. It could have made for interesting debate though. Oh well.
It’s hard in a way to point at the things I didn’t like about the film. I guess it’s just because the core of the story is so rotten to me, it makes it a bad apple. Everything that happens is… fine but… Yes, I think it’s just that… how do I describe it…? They’re very bitty films. The cast is so large and it’s so full of small roles that it feels like the film expects you to fill in the blanks in the characters – all the characters. Except that I don’t know any of the characters. Who are these people? What are their motivations? Why am I watching this film? It’s a very haphazard watch.
Except for the end. The end was pretty good, including the bit during the credits. It kinda looks like the next film might have some interesting stuff going on. In fact, during the end credits all I could think was, why couldn’t this be the starting point? You could have summed up these last 4 films in a long pre-credit sequence and done a few films on what happens next – that looks like a story worth watching.
With snowmageddon going on here, it’s hard to think about going outside at all, let alone going out to go to the cinema. But then that’s just what I did today. Not to this though. I went to this weeks ago. Today I went to Catfish. But that’s not important right now.
Wikipedia (today, 21st Dec 2010) defines burlesque as “a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration.” That’s not really what the people in this film are doing at all. It’s more… cabaret. Guess they couldn’t really call it Cabaret though. Given the number of remakes floating around these days that would have been way too confusing.
I just thought you should know that from the outset. If you’re looking for a film about burlesque, this is not it. It’s not even particularly humorous. Well, not intentionally… However, if you’re looking for a fun, light film with good dancing, fabulous costumes and great music then this is the film for you.
I have to admit, I was very skeptical about Burlesque. I was not impressed with the trailer at all. I really wasn’t on for a small-town-girl-in-the-big-city, realising-dreams, dramaorama. Fortunately for me, I decided to go along anyway… I like musicals and even though it didn’t look very musical, I’d heard it was, so all good.
Thinking about it, you shouldn’t even watch the trailer. It’s completely misleading and it really doesn’t emphasise the songs… which are great, and for which I actually think it has a good shot at an Oscar for. The one thing I will say about it is that at least it doesn’t really give anything away. Not that there’s much of a plot or anything to give away… but at least it doesn’t fall into that trap of showing you all the good stuff that so many trailers do these days. For some reason they’ve just decided to show you a load of crap bits instead. I really don’t get the trailer at all. Watch the video at the end of this article. It’ll give you a much better idea of what to expect.
But enough about the trailer. What of the film? As I’m sure you’ve realised by now. I really enjoyed it. It’s not a particularly good film in the sense of… well… however one would classically define a good film; I’d imagine you’d worry about plot, script, characterisation, that kind of thing… but like I said, if you’re just looking for a bit of light-hearted fun and some great singing then it’s great.
In my eyes it doesn’t take any massive mis-steps and that’s where a lot of otherwise comfortably cheesy films fall down. There’s no really annoying characters, the actors aren’t appallingly bad. There’s a few real clunkers of lines but nothing you can’t ignore, or laugh about if you’re so inclined. And while the plot is nothing to write home about, it was a little convoluted in places but there was enough there to keep it rolling along at a decent pace… you know, to fill in the gaps between the singing and dancing… and the looking at the fabulous costumes. Did I mention they’re fabulous? Fabulous. I am a bit of a magpie though.
That said, as much as I enjoyed it. I do want to complain about one thing. Stanley Tucci got a decent bit of screen time. He could have done more, had more of a character but no-one did so ok… but Alan Cumming was criminally underused. I love Alan Cumming. Plus he was the only character that did anything approaching burlesque in the film. They could have given him at least one full routine… even if it was just to justify the title… no? no? Bah. Anyway that out of the way, it’s still good.
Obviously now, I wouldn’t recommend everyone go see it though. First of all, you have to like musicals. This isn’t a true musical as it were but if you hate them, you’ll probably hate this. Second, you have to not worry about having to take a little leap of faith when it comes to plot. Lastly, you have to like Christina Aguliera. I mean she’s in it a lot so if you don’t like her or her voice it’ll be a problem. If you have one of these issues, stay away. Stay very far away…
…Or you might get hit by a sequin.
Ok, I know this has only just released in Ireland so technically it’s 2010 here but it released in the US on 23rd Dec 2009, just in time for the Oscars.
Up In The Air is based on a novel of the same name by Walter Kirn. I don’t know that novel but I am familiar with the director – Jason Reitman. He directed Juno but more importantly he directed the excellent Thank You for Smoking. A film I would heartily recommend to everyone. Up In The Air I also recommend… and on balance I would recommend it to everyone… but with certain reservations.
I guess I’ll have to explain a bit about this film, I won’t be giving anything away that you haven’t seen in the trailers though so don’t worry.
Basically George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man who’s dedicated to his job. His job happens to be a professional firer. He’s contracted out to other companies to tell their staff that they’re fired. He lives his life in airports, on planes and in boardrooms all over the USA, rarely physically “touching base” as they say. When a new recruit, played by Anna Kendrick, comes on board, Ryan finds himself saddled with… baggage.
To be honest, I didn’t find it completely engaging, but then again I did like it. It’s a bit of a puzzler because so many people I know really thought it was brilliant. I found it difficult to relate to. Course I am lucky; I still have my job… I know more than a few people who have lost theirs in the last 12 months, but this film isn’t really about that anyway. It’s about… what people value in life… to sum it up in one. I still don’t really know why I found this film so difficult to relate to though. Perhaps it depicts a lifestyle and an attitude that is so far from my own that I just don’t understand it.
So, when I say I’m recommending it with reservations it’s because, while I wasn’t mad about it, I can’t deny that there is something to it. I’ve thought long and hard about what I didn’t like about it and I can’t point to it so I have no reason to not recommend it. Especially when there’s a chance that others will take a great deal from it. The only thing I will say against it is that I thought it was a little slick…
For what it’s worth, it is a smart, solid story and, as I mentioned earlier in the week, there are some great poignant scenes. There’s a bit of drama, there’s a bit of romance, but it just never quite came together for me. It is however a very good character study and George Clooney does a good job. Anna Kendrick is grand as well. I’d never heard of her before but I gather she’s in Twilight, so good for her, this should keep her out of the typecasting for a while.
Hmm… It probably is time I started talking about the Oscar buzz. Everyone else is after all.
This is probably one of the most hotly tipped contenders for the Oscars. It’s been nominated for 6 Golden Globes and it’s George Clooney who’s attracting most of the heat. So far in the awards season he’s well ahead in the Best Actor stakes. Ok, last night he just missed out on the Critics Choice Award however with the Golden Globes tomorrow it’s hardly the one he’s focussed on.
Having seen the film, I don’t know if he’ll get the Oscar. We all know that it’s not necessarily all down to the performance but I just don’t know that he’s done enough here to win. The other thing is is that I do believe that the Oscars like to be different… so all his wins may put him out a little bit here. Then again, I hear this year they’re trying to be a bit more populist, extendeding the best picture category to 10 to take in a bigger range of films and all. It’s really a hard one to call.
Then again, who are the other contenders? As I also mentioned earlier in the week, I hear that Colin Firth gives the performance of a lifetime in A Single Man. I’ve seen The Road now and while I’d say Viggo Mortensen has a good chance at a Oscar nomination but I don’t think the buzz is there and I’m not sure the range in his performance is big enough win it for him. I’m still holding out for Jeremy Renner and his performance in The Hurt Locker but the thing is I’m really not feeling the buzz around anyone else this year. Maybe Clooney has it in the bag.
Best picture wise… again I’d like to say The Hurt Locker over Up In The Air? Well actually I’d like to say Inglourious Basterds but that’s just not going to happen. What do you think yourselves?
Anyway I forgot to do the rating before I started talking about awards… so here you go.
I didn’t actually know this was based on a novel till I started writing this post however I have seen Reitman’s other works. Thank You for Smoking I thought was excellent. Maybe it’s another I should have put on the top films of the decade list. Juno I thought was ok, not amazing.
Now I have already seen Up in the Air so I can tell you it is worth a watch. I have read and heard a lot of very positive reviews, I wouldn’t go as far in my praise as some of them however I do think that quite a few people will love it. There were some brilliant poignant scenes but the story just didn’t quite resonate with me, it didn’t quite strike the right balance. It is however still a smart and solid drama with a hint, or perhaps it’s a streak, of romance though it. I would recommend seeing it… well for the female half of the population anyway.
Also in case you are not aware, George Clooney is heavily tipped for awards for this film… I don’t know if I see the Best Actor Oscar happening for him this year to be honest. I do think it’s a good performance and I think he’s very likely to get the Golden Globe for it but I haven’t seen enough of the other likely Oscar contenders to be sure. I hear that Colin Firth gives the performance of a lifetime in A Single Man and I’d like to think that Jeremy Renner has a good chance for his performance in The Hurt Locker. I’ll be seeing The Road so will have an idea of Viggo Mortensen’s chances then.
As for the second film, The Book of Eli, I haven’t heard much about it at all. Again it’s another film where I have been avoiding the trailer. It’s another post-apocalyptic story and as I’ve said a few times lately (since there seem to be a few out there atm) I love the ol’ post-apocalyptic dystopia story. It’s funny, you wait for ages then three come along all at once.
I get the impression from the trailer that this particular one is more just set in a post-apocalytic era, as opposed to being a study of a dystopia or even about the post-apocalytic era itself. The trailer pretty much pegs it as a straight action flick. Denzel Washington seems to be in full ass-kicking mode and Gary Oldman seems to be in full evil villain mode so it looks like it should be good fun. I don’t expect this will be a classic… indeed I fully expect we’ll see a good bit of chewing the scenery here… but so what? As long as I can have a bit of a laugh at it I’ll be happy.
click image to watch the trailer of The Book of Eli on apple.com/trailers
Up in the Air and The Book of Eli are in Irish cinemas from Friday 15th January.Read More
Don’t know where I’d heard of this film… I think it was probably when I was browsing through Leslie Bibb‘s filmography while doing the Iron Man review… Anyway wherever I heard of it, I thought it sounded interesting but I put it down as a film I’d never see – didn’t seem like the type that would turn up in the local video store. I was wrong, so here’s the review!
Wristcutters: A Love Story is set in an afterlife for people who’ve committed suicide. It’s a different kind of afterlife from the traditional winged one (be it above or below)… instead it is, in the words of our main character, “… basically the real world, just crappier”.
Zia (Patrick Fugit, best known from Almost Famous, just in case you’re wondering where you might have seen him before.) is a young man who’s committed suicide because his girlfriend Desiree (Bibb), has left him… their relationship isn’t particularly important though. Whatever happened before, he has ended up in this afterlife, working in a pizza parlour, living in a crappy apartment and just existing. So far, so dull – well no actually, the film is interesting so far… A chance encounter in the local supermarket leads Zia to discover that his former girlfriend took her own life a little while after he did. Given that he still has little else to “live” for he decides to take off with his interesting Russian rocker friend Eugene (played by Shea Whigham). While on the road they meet an outwardly interesting young lady called Mikal (played by Shannyn Sossamon) who’s on a mission to find the “People In Charge” and explain why she shouldn’t be there So far, so interesting – well no actually, this is where the film starts to fall down…
I wanted to like this film… it has lots of interesting ideas, most of which are hinted at early on. Its problems start when they get on the road… from there on in it loses steam… it seems to flounder, the director takes a while to pick the idea he wanted to centre on and in my opinion he picked the wrong one. Then again maybe my expectations were to blame, I thought I was going to see an indie film exploring, I don’t know, ideas and concepts – stuff about suicide, naivety of youth, friendship, life after death – the kind of stuff you expect and indie film to cover. I expected it to be smart, funny and quirky… you know, a good indie film… and for a while it looked like it was going that way. Then all of a sudden, to my horror Goran Dukic got lazy and just decided to turn it into a love story. Now I shouldn’t have been surprised – the clue was in the title… but I don’t know, I just hadn’t expected it to be nothing more than a love story in the end. I try so hard to not expect anything of the films I watch, it just sets you up for disappointment… but sometimes… you just can’t help it.
Wristcutters: A Love Story just wasn’t what I wanted it to be at all and while all the little ideas and side characters made it an enjoyable watch; overall it just didn’t live up to the awards and nominations it garnered. I really should have learned after that abominable The Aryan Couple that film festival awards count for nothing and that the only ratings that are worth any consideration and IMDb ratings (after DVD releases) and rottentomatoes.com!
Quickly, to address the other stuff… the acting was commendable, the cinematography and art direction were great. Special mention as well to Will Arnett, I always find him entertaining and his appearence was a well needed laugh, even though the idea behind it did have a feel of an after thought… Overall I’m actually going to give it a decent enough rating because actually it wasn’t a bad film at all. For all my complaints about it, the main thing I didn’t like was the love story – I wasn’t expecting it when I really have no excuse – after all, it was in the title!!
For the past couple of months I’ve been living in a double room in a friend’s house with all my worldly possessions around me in boxes… This rather limited the maneuverability in said room. Anyway, finally I have moved into my very own apartment so hopefully this means that in the near future life will settle down I will be able to get back to writing more film reviews…
So I’ll get to it… I’m not -not- a fan on the series… when it first started up I hated it. I thought it was overly sexist and more than a bit ridiculous. As time went on however I think the series grew up as the characters did. In the end it became very easy watching – like much TV of that ilk, the characters became comfortable and you didn’t need to know what happened last week to enjoy it because you know the characters so well. I liked it, but it was over and I didn’t really miss it… I couldn’t, it’s repeated all the time on cable.
Anyway fast forward to 2008… it turns out a lot of people have been missing it. For what is effectively a film for a niche audience, it has generated an amazing amount of press. Quite apart from the “news” about the stars and their dresses, the promotional opportunities taken by various brands in Ireland and I’m sure all over the world, have been so omnipresent it’s hard to know which brands are officially associated and which are just jumping on the band wagon. The film really has been a phenomenon.
But it is any good…? this is the question we always have to ask. In my eyes, yes. I enjoyed it. I went along on the first night with a crowd of about thirty girls and saw it in a packed out cinema. I spotted two guys but rumour has it there were a few more hiding somewhere. I find that hard to believe.
To be honest, it’s a very safe film. They know their audience, they’ve written for them for years, and they haven’t bother to stray from their tried and tested formula. Which is fine… I think at the one point, when things were looking a bit bad for ol’ Carrie, people were quite worried that they might try to do something different. That didn’t happen though, phew! Oh, have I given something away?
The only criticism I might have is that it was a bit TV. I don’t think it mattered that much but they did move through things a little too quickly, there were fast cuts, short scenes – all things you need to do to tell a good story on TV but I don’t think they needed to on the big screen. As a result there were some bits and bobs that they really could have left out. Most notablely Jennifer Hudson‘s character. I didn’t mind her, but there was just no point really. Oh yeah… and I almost forgot, that scene at the end – What was that about!? I didn’t need to see that! If you’ve seen it then you know what I’m talking about…
So in the end, after all the anticipation… what we got was some great outfits, fabulous shoes (though I myself have no interest in shoes) and some good girlie fun. If they never come back I won’t miss them but if they did, I would surely watch their antics with a smile on my face again…
btw – apparently 50 is the new 40… or is that 30…