Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Half arsed one sentence reviews.

Zack and Miri make a Porno - 7/10

Definite saturday night fodder, but that doesn't mean its not rather good.

Pride and Glory - 8/10

Intricately built story with some stellar acting.

Gomorrah - 8/10

Dark and gritty, the real Italian underworld.

Pineapple Express - 8/10

Not as funny as Superbad, bit more slapsticky.

I really wanted to properly review all these, but its exam time and not got enough spare time. So there, it is four premium half-assed reviews.

Saturday, 8 November 2008


In keeping with my reviewing just after watching, here is Oliver Stone's new film W.. About the life and presidency of George W. Bush. Still got a lot of back reviews to do, but they are all going to be short as they are gradually slipping from my mind.

Dubya. This film surprised me, in a few ways. The first being that Oliver Stone was able to make what is a rather impartial biography of George Bush Jnr. The second being Josh Brolin's excellent portrayal of the man himself and the third being Thandie Newton- which I'll get to later.

Looking first at the film as a whole, it is well shot, with good costumes, set, acting, everything. But then, nothing really happens. The fact is, that despite all his gaffs and mis-quotes, George Jnr. presidency never really had the excitement of a Watergate or an assasination. At times it begins to feel like sitting through a lecture as we are stuck in the middle of long political debates and discussions. It's just that George W.'s life wasn't really suited to a biopic. As a result of this, Stone tries to focus more on his relations with his father and with God. These sections provide the most interesting moments in the film, dealing covertly with his alcoholism and portraying a very typical American family unit.

On to Josh Brolin. He is in a word, brilliant. I was intially very sceptical when I heard he was attached to the project, however, he does excellently at replicating Bush's mannerisms without having it turn into a characiture. He also succeds in showing a softer side to Bush, in his treatment of Bush's dealings with his wife and God.

Now Thandie Newton, what is she doing with her voice. Admittedly, I've not heard Condoleezza Rice speak that often, but I am pretty sure she does not sound anything like Thandie Newton interpretation. After, just having praised Brolin for avoiding turning his Bush into a characiture, Newton comes along and does a SNL impression. She is usually one of my favourite actresses as well.

Final word, cause there is too much noise and I want to watch Life is Beautiful. Good film, hindered by a bad president on which to make it about. Had Brolin's performance been in a different film, I think there could have been Oscars a calling.


Monday, 3 November 2008

Quantum of Solace.

New James Bond, so all the other reviews I've been meaning to do have been bumped down. 

Quantum of Solace.

The difficult second movie.  So is it as good as Casino Royale? No, but it is still good, just a few wrong turns have seen Bond's latest outing slip below the admittedly high standards of Casino. The problems start near the very beginning, with the first chase scenes, Marc Forster adopts the Bourne ideal that all actions scene should be filmed with very lots of close-up shots and that there should be a ridiculous amount of cuts in a short space of time. This provides a headache more than anything and was the primary reason for me why the first two Bourne movies were so bad that I didn't even watch the third.  Fortunately, Forster changes tack later on in the film and begins to include some wider, longer shots that were a great relief and made for much more appealing action sequences. The other problem with this Bond movie is the plot. It seems to leave quite a lot unexplained and I felt that the end of movie had a very rushed feeling about it.

On to the good points then, the main one being Bond himself, or rather Daniel Craig. He manages for me to perfectly portrays Bond's psychological struggle and his attempts to find his Quantum of Solace. Daniel Craig really makes this movie what it is, and is already for me one of the best Bond's ever.  Olga Kurylenko is also quite excellent, she is a different sort of Bond girl, less of a shag 'em and bag 'em type and more of a real character, with development. One scene in particular where she is reliving a traumatic childhood memory is excellent, her eyes convey brilliantly the characters fear. Mathieu Amalric is also very frightening as a suave sophisticated 'villain'. This is helped I think by him just being a pretty scary looking guy in the first place anyway. The rest of the cast are just there as filler for me, even Judy Dench doesn't really make a lasting impression. 

I feel had they given themselves another half hour of screen time, then used it develop the plot rather than blow more things up this could have been even better than Casino Royale. However, they didn't, and it isn't, so there you go.


Burn After Reading.

It's now been far too long since I actually seen this movie but I shall attempt to write about it all the same.  Laziness is my biggest fault and it is now showing through quite clearly in my output on this blog.  Ahwell, it is just basically for myself anyway.

Burn After Reading.

I have never known a Coen Brothers movie to divide opinion in my friends as much as this one.  All the girls hated it, and all the guys loved it.  That is not to say that this is a guy's movie, a bit gory at some points for some people maybe but no more so a thousand other movies around just now.  The girls main complaint was that there 'wasn't a plot,' which I can understand to an extent as the movie does leave a somewhat hollow feeling.  But the point is this is not No Country for Old Men, this is a comedy and as a comedy I thought it was the most genuinely funny Coens movie I have seen.  It delighted me to hear that they wrote the script for this at the same time as No Country... taking one day for one script and the next for the other, writing Burn After Reading when they needed something a little more light-hearted to work on.  And that is exactly what this movie is, a little more light-hearted than No Country.  Sure it won't win Best Picture, but that does not stop it being a rather good movie.

George Clooney and John Malkovich are the two strongest performers for me, managing to make the outlandish twists and turns of the script feel real and grounded.  Frances McDormand is good also, but there is just something about her that I don't really like.  That sounds harsh, probably because it is but there you have it.  The same goes for Tilda Swinton, although a little more justly I feel as she is somewhat one dimensional in this film.  Brad Pitt is a difficult one for me in this film, he is the source of most of the laughs, but I feel took the dull-witted stupidity of his character too far and ended up losing the grounded feeling brought by Malkovich and Clooney.

Well, as expected from the Coens the movie is brilliantly shot and paced.  They constantly change the pace around in a way that with lesser directors could become disorientating, but somehow just adds more to the experience I feel.  I did say this would be a long one, but I have left it too long now, I need to try and write these a lot fresher from the movie.