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British film of the year.
Philomena directed by Stephen Frears written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope is a drama based on tragic events of the 'lost child' of Philomena Lee. A thoroughly interesting story presented with a fantastic conjunction of ideal emotional depth and notable comedy presence provides a brilliant balance of different genres. Despite how negative Steve Coogan's character Martin Sixsmith describes human interest stories; this film is incredibly captivating. As each character goes through their own revelation, we as the audience find them as fascinating and astonishing as if we were experiencing them. Wonderful acting from both lead actors supported by a emphatically harrowing story softened with sophisticated comedy.
Best CGI in film, yet poor dialogue and script.
"You have nice manners for a thief and a liar!"
Peter Jackson's latest journey to Middle Earth was to explore Smaug and introduce the audience to the battle of the five armies that will ensue in the final film. We find Thorin Oakenshield being thrusted into leading his merry gang of dwarf's to the Lonely Mountain as Gandalf intends to inspect the happenings of Dol Gulder. This film more notably than other Jackson/Tolkien films is incredibly bloated and overindulgent, filled with multiple sub plots that create a relatively exhausting feeling. The new script for the penultimate movie was comprised with various new characters not mentioned in the original novel; this in my opinion created an unnecessary diversion to the traditional tale and therefore disrupted the enjoyment and naturalistic fluency of the story.
'The Desolation of Smaug' once again possesses amazing scenery of New Zealand intertwined with the story accompanied with an immersive soundtrack composed by Howard Shore, the direction of these films never seizes to amaze as the primary story line is perfectly encapsulated and terrific casting options provide a sentimental and emotional substance to this fantasy epic. The film has a thoroughly tedious opening act but as the film establishes the antagonists and setting, it propels into an intensified ambiance unparalleled by many other films. The riddle in the dark sequence with Gollum and Bilbo was commendably the most memorable scene in the entire unexpected journey film, yet unfortunately Martin Freeman was arguably underused in this film. Bilbo shared another memorably extended scene with his encounter with Smaug which was a beautiful use of CGI and fantastically voiced over by Benedict Cumberbatch, the scarily deep and loud tone sends shivers down your spine whilst Bilbo's witty flattery to survive against this beast is a terrifically entertaining combination.
The film tends to become host to some moronic and inane action sequences and experiences the occasional tasteless dialogue especially with the Elves and sub par delivery of key lines,it was rather disappointing from my perspective how the the characters had to continually rely on Legolas and Tauriel saving just in time and how these particular elves repetitively showed their skills monotonously. However the intended creative expansion on Bard the Bowman was impressive and Gollum not featuring in this movie was a somewhat substantial restraint given that Peter Jackson likes to connect and link all of his characters from his Middle Earth films. To witness the phenomenal spectacle Smaug makes up for the seemingly very long wait, despite his arguably disproportionate size in different shots it still compensates for the redundant sub- plots; for instance the love triangle between Kili, Tauriel and Legolas. I firmly believe that this tale would have been better as two, three hour movies rather than three, two and half movies. Problematic narrative flaws and raw characters wither the deep and passionate story of the dwarf's quest to Erebor.
Solid film with even better performances.
Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners possessed an intensified, unrelenting atmosphere that is provides a uniquely captivating atmosphere. This psychological labyrinth covers multiple layers of how people are prisoners in their own complicated world. The film thoroughly and informatively explores all the character perspectives with refined detail, however in instances this tight grasp the story has on depicting the explicit stress each person displays perhaps gets in the way of a fluent, coherent story line. Subtle moments in the film such as Loki's tattoos, Bob Taylor's boxes of snakes and more significantly what was the ultimate outcome to Alex Jones go unexplained. Nevertheless with phenomenal lead performances, you can happily ignore minor plot flaws to this riveting mystery and cynicism this film hits the audience with.
Gravity rigorously explores the human spirit and the persistence of survival through the most insufferable character possible. Ryan Stone a medical engineer whom has had six months of training is placed on a mission but thanks to the Russians, she is launched into the depths of space floating adrift having to co-ordinate her way to Earth with the help of her imagination and a manual book. Gravity may simply appear to be two people floating in space for ninety minutes to the casual observer, however it's just one. The highlight of the film Matt Kowalski played by George Clooney dies fifteen minutes in and you're left with the wailing Sandra Bullock, her character persists that every time she has been trained how to fly an escape pod in the simulator she has crashed it. Nonetheless under critical circumstances that depends on her life, reading a random page of a manual and praying to get home will prevail. Despite my evident cynicism about the film, I did admire how the film never deviated from it's predictable outcome. Someone survived.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Review and deconstruction of 2001.
2001: A Space Odyssey directed by Stanley Kubrick is a mind-bending sci- fi symphony, lifted with raw stimulation and heavy symbolism. It is potentially one of, if not the most influential and significant science fiction feature length film in cinema history. Its intention, (quoted by Kubrick himself) is to avoid the conscience rationalizations of its audience and to sink straight through to the unconscious, he demands us to interpret the film on more intelligent and complex levels. Kubrick's masterpiece is justly acknowledged as the inception of the futuristic revelation of space adventure films that entice, engage and at times intrigue viewers. It can perceived on many different levels, but we as the viewer can enter inside the central intention of Arthur C. Clarke from the literary piece, and watch the visually motivating interpretation fashioned by Stanley Kubrick whom in my eyes through his methodical directing provides unsurpassed brilliance and genuinely awe- inspiring depictions of stories which are second to none to any other director. His meticulousness behind the camera and precision to fully engage an audience is remarkable. On this particular example, Kubrick takes a well written novel to an extraordinary style over substance, art house psychological thriller standing the test of time, maintaining its relevance and significance in cinematic history.
Kubrick ambitiously predicts the future and explores the past by visiting pre-historic Africa showing apes learning of 'the tool' whilst they face the monolith unexplained by Kubrick, it is a major obstacle defining their existence. The film takes 25 minutes to introduce opening dialogue, yet the twenty five establishing minutes is thought-provoking and invigorating opening sequence. The monolith being a key figure to this opening, at every stage when we here the unsettling and somewhat disturbing tune that resides with the monolith. It crafts an overpowering ambiance, not only for the audience but it dominates over the characters it meets. There are many different meanings as to what the monolith represents; it is heavily indicated that extraterrestrial beings placed it there to see how humans have evolved through time, but I like to believe that it symbolizes us as the audience watching over the characters. We are the monolith watching the film and the characters unravel themselves in significant moments, similarly how Kubrick has given us a film to watch and we judge it accordingly.
From exploring the dawn of man, the film takes a staggering jump cut through time into colonised space delving into uncharted realms. We as the audience suddenly have to familiarize ourselves with new characters and thus acquainted with a new theme. Man vs. machine. This is where the core story line lays, and where at its heart we tend to feel every emotion making us feel indisputably uneasy. Despite this film not being overly sentimental, (which is seemingly the pattern through all Kubrick films) its ambiance and out of this world atmosphere is almost startling. Stanley subtly tells us that even man at its evolutionary peek on Earth is simply a little child in space having to learn to walk without gravity, be toilet trained and have to eat 'baby food'.
The theme man against machine is very cunning and intriguing. It shows us that through intelligence, the computer believes it can surpass humans. However with courage and ingenuity the man with spirit can overcome the machine. The HAL 9000, the main antagonist is possibly the most sinister and threatening villain to reach cinema screen. Its relatively disturbingly evil voice echoes through the minds of the viewer and his attitude that he is ever superior to man gives HAL a very distinguishable menacing presence. In many ways the audience acts the same as HAL. Once the memory and logic terminal is extracted from HAL, the viewer experiences a wealth of strange abstract events, we lose all clarity in what we see and from that point the audience is forced by Kubrick to choose their own idea of what is occurring on screen.
2001 is perhaps the most beautiful and evocative cinematography I have ever seen in film, it is a rare work of cinema that has stood the test of time, still maintaining it's realistic and authentic space look. This film proves that a sci-fi movie can be philosophical rather than pulpy, profound rather than pedantic. Stanley Kubrick's dazzling; Academy Award-winning achievement is a compelling drama of man vs. machine, a stunning meld of music and motion. "2001" is not concerned with thrilling us, but with inspiring our genuine awe. There are many divided opinions about the symbolic and philosophical meanings of this film, many people claim this film to be either a self indulgent art house film, or a work of pure art, in my opinion it is the latter and like the majority of the public I won't be diverted from that opinion. Whatever people may think of the film, it is a work of considerable originality and an unerringly satisfying, utterly unique cinematic experience. Even if you will hate or love this film, it is still recommended from me because it is valuable either way to get a grasp on how Stanley Kubrick artistically and poetically presents his films. This being a perfect example, a true cinematic genius provides us with a true cinematic masterpiece. "Let the Awe and Mystery of a Journey unlike Any Other Begin."
Le tableau (2011)
Fantastic visuals, simply riveting with a perfectly executed structure. However, in my opinion it never reached it's full potential because it was held back. The film possessed a wonderful world without really exploring and explaining it in full detail, perhaps the director was not daring enough to go above and beyond in terms of the story line. Once the story was introduced, it struggled to maintain it's structural appeal. Though it contained a sensationally unique and stylistic appeal captivating the general audience. Despite the simple story it is a work bursting with imagination whether it be in art direction or its dazzling picture-hopping set piece.
Rain Man (1988)
Hoffman's Raymond Babbit is one of the best acting performance ever!
Rain Man directed by Barry Levinson, is propelled by fine dialogue and magnificent acting, thus sustaining an emotionally enriching experience. Being focused around two very much different characters, the film progresses to finding brothers discovering an unwavering connection. Rather than this film exploiting disabilities, and grasping for sympathy, whilst containing the evident challenges of autism, it more significantly shows the audience two very much idiosyncratic individuals mutually finding trust within each other. It begins with 'selfish yuppie' in Charlie attempting to get more financially from his father's will through his unknown brother for his own purposes. However just spending a single week together, the two find brotherly love. This film leaves the audience to ponder how despite appearances, we are all very similar. Remarkable acting by Cruise and Hoffman, but arguably the best performance i've ever seen by Hoffman.
Stunning visuals mixed with seriously strong morals.
The directors of 'End of Evangalion' not only invents a unique and rare conclusion to the evangalian series, but subtly depicts existentialism and the misunderstood juxtaposition of dream and reality, what is real and fake. It also deals with the perks and folly's of humanity whilst handling the extreme dramatization of romance, and tackles the strange entities and characters that dwindle through the imagination of the show. The director of the series has focused more on his interpretation of life and his experiences, rather than ending the series on a satisfactory note for viewers. In my opinion this film is more riveting than what fans of the show would have preferred. However, there is indubitable confusion through this film, you as the viewer watch in pure awe and absorb the unmistakably inspiring and slightly deranged messages contained within the story. The film cleverly sidetracks to tell the story of evangalians and approaches and accesses the issues of the human being.