Posts Tagged 'review'

Jane Eyre; a brief review

I watched the latest screen adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre a couple of nights ago, and really enjoyed it. I didnt really know if it would be my kind of thing but being that the story was written so long ago (first published in 1847) and its still being praised in the present day,  there must be something to it right?

I’m told the story of Jane Eyre doesn’t normally start as it does in the movie, normally the events run chronologically however in this film adaptation the first half of the story is seen via flashbacks. Although I cant compare to the ‘usually’ version I thought the flashbacks worked well. The first series of flashbacks take you a young (10 years old ish) Jane Eyre living quite unhappily with her Aunt Reed, where she is bullied by her cousins, and then subsequently sent to a girls school, which is grim to say the least. Although the story doesn’t dwell here I think its important as it gives an insight as to where Jane has been and what she has had to endure in her formative years.

Like most of the movie reviews I type I wont go into too much detail on the story, I’d rather not run the risk of ruining it because of unintentional spoilers, particularly when discussing films that are certainly worth a watch.

I was surprised how much I actually got into the language of the story, I don’t read many classic novels,  I will generally opt for a more contemporary literature. I think the fact that I did enjoy it is probably thanks to Moira Buffini for her work on the screen play and the cast for the manner of which they delivered their lines.

Talking of the cast, I spent a large portion of the movie wracking my brains to try and find remember who the actor was playing Rochester, it finally hit me that it was Michael Fassbender, who I’d recently watched in the latest X-Men instalment. Good as he was, credit really goes to the leading lady Mia Wasikowska who put in a stellar performance, my expectations are that I will see her many time more in many different roles.

Overall definitely worth a watch, good performances and I can see why the story is called a classic.

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Source Code: A brief review

Originally my blog was going to be mainly about food and movies, but as time has gone on I seem to blog about movies less.

So….I watched Source Code last night and really enjoyed it.  It definitely felt like a cross between The Jacket and Deja Vu. Where the Jacket was blatantly produced on a lower budget and Deja Vu had the explosions but perhaps lacked story depth. Source Code comes in a with mix between the two.

The basic premise is that Jake Gyllenhaal’s character – Colter Stevens has 8 minutes in which to try and discover who planted a bomb on a train, when those 8 minutes are up, the train blows up and he has to try all over again. His guide through it all is Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga).  To say anymore may ruin the movie, so I’ll leave it at that.

I’m still a bit ‘jury out’ on Jake Gyllenhaal and his talent as a leading man, I think partly because I watched Prince of Persia, but he holds his own really well. Actually while honesty is on the go I’ve always found Vera Farmiga a bit annoying (but she’s alright in this).

I would definitely recommend the movie, my only disappointment was that I failed to notice the Quantum Leap nod, and being that I loved that show when I was younger, that sucks.

 

The American; a brief movie review

I didn’t really know what to expect from The American, but I can say because of its title I hadn’t expected it to be so European. The trailers for the movie seemed to suggest that the film was some sort of action/adventure however in reality the film is a slow paced melodrama.

It came as no surprise to see that George Clooney had produced as well as stared in The American as the film is very much driven by the central character played by Clooney. Because the dialogue is some what sparse the film needs someone who can convey thought and emotion in silence, which in my opinion Clooney does, and yet throughout the film we find out very little about its protagonist, raising more questions than giving answers.

The story is centered around George Clooney’s character Jack an assassin/gunsmith who in the opening 5 minutes of the movie gets attacked while walking in the woods in Sweden. Jack then vows to his contact Pavel that his next assignment will be his last having grown weary of the death that surrounds his profession. Jack then holes up in a small town in the Italian countryside and starts constructing a gun as required for his final job. During this time he befriends the local priest and begins a relationship with a local prostitute.

The movie overall is beautifully shot and its slow sober score gives the film a feel of Terrence Malik movies such as the Thin Red Line and The New World although its not quite as beautiful or slow as either.

I know the film makers were trying to tell me more, the constant references to butterflies for example, but in reality I think that this story will have been a better book than it was a movie.  I didn’t ever feel that immersed in the story, I did however feel immersed in Italy and plaudits should be given for the style in which the film was shot.

I imagine many people will loathe this movie, not because of its content but because of the way it was marketed.   Telling the public you are giving them one thing then showing them something else after they have paid their money is never a good idea and as such the marketers have killed something that otherwise could have garnered serious public praise.

Chemical Brothers album ‘Further” review

Well over due for a new album in my life I optioned for the latest in a line of 7 studio albums from The Chemical Brothers “Further”.

I have been a Chemical Brothers fan for a long while, I cant say I was listening to them when their first album “Exit Planet Dust” was released back in 1995 but “Dig Your Own Hole” picked up shortly after its release was a favourite of mine for a long time, and truth be told probably still is.

So how do I feel about “Further”?  I thinks its very impressive, a tried and tested recipe of techno textures and mind-tilting psychedelia mixed up in a way that only Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons know how. My track of choice is number 2, Escape Velocity, nearly 12 minutes long and large chunks of that time are spent building and building waiting for the beat to drop and release a sense of euphoria that can only really be brought with this type of music and willingness to dance like a mad man and enjoy yourself. For me it definitely has undertones of The Who’s Bubba O’Reilly, which as one of my most loved Who tracks probably influences my choice here.

The albums content may not enough to take the number one spot in the thoughherders list of Chemical Brothers albums, but its certainly worth every penny of the itunes download price. I do think that I missed a beat in not downloading the iTunes pass version with accompanying videos, having seen the Chemical Brothers live at festivals I’m sure the visuals would be impressive but my current internet set up while out of country and on the road means it took over and hour just to download the audio.

My present situation also means I am listening to the album through my mac/Ipod and my muchocheapo headphones which I bought off eBay, I am really looking forward to getting this blasting through my stereo back home, as this is truly an album worth turning up to 11.

Lost, the final season finally watched

A little behind the schedule set out buy the powers that be at ABC I finally got round to watching the final season of Lost.  I watched it over 3 days as I’m stuck away from home with not a lot to do, which probably helps condense my thoughts on the end of a saga that has been running for 6 years.

Lost TV showI should point out that I loved Lost in its early days but kind of grew tired of what was beginning to feel like a show that should have lasted 3 seasons being stretched for more. Why did I continue to watch?  Well once I started watching it, it was always good enough to make me want to watch it to the end but I was never on the edge of my seat in the last couple of seasons.

I can understand viewers being a bit hacked off with the way it was finished, people who had invested 120 odd hours of their lives into the show not getting the answers to the questions they have, initially I was one too. On reflection I don’t really care that they didn’t reveal some of the answers like why the island escape launched Ben Linus into the Tunisian dessert, a little bit of ambiguity in a story is good, although I think the writers probably went as close as possible with this one before it would have gone into the folder marked ‘crapy TV finales’.

There are definitely some questions I have, which they didn’t get close to answering but you have to already be interpreting the ending the way I did, but the most important one *If you haven’t watched the ending stop reading now* is what the hell is baby Aaron doing in the church at the end? If you subscribe to the thinking that I do which is that the “other” timeline is in fact an afterlife holding pen, (ie. as each of the characters dies they go here to work out the issues they were unable to work out in life before heading on to the true afterlife) this means that those who left the island at the end of the show lived on for years away from the island.  I can understand that for most of them they never experienced anything in their life quiet as important as what happened on the island (although thats a depressing to think that Claire for example never truly loved again) Aaron was a few months old when he left and then turns up as baby at the church.  Isnt that a bit weird?  He did nothing of any merit his entire life?

I should also point out that I read a review for the final that described it as “Art in its truest form” if you in anyway subscribe to this belief do yourself a favour and stop watching TV. Lost was made for the sole function of making money, the video games, T shirts etc highlight this. You enjoyed it, sure, but lets not get carried away eh.

Moving on if you came here looking for answers to Lost questions and feel a bit hard done by check this out, they have something for you.

An Education, a brief review

 

Having heard a fair bit of hype surrounding Carey Muligan’s breakthrough movie thought I would check out ‘An Education’.  I sat down to watch knowing only what was patently obvious from the movie trailer, but I don’t think you need to know anymore and I also don’t think there is anything that can really surprise you in the story itself.  That’s not a criticism and in fact on some occasions it works in favour of the story, in Romeo in Juliet for example the reader is told in the opening lines that the story ends in death, but we still get wrapped up in the tale of love.film
Though neither as complicated or likely to be quite as timeless ‘An Education’ is a very likeable story of a crush that develops into a relationship of  a school girl and older man, a quintessential coming of age story. I think one of the endearing qualities of the movie is that the lead female played by Mulligan is never made out to be stupid, naive certainly, but she is a very intelligent young women who follows her heart, it just doesn’t follow the route she expected.
The rest of the cast are great, and I think that these performances are really what adds depth to the movie, Peter Sarsgaard as the leading male pulls off a pretty decent English accent and oozes the charm his character is supposed to have, and Alfred Molina as the over protective Dad is very enjoyable to watch, but its Rosamund Pike who for me really comes through as giving the best performance of the supporting cast. She seems to head the nail right on the head in finding the balance between a bit of a bimbo,  and the new friend who isn’t quite sure whats going on with the men in their lives but doesn’t really care either.
Carey Muligan is of course the one who garnered most of the rave reviews for her performance and I certainly can’t fault it, I’m looking forward to seeing a few more films with her in the lead as she looks very at home in the leading role and I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more of her over the next few years

 

 

A couple of nights and a couple of movies; Triangle and The Game

Despite the disappointment of Frozen (my choice of Halloween movie) I tried again with a low budget horror in Triangle.

I enjoyed this far more than Frozen, for starters it was a hell of a lot more of a mental work out. The premise is simple enough, single mum, played by everyones favourite early 90’s Home and Away star Melissa George, with an autistic child seems very stressed out, go

es on a boat trip with with some one she doesn’t know very well and weird things start to happen till all of a sudden she is fighting for her life. A freak storm,  a damaged yacht and deserted cruise liner all play they part. Oh and did I mention the mentalist with a sack on their head touring the boat looking for blood?

It would be too easy to drop spoilers into a review so I’l try my best not too, the less you know about it the better, but it deals fundamentally with the ideas fear, survival, and death all whilst bobbing about at sea. What it is not is a typical “bad man trying to get you” horror and the movie tries very hard to get you thinking early on and leaves you wondering what could happen next.  Even when you think you know, the movie leaves itself enough ambiguity to keep you guessing as you cant know fir sure you’re right. Certainly worth a watch but I wouldn’t be surprised if people didn’t enjoy, I think you have to be in the right mood, my only real complaint is the fact its blantanly shot in Australia with Australian actors and yet they pretend its set in the USA.  Why?

The second movie I watched (not on the same night) was The Game with Michael Douglas, which is a bit of an oldie now as it was made back in 1997.  It makes me feel old that it doesn’t seem like 2 minutes since this ‘new’ movie was being recommended to me by a friend.  Well it only took me 13 years to get round to watching it.  With that kind of lead time its fair to say that I was looking forward to the movie, particularly as I have really enjoyed the directors other work ( Se7en and Fight club in particular)  and with Michael Douglas being wing maned by Sean Penn I really thought I was going to be in for a treat, but in the ned I kind of felt a bit flat about the whole thing.

The movie is centred around a very successful investment banker who is given an original birthday present by his wayward younger brother played by Sean Penn. The gift is a chance to play a game devised by Consumer Recreation Services a company who promise that after a series of mental and physical tests they’ll give him and experience that is missing from his life, or so they claim. What follows is a bit of truth & lies, life or death, and simple downright guessing, it won’t leave you bored but at the same time the movie seems to be lacking something……..a better ending.

The idea behind the movie, the acting and the way it was shot were all great I just really didn’t like the ending.   I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about spoilers on a 13 year old movie however I’ll bite my lip rather than vent the reasons why but fundamentally the movie is centred around the idea of asking the audience what would YOU do, and I don’t think anyone would act the way Michael Douglas’s character did.