Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The King's Speech

The King's Speech PosterAs with True Grit, and a couple birds I know, one time was just not enough for me. The King's Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI, is just too good to only be appreciated once. After my third viewing I thought it suitable to share this with you, so that you too can feel the admiration that I feel. If you've watched it and you don't feel it, feck off.
Moving swiftly onwards, Tom Hooper's 'The King's Speech' boasts a hugely talented cast: Guy Pearce as the cruel and struck-by-love brother of King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as the King's admirable wife and Geoffrey Rush as the King's charming speech therapist. But no mater how charming Geoffrey Rush was as Lionel Logue , or how admirable Helena Bonham Carter was as Queen Elizabeth, Colin Firth's performance as King George VI was most notable. My god was he amazing in this film. The definition of flawless I assure you. Furthermore, I have to say that along with Colin's performance the entire film was absolutely flawless. What an amazing story it is. To sit and watch a film is one thing, but to go through so many emotions as the characters are going through them with you is an amazing experience, and a wonderful achievement to all who contributed to the making of this fantastic film.
Fuck the foreign press and their Golden Globes(even though they chose wisely for best actor, supporting actor, television series, leading actor in a television series and leading actor in a television movie). Fuck 'The Social Network'. The award for best actor in both the BAFTAs and The Oscars is either going to Jeff Bridges or good old Colin, and i'd put all my money on Colin for sure. Most importantly though, the award for Best Film in both award ceremonies should be a two horse race between 'True Grit' and 'The King's Speech'. Once again, FUCK 'The Social Network'. I know the BAFTAs have gone and forgotten it, but hopefully the Academy won't let 'Winter's Bone' go unnoticed, because it's better than that crock of shit Social Network for sure. 5 stars. Get in.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

127 Hours

For those who don't know, this is the inspirational true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) who, whilst out climbing on Blue John Canyon, falls and gets his arm wedged between a rock and the canyon wall. Having not told anybody where he was going he was sure of death. It took an unthinkable act of courage, using some rope and what was left of a small knife he had been using to try and chip away at the rock, as he cut through his arm for freedom.
What i really liked about Danny Boyle's film is the realistic trail of thought which James Franco's character goes through. Franco does a great job in tackling Ralston's thoughts of death and his reminiscence of what could have been had he told somebody where he was going, and an Oscar nomination is definitely deserved.
 Now for the criticism, i felt that this film would have been much better without the majority of the soundtrack. I mean, don't get me wrong IF some of the songs were taken from Aron Ralston's actual playlist for that trip then fair enough. However, the tension and the realistic feel of the film is somewhat ruined at times because of the songs that are played. Complete silence and perhaps one or two of the eerie, suspenseful songs would have made this film a much better experience for me personally. I don't know about you but i felt the same about some of the song choices in Slumdog Millionaire, especially that absolutely shite M.I.A. track Paper Planes. Awful. Thankfully, the tone of Slumdog wasn't tinkered with because of that song, but i feel at times the tone of Danny Boyle's latest effort is unclear. Tension and realism is key for me. A solid 4 stars.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Animal Kingdom

Based in Australia, Animal Kingdom is a brilliantly tense and dark piece of film. A seventeen year old boy, Joshua Cody (James Frecheville), loses his mother to heroin and moves in with his grandma Janine (Jackie Weaver) and his uncles, the criminal side of the family that his mother spent her whole life trying to keep him away from. Due to her passing away he is instantly drawn into their way of life. The only person able to help him is police detective Leckie, but his uncles and grandma do all they can to keep him away from Joshua.

Though it's not always engaging and can at times be slow, overall it all comes together and establishes itself among great Australian films. Great performances from Jackie Weaver, Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, as the charismatic uncle Barry, and Ben Mendelsohn, as the psychotic unlce 'Pope', help hold this film together. It's not really an insight into Australia's crime problems but it's still a great story nonetheless. 4 stars.

True Grit

Based on the book by Charles Portis, True Grit is the story of Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld), a girl who hires a US Marshall called Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges) to track down her father's murderer Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Her aim is to bring Chaney to justice in her hometown, but Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon) has been tracking Chaney for a while and has orders to have him brought to justice in Texas. After much argument LaBoeuf and Cogburn allow Mattie to go with them on their search for Chaney and only when he is found will justice be decided.
My guess is that this film will receive a good few nominations at the BAFTAs and the Oscars. Not only should it be up for best film, but Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and even the relatively unknown Hailee Steinfeld should all also receive nominations for their performances. Bridges for his ability to be comical yet remain gritty in his portrayal of the drunken US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn; Damon for his performance as the ridiculed Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf; and Steinfeld for her portrayal of the courageous yet youthful Mattie Ross. Furthermore, i've no doubt the Coens' Screenplay will once again be up for awards, as it really is brilliantly put together once again.
The Coen brothers have done it again. They've gone and made a masterpiece. Though it's not their best piece of work, it's still pretty amazing stuff. Gritty, dark, yet funny also at times, like for example when LaBoeuf bites his tongue and talks funny for the rest of the time. Those types of comic additions are just pure Coen Brothers. True Grit is an instant Coen classic. 5 stars.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The Fighter

Boxing films can either be really shit or really good. The reason being that most of the time we know what's going to happen. The last fight is always the main geezer getting absolutely battered then boom! out of nowhere he gets a sudden burst of energy and gives the killer blows. But, The Fighter is different for me. I mean firstly i'd never heard of Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) or his brother for that matter, so i suppose that would help in that i don't know his story. But the story itself is better told than most other boxing films. Christian Bale plays Mickey's brother/trainer who has a crack addiction, and i'd put money on him winning the oscar  for best supporting actor. Mickey's boxing career is not so hunky dory to start and we can see it's not just because of his brothers addiction. His mother, played very well by Melissa Leo, is his manager and completely controlling. She tries to navigate his entire career and leads him into nothing but failure. Only when he meets his new squeeze Charlene (Amy Adams) are his eyes opened to this fact.
Although Christian Bale's performance as Dicky Ecklund is the one that stands out most in the film, Mark Wahlberg does an exceptional job as lead man. I felt that the story flowed well and this allowed me to connect with characters easily. Definitely a must see film for 2011. 5 stars.

Sunday, 26 December 2010


I saw the trailer for this a while back when i went see The Other Guys in New York, and ever since then i've been dying to see this film. The suspense in the trailer is what intensifies the suspense you feel when watching the film, which i thought was very clever. But it was no trick. Regardless of whether you've seen the trailer or not the film is extremely tense. It's a documentary made by three friends, two film makers and a photographer. The photographer has started up a facebook relationship with a mother and her two daughters and the two film makers are documenting it all. The relationship with the eldest daughter elevates  and he is eager to meet her incase a relationship were to blossom in doing so.
I wish i could say more than all of this but it really is brilliant film making. Emotional, tense, funny; it truly is a great film and worth the wait. Why anybody would question it's reality i will never know. 5 stars.

Saturday, 25 December 2010


Somewhere captures the loneliness of an over-indulgent life very well in the character Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff). The first twenty minutes or so captures it particularly well, not only because nobody really talks enough to classify anything as conversation, but also because his days are repetitive. Alcohol, Strippers, his ferrari and sex are what make up Johnny Marco's days, along with hanging around his funny mate Sammy (Chris Pontius). Johnny lives at the Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, which was enough to make me go and see the film because it's my favourite place to stay fullstop. His daughter Cleo (Ellie Fanning) from his ex-wife visits him and her presence highlights Johnny's flaws. She cooks and cleans and is generally much more grown up than her father, and when her mother calls Johnny to ask if he can look after her for a few weeks his journey to becoming a normally functioning person begins.
The performances aren't really outstanding but Stephen Dorff does pretty well in being emotionally isolated, and in a weird way i couldn't stop thinking he showed some similarities with the young Mickey Rourke. I don't know if that's just me. I'm not saying he was powerful in any way like Mickey Rourke, it was just the quiet way Dorff carried himself, it sort of reminded me of his character in Rumble Fish. I think perhaps Sofia Coppola could have had us connect with Johnny Marco a little more as a character, as his transformation seemed all a bit to sudden. However, it is a great film and very artistic. 4 stars.