Filming follow ups

Well its been precisely a year and three days since I last did some writing on this internet websites so I guess I should explain myself, what with writing for my fellows now defunct videogame blog and my final year at University I really was having to much fun to write about the clearly inferior and difficulterer to write about medium of films.

Having written an article about what moving pictures I missed in the cinema last year I have now seen them all in lovely blu-ray on my equally lovely if overpriced and rarely used playstations III, In part due to a one pound trial of blockbusters online renting service which worked quite nicely. So I will sum them up in ascending order right to my favourite.

4. Drag me to hell
This film didn’t quite work for me it had its moments a demonic goat being the best but most of the time the film felt like it was going though the motions.

3. State of Play
Nothing special but entertaining enough whodunnit manages to be intelligent but not overwhelming, good acting, some enjoyable action and a decent twist make it a worthwhile watch.

3. Let the Right One In
These top two are a lot harder to judge as I liked all of them a lot though for entirely different reasons. Let the Right One In was one of the most uncomfortable films I have there’s an underlying sense of dread throughout and it is utterly convincing that something terrible is going to happen to everyone involved, great performances and a truly frightening experience, it is a must see film for those who think horror films are now little more than torture porn.

1. Moon
I could pretend it’s the Marxist metaphor of this film I liked but it was really Sam Rockwells performance and the tension the film builds up as more of the nefarious overcompanys workings come to light. A different film that deservers better commercial recognition than it did. But what doesn’t not long till tranfformerz 3 lololololololol

I should add a videogame part to the site in the next few weeks and maybe even make my own wordpress theme, but no promises, mostly due to me being a far more reliable at producing content.

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Avatar Trailer

James Cameron has made some pretty arrogant statements and done a lot of talking about Avatar (20 minutes at a games convention seems a little excessive), so can this film live up to expectations? From this trailer I would have to say no.

After looking for the trailer on youtube today to see if I still thought the trailer was a bit crap I found this, the cgi is far superior to what could been seen in the official trailer as is the acting and what can be seen of the story check it out. So James Cameron take this as a lesson that you don’t need $4,543,827,434,000,000 to make a good film.

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Films yeah

Practically none of the films I’ve seen this year have really blown me away with the possible exception of Star Trek which I guess show just how big a nerd I really am. However there are several films I’ve missed that I have a feeling might go some way towards making up for what is in my opinion a fairly mediocre year. Admittedly this year is far from over (District 9 looks pretty cool) but when compared to last year it really hasn’t been anything special.

Let the Right One In
A vampire film with children but if this makes you want to cry don’t worry it is supposedly nothing like Twilight so I fully expect it to be genuinely creepy and have blood and everything, like a proper vampire film should not a bunch of sparkling whiney vegetarian bellend vampires.

State of Play
Russell crow is a reporter who runs around trying to solve some political conspiracy about a murder, the trailer makes it sound far better than I could ever so I’ll just post that.

Not actually missed yet but I doubt I’m going get a chance to see it, its not easy to describe without spoiling the twist that the trailer shows though I doubt it can be the only one. Psychological thriller I guess where a man is on the moon (surprise) when weird things start happening, also Kevin Spacey plays a computer.

Drag me to hell
A horror comedy in the style of Brain Dead and the director Sam Raimi’s own Evil Dead. Supposedly pretty good and it’s nice to see a director returning to his roots after they’ve made it all big in Hollywood and that.

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Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

There not much point explaining the basic of Harry Potter because either you know it by now or you’re a weird hermit that lives in a cave (if you are a weird hermit that lives in a cave Harry Potter is a wizard who goes to magic wizard school Hogwarts with his ginger friend Ron and girly friend Hermione where they fight the evil wizard Voldemort who killed Harry’s parents). Anyway this is the sixth film in the series and the second directed by David Yates the first being the fifth film The Order of the Phoenix, which in my opinion is superior to all the others, except maybe the third oh and maybe this one too.

Unsurprisingly the plots been simplified from the book and mostly revolves around Harry trying to get a memory form and getting some “action” in the process. In fact that seems to be what pretty much everyone (by everyone I mean the children, sorry fans Hagrid doesn’t get with a large pumpkin in this film) in this film is most occupied with (rather than the wizard equivalent of Hitler returning from the dead) and usually managing it in a pretty funny way which is pretty fortunate as otherwise the film would have been pretty dull. The end was less powerful than I expected though I imagine that was due to prior knowledge of the film and the fantastic scene preceding it (there was fire lots of pretty fire).

Its been a while since I read the book so while I cant remember small things like when Harry got an embarrassing rash and had to go see Madame Pomfrey, but several other parts stuck out at me for missing mainly some of the memories about Voldemort’s origins and it would have been nice to lose some of the melodrama in favour of these parts. While some parts of the book has been cut some bits have been added notably a fairly pointless visit to the Burrow for the simple reason of blowing it up and I couldn’t help feeling this time could have been better used for showing some of the parts missing from the book but with such a huge amount of source material this is pretty much inevitable. Still even at over two hours the film doesn’t outstays its welcome and I was wasn’t bored for a moment.

On the whole performances are great, my favourites being Helena Bonham Carter as the evil but oddly sexy (I really hope this isn’t just me) Bellatrix Lestrange and Jim Broadbent as the eccentric Professor Horace Slughorn who provides some of the best laughs of the film as well as being sombre when the story requires. An always watchable Alan Rickman returns as Severus Snape who ironically recreates the end scene of Die Hard just with his role reversed. The main trio of Daniel Radclife, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have come a long way since the early films and deliver their best acting to date, even if Emma Watson still looks about 6 years old a fact all the more disturbing as she’s in FHM’s top one hundred babes or whatever it’s called. There’s a few weak performances most notably as Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasly but she doesn’t say too much so that’s ok and everyone else makes up for the few shortcomings in this area.

One major point I’ve missed so far is how good this film looks, while special effects are now pretty much uniformly good on any film with a larger budget than twenty pence it just makes it that much more special when you do see a breathtaking sequence of which this film has several its just a shame they weren’t longer. Cinematography is great starting with a stylish attack on the Millennium Bridge the visuals never let up, Hogwarts being dark and foreboding rather than the happy picturesque castle of the previous films and a brilliant fiery finale add perfectly to the rest of the film.

This is one of the films that most people have already decide whether they are going to see it or not and that probably depends on whether or not you like Harry Potter, if you’ve decided for whatever reason you don’t like Harry Potter and thinks everyone that does is an idiot then you’re probably just a miserable bastard and I’m glad I didn’t have to share the cinema with you. The film has an odd balance of being one of the funniest but also one of the darkest films this year and is as close to perfect as a Harry Potter film there has yet been.

Great performances
Looks fantastic
David Yates is a bloody good director

Could have done with a bit more action
Parts missing from books
Snape kills Dumbledore

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Public Enemies

Set during the Great Depression of the 1930’s Public Enemies follows the story of bank robbers John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), Baby-Face Nelson (Stephen Graham, who was so good in the BBC’s recent drama Insurgency) and the FBI’s attempt to capture them, led by Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). I can’t comment on the accuracy of the story but Wikipedia tells me that though the film is not one hundred percent fact “it’s by far the closest thing to fact Hollywood has attempted” so take that however you want.

The films pretty light on narrative relying more on imagery than a detailed plot which I felt a bit disappointed and would liked to have seen more than the mostly one dimensional characters portrayed. While I can see a deep story was not the intent of the film I do feel it would have significantly added to get to the motivations of the characters, especially during the interesting time of the Depression, as most actions are left pretty much unexplained.

Visually the film is fantastic; Mann’s style is always a wonder to behold if occasionally distracting camerawork detracts from some of the calmer scenes. Action is electrifying, both visually and audibly and is undoubtedly the highlight of the film, the assault on a log cabin, filmed at the actual location of the event, being a particular standout. The whole film oozes style all the way though and rivals all of Mann’s previous films in this respect.

Music consists of period pieces mixed with a solid original sound track that while not on the same level as the visuals has enough standout points to be memorable, my favourite being where Dillinger is paraded in front of the press which gives a great sense of foreboding. While not as evoking as some musical scores is undeniably fitting for the film.

Acting is good all round with Depp giving his usual impressive performance, most of the female characters are underused especially Anna Sage (Branka Katic) who plays such a major role in Dillinger’s fate. Christian Bale does a decent enough job but his accent seems a bit off but at least he doesn’t use his Batman for the whole film, yes Terminator Salvation I’m looking at you.

The final product of this is a fantastic looking film that could have been a masterpiece, though several missed opportunities to really get behind what drives the characters let it down, for some this won’t matter and what is there will be more than enough to satisfy them, while others may be left wishing there was a little more substance. However despite its flaws this is still one of the better films out so far this year and a huge improvement over Mann’s last film Miami Vice, that if nothing else this film shows Mann is still capable of directing.

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