Friday, 17 February 2017

Moonlight (Review)

'Moonlight' is an independent drama film which stars Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali. This film is written and directed by Barry Jenkins.

Based on the poem "In The Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue" by Tarell Alvin McCraney, 'Moonlight is a film which really is indescribable. While some critics and audiences have viewed it as a film about prejudice, I myself saw it as a film about guilt and forgiveness.

 The main character Chiron tries to find a place in his life where he belongs as throughout the film we see his life develop from when he was a child, a teenager and then a fully grown adult. This film is open to interpretation, there are no clear themes which shadow over the story. By doing this Jenkins makes the film more of a social realism film than a heightened drama, although because of his confidence in his visual storytelling the film also crosses over into a more art-house style of filmmaking. While at first this sort of style felt jarring, it began to make more sense as the film progressed and by the end I felt that the techniques Jenkins used for the film greatly benefited the film.

The film is also gains strong support from it's cast. The leading role was perfectly portrayed by all of the three actors, to play a main character which hardly speaks and yet is the emotional core of the film is not an easy task for most actors yet alone these actors are all new to screen acting, it's an achievement for them and it's an achievement for Jenkins direction. The more seasoned supporting actors such as Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris also give great performances which has deservedly drawn attention from this years awards season. Andre Holland gives a brilliant performances as Kevin, Chiron's long-time best friend.

Overall 'Moonlight' is a passionate and a truly emotional thought provoking film, which may be interpreted is many ways, but it will always open the door for discussion, which is what cinema is all about and while I can interpret the film in my own way, I don't feel I am doing it justice, to have any understanding of Barry Jenkins latest film you just have to cancel out the noise at watch it for yourself.

Rating: 10/10

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Lego Batman Movie (Review)

'The Lego Batman Movie' is a animated comedy film which stars Will Arnett, Rosario Dawson, Micheal Cera and Ralph Fiennes. This film is directed by Chris McKay.

Perhaps more anticipated than it should be, The Lego Batman Movie brings us the return of Will Arnett's fan favorite interpretation of Batman from 2014's hit 'The Lego Movie'. Keeping with the colorful stop motion-like animation of The Lego Movie this film once again shows off the talents of the animators, each scene feels detailed and thoroughly designed. While some people will focus on how this film makes jokes about the current DC extended universe, it is worth noting the jokes also thrown at Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, there was one which I found particular amusing during the opening credits. The writers and filmmakers sure have a love for the batman franchise as references are made from every corner of Batman history.

While the story of this film is admittedly similar to 'The Lego Movie' I found to enjoy it more because of the films more reduced world which is for the most part only set in Gotham so there is less world building for the audience to sit through and as a spin off to a recent film, that's how it should be. I was entertained throughout the majority of this film and found most of the humour to be funny. The main issue for me was that there was too much humour and not enough narrative stakes and although going in to 'The Lego Batman Movie' you should expect many references to Batman and other superhero films I think that a little too much of the humour relied on those pop culture references. Overall The Lego Batman Movie doesn't break any new ground, but it's an entertaining and humour filled film that's is certainly worth watching if your a Batman fan.

Rating: 7/10

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Hacksaw Ridge (Review)

'Hacksaw Ridge' is a biographical war drama which stars Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Miller and Hugo Weaving. This film is directed by Mel Gibson.

Mel Gibson is back and is already back in the race for the Oscars. On a first glace 'Hacksaw Ridge' looks like a film which is primary Oscar bait because of it's period backdrop and optimistic themes, however upon viewing I discovered there is a lot more lying beneath the surface.

On a technical level Hacksaw Ridge features some incredible battle sequences which become more and more intense, this film is not for the faint-hearted.  The battle sequence are shot and edited perfectly and are easily as tense as the battle sequences in Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan'. Mel Gibson proves himself as a talented director with not only visually striking sequences, but he also brings out some truly great performances out of his cast. The score for this film is also worth noting as it really ties the whole tone of the film together. The film balances between the two extremes of sentimentality and brutal violence, a tonal flip which could lead to the films demise, yet the score gives you some much information and emotion from the characters that the tonal shift feels natural and fluent. The films editing is also worth praise not just because of the previously mentioned battle sequences, but also because of how the story is structured and how the film is paced, which makes the film very entertaining and despite the long runtime I never felt the length of the film. The only minor issue I had was the films sentimentality, which while well crafted can sometimes be a little overbearing, however 'Hacksaw Ridge' is certainly a film which I would recommend and I am sure it will be a memorable war film of this decade.

Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Christine (Review)

'Christine' is a independent drama film which stars Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall. This film is directed by Antonio Campos.

Based on a true event, this film is based on television reporter Christine Chubbuck and her time during reporting for WXLT-TV. In this film Christine is portrayed as a woman aiming between a fine line of fame and prestige as she attempts to work her way up the news broadcast industry with human interest stories. In similar fashion to Dan Gilroy's 2014 thriller 'Nightcrawler' this film explores the cynical side of TV news stations and the feeling of being detached from the people you work with. The highlight of 'Christine' is unquestionably Rebecca Hall's stunning central performance, her line delivery, body language and all the small instances of her performance make Christine one of the most memorable characters of recent film memory.

This film can be interpreted in many ways and will make most audiences have different views regarding what it's underlying theme is. I saw it as an allegory for depression, which is beautifully demonstrated throughout the entirety of the film. While this type of theme being explored may make people unconformable it's a powerful way of portraying depression and how people like Christine, who suffer from depression see the world from their own perspective.

As for the technical side 'Christine' is shot perfectly, it may not have flashy visuals, but almost every frame hits home the character, story and tone of the film. This film is near perfect for the majority of it's runtime. The only issue for me was the final 5 minutes of the film as I believe that they made the film slightly less powerful than it could of been if they cut the them away, however Christine is a film which is certainly worth checking out and supporting, as at this point in time it remains largely unheard of.

Rating: 9/10

Saturday, 28 January 2017

T2 Trainspotting (Review)

'T2 Trainspotting' is the long awaited sequel to the highly acclaimed 1996 film 'Trainspotting'. The film features the same assemble cast from the original and is also once again directed by Danny Boyle.

20 years after the film which took British cinema by storm Danny Boyle returns to the directors chair to adapt the Irvine Welsh novel 'Porno', a continuation of the story about the characters of Trainspotting. Coming in to this film I knew that I should lower my expectations because I see the original trainspotting as a masterclass of filmmaking and it hard for anyone to capture lighting in a bottle twice.

One of the strongest elements of Boyle's direction is that he likes to experiment with the camera work of his films and push the envelop further for digital technology. There are scenes in the film which switch from professional industry cameras to GoPro's and web cams, which gives the film a sense of unpredictability, which is supported by the rather eccentric visual effects. The original cast return and all give good performances which make the characters feel more fleshed out and realistic. Highlights from the performances include Ewen Bremner's more dramatic return as Spud and Robert Carlyle's even more intimidating performance as Franco Begbie. Like the original Trainspotting, 'T2' seems to perfectly make the humor and drama fuse together, which is down to the performances, writing and pacing. however T2 seems to be more comedic than the first film. As expected the film has a few problems, the main issue for me is that some of the characters motivations are unclear, which makes it harder to be emotionally connected to the characters and despite the talent behind this film it does not match the energy of the previous film.

Overall 'T2 Trainspotting' is a worthy sequel because it develops the characters further and shifts it's direction from the original to open further doors and more intrigue for the continuation of the story, however it is not nearly as memorable as the first and does not stand on it's own, but it does serve as a good continuation of the story.

Rating: 7/10



Monday, 23 January 2017

Manchester by the Sea (Review)

'Manchester By The Sea' is a drama film which is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan and stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.

One of the front runners for the upcoming Academy Awards, 'Manchester By The Sea' has been already showered with critical praise and accolades and after seeing it I can say it's no surprise why.

This film boasts a brilliant screenplay from Kenneth Lonergan which creates perfectly realised characters in a realistic and relatable situation with realistic dialog which gives a honest portrayal of real people without relying on too much exposition. Casey Affleck gives a excellent performance which is appropriately subdued and understated. The supporting members of the cast also give great performances which help support the dramatic weight of the story. Lonergan creates a wonderful sense of dark and dry humour to balance out the dark and dreary melancholy tone of the film. While some people maybe put off by the strong use of the film's score I admired the way it seemed to overpower the scene to capture the emotions of the characters which are indescribable. I only have a few minor issues with 'Manchester By The Sea', while I would praise the use of the score I do feel that a few scenes run quite overlong and although Micheal Williams gives an honorable performance, her climatic scene feels a little rushed and slightly out of place.

Overall 'Manchester By The Sea' is a film which is an honest, heartwarming and relatable story for the everyday person and presents how entertainment can seamlessly represent reality while still being engaging.

I am going to give 'Manchester By The Sea' a ...

8/10

Friday, 20 January 2017

Split (Review)

'Split' is a psychological horror/thriller film which is directed by M. Night Shyamalan and stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor Joy and Betty Buckley.

Since the release of 2015's 'The Visit' director M. Night Shyamalan has been experiencing a renaissance of critical approval which was lost during his previous works. I myself enjoyed 'The Visit' and I was looking forward to seeing what his follow up would be.

One of the best decisions Shyamalan has made with this film was hiring James McAvoy, an actor who's versatility shines with this role, you can clearly see McAvoy having a lot of fun with his role as Kevin, a man who suffers with multiple personality disorder and has 23 different personalities controlling his mind. James McAvoy provides an amusing and entertaining performance which advances the film to a higher level. Anya Taylor Joy gives a good performance as the heroine of the story. M. Night Shyamalan makes the most of the films claustrophobic setting and atmosphere with the camera work from eerie controlled tracking shots to tense, chaotic point of view shots. Unfortunately that is all the positives I have to say about 'Split' as the film was a big disappointment for me.

I am not usually concerned by plot holes in movies, but the ones in split are just too big to ignore and make the film a frustrating experience to watch. The largest problems are in the third act which seems to lose all of the suspense that was built up to that point, instead the film just gets really silly at the climax, which leads to a dissatisfying ending. The film asks you to suspend your disbelief, which I don't mind, but the film poorly constructs any evidence for the climax to make any sense within the narrative. The film might have worked, if the film had focused on the visual storytelling rather than the dialog, so it's themes would be more cohesive. The film feels unfocused and the character development seems rushed, almost as if it was an afterthought, the film tries to create character development for one of it's characters by using flashbacks, but they don't pay off for much dramatic purpose.

I am going to give 'Split' a ...

4/10