Friday, 27 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

Monday, 16 January 2017

Live By Night (Review)

'Live By Night' is a period crime drama film which stars Ben Affleck, Sienna Miller and Elle Fanning. Ben Affleck has also written and directed this film.

Ben Affleck has previously expressed his passion to make a classic gangster film that resembles the heyday of Warner Brothers. The look of this film completely ticks that box which Robert Richardson being the film cinematographer. This film is filled with beautiful lighting and production design which express the passion and attention to detail that the filmmakers have for this film, unfortunately it does not transcend in the script.

Although 'Live By Night' is visually stunning and is a brilliantly shot film, it's hard to get invested because of the films underdeveloped characters and confusing storytelling. The characters motivations seemed to be rushed or unexplained which makes it hard to understand or even care about the actions and decisions they are making in the film. This film does have redeeming qualities though, Elle Fanning gives a good performance with the material she is given and makes the most impact than any of the other actors with her character. Underneath the boring characters and unbalanced story structure they're some interesting highlight scenes which grab your attention, but because of the writing they don't hold you for long, which is a shame because the plot itself has a lot of potential.

I am going to give 'Live By Night' a

5/10

Friday, 13 January 2017

La La Land (Review)

'La La Land' is a musical film staring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. This film is directed by Damien Chazelle and tells the story of an aspiring actress and a jazz musician who fall in love while pursuing their dreams in Los Angeles.

This film already has such critical praise that it has won several golden globes and is already nominated for a bunch of BAFTA's. Going into this film I was excited, but I felt some reservation, as I wondered how this film got so much praise. Was it just blind nostalgia?  Was it American critics feeling sentimental about the good old days of Hollywood? While some of that might be true, La La Land is much more than a "1950's rewind". The sheer talent that went into making this film is identifiable by every single frame.

 'La La Land' is one of the most beautiful films ever made. The free flowing, but perfectly stable direction from Damien Chazelle will make any aspiring filmmaker in awe at the craftsmanship on display. The cinematography from Linus Sandgren is simply outstanding. This film perfectly presents the cinematographers talents, as the majority if not all of the film rests on the cinematography, from it's long, complex tracking shots to it's contrast lighting, all while being shot in the classic cinemascope ratio of 2:55:1 in 35mm film. It's old school and it sticks with it in every detail. The production design of 'La La Land' is also another element to marvel at, each location is bright and bold and sets the backdrop of a dreamy Hollywood come roaring back to life. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone play of each other with perfect chemistry. Once again Ryan Gosling shows his comedic talents and Emma Stone delivers one of the best performances of her career.

With all that being said a musical would not be anything without it's music and like Chazelle's predecessor 'Whiplash' the music in this film excites and delights. While all the songs are catchy, warm and charming, it's Justin Hurwitz score which makes the film a truly magical experience, which includes a mix of jazz and Broadway elements.

I am going to give 'La La Land' a ...

10/10

Overall, 'La La Land' is a film which is enjoyable on multiple levels and one that may even become a classic itself one day, the only thing which would stop it is the overwhelming critical praise and hype, which I have now become reservedly part of ...  Oh Well.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

A Monster Calls (Review)

'A Monster Calls' is an internationally produced fantasy drama film about an unpopular boy who lives with his mother and is under the threat of living with his loathed grandmother, while a giant tree monster begins to interfere with his life, which complicates matters further.

There have been many fantasy films recently which have been just 'okay' and don't inspire any further that a satisfactory cinema visit. I am glad to say that 'A Monster Calls' is not one of those films. 'A Monster Calls' has a genuinely moving story, which features some brilliant career best performances from its cast, including Felicity Jones and rising star Lewis Macdougall, however it is Sigourney Weaver who is the highlight here as the strict, controlling grandmother, this might be weaver's best performance at least for me it's her most memorable performance since 'Alien'.

While 'A Monster Calls' is advertised as a family film, I advise people not to take young children into this film as it deals with strong, dark and rather adult themes which don't pull away from the film's emotional impact, however I do believe that older children will learn wise and moral lessons with this film while being thoroughly entertained and so will most adults. What I enjoyed about this film was that despite the plot revolving around a tree monster and tales of fantasy it still feels like a coming -of-age British indie film.

The film is directed by J.A. Bayona. A director who clearly has an understanding and appreciation for cinema, This film is shot and edited so well that most directors, even the likes of Scorsese and Nolan would be proud if it was in there filmography.
A Monster Calls was a big surprise for me, a film which was much better than I could of ever expected. The only minor problems I have with 'A Monster Calls' is that some lines of the dialog are over-expositional and the visual effects, which are nothing terrible, leave a lot to be desired.


I am going to give 'A Monster Calls' a ...
                                                                             8/10


I highly recommend people to watch 'A Monster Calls' it works as both a coming of age drama and a fantasy film, as well as providing a very honest and candied story with lots of charm.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Silence (Review)

Silence is Martin Scorsese's latest film, which has been a passion project of his for nearly 30 years, now in 2017 it finally has it's wide release in cinemas.

Silence is based on the Shusaku Endo novel of the same name, which tells to story of two jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who travel to Japan in search of Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson) who is their mentor and is said to have apostatised his faith in Christianity.

The first thing to note about this film is that it isn't an easy viewing, not just because of it's subject matter but also because of the way the story is told. Unlike recent Martin Scorsese films 'Silence' makes a departure from the visual style and fast paced narratives that some might expect from his work, but instead 'Silence' opposes for a less visually playful, slower paced film, which takes it's time in exploring it's themes and characters.

While understandable, some people are disappointed with this film because of it's slow pacing, even as far to dubbing the film as being 'boring', however I believe that the slow pacing of the film makes it all the more powerful. The story delves  into such deep themes that to feel the weight of the characters emotions a slow paced narrative is a complete necessity.

Silence is the type of film that does not answer questions or tie things up to their most logical point, but instead is a film that just wants you to think after it's over, and whether you like the film or not, most people will agree that it is a memorable experience.

It's quite rare today that we get a mainstream film that really wants to challenge it's audience. 'Silence' is uncompromising in every degree, from it's style, storytelling, themes and tones. Don't expect a middle ground in this film because you won't get one.

But it's all reasons for why some of you will love silence and why some of you may hate it.
As for the technical side, Scorsese's visual direction is much more reserved than usual, but each scene is memorable because he is able to capture the 'feel of the moment' and bring out some of the best performances from his actors. The performances from Garfield, Driver and Neeson are all great, but the performances from the Japanese actors including YĆ“suke Kubozuka and Issey Ogata are worth equal praise.

As for flaws, I only have one. Although I said that the film should be long because of story and themes. I feel that the last 10 minutes of the film slightly outstays it welcome. However with that being said silence is a film which will stay with you and will make you question and interpret over the themes which are presented, I am going to give silence a ...

9/10

Surprisingly despite it's runtime and slow pacing, I found myself wanting to see it again. I have seen it twice in the cinema now and I am considering a third viewing. Silence is a film which comes highly recommended.
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If you guys want be to do an in depth analysis of Silence let me know in the comments below as it's something I am interested in doing.

In This Corner of the World - Review (E.I.F.F)

 'In This Corner of the World' is a anime period drama film which is directed by Sunao Katabuchi. Based on the manga of the same n...