Knight Of Cups – Featurette

Knight Of Cups Knight Of Cups

Beautiful pale palletes are to Malick what plotless explosions are to Michael Bay. You shouldn’t however just expect some gorgeous colours and some whispery voice overs, you can instead garuntee them. I for one am not complaining, give me a predictable plot line with some whimsically put together lines. It’s perfect as long as it keeps looking as amazing as this. Keep it up Mr Malick and I will keep watching.

The Grand Budapest hotel (2014)- a view

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The king of whimsical hipster film has returned, this time with something a little more disappointing, The Grand Budapest hotel.
The usual cast assembled, the trademark 180 degree pans appeared and the POV shots established right from the start. Unfortunately The Kinks and Elliot Smith don’t sit well in 1930’s Europe so that’s a swing and a miss.
I was let down with the plot, it was rather boring with small snippets of humour. It seemed not as much effort had been poured in. No elaborate lists or wonderful collections. No Wes worlds, at one stage there is an escape route map, we hardly see it. It’s those small wee details that took the magic away a bit.
The aspect ratio also frustrated me. A mix between 16:9 and what seemed 3:4 to distinguish between periods of time. Not necessary and rather distracting.
It’s a nice film, something to enjoy but it most certainly is not his best. Go instead to see The life aquatic on the Talk ship as part of the Glasgow Film Festival, see Murray at his finest.
Good night

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Skyfall (2012) – A view

I went to see Skyfall at the weekend. Having not been a major Bond fan ever and failing to see one in the cinema since the late 90’s I wasn’t expecting much.
I was however expecting a lot from this man, Javier Bardem.
Having been mesmerised by his performance in No Country for old Men (2007) by the Coen brothers I was excited to see him in the bond villain role.
He did not disappoint in the slightest.
I felt he played the roll to perfection. If you are not a Bond fan go and see it for him alone. The film portrays a gritty type of Bond. Some beautiful cinematography and a few great action scenes but its mostly the usual unrealistic bond cant die action adventure. With a bit of hand to hand combat for added intensity.

I was rather shocked during the Glencoe scenes to see a few rather annoying telegraph poles. Often behind Bond and M during what was meant to be a “take in the beauty” style scene. A slight camera repositioning and the scene is perfection.
Perhaps this is the gritty Bond look, telegraph poles and all.
Overall I am going for a well deserved 4/5 on the Guy scale. God only knows what that means.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – Views

Warning, this review contains nothing even baring resemblance to a review.

As a big Wes Anderson fan Moonrise Kingdom has been the film I have been waiting for in 2012.
Was gutted that in Glasgow it was at the Odeon and Cineworld before the GFT so had to risk life and limb venturing to the top floor in the Cineworld. An experience and a half was had venturing to the top floor of Cineworld Glasgow.

Moonrise Kingdom is the story of young love, adventure and scouts. A massive cast as per usual from a Wes Anderson film. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are the Wes standards both starring in a few, with the latter for me being the star of the show with a rather small but lasting appearance.
The young cast of scouts perform well with my own personal dislike of Sam (Jared Gilman) not seeming to undermine his strong performance alongside Suzy (Kara Hayward).

With classic Wes Anderson iconography, Yellow, POV shots, slow mo, beautiful soundtrack and some amazing props this truly is the most Wes Anderson thing Wes Anderson has ever done.

I really enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom but thats biased I was never not going to like it stupidly. Whats most interesting for me is Wes using film in this digital age.

To the left is one of the Aaton 16mm camera’s used by Wes on Moonrise Kingdom (Yes that is wood). Wes has always used film, right from his raw Bottle Rocket days with a young Owen and Luke Wilson. I guess why change working with a format that you know works for you or perhaps there is something a bit more to the use of 16mm film.

In this digital age of 3d, 5d’s, red’s  and 2k 4k hd blah blah perhaps its a homage to the cinematic experience. Of telling a good story, be that black and white in hd or just sticking it to the man and saying, my story, my actors, my props, my soundtrack that is what is making this film great, not how many fps we are filming at or how times 3d is optimized.
I guess only Wes knows why he would shoot on an old format, with cameras that aren’t being made by the big companies anymore. Would love to know but can only guess. It gives me hope and belief that the story is the most important piece in a film, forget about all the equipment its the script….and the props…and the amazing soundtrack.

Here is an interesting blog post by a camera man on Moonrise Kingdom.

Also these stills from the set are beautiful.

Shadow Dancer (2012) – Views

Shadow Dancer looks great, proper serious thriller based around the troubles in Belfast during the 90’s. Always a bigger basher of Northern Irish ‘troubles’ films but to be honest this looks great. Hard to expect anything else from James March. A foreigner(Cornwall) coming in to do a ‘troubles’ film always gives me goosebumps and a ranty blog. This however with its cast, grimy cinematography and what looks like a decent twist and turn plot with a hint of romance could be a real cracker. Look forward to seeing it.

America’s Sweethearts (2001) – A view

I shall advise you not to watch America’s Sweethearts as John Cusack puts in a better performance in the below 20 second clip than he does in an hour and thirty minutes of America’s Sweethearts boredom.

 Thought I would give an overly horribly reviewed rom-com a go, its got Julie Roberts and John Cusack so it has to be half decent. You would hope so anyway. The film is slow to start, patchy throughout and a complete bore. Surprisingly though Catherine Zeta Jones is actually rather good…..lolz no she aint she’s shocking……..Avoid if possible.

The Shore wins an Oscar…..and then what?

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Now if you know anything about my blog you will be aware of my distate for films about the “troubles”. I have a wide brush and I paint with my eyes closed at times. I thought Elephant was superb and was a truly gripping representation of the mindless violence that ripped the country apart. I do however find most other “trouble” films to be boring and the same old, dragging us back, nearly glamourising the troubles.
I was delighted to read a few months ago about The Shore being nominated for an Oscar in the live action short film section.
Was even more delighted to see that this morning it won. Not because I think that the Oscars mean anything, look at the directors who missed out in the past. It is because I think that The Shore is possibly the start of things to come. As Terry George put it “This is about reconciliation in Northern Ireland, it is really close to my heart.”
It is also great to see that this is something that is being supported with awards and is maybe a chance for Northern Ireland to start to move on artistically. There has been terrible, shocking and disgusting things done in this country and nobody will forget or let that disappear. But do we really need to see it recreated and brought up again? We are a small but creative country taking things onto the world stage. Lets make these things represent Northern Ireland’s beauty in the landscape and people.
Finally a massive congrats to all involved and to Terry George on getting an Oscar third time around. Check out an interesting interview with Terry below.

Grabbers (2012) – A follow up #filmmaking #ireland #film

You may remember a post I made in early December regarding the Irish Film Board funded Grabbers and Shadow Dancer. I was glad to see Irish film being represented at Sundance, its a great festival and an amazing platform for any countries cinema talent to be shown off. My issue with the two of these films was  the films. Now now I know I hadn’t seen the films but a film about a monster allergic to alcohol invading a rural irish village and a “troubles” film is not how I want Irish film represented. I think we are a bit better than that.
I got some stick and rightly so, people put a lot of effort into making these films and they should be proud of what they have achieved. It has now thought come to the stage to take a look at the reviews that have come out of Sundance.

“Hilarity should ensue, but the humor drummed up by Wright and scenarist Kevin Lehane is pretty tepid, middlebrow stuff; despite the idea’s potential, this doesn’t come within spurting distance of “Evil Aliens,” “Shaun of the Dead,” et al” Link

Dennis Harvey reviewed for Variety and gave the film a pretty rough ride. He puts one small plus point to the film being,

“Trevor Forrest’s widescreen lensing of County Donegal scenery”Link

Next review and I shall give you one quote from Fearnet.com, I shan’t link.

“So it’s an Irish monster movie about a monster that can’t eat drunk people. Come on, that’s pretty cute.” 

They seemed to love it. Not really much to get from the review as they analyse “the talkier bits”. Next review. This final review gives the film a pretty good dressing down. It is the only review with a rating and it comes in at a 1.5/5.  Nicholas Bell reviews for Ioncinema.com

“Intentionally goofy, and drearily written, your reception of the film will all depend on how high you set your stakes. ThinkTremors (1990) was a classic? Maybe you’ll enjoy this tired flick.” Link

I was rather surprised to see such a harsh review. Did not expect the writing to be so badly received. It is a low budget horror after all.
It seems that overall Grabbers has had a pretty bad reception and with its constant referral as

“but even if you have to see it sober, it’s a fun, small British film, complete with the requisite British humor and characters actors” Link

This goes ahead and opens a brand new can of worms as to what is an Irish or British film but a film made in Ireland, funded by the Irish Film Board with Irish actors, Written by an Irish man, Directed by a Northern Irish man but yet, not made in America? British film then.
Come on people Ireland can make films! Let us get out there and show it.

Coriolanus (2011) – A view

Having not watched a Shakespearean film/tv adaption since that glorious 1997 adaption of Macbeth with my old favorite, Brian Blessed. Coriolanus had a tough act to follow.
I am not a Shakespeare fan so this story was unknown to me but it soon neatly unfolded with weird mother son connections and betrayal as one would expect from an Englishman’s pen.(I jest)

Coriolanus

The story that we see is that of the soldier Coriolanus fighting to protect Rome from its enemies and then be rewarded by being put forward as the senate. At this point in the film I was beginning to sway (mentally not physically) as to if I would enjoy this, it started to dry up and the long rambling Shakespearean dialogue was beginning to take its toll as I would frequently zone out.
Then came along Jimmy Nesbitt. Have to say I was impressed by the full cast, some great performances but for me James Nesbitt really caught my eye and ear. The Northern Irish accent seemed to suit the Shakespearean dialogue so well and his sneaky role was played to perfection.
There then is a bizarre Jeremy Kyle style TV debate and it is decided that Coriolanus is to be banned from Rome. It all happened so quickly and some bizarre character changes happened far to fast but what happened next for me was the best bit of the film. We see Coriolanus as he is by himself heading to find his sworn enemy Aufidius. Throughout the film we have had close up shots of Coriolanus in battle or in anger showing his aggression, concentration and frustration but now we get wide open shots but beautiful delicate diegetic sound of footsteps and birds. This is framed by beautiful greys and blue as he walks through open landscapes and depicts his confused, lonely and betrayed character.

Coriolanus then gives his life over to his enemies and asks that he may seek revenge with them upon Rome. People come ask them not to, his mum, wife, son and cleaner arrive, crying talk of wombs etc and then he decides to sign a peace treaty. Its all very nicey nicey. Oh yeah and then he gets stabbed to death by the men he had just fought along side. Thee End.

Overall as I said before a brilliant cast and was only disappointed by Jessica Chastain who plays her role as Coriolanus’s wife perfectly but it is pretty much the exact same role as Mrs. O’Brien from The Tree of Life. The loving caring wife who does no`t say to much and always seeks to impress. She is perfect for it but would like to see her in some different roles. I haven’t seen her in much else though so should not be tough on her, great actress.

Over all great film, misleading trailer which literally has used only the dialogue that is not Shakespearean to make it seem a bit more relevant. The violent and gruesome scenes could be cut back a bit, no need really and they do not show some beautiful cinematography and instead focus on the fighting side. Id give it a solid B+. Trailer is below give it a watch and let me know what you think.

Moonrise Kingdom Trailer and Wes Anderson

So finally we get a look at Wes Anderson’s latest feature. A coming of age romance set in the 60’s with a stellar cast of non-wes-andion proportions. Ed Norton and Bruce Willis some how fit in perfectly as the camp leader and the local sheriff. With a release date rumoured to be this summer I for one am rather excited.
It all of course has come from a short film, Bottle Rocket. You should give it a watch and get an idea where the Wes Anderson look started. The feature film that was later made based on this short is one of my favourite films and the best Owen Wilson has ever been.
For me it is great inspiration that from shooting a simple short film with a few of your mates it created so many opportunities for Wes. Here is hoping with 2012 I get a few short films out there.

Grabbers (2012), Shadow Dancer (2012) and Irish Film- A pre View

Now I am not a big fan of horror, it is one of those genre’s I find cheap, tacky and inappropriate. In recent years films like Saw, Paranormal activity and HC (Not even gona write it) have flown past me without as much as a glance to see any. I have no interest in seeing that sort of gore, perhaps from my moral standpoint but also because watching people getting killed aint really that great.

This whole viewpoint may be turned upside down however,  staying away from stereotypes, cliches and that cheap tacky look comes an Irish Horror, Grabbers.

“When an island off the coast of Ireland is invaded by bloodsucking aliens, the heroes discover that getting drunk is the only way to survive.” Grabbers (2012)

Oh wait nope, I was wrong. Here is hoping there are a few dopey Garda, loads of sheep, a few leprechauns and a member of the IRA. It wouldn’t be so bad if this was another Shrooms (2007), you remember it? No? Good.

The issue I have is that this is representing Irish film along with Shadow Dancer (2012) at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival . Shadow Dancer is set in Belfast so I dont have to confirm that indeed it revolves around the IRA.

When is Ireland and Northern Ireland films going to get away from its tacky stereotypes and make a real leap into the future. There are enough films about the troubles or about rural Ireland with dopey Garda and weird locals. Its about time we stood up and took ourselves seriously because its sure nobody else will if we keep churning out the same stuff.
I know there are a lot of people making some great short films in Northern Ireland but they aren’t getting the same sort of funding as these stereotype films. Maybe I am wrong in thinking we need this? Its just my thoughts as I am sick and tired of seeing pretty big budgets going into rural or trouble films.

Anyway I havent even see as much as a trailer for either of the films and I am sure they are rather entertaining, but I shant be rushing to watch either but will be interested to see the reviews from Sundance.

Management (2008) – A View


This ‘touching’ rom-com, as its tagline portrays it stars Jennifer Aniston (of use to be married to Brad Pitt fame) and Steve Zahn (of no fame). It is about Mike (Steve) falling in love with Sue (Jennifer) when she stays at the hotel his parents own. This is the part of the review where I fill in what happens in the rest of the film but you get the idea. She aint keen, then she gets more interested then there is distance, then there is dramatic traveling and surprise visits, mixed with something about morals and stuff, then there is an old love interest blah blah cliche cliche cliche and then all happy in the end, mush mush mush.

Back when Brad was kewl.

You may not think it but this film really got me asking questions and thinking. The biggest of all these questions is about Jennifer Aniston. Is it a case she cannot read or that she couldn’t be bothered reading over a script before deciding to do it? I am yet to see her in a half decent film. They all are complete stinkers. Anyone know of a decent film that auld Jennifer has been in? Maybe she just hopes if she does enough films one of them will be decent. I truly aint sure what she is thinking especially with this film. Its terrible. Some of the dialogue is just awkward and pointless. If I want a motel based Rom-Com I will watch Bottle Rocket or even Pyscho, as it is a better option than this serving. Poor poor Jennifer. At least she is better than Angeline Jolie.

A big 1/5. Not worth a watch but it is only and hour and a half of your life lost.