April 14th, 2010 — Uncategorized
Law Abiding Citizen, which when released premiered in Glasgow’s Cineworld cinema, tells the story of one man’s brutal revenge on the corrupt justice system in America.
As Clyde Shelton (Butler) watches in horror as his wife and child are murdered by two armed robbers in his own home, the film then cuts to the ensuing court case, as one of the muggers has his sentence reduced dramatically due to his co-operation with larger scale evidence into a criminal underworld. Obviously Shelton takes this badly, and seeks to confront his lawyer Nick Rice (played by Jamie Foxx) over the injustice. Flash-forward 10 years later and it’s revealed that a now very wealthy Shelton is terrorising all who were connected in the court case, as he seeks his own brutal revenge.
The two main characters in the film, Shelton and Rice play out the key tense moments throughout this thriller, as Shelton is taken into jail and questioned about his murder of his wife and daughters killers. These one on one moments are crucial to the plot of the film, and help give you a mindset into Shelton and Rice’s issues with each other
Both actors play their conflicted and contrasted characters brilliantly, reminding me of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe’s in American Gangster. The film also uses the two characters meetings to switch from one pace to another, with nerve-shredding drama unfolding outside the prison whilst careful and measured words are discussed on the inside.
The film plays out as a tense, surprising and dramatic thriller whilst also offering the viewer something more than the average hi-tech “kill thrill”. Foxx and Butler’s characters are so well written and portrayed that it leaves you wondering by the end of the film who is the “bad guy”. Foxx in particularly as Nick Rice performs a complete circle of his own beliefs as he changes dramatically by the end of the film.
The real issue I found with the film was the nature of Shelton’s attacks. After I’d watched the film I had to run through in my mind just how it was plausible that he was able to carry out the terrorism, with the machinery involved, not to mention the fact that he was still in prison when murdering those connected with the case. It is hard to swallow, and even the explanation given is very woolly and barely believable.
The ending is packed with lots of thrills, but ultimately at the end you’re left feeling quite unsatisfied with the whole thing, as ironically it’s the viewer who is left feeling that justice has not been served to what could have been a classic high paced action thriller.
It is a disappointing way to finish the movie and end two characters who up till the finale, had been very well written and fleshed out. It just ends up leaving you feeling very flat, and unfulfilled, compared to the very strong start and middle of the film where it plays out as an intelligent thriller.
April 12th, 2010 — Uncategorized
Despite the unfavourable reviews it gained from critics, Remember Me is a film which has stuck firmly in my memory since seeing it last week, and not just because I’m a Robert Pattison fan!
Remember Me is a romantic drama set in New York (which turns out to be hugely significant) in which a twist of fate brings together the angry and rebellious Tyler Hawkens (Robert Pattison) and Ally Craig (Emille de Ravin). Tyler is a dark and troubled young man who has lost all direction in his life following the divorce of his parents in the aftermath of his older brother Micheal – who he was very close to – committing suicide.
Although it seems there relationship is doomed, Ally understands Tylers pain of losing a loved one having witnessed her own mother being murdered when she was much younger. As the pair grow close and Tyler begins to fall for her, Ally inspires and helps mend his relationship with his family.
But don’t be fooled – it turns out this is not your typical tale of a forbidden and turbulent young love triumphing and ending in wedding bells – this story does not give us the happy ending which we all want and expect! Just as everyone is saying ‘I love you’ and making amends, another twist of fate ends in tragedy which had the whole cinema in silence, followed only by tears and sniffling! As much as the ending upset me admittedly the film was more successful because of it and the reason it had such an impact on me.
Pattison was criticised for his apparently unconvincing performance in his first major role since playing our favourite vampire in the Twilight series, but I thought he pulled off the whole angry, bitter young rebel act while still providing a character which the audience liked and became attached to without using his special powers and vampire charm!
Pierce Bronsan also stars as Tyler’s absent father but I didn’t really feel he contributed much to the film. However, it was Ruby Jerin’s who plays Tyler’s kid sister Caroline who really stands out. She plays a mature 11 year old who has a close relationship with her brother as a result of no real relationship or love from her father and is very convincing at playing a little girl who has suffered great grief in her childhood.
Remember Me also surprised me with far more laughs than I expected from the romantic drama. Admittedly most of these laughs were thanks to the sarcasm and stupidity of Tyler’s best friend in the film – Aiden Hally (Tate Ellington).
Remember Me successfully shocks and brings the audience close to tears within both the first and last five minute but is definitely a film I could watch and enjoy again!
April 9th, 2010 — Uncategorized
By Basma Khalifa BAFA3
Boyzone – Life after Stephen Gately was a 47 minute documentary shown on ITV 21st of March 2010. The programme illustrated the emotional journey for the four remaining members of boyzone after their band member Stephens’ death. Narrated mostly by Ronan Keating the documentary took you through their path. Moving from the day of Stephen’s star-studded memorial to the band’s first performance with only four members. A heart wrenching tale, the boys’ feelings are stripped down to the core, baring no safety net and just telling it how it is.
Stephen Patrick David Gately was an Irish pop singer, songwriter and actor who, with Ronan Keating, was one of two lead singers of the pop group Boyzone. His life was dramatically cut short at the age of 33 when Stephen was found dead in his hotel room in Majorca while holidaying with his partner in 2009.
The documentary is raw stuff and the hand-held camera work, albeit at times frustrating, made you feel part of the journey. Not exactly involved but certainly part of the mourning process. The footage is emotional and at its peak certainly could spark a tear to the eye as you understand how one man’s life can turn everyone else’s life upside down.
As each surviving member takes it in order to personally reflect on the aftermath. Ronan Keating, who can only be considered as the icon of Boyzone. A household name, opens his scene by explaining the phone call he received to tell him his friend had passed. With his endearing story telling the camera he didn’t know what Stephen the man at the other end of the telephone was talking about and that he couldn’t imagine it would be Stephen Gately, we already feel the pain of the lose streaming from his beady eyes.
Immediately as the band members talk about their beloved friend you pick up on the fact that none of them know him as Stephen but rather ‘’Steo’’. And as I find myself engrossed on the story I begin to refer to him as Steo. Allowing myself as the viewer to be even more absorbed in the grieving process.
The documentary is heartfelt and well executed. All emotions felt were expressed concisely and clearly by the group. So perfectly narrated, that at times, it felt as though the bandmates were talking personally to you. Asking you to appreciate and comprehend how hard it has been for them.
The four men deliver a sincere and genuine response to the death, deciding to celebrate the life of Stephen rather than mourn, by continuing and finishing the album their started.
Though not a huge Boyzone fan, at times while watching the footage I couldn’t help but feel the tough emotions. That no matter they can’t have their band mate back. For me personally at times, I felt that everything was moving on a bit too quickly. But in respect to them, in order to recuperate from such tragedy, you must admire their decision to move forward. No one has any right to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. (except maybe their wives )
This show will definitely have you reaching for the tissue box. It is a fantastic documentary a true legacy to a cheerful, bright and happy soul.
April 8th, 2010 — Uncategorized
Film review – Eastern Promises
With rumours of David Cronenberg (also known as the Baron of Blood) planning an actual sequel to one of his films, I decided to take a look at the film which sparked the idea – Eastern Promises. As David Cronenberg never does sequels, I was intrigued about the story he wants to continue.
Eastern Promises is a mafia-film set in grizzly, drab London. Midwife Anna Ivanovna (Naomi Watts) is on duty when a Russian girl, Tatiana, is delivered to the emergency room in labour. The girl dies during childbirth, and leaves behind nothing but a tattered diary and a business card to a Russian restaurant. It is owned by the Russian ‘Godfather’ Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl). Part of the ‘family’ is his son Kirill (Vincent Cassel) and their driver slash odd-job-man, Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen). When Anna tries to find out what happened to Tatiana and who the father of her baby is, she is drawn into a dangerous and secretive world full of violence, murder and crime.
Naomi Watts delivers a convincing albeit a bit bland performance as the Anna, but the star performances of the film are delivered by Cassel, Mueller-Stahl and Mortensen as the Russian trio. Their characters are perfect – from Kirill’s slightly mental, desperate behaviour to please his father; to Semyon’s manipulative, cunning demeanour to keep everyone in check by threat and manipulation while looking like a charming elderly man; to Nikolai’s secretive, ambiguous personality as he tries to climb the ranks while trying not to reveal his secret.
Of the three, Viggo Mortensen stands out – he was even nominated for an Oscar as Best Performance in 2008. The only confirmed reappearance in the sequel, his further development as a character will be very interesting indeed.
The plot in itself is great. Most mafia films are about the Italian/American mafia bosses, and it is therefore refreshing to watch something where the theme hasn’t been exhausted many times before. I was also very pleased to see a London-set film which didn’t paint a pretty, light picture of the city, such as Notting Hill and Bridget Jones have done. They have also done an amazing job with the lighting – like a modern day film noir in some places. There doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming amount of stereotypes – the Russian mafia, the Russian personality, their way of walking and talking, the prison tattoos… everything has been meticulously researched. The entire film is a feast for the eyes – the acting is good, the story is thrilling and the filming and editing is a masterpiece.
If Cronenburg and Mortensen can put together a film with the same dedication, research and meticulousness as they did with Eastern Promises, I’ll be the first one in line to see the sequel!
April 2nd, 2010 — Uncategorized
by Anne Husted Nielsen
The movie is set in an outlying diner in the desert of God’s chosen country – America. Though, thing is, God these days is unhappy with humanity. As result an army of angels is sent to Earth to kick-start the apocalypse. However, the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), unlike God, still has faith in humankind and refuses to obey orders and deserts the army. Instead, he decides to rescue humankind on his own.
In the diner, Michael joins forces with a very mixed group of people; among these are a young pregnant woman – Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), carrying a very special child, the owner – Bob (Dennis Quaid), his son – Jeep (Lucas Black), and some passersby.
The diner becomes the battleground when Michael and his new friends face their enemies and the destiny of the human race is to be decided.
Altogether, this is a plot that could make an interesting movie. Sadly, this is not the case. Scott Stewart and Peter Schink never master the discipline of telling the story, which instead seems to work more as an excuse to make many dramatic fight scenes and special effects. Sometimes during the movie, you get the feeling that Stewart and Schink had many scenes left from another project and decided to use them for something. The viewers are never told what humans have done to make God so angry, and then there is the whole question about the baby, why is that child so important? Is it the new Messiah? Is it not?
The much-used special effects are overdone and instead of being scary they become unintentionally funny. Especially, the scene when a possessed ice cream man – who has many similarities with a spider – attacks the diner, didn’t work. Also the way people became possessed by angels is more comical than terrifying.
The narrator’s voice annoyed because of the drowsy, mumbling and indifferent way she introduces us to the movie. I had to fight to stay awake during the introduction.
The characters in the movie never become more than stereotypes. I actually never cared whether the humans would win the battle. I wasn’t interested in whether Jeep got his Charlie in the end. None of the characters ever said or did anything I couldn’t guess they would. I almost feel sorry for the actors. They must have been hit hard by the financial crisis to accept the script.
The movie claims to be an apocalyptic fantasy-horror movie but the only shock you get from watching it is that a movie can be this bad. To be honest, I have never laughed so much during a scary movie. Or any movie for that matter.
April 1st, 2010 — Uncategorized
Written by Dubi Manoharan 01-04-10.
Leonardo Di Caprio (Marshall agent), Mark Ruffalo (Marshall agent), Ben Kingsley (Dr., medicinal), Michelle Williams (dead), Emily Mortimer (Patient), Max von Sydow (Dr., German)
The movie is set in 1954 and based on Dennis Lehane’s 2003 novel of the same name, Shutter Island and it is about the mysterious going on in Ashecliff Hospital, a facility for the criminally insane in the middle of the ocean. One night, an inmate called Rachel Solando (Mortimer) goes missing from her high-security cell, and US Marshalls Teddy Daniels (Di Caprio) and Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) are sent to the island to investigate. It starts out innocently enough with Daniels and Aule interviewing everyone about Rachel’s disappearance. But they get frustrated by the seeming lack of co-operation from the head of the hospital Dr Cawley (Kingsley) and his German assistant Dr Naehring (von Sydow), and start to suspect a cover up. As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Daniels has taken the case on Shutter Island for the very personal reason that the man who killed his wife, Andrew Laeddis, was transferred to and disappeared from Ashecliff. An ex-Ashecliff patient called George Noyce told him this, and he wants to find Laeddis. Noyce also told Daniels that human experimenting conducted by Dr Cowley on patients in the island’s lighthouse is resulting in people dying unnecessarily. Things are not what they seem to be.
Teddy Daniels is an former soldier who was part of the American army that uncovered Dachau in Germany in World War II, and one of the men who slaughtered all the concentration camp’s guards. So along with the ‘50s hats and trench coats that Di Caprio and Ruffalo wear, there are loads of flashback sequences that give Shutter Island a dramatic, classic and classy look. Scorsese captures the claustrophobic and terrifying aura that all good mental institute films have that’s potential enough to convince you that if you ever stepped into one you definitely never leave. Shutter Island’s ending will be the most talked about part of the film, But I thought it crept up on me elegantly and the revelations that follow it more than make up for any lack of subtlety as Fight Club or The Usual Suspects, but the soundtrack is great.
It is a long movie (138 minutes) and, having only seen it once and knowing what you now know about the characters, you suspect there would be holes in the movie if you watch it again. Di Caprio’s character’s flaws come over as forced and unbelievable. One problem Scorsese and Di Caprio’s working relationship has, though very respectable indeed (The Departed, The Aviator, Gangs of New York), it will always be put up against Scorsese and De Niro’s former works like Goodfellas, Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.
Neither is Scorsese or Di Caprio at the top of their act in Shutter Island, but like all successful teams they know how to win when they’re playing badly. It is Good, but not great.
March 31st, 2010 — Uncategorized
Michael Caine plays the title character, a pensioner and former marine who is living out his remaining years on a central London estate, the kind that we hear so much about, where youths terrorise the streets without fear of any kind of discipline. The film paints a very bleak, uncompromising picture of this side of Britain. There are no glorious countryside landscapes that seem to go on forever; in their place is a dark and claustrophobic urban nightmare.
Early on in the film we see that Harry Brown doesn’t have much left in life, but visiting his wife who is on her death bed and having a drink and a game of Chess with his friend Leonard (David Bradley). However when Harry’s wife passes away and his friend Leonard is mercilessly murdered by one of the estates most dangerous gangs, Harry has nothing left.
And like any man with nothing left to lose, he goes to the pub. During his drunken stumble home, one of the estates’ drug dealing degenerates attempts to hold Harry at knife point. Instinct takes over and Harry turns the situation on its head and kills the potential mugger.
It’s at this stage when the film changes gear. Harry begins handing out his own brand of vigilante justice. While it would have been easy for any other director to take the action to an over the top ‘Hollywood’ level, however Daniel Barber keeps things on a gritty and realistic level. For a director with such limited experience (he only has one previous directing credit to date) he does a marvellous job of keeping the film going at a pace which is never boring, but never over the top. Harry Brown is a pensioner, after all.
While this is very much the Michael Caine show, the supporting cast are mostly excellent. Ben ‘Plan B’ Drew plays the charismatic and completely terrifying head thug, Noel to perfection. He makes the perfect foil to Michael Caine’s elderly and moral Harry Brown with his complete lack of respect for, seemingly, anything. Emily Mortimer turns in a relatively poor performance as D.I. Alice Frampton who is frankly, hard to care about. In comparison to the intense performances of the various gang members and Michael Caine’s typically outstanding showing, she falls flat.
While it would be easy to say that Harry Brown is a commentary on the ‘youth of the day’ and how they (we?) have no regard for morals, this is so much more. The film says a lot about our society as a whole without being overt about it. It’s clear that director, Daniel Barber feels no sympathy towards the police force and their methods in tackling crime on these estates. While this is made clear in the film, it is done so without being overly critical or offensive towards the police. The fact that Harry starts his violent campaign to write so many wrongs on the estates starts when his only remaining pleasures in life are taken away from him says a lot about how we treat elderly people.
All in all, while Harry Brown is a very gritty and often uncomfortably real film, it is very worth watching. If not for the generally outstanding performances, then for the pure satisfaction of a national treasure dishing out the pain to some of societies worst characters.
March 31st, 2010 — Uncategorized
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first part of what is to be a trilogy of films based on a series of worldwide bestsellers – dubbed the “Millennium Trilogy” – by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. For the first film director Niels Arden Oplev and screenwriters Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg have adapted the book into an unsettling, at times brutal but almost always compelling mystery featuring a fascinating central performance from Noomi Rapace as the titular girl with a dragon tattoo on her back.
The film follows a Swedish journalist (Michael Nyqvist) who joins up with a smart and mysterious young hacker named Lisbeth Salander to solve a disappearance and possible murder that occurred 40 years previously.
The film is one that will undoubtedly test audience members, both with its length and content. At almost two and a half hours long and entirely in Swedish with subtitles (a certain “subtitle-phobia” has gripped the general movie going audience for far too long) the film admittedly won’t be for everyone. And even for those who don’t mind those things, what actually happens in the film may be a bit too much for some people (two people walked out of the screening I was in during a particularly harrowing scene half an hour in).
However, if you have the stomach for some brutally real violence and tough themes, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is well worth the time and money. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the tone that the director is able to achieve and maintain throughout is quite brilliant. Echoes of the creepiness of David Fincher’s Seven, Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense are strong. Jacob Groth’s musical score (which sounds almost like a gothic version of Bernard Hermann’s Vertigo score) compliments the action on-screen, adding to the overall creepy air that hangs in just about every scene.
Whenever the film slows down for some heavy dialogue scenes that only further our investment in the characters and not necessarily the plot, it sometimes becomes plodding. But even in that case there’s the magnetic performance of Rapace as the most unusual of detectives to grip onto – dyed jet black hair, nose rings, a leather spiked collar and jacket is her appearance of choice. Not exactly your average detective.
Whether it’s an inevitability because of the plot, the film features what some would describe as generic scenes of looking through old newspaper clippings, enhancing old photographs and decrypt codes left from people of the past as a way of uncovering the truth. To mention works of David Fincher again, two of his most critically acclaimed films, Seven and Zodiac, feature the very same thing. But here it manages to be feel comfortable in that we know his this sort of storytelling device is supposed to go but at the same time makes it feel fresh and unique.
Out with the plot, perhaps the oddest thing about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that it seems to place more importance on the journalist character played by Michael Nyqvist. The name of the film suggests the pivotal role to be Rapace’s female hacker-turned-detective, Lisbeth, but most of the film we spend with Nyqvist’s Mikael, seeing many of the most important things from his point of view. Maybe the 150 minutes and sprawling nature called for the attention to be on someone other than the tattooed detective. Maybe the whole point was to have her as almost a secondary character in her own story.
Without giving too much away, the way the story resolves itself is satisfying and complex when at first it may have seemed that all that was on the horizon was a generic whodunit plot twist. Admittedly there is one of those types of twists to be found (one that caught me off-guard), but the film has so much more to it than that. Those looking for mystery and thrills will get their fill here but so will those who are looking for something a little bit deeper.
By Ross Miller, BAMN2
March 31st, 2010 — Uncategorized Tagged Kick-Ass, movie, review, superhero
You may think at first glance that this is going to be yet another superhero movie with the same idea of the superhero being good and saving everyone but no, this adaptation of the original comic book series by Mark Millar has the element of blood, gore and a spree of killings by none less than the “superheroes” themselves.
Kick-Ass is an alias created by an ordinary high school teen called Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) who considers himself a bit of a nobody. Noticing that no one tries to stop street crime, Dave takes it upon himself to become the local crime fighting superhero by wearing a scuba suit and mask he purchased online. However his first encounter with some local thugs doesn’t go to plan and Kick-Ass ends up in hospital, yet eager to continue with his crime busting he sets about looking for a missing cat and stumbles into another fight but manages to fight back as people in a local café start to record the antics on their phone and post them to YouTube, Kick-Ass is soon known as a Local hero and everyone wants to find out who he is. This part of the movie just shows how some people rise to internet superstardom which in turn changes to a celebrity status.
Dave Lizewski is not the only one in town using a superhero pseudonym. When Kick-Ass is yet again out of his depth with some thugs, an 11 year old girl dawning a purple wig, cape and mask swoops in a knifes all of the thugs to death in a gore filled kung-fu style sequence to the tune of the “banana splits” theme saving the life of Kick-Ass. The girl goes by the name Hit Girl and is part of a superhero due along with her crime fighting killer father Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage). The pair have made it their mission to kill everyone associated with drug dealing crime lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong) to get to the man himself. However Frank D’Amico’s son Chris who is also a classmate of Dave’s also sets himself up to look like a super hero to lure the other “superheroes” to his father.
The story unfolds into a lot more than even I anticipated, comedy combined with action all rolled into a superhero movie, it seems to be in a genre of its own as it is unlike any other superhero movie. Many people assume the movie will take on the role of a “spoof” film but is does not it has its own amazing plot and great characters. An outstanding must see movie.
March 31st, 2010 — Uncategorized
…to Catherine, Ruaridh, Douglas, Sarah, Elizabeth (all journos from BAJO2, unless I am much mistaken), for kicking off our live first-go reviews, below: wow, that was fast. I will have a look and post some comments below. Now, where are you media and fashionista types…?