Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award

I’ve got my third award this year, so a big thank you to RobbinsRealm for sending this award my way. I love writing this blog so I very much appreciate this.

Ok so as per usual there is some rules to follow:

1.       Thank the person who gave you the award.

2.       Include a link to their blog.

3.       Name the bloggers to whom you would like to pass the award and send them a link to tell them you’ve selected them.

4.       Finally, tell the person who nominated you seven things about yourself.

So once again, thank you  RobbinsRealm who gave me this award. Their blog is excellent so go and have a look.

I don’t know how many bloggers I’m supposed to nominate and there are a lot of great blogs to choose from. So I’ve chosen eight blogs that I’ve come across recently. So the lucky ones are:

The Horror Online

Frame Rates

Asian Cinema Blog

Cinema Train

Ebden Illustrations

DawsonReviews

Meera Darji

parlor of horror

Ok so time for me to name seven things about myself. Here goes:

  1. I’m scared of heights. Or maybe it’s more a fear of falling but either way, I don’t like it which is a shame as…
  2. ….If I could have a superhero power it would be flying. Or super strength.
  3. If I could name any actress to play me in the film of my life it would be Rebecca Hall (soon to be seen in Iron Man 3) mostly because a friend once told me I look a bit like her. I don’t but I appreciate the compliment.
  4. And it’s a lot better than being told at the insecure age of fourteen that I looked like the eldest Hanson brother. Luckily I can laugh about it now (just).
  5. I love musicals and I’ll be seeing Hairspray for the third time later this year.
  6. At the moment I’m obsessed with the show Community. I’ve just finished the second season on DVD and I love it.
  7. After trying my hand at novel writing (unsuccessfully), I’ve now becoming interested in Scriptwriting. At the moment I’m still in the idea stage and have purchased the Batman Trilogy scripts to read over. Makes me want to watch the films again ( hey it’s research 😉 )
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Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers is a crime thriller drama about four college girls who do robberies to pay for their spring break vacation. It’s all booze, drugs and guys. Then they land in jail and have to be bailed out by wannabe rapper Alien (James Franco) who makes the girls an offer they should probably refuse. But where would the film be if this happened?

The four girls in question are former Disney teen queens Vanessa Hudgen and Selena Gomez, star of teen drama Pretty Little Liars Ashley Benson and the director’s wife Rachel Korine. Presumably they are all in this film so they can be seen as ‘edgy’ and ‘adult’. Are they successful? Partly. This film will open them up to different audiences who wouldn’t be seen dead watching their fluffier stuff, and who knows maybe they will be offered more roles off the back of this film.

So what’s my issue with it? I have no problems with the girls trying to throw off their good girl images to avoid being typecast but I wish the film had given them more to stretch their acting. It feels a lot more effort went into their bikinis than making them all three dimensional characters. To be fair Selena Gomez does well in her role as Faith, a good girl with a religious background (hence the name Faith-subtle) which is in direct conflict to the activities of her more adventurous friends Candy (Hudgen), Brit (Benson) and Cotty (Korine). The others don’t really have a personality between them, which is a shame as they all seem capable of more if they were given something to work with.

Lack of development for the girls is what stops this being a great film instead of an ok one. Spring Breakers is fun while you’re watching it. It’s easy to get swept up in the excess on screen and I didn’t feel my attention waver from the screen. Besides Gomez the other actor that stands out is James Franco, who looks like he’s having a ball as rapper/criminal Alien.

I just get the sense that the film thinks having former teen stars’ behaving badly is more shocking than it really is? Isn’t this just the route most former child stars/Disney actors go down once they grow up? The girls look fantastic in their bikinis and do good with what they are given, but I like to think that they will go on to bigger and better roles that will show us what they’re really capable of.

 Rating 3/5-a fun film filled with hot girls but don’t go looking for anything deeper or you’ll be disappointed

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The Croods

I wasn’t really that keen on watching The Croods. The trailer looked ok  but I had no great desire to see it. However I went with my friend and slowly found myself charmed by this prehistoric family.

The story follows a family of cavemen headed by Grug Crood (Nicolas Cage) along with his wife, grandmother, baby daughter and eldest daughter Eep (Emma Stone). The family have managed to survive longer than their neighbours due to Grug’s strength and protectiveness. Unfortunately that means the family end up spending most of their time in a cave to the annoyance of Eep who wants a life outside the darkness. The tensions between father and daughter come to ahead when Eep meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and he announces the end of the world is coming. Can the Croods make it to the land of tomorrow in time?

There some lovely aspects to The Croods. First of all they are a likeable bunch with father and daughter being the most well-rounded of the characters (although the others still provide the audience with some good laughs). You can see that the father’s fear is well founded but also understand why Eep is restless and wants to explore the outside world. It’s effective writing and strong vocal performances from Nick Cage and Emma Stone that stops them becoming overbearing or bratty and instead become a funny story of a family struggling to get along during the end of the world.

What is also a delight is the animation and design in The Croods. The creatures and plants that inhabit their world are so full of bright and psychedelic colours that the film is a pleasure to watch and be dazzled with.

Ok so it doesn’t reach the dizzy heights of animated films like Toy Story or Up! While it does have its touching moments it doesn’t reach the emotional heights that those films have. But that is perhaps unfair to compare The Croods to such films which I consider among the best animation films ever (if not films in general).

I was also torn by the ending. Not that it’s bad . But for a moment I thought The Croods might be a bit daring and go off in a riskier direction to end the film. But this gets pushed aside and resolved for a happy ending. If they had maybe taken that risk it would have been a more emotionally satisfying film. That aside The Croods is a fun family film with plenty of laughs and an enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half.

Rating 3.5/5-Though I had my doubts at first, I must admit The Croods have won me over and I look forward to any future sequels

 

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Side Effects

I’ve been meaning to write this review up for a while but it’s been a bit of a busy month, so I’ve been a bit slow with updating the reviews section.

Side Effects is Steven Soderbergh’s last film. The story follows Emily (Rooney Mara) a young woman dealing with her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) recently being released from prison for insider trading. Although she is happy he is released she is suffering from depression and unable to cope, so she seeks help from a psychiatrist Jonathan (Jude Law). After consulting with Emily’s former doctor (Catherine Zeta-Jones) Emily is prescribed a new drug Ablixa. Unfortunately Emily experiences side effects from the drugs which have far-reaching consequences for everyone involved.

This is one of those films that are difficult to review without giving away major spoilers. Luckily if you don’t go looking too much for them you should be able to go into Side Effects unaware of the major plot twist and turns. If you do avoid reading any spoilers than Side Effects should be able to enjoy the film as an intelligent medical-drama-thriller. Side Effects also gives us four great performances from its main players. It’s good to see Jude Law proving himself in another strong role after Anna Karenina, it reminds you why he was hyped up all those years ago.

The story is gripping as you follow Emily in her mental descent and when the story shifts to Jonathan’s perspective the story starts to reveal itself even more. The film raises lots of questions about responsibility and blame while questioning the motives to wanting and prescribing certain drugs. There are some good plot twists in the story which don’t undermine the action that has gone before it. In fact it makes you question what you have seen earlier. If this is going to be Soderbergh’s last film at least he leaves us with a film to saviour rather than to dispair.

Rating 4/5-gripping and tense, Soderbergh departs from the film world with an intelligent thriller that boasts an excellent cast and an intense plot. Au revoir Soderbergh!

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