Monthly Archives: April 2013
A whacky and sincere story about psychopathic lovers taking to the road. Sightseers is a devilishly atmospheric and intensely sociopathic black comedy. Directed by Ben Wheatley who appeased the Toronto International Film Festival faithful with Sightseers this past year and with his previous film Kill List in 2011. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into when I purchased my ticket for Sightseers at TIFF, but I had heard good things regarding Kill List so I approached Sightseers with cautious optimism, and I was rewarded. Sightseers is as cruel as it is unique when it comes to its two loveable murderers and provides huge laughs that strain your entire body. Starring and written by Alice Lowe and Steve Oram. Sightseers morbid sense of humour and lackadaisical attitude towards its victims is vitally refreshing and breathtakingly hilarious.
Chris (Oram) is dying to take Tina (Lowe) on a vacation travelling around in his caravan. When the plans are finally set, the two take to the road. As they visit several odd destinations, Tina begins to see a darker side of Chris. He gets very distracted and angry at the slightest annoyance and tends to overreact. As they continue on their journey, Tina learns of Chris’s terrible secret. Committing despicable acts as they continue on their journey, Chris and Tina begin to frustrate one another.
Sightseers is one of a kind. I can’t really compare it to another film and do It justice. Its approach is unconventional and its comedy is not for everyone. It shares the most similarities with recent Quentin Tarantino films. There is shared DNA in the way Tarantino and Wheatley and crew distinguish their violence with comedy. They both fixate on the marrow of their stories even though Sightseers isn’t as elaborate or complex.
Wheatley seems to have perfected his craft with Sightseers. His brilliant camerawork showcasing the outstanding vastness of the terrain and dizzying heights of the sky are immaculate. But he hasn’t forgotten what has gotten him here in the first place. The gruesome detail in the savagery and care meshed into the barbarity is incredible. However effective Wheatley is able to conduct his settings and cast is incomparable to Oram and Lowe’s script which drives the film. I have the utmost level of appreciation and respect regarding the script. The emergence of Lowe’s character’s subtle, passive realization of Oram’s bloodthirsty rage and her quick acceptance and accompaniment is laughable and sweet.
As for performances, Oram and Lowe are at the centre of the film for the majority. Lowe fits her role brilliantly. She performs her characters shy, passive aggressiveness faultlessly and that compliments the reluctancy exploding from her in regards to the foulness throughout Sightseers. As for Steve Oram, I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard with such a thorough performance. Just so there is no confusion, I mean that in the best way possible. Every movement, every disgusted grunt, Oram delivers the psychotic goods.
Just missing out on our top 10 list for the films released in 2012. Sightseers is a must see for those looking for some terrific visuals and a laugh while they’re being grossed out.
Sightseers: 8 out of 10.
Don’t forget guys to check out this weeks past top 10 and contribute to blogger talk which was posted yesterday, cheers!
Leaving a lot for the imagination to ponder and envy. Woody Allen’s clever, insightful, magical Midnight in Paris is what fantasies are made of. Full of inspiration and romance, Allen returns to top form with this gem. Venturing through time, showcasing the who’s who in arts and literature, Midnight in Paris is an enjoyable history lesson. Garnering four Oscar nominations in 2012 and earning a victory for best original screenplay, Midnight in Paris is ripe with invention and individuality. Reviving the likes of Earnest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. S. Elliot, amongst other countless, unrivalled talents. Midnight in Paris is a writers wet dream. Leading the way through the wormhole is Owen Wilson who is supported by the beautiful and talented Rachel McAdams. Midnight in Paris also features terrific supporting performances from Michael Sheen, Tom Hiddleston, Adrien Brody, and the effervescent Marion Cotillard. Directed and written by the aforementioned Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris’s hallowed glow emits a calming, entrancing warmth.
Gil (Wilson) and Inez (McAdams) tag-along on their parents business trip to Paris. Gil, who is a successful writer in Hollywood would like to make a change and begin writing novels. At first glance, he falls in love with Paris and insists he and Inez move their permanently. Inez does not agree with Gil’s infatuation with Paris or his notion that the 1920’s is the golden age. Gil is left alone for the night when Inez goes dancing with her friends. Gil decides to take a walk through Paris at midnight hoping it will spark his imagination. When the unthinkable happens, Gil is transported into a world filled with his wildest fantasies. This might be the break Gil is looking for, but it also might destroy his relationship with Inez.
Allen’s satirical, ironic twists on the rom-com genre have never been more intoxicating. Blending the feverish, impulsive, hopeless romance and the disheartening reality of its lowering priority level amongst our social and political commercialism is ingenious. Allen hasn’t conceived a story this idealistic and unique since his 2008 release of Vicky Christina Barcelona. In that span of three years, he released two films, both misses. However, all is forgiven and forgotten with Midnight in Paris. I’ll contently digest the bad in order to obtain the good, and this good is an acquired and particular taste. Midnight in Paris’s easygoing, eccentric, fruitful completeness is a pleasant sedative that lulls the viewer into the bewildering perplexity of cinemas intended stupefaction.
Midnight in Paris might cater to a certain level of expectancy, which might be off putting to some. It is fully plausible to understand how one might find Midnight in Paris presumptuous and founded upon pretentiousness. On the contrary, it has no intention of condescending to any viewer. A facet of Allen’s brilliance is the simplicity in Midnight in Paris. There is no overcompensation or unnecessary explanation for the time travelling aspect and as a viewer, among many, there is no need or desire to question the implication. Midnight in Paris is enjoyable and easily comprehended, regardless of a factual explanation. All the tools needed to connect with Midnight in Paris are traits of the human body. Laugh, weep, or spite, Midnight in Paris is one of the easiest films to adore that you’ll ever come by.
To my surprise, Owen Wilson did not earn an acting nomination at the 2012 Oscars for his role in Midnight in Paris. His performance is distinguished by the subtlety of his comedic indifference radiating from slight body movements and facial expressions. This is the most effective Owen Wilson has been since 2007’s The Darjeeling Limited, possibly even further back to 2005 with Wedding Crashers. In a surprising change of pace, McAdams undertakes the role of a villain in Midnight in Paris, or maybe that’s just my interpretation. However, coming from me, someone who’s bordering adoration for McAdams is teetering towards obsession, to say that she’s the antagonist, it must be a powerful performance. Finally, Cotillard continues her North American domination with another outstanding effort. In the film, she is the reason we search for love. To sit here and nitpick the impeccable supporting performances from Hiddleston, Brody, Sheen, and Kathy Bates seems pointless. It’s hard to argue perfection when it is only on display for minutes at a time. Take their track records and my word for it, they’re terrific.
In conclusion, just to be clear, I was joking about my McAdams obsession. I simply enjoy her films and performances, as well as think about her night and day…kidding. Midnight in Paris has the comedy and emotion to back up its boastful endeavours and melancholic moments.
Midnight in Paris: 8.5 out of 10.
Striking a strategic balance between its finely interwoven segments. V/H/S revives the steadily declining form of found footage in horror with gloom, grit, and gore. With a wide variety of scares ranging from paranormal to psychological. V/H/S has no shortage of disturbing originality. Throwing in a few sequences with that classic horror feel and a sustained fluidity of fresh, terrifying monstrosities. The directors leave the audience licking their chops, foaming at the mouth for the next nightmare to unveil itself in all of its bloodthirsty glory. Discarding most of the inevitable dissatisfying moments that hamper most anthologies. V/H/S has very little letdown from thread to thread. Featuring shorts directed by Ti West, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, and the quartet known as Radio Silence. V/H/S has no problem getting all of its toxic minds onto the same page.
Amateur Night: 7 out of 10.
Three friends rent a hotel room with intentions of bringing woman back to have sex with. They have rigged one of their friends glasses with a hidden camera so they can capture all of their exploits. Travelling from bar to bar, the group finally discover a few girls willing to hang out with them named Lily and Lisa. Throughout the night, Lily continuously mutters “I like you” to Clint, one of the three friends. When they return to the hotel room, Lisa passes out from the heavy drinking. What ensues when Lily reveals her true self is unbelievably terrifying.
Second Honeymoon: 6.5 out of 10.
Sam and Stephanie are a married couple who head out west for their second honeymoon. After renting out a sleazy motel room, the couple attend various local attractions. On the first night, a mysterious girl knocks on their motel room door and asks for a ride the next day. In the middle of the night, someone breaks into their motel room and records herself as she rubs a switchblade over Stephanie’s thigh. Returning to the motel after visiting a canyon during the day, the two head to sleep. That night, the woman enters the room again.
Tuesday the 17th: 6.5 out of 10.
Three friends, Joey, Spider, and Samantha accompany their new friend Wendy on a camping trip. As Wendy leads them through the woods, she tells them that her friends were killed by a murderer last year in this forest. Brushing it off as a joke, the group proceeds to have a relaxing weekend. But when Wendy tells them she has lead them here so she can capture the murderer, things take a turn for the worse.
The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger: 8 out of 10.
Emily and her boyfriend James video chat consistently. One night, Emily complains of a strange bump on her arm that reminds her of a similar incident when she was younger. When strange occurrences begin to happen in her apartment, Emily claims it to be haunted. Later, Emily begins to dig under her skin with a scalpel. When the disturbances occur more violently and frequently, Emily seeks James for assistance in a matter that is getting out of hand.
10/31/98: 7.5 out of 10.
Chad, Matt, Tyler, and Paul are dressed up for Halloween and ready to attend a party. When they arrive at the house, it appears to be deserted. However, they manage to sneak in to the house. As bizarre events and paranormal hallucinations begin to occur, the group think it to be a practical joke. As things become more serious and frightening, the group makes a startling discover that threatens their existence.
As you start to feel those tiny droplets of sweat trickle down your forehead and cheeks, squint your eyes a bit to soften the blow of being shocked, and begin to get the jitters through your extremities, that’s when you realize the animosity of V/H/S. It may not be as potent as some of the top end, great, or even classic horror films. But for its low budgeted, inventive complexity, V/H/S has plenty of fright and makes good use of every second of screen time.
Wether it’s a penis being tossed at the camera, hands reaching out from the walls, or a living glitch, V/H/S delivers the scares and balance most horror anthologies can only have nightmares about.
V/H/S: 7 out of 10.
All right, now, not to be confused with last week’s “Top 10 Films of 2013 Predicted.” This week’s Top 10 will consist of the 10 most wanted films set for release in 2013. Judged by budget, publicity, and overall excitement stemming from the general public, this Top 10 will feature, in a general sense, crowd pleasers. Without any further ado, let’s begin.
Honourable Mentions: Anchorman 2, Monsters University, The Wolverine, Elysium, Sin City 2, Kick Ass 2, Evil Dead.
10: Thor: The Dark World. The hotly anticipated follow up to 2011’s smash hit Thor. This soon to be blockbuster stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins.
9: The Great Gatsby. From visionary director Baz Luhrmann and starring a plethora of stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan. and Jason Clarke. The Great Gatsby seems primed for stardom.
8: The Green Inferno, V/H/S 2, and The Conjuring. This is for all of you who need your horror fix, a lot like us. Coming from modern horror master such as James Wan, Eli Roth, and Adam Wingard. This trio of frightening delights is sure to leave your pants wet and in need of a wash.
The Conjuring Trailer:
V/H/S 2 Trailer:
The Green Inferno: First official picture.
7: This is the End and The World’s End. Here to get you prepared for the apocalypse are these two doomsday comedies. Brought to you by the guys behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The World’s End reunites Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Also starring Martin Freeman, The World’s End looks like to become another cult favourite. As for This is the End, starring a multitude of comedies best such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Jonah Hill. This hilarious heavyweight film should be interesting to say the least.
This is the End: Red Band Trailer.
The World’s End:
6: World War Z. Brad Pitt, Zombies, and based off of Max Brooks highly addicting novel, need I say more?
5: Iron Man 3. The Third entry into the Iron Man trilogy. It features an army of iron men and Ben Kingsley as a villain. Your argument is invalid.
4: Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring Idris Elba. This monster vs man picture features the use of gigantic robots controlled by humans battling humongous aliens, I’m sold.
3: Man of Steel. Produced by Christopher Nolan and starring Michael Shannon as General Zod. Man of Steel is the highly anticipated reboot of the Superman franchise.
2: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The follow up to An Unexpected Journey. Peter Jackson’s The Desolation of Smaug should be a much improved film and appease those disappointed by the first.
1: Star Trek Into Darkness. I have nothing to say, I am beyond words with anticipation. Just enjoy the trailer.
Deceptively intricate and performed infallibly. Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines is morally sound and inevitably cyclic. Encompassing a complex set of circumstances marred by incalculable chaos. The Place Beyond the Pines is irrefutable evidence that history is inescapable. Now, whether or not we chose to look upon this unavoidable repetition as beneficial, dooming, or simply as fate itself, is entirely subjected to the nature and nurture of our upbringing to the very present moment we have watched this film. Cianfrance has laid out multiple paths that we are allowed to tread along. The decision however, lies within our beliefs, karmic standpoint, and stance on true freedom. Featuring an all star cast that includes, Ryan Gosling, Ben Mendelsohn, Bruce Greenwood, Bradley Cooper, Rose Bryne, Ray Liotta, Dane DeHaan, and Eva Mendes. Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines is a highly philosophical, towering achievement in understanding the makings of a generation fuelled by loss, regret, and deprivation.
Luke (Gosling) is a talented and mischievous motorcycle stuntman who travels with a carnival, currently stopped in Schenectady, New York. Luke is trying to reconnect with his past lover named Romina (Mendes). Romina secretly gave birth to Luke’s son and neglected to tell him as he was travelling with the carnival for the past year. In order to provide for his new baby and Romina, Luke quits the carnival and commits a series of bank robberies with his friend Robin (Mendelsohn). As Luke continues to raise the stakes, the more heat he is under. After a robbery, Luke is confronted with a chase to escape the clutches of a persistent police officer named Avery Cross (Cooper). Avery is confronted with his own tribulations as he soon realizes his police force is ripe with corruption and his marriage to Jennifer (Byrne) is faltering. Fifteen years down the road, Luke and Avery’s paths continue to cross.
It is excessively challenging to navigate a film with several, individual story lines. When stitching together a film as complex as Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, you run the risk of overbearing the audience. The multiple motivations, principles, and circumstantial elements the viewer needs to consider while deciphering impressions could very well prove too disproportionate. However, with The Place Beyond the Pines, this is not the case. Cianfrance’s ability to extract only what is essential from his cast and divide the disarray into manageable portions is a harrowing achievement. For a film that is packed with calamity and discord, there is never a feeling of disorganization. You’ll never have the urge to scramble. You’ll create a complete, unhampered opinion of the characters.
A rather unexpected fault I originally found with this film is the indifference I felt towards Bradley Cooper’s character. Then, after some time had passed, I came to the conclusion that it was and is the way I am supposed to feel towards him. It was alarming at first because of the compassion and sympathy I was able to emit for Ryan Gosling’s character. When looked at comparatively, Gosling and Cooper play relatively the same role, the only difference is they’re at opposite ends of the moral chain. Both have made grave errors in their time, do whatever is necessary to keep themselves alive, and relentlessly provide for their families. Now, some will undoubtedly share similar opinions to my own and some will relate to Cooper more earnestly then Gosling. The point is that their isn’t an issue with who’ve you found favour in.
In a similar fashion, the viewer will be polarized by Gosling’s son and Cooper’s. I generally felt a deep hatred for Cooper’s son for not respecting the opportunities and benefits he has in front of him. Conversely, Gosling’s son was very loyal and charged with an ambitious, thirsty energy. So I full heartedly despised Cooper’s son for his idiotic behaviour and not relishing what he has available to him. I’m supposed to be summarizing the casts performances, gotten a bit sidetracked. I suppose I am reviewing subconsciously and that this personal dissection is probably the best way to influence your opinion regarding this film.
In comparison to Gosling, Cooper did not measure up. For his segment, Cooper had arguably been set up for disappointment. Following up a masterful performance is never easy. However, having one of your top actors be slightly over performed by another is a great problem to have. Ben Mendelsohn has slowly creeped his way to becoming one of my favourite actors currently active. His performances in The Dark Knight Rises, Killing Them Softly, and now The Place Beyond the Pines are staggering. It seems with each outing he becomes more confident and orbited. Another actor who has had a terrific rise is Dane DeHaan. After contributing to the misunderstood Lawless and surprising Chronicle, DeHaan certainly left his mark in The Place Beyond the Pines. Rose Byrne continues to prove why she is one of the hottest actresses in cinema today. A heartbreaking performance alongside a disgruntled Cooper is no easy feat. In their limited time, Bruce Greenwood and Ray Liotta wielded their experience in spectacular fashion. It’s remarkable how Liotta can just stare at you and its almost enough to make you wet yourself in fear. In a film littered with outstanding performances, Eva Mendes is passable. Now, it isn’t as recognizable because the viewer is focused in on everything thats going on. But, this was a supreme opportunity for her to prove herself alongside these acting heavyweights and she didn’t fully grasp the chance.
Besides an impeccable effort in controlling the vast and multifaceted stories in The Place Beyond the Pines. Cianfrance infuses an enthralling atmosphere to a suggestive and emotionally dark film. With an invested and talented cast, an unprecedented script, and a director brave enough to undertake it. The Place Beyond the Pines is a rare blend of bravery, sacrifice, and judgement.
The Place Beyond the Pines: 9 out of 10.
With Aftershock set to be released May 9th, I figured it would be best to post this review now to give you, the viewers, a better sense of what you can expect.
If I started talking about a revolutionist for violence, sex, and gore in cinema, your first guess as to who it is would probably be right. Eli Roth’s co-written and produced natural disaster horror Aftershock is set for release later in 2013. But I had the privilege of viewing it and witnessing the master himself discuss Aftershock at the Toronto International Film Festival this past year. Roth may have handed the directing reigns off to the talented Nicolas Lopez who also co-wrote the script, but he did it so he could take on the lead role in this earthquake thriller. Also starring the beautiful Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, and Nicolas Martinez. Aftershock is a tamer outing for something that has Roth written all over it. However, sacrificing some nudity and blood for a stronger story and emotional balance appears to have paid off for Mr. Roth and company. Although he is sharing the spotlight, Aftershock just might be Eli Roth’s most mature and complete offering to date, even if his previous outings consist of dissecting human flesh and border necrophilia.
Gringo (Roth) and his friends Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) and Ariel (Levy) head to Chile for a vacation. After they meet up with a group of girls, they begin to check out the sights together. Upon attending an underground night club, a massive earthquake hits the city. Desperately scrambling to escape the collapsing building and the horrific violence inside, the group soon realize that the surface is ripe with terror. Running into gangs of criminals, large debris, and the possibility of an impending tsunami, the group search for an escape.
One of the perks of having a Q and A after a film is the attendees are handed the gift to better understand where a pictures roots dwell. Hearing Nicolas Lopez, Eli Roth, and cast discuss the origin of the film and the real life horror they and friends encountered during the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Chile in 2010 was riveting. Not to mention learning that some of the film was actually shot in some remnant ruins left after the quake. I’ll post a link to the entire Q and A section at the end of the review.
Aftershock is a tale split into two variants of the horror genre. The first sequence is an honest, brutal retelling of the earthquakes destructiveness and the utter terror experienced by those trapped by its immense force. The second sequence is a embellishment of the instinctive cruelty and animalistic nature of humanity. If the last half of the film wasn’t so absurd and unnecessarily degrading, Aftershock would have soared above what has become conventional horror. Which is why when watching Aftershock you can’t help but feel it didn’t fully realize its opportunity. However, thanks to the fresh, unflinching look into the effects of a natural disaster, Aftershock can’t be dismissed.
Roth is his usual eccentric, seductive self in the lead. He is able to feed off the natural beauty of Chile and the capable performances of his co-stars. I expected the cast to resort to typical horror cliches, but that is one of the redeeming qualities of Aftershock. It tries to dispose of the common mistakes made currently in the genre instead of crumbling under them. I’ll also give a shout out to Nicolas Lopez who handled the massive scale of the film very well. Aftershock is a refreshing attempt at jump starting an over-saturated genre. But due in part to a less than plausible second half and a lack of general scares, Aftershock cannot truly live up to the hype.
I just have to add that Aftershock does have one of the best final scenes and cinema deaths simultaneously in recent memory and also contains a cameo of Selena Gomez.
Aftershock: 6 out of 10. (It might be a 6 because I have a soft spot for Eli Roth).
Here is the link for the entire Q and A.
Depending too heavily on the CGI to rescue its faults and scavenging a few too many plot points from other science fiction films. Oblivion’s bloated budget and excessive storyline dismantle any hope for resuscitation and disengage the audience to a point of pity. Even though at times Oblivion seems to be saved from becoming another meaningless entry into an over saturated genre. The forced and fabricated acting, with the exception of Andrea Risebourough, is too artificial, much like the numerous drones and futuristic machines zooming sporadically around Oblivion’s desolate Earth. Directed by TRON: Legacy’s Joseph Kosinski and featuring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, and the aforementioned Andrea Risebourough. Oblivion has the accomplished, visionary crew to undertake its cosmic mission, but doesn’t have the essential resources to get more than a few feet off the ground.
In the year 2077, Jack Harper (Cruise) and Victoria (Riseborough) are a team assigned to Earth for drone repair. Jack travels down to the surface for the repairs while Victoria monitors him from above. The drones are used to eliminate any remaining Scavs on Earth after the war. The human race was at war with the alien species after they destroyed the moon, causing multiple natural disasters which wiped out a large chunk of the population. Humanity was forced to use nuclear weapons. Humanity won the war, but lost the planet. The remaining population now lives on Titan, a moon of Saturn, while a few remain on the spaceship TET orbiting Earth. When Jack is attending to a routine repair, an unidentified object crashes into Earth. When he searches the wreckage, he makes a startling discover that shatters his perceived notion of what is real and sets out on a mission to discover the truth.
Let’s begin with the positives of Oblivion, even if they are scarce. Surprisingly, Oblivion is full of lacklustre performances from the likes of Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, and Olga Kurylenko. With their film history, you wouldn’t expect it. I anticipated more from them, especially Kurylenko after seeing her recently in To the Wonder. However, Andrea Risebourough is the only bright spot amongst the mediocrity. Her calm and composed nature is elegantly emotionless, robot like. She radiates, exudes those few moments before a storm. As long as she isn’t disturbed or have her routine interrupted, she’ll continue to glow, seductively. Yet, when the fabric of her apocalyptic world comes undone, she destroys what’s blocking the path. To be honest, she’s probably the reason I didn’t walk out of the theatre, I think that is the highest praise I can give. With Cruise and Freeman, you know what you’re getting. We take the good with the bad from them because the good is worth it. Unfortunately however, Oblivion is the bad.
Aside from the heavenly performance by Risebourough. The only other positive Oblivion has to offer is its top of the line CGI. Which shouldn’t really be a positive at all. It should be afore gone conclusion that with its budget, Oblivion should produce unparalleled computer generated imagery. But, for the sake of this review, lets pretend that it’s a miraculous feat. I’d also like to applaud Kosinski and crew for trying to inject as much emotion and humanity into the film that they could muster. They didn’t fail miserably. Again, the issue stems from the unnatural dialogue. There is no flow to it, it simply isn’t fluid enough. The scene that resonated with me the most is when Risebourough, naked, seduces Cruise into the pool and the two begin to entangle themselves beneath the surface. I find it quite ironic that in a film that suffers greatly from its overly complex story, the most entrancing scene is also the most simple.
Now for the lacklustre. In summary, the dialogue is too scripted, not at all realistic and it causes great disconnect with the viewers. How can one empathize with what is happening when it is painfully clear that you’re watching a performance.This coincides with the storyline and characters being abhorrently predictable. Moving right along, Oblivion steals too many plot points from other, successful sci-fi films such as Moon, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix, etc…This contributes to the predictability of the film because we’ve seen it all before. It was actually infuriating watching Oblivion’s plot continue to pile useless addition after useless addition of unnecessary twists and turns from past films of the genre.
Despite its stunning CGI and a lovely performance from Andrea Risebourough. Oblivion’s lack of originality and unbelievable characters are the reason it falters.
Oblivion: 5.5 out of 10.
Cosmopolis’s ability to extract the listlessness and monotonous atmosphere from its source material is flawless. Based on the book of the same title written by satirical novelist Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis is a Cronenberg film through and through. Starring the polarizing Robert Pattinson, Cosmopolis’s depressing, realistic insight into the populaces current state of desensitization and the restlessness of its growing boredom is unflinching. The limited setting and narrow storyline combined with a terrifically terrifying emotionless performance from Pattinson will definitely discourage. But to those who can appreciate its simplicity and stomach its message of the lifeless direction humanity is heading towards, Cosmopolis is a mirror into the soul of civilization. Directed by David Cronenberg who also adapts Cosmopolis to the screen. This unique view of society’s heart is heartbreaking to say the least.
Eric Packer (Pattinson) is a 28 year old billionaire riding across Manhattan to get a haircut. He is riding in his limousine which also acts as his office from day to day. Eric needs his haircut to be from his preferred barber, which he is willing to travel to, even through traffic. The traffic is caused by the president of the United States. At different points in the day, Eric meets with his wife who is unwilling to have sex with him. Stopping at various destinations for sex, food, a doctors appointment, and to discuss business, all mostly occurring in his limousine, Eric begins traveling down a path to self-destruction.
Those who’ve read DeLillo’s novel are aware it has divided his audience. Cosmopolis is thought by some to be a contrived effort not meant to grace the pages of a paperback, let alone the big screen. Others perceive it as an unblinking eye gazing into the tasteless abyss consuming us, the consumers. The themes and subject matter of Cosmopolis are intentionally shallow. Shedding light onto sham marriages, our cultures obsession with outward looks, social sex, our numb toleration of violence, and the deadening praise to unworthy idols. To say that nothing occurs in Cosmopolis is defamation. Countless situations and events take place, there is simply no structure to them and Cronenberg honours that. The notion that books with no plots or foundation make bad movies is a fabrication. It is not the norm however and ones ability to surpass the conception of these patterns will greatly enhance the viewing of Cosmopolis.
Now that my rant is out of the way. Cosmopolis might not be Cronenberg’s best outing, but it’s still a Cronenberg film. His ability to create relevant films whether or not they sit well with the audience is unmatched. Cronenberg is aware of his following and what they can tolerate. Cosmopolis might test that notion more than Cronenberg’s past pictures, but even if it disperses his following, Cronenberg is staying true to his obscure roots. As for performances, Robert Pattinson’s is the only one worth discussing. Even if a emotionless, bereaved role is in his sweet spot, Pattinson surprised many. Not only by being cast in this Cronenberg film, but the outcome of his dead faced performance. Pattinson captures Eric Packer like lighting in a bottle.
Cosmopolis’s deep message and ugly surface are a hefty contrast. But for those who can take the punch, it is a redemptive reward.
Cosmopolis: 7 out of 10.
In anticipation of Alpha Papa, I’ve decided to review and, in a sense, revive this hilarious, yet relatively unknown television show originating in 1997 entitled I’m Alan Partridge. Outlandishly funny, subtly sensitive, and featuring a career defining role for Steve Coogan. I’m Alan Partridge might cater to a certain comedic taste. But the intelligent humour occasionally swaps its satire for idiotic laughs that are sure to please any viewer. The first season original aired on BBC in the year 1997. It then took another five years for the second season to be released, also airing on BBC. Each season consists of six episodes with each running just short of thirty minutes. The show depicts the life of Alan Partridge in his late thirties. Partridge, played by Steve Coogan, is recently divorced and hosts a radio show in the early hours of the morning. Deceptively controversial, intentionally sporadic, and bursting with likeable characters. I’m Alan Partridge is sure to make you laugh out loud and cause your body ache.
Season 1: In the first season, Alan, recently divorced from his wife Carol, has found residence in the Linton Travel Tavern. He has distanced himself from his kids and currently works for a broadcasting company. Alan’s radio show is entitled “Up with the Partridge.” Aside from his radio show, Alan allows appears in low-profile and weakly funded appearances for various corporations and businesses.
Season 2: Five years after the first season, Alan has left the tavern and moved into his own house. He continues to host his radio show but it has been moved to the third best time slot available. Alan has released an autobiographical book titled “Bouncing Back.” He lives in a caravan outside of his dream home that is unfinished.
Since its inception, I’m Alan Partridge has received critical acclaim, for example, garnering several BAFTA nominations. However, the surprising number of, not just viewers, but followers, is staggering. Coogan has been able to keep Alan Partridge going for an extended amount of time and make it as fresh as ever. With a strong cult following and a full length feature set for release in 2013, Alan Partridge shows no signs of dying anytime soon. I’ll post the teaser trailer for Alpha Papa at the end of the review.
It is extremely difficult to review a show with such a limited number of chapters, but I digress. I guess this review will have to be short and sweet. Here is a bit of history regarding Alan Partridge. Steve Coogan has been the brains and talent for Alan Partridge for over 20 years. Originating from a radio show called, On the Hour, Coogan has been portraying Partridge since 1991. Appearing in various radio shows, television series, and numerous TV and Radio specials, Coogan has certainly made sure Mr. Partridge has been active.
I’m Alan Partridge is a clever, witty, hilarious show full of potent, satirical jabs at every facet of our society’s growing fascination with celebrity.
I’m Alan Partridge: 9 out of 10.
Here is the trailer for Alpha Papa.
To make the directive of this list clear. The films contained are what myself and cinema2033 believe to be the best hopes for cinema in 2013. Again, these are our preferential films, not that of the general viewing public. We are simply predicting what we think will be our favourite or preferred films of the year. We will be creating a separate list with what we believe to be the most anticipated films of 2013. That list will be our perceived notions from discussing and judging the amount of publicity, budget, and overall excitement of the general public. Without further delay, Enjoy another chapter of our top 10 series.
Let’s begin this list with the honourable mentions. Stoker, A Single Shot, The Look of Love, American Hustle, Don Jon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, The Fifth Estate, Out of the Furnace, Kill Your Darlings, and Before Midnight. We would also like to insert Terrence Malick’s 2013 film, even though its cast, story, and release date are kind of up in the air at the moment.
10: Inside Llewyn Davis. Directed and written by the Coen brothers and starring Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac, Garrett Hedlund, and John Goodman. Inside Llewyn Davis is sure to be another Coen brother smash.
9: Mud. Written and Directed by Jeff Nichols, the mind behind Shotgun Stories and the hauntingly epic Take Shelter. Mud stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Michael Shannon.
8: Trance. The new film from the brilliant Danny Boyle. Trance is a mind-bending thrill ride featuring outstanding performances from James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel.
7: The Counselor. Based on Cormac McCarthy’s incredible novel and helmed by none other than Ridley Scott. With its outstanding cast that features Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Javier Bardem. The Counselor is ripe with genius and ready for viewing.
6: The Place Beyond the Pines. Directed by Derek Cianfrance and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Rose Byrne, and Ben Mendelsohn. The Place Beyond the Pines is an intricate gem.
5: The Way, Way Back. What seems to be an endearing coming of age romantic comedy. The Way, Way Back looks to have another outstanding performance from Sam Rockwell and an unusual role for Steve Carrell.
4: Nymphomaniac. Directed by the creative and controversial Lars von Trier. Nymphomaniac appears to be a fresh take on sexual addiction with Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Stellan Skarsgard leading the way.
3: The Wolf of Wall Street. Directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, need I say more?
2: Only God Forgives. The Duo of Gosling and Refn appear to be stealing the spotlight from Scorsese and DiCaprio, and rightfully so. This follow up to their 2011 hit Drive is one of the most anticipated releases of 2013.
1: Twelve Years a Slave. Steve McQueen, director of Hunger and Shame, teams up once again with Michael Fassbender for this mid-1800 slavery epic. Also starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, and Scoot McNairy. Twelve Years a Slave has all the key facets to take top spot as our best film of 2013 predicted.
If you think we overlooked a film or made a grave error on our list, please comment below. Also, if you have recommendations for future top 10’s, don’t hesitate to let us know.