Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark (2010)

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark,2010,USA
Director:Troy Nixey
Stars: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison

A young girl is sent to live with her estranged father and his girlfriend at their new home. The father, Alex has plans to spruce up the home with the help of his interior decorator girlfriend, Kim. The previous owner of the home was a famous painter who mysteriously disappeared. Alex's daughter, Sally, soon discovers the cause of the painter's disappearance.

A remake of the of the 1973 Horror film of the same name,Produced and written by acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro,I was eagerly anticipating the film because of Del Toro's involvement having loved Pan's Labyrinth,I was expecting and hoping this film would be a lot like Del Toro's 2007 produced thriller "The Orphanage" in quality and tone,The Orphanage was an extremely creepy,gripping and scary film with an brilliantly Erie atmosphere.Unfortunenlty Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark was a major disappointment,for me the film lacked everything i wanted or expected,The film takes a solid story and faults it with terrible looking CGI,weak acting and some ridiculous momements.

I thought the films special effects looked cheesy and seemed more comedic than horrific,The acting isn't great either,Guy Pearce who is usually always realiable gives a mediocre performance but isnt given much charecter to work with,Katie Holmes who is usually always mediocre does nothing special here,The only shining light in the cast is young Bailee Madison who plays the centeral character,a frightened but brave young girl who knows the old house's secret.

Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark is an extremely mediocre horror film,it has no redeeming qualities and is instantly forgettable and just bitterly disappointing.


The Hitcher (1986)

The Hitcher,1986,USA
Director:Robert Harmon
Stars:Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh

While driving a rental car between states,Jim Halsey(Howell)makes the deadly decision of stopping to pick up a Hitch Hiker(Hauer).Little does Jim know,he has picked up a sadistic serial killer who murders innocent drivers along the highway,and although he escapes his clutches once,The hitch hiker continues his killing spree all while framing Halsey and starting a large police chase in search of him.Along with the help of a Truck stop waitress named Nash (Jennifer Jason Leigh)Jim must find a way to prove his innocence all while ending The Hitch Hiker's reign of terror.

I love The Hitcher,Terrific imagery,A cool 80's score,Brilliant locations and its suspenseful plot make it an A-Grade thriller.C Thomas Howell is good here as the hero of the film and has good support when matched with Jennifer Jason Leigh.The show stealer though is the always brilliant Rutger Hauer as "The Hitcher",Hauer is terrifying and enthralling every second he's on screen and really elevates the film.The film also has some graphic violence and death scenes which makes Hauer's character even more intimidating.

The Hitcher is a terrific thriller,Rutger Hauer's performance is phenomenal.A Great suspenseful and scarily realistic film.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Attack The Block (2011)

Attack The Block,2011,UK
Director:Joe Cornish
Stars:John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker and Nick Frost

A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

Surely soon to become a cult classic,Attack The Block is an Independent Horror-Comedy from Writer/Director Joe Cornish,known for his work with Edgar Wright,with whom he wrote the script for Steven Spielberg's upcoming "The Adventures Of Tin Tin",Cornish makes hes Directorial debut with Attack The Block,which has some similarities with Wright's 2004 Horror-Comedy classic "Shaun Of The Dead",Telling the story of young London gang dealing with a sudden Alien invasion on their block,the film is full of great British humor along with fun actions scenes that make this movie extremely enjoyable,I didn't love the film,while at times it was fast paced and great fun,but other times it felt like the film dragged along slightly,and there were some characters that i found annoying and didn't connect with.

I felt like some of the actors were taking the parts a little to seriously and at times seemed oddly intense,I really wish the characters were more like the ones from Shaun Of The Dead,ordinary guys who are thrust into a bizarre and horrific situation which resulted in a hilarious outcome.Shaun Of The Dead star Nick Frost,is the biggest name in the cast and is one of the actors that doesn't takes his role too seriously,which makes him one of the most likable and hilarious characters on screen.

There is a lot of over the top action in this film which works really well,The Aliens designs are humorous and cool and reminded me a lot of giant sized versions of the creatures from "Critters"

Attack The Block is an entertaining British Horror-Comedy,while its defiently not in the realm of films like "Shaun Of The Dead" or "Hot Fuzz" it is a fun time,delivering on both humor and action.


Red Dog (2011)

Red Dog,2011,Australia
Director:Kriv Stenders
Stars: Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor and Keisha Castle-Hughes

Based on the legendary true story of the Red Dog who united a disparate local community while roaming the Australian outback in search of his long lost master.

A film telling the story of the legendary small town dog who captured the spirit and imagination of a counrty,Red Dog is purely Australian from its setting to its charecters.The film has been praised all over Australian and has been hailed as the best Aussie film of the year,Its easy to see why, Although Red Dog is far from perfect filmmaking it is a crowd pleaser in every sense of the word.The film is obviously campy and over the top,especially towards the end,but its hard not to enjoy or get sucked in by its ridiculousness.The charecters are mostly likable and the scenary is great but the star of the show is the actual Dog,im not sure if its the same dog the whole way through,but the dog or Dogs in the title role are terrific,there is also some funny humor involved.

American export Josh Lucas takes the main role as Red Dog's owner and does a decent job,Rachel Taylor also stars,ive never really been a fan of hers,but its obvious why she keeps getting roles.Noah Taylor also has a minor role.

Red Dog is an enjoyable Aussie Comedy,all though its not tight film making and is at times uneven ,Red Dog is at times a good comedy and other times an emotional tearjerker.

Tom: 2.5/4

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sleeping Beauty (2011)

Sleeping Beauty,2011,Australia
Director:Julia Leigh
Stars:Emily Browning, Rachael Blake and Ewen Leslie
Emily Browning, Sleeping Beauty 2011
A haunting portrait of Lucy, a young university student drawn into a mysterious hidden world of unspoken desires.

Im not sure if its right to say that i liked or enjoyed a movie where the central character is young female university student who is voluntary drugged in order for old rich men to have their way with her.Id heard some negative reviews prior to watching but i thought Sleeping Beauty was a gripping,traumatic, horrifying and intense Australian drama,Fueled by its remarkable lead performance "Sleeping Beauty" is a gripping film.Relating back to my opening statement i "liked" the film,It was a unique experience and interesting to see an Australian be so risky,raunchy and haunting,Its in the same vein as Aussie dramas from recent years such as "The Loved Ones","Animal Kingdom" and "Snowtown"

Aussie actress Emily Browning's performance is the highlight of the film,proving how fearless and brilliant she is as an actress,Hopefully she gets some roles in worthy films in the future,Unlike Zack Synder's "SuckerPunch".I never really heard of anyone else in the cast but they all seem to do a decent job in their small roles,but know one comes close to upstaging Browning.

I dont agree with the negative reviews this film received,I think its a haunting portrait of adolescence.Emily Browning is absolutely phenomenal and her performance really elevates the film,Its a hard film to watch but i think its very rewarding and very much worth your time.

Tom: 3/4

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense,1999,USA
Director: M Night Shyamalan
Stars:Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment and Toni Collette
The Sixth Sense Film
A boy who communicates with spirits that don't know they're dead seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.

I've never seen The Sixth Sense as a Horror film,But more of a drama with the elements of a thriller,The film in my view is more touching than "Scary" and i would even go as far as to call it a "Tear jerker".M Night Shymalan has lost much of his credit in recent years,thanks to panned films like "Lady In The Water","The Happening" and "The Last Airbender",but in 1999 after The Sixth Sense,Night was a genius,The film was a world wide phenomenon becoming one of the Highest grossing films of all time and garnerd critical acclaim with six Academy Award Nominations including one for Best Picture.Recognized for its film changing twist,the film was able to stick with audiences long after viewing.12 years after its release the twist has been so installed in pop culture,as is its famous line "I See Dead People", that its hard to watch the film for the first time not knowing,I personally dont think this takes away from the film's emotional punch.

Say what you will about Shymalan's style of film making,Here his style is perfect for this kind of film.An erie an uncertain atmosphere looms during the entire film as the audience fears for the safety and state of mind of young Cole(Osment).The performances are great, Bruce Willis gives probably the best dramatic performance of his career as Malcolm Crowe,A disheartened child psychologists who looks to do all he can to help young Cole to make up for the missed opportunity he had with an earlier patent named Vincent Grey(Donnie Wahlberg).Haley Joel Osment is one of the films greatest assets as the young boy with a terrifying secret.Toni Collette is also amazing as always as the caring,desperate and fearful mother,Her final scene with Osment is the most touching of the film.Donnie Wahlberg is very edgy and intense in his brief role.

While being a great drama film,The Sixth Sense features some very intense and thrilling scenes featuring Cole's traumatic visions of ghosts,which include a suicidal mother and A young boy who knows where his fathers Gun is,But in my opinion the film never becomes a "Horror" film,i know most people see it as one but i just cant.

The Sixth Sense is a classic Drama/thriller.Featuring strong performances along with good Direction from Shymalan and a classic twist.


Friday, 25 November 2011

Final Destination 5 (2011)

Final Destination 5,2011,USA
Director:Steven Quale
Stars: Nicholas D'Agosto, Emma Bell and Arlen Escarpeta
Final Destination 5 Review
Survivors of a suspension-bridge collapse learn there's no way you can cheat Death.

After the abomination that was 2009's "The Final Destination" The entire series looked like it was on the way out,How many times can the audience watch the same concept? (Well Saw got to 7)in 2000"Final Destination" was a unique concept, riding of the success of the brand of teen horror used in the "Scream" series,It revolved around a kid who has a premintion which sees him and a few of his school mates forced from the plane,Unfortunently the premintion come to true killing everyone on the plane,and giving the group the idea they have cheated death,but one by one they start dieing through strange accidents proving that you cant escape death.The film was enjoyable,entertaining and successful leading to four sequels which weren't as well received,we got more of the same with every film until with the fourth installment where 3D technology was introduced,unfortunenlty that film was the worst of lot and probably should have stopped the series dead in its tracks,But No two years later we get a fifth installment which also uses 3D,Could this film be the final nail in the coffin for Final Destiantion? fortunently Final Destianntion 5 is not and is arguably one of the best in the series,giving us something new along the same old concept.

The film features some unique and gory deaths,The premintion scene,This time feautruing the collapse of a suspension is really well done and we also get Tony Todd reprising his role as Bludworth,A Corroner who knows all to much about the strange phenomeon.The thing that separateness this film from the others is its final plot twist which connects well with the rest of the franchise and gives the film a great final punchline.

Final Destination is a breath of fresh air to fans of the series,giving us something new to go with the old,Its a very fun film and uses the 3D technology extremely well

Tom: 3/4

The Ides Of March (2011)

The Ides Of March,2011,USA
Director:George Clooney
Stars:Ryan Gosling,George Clooney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman

An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.

With The Ides Of March Georege Clooney directs a tale of the greed and deception of the Power hungry men that run our countries.Fueled by powerful performances and intense plot twists,The Ides Of March is brilliant entertainment but also makes a strong social statement as to who are these men and women who promise us a better life and what are they really like behind the cameras.Clooney adds to his already impressive list of Directed films that include "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind" and "Goodnight And Good Luck" but this time takes on a more serious and real issue,that of the people responsible for the state and well being of a country.He does a very decent job as the film packs and intelligent and knowledgeable as well as an emotional punch.

The film features a phenomenal all star cast which is lead by Ryan Gosling, I'm a big fan of Gosling and in my opinion the man can do no wrong as of late,and his performance here just adds to his terrific filmography,He plays the middle man, A man who is pure gold for his campaign but gets involved loyalty issues and is soon stranded between the two parties as he knows a terrible secret about the Governor.Also included in the cast is the always amazing actors Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti as well as Marisa Tomei,Jeffery Wright,Evan Rachel Wood and George Clooney himself as the shady politician Mike Morris.

The film has a few pacing issues,in my opinion i think there could have been scenes that could have been cut in order to make the film flow better,But that's a minor complaint as the film doesn't feel slow or dull as its performances are always captivating and the cinematography is fantastic.

The Ides Of March is a great film,The acting is enough reason to see it alone,even though overall its terrific. I defiantly think this will be a strong contender at next years Academy Awards.

Tom: 3.5/4

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Drive (2011)

Director:Nicolas Winding Refn
Stars:Ryan Gosling,Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston

A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong.

Nicolas Winding Refn's arthouse thriller "Drive" has garnered critical praise worldwide,Featuring gritty and sometimes bloody violence along with amazingly thrilling scenes,a great score and intense performances.Drive stars Ryan Gosling as its lead character.Without a doubt Gosling is one of the best young actors working in Hollywood today,With great performances in such films as "Half Nelson","Lars And The Real Girl","Blue Valentine" aswell as George Clooney's recent political thriller "The Ides Of March",While he has been phenomenal in those films,I think he's performance in this film soars above them all.He is intense brooding,menacing and heroic playing a character known only as "Driver",A Hollywood stunt driver by day getaway driver by night.The film makes a statement about hero's and the Driver is ours,but that's a loose term for the character.Although hes character may assist petty criminals,He does take upon himself to assist a young single mother(Played By Carey Mulligan) who's husband is behind bars.

Gosling's exceptional performance is matched by a phenomenal supporting cast featuring Bryan Cranston,Albert Brooks,Carey Mulligan,Oscar Isaac,Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman.Cranston is terrific as always as possibly the only truly good man on screen,While Brooks gives an Oscar worthy supporting performance as the creepy and menacing villain.

The film is full of fast paced action which is effective throughout the whole film,with great opening and closing sequences and a pretty unforgettably violent elevator scene,The film is awesomely written by Hossein Amini,And Refn's Direction is impeccable and its just such a well made film.

Drive is definently one of my favorite films of 2011,Its so good in every aspect,Gosling is beyond brilliant.I know the film suffered some backlash from audiences but for me it definenlty lives up to its hype.

Tom: 4/4

Monday, 21 November 2011

Super 8 (2011)

Super 8,2011,USA
Director: J.J Abrams
Stars:Elle Fanning,Joel Courtney and Kyle Chandler

During the summer of 1979,While shooting an amateur film,A group of friends witness a horrific train crash and along with the rest of the town get a first hand look at the unexplained and mysterious happenings that take place afterwards.

"Super 8" is Directed by J.J Abrams and is an obvious love letter to adventure films of the 80's and in particular to the films of Steven Spielberg,Who produces,In every frame Abrams love for these films is present as he attempts to make a film in the realm of Spielberg's "E.T" unfortunently i had some big problems with the film and most of which comes from Abrams overly sentimental and all round over the top Direction.

I saw Super 8 for the first time during its cinema run,After months of anticipation, Unfortunenlty i left theater extremely disappointed and let down by the films cheesiness and over the top ending,Upon a re-watch i lightened my opinion on Super 8,Its a mix between films like "The Goonies" and "Stand By Me"(to an extent)along with sci fi classics such as "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" and of course "E.T",Although it doesn't come near the realm of any of those films,It is entertaining and fun but large plot holes and Abrams over the top Direction keep me from loving it.

My favorite thing about this film is the performances, All the kids are terrific, especially Elle Fanning who is an amazing young actress.I wish Spielberg has some input with the Story, i know it was Abrams project but if he co wrote the script with Spielberg it really could have reached its true potential.

I really disliked the film the first time i saw, but i know see it's an entertaining and fun creature feature in the spirit of the 80's classics,Although i have some big problems with the film one thing it does have great performances,although don't expect logical storytelling or a revealing ending.

Tom: 2.5/4

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Hangover Part II (2011)

The Hangover Part II,2011,USA
Director: Todd Phillips
Stars:Bradely Cooper,Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis

Two years after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu's wedding. Stu's plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.

The Hangover Part II is the definition of an unnecessary sequel,There are reasons that high concept comedies such as "Groundhog Day" and "The Big Lebowski" dont have sequels.The Hangover was released in 2009 and was a rousing sucssess,racking up big buck and pleasing audiences and critics around the world,I wasnt a fan of it but it did have an interesting concept as raunchy comedy mixed with an unusual mystery of what happened the night before and where did the guys loose the groom.Unfortunently the Todd Phillips and the producers thought it nesscary to make a sequel,It was a terrible descion as this has to be one of the laziest and most unneeded film ive seen.

The film reunites the characters the audience loved so much the first time and puts them into the exact same situation,same jokes and all. The film is basically a carbon copy of the first and Phillips is under the impression that if it worked so well the first time why change anything? He does make substitutes though such as swapping the Las Vegas setting of the original for the slums of Bangkok,And tries to reshock the audience with surprises this time such as a drug dealing monkey,Transexuals and Paul Giamatti.

The cast does nothing different to what they did the first time but some have just swapped roles,I dont really find Zach Galifinakius funny at all,Its not that i dont like him(He was good in "It's Kind Of A Funny Story") but hes comedic roles usually just really annoy me,especially here,The rest of the cast is just repeating what they did before aswell.The appearance by Mike Tyson was an absolute groaner.

The Hangover Part II is definently the worst film ive seen in 2011,Its a terrible idea to make a sequel to a one succesful comedy and this is a prime example ranking alongside the likes of "Caddyshack II"


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Paranormal Activity 3,2011,USA
Director:Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Stars: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown and Christopher Nicholas Smith

Prequel To Paranormal Activity 1 and 2,Set in 1988,Two sisters Katie and Kristi are terrozied by an unseen entity which resides in their home.

I was fortunate enough to see this film opening session on Opening day and luckily there was only six other people present,unlike my experience with "Paranormal Activity 2" which featured some ridiculous teenagers/young adults in the audience yelling at the screen and laughing to try to prove to themselves there not scared,which ruined the experience.

After the first two were both big box office sucesess a third film in the series was inevitable,The original told us the story of Katie and her ill fated boyfriend Micah terroized by an unseen entity in the home,Using the found footage from a hand held camera technique made famous by "The Blair Witch Project" Paranormal Activity scared millions and was a big hit,It was followed by a prequel "Paranormal Activity 2" in 2010,Telling the story of Katie's younger sister Kristi and her family being terroized in their home,Although the film suffered from being more of the same it still managed 177 Million at the box office, A year later we come to "Paranormal Activity 3" with the concept this time being that its a prequel to number 2 which in itself was a prequel,I had pretty low expectations for this film but was pleasantly surprised at how much i enjoyed it.

Paranormal Activity 3 doesn't differ far from the formula that its predesscors used,Although its set back in the day were gadgets such as Iphones and house security systems weren't around so instead we get a video camera sticky taped to a rotating fan,it sounds ludacris but is brilliantly effective.The film is Directed by "Catfish" duo Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman who do a great job of giving us something weve had before such as cheap scares and thrills but giving them to us in intresting and exciting ways(the fan camera being an example).The film features a number of good jump scares and is able to build suspense brilliantly.The cast is pretty good aswell,and the last 15 minutes features the most intense and exciting moments in the series thus far.

For Me this installment is head and shoulders better than the first two,Its a lot of fun and made me jump multiple times,its hard not to have a good time with it.

Tom: 3/4

Monday, 14 November 2011

Melancholia (2011)

Melancholia,2011,Denmark, Sweden,France,Germany
Director:Lars von Trier
Stars:Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland
Melancholia Film wallpaper for Wide 16:10 Widescreen WHXGA WQXGA WUXGA WXGA ;
Justine(Dunst) and Claire(Gainsbourg)are two sisters who find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet named "Melancholia" threatens to collide with the earth.

Lars Von Trier's Melancholia is flat out one of the best films of 2011,The film perfectly portrays the helplessness and fear that consumes people in the face of tragedy or disaster,while also making statements about sibling hood and depression.The film is set out in two parts,The first titled "Justine" depicts the story of Kirsten Dunst's characters wedding night as she is to be married to Michael (SkarsgÄrd) as her fairy tale wedding begins to unravel in the wrong ways,she begins a slow descent into depression as it frustrates her sister and brother in law John(Played by Kiefer Sutherland) The second part titled "Claire" focuses more on Gainsbourg's character and her troubled marriage while summing up the aftermath of part 1 and Justine who has come to live with her sister and has completely descended into severe depression,All while building up to the climax and the characters most desperate hour.

I loved every single minute of Melancholia,from the stunning visuals,terrific cinematography and brilliant Direction to Kirsten Dunst phenomenal.Melancholia in my opinion stands only behind "Moneyball" and possibly "Drive" as the years best.Congratulations to Lars Von Trier and Kirsten Dunst,both thoroughly deserve some recognition this awards season

Tom: 4/4

Green Lantern (2011)

Director:Martin Campbell
Stars:Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Peter Sarsgaard

Hal Jordan(Reynolds)is a test pilot living in the shadow of his diseased father,One night Hal acquires superhuman powers after being chosen by an other worldly Ring and is chosen to become a Green Lantern,Hal must use his newly acquired powers to fight the looming evil of Parallax and Hector Hammond(Sarsgaard)spurred on by his sense of duty and love for colleague Carol Ferris(Livlely).

I am not a comic book person and knew almost nothing about the Green Lantern going into the film,Seeing the film a few months after its cinematic run and knowing it was panned world wide by audiences and critics,i had very low expectations.Green Lantern borders on the line of mindless fun and complete ludicrasy,The film features many big action set pieces,over the top fight scenes(as expected) and some odd and out of place humour but its not unwatchable trash in my opinion,as many have made it out to be,although its by no means great.

The film features a great cast,i like Ryan Reynolds and enjoyed seeing him in the lead role of a big budget superhero film and i think he did well with what he had.Blake Livley isn't bad but is sometimes to bland and one note,Peter Sarsgaard is an awesome actor who has yet to be given the role that will make him a superstar,here he plays villain and is one of the best parts of the film but has to compete with a large amount of CGI and prosthetics,His father is played by Oscar Winner Tim Robbins in a small role.The film is Directed by Martin Campbell,who did a good job with the 2006 Bond installment "Casino Royale" which was stylish and well made,Here his directing feels like the complete opposite and decides to go with a lot of CGI and over the top action.

The film had to compete with four other superhero films released in the recent American summer such as "Thor","Captain America:The First Avenger" and "X-Men:First Class".Although It is defiantly not in the same league as those films,quality wise,It is entertaining and mindless fun,but not being a fan of the comics i cant comment on its loyalty to the source material.

Tom: Green Lantern - 2/4

Saturday, 12 November 2011

David Fincher: Top 5 Films

With his American remake of Steig Larson's "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo" hitting cinemas next month i decide to look back at the brilliant carrer of David Fincher and rank his top 5 films.

5. The Game(1997)

Wealthy financier Nicholas Van Orton(Michael Douglas) gets a strange birthday present from wayward brother Conrad(Sean Penn).a live-action game that consumes his life.The Game is a unique thriller although it lacked the shock value and edginess that Fincher achieved so well two years earlier with "Se7en",its still a good film in its own right,with a great performance from Michael Douglas

4. Fight Club(1999)

Probably Fincher's most popular film,Fight Club tells the story of the "Narrator"(Played by Edward Norton)an Insomniac who meets a Soap Salesman named Tyler Durden(Brad Pitt) and the two begin a club to help vent male aggression by way of bare knuckle boxing.Norton,Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific,its brilliantly Directed by Fincher and features a great twist,although not a huge success at the box office it has achieved its status as a cult favorite.

3. Zodiac(2007)

Fincher takes on the true story of the killer that was never brought to justice.Set San Francisco in the 1970's,A cartoon artist(Jake Gyllenhall) becomes an amateur detective obsessed with finding out the identity of the Zodiac killer.The best film of 2007,A phenomenal thriller with some unforgettably brutal scenes and great performances especially from Gyllenhall,Robert Downey Jr and Mark Ruffalo.

2. The Social Network(2010)

The world scoffed at the idea about a film telling the origins of the social networking site "Facebook" but David Fincher made it better than it had any write to be,The film is Phenomenal in every department with a terrific Academy Award winning script from Aaron Sorkin,and an amazing Oscar nominated performance from Jesse Eisenberg,And a brilliant score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.Fincher won a Golden Globe for his directing but missed out on a Oscar,The film Did win three overall though.

1. Se7en(1995)

Violent,Shocking and Unforgettable.Se7en is the film that put David Fincher on the map.It tells the story of two detectives one new(Pitt) and one on the way out(Morgan Freeman)who become caught up in the extraordinary case of serial killer,Murdering victims by way of the seven Deadly Sins.The film is in my opinion Fincher best work,showcasing what a brilliant Director he is and Masterpieces his capable of making.

Honourable Mentions: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button(2008),Panic Room(2002)

Midnight In Paris (2011)

Midnight In Paris,2011,USA,Spain
Director:Woody Allen
Stars:Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates

Soon to be married couple Gil(Wilson) and Inez(McAdams) travel to Paris with as part of Inez's parents business trip.Gil is a Hollywood film writer who has enjoyed success but is having some difficulty writing his first novel,Gill falls in love with the city and wants to move there after there married but Inez does not share this wish,while Inez spends night socializing with friends,Gil walks the streets of Paris and when the clock strikes Midnight he discovers a whole new world,while travelling back to the golden age of the 1920's and meeting some of his idols such as Hemingway,F.Scott Fitzgerald and Salvador Dali(Adrien Brody),And finding the source of what could be his greatest writing inspiration.

Midnight In Paris has been described as Woody Allen's best film in 15 years,and its easy to see why,Its a light hearted and feel good film with terrific performances,concept and of course shows of the beautiful city of Paris.Owen Wilson is great leads an all star cast including Rachel McAdams,Kathy Bates.Adrien Brody,Michael Sheen and Marion Cotillard.

The film features Allen's usual quirkiness and unique characters all while capturing the essence of the 1920's and is able to transport the audience along with Wilson's character right to the heart of it.

There isn't much to dislike about Midnight In Paris,its a showcase of good film making and portrays the magic of the city its set in.One of the best films of 2011

Tom: 3.5/4

30 Minutes Or Less (2011)

30 Minutes Or Less,2011,USA
Director:Ruben Fleischer
Stars:Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride and Nick Swardson

Pizza delivery boy Nick(Eisenberg)is kidnapped by two Amatuer criminals,Dwayne(McBride) and Travis(Swardson),They strap a bomb to Nick's chest and force him to rob a bank so Dwayne can acquire enough money to have his unloving Father assassinated,If its not done in ten hours they will detonate the bomb,Along with his friend Chet(Aziz Ansari)Nick must find a way to either rob a bank or rid himself of the bomb.

It would be easy to ridicule 30 Minutes Or Less,For such things as making a comedy out of a real life tragedy,Its shortcuts in story telling and its over the top action sequences,But personally i enjoyed every minute of it.

I had been wanting to see this film for quite a while,mainly because of the fact that Jesse Eisenberg is one of my favorite actors,especially after his critically acclaimed performance in David Fincher's "The Social Network", Another reason is because he re teams with Ruben Fleischer with whom he worked on 2009's "Zombieland" with,which was well recieved and mixed the genres of Horror and Comedy quite well.Sure 30 minutes Or Less isn't as smart or as well made as that film, but i loved it for what it is, 80 minutes of great humor,loud action,car crashes and misfit characters.

There are some fun performances as well, Eisenberg is great as always,I havent seen Aziz Ansari in much else but he was hilarious,Danny McBride was terrific and was well teamed with partner in crime Nick Swardson.

30 Minutes Or Less is a fun film,sure it isn't intelligent film making and is probably aimed for an audience of teenage boys(probably why i liked it)But it is an entertaining hour and twenty minutes and shouldn't be taken too seriously.

Tom: 3/4

Moneyball (2011)

Director:Bennett Miller
Stars:Brad Pitt,Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman

"How can you not get romantic about baseball?" - Billy Beane

Its early 2002, and The Oakland Athletics are coming off another unsuccessful season,and adding insult to injury have lost three of there star players to other teams.Oakland's General manager and former Baseball hopeful Billy Beane(Pitt)is fed up with loosing and devises a plan to change the game and catapult his team to the championship,along with the help of Peter Brand(Hill)Billy tries to prove that it doesn't take just money and stars to be the best,but intelligence and determination.

On paper Moneyball has all the right ingredients to make great film,Directed by "Capote's" Bennent Miller,Written by Award Winners Steven Zaillian(Schindler's List) and Aaron Sorkin(The Social Network)and teamed with a great cast including Brad Pitt,Jonah Hill,Robin Wright and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.With all this amazing talent involved i had extraordinarily high expectations,needless to say Moneyball exceeded them all and left me amazed,The film is perfect on almost absolutely every level.

Brad Pitt has been on a role in recent years with great performances in critically acclaimed films "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button","Inglourious Basterds" and "The Tree Of Life",but with Moneyball he gives arguably his greatest performance of all time,He plays the character of real life A's General manger Billy Beane to absolute brilliance,brooding with confidence while at the same time having a crippling underlining fear of failure and not being around for his daughter,He is phenomenal and i definentlty think its about time he won an Oscar. Another revelation in the cast is Jonah Hill, Known for his work with Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen and appearing great comedies such as "Superbad" and "Knocked Up" he takes on a serious role here and is brilliant and has great chemistry with Pitt,Also the always brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman is also great in a small role as Art Howe.

The themes in Moneyball are touching and inspiring,We learn that its not always the biggest dog in the fight that wins and never count out the underdogs but also tells us that not everything ends like a Cinderella Story,and that the fear of failure sometimes gets in the way of us seeing what we have achieved and the difference we've made.

Words cant explain how much i loved this film,its very believable and inspiring themes are relateble and tell us we can achieve anything if we believe and face our fears.Directing,Writing and Acting are all phenomenal,There have been some great film in 2011 like "Drive" and "Melancholia" but Moneyball is something more,its a complete masterpiece and i will hard pressed if it doesn't take home some Oscars next February.

Tom: 4/4

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Twilight Zone:The Movie,1983,USA
Director: John Landis(Segment 1),Steven Spielberg(Segment 2),Joe Dante(Segment 3) and George Miller(Segment 4)
Stars:Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks and Vic Morrow

A film adaption of the legendary 1959 TV series "Twilight Zone" is dived into four separate segments directed by four acclaimed Directors.Segment 1 titled "Time Out" tells the story of an extremely Prejudice man(Morrow)who begins to experience what those he critized endured through historical events. Segment 2 titled "Kick The Can" is a about a mysterious old man(Scattman Crothers) arriving at a retirement home and taking back the citizens to a happier time. Segment 3 "Its A Good Life" tells the story of a sinister young boy with supernatural powers.The fourth and final segment "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is about a highly distressed air traveler(Lithgow) who notices a Gremlin on the wing of the plane,or does he?.

This film is infamous for the tragic incident that occurred during filming which ended in the death of star Vic Morrow and two Vietnam children,the incident somewhat overshadowed the film that was released.
After recently Watching the first season of Twilight Zone and loving it, I decided to re watch the film. The TV series in its itself is unique and brilliant escapism with terrific fantasy,horror and sci fi elements that bind together so well and is so iconic that it would be difficult to adapt Rod Serlings legendary tales into a 100 minute film.
But fortunently all the right people are involved including the four famous directors along with producers of the original show including Richard Matheison, although there is all this talent involved Twilight Zone the movie is far from perfect, but that's not to say its not solid entertainment. The film begins of on the right foot, with a prologue featuring Dan Akroyd and Albert Brooks playing a game of Guess the TV theme which leads to a discussion about "Zone".The prologue is Directed by Landis and features similarities to his work like "An American Werewolf In London" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Landis also directs the first segment With Vic Morrow in the lead,The segment is tainted because of the tragedy that occurred while filming,despite that the segment is a nice way to start the film but is far from the best segment,The segment is the only original story that wasn't based on a prior Twilight Zone episode.
The second segment is from master filmmaker Steven Spielberg and has the lightest and most pleasant tone of the four,and ask the question would you want to go through childhood again.I do enjoy the segment particularly Crothers performance but it seems misplaced in this film,compared to the others dark and Sci fiction themes but it is enjoyable and heartfelt.
Joe Dante Directs the next segment titled "Its A Good Life",This in my opinion is by far the worst segment and brings the film to a complete halt.Dante's visuals are to over the top which retracts from the story.
It is Australian Director George Miller of "Mad Max" fame who steals the show with the final segment titled "Nightmare at 20 000 feet",Miller is given the most to work with and utilizes it to thrilling brilliance,John Lithgow gives a terrific performance as the distressed passenger,reprising William Shatner's performance from the original episode.The segment is a great way to finish the film and the ending is great,bringing back Akroyd's character from the prologue.
Overall "Twilight Zone:The Movie" is enjoyable but dosent really do the classic series justice. Although the final segment is enough reason to see it alone

Prologue: 3/4
Time Out: 2/4
Kick The Can: 2.5/4
Its A Good Life: 1.5/4
Nightmare At 20 000 Feet: 3.5/4

Overall: 2.5/4