Saturday, 28 February 2015

Best and Worst of February 2015

February has been a pretty good month, and also quite a bad one. But it is definitely acting as a continuation of my prediction that 2015 is going to be a hell of a year. We’re on the fringes of blockbuster territory and the last few stragglers of Oscar season are making their way into British cinema, so overall I’d say this is a better month than January, but better individual films from the previous month. Here’s the best.
3: Selma
A poignant biopic that not only captures the decisive moment in the life of Martin Luther King, it adopts an unyielding view of a country on the brink of social upheaval. David Oyelowo gives a terrific performance as Dr King that resonates with all as we watch a man who is desperate for change, but also reluctant out of fear of failure. Not only that but the script and stellar supporting cast, with a few directorial bonuses from Ava DuVernay. I can see why everyone got so angry when Selma was snubbed.
2: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Admittedly Matthew Vaughn’s latest escapade is not as dramatically powerful as Selma. But you need only watch one scene from that film (hint; it takes place in a church) to understand why it is brilliant in so many respects. It’s a love letter to spy films that could come out of the year as the best of the genre (not easy when you have Spooks, Spectre and Mission Impossible 5 to come). It makes an action star of Colin Firth, introduces Samuel L Jackson as a wonderfully likable villain, great new star Taron Edgerton and of course there’ Michael Caine. It’s Bond with a shot of heroin.
1: Inherent Vice
I’m not going to pretend that I can’t understand why anyone would dislike Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon, if you’re obsessed with understanding every aspect of the movies you watch then you will probably drive yourself mad trying to connect the various plot details. But just let go of that and admire the substance of this film you will discover a hilarious but also haunting tale that’s as crazy as the drugs that its central characters are on. Like all of Anderson’s films it is a unique cinematic experience unlike anything else out there.
And no the worst…
If you needed any proof that Johnny Depp was in need of a career U-turn then here it is. This caper comedy is almost abysmal in every way, this time last year we had another caper comedy in the form of the Grand Budapest Hotel and that was a profound and wonderfully whimsical piece of filmmaking. I’m now talking about Wes Anderson’s film because I literally want to watch anything other than Mortdecai. Now I can’t stop thinking about it, save me Wes Anderson, where’s my collection of your movies.

So what’s your favourite film that you’ve seen this month, what’s you least favourite. Leave a comment below to let me know and stick around for March.    

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


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"This isn't about money, this isn't about politics. I can target anyone, anything."

Michael Mann in known for directing some of the most intense and action packed thrillers of recent years with Collateral and Heat. With this latest film with Chris Hemsworth he has clearly decided to cut out most of the action and intensity, which leaves us with… um.
Following a devastating explosion of a Chinese nuclear plant initiated by a mysterious computer hacker, convicted hacker Nicholas Hathaway (Hemsworth) is released to track down this attacker before he kills anyone else.
It does appear that the issue of computer hacking resonates even more in this specific time than it ever has previously, especially in film given recent events. So this would appear to be the perfect opportunity for Man to craft a well-paced thriller that can use this concept to its full advantage. The first half of this film does just that, racking up the tension as the hacker makes his demands, presenting the search for him in a cat and mouse fashion.
But as the film progresses it deviates from this tone to take on more of a generic espionage route. This is where the problems really start to show as the levels of suspense dissipate as does the attention to detail that holds the film throughout the first half.
The poorly plotted romance only worsens the clichés that pop up repeatedly. Furthermore the slow pace of a film like this works for the build-up, for the beginning of the plot. But as the story develops in this way ideally the pace should escalate to match it, but instead it dawdles on at the same painfully slow speed and eventually it just feels as if Blackhat is deliberately dragging out as long as it can.
The only exception is a very well-directed shootout, something that Michael Mann always excels at. But there’s not enough of that in the rest of the film to match it. I’m not saying that a shootout would be the only way to make this film better, but it would help if we got there faster. This film goes well over the two hour mark so on reflection, even though I thought the first half was better, it could have been drastically cut down given that half of what they set up does not completely pan out.
There is a quality to Chris Hemsworth that almost carries this film beyond what it actually is. But it’s not enough to make up for the fact that his character overall is very poorly written. He struggles to connect with the viewer and he fails completely to generate any kind of gravitas that would help to add to that promising early potential, like I said, he came close to giving this film a redeeming feature. And though I may accept that he’s a Norse god or James Hunt I cannot see him as an expert computer hacker.
One redeeming feature might be the style of the film. It is shot in a very crisp, modern look that could be confused with one from David Fincher, but of course it lacks the sold script. It is the reason why you should not jump to blame Mann instantly because he is good and does everything he can with a rather laughably bad written script. The signature handheld camera techniques all make the few action scenes stand out.
 I suppose I may be spoiling the film here but what the hell, the villain who was set up really well, is revealed to be someone who simply wants money with no deeper motivation or any kind of distinguishable traits. The only thing that really marks him as a unique character is the fact that he’s not handsome like our hero. So at the end of the day this is an ugly villain being defeated by the good looking hero who also happens to be smart and strong and great with a gun and instantly attractive to women. Yep.
Though it may be stylish the few inspired moments are out of place with the low budget feel the film has overall, combined with a generic script and a story arc that moves at a snail’s pace. Additionally the term Blackhat means cybercriminal and was derived from the villains in westerns, known for their black hats, they had more gravitas than this film.
Result: 3/10

Monday, 23 February 2015

87th Academy Awards: Summary

So that’s it, the Oscars are done and dusted for another year. But what were the biggest surprises, what was expected and delivered and how wrong were my predictions? The answer to one of those questions is, very.
J.K Simmons was always going to win Best Supporting Actor and did so there’s nothing to argue about here. Supporting actress went to Patricia Arquette also delivered as I predicted, though I was considering the possibility of Emma Stone taking the award, but it was not to be. Maybe another time?
Animated feature went to Big Hero 6 which is another disappointment. I have to immediately say that I loved Big Hero 6, a really charming, action packed Disney superhero entry, but I thought How to Train your Dragon 2 really did the same for Dreamworks with fantasy, but more successfully. It felt like it was produced on a bigger scale with some breath taking effects and utilised the animated technology to give a real feeling of flight, something that Big Hero 6 also did but the dragons had the edge for me. Of course the first disappointment comes from the absence of the Lego Movie, but life goes on. #everythingisstillawesome.
Original song rightfully went to Glory from Selma. The screenplay categories offered some surprises. Adapted screenplay went to The Imitation Game, rightfully in my opinion. But the surprise came from the original screenplay as Birdman finished in first place. Though it is deserving of the award you have to feel for Wes Anderson missing out on all three awards, especially given that Inarritu would win two more awards that evening. Anderson is overdue an award by now in my opinion, or at least he will be if he misses out next year, if his film is just as good as Grand Budapest.
Best actress was predictable if not what I wanted. If I had listened to reason then I would have picked Julian Moore (and I promise I am not just saying that now) but my admiration for Rosemond Pike’s transformation in Gone Girl  exceeded that logic and I willed her to win, but she didn’t. Still, well done to Moore.
Best actor really caught me by surprise, I announced that it was a two horse race and not only did my favourite fail to win, so did my supposed runner up. Looking back at it Redmayne gave a truly incredible and heart wrenching performance as Stephen Hawking did deserve an award, and he got them from the BAFTA, Golden Globes and now the academy. I will also admit that like Pike my personal preference of Batman and Sherlock influenced me. So all in all, putting experience and personal love aside, yeah, the right man won in the end. It was also worth it to see the sheer joy and surprise of Eddie as he accepted the award, as soon as he said the word Oscar it seemed to hit him and he just burst out laughing, and of course, Keaton helped contribute to a greater overall recognition…
The best director surprised me again. Though I was really torn between Linklater and Inarritu and once again found myself surprised but not disappointed by the result, it did come as a real shock. As long as Linklater continues to make ground breaking and intimate stories on the same level as Boyhood, the Before Trilogy and Dazed and Confused, then he should earn his own award eventually.
A greater surprise came later, because in my mind Birdman winning the best director gave Boyhood a better chance of winning best picture. But no, that also went to the Mexican director. I have to say that I am glad in many ways. Birdman was probably my personal favourite film of 2014, with the great view of the film industry, incredible performances, the re-watchable aspects and beautiful cinematography.
Furthermore, one of my complaints against the Oscars was their exclusion of bigger budget films, in particular those of the superhero genre. With the issues that Birdman deals with, winning best picture, screenplay and director may be the bridge that demonstrates that the academy might be more welcoming to future films of bigger budgets. Were they actually paying attention and thinking ‘we’re like those critics’, maybe? So in short, the future looks bright indeed.
What was your favourite part of the Oscars? Was it the politically charged speeches, Neil Patrick Harris in the buff having been locked out of his dressing room and provided a soundtrack by Miles Teller on the drums (no one’s ever said that before in the whole of human history), or was it John Travolta moving on from mispronunciation to weird face touching? Let me know by leaving a comment below.   

The Interview

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"You two are going to be in a room alone with Kim, the CIA would love it if you could take him out."

I have to be honest here, I really didn’t want to review this film, I have been putting it off for as long as I can by talking about Spider Man and the Oscars but here we go. The reason for my reluctance was mainly because it is quite difficult to judge the Interview. Do I look at it as a bold statement on freedom of speech or do I just judge it as a film. If I were to judge it as the film that nearly started World War 3 I would have to say, I wish it was better.
Also, in answer in advance to any questions over why I’m only reviewing this film now when it has been on the internet for months, the answer is, not in Britain. The world wide web does not include us, or Sony does not include us. Either way it’s out in cinemas now so I can finally watch it and see what all the fuss is about.
A dim witted television host (James Franco) and his producer (Seth Rogan) who strives to make more important programming are enlisted by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong Un after being allowed to conduct an interview with the North Korean leader.
To be fair, saying I wish it was better is a bit harsh. What I mean is I wish the film to spark an international incident was more important than a silly comedy from the makers of Bad Neighbours and This Is The End. I would want a film that raises key political issues and one that is packed with thought provoking discussion and acted and directed in the best possible way. But instead it’s this. Controversy aside The Interview is probably still the weakest film from Seth Rogan in the last couple of years (better examples listed above).
Rogan and Franco’s chemistry shines throughout, given that Franco is more immersed within dramatic roles as well as comedic ones it’s good to see him provide the comedic relief out of the two. And simultaneously it’s Rogan that becomes the more sensible and clear minded of the two. But together they are immensely enjoyable to watch, with Franco really exceeding his previous expectations.
To the film’s credit and contrary to what I may have expected it actually satirises the USA just as much as North Korea, the fact that the supposed free-country that learned from Vietnam is doing exactly the same thing as it was fifty years ago but on a smaller level and with more secrecy, kind of like a communist state. They also have a fair bit to say about the media and the craze of every actions celebrities do. So in that sense it is quite clever throughout and the writing keeps the laughs coming, even if they are of a slightly poorer quality.
The entire tone does slow down a bit for the second half, and not in a good way. The Interview tries to dive into a pool of spy genre clichés that don’t make the humour feel as original and start to drag down the pace as well. But things do pick up again for the finale but they don’t reach the highs of the first forty minutes (roughly, I guessed but that’s a fair estimate isn’t it). Overall the film does feel a bit distorted in terms of pace humour and general tone. As well as this a few jokes were being run into the ground after a while.
Like I said The Interview is not as good as Bad Neighbours or This Is The End which both offered better insights at generations, celebrities and friendship, though The Interview is on the same level the distorted nature of it makes it hard to pin down a singular message.
It may be on the same level as something like Spies Like Us but comparing it to the Great Dictator would be a stretch too far. Though it’s not worth the controversy it created, for the most part it’s enjoyable enough, more of a declaration of expression than a great comedy film.
Result: 5/10 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Top 5 Worst Best Picture Winners

With the Oscars just hours away and the stars making their way to the red carpet as I am writing, or maybe as you are reading, or far more likely, as you are reading this the Oscars were just hours away weeks ago, anyway as I was saying, this might be a good time to look back at some of the worst films that have been given the top award of Best Picture.
Understand that most of these films aren’t necessarily bad, it’s just that when faced with tougher competition from the nominees of that year in retrospect, I can say that the Academy probably made a mistake. Also, I’m only judging this based on the other nominees, it’s no good moaning about Oliver winning over 2001 when Kubrick’s film wasn’t even nominated, and though that may be a mistake of entirely different proportions, I’m just focussing on what we expected to hear on the night, but didn’t.
5: Driving Miss Daisy
Though this Bruce Beresford adaptation undoubtedly featured credible performances from the lead actors Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy (Tandy won Best Actress that year), the film was definitely a safe choice for the award and given that every other nominee is probably still widely remembered by more people than Miss Daisy. Though Field of Dreams and Dead Poets Society are perhaps overly sentimental they were arguably more deserving of the award, a result that you cannot argue against though is the fact that Miss Daisy beat Oliver Stone’s powerful Vietnam drama Born on the Fourth of July and My Left Foot (at least Daniel Day Lewis got Best Actor).
4: Dances with Wolves
To be fair to Dances With Wolves it was nominated and won in a fairly weak year (casing point, the Godfather Part 3 was also nominated) and is still probably the second best film out of the five nominees. But at the end of the day it won because it is a guidebook of what the academy likes, an epic story, lead characters being immersed in a foreign culture and is historically significant. Also, like I said, it is the second best film of the nominees, the first by a long way is not just one of the best from that entire decade, but one of the best films of all time, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Worse still is the fact that Costner also won best director, which Marty should have won just for that one shot (you know the one I mean).
3: How Green Was My Valley
Otherwise known as the film that beat Citizen Kane at the Oscars, yes, it may be hard to believe but the best film of all time, as it was named from the moment of its release, did not win best picture. Once again it seems that the crowning glory came from the fact that John Ford was somehow able to win best director as well instead of Orson Welles. Come on, even the Maltese Falcon was nominated and lost to this, that’s still better in every conceivable way.
2: Shakespeare in Love
I have to say immediately, I despise this film. Okay, so it may be a light hearted romance drama and it’s acted well enough and with a decent screenplay, but it just does not standout in any way. I would have to re-watch it to find anything specific I liked about it. So on its own Shakespeare in Love is mediocre, but it beat Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, the most realistic depiction of war ever put to screen, and furthermore there’s the other big war film of that year the beautiful Thin Red Line, but Saving Private Ryan… wow that is really I massive error for me. At least Spielberg managed to bag the Best Director award, if he hadn’t, well, I would now be campaigning for the 1998 ceremony to be stricken from the record.
1: Crash
Sticking with the theme of Spielberg getting cheated, what about the winner that broke Hollywood? Crash is a film with a too clichéd message of racial prejudice where every character is a walking stereotype and a story that is not only far from unique, we’ve seen it executed better in Magnolia and Traffic. If the academy wanted to draw attention to racial prejudice then they could have chosen Spielberg’s Munich, or if they wanted to make a statement about social change then Ang Lee’s heart-breaking Brokeback Mountain would be more than suitable and more deserving. 
So what's your least favourite Best Picture winner, or is there a film that really deserved to win but didn't, leave a comment below to let me know.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Spider Man Joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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For my 100th post on this blog I was going to review The Interview, but then I had a better idea of discussing the recent and massive news of Spider Man joining the MCU. Can you believe it, I’ve actually registered my pointless opinion 100 times now. Oh and the whole Spidey thing as well.
The rumours were circulating and then seemd to die down, apparently the Sony hack led to negotiations breaking down, but evidently not as we have the official announcement that Spider Man with meet the Avengers. Sony have distribution rights to standalone Spider man films as well as creative attributions with Marvel who can use him in their own films, so sort of renting out the web-slinger.
The big question is when will he join, well definitely not in Age of Ultron. However you should remain vigilant for a post-credits scene that hints at it. In my ideal world any first hint at Spider Man’s involvement should be J.K Simmons reprising his role as JJ Jameson, sitting at his office and shouting something like, ‘Parker where are those photographs of Ultron I asked for?’ and maybe an assistant can reply ‘he’s at that genetic research lab…’. Or they could take the opportunity to reveal the new Spider Man there and then.
It may be too late for him to be a part of Civil War as well but don’t but away your web-shooters just yet because more rumours have stated that two completed versions of the Civil War script have been released, one featuring just Black Panther and the other featuring Spider man as well as Black Panther, Marvel could start shooting as soon as they have cast the new Peter Parker, and he isn’t in every scene of Civil War so they can be busy filming the scenes without him as the casting team look for him.
 He should definitely be in Infinity War though and that is an equally good time to introduce him as well. For a start this is the ultimate Marvel showdown, the pinnacle of everything they have been building up to, so we want their most iconic figure in the mix somewhere. As well as this Infinity War will be the point where we say goodbye to some of the leading film figures of Marvel and bringing in the next generation of Avengers and who better to lead that team than Spider Man.
The one thing I don’t want to see is the backstory, we’ve seen enough of that. Several incarnations of Spider Man, such as several animated series’ have jumped straight to a mid-point in his career as the web-slinger and headed straight into the action. Speculation has indicated that we may even see Miles Moralis instead of Parker, which would be a bold move but for me I think Marvel should stay with Peter. He’s probably the only secret identity in Marvel that is as widely known as his alter-ego and given that they’ve never perfectly nailed his character anyway it would be better to stay there.
Who should play Spider-Man? Well no immediate candidates spring to mind, all I know is that there are plenty of young actors available but probably even more that aren’t known, suppose they strike oil and find the perfect actor to play Spider Man and he’s never been in anything before, as long as he’s good I don’t mind. I’ve always maintained that Toby Maguire is a better Peter Parker and Andrew Garfield is a better Spider Man. So whoever takes on this role should include the best elements of both and include their own spin on it to craft something that could be very special indeed, perhaps the perfect portrayal of Peter Parker (try saying that as fast as you can).

So what do you think about this announcement, are you excited for it, of course you are. But leave a comment below regardless. Swing by another time (see what I did there).  


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"What I do know is, he's non-violent. What I need to know right now, what's Martin Luther King about to do next."

I will be honest, Selma was in deep danger of becoming overrated for me as I did not see it prior to the Oscar announcements and the massive outcry against the academy for not including it in anything other than Best Picture and Best Song. So can it live up to the expectations of being the best film not included in the awards?
In 1965 the small town of Selma, Alabama became the political focus of the world as a civil rights march led by Dr Martin Luther King Jr (David Oyelowo). But the peaceful protesters meet violent resistance from both the authorities and the unsympathetic public. The voting rights of African-Americans are at stake and the potential to change the world may be ignited here.
To be honest (again) when I first heard about this film, my initial reaction was, ‘haven’t they done that already? But after looking I discovered that no one ever has. Despite the tremendous historic significance and true drama on display throughout that fateful day it’s taken fifty years for Hollywood to make movie depicting these events. Maybe they have done that on purpose but all the same, the potential here is unparalleled with such a recognised and important figure in global history.
There is a good reason why everyone is talking about David Oyelowo’s sub at the Oscars, because he’s bloody brilliant. He perfectly presents a more reluctant and vulnerable side to Dr King as well as that heroic and confident public leader that we know him to be. His British accent is consumed by an exquisite approximation of Dr King’s voice that nails the figure repeatedly, you can see why thousands followed him and millions idolise him. But at the same time there’s that beautiful human element that turns Dr King into, just a person someone who believes in their cause but still doubts it and questions whether he will succeed, which is what all biopics should do.
Oyelowo is also backed up by a very strong supporting cast. They all provide different viewpoints of this epic struggle such as Oprah Winfrey being denied the right to vote and Tim Roth as the governor of Alabama George Wallace whose strong dignity sometimes makes you forget about his far from politically correct views. Tom Wilkinson also does fine work as Lyndon B Johnson, president torn between motives on what stand to take on this whole movement.
Selma follows the recent trend of biopics that started with Lincoln (I think) and rather than try to depict the entire life of their subject they take a small yet significant aspect of their life and focus on that instead. This allows them to go into further detail and examine the motives and emotions of the subject at that point, rather than a brief overview. Selma does this very well, it captures all the tension, the activism and the hopefulness of the civil rights movement at its height. We don’t just see its leader, we witness the followers, the quiet supporters, the opposition. You get an excellent and thorough view of all the participants of the march.
Though it’s hard to watch, Selma hits the same great note that the Imitation Game did last year in that it may be tragic in many respects, but it acts as a celebration of everything that has been accomplished and how far America has come, with a small hint at how far they still need to go. Sometimes it can be horrifying but the inspiration and aspiring affect it had on me certainly captured the reasons why we idolise King as a great leader, activist and human being.
Any flaws Selma has are mainly due to a lack of budget, some shots of thousands marching can be spoilt by some dodgy CGI and occasionally shot in a rather standard manner for a film that was met with such support after being denied a best director nomination, the direction isn’t bad but it can be slightly conventional at times.
Selma is inspirational and motivational but also brutal for the need of historical tension. Sometimes tragic and frequently thought provoking, less of a biopic and more of a time capsule.
Result: 9/10

Friday, 13 February 2015

87th Academy Awards: Who Lost Out

The Lego Movieselma-posterNightcrawler, UK Poster
Now it’s time to rant. Having seen everything I need to from the other nominees (nearly) I can make a judgement over who has missed out on nominations for the golden sticker, otherwise known as an Oscar, in no particular order.
Damien Chazelle
True, best director is a tough category, but the Imitation Game, though I loved it, didn’t strike me as a director’s film and though Foxcatcher expertly sucked the glamour out of sport I would be happy to substitute them for Chazelle turning what could have been a musical into a thriller. It is masterful and tense throughout and deserved to be recognised.
The historical drama is another biopic that looked to be shimmering with Oscar potential, but the less popular, critically and politically, American Sniper bagged more awards and furthermore Ava DeVernay missed out on a best director nod when the academy could have really proved that they are as politically incorrect as we think they are. As well as this David Oyelowo didn’t get best actor or Bradford Young for cinematography.
Gone Girl
David Fincher is nearing to position where he is overdue an Oscar by now in my opinion. The problem is that he simply is not in the ‘club’ so to say. He is shut out by the academy and we’ve seen him go off trend with Benjamin Button to snag Oscar gold, but to no avail. Pike may be a contender for best actress, but that’s about it
Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal
The rising star of Gyllenhaal appeared to be guaranteed a nomination for his unsettling performance in Nightcrawler. In fact I would have placed bets on director, screenplay and picture. But no, my favourite film of 2014 has come out of this awards season rather poorly it has to be said.
No Marvel
At one point it was rumoured that Captain America: The Winter Soldier would be nominated for best picture and though the last minute surge of great filmmaking made it less likely (and not outrageous to exclude it), it would still be credible for the academy to finally honour a superhero film, they had the opportunity with Dark Knight and passed it up (though I love his performance I still believe that had Heath Ledger not passed away he would not have been honoured by the academy at all) and then again in 2012 with Avengers Assemble, 2014 also had Guardians that might promote the studio’s chances of getting a mention but once again the Oscars continue to promote the image that their philosophy is all films that make any money are bad. This ties into…
No Science Fiction
There have been so many unique and interesting sci-fi films this year that something should have been added to best picture or director.  If Marvel is still too mainstream there’s Edge of Tomorrow, Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Snowpiercer. All are worthy candidates, but nothing beyond technical categories. My main argument is this, are any of these films worthy of winning best picture/director, probably not. Is at least one of them among the top ten films of the year? Hell yes. So nominate them, because that’s what the academy should be, celebrating the best films of the year even if one of them is about apes on horses, a spandex wearing patriot or tiny yellow people...
The Lego Movie

A popular phrase of recent weeks has been that if one were to rename the Lego Movie the Lincoln Logs Movie then it would be up for best picture. Undoubtedly this is the biggest surprise here, whilst we imagined the other snubs were probable, not only was the Lego Movie a definite nomination for best animated film for most people, it was a definite win. A film based on a toy that’s also a satire on consumerism, genius. Mocking your basis as well as honouring it, inspired. Reducing your entire universe to fit into the basement of a father and son, amazing. Will Arnett as Batman, in his own words ‘really cool’. But no nomination, why? I don’t know, but you know what? Emmet and his pals are too good for the academy anyway. They can build their own Oscars, or anything else, they can capture what we love about childhood and growing up and they can make us laugh all the way through a great journey, so honestly Oscar or no Oscar, everything is still awesome.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Jupiter Ascending

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"Your birth is a very small part of a very large industry."

The Wachowski’s have started to build up a reputation of making visually impressive and imaginative films, but ones that do not follow a pleasing structure, coherent concept or regular pace throughout. Jupiter Ascending continues to add to that reputation.
Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is a girl who dreams of the stars but faces a cold reality on a daily basis. But when Caine (Channing Tatum) an ex-military hunter arrives on earth and tells her that fate has been waiting for her. Her genetic structure marks her as the next in line of an inheritance that could not only change her destiny, but that of the universe.
This film is just a mess in nearly every respect. The pacing, plot and general tone are all over the place. Like a lot of the Wachowski projects the concept feels good but the execution is done in a way that makes it feel as if they went out of their way to write the script as soon as they could without pausing for breath at all.
That must be given to the films credit because it had an excellent concept, but it was carried out in quite a shambolic manner. As well as this you find that the scope and scale of this project was quite an achievement. It felt epic and grand as if it spanned from the mind of a god and furthermore it continued to surprise me with the imagination and creative thought that was poured into it throughout. But this vision is never appropriately refined to turn the concept into a great film.
It has been advertised as more of a science fiction adventure, but in reality Jupiter Ascending is more of a poorly written political drama. Half of this film is just background information that nearly overwhelmed me instantly and the rest is people in extravagant dresses squabbling over various planets that you’ve never heard of or really care about, a feat that is amazing considering all the backstory that was added.
Once again the Wachowski’s have crafted a very visually impressive film that is certainly a good cinematic experience for most of the time. There are some very creative and inspired moments that use this cinematic technology to full effect. But in essence some of the effects can be overwhelming or obviously CGI. Occasionally a scene was so cluttered with CGI that it took me out of what could have been a very special moment. Instead the effects cloud over the story and the acting on display.
The acting is impressive as well, but the issue here is that none of it feels necessary. The film has also used the names of Redmayne, Tatum, Kunis and Bean to make this star power obvious, but none of these actors are able to bring anything special or unique to the role. It feels as if they could have been played by anyone and would have made little difference. Redmayne might want to be recast as whatever he tried to do here it did not work for the recent BAFTA winner.
The emotional depth and character development of Jupiter is very conventional and minimal. The film takes time at the start to give us an idea of how she is in turmoil and in trouble and her life is becoming pear-shaped and then as she has this new responsibility thrust upon her this character ark dissolves very quickly and then we don’t see it again for the rest of the film, or at least not in a detailed way that defies the cliché of adventure, zero to hero characters. Rather than becoming a strong female role to join the likes of Ripley, Jupiter becomes a cliché that relies on Channing Tatum to save her repeatedly.
Their relationship is possibly the most cringe worthy element of the film. The awkward, forced love story only makes things worse and their motives and principles seem to bend as easily as the laws of physics do.
 It starts strong with some fantastic visual action but Jupiter Ascending soon turns into a mess of over used clichés, awkward plot points and frankly awful character design. It may be creative, but that’s all it is.
Result: 3/10