Saturday, January 30, 2010


The creepy stare from the Orphan girl that had me freaking out!
Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) in a scene from the film

Feeling in the mood for watching something scary last night, a couple of my friends and I decided to check out Orphan.
Where to begin with the creepy story of Esther, the orphan child...
Well when you get a little Russian girl who looks like she's stepped out from early 20th century with her old-fashioned outfits and pale skin you're sure to be in for a fright. Seriously this little girl creeped us out. All she had to do was stare toward the camera and you'd be screaming.

When the Coleman's decide to adopt sweet little Esther, their ideal perfect family begins to change. Little do they realise Esther is a total psychopath who likes to smash nuns over the head with a hammer and help their sweet little deaf sister to hide the evidence. Yeah, not you're typical everyday child.

Orphan does make you guess a lot of things along the way and you are always wondering what this big twist at the end is going to be (without giving anything away, it's a rather peculiar twist, did not see it coming it at all! It's quite unique actually). But it's also rather excruciating to watch. There are so many freaking suspenseful moments that you're just wondering when it's all going to end?!?! The suspense becomes too frustrating to bear that you just find yourself wanting the movie to end already, which is never a good thing.

I think Orphan did a good job in freaking us out but in the end it just kind of pissed me off. It felt like it went forever and there wasn't much relief at the end. I think if you're in the mood to watch a film starring most possibly the scariest looking kid ever, than check it out.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Mr and Mrs Fox (Clooney & Streep) in a scene from the film.
(Note Mrs Fox's wonderful outfit!)

Okay, so downside to Wes Anderson making a children's film: putting up with annoying kids in the cinema who choose to talk throughout the viewing experience. Other than that, ahhh Anderson is pure brilliance. Despite it being a stop-motion animated film you still get the Wes Anderson style with its cute little outfits, quirky humour, the regulars (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Jason Schwartzman) gorgeous colours and of course an awesome sixties inspired soundtrack.

The story follows Roald Dahl's beloved character, Mr. Fox (George Clooney), his family and the community of animals he lives with. When their stealing from the local farms gets discovered by the farmers, there is a war between animal and man. Jason Schwarzman as Ash (Mr. Fox's son) is really delightful in this film as the son who can't live up to his father and be an excellent athlete. Kylie, (Wallace Wolodarsky) Mr. Fox's sidekick also makes for the funny character in the film, providing laughs for the kids.

It really is an adorable little film from Wes Anderson and fans of the director will most likely feel pleased after seeing it. As for the kids, I'm not really sure. I went with my ten-year-old cousin, and although he sat and watched without saying much, he didn't really rave about it afterwards. I think it's more a film for the adults, and as one child put it two-thirds of the way into the film, "Mummy, I don't want to watch this movie anymore," I think it kind of proves that it's not an ideal film for kids.

Wes Anderson proved he can do just about anything with this film.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, January 22, 2010

Whip It

Ellen Page in a scene from the film

Well if there's one thing I got out of this film it's the inspiration to go out and buy some roller-skates and roll around town. It also just put me in a damn good mood.

Ahh I love a good ol' Drew Barrymore film, but to also find out that this is her directorial debut made it all the more thrilling! Sure this film uses as many references toward indie culture as it can, such as, Daniel Johnston's 'Hi How Are You?' t-shirts (famously worn by Kurt Cobain), but what film starring Ellen Page doesn't? To be honest this girl is starting to give me the shits, playing the same cynical, alternative, cool character in nearly every film she's ever starred in, but surprisingly she didn't bother me all that much in this one.

Page stars as the character Bliss, forced to take party in beauty pageants by her mother (Marcia Gay Harden), which just isn't for her. When she discovers a roller derby sport involving racing fellow roller-skater girls (which actually proves to be a rather violent sport), she finds herself falling in love with it and decides to sneak behind her parents' backs and take part in the sport.

There's young romance, musicians, quirky characters, food fights and an awesome soundtrack; everything you want from an indie-comedy. I'm still not sick of this genre yet so I took quite a liking to Whip It. If you're not sick of Ellen Page yet and are just up for something light-hearted this would be a perfect choice.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Lovely Bones

This could possibly be the most annoying character in cinema history
Saoirse Ronan in a scene from the film

So I just came home from a bizarre cinema experience. My friend Callum & I decided to go see a film tonight that goes by the name of The Lovely Bones. What made us want to go see this? Well, feeling rather spontaneous I decided to pick a movie that I hadn't heard anything about (seeming as Fantastic Mr Fox couldn't be shown any later than 5:30pm), so I watched the trailer for The Lovely Bones and thought, "Eh, this couldn't be too bad. It actually looks quite interesting and Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are in it and usually they make good choices."
So Callum & I headed down feeling a little weary about my choice but ended up sticking to it. Possibly the best thing about this movie wasn't anything to do with the movie, it was that fact that Callum and I got the whole cinema to ourselves. Mobile phones were answered, running about the room and trying the front seats out were only a few of the things we took advantage of.
I'm getting carried away, let me review this piece of bullshit film shall I!

So apparently what we're meant to take from this film is a number of things, such as, there is a spiritual place between earth and heaven where young dead girls can be all wise and tell you all about it and life, etc. And we must embrace life and enjoy every moment, and even our young, dead character says to us at the end, "May you live a long and happy life."
Seriously, it couldn't be more perfect that Callum and I got the cinema to ourselves because it enabled us to shout out how bullshit the storyline was. We didn't care about this spiritual placein between the two worlds. We just wanted to get to the murder mystery stuff!
But this film was not about that. It wanted to provide comfort to its audience using bullshit theories.

This movie just frustrated me. Fortunately I could scream at the screen and say how pathetic it all was. The only scenes that I actually enjoyed was watching the drunken, smoking, Grandma with a sense of humour (Susan Sarandon). But unfortunately there wasn't enough of her in the film so it didn't stimulate me enough.

Well I think I made my point.

Rating: 0.5/5

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Trouble With Harry

Little Arnie (Jerry Mathers) is the first to discover Harry's body in the opening scene from the film

So I'm slightly obsessed with the fabulous Alfred Hitchcock and it was only a matter of time until I reviewed one of his films, so I thought why not do it now.

Last week I was watching a documentary on his film-making style and the people who spoke on it were directors of today who talked about their favourite films of his and so on. At one point they brought up his 1955 film, The Trouble With Harry and mentioned how Hitchcock decided to try something new by making a comedy. Of course I was quite intrigued by this as Hitchcock is of course the master of suspense; not comedy! So the following day I grabbed a copy from work and watched it that night.

Naturally going into it I was a little weary not knowing what to expect from my favourite director. The beginning was actually rather humorous, I chuckled quite a bit.
The story revolves around a dead man's body who goes by the name Harry and what makes the story so unusual is the fact that no one really seems to mind that he's dead. In fact one character doesn't even notice him when he's walking around engulfed in his book. He trips over him more than once only to apologise and to continue on walking and reading. Even a homeless man takes Harry's shoes and casually walks away.
What makes it slightly Hitchcock is the Whodunit? storyline. Some characters think that it may be them, others are not really sure who it was, either way, the audience are left guessing. When the character Captain Albert Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) believes it to be him that murdered Harry, his fellow character Sam Marlowe (John Forsythe) is more than happy to help him bury the body and forget the whole thing happened so he can go off and be with Harry's wife, Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine), who also couldn't careless about the death of Harry.

The story is a clever one and quite original but I couldn't help but feel disappointed as I just really wanted to feel like I was watching a Hitchcock film but that just wasn't the case. I'm sure if it was made by another director I would have enjoyed it far more, but I'm just too attached to Hitchcock's suspenseful style. The second half of the film also got quite tedious and I was kind of hanging out for it to finish, which is never a good thing.
I think I can forgive poor old Alfred though as he did make many fabulous films following The Trouble With Harry, so I think he made up for it.

Rating 2.5/5

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fight Club

Edward Norton in a scene from the film

It's been just over ten years since the release of David Fincher's 'Fight Club,' but it was only just last night that I finally watched it. Of course I was only ten-years-old when the film was made so I would have taken no interest in it back then, but after working in a video store for 3 years I've been informed to watch it for quite some time.

Perhaps what I most enjoyed about this film was it's original storyline, without giving away the ending, I was quite impressed with the unusual twist it took later on in the film.
I had never seen a film starring Edward Norton before this and judging by first impressions I was quite blown away. Norton definitely steals the show for me in this one, even more so than his well know co-star, Brad Pitt. Pitt is always one to pick quirky roles but Norton really did it for me in this one.
Norton stars as the Narrator of the film, an insomniac that tries a number of ways to help him get some sleep. It isn't until he meets Tyler Durden (Pitt) that his insomnia diminishes when the two start a Fight Club. Basically the club involves a bunch of everyday men who get together at night to fight each other until they are bloody and bruised. What starts out as a club eventually turns into a cult and Norton's character becomes weary of Tyler's leadership role.
Of course there is more to this than meets the eye but of course that is revealed to us later on in the very surprising twist.

One of my main interests when viewing a film is watching how the Director shot the film and how it was edited in the post production process. The moment this film began I knew it would be an interesting one. We are immediately thrown into the life of Norton's character. His mundane work life and his trouble sleeping at home. The best way he describes his insomnia is, "When you have insomnia, you're never really asleep... and you're never really awake."
The dialogue in this film is quick, intelligent and often rather humorous.

'Fight Club' is definitely one worth checking out.

Rating: 4/5