Tuesday, 16 August 2011


It reminded me being in university, sitting in the small office of my lecturer on a hot sunny day. All the 10 of us are analysing a poem for hours which are like random words put next to each other. If I was to put a word in that poem before the consultation started no one would realise that and would have an even longer conversation why is that word in there. I felt the same watching Northfork.

So after surviving the 103 minutes I quickly had a look what people are saying about it on various websites. Have others enjoyed it, understood it? To my surprise there were many intelligent, positive reviews. Mine is not going to be so intelligent or positive but I’ll try my best to write down how I felt about the film.
The film itself can be described as arty, unique, senseless stories tied together with a glue which doesn't stick. Surreal, but overall not particularly interesting. Around 15 minutes in I kind of realised what this film is about. 6 men in hats has the task to evacuate the residents living in a dam site area on the Northfork River in Montana.
Parallel to that we also have a little sick boy being left by his parents with the priest of the community.  4 characters being introduced who are bizarre at first, and then all the way through. Once I acknowledge that 4 characters are in the little boy’s dream I felt better aka confused again. In bizarre dreams anything can happen and it so did. If anyone can figure out what the ghost story was about the author must have explained it to them but not to me.
Within the cast we have James Woods who felt flat to me and I was disappointed. I saw him in some brilliant roles like in Once Upon a Time in America, Casino and Family Guy and always thought highly of him. The lack of the plot just killed him as well as the others. Nick Nolte, Daryl Hannah, Anthony Edwards, Ben Foster. I was happy to see their names on the cover of the DVD before we started. Well it didn’t mattered on forming my view on the film.
There are two big positives about this film I have to admit. The scenery and cinematography. I loved the color they are using. It fits so well with the mood of the film which are gloomy, arty, slow, tired. Fantastic wide angle shots and close ups on faces like old photographs.
There is a fine line in story telling between giving something to the audience or confusion them. I think this film just missed that fine line. If the story can't be interpreted by us in a way we understand and enjoy it then it is not told right. The film missed the point it wanted to make, if it wanted to make any at the first place.
Slow, long and confusing...great entertainment (for those who like that). I’m not one of them.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Mean Creek

Now that is the award season I should be writing about films which were nominated on the Golden Globe, BAFTA and later on for the Oscars but  I’m not going to do that. First of all I haven’t seen that many from the list.  I know it is not acceptable so I will get back on to it but first of all I write about the film I saw a couple of days ago and I was blown away by it. The title is Mean Creek. Have you heard about it?

Well if you haven’t seen it please do. It is a masterpiece. I truly recommend it. 

The story is simple in a way that most people have probably thought of before. Well you can summaries it into one sentence. “When a teen is bullied, his brother and friends lure the bully into the woods to seek vengeance.”  On its surface a simple story, but the slow action gives time to examine the characters, their motivations, and how peer pressure causes individuals to act in ways they would otherwise never consider. 

The performances are so believable and realistic. It would be really hard to pick a stand out one because unlike some of the films today, all the six leads were stand outs. Ryan Kelley, Rory Culkin, Scott Mechlowicz, Trevor Morgan, Josh Peck and Carly Schroeder - their performances are so genuine and authentic that I had the impression of seeing a documentary rather than a fictional movie. (I’m not exaggerating) They interact in a natural way that is stunning in its simplicity and leaves you with the feeling of getting a first-hand insight into the heart and soul of the struggling life of young teenagers on the edge of adulthood

The writer and director, Jacob Aaron Estes has memorized those young people for what they really are.. The fat but "cool" kid with all the new gadgets bulling all those who are smaller and smarter, the brother who can't stand to see his brother get pushed around, the young teenaged girl with so much to learn and experience, the almost adult man taking a lead and giving the orders and the sensitive skinny guy. It makes you going back time to remember names of people you haven't thought about in years, and that just makes it so much more terrifying when the plan goes wrong. If a few different choices had been made, it seems, this could have happened to anyone.

The cinematography is just stunning. There are so many quite moment when all we can see is the flowing river, or a close up of the threes around, faces, smiles, the nature but it still gives a natural paste to the film.  Sharone Meir ‘s photography isn’t showy, but it gives the river sequences in particular a kind of quiet elegance.

For such a child-filled movie, this is a grown-up story. I can’t believe it was out in 2004 and it took me 7 years to find it and watch it. There are only 3 words I can say about this film, rent, watch, and enjoy! You won’t regret it.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Time Machine

It is Christmas Day when your are about to eat as much as you can, be nice to your family who you haven’t seen for a long time (there is a reason for that) so when I saw The Time Machine starting on one of the channel I was happily focused on the TV and blocked my surrounding out.  Not worrying about my family going crazy about the turkey and the roast potato around me. 

It is 1960 when the film was made. Let’s do the math, 50 years ago! Ben-Hur is winning its 11 Oscars which Titanic  38 years later can only beat. Since then the world population is doubled and loads of other interesting things happened according to Wikipedia if you want to read some more....here!

I’m not one of those people who read the novel the film was based on by H. G. Wells, published in 1895  but with the limited information a film can tell compare to a book its based on I still found it very enjoyable and entertaining.

Great acting from Rob Taylor including all the facial impressions a film at that time required. Producer-director George Pal who we can proudly call the granddaddy of science-fiction films did a great job creating the impressive sets and special effects. I have to be honest here I wasn’t blown away by the beauty of Yvette Mimieux. When it comes to female character I have to choose the props in the shop window with the different outfits on her as the years are going by.

I have read a couple of reviews where there were some arguments about the low quality of the special effects or the characters are cardboard cutouts and the acting is being wooden, English to be the language spoken in 800,000 A.D and having two casts, Sweden looking suburban teenagers with no brain and stuffed animals with battery-powered eyes. Let’s just say there re some truth in those but for me The Time Machine is a great film to watch. One of those Sci-Fi films that's made just right to be watched over and over again and never gets old just do the math if you want to compare it to Avatar.

By glued to the TV for an hour and a half I wasn’t only the pleasant Chrimtas guest who doesn’t interfere but luckily for me for that period of time I was taken to a different time away from the turkey madness!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

District 9

 It is a bit bizarre and thought provoking but also opens up at least a 1000 questions. Why they are here? Why does alien fuel turn a guy into an alien? Why would the aliens have an antidote for a guy turning into an alien? Why would Wikus (our star in the film) only cut off a finger? Why didn't the aliens retaliate with their superior technology? Why would the government allow the aliens to be so loosely controlled? Why do the aliens act like savages even though they are supposed to be an advanced race? But there is no point asking these questions just enjoy the movie because believe me it is a bloody good film.

I'm so glad there weren't any big star in it because it made it even more believable. Sharlto Copley as Van De Wikus Merwe and yes some other actors and actresses. And Christopher and his son who are the most memorable and lovable alien I have ever come across with. I hope they will live happy ever after in Spaceland.

The opening scenes use newsflashes, ad breaks and to-camera interviews to set up the complex back-story. At that point you have to check whether you are watching a program on TV and sat on the remote control or it is the film itself. It is so realistic right up until the end you are never sure what's going to happen next.

So the plot: For 20 years, more than 1m aliens, known as Prawns, have been living in a dirty, crime-infested refugee camp in Johannesburg called District 9.(simple fact, do NOT ask questions as I did) Wikus is the man put in charge of evicting the aliens. But when he is exposed to an alien chemical, Wikus starts to turn into a prawn and is hunted by the evil MNU corporation that he once worked for.

And we have got all the way though, running, exploding, turning into an alien, gun fire, cat food, war zone, experimenting, emotion, action, tears, military force, fight scenes...by the end turning it into a video game movie which is still fine.

It was a great choice Mr Peter Jackson to choose Neill Blomkamp to direct the film and create a sci-fi movie that feels unbelievably real. (to me at least). Apparently they only made District 9 after their previous project fell through – the feature film adaptation of the Halo video game franchise. No matter how hard I try can I imagine what that film would have been like.

Some more questions then. Why it is thought provoking? Is it something to do with immigrants? The film becomes a portrait of cyclical segregation, with the prawns (aka the aliens) as a catch-all metaphor for displaced asylum seekers worldwide. As there were at least 4 Sunday when I kept finding article in the paper analyzing the connection between Avatar and different faiths so if this movie was as much talked about as Avatar I'm sure we had that effect about immigration.

My final verdict is then: with all its illogic and CGI it bringing us some food for thought (which not many films are able to deliver). It is a very unique sci-fi film and a must see! The film not only had action and great special effects but it had a storyline with a universal theme that everyone can relate to.

Friday, 26 February 2010

A Prophet

I'm breaking the ice, well not just breaking it but smashing it, melting it and even drinking it. After 3 of my blog in the row talking about "you can easily live without" films, here is the one you can NOT live without!

Yes, it is A Prophet or
Un Prophete.

I wasn't feeling sleepy last night and at 10 o'clock I decided to watch something which I have heard to be good. But the rumors were wrong it was not good but A MUST-SEE, SENSATIONAL, MASTERFUL, UNFORGETTABLE, POWERFUL, COMPELLING (some of the words from the Trailer). Perfect acting, scenario, script, directing, cinematography & sound. Supported by a compelling original score by Alexandre Desplat and brilliant cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine, directed by Jacques Audiard.

The plot: It set mainly within prison walls, Malik el Djebena, a 19-year-old man of North African origin sentenced to six years in prison. At his arrival in prison, he is forced into the murky world of prison crime when Cesar tell him to kill a follow Arab prisoner, and if Malik doesn't they would kill him. From this point on we start "living and breathing" with Malik. You drawn instantly into his life and can not leave him. It is like a book you can't put down because you want to know what happens next. From the moment he trains himself how to kill his victim, then becoming the slave of the Corsican mafia gang, learning to read, all the way to the end he captures you with his ability to build a completely assured reality about this character.

The star:
Tahar Rahim. He is genuine and believable and wonderful. His performance is shivering with the fear of loneliness and pain. I have to admit I fell in love with him in a flash. Of course he didn't win the BAFTA Rising Star award because he wasn't in Twilight. But he knew that right away on arrival! (they misspelled his name) He is one of those who can't seems to realize how talented he is. We could say if it was an English-language film he would take not only the Oscar but most of the awards but I'm honestly so glad it is not and he is what he is!

So by half midnight I finished the film and it was long that is true but I found myself at the end wishing to know more, and rather regretting the end of this fascinating movie.

I'm proudly present that A Prophet is the best film of 2009 and because I saw it just yesterday it is the best of 2010.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

An Education

An other BAFTA moment made me realise I have to see this film in order to have a proper opinion about Carey Mulligan.

The first time I saw a picture of her when I was queuing up in a supermarket and on the front cover of a magazine she was walking along with Shia LaBeouf. All I remember from that moment that it made me realize you can have a hot guy with short hair. The second time I came across with her name when she was among the BAFTA Rising Start nominees. But we all knew Kristen Stewart is the only one who can win this game so I carried on with my Careyless life.

Eventually, BAFTA came and she reappeared with blond hair and gave interviews where she was articulate, shy but charming, lovely but scared and with that she won the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award. So here I am, watching the film to make sure she did deserve it.

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure this film gave me any more than what the 3 minutes trailer already showed me. The plot is simple and far from new or interesting, we know these characters very well from books, films. It didn't capture me with its lack of freshness. By the end of the film I felt like being Jenny, living in a small town watching boring films and not having a life. I left the cinema feeling how thin so many movies are these days.

Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Peter Sarsgaard and Alfred Molina - who easily steals every scene he was in - and yes, Carey Mulligan. She ultimately saved me from regretting having watched the film. She was amazingly brilliant and the critics are right "a star has born". And they are soo RIGHT because she has just born so I wouldn't give her an Oscar just yet, not until she is at least a teenager if not an adult and played another 5 memorably roles.

I feel sorry for the film and Lynn Barber or Nick Hornby though. It is not more than an Audrey Hepborn lookalike's wonderful performance. I have never felt bored after watching Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany's or My Fair Lady. Why did it fell so predictable and dull after all then?

I look forward to hearing your answer!