21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: February, 2015

Django Unchained (2012)

‘The D is silent’

Quentin Tarantino directs his usual bloodbath of a movie set around 1858 and is about a slave caled Django (Jamie Foxx) who is rescued by a German dentist- turned bounty hunter who goes by Dr King Shultz (Christoph Waltz) and together they find Django’s wife Bromhilda (Kerry Washington), a slave sold to the plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Candyland.

Many of those who are not familiar with/have not watched Tarantino stuff would generally find the movie long, tedious and sometimes goes off on a tangent, and would never wish to see such horrific events shown on screen again, even if the movie is well into the 18 rating bracket, and contains over 100 uses of the ‘N’ word.

Django Unchained is probably not my favourite movie as much as Tarantino is not my absolute favourite director, however it is not one of the worst ones that I have had to sit through, even with all the plot holes, inaccuracies and controversy. If I was to see an accurate Tarantino movie, I am probably on another planet, and where do you see accurate events? On documentries, not a piece of Tarantino work.

The cast and soundtrack, however, is brilliant. Christoph Waltz was cogent as Shultz, making him stand out in a scene. He is not one to method act but adjusts to his character very well in a realistic way that keeps longer than the two and a half hours, and he eventually wins his well deserved second Oscar. He also claims that Tarantino writes ‘poetry’, a statement that is somewhat true but I don’t find anything poetic about bloodbaths and gore. Jamie Foxx was convincing, and as for Leonardo DiCaprio, you would half expect him to be a usual sex obsessed womaniser or reasonably good guy, but he gets up and screams when he smashes his hand, and watches as those below each other beat each other to death. Kerry Washington was stunning and you could really see the fear in her eyes at Samuel L. Jackson’s charecter’s domineering presence.

If you like long films and old western styles, along with Tarantino’s usual shocking touch of gore and violence, you will love this movie (if you haven’t already).

Great cast and a somewhat good but prolonged film, but the hype was really over Tarantino’s usual, and he is not scared to add as much violence and revenge as possible to prove a point. Even if that point takes two and a half hours and a heap load of Awards at various 2013 ceremonies to prove it.

3.5/5

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

‘You loved me at once the way you did once upon a dream’

Sleeping Beauty is an original classic Disney film about a girl called Aurora (voiced by Mary Costa) who is put under a spell by the evil queen Maleficent and can only be woken 100 years later by a true love’s kiss from Prince Philip (not the Queen’s husband).

This use to be my favourite film when I was little, and even now I am amazed by the detailed drawing and general animation of the movie that no Disney film can create past the age of the Disney Renaissance. The colour of Sleeping Beauty is rather dark, thereby giving a dark edge rather than a bright in your -face- one.

The whole awoken- by your true love’s kiss has been done a million times to the point where it is a cliché, but Sleeping Beauty is done in such an original way that there is more than what it is about which has been the basis to other fairy-tales and Disney films. It also cannot be interpreted from another character’s perspective, as shown by the rather disappointing Maleficent , and when it is recreated it does not have that original touch.

The Soundtrack, particuarly ‘once upon a dream’ is brilliant and I admit to singing along to it on my sister’s CD player as a young kid, not forgetting how much I wanted to be Princess Aurora with her pretty pink dress.

Stunning but dark animation, classic and original.

5/5

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

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‘The last pages are for you, Sam’ 

Peter Jackson directs and concludes the final chapter of J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (now onto the Hobbit films next!).

Return of the King is about the conquest to Middle Earth and it is down to Frodo ( Elijah Wood)  and Sam (Sean Astin) to quest to destroy the Ring in the volcanic pit where it was created, and the base to the two previous movies.

Although I am not a die hard fan of the trilogy, with all the merchandise, books and extended version box-set, but I like the cinematography, the soundtrack, and the contrast between most of the film being dark, intense, with lots of battles and dim in colour to the bright ending. It also ends so that it can move swiftly onto the first part of the next trilogy- The Hobbit, and rounds it all together with not too many cliff-hangers. I also find that the Lord Of the Rings, despite being lengthy, does not fail to disappoint but seems to be a very hit and miss movie (and books)- you either love it or hate it, but it is one that requires you to think,even if it means having to sit through a minimum of two and a half hours for every movie.

Exceptional cast, to include Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and many others.

4.5/5

The Rover

‘Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful’ 

David Michod writes and directs a rather under-rated but heavily spoiled ‘The Rover’ , a rather short movie about a cold tempered man called Eric (Guy Pearce) who tracks down the people who stole his car, and on his way crosses paths with a dim simpleton called Rey (Robert Pattinson) whos brother abandoned him, all set ten years after a collapse.

This is definitely not my favourite film, even if it has Robert Pattinson in it; who quite obviously shines as Rey, looking in the bleak distance with his murky face, lonely eyes, bad teeth and clothing with fear and enough to convince a solid audience. As for Guy Pearce, he played a very interesting Eric, but it was hard to get use to him in this sort of role as I have only seen him in The Kings Speech.

It is not very word heavy, in fact, I saw it as a 90 minute road movie with lots of guns and two men want to track down their car and their brother (respectively), and it was only after the movie had ended when I remembered what I saw and thought ‘ok do you think the director wants us to think…… which led to the events leading up to the end of the film’. It also allowed Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson etc  to show that their actions spoke louder than their words. I felt like I had seen most of it in the interview clips but when I watched the whole film, it started to come together.

I had watched interviews of either Guy Pearce or Robert Pattinson previously, but maybe their very dressed up view of the film somewhat misleaded my opinion of it. This one might need a rewatch at some point, but for now I should say that the performances of the two leads, as well as the other cast members were ok, and the colour scheme; (though not as lavish) of the the blues, black, grey, brown fitted with the grim dystopia of The Rover.

As an obvious longterm fan of Robert Pattinson, it was exciting to see him in a role where he was not playing a vampire or a misleaded love interest.

Good soundtrack, excellent cast but somewhat lacked development-maybe it doesn’t need it?

Based on a story by David Michod and Joel Edgerton.

3 / 5

The Lord of the Rings: Two towers

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‘Master is a friend, Master betrayed us’

Peter Jackson returns and directs the second out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The ongoing quest to destroy the ring continues, so Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his fellow friends and hobbits defend themselves as Saraman (Christopher Lee) and his army approach, so both sides must defeat each other in the battle between the two towers.

The imposing soundtrack does not fail to impress, nor does the symbolism in the water, which may or may not relate to J.R.R Tolkien’s time in the war. The cinematography is spectacular, with all the greens for countryside, blue maybe in battle and red/orange, to distinguish each scene or symbol i.e Gandalf with his white horse and costume amongst a generally dark setting.

However, I found that this movie was the awkward middle one between the Fellowship of the Ring and Return of the King, both of which are maybe the better out of the trilogy. I suppose this one carries on and pieces together where the former left off, and foreshadows the chain of events in the final film, but I didn’t have so much of a passion for this one.

I know it is typical for a Lord of the Rings film, or any movies of the fantasy genre such as Harry Potter to have most of it taken up with battle, but I often wished for this one to end, until it came to the ending itself when it gradually started to piece up loose ends that were left behind. Maybe I start to overthink things, but past the two hour mark of most films, regardless of how good they are, makes me drift elsewhere.

Overall, terrific performances from the cast, Ian McKellan, Cate Blanchett, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee and many more.

3/5

 

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

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‘You shall not pass!’

Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is directed by Peter Jackson and is about Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), a small wide eyed hobbit who teams up with his hobbit friends Sam (Sean Astin) and others to fight the forces of evil between the good and evil on Middle Earth. It is also based on the book series of the same name by J.R.R Tolkien.

My general opinion on the movie is generally affected because I took an interest in it about 13 years, three movies and another three of follow up trilogy The Hobbit years later , so what you would be reading is not from a die hard fan of both J.R.R Tolkien’ novel and the Peter Jackson films, not that it would matter from a passing viewer. Even so, when the Lord of the Rings movies were out (mostly this one), I was not old enough to watch them.

Anyway, the cast were tremendous; Elijah Wood was brilliant as Frodo, and there were plenty of recognizable actors if you could see past their long wigs and pale make up, such as Viggo Morteson, Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellan, Christopher Lee (who has been in mostly everything) and Hugo Weaving- who usually uses facial expression etc as a basis for his charecters.

I, like others, think that Lord of the Rings has been compared to Harry Potter in terms of the fight between good and evil and all the battles, but Lord of the Rings has less films,set elsewhere and is primarily better.

At times it felt as if the movie dragged on, and this one, despite previous criticisms, is maybe one of the best of the series but the soundtrack fits with the movie and does not disturb  the action and acting overwhelmingly.

I have no idea why I wanted to watch Lord of the Rings, mostly because I was bored of sagas and trilogies after the Twilight Saga and I have never read the J.R.R Tolkien series so I should find some time to read it if I have a spare month or so.

Excellent cast, great soundtrack and good symbolism, such as the ring in the open hand representing the source of power in the sands of one to destroy it, if you bother to look in that deep.

Worth a watch if you have a spare few hours because Lord of the Rings is very much like Marmite, you love it or hate it.

4/5