21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: July, 2015

Leon: The Professional

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‘Is life always this hard, Or is it just when you’re a kid?’

Luc Besson directs this thriller about a milk drinking hitman called Leon (Jean Reno) who takes in Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a rebellious twelve year old girl whose family were killed by a drug addict/ DIA agent Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman). Mathilda is then hellbent in getting the killers who killed her brother as Leon begins to teach her the craft.

Natalie Portman is one of my favorite actresses and it is safe to say that she has been kicking ass since she was twelve (the age she was when doing this movie). I liked how she brought out the charecter of a young girl who seems to be secretly in love with an older man at such a young age. Portman, who is now in her early thirties, has carried on doing successful movies and we feel like she has been around forever. Despite this, she is not in rehab as a result of being successful and considering that this was her first film role, it is a good one to start on because it is serious and can be approached from so many angles and it foresees her thriving film career.

As for Jean Reno’s character, I thought that he seemed so innocent, casually drinking milk in nearly every scene that he is in, but he still have the ability to blow up a whole building or kill everyone using a disguise (his dark glasses) and a gun. His softer side makes him considerably likable. His relationship with Mathilda does not cross any odd boundaries as far as I know, although she does challenge his affections and sometimes I found it all a bit weird, something that can never be produced nowadays.

Apart from that, the soundtrack was good, but in all fairness, I don’t really understand the storyline. On various occasions, I forgot previous bits and the director does know how to build suspense and make Natalie Portman seem alot older than she really is, but I just didn’t really understand it and various sites ruined it for me.

Promising start for Portman, I haven’t seen any other Luc Besson films so I cannot compare this to any others and Gary Oldman actually plays a very good creepy villain.

3/5

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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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The Road is a novel set in a dystopian and post-apocalyptic world where a father and his young son walk through a deserted America after civilization had been destroyed with nothing but a pistol, each other and little food to defend themselves and survive. It has been made into a film starring Viggo Morteson and Kodi Smit-McPhee but I haven’t actually seen the movie so I cannot compare the novel to any other material.

I actually liked this book. I liked the way that it was laid out- I think it was laid out as a indirect speech structure, although it took some time to get use to it. The scary thing is, all of this could happen tomorrow so a father and son would have to fight for survival. Not much is explained, so it is up to the readers interpretation to where they are and why they fighting for their lives in a bleak post apocolyptic world.

I wanted to read this book because I am a big fan of dystopian stories and I am actually writing dystopian at the moment so I needed more source material than Orwell’s 1984, The Matrix and the movie V For Vendetta so The Road would give me some idea of my own post-apocalyptic world. Most of the Road is taken up with simple sentences revolving around food and caring for the boy, because children and food are probably the most important thing, and what else is there to do when you’re trying to fight to live with little resources?.

Good layout and structure, bleak and simply written without the distraction of too many charecters.

4/5

Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

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‘Lightbulbs die. I will depart’

Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is about a magical toy shop run by Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) who gives his shop to the insecure worker Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman).

There was alot of criticism of the film, and I can see why. It is merely a bright children’s film with lots of magic, which leaves no room for character development or indeed any plot development, and it is up to the A list actors (to include Natalie Portman, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Bateman from Horrible Bosses) to make use of it. Indeed it is a movie for kids, but I like the color scheme which pushes the movie along, and I can’t help to say that Natalie Portman’s haircut in the movie suited her, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the film.

Good cast and colour scheme but don’t expect too much from it, and maybe I am the wrong age to adore it, and it is the type of film that I would watch on a rainy day on ITV2 for a bit of fantasy magic.

2.5/5

Inglorious Basterds (2009)

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‘That’s a bingo!’

Quentin Tarantino presents yet another one of his guilty likeable gore fests with Inglorious Basterds, a movie about a group of soldiers led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), who plan to hunt and kill Nazis, known as the ‘Basterds’. This collides with the revenge plot of a young woman called Shoshanna (Melanie Laurent) whos family was killed by one of the Nazis, the manipulative and cunning Colonel Hans Landa or ‘Jew Hunter’ (Christoph Waltz), who kills her family in the uneasy opening scene.

As tense and as offensive as it might seem, it is a typical Tarantino movie. Lots of violence, gore and meaty dialogue, of which Waltz once called ‘poetry’. Despite this, Tarantino has the ability to please and shock his audience, which is why I don’t find this movie scary, but instead shocking to watch. Christoph Waltz was made famous from this film, and I was surprised that I had avoided this film even though I have been a fan of Christoph Waltz for about four years, well aware that he was in this movie. Apparently Leonardo DiCaprio was going to be Landa, but when I saw Christoph Waltz as Landa, I could not imagine anyone else playing the part.

However, although Waltz is the heart and body of the film, I think Brad Pitt was ok in it as well, and there were plenty of recognizable faces, such as Micheal Fassbender, B.J Novak from Saving Mr Banks, Eli Roth (who is known to also direct a bit of horror and who I personally think looks like a beast), Diane Krueger and Melanie Laurent (Both of the women are very glamorous and do not take revenge lightly) . Tarantino makes good use of his popular cast so that it is not one of the films with no plot or development but with household names, and he allows the female charecters to be strong, kick ass people who are just as good as the men with taking down Nazi Germany.

The film did make me feel incredibly queasy from all the weapons and extent of the punishments e.g scalping and it sometimes made me want to throw up from the limits that Tarantino can take to produce what is mostly stretching the truth in his own little world. The cinematography is very good, using a wide range of colours and scene structure e.g fairly tame but intimidating long opening scene then a blood and gore fest for the rest of it, as well as the good soundtrack but all of the scenes were rather long and it didn’t help that I didn’t know what was going to happen next knowing that someone might get their head blown off within the next two minutes. I liked how he lay it out in alternating ‘chapters’ instead of boring his viewers senseless with stringy diologue.

Overall, good cast, soundtrack and although it was mostly in either German or French, I found that it was a good film but not the sort that you can sit down and watch and it made me feel sick sometimes but it was a good film to start on for the launch of Christoph Waltz’s late successful career in American cinema. I can also see why some people don’t really like the movie.

3.5/5

 

 

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

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‘When was it that people stopped thinking of ambition as insane and started thinking of it as a virtue?’

The Other Boleyn Girl is a film about two sisters Anne (Natalie Portman) and Mary (Scarlett Johannson) who compete for the affections of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana) to become Queen. It is based on the Philippa Gregory novel of the same name and based on the 16th century events involving Henry VIII, one of his wives Anne Boleyn and her sister. It has a near all star cast, to include Eddie Redmayne, Kristin Scott Thomas and Benedict Cumberbatch, but having an all star cast doesn’t mean that it is good.

I find that it is a very dramatic movie, apparently not very historically accurate, so much of the film is taken up with diologue, Eric Bana and many others striding around in period appropriate costumes and Natalie Portman’s character being a (excuse my French) bit of a bitch to her sister. Personally, I wouldn’t want to steal the partner or boyfriend off one of my sisters because that would be odd, however it would need to be applied to two sisters winning over the affection of the King of England, not two computer scientists.

Good choice of an all star cast, good script and costumes but there is something about the whole film that makes it drag on a bit.

3/5

 

 

What If

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What if is a movie about a medical school dropout called Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) who bonds with Shantry (Zoe Kazan) and discovers what it means when your best friend is more than you think.

I liked how What If was a bit more watchable that Woman In Black, but less than Radcliffe’s mainstream work such as Harry Potter. Everyone has that friend who you want more with (if that even makes sense) when everyone else is going out with someone, however I came to think that I could not care for any of the characters, their backgrounds or the chemistry between the two lead, which was ok but not the best.

Still, the choice of cast and overall message was very well chosen and depicted. The problem with this sort of film is that it has been done before and gets tangled up with romantic and unoriginal cliches which sometimes gets on my nerves from the weak characterization. Daniel Radcliffe, however was very good in his role because he looked the part and somehow reminded me of the Outnumbered actor Tyger-Drew Honey.

Overall a good film with occasional comical and relatable moments and a good cast to include Rafe Spall. It is also based on the play by T.J Dawe.

2.5/5

The Inbetweeners 2

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‘Please don’t let this be my last thought’

The Inbetweeners boys Simon (Joe Thomas) , Neil (Blake Harrison) and Will (Simon Bird) return and now they’re off on another holiday, to see Jay (James Buckley) on his gap year to the ‘sex capital of the world’ Australia, with once again entertaining results.

The guys have moved on, they have gotten over their high school crushes, and slowly growing up into men. Indeed you feel as if you are watching them grow up into men, going off on their own and exploring the world, and I personally become emotionally attached to the characters. They do tend to recycle original jokes from the series, but I think that that is the whole point, and once again end up in disastrous situations .

Apparently there will not be another film, and I think it would just go on and on if they made another one anyway, otherwise they will go from being Inbetweeners to being married men with children. There is a time and place for a good series like this to stop, and that is on a gap year.

Good cast, great ending to a gripping series and spinoffs, but it was only made because it was hard to say goodbye to these guys.

Also stars Emily Berrington.

 

3/5

 

 

Lady and the Tramp

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‘There’s a great big hunk of world down there without a fence around it’

Lady and the Tramp is a classic Disney film loved by all ages and generations about the relationship between a cute Cocker Spaniel called Lady and a ‘mutt’ called Tramp. It’s a lovable story between two dogs without the cliches of human relationships.

Without wishing to give away a whole life story, this was one of my favourite films when I was little, and indeed watching it again has brought back the attachment to a simple but timeless story which can never be recreated effectively, and leads on the fact that dogs are adorable little animals.

Considering how old it is, I like the cinematography and detail of the movie which is impossible to get with a modern animated film and the soundtrack is good as well, not forgetting the parodied and famous spaghetti scene. I find that Lady is a lovable dog right from the start and this movie continues to inspire generations, however I have never really liked the rat.

4.5/5

The Inbetweeners Movie

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‘I stopped believing in God when I realized it was only dog spelt backwards’

The Inbetweeners Movie follows on from the series as four ‘misfits’ Jay (James Buckley), Neil (Blake Harrison), Will (Simon Bird) and Simon (Joe Thomas) finally leave sixth form and embark on a ‘lads’ holiday to Crete and get up to their usual michevous adventures when they are let out into the big world.

I am a rather big fan of the series, which unfortunately ended after 3 series back in 2010, yet the movie shows the reluctance to fulfill Inbetweeners fans for another hour and a half, although it is more of a reclusive movie because it is probably one that only fans of the series would like to some degree, or maybe they would only like the series. It safely carries on from their lives after sixth form, but there was something missing from the conversion between the series and the movie.

If you have seen it, my favourite scene is the ‘We Speak No Americano’ dance off, but you either like the series or the film, or both. The boys are probably the most realistic teenagers ever without them looking one dimensional, and it is mostly told from the mind and eyes of a group of eighteen year old boys.

Directed by Ben Palmer.

4/5