21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: February, 2016

Brazil (1985)

image

‘What have you done with his body?’

Terry Gilliam directs Brazil, a fantasy movie about a guy who works at the Information retrieval called Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) who tries to track down the women of his dreams Jill (Kim Griest) while he competes against poorly run machines in a dystopian society.

Terry Gilliam’s work is certainly distinguishable. The only other Gilliam film that I’ve seen is The Zero Theorem but Gilliam knows what he wants in this film. I was recommended this film by a lecturer at college. Indeed, Brazil is a little dated and some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy e.g I love you in my dreams is only ok within the context of the film but it does come across as being a bit stalkerish.

Some of it is all too relevant. It starts off as a movie that is very similar to my dystopian story but dwells into a homage to Orwell’s 1984. It is relevant because of the frequent terrorist attacks/scares that we have nowadays, people are always watching us and nobody stands still in the movie, making us feel tight and claustrophobic. I liked how he would be doing something like protecting himself from bombings then it would cut to his fantasy life that becomes more and more semi-hallucigenic to the point where it is a living nightmare and he also hears voices as well.

Jonathan Pryce was decent in the role. His looks reminded me of an old fashioned black and white movie actor but his character reminded me of a hapless romantic in a world run by machines. Kim Griest was ok with her regular ‘Don’t touch it!’ line but there was a bit of a jump in her and Sam’s relationship but that didn’t really matter. Robert Deniro was interesting and you could tell that it was him from his screen presence.

Although I found some bits quite nightmarish, I liked the symbolism. Maybe he wore armour in his dreams to distinguish from a night in shining armour to an impatient bloke who just wants to get his girl, and he has wings because it is a bit like a fairytale in his dreams. His dreams are usually destroyed by explosions. I found it quite sad that his mother cared more about her plastic surgery and appearance than she did about him. We too are also obsessed with what we look like and eventually most of them ended up looking like creepy plastic dolls. Maybe that’s a metaphor for something.

Anyway, incredible actors, fantastic scenery which doesn’t take over the film or the actor’s performance and a good film which is cheesy and weird at times e.g the bloated baby mask that haunts Sam.  It is also one of those films that allow you to use your interpretation into how it ends or what the characters do.

Also stars Ian Richardson and Ian Holm.

3/5

 

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

image

‘I have watched the mountains being born; I have seen emperors die’ 

I was given this book as a Christmas present, and at first, I was hesitant to read it. Not because of the context or content, but because I was not used to this side of magical realism. My Mum said that if you could read and tackle Salman Rushdie’s books, then it would be very impressive. I was also told that he got into trouble for his work (probably for being a bit too realistic) and it used to be banned.

Midnight’s Children takes some time to get into but I’m sure that it is rewarding in the end. It certainly makes a strong statement on certain sides of Indian Culture and seasons it slightly with a bit of magical realism,but not as obviously as other books of the genre, such as The Night Circus. I love the magical realism genre because authors are allowed to do anything they want and make it as make believe as possible but they can still have a say on the standards and rules or culture of the time.

As for the novel itself, the narrator rambled way too much to the point where it could be at least two hundred pages shorter than it was. There were times where I got into it but other times it was excess information that wasn’t really needed until everything started to gradually come together. I like how all the midnight children had a telepathic connection but unfourtunetly, I couldn’t sit through and read the whole thing.

Generally an ok book but it could be shorter. I suppose that the every detail style of writing appeals to some but not to others.

2.5/5

Cinderella (2015)

image

‘Mark my words, you shall not go to the ball!

Many adaptations of Disney animated films do not turn out as well as the original. Luckily, this one is not one of them.

As the story goes, Helena Bonham Carter narrates the film and stars as the Fairy Godmother. Indeed, she does a very convincing job from it and she is very over the top. The story is standard, a girl called Ella, and nicknamed Cinderella (Lily James) is mistreated by her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and stepsisters Anastasia (Holliday Granger) and Drizella (Sophie  McShera). Ella hopes to reunite with the prince Kit (Richard Madden) that she met in the woods but her stepfamily refuse to let her take the limelight and become the object of the prince’s heart.

Some of it is quite obvious CGI, but the movie won’t let the CGI and the all star cast get the best of them. Quite a few of the actors in the film are also stage actors and I found that the movie was indeed very theatrical by using certain levels, close ups and aerial shots. One scene in particular, Cate Blanchett was at the top of the stairs while Cinderella’s character was at the bottom of the stairs, showing that the stepmother was of a higher authority than Cinderella, but by the end, the bars on the stairs in front of the stepmother showed that Cinderella had trapped her as punishment of what she had done to her. Cate Blanchett’s character wears green in mostly all of her scenes and green is a cold color that represents jealousy. She also wears red lipstick and red represents death, hatred and blood. Cate Blanchett could move her entire performance using her eyes, facial expression and screen prescense.

Quite a few other recognizable faces such as Stellan Skarsgard and the guy who plays Neil’s Dad in theI Inbetweeners. I don’t like mice but the mice in the movie were adorable despite the fact that they looked computer generated. Most of the movie made me and my older sister laugh because of the comic timing yet they still kept it relevant.

Many phrases from Cinderella have been adapted into expressions in the English language e.g you shall go to the ball, turn into a pumpkin etc. I watched the original 1950s Cinderella when I was younger but I think this version is better. The cinematography is excellent and the soundtrack/score was beautifully composed. The prince was a bit soppy and melodramatic but I think that’s the point.

Brilliant acting from Cate Blanchett and Lily James, stunning visuals, memorable film and a great soundtrack.

4/5

Up (2009)

image

‘Squirrel!’

Up is a sweet animated film about an old man called Carl (Ed Asner) who uses his flying house to fulfill his dead wife’s wishes, with the help of a young boy called Russell (Jordan Nagai).

I originally saw the film in cinema back when it came out in 2009 and I loved it and I still do. Doug the dog is unbelievably adorable and Carl eventually sees Russell as less of an annoying kid and more of a son. I think the whole balloons attached to the house thing is rather cool.

It is also one of those films that you don’t need to think when you watch it, but it teaches you a few brilliant life lessons. Your childhood hero could be an insane old dude with a pack of Doberman dogs, pack loads of chocolate for the birds and most importantly, go on an adventure!

4.5/5