21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: August, 2016

Gene Wilder

image

‘Come with me, and you’ll see, a world of pure imagination,’

Gene Wilder was an actor best known for playing Willy Wonka in the 1971 version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory amongst other movies, and he sadly passed away at the age of 83 due to Alziemers.

I was deeply saddened by the news that he had died, and I’m not saying that because he’s dead. Alziemers strips the life away from your loved ones. I grew up watching Willy Wonka and reading Roald Dahl, and I loved the idea of a chocolate factory, and I will always prefer the 1971 film to the 2005 Tim Burton version because it’s slightly old fashioned and dark. The ending scene of Willy Wonka, which used to be a rather bittersweet ending of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka heading off in a big glass elevator that was going up towards the sky will now have an ironic and melancholy touch to it. Now he’ll take the glass elevator to heaven, and he even has a golden ticket.

Nearly all the childhood legends have gone. David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman and Kenny Baker are now all dead, and that’s naming only a few, all who have brought magic to our childhoods or to our lives at some point. The in memoriam section of the Oscars next year will truly be a long and emotional list of incredible actors.

Rest in Peace Gene Wilder 1933- 2016.

 

 

The Interview (1998)

image

‘We don’t break the law to enforce it,’ 

No, I am not going to be taking about the 2013 Seth Rogen film of the same name. The Interview is about a man called Edward Rodney Fleming (Hugo Weaving) who is seized from his home under the accusation that he stole another man’s car. A series of events unveil when he is interrogated throughout the film by two policemen, Detective Sargent John Steel (Tony Martin) and his young and tough as nails assistant Detective Senior Constable Wayne Prior (Aaron Jeffrey), and it is revealed that the stolen car incident turned into a serial killing.

The director Craig Monahan worked with Hugo Weaving again roughly fifteen years after the release of this film on a film called Healing. Anyway, The Interview is one of the most under appreciated Australian indie films, but certainly one of the most remarkable films of Hugo Weaving’s career, though it is relatively unknown. Hugo Weaving’s character is in a small black room for most of the film, and it relies on closeups of the mouth, eyes and face to suggest that he’s guilty and easy to identify and the mouth can tell lies. Hugo Weaving is generally a very theatrical actor so his facial expressions and his stage presence carry the film along on its own. His eyebrows and face alone bring a brilliant performance in a film that doesn’t rely too much on the action to fill the running time. The use of over the shoulder shots show that the film is mostly a conversation between two or three people. It’s also very hard to believe that the film only takes place over the course of maybe a day or so. Not many films get away with having nearly an entire film of a single set without making it really dull or something out of the soaps but the Interview is filled with suspense, and to think that the ending suggests that he pleaded his way out of it and got away with it eventually.

The film doesn’t need full on sequences that show every little detail of what happened. Yes, there are flashbacks and there’s one scene of the shadow of Edward Fleming hitting someone but we as an audience are made to guess just like they are with one of Hugo Weaving’s other films called Oranges and Sunshine, which is about a social worker who tries to help two survivors of a horrific event. His character goes from a hysterical man on the dole to a supposed innocent looking cunning thief to a manipulative liar. The focus is usually on him as he’s the only person in the room in some of the scenes. The film also makes frequent use of the 360 degree shot which suggests that he is under CCTV all the time.

Overall, an incredibly under appreciated movie that puts all of the character of Edward Fleming’s actions under the telescope. It also makes you feel watched even though you’re probably not guilty for anything. A stolen car can also lead to bigger charges. Great cast, fantastic use of cinematography and it makes me realize that police interrogation scenes are not just for soppy dramas and soap operas.

4/5

Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

image

Billy and Me is a sweet bestselling novel by the author Giovanna Fletcher, and it follows the story of a everyday woman called Sophie May who is thrust into the spotlight after she meets and falls in love with an actor called Billy Buskin who has ambitions to make it to the top of the acting world.

I have read nearly every Giovanna Fletcher book. This book was part of Zoella’s book club. I don’t really watch Zoella’s videos but I wanted to give this book a read. Giovanna Fletcher’s books are good if you just want to unwind pretty much anywhere. I am forever grateful for her type of books, where there are no confusing plot lines and she doesn’t have a dodgy narrative structure. She brings life to every character, even the secondary ones in her books. You could be anywhere and you could be absorbed in her quirky stories. She isn’t just a popstar’s wife, she genuinely lives off another career away from her husband’s life.

I can’t imagine having to date someone who is in the spotlight, although I know a few young local male actors where I live who are nothing more than friends to me. It makes you realize how judgemental the media/ press are towards an actor’s private life, something that they should know nothing about, and how tough the acting world is if you want to break free from the clean cut teenybopper movies. An example of a real life Billy Buskin would be either Robert Pattinson- who had to prove himself as a serious actor post Twilight by appearing in mature movies such as Map To the Stars and small indie movies such as The Rover. The characters in Billy and Me felt real, not like cardboard cutouts, and I thought that the ending was so emotional. I also thought that Billy Buskin was a real person because Giovanna Fletcher makes him seem real. I think there are a few spin offs and sequels to this book, but I haven’t read them yet. I intend to in the future.

Overall, a poignant bestseller with fantastic characters. I personally liked the character of Sophie because she’s constantly trodden on and bullied and overlooked by the press just because she’s not a supermodel or famous, she’s a down to earth woman who just happens to date a high profile actor. The love story that wasn’t formulaic,even though there have probably been many books about ‘ordinary girl meets a superstar man’. Considering that it looks as if it was her first book, it was a brilliant debut, even though there’s quite a lot of pressure for authors to write a great debut novel.

4.5/5

Blood Ties (2013)

image

‘Put down the gun’ 

Blood Ties is about a policeman called Frank (Billy Crudup) who takes in his brother Chris (Clive Owen) after Chris is released from prison in the 1970s. However, Chris’ criminal past hasn’t left him and the brothers’ relationship suffers. The movie also stars Mila Kunis as Clive Owen’s character’s love interest and eventual wife Natalie and James Caan as Frank and Chris’ and their sister’s ill father.

Firstly, I would like to apologize for the overflow of Clive Owen films recently. It might look as if I’m trying to turn this blog into a Clive Owen fan page but I’m really not. He’s just one of my favourite actors and I like how he tackles all his characters in his films as I admire his work, and his character in Blood Ties was ruthless, violent and unpredictable. He also looked very handsome but also very rough in his long leather jacket, and excuse my bad language but his character was a massive a-hole. There were also a lot of other recognizable faces in the movie, such as Charlie St Cloud and obviously James Caan, who I saw previously in the Christmas movie Elf.

The film itself was raw and gritty, and I think it is shown from the male gaze due to the fact that the women were shown as sexual objects, or things that can be thrown away or pushed to the side if the man feels like it, therefore displaying male- female dominance. I also found that it was a very manly film. I don’t know about you but the way that they portrayed and treated the women in this film is disgusting, but I didn’t expect anything else from a gang of criminals in a crime thriller movie. I also generally don’t like Mila Kunis as an actress. Some of her stuff is alright, while some of it is not but I didn’t mind her in this film to an extent. I liked the vast array of cars that they showed in the film, and if I would recommend this film to anyone, I would recommend it to my two best guy friends, who both like cars and motorbikes.

I always assumed that the 70s (because I wasn’t around then) was full of the disco scene, but this film proved me wrong. Nobody was faithful to each other, no character in the movie was safe, giving the full view of the underworld in Brooklyn, America. I also thought that it dragged on a bit at times but the final scene was up to the viewers interpretation, therefore having an open ending. Clive Owen’s character was thuggish and harsh but at least he got what he deserved in the end. There was a shot of him positioned higher than his ex wife, and by the end he was positioned lower than his brother, therefore vulnerable and dragged down enough to face his punishment. I liked the use of the dark cinematography and the obvious violent undertones rose from the surface. Those types of tones are all too common in mostly all of Clive Owen’s movies.

Overall, a decent movie with a great cast, but it sometimes dragged but it pulled itself together eventually, giving you hints but surprised you with the open ending. I might have to watch it again to find what I didn’t pick up on the first time round.

3/5

Duplicity (2009)

image

A little professional courtesy would make this a lot less awkward’ 

Duplicity is about two corporate spies called Ray (Clive Owen) and Claire (Julia Roberts) who are involved in a passionate love affair when they go on a mission to grab the formula for a product that their opposing companies are prepared to launch.

This is definetly not my favourite film, and it’s very hard to find a Clive Owen film that is better than Children of Men. I’m not a very big fan of most of Julia Roberts’ films, and the two previously starred in Closer together about five years prior to this film being made. Their romance in the film was passionate but often kind of wooden and forced. I think they were suppose to have chemistry as an on screen couple but I didn’t feel anything between them, except for when they woke up in that hotel room. They would be yelling at each other for a good ten minutes, followed by an intimate scene that would either cut to after wounds or you would presume what they did. After a while, it got a bit repetitive, and I had no idea why Paul Giamatti and the other guy were having a slow motion fight in the rain at the beginning of the film until it turned out that they were from opposite companies. It was comical, though. It was a good attempt at the ‘opposites attract’ idea but the jumpy ‘enter city or country, three weeks earlier’ thing made the film a bit repetitive but I think it was used for effect.

Regardless of that, Paul Giamatti was very good in his role, and it makes you realize about competitors when launching a product, in this case, pizza and anti baldness shampoo. It was also a pleasure to see Clive Owen strutting around looking dapper and getting to hear his lovely deep voice but other than that, the film fell flat, and as I have an odd celebrity crush on him, the bit where he walks into the room wearing the towel was probably the best part of the movie, but he looks bored for the rest of it. At one point, he puts on an American accent, and that was certainly interesting to watch. His disguise of wearing a suit and aviator glasses at every location that they were in and meeting up with Julia Roberts showed coinincidence. I was only really watching him, and the film made good use of montage and parallel editing, and using a fast paced soundtrack in the action scenes.

The movie teaches about having trust if you have a supposed passionate romance only for a formula for a product, and it shows that people will always be listening in on you, having your voice messages and tricking you. The ending scene where they are both alone in that large room with the marble floor wondering if they were only in Rome was also a coincidence, and leaves the rest of it up for interpretation.

So-so movie with a fairly ok cast but some scenes fell flat and the movie itself seemed a little too complicated and repetitive, though it might require a second viewing to fully understand it. There were also a lot of familiar faces. The film wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either, but they made good use of the establishing shot as it isn’t just set in one place. Some scenes were more memorable than others, and it was a generally ok movie but it doesn’t help that I’m not a huge fan of Julia Roberts.

2.5/5