1999 | David O. Russell
Russell’s cynical Gulf War film, shot and presented in a very journalistic style, seeks to deliberately detach us from its characters and their motives. We are merely observers, intended to be emotionally removed from the actions of Major Archie Gates (Clooney), Sergeant Troy Barlow (Wahlberg), Sergeant Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) and PFC Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) as they chase down the hidden bunkers of Saddam Hussein, rumoured to be filled with stolen Kuwaiti gold, just like the journalists following them, desperate to find great stories about a war recently finished.
Continue reading “Three Kings | B”
2014 | Matt Reeves
Franchise re-sequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a celebration of success in rebooting an almost-fifty year-old franchise. Competently written, dramatically engaging and fitting the tone of evolutionary success, its emotional resonance added surprising depth to what could otherwise have been another cash-in full of Hollywood bombast. Unlike its predecessor, however, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ profundity is at its forefront, delivered with surprising panache by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves.
Continue reading “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | B+”
1953 | Yasujirō Ozu
Tokyo Story is so basic in its premise, if it was pitched as a recommendation, one might find it hard to believe such a film exists. The truth is, Yasujirō Ozu’s masterpiece is a technical marvel; a film so tightly structured, so deliberate in its planning and composition that its story gains its resonance from technical structure. Ozu’s visual strategy is so rudimentary, one may mistake his cinematic approach as that of techniques taught in a high school filmmaking class. The film is so far removed from the visual storytelling methods of Western cinema, it undoubtedly proves that a film broken down to its core elements is far more profound than films disguised in esoteric ambiguity. Continue reading “Tokyo Story | A+”
Warning: this article has been written with the assumption that the reader is familiar with at least the first season of the show. Although efforts have been made to avoid any major spoilers, this writer apologises if any spoilers for the first season are revealed.
As much as the first season of Misfits was about isolation, the second season is about togetherness. The band of juvenile offenders have survived multiple murders and Nathan finally learned his superpower – a real A-lister. We are introduced to new characters with new powers, but ultimately this season is inconsistent, confused and riddled with logical inconsistencies. Continue reading “Misfits: Season Two | C”
2014 | Gleb Orlov
A young Ivan Poddubny curls his fists as a group of bullies descend on him. Instead of fighting, he makes the smart choice and evades them, running home. When he tells his father he has been teased, his father whips him for not staying and fighting. The Poddubnys are fighters, not runners. They are winners, not losers. This is an attitude Ivan adopts fully as he becomes a man, finding a job working as a fitter in a shipyard, known by his friends and colleagues as a strong-willed man with physical capabilities to match. Ivan Poddubny was actually an incredibly successful Greco-Roman wrestler, who remained undefeated from his first fight in a circus ring until his death in 1949. It is the classic, inspirational story of the underdog fighting against all odds to win. Unfortunately, Iron Ivan is an empty shell, an A-Z tale of the life of a famous wrestler.
Continue reading “Iron Ivan | D”
There is one major, overriding theme in the first season of Misfits: isolation. Each character in the show has a story deriving from a sense of feeling alone. And despite the fact they spend the majority of their time together, as a group they would hardly be considered a comfortable component of the machine which is society. Continue reading “Misfits: Season One | B+”
2014 | Yury Bykov
Life is hard in lower-class Russia. At least that’s what writer-director Yury Bykov would lead us to believe. After a pipe bursts in an old, dilapidated apartment building, Dima (Artyom Bystrov) is called out almost in the middle of the night to investigate, as the head of this particular department doesn’t want anything to do with it. After an examination of the burst pipe, Dima runs outside to see the building is actually sinking in its foundations, which has caused one incredibly large split down the building’s structrual walls. The building is about to collapse and will take the lives of its 800 residents with it. Continue reading “The Fool | B”