The Host – Review

The Host Review 3.5/5

As many of you may be put off by this film because it is Stephenie Meyer’s work, I do suggest you give it a chance, you maybe surprised by it’s interesting concept and stunning visuals. (Don’t worry there is no silly girl that finds it clinically depressing to be choosing between a werewolf or a vampire in this film.) 

The Host starts by telling us how perfect the world is and how everyone is equal. However this perfect world is no longer ours and is now run by an alien race called Souls that possess our bodies body snatcher style. When a soul named Wanderer (later nicknamed as Wanda) is inserted into the body of Melanie Stryder, to get information for a very unusually un-soul-like Seeker (souls answer to the police), she is surprised that Melanie still resides in the bodies mind.

Melanie, scared for her brother and lovers life, bombards Wanda with images of compassion to strike a chord in Wanda’s good will. Having developed this love for them, Wanda/Melanie then set out to find them. But they are unknowingly followed obsessively by the Seeker.

This is a great concept that I feel hasn’t had a real chance to be explored in Andrew Niccol’s screenplay much like his work with In Time. His answer to an internal dialogue between Wanda and Melanie is unoriginal, cheesy and at times laughable. I’d imagined whilst reading the book it would be a bit difficult to do, however sticking an echo on Mel’s voice over to me just didn’t work. Their conversations to each other were very unemotional and didn’t feel that they had that bond that they were meant to. With the exception of one scene nearer the end where it was done very well.

The love triangle, or love square is a bit strange on screen however it kind of works. We get top notch performance from Saoirse Ronan, William Hurt, Diane Kruger and that woman that plays the bitch mother in titanic. Lacking was Max Irons as Jared, Mel’s love interest whom comes across as dull, his native english accent kept popping out a few times too.

The visuals were stunning. The desert scenery and the set design was fantastic really upping this films credibility The once human world is now a cheerily eerie place, with futuristic chrome cars and helicopters with a mellow car chase that wasn’t too underplayed or over the top.

I feel that this film was missing something. Whilst I get that the main plot is a romance, I feel that the original work written by Meyer had more thought provoking sci-fi themes that Niccol could of conveyed nicely on film. We don’t get to learn much about the souls apart from they are lovely bunch of people that make our eyes have a beautiful silver rim, what little insight we do get provides the comic relief. Antonio Pinto provides a very atmospheric and strong score in the film that was nicely melancholic.

I was happy enough to watch it and not get bored. It was a mellow sci-fi film with a complicated romance that was more interesting than Meyer’s past films. The film does leave room for a sequel and with the romance plot resolved (and hopefully Niccol gone) I’d imagine the sequel would be promising.

So it gets a 3.5/5

Best & Worst Films of 2011

2011m as far as films go it hasn’t really been the best for me personally. However there were a few golden gems. So to start off, with the best films.

Number 5: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2

This film had everything the last harry potters were missing. A lot of action! The special effects were incredible, the story-line was dark, I was completely in awe of this film, considering I didn’t think much of the Harry Potter series before. However there were a few set-backs, one major plot-hole for me was the deathly hallows themselves. It didn’t quite explain anything in the film, as far as I gather from the book, the Deathly Hallows meant he could survive Voldemort’s attack. Which is why he had choice to go back in his death scene. Nevertheless great end to the franchise.

Number 4: Super-8

I really enjoyed this film, it had much less focus on the actual alien and more on the human emotion. This I like, and not only that, the actors really outdid themselves (whom were only about 14 and under). The effects was good and the score was brilliantly composed.

Number 3: Thor

Amazing film, brilliantly directed without being another cheesy comic adaptation like most are. I really enjoyed this considering I went into the cinema thinking I probably wont like it.

Number 2: Melancholia

Fantastic imagery and great story-telling. Trier’s film was the most talked about film in the industry. Featuring Kristen Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Melancholia casted a new light on depression which was bold, daring but at the same time a huge success. If you have not already seen this, please do. But bare in mind this film is not a blockbuster it’s not for everyone.

Number 1: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Easily my favourite film this year. After seeing the trailer my first thought of the film was “really?” but I was completely wrong. The performances was just out of this world, Andy Serkis really needs an oscar. The directer and writers managed to take a very out-dated and poor concept into something that was fresh and fantastic. I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

 

And the Fails of this year. I wont number them because there all just as bad as each other.

Worst films.

Source Code: I was confused, it didn’t really capture me. I was just plain bored.

Cowboys & Aliens: Had no real story-line, no real characters. It was so bad, it shouldn’t even be on this list, because this waste of precious film should never of been made.

In Time: A good concept. But thats all it ever was. The film never reached it’s potential, if it had any. It felt like a GCSE student got given a camera and thought WOW. That student then had a great idea which was executed so poorly, he had to bullshit his way to an A* by claiming the same old shit that it, ‘explores our commercial-based society’, blah blah fucking blah.

Rubber: A murderous tyre (that’s right, a tyre) that goes on a killing rampage. Dare I say more? – Although it does have a cult-feel to it, I’m sure there’s a group of Hipsters out there that love it.

Depression and a Huge-ass Planet – Melancholia Review

Lars Von Trier may have recently upset the Cannes Film Festival board for comments (in my opinion) that were really blown out of proportion, but theres no denying his visual art and unique story telling is one that is compelling and captivating. ‘Melancholia’ his new film has gotten quite the following.


Melancholia is the name of the super-earth planet on a collision course with earth. In the prologue, it’s course and the destruction it causes is shown in a montage of beautifully crafted scenes, little pieces of emotion-provoking visual aesthetics along with the Tristan Und Isolde’s prelude in the bed (a common theme throughout the film). It is known within the first sequence that earth never survives, and instantly recognize this will not end happy. However the film is not about earth, the planet nor is it about humanities end. It’s focused on two sisters, Kirsten Dunst as Justine and Charlotte Gainsbourg as Claire.

Split into two parts Justine is first as you spend the first hour watching how a clinically depressive bride spends her wedding reception. Kirsten Dunst is absolutely impecable at playing Justine, Trier is known for his pro-improvised techniques and when watching Kirsten it is quite hard to believe that it wasn’t scripted as such. However I found myself getting extremely annoyed and impatient with the character Justine so much that I didn’t know if I could take anymore. That only made me realise that Trier, possibly in one hour gave the best explanation what it is like to handle someone with that amount of depression. You literally mimic her sister, Claire and Claire’s husband John’s (Kiefer Sutherland) reaction towards her.

Part two of course is about Claire. Claire takes in a very sick Justine, that with the added pressure of the rogue planet Melancholia approaching. Claire finds her relationship with John on a rocky patch as John is fearless and has faith that humanity will survive, unlike Claire who fears otherwise. We follow Claire’s erratic behaviour for the rest of the film which has a little more going on. Charlotte Gainsbourg portrays Claire beautifully and seems to really get involved with the character.

Melancholia is literally beautiful in many ways. The message and the comparison of how the two sister react to the impending doom is prominent backed by visuals that are compelling and outstanding that are obviously a projection of Trier himself. The opening and final sequences are completely captivating as well as terrifying, unlike most blockbusters this film seems to make it real and will have you talking about for weeks after you have seen it. The ending was probably the best ending I have ever seen, not because of some morbid feelings but because the whole scene wasn’t some watered-down hollywood fairytale, but a fantastic depiction of reality and the special effects as the Planet collided into Earth’s atmosphere was scary but also very stunning. The film left me with a weird feeling which was “I must talk about this to people.”

Overall the film is definitely up there 9.5/10 – However I must warn, this style of film is not for everyone, it is not a blockbuster. If you are interested in the film, I urge you to at least try it. Currently available on iTunes and limited screenings nationwide.
(In Coventry – Warwick Arts Centre)

Get your stinking paws to the cinema! – Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes review

If you are film buff and/or over the age of 60, you may understand the title of this review, if you are not, you will find out if you see the new film “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.” Directed by Rupert Wyatt, based on the story and concept by Pierre Boulle ‘La Planète des Singes.’

After the critically bashed, yet financial success of Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes remake. Fox, instead of funding a sequel, seen fit to keep the money aside for a reboot. The right choice was most definitely made, with it’s all round impressiveness and a concrete plot that’s a fresh continuity reminiscent to the original series in the 60’s where everything takes place on earth, unlike Tim Burton’s version (regardless of it’s hard to handle ending) where the planet of the apes was a distant planet. It would be good to stress again because contrary to popular belief, this film is a reboot and it is not a prequel to Tim Burton’s version.

Will Rodman (James Franco) is trying to engineer a virus that repairs damaged brain cells which would then in turn cure alzheimer’s disease. However it comes with a very special effect, an increased of intelligence proven by a child chimpanzee that Will adopts named Caesar (Andy Serkis). The same virus works on Will’s Dad, Charles (John Lithgow), however his condition soon worsens and finds himself back to square one. After Charles upsets a local neighbour, Caesar comes to a rather forceful rescue which lands him in a local primate captivity. Ill-treated and outcasted by the other apes, Caesar starts planning. It goes without saying then that to everyone remotely familiar with the planet of the apes series, this plot will be very predictable. For the most part it is, but it is done in a way that still keeps your attention without it nagging at you and the ending, although not a twist, is still a big climax.

The most striking part of the film is the CGI that Weta Digital provides. Almost flawless as the apes fit seamlessly into the equilibrium of the film. Andy Serkis, the master of motion capture, performs as Caesar leaving you in complete awe. If you thought Serkis deserved an Oscar for Gollum, you will most definitely be in uproar of the academy’s lack of interest for this role. He brings to life the character that really connects you as the audience, you will find yourself rooting at his every move and maybe shedding a few tears, giving Roddy McDowall (Original Caesar) a run for his money. James Franco gives a great performance as usual, however at times I feel his character hadn’t been fully explored through dialogue, John Lithgow also provides an A* performance as portraying a man suffering from Alzheimer’s. Another notable performance from Tom Felton playing, well, a damn right evil bastard. However lacking was David Oyelowo as Will’s boss, whose script mainly contained disdain towards everything around him, with a ‘I want money and I don’t care how’ kind of attitude, but it just seemed a little unbelievable. Pointless role of the film goes to Freida Pinto‘s character Caroline, who has nothing to do apart from look pretty and give the odd conscience-provoking line.

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes will surely be the blockbuster to see at the moment, with the right mix of plot and brilliant performances and great CGI. It contains happy moments, some sad moments and iconic moments, most notably what my title is in reference to. However at times it seems the big people at Fox thought playing it safe was the better way to go, which is not a bad thing and probably the best way to go after Tim Burton’s ‘re-envisioning’. I’m sure and I hope the sequel will be green- lit soon, if not already and we may just have the next big franchise on our hands if it can live up to this one.

Overall 8.5/10

I Am Number Four – Should be at number one?

I Am Number Four based on the book of the same name by Pittacus Lore is the new book-to-film franchise from Dreamworks and director D.J. Caruso. It stars british actor Alex Pettyfer as Number Four or better known as his alias John Smith. John isn’t a normal teenager by any means, he’s not even human. He is in fact one of nine extra-terrestrial refugees from the planet Lorien, they fled from their home planet, along with guardians, after a massacre of their planet at the hands of the Mogadorians. But it seems that the Mogadorians have found them on the planet Earth, and are killing each of the nine in order – Why in order wasn’t completely explained in the film.

After number three is killed in Kenya, John and his guardian Henri (Timothy Olyphant) arrive at the ironically named town Paradise, Ohio. Henri pushes John to keep low but John wont take no for an answer and is determined to lead a normal life, but of course, that’s impossible for an alien and he is slowly being tracked down by the mogadorians. Whilst dragging his trusty sci-fi obsessed friend Sam (Callan McAuliffe) and his girlfriend Sarah (Glee Star – Dianna Agron) into the mix.

The general feel of the film is more aimed towards the teens, however I think many people will enjoy this film. The film generally doesn’t think outside the box and the cliches will definitely scream out at you, the only difference is it manages to keep the cringe-worthiness to a minimum – which is a nice change. The one thing that will definitely stick in your mind is the brilliant acting from a Beagle dog it will have you falling hard in love with it filling the cinema with ‘awws’ and ‘arrrs.’ The film has been compared to the likes of Twilight, I strongly disagree unlike Twilight this films climax is a lot more interesting and manages to keep the audience hooked.

The acting was somewhat average but believable, not very strong performances, although the script didn’t seem to give them much of a chance. Cliche Alert!!! The Lorien (goodies) aliens are just so beautifully sculpted and the Mogadorians (baddies) are so damn ugly but extremely creepy at the same time. Some of their actions will make you cringe, but for the most part, they’re just creepy evil tall things that justify their role well. The concept was differently something that could be explored nicely but it was lacking in depth.

The CGI is brilliant as the saying goes – simple but effective – with the ‘Legacies’ which are basically special powers. The glossy blue lights are very attractive. The monsters in the film are also nicely done however not jaw-dropping  effects, nevertheless it still works.

Bernie Kosar

Fans of the book will definitely pick out changed bits and added bits. I’d like to say this film is just another part of the ‘I Am Number Four’ franchise rather than a literal adaptation but the essence of the book and the main storyline is still prominent. What would of been nice is if we could actually see what happened to Number Four’s people in a flashback, but I was let-down.

Overall – 8/10 Just about! My mind says 7, but I’m going to give it an extra point just because the Cliche’s were not cringe worthy I think they did a very good job in keeping ‘fresh.’

Top Five Films of 2010

End of the year, so top five for this year and a most anticipated for 2011 coming up!

5:  Possibly Eclipse, it was a good film, easy watch and action and effects were pretty good.. too bad about the acting.

4: Tron for it’s awesome effects, brilliant score and not too bad acting. However the plot was pretty weak.

3. Harry Potter And The deathly hallows part 1: Never much a fan of the other harry potters however this one caught me! I was really impressed overall by it.

2. Inception, it was really good, brilliant special effects and a very strong but complex plot and concept with a brilliant cast. However it gets the second place, because it’s not one of them films for me, that I can watch over and over again. I think once or twice is enough

1. Kick-Ass, it was funny, brilliantly done with an awesome cast and fantastic script-writing. It’s a film I can watch over and over again with friends or by myself. Which is why I think it deserves the top spot, mainly for it’s script and cast.

Worst films of the year – In no particular order.

Daybreakers – Awful concept, awful script, awful cast. I was bored.

Iron Man 2 – Impressive effects. Boring everything else.

Clash of The Titans – It has nice imagery, and a great cast. But I think the Director was rushing things and it ruined the overall feel of it.

Not-So-Bad-Not-So-Good of the year:

Prince of Persia – it was ok, good watch, easy to understand, nice effects, but I can’t see myself watching it again unless it’s on TV in the background.

Social Network – This was going to be on my top five because I thought it was really good, however I myself wouldn’t watch it again and I am not buying it on DVD/Bluray so it says in this section.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Pt 1 Review

A well overdue review of the first part of the last film to the Harry Potter series.

My past runnings with the Harry Potter series have been a roller-coaster, in short, one is OK, two is rubbish, three is worse, four was really good, five was alright, six was just damn right confusing. I haven’t read the books before, whilst many people will say “You have to read the books to understand the film”  and many people say it as if it’s a no-brainer not knowing that there actually insulting the film. I’m sorry but it’s true, if you have to read the books to understand it’s just bad film making.

The world is now under almost certain control by Voldemort, who wants rid of Mudbloods and muggles but most importantly he wants Harry Potter for dead. Meanwhile Harry and friends are on a journey to find all the horcuxes; which are parts of Voldemorts soul, so they can make him mortal and thus be able to kill him.

The film opens up dark, gritty and almost disturbing as the opening carries on to see Voldemort and his posse torturing and killing a teacher and then straight into action as Harry and friends cast spells hundreds of feet in the air, with amazing effects and brilliant sound effects. I’m loving the scenes set in and around London whilst doing a ghetto-shoot-out style duelling in a cafe. Furthermore about half of the national parks in Great Britain seemed to be featured in beautiful shots that were more than aesthetically pleasing, in contrast to the dirty whites and the dark greys of the Malfoy Manor.

The acting quality for the most was believable, the small part of Bill Nighy was definitely impressing along with Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter, however lacking was Daniel Radcliffe, his acting skills had never seemed to matured over the years. In one scene where there is an argument with Ron and Harry, his acting seemed almost cringe worthy compared to Rupert, nevertheless it’s almost impossible to imagine Harry Potter as anyone else.

The bad points of the film, confusion. I had to of been explained many of the things, for example the jinx when someone says Voldemort and the ‘splinching’ plus some of the scenes at ministry of magic didn’t look as if they were getting anywhere, I had actually forgotten why they were there. Another bad point was actually about 30 minutes of the film. The tent scenes although filled with glorious scenic shots it wasn’t enough to keep me interested in watching them ‘hang out.’ It seemed to drag on and on and while die-hard fans would disagree with my next point I have to say most of it should have been cut out to keep the audience interested, like it has always been mentioned before, exact copying from book-to-film (and vice versa) doesn’t work, and those thirty minutes of bore just prove that point. Last tiny rant was about the score, it was seriously lacking in quality and effectiveness, I understand John Williams who composed the famous hook from the first film couldn’t come back for the final two parts due to scheduling but Alexandre Desplat seemed to have bought no thought to the music at all.

Best til last, my all time favourite part of the film was the brilliantly animated ‘shadow puppet style’ sequence of the story of the deathly hallows, it was a really nice touch and made the complicated story a lot easier to comprehend as well as an eye-pleaser.

Overall the general crowd will be pleased by the film, whether you have read the books or not, and it’s had such a change from the ‘everything is happy’ like first film, it’s like Disney turning to devil worship, it’s brilliantly intriguing. 8/10