Shot In The Dark – Red Dawn 2012

Red Dawn – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Red Dawn (2012)

Director: Dan Bradley
Writers: Carl Ellsworth (screenplay) and Jeremy Passmore (screenplay), Kevin Reynolds (1984 screenplay) and John Milius (1984 screenplay), Kevin Reynolds (story)
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Isabel Lucas and Josh Hutcherson

When people take a movie to mean something completely different to what is portrayed in the film it really gets under my skin. Red Dawn has gotten a lot of flack because it has apparently incited racism in people (see this post). But the movie itself isn’t racist at all in my humble opinion. I think maybe it’s because I come from a generation where Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden was my favourite book series and the enemy isn’t described much at all I was never really cultured to be racist. It made me want to learn how to shoot straight and drive a manual car, but not to kill someone because of their race. However, apparently people are racist rather than actually understanding Red Dawn’s deliberate move to make it about political ventures rather than racism. Race is not the main theme of this film and anyone that comes out of the cinema making racist remarks incited from the film was racist to begin with and is just pulling at strings to justify their own racism.

The film takes place in our world, our time, with present day issues informing its setting. And like its original, the main “threat” to modern day America is those who would take down Capitalist America. The corruption of modern day America and Capitalism are the objects of the enemies fight, not the American people as such. The film is well constructed and the narrative flows well and keeps you entertained the entire way through. The acting is a little flimsy at points, especially when grand speeches are being made by the teens. All in all it was a fun ride and had a few surprises along the way. Red Dawn is an intense and deliberately fast paced movie, especially in comparison with the original. There was nothing about this film that made it stand out or made it the big remake that it should have been. The action is explosive but same-same.

I don’t know how people have come away feeling so mad at the North Korean characters, I feel angrier at the adults that don’t take a stand and wait for a few kids to take the charge than at the “enemy forces”. Also, unlike Tomorrow When The War Began, I don’t find the invasion of America believable. The fact that most Americans have ample weaponry in their homes makes me think from the get go: “Why don’t they just pull out their shot guns and shoot the closest invader?” But no one does that, which I find to just be bizarre for a country that is so trigger happy and insists on the right to bear arms to defend themselves. But hey, I’m an Aussie, what would I know, I’m not prepared for an invasion either.

2.8/5

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For the woman he truly loves – Skyfall

Skyfall - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Skyfall – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Skyfall (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan, and Ian Fleming (characters)
Stars: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris

From the opening moments of this James Bond film you know it will be filled with everything that makes a Bond film great. There are the typical cheesy Bond moments of the classy casino, the car/motorbike chase, the Bond girl, and Bond kicking arse all around and surviving against the odds, and his one-liner wit. But you also see another side of Bond. The scriptwriters and Daniel Craig have given us better version of the rough-edged Bond you see in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. He isn’t the slick, nothing-ruffles-my-hair Bond of the Bronson or Connery age. He is a rugged and beaten up Bond. And in a lot of ways Daniel Craig has given James Bond a humanity that you don’t really see in the older films. The producers were on the right track when they convinced him to take the part. Daniel Craig looks sexy even as a beaten up alcoholic who comes back to life to save the woman he truly loves. I mean you can’t beat that.

The one thing that shouldn’t have surprised me but did was that Skyfall is a beautiful film. Sam Mendes has made an absolutely stunning film to watch. Every shot is gorgeous, and not just because Daniel Craig is in the shot. You can watch the music video for Adele’s Skyfall and see how visually brilliant they have made this film, but you don’t get the full effect unless you are sitting in a dark cinema with the full scale picture. I have no words for how delightful this film is to watch. It goes without saying that Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and the rest of the cast are brilliant but they have really stepped up the quality of this franchise all around.

I have to admit, I did take a moment during one of the slower parts of the film to work out whether my incredibly high expectations were making me love the film, or if it was just that I loved all Bond films – I even love Moonraker – or whether Skyfall was just a really good film. What was the conclusion I came to? It is an excellent film. From everything from the story to the actors to the justification for the fight scenes, everything fits together to make Skyfall a great film on its own. Even if you didn’t know anything about Bond you could still enjoy this film and appreciate it for a good action film. I don’t want to give anything away but there are some great hark backs to old Bond films that make this film a Bond fans delight.

Go and enjoy the fall.

4/5

Heartbreakingly Beautiful – Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Perks Of Being A Wallflower - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Perks Of Being A Wallflower – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Director: Stephen Chbosky
Writers: Stephen Chbosky (novel), Stephen Chbosky (screenplay)
Stars: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller

Kids nowadays have it as rough as they did generations before ours. And as it has done before, film and literature tries to tell the hard stories of our lives and culture. Perks Of Being A Wallflower, based on the novel by Stephen Chbosky – who also wrote and directed the film – brings to life the story of a group of teens who try and survive their messed up and complicated lives. The film delves into how Charlie (Logan Lerman), Sam (Emma Watson), and Patrick (Ezra Miller) deal with the awful hand that life has dealt them. Each of them has a past, even at the age of seventeen they are dealing with the consequences of other people’s actions upon them. These young actors portray characters that are full of complicated emotions in such realistic ways. There was never a moment in the film when I didn’t believe their story. They gave heart and soul to the characters and created a passionate and powerful portrayal of the modern teenage life.

Perks Of Being A Wallflower isn’t simply a coming of age story, it is a story of how awful things happen to young people and they have to deal with them given limited support and the pressures of school and peers. It is full of dorky awkwardness and beautiful, innocent youth but deals with matters that are far beyond what you would expect of a teen flick. From issues of homosexual to depression to death, it handles these issues with a grace and honesty that I hadn’t expected and shocked me to tears. When people look back on this film in years to come it will mark this generation in the same way that The Breakfast Club marked the 1980s.

I felt completely and utterly spent after the film. It was so powerful that there was more than one person in the film who was sobbing by the end. It was heartbreakingly beautiful and was a reminder that we can transform our lives even in the most awful of circumstances. It was also a reminder of how important the support of people who love us are. The way we treat each other can either destroy or restore us.

Make sure you take a box of tissues with you as well as your laughter because it will make you both laugh and cry.

4.5/5

A psychopath is what? – Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Seven Psychopaths – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Stars: Colin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell

Dark humour or black comedy is a type of comedy that I’ve never been sure whether to laugh at or find a little icky. I have to say after sitting in a theatre and being the only one to giggle basically the entire way through this film that Seven Psychopaths has either shown me to have a dark sense of humour, or I am actually a psychopath, I’m pretty sure it’s the former.

Seven Psychopaths is not a film I would recommend for anyone with a weak stomach or who doesn’t like a lot of violence in their comedies. However, in saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The actors in this film are all outstanding and each part fits together to make this film brilliantly funny. There were moments when Christopher Walken’s face just made me burst into a fit of giggles. Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell’s comedic timing and delivery is perfection. The one surprise for me in this film was Colin Farrell. Admittedly I haven’t been a fan of Farrell before, but his performance in this film has made me reconsider my opinion of him. It’s worth a watch just for the surprise of Colin Farrell’s performance.

The script by Martin McDonagh is satirical and witty. It has been brilliantly crafted and directed. McDonagh is clever and incredibly funny in the way he twists and surprises you throughout the entire film. The laugh out loud moments that I had stemmed from the surprises in the plot just as much as from the actors performances. He has created quirky film that has some hilarious moments and some really touching moments as well.

I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but it is very funny if you like dark humour and want to go along for a fun adventure with an alcoholic writer, a Christian dognapper, and a lovable psychopath.

4/5

H.G. Wells is a woman? – Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13 - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Warehouse 13 – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Warehouse 13 (2009-)

Creators: Jane Espenson, D. Brent Mote
Stars: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly and Saul Rubinek

You may have noticed, if you have been reading my previous blogs, that I like a little bit of crime thriller/sci-fi action. This is true whether in film or TV. I think it’s because I wish I had a more exciting life and I like escaping into another kind of world and kind of thinking. Warehouse 13 caught my eye simply because it is made by the SyFy channel. It’s your average investigative agency trying to save the world kind of deal, but with a bit of a twist. It takes the myths and legends of history and takes the museum pieces we like to ooh and aah at and turns them into deadly weapons, or something like that. “Artifacts” possess a semi-magical/semi-scientific aspect that comes from the great event or person they were originally attached to. For instance, a hairbrush used by Marilyn Munroe turns people’s hair blonde. Okay so that one is less deadly than just a bit weird and strange, but the agents in Warehouse 13 track down these artifacts, neutralize them, and then pack them away so no one can use them for evil. You get the idea I hope.

I’ve only watched the first two seasons so far and I’ve enjoyed them for the most part. It’s not a serious or completely dramatic sci-fi show, it has it’s humourous moments. The characters are interesting and have complex pasts which makes them carry enough weight for me to continue to watch to find out where they end up. The stories can be a little far-fetched but then again it is science fiction, not everything is meant to be completely realistic. I find it hard to review because there is a level at which I really like the show, but there is also a level at which I think it could be so much better than it is. The cheesiness of some of the humour is a little unbearable at points but it does fit with the characters so maybe it’s the characters who need improving? Or maybe it’s that the scripts aren’t written well enough for the characters to be brought to life and be coherent with the humour? Or maybe it’s the direction of particular episodes? Or maybe it’s the fact that they try and bring H.G. Wells to life as a woman? I don’t know exactly what it is but there are bits and pieces that leave me a little disappointed with it.

Even saying that though I will get stuck into the third and fourth season as soon as I can get my hands on them. For nothing other than the character of Claudia Donovan who I love and I wish I was like.

3/5

The Truth At All Cost – Lie To Me

Lie To Me - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Lie To Me – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Lie To Me (2009)

Creator: Samuel Baum
Stars: Tim Roth, Kelli Williams and Brendan Hines

“The truth shall set you free.” It’s a beautiful thought and yet we have a tendency as humans to want to cover up and lie to protect ourselves. And in some moments it may be appropriate. But for the most part there is nothing good that comes from lying. Guilt, regret, hurt, pain, and loss are always knocking at the door as soon as that little lie escapes our lips. Most comedy of errors starts with a little lie to cover up a simple mistake and then the rest is trying to keep that lie a secret. Is it ever worth it in the end?

Lie To Me starts with the premise that we can tell whether someone is lying or not simply by observing their facial expressions and body language. Behavioural science is the key to unlocking the truth and solving the crimes in this crime/mystery/drama show. And it is this key that unlocks the intrigue of the audience. We are constantly asking ourselves “but how did he know?!” and then gently they reveal to us the science behind the mystery. The reveal is gradual but intriguing which makes this show just like any other crime drama, but it has an edge: Tim Roth.

Tim Roth makes this show continually entertaining and intriguing. His character of Cal Lightman is a beautiful balance of bastard and truth-seeker. He is charismatic and charming but also cruel and pushes the boundaries of people’s emotions and breaks them down to the vulnerable squishy-squirmy liars they truly are. You spend a great deal of the time watching Roth and trying to work out, like his colleagues, whether to love him or hate him. Over the three seasons so far I have come to admire the character and his unfailing search for the truth, not just the culprit of the crime he’s been hired to find.

Lie To Me is a different kind of crime show but follows the same formula, a formula that works. The characters are complex, intriguing, and people who I would like to know in real life. Their journey together through the work is what keeps me coming back for more. I really wish it hadn’t been cancelled last year but alas I must lose some more of my favourite TV characters. It’s really worth the watch and the show gets better and better over the seasons.

3.5/5