The story of how one man can make a film mediocre – Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

Oz the Great and Powerful – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Mitchell Kapner (screenplay and screen story), David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), and Frank L. Baum (“Oz” works).
Stars: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff and Mila Kunis.

The Wizard of Oz has been, and will always be, one of my all-time favourite films. Judy Garland was my hero when I was young and the film inspired me to become obsessed with movie making. The transition from black and white to colour is astounding and wonderful in the original film and the songs and story are classic. This new addition to the Oz franchise of  takes some of the wonderful elements of Frank L. Baum’s world and brings them to life. The colours, the landscape, the creatures, the nature; all of the visual elements of this film soar to great heights and lift the story out of the books and onto the screen.

The story would be good too if only they hadn’t given the role of Oz to James Franco. It’s hard for one actor to ruin an entire film but Franco manages to make this film mediocre rather than magnificent. However the women in this film balance out the overplaying of Franco. Rachel Weisz is stunning as the guardian of the throne in Oz. Mila Kunis’ transformation in character is flawless. And Michelle Williams couldn’t have done a better job of holding this film together as the fierce witch of the south. These three female leads, plus Zach Braff’s performance as the monkey Finley, really work hard to hold this film together. It’s not that Franco is awful or anything, it’s just that he is creepy and over acts in moments but fails to convey any truth of character on screen. I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Franco since he played James Dean in the TV movie, but he has failed to impress as Oz.

I went in with low expectations for this film and if the ending hadn’t been as great as it was then I probably would have hated it but the cinematic elements of the film are what make it worth the watch.

2.5/5

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Williams vs Watson – My Week With Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn - Official Poster - from IMDB.com

My Week With Marilyn – Official Poster – from IMDB.com

My Week With Marilyn (2012)

Director: Simon Curtis
Writers: Adrian Hodges (screenplay), Colin Clark (books)
Stars: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne and Kenneth Branagh

My film critic friend (he has a proper job as a film critic whereas I’m a wannabe) remarked after we saw this film that society is intrigued with Marilyn but the majority of people will have never seen one of her films. I nodded my head as I tried to recollect whether I had ever seen her in anything other than documentaries. To my film-lover shock I realised I hadn’t seen anything but snippets of her in films. I had always been intrigued by film stars like Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, James Dean, etc who had died in tragic circumstances, but whether I had actually seen them act in anything was a different matter.

My Week With Marilyn is a soft, tortured look into the world that Marilyn lived and shows a little of what life could have been like for the star who tragically fell into the history books as a tortured soul. Michelle Williams’ portrayal of this starlet was a gorgeous representation and it felt faithful to the woman. Her coyness, emotion, and playfulness all came to brilliant light on screen and brought Marilyn back to life. Williams was able to transport me back into Marilyn’s time and illuminated the beauty and hypnosis that this woman possessed. It’s easy to see why men fell for her and wanted to rescue her by loving her.

The story itself was compelling but didn’t feel genuine at moments. I suppose there is an irrationality with things like love and Marilyn, but I didn’t feel like the story was plausible. Colin Clark’s choices seemed irrational and to be honest a little bit stupid. I mean I can understand that a man would fall in love with Marilyn but are men that stupid to not see that film stars like Marilyn don’t fall for PAs? I mean sure, in a perfect world, yes they might, but if you really think a film star that is in Britain for a short stint for a film, is married to someone else, and has a reputation for using the men around her is going to fall in love with you and leave everything for you then you are seriously deluded. And yes I know this is based on a recount from a living person but as a story goes I don’t see it as plausible. And I still think you’re an idiot for thinking Marilyn really loved you. Plus Emma Watson is gorgeous and why would you ever let that pass you by? All in all it was a good film and I was fully sucked in by the characters and the story but on reflection it loses some of its allure.