Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Twins

I immediately thought of a certain Christopher Nolan film for this but it would be a very big spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen the film. As I think it was a very good film, I chose not to spoli it and go with something that everyone knows. There seem to be a few recent and upcoming films that feature or centre around twins. I'd like to point out it was a good year for twins films in 1998, both 1+ 2 were released then. Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

1. The Man in the Iron Mask
A late 90's costume conspiracy drama, inspired by literature, featuring a very impressive cast. The three musketeers from the classic novel, after years of doing their own thing are reuinited once more when France is being ruled by a spoilt reckless brat. The rumour that the king actually has a twin brother who he imprisoned after he came to thrown is spread. The musketeers plot to swap the brothers so that France will have a just and fair king. It features a young Leonardo DiCaprio at King Louis XIV and some more seasoned actors as the Musketeers. Great fun. 

2. The Parent Trap
This is the classic twin film. Of course there was the first film in 1961 with Hayley Mills playing the twins with a bad accent and equally terrible haircuts. But I'm talking about the film that made Lindsay Lohan famous. For a while (because I had never heard of her) I thought they were twins. Long lost twins sisters find each by chance at a summer camp and decide to reunite they're parents by swapping places. It's ridiculous but so much fun, I wore my VHS out watching this film. Now don't tell me you never tried to recreate the handshake?

3. The Pretty One

A more recent less seen pick with a very sad and tragic story. Both twins played by Zoe Kazan, Audrey, pretty, independant, lives far away, then theres Laurel, she stays at home, paints odd paintings, never really had an experiences. After Audrey comes home to visit her sister for their birthday, they end up in a car accident killing Audrey. But after mis-identifying Laurel, they think shes Audrey. Obviously in shock, confused and all round devastated, she realises the families mistake on the day of the funeral but after hearing upsetting comments about her, she leaves, pretending to be her dead sister. She goes out to experience things she never got to while trying to come to terms with her great loss. It's brilliantly made film dispite the tragedy always lurking.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

July Watch List

It has been an unsually slow month for films for me. I have admittedly been preoccupied with many a TV series. Finished re-watching Sense8, OITNB season 3, watching all 3 series of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, season 2 of Bojack Horseman and catching up with Humans on channel 4. I fear that I will be more distracted in August with Partners in Crime starting up on BBC this week, more Humans and getting distracted by Dragons: Race to the Edge (How to Train Your Dragon series, that is brilliant). Here are the few films I got to see, by the way there are some spoilers but the alerts are in RED so look out for these.

1. Amy
 I was honestly never a proper fan of Amy Winehouse, I like a few of her songs but for me she was better known for successful career and contantly being in the news. I think for that reason I found this documentary both revealing and distressing. We all know, she was a real human being, she was normal, she just happened to have a unique voice, talent, personality to match but she made bad choices. The film is well constructed, showing home and personal footage, with a soundtrack of her unheard work and songs we know too well. All the interviews especially for the film are voice only shown over news footage, media interviews and stills, it makes it more tragic hearing the distress in some of the friends' voices and dislike those who did nothing to help. If you were a great fan of her work, I would say listen to her music but if you're intrigued about the story behind what the newspapers sold, I would recommend this film.  4/5

2. Terminator: Genysis
Critics seem to dislike it, at least most did. I read a few reviews constructively praising and finding fault at the same time. I am more inclined to agree with the latter. There seems to be a trend going round at the moment (this seems to happen every few years) that a successful brand has films added to it or its just rehashed again. This film is both. The first two Terminator films were brilliant, the third film was a waste of time and a huge regret. The fourth film, on reflection, was an attempt to start the franchise up again at a different time and to be honest was a bit confusing, plot wise too. The reason why the 3rd and 4th films didn't quite work, I think, were to do with the focus. The first film is not about the hero, it's about the hero's mum and her protector. The second film featured the future hero, but he wasn't the prime focus, that's what set the good films apart from the not great ones. Genysis changes all that. The focus is back on the right people/machine, Sarah, Kyle and T-800. It adds in (SPOILER ALERT) Skynet in such a minor way, it irritated me, they could have used that more than (SPOILER ALERT) John Conner who is not prime focus but he is altered in a way that should have been lept secret and not blasted all over the trailer. (SPOILER OVER) This film pays homage to the first two films which should appease the fans and then resets everything else which should have enticed new fans, but I feel this film was for those die hard fans to enjoy. I thought the film is great but I can understand the snags. But I hope that another film will be on its way and just left hanging in mid air, then I would be annoyed. 3/5

3. Magic Mike XXL
I have to say, Magic Mike was one film I didn't see screaming out for a sequel. But here is it, thanks to Channing Tatum himself, as he is one of the producers. The story is simple, the Kings of Tampa have been left in learch by Dallas, the leader who disappeared with The Kid, excellent that neatly explains why they are not there and nothing to do with the fact one actor didnt want to do the film and the other was so terrible to work with he was not asked back. The other guys coax Mike out of stripper retirement and temporarily away from his blossoming business dream. They go on the road to a stripper convention because apparently those exist. The usual 'last time' speeches happen, new friends made, old ones revisited and yes they all dance and strip, as expected. It was a fun film, I'm going to lie. There were a few kinks but it was a less serious follow up from the first film. And that horse girl is not in it, which was a bonus. 3/5

4. Ant-Man
Having looked forward to Edgar Wright's version of Ant-Man, especially as the script was co-written with Joe Cornish, this film set to be film gold. Then, Marvel studios went and messed it up, resulting in Wright leaving the project he has worked 10 years on. In this respect, YOU'RE THE WORST MARVEL! Another less impressive director was brought and the actors who had no choice carried on. The ghost of what could have been, certainly in the script, the precence of Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish was there, not only in the credits. The film is fun and now an integral part of the Marvel universe. The film did feel like it was ticking boxes in a heist film rather than a traditional superhero film, which could be good or bad, depending on which movies you prefer. The main faults were to do with the direction of the 'villain' and his actual purpose. But the funny side characters sort of made up for this flaw. I always thought Paul Rudd was an odd choice for a superhero but he brings comedy as well as motivated father wanting to be with his daughter too. But after all this, I am still left wondering what would have Wright's film been like. 3/5 

5. Maggie
From the trailer and the little I read about the film, I thought this little indie type film was about a father looking for his daughter who is slowly turning into a zombie. What it actually is is a film about a mysterious disease that is explained through a series of radio interviews while Wade (an actually impressive Arnie Schwarzenegger) looks for his infected daughter Maggie (an equally impressive Abigail Breslin). This is a very human story about someone slowly turning into a zombie. It follows Maggie's last few weeks. We all know she's going to 'turn', its mapped out from the start. Over the course of the film we meet others who have been affected by this disease, that seemed to have originated in schools affecting and infecting mainly children. Maggie's injuries are by accident and attack. The bond between father and daughter is stronge and understated. It's a very slowly paced film and is probably too long but its an interesting view to take on the whole zombie thing. 3/5

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Sequels

 There are just too many great sequels out there to pick from. Of course I am not counting the terrible straight to video/DVD efforts, but the greats like Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Star Wars, X2, Honey I Blew Up the Kids and those films that didn't even warrent a sequel, Pitch Perfect 2, Magic Mike XXL, Ted 2, I could go on but I won't.

When I was younger, for some reason my sister and I would always get to see the sequel first. I saw Ghostbusters 2, Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future 2, Terminator: Judgement Day first. This was a strange coincidence.

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

1. Back to the Future 2
As stated above, I saw this film first and this is how I fell in love with this trilogy. I experienced the future Hill Valley before the past one. I saw flying cars and old Biff before I saw a younger version of everyone. I will always love this film more than the others, even though the first film is beyond the scope of brilliance. The Secret Cinema event, recreating Hilly Valley was epic and kept the flame of 80s nostalgia, mixed with 50s nostalgia with added hope and wonder for the future and after all some of things predicted in the film did eventually (in some way) come true. But its 2015 and still no sign of flying cars. Or that Sports Almanac.

2. Addams Family Values
Besides the first film being hilarious, quotable, riduclosly good, the sequel was just that tiny bit better. This is probably because it had the two things, Debbie the serial killer and Camp Chippewa. There are also some excellent lines in this film, a favourite is Nathan Lane's cameo police officer when he meets the family, 'Who are? What are you? Who moved the rock?'. There are also a few plots going on, Fester wanting to find love, Debbie wanting to kill Fester after marrying him, Wednesday and Pugley at camp trying break out and Gomez and Morticia's timeless romance even finding space in the time frame of the film. It's a film my friends and I always seem to quote at some point for no reason, but then again, no reason needed.

3. Day watch
Having not seen that many Russian films, I'm not sure what made me want to watch Night Watch. Forget Timur Bekmambetov ever went to Hollywood and made a couple of bad films, remember for Night Watch and the great sequel, Day Watch. This was way back in 2005 and I was just getting into my cinephile shoes. I got the film cheap and was hooked. I bought the sequel as soon as I finished. Day Watch obviously had that 'second film with bigger budget after success of first film' vibe and the story was a bit muddled. But after a second watch, I got into it. The characters are great, plus is a fantasy based story rather than pure supernatural, which I liked. Anton, the reluctant hero continues on as a Light Other, while trying to cover upthe attacks made by his crazy son who is now a Dark Other. Underneath he is a spoilt brat who wants his father all to himself but on the surface, he is being used as weapon to start a war. All set in Moscow, an unbelievably fresh view from the constant shots of LA, New York or some other American city.