Inside Llewyn Davis is the story of Llewyn Davis, a wannabe folk singer with a recently deceased singing partner. The film follows a week of his life in 1961 as he faces problems with money, his family, an ex girlfriend who he accidentally impregnated, having a place to sleep at night and a cat that he accidentally let out and is now taking care of. It's a wild ride despite not having a very well set out plot.
Inside Llewyn Davis is a very unique and individual film. The film doesn't feature a variety of original ideas like Her did, but it's certainly a very unique and unforgettable movie. There's not really a definite plot in the film - it's more of just a circulation of events and messages. There are various messages given off in this film although they are so well hidden that I'm not even positive on what they are. I just know they made an impact and this is far from a negative thing. The film is a standout and will remain a standout for the rest of the year. It's an unforgettable experience.
The film is full of terrific performances. If I'm perfectly honest I'm in love with the month of January for films. A lot of other countries, America being the main one, are constantly complaining about the amount of crap being produced in January, but that's not the case for Australia. We get all the left over masterpieces that we didn't receive last year! The month is nearly over and that upsets me because it's a month where I get to enjoy mesmerising films, but what I've noticed about them all is that they all feature amazing performances. Inside Llewyn Davis is no exception. There wasn't a single performance in this film that was less than average. The cast itself is amazing and to make it better none of them disappointed.
Inside Llewyn Davis was, to my surprise, a very funny film. I'd seen the trailer for this films ages ago and really only remembered a couple of shots from it so I went into this film not knowing much. My main surprise was that the film was absolutely hilarious at many moments. The film's writing is just so intelligent and witty that some of the subplots themselves are hilarious. I have been very fond of seeing films without knowing much about them lately and I will presumably keep this up.
The direction in the film is incredibly powerful. I'm going to have to admit that I haven't actually seen too many films from Joel and Ethan Coen. In fact you're going to hate me even more because I haven't seen a single one other than this film, but I very much intend of watching otters. The two directors are so powerful in their directing style. They're so great that the audience won't even understand just how powerful they really were. They got everything they wanted to get across in a way that we weren't even aware of as I've touched on previously. I definitely intend on watching many of their other films.
The film is just a little too long at times. When I was in cinema I found the film to be too long at various occasions, but this isn't really the case when looking back over it. I really want to go see this film again because I originally thought it was too long in some scenes, but after a bit of thought and after I begun to look back over it, it didn't feel that long. This may be fairly confusing to some, but just go see the film and you'll understand where I'm coming from a day after.
To sum up Inside Llewyn Davis is an intelligently written film that's very unique and witty. The film is full of terrific performances and powerful direction. It is an unforgettable journey although just a little too long.
4 1/2 Stars
Her follows the story of a lonely man in the final stages of divorce, Theodore. He purchases the world's first artificially intelligent operating system that's designed meet his every need. When he turns her on she appears much more lifelike than originally expected. The OS system, Samantha, begins to help him get through daily situations as well as keeps him close company at home. Soon after purchasing the system he begins to fall in love with it.
Her is a completely original movie. As the years go on films are getting more and more repetitive and it's quite rare to find a film that's absolutely original and doesn't steal aspects of may other films. Her is a film that goes under that category. It's entirely original and fresh. I haven't seen a film that's anything like this before although I can almost guarantee that we will see films like this in the near future because it's a genius idea. This film is out of the ordinary yet it slips into the ordinary perfectly.
This film represents what mankind is getting too. There are a lot of deeper messages in the film that I won't go into much detail with, but I will tell you that there are a lot. Her is a pretty unfortunate and incredibly accurate look into the future. In 10-20 years there will probably be an OS system like Samantha although hopefully she doesn't fall in love with everybody. In fact mankind are already on the way there with technologies like Siri which can be found on all Apple products. The future will be, as I can safely presume, pretty similar to how it is depicted in this film. Her plays on the modern technologies and brings them forward a decade or two. It's incredibly smart and worrying at the same time. This is what the world is coming to!
I found this film oddly enough very relatable. I, myself, could relate to the main character in a lot of ways. I'm even going to admit that I could relate to him more then I could with characters in films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and even older films such as Ed Wood. I am the type of guy who's not overly sociable and sits at home playing video games or watching videos or searching through the internet and that's just what Theodore is. There's a lot more too it than how I just put it, but they are a few of the most notable relations I have.
The performances in the film were superb. I am rather fond of Joaquin Phoenix and he didn't disappoint me here. He gave a sensational performance in this film that's a notch above the other actors in the film. Two of the standout actors in the film aside from Phoenix would have to Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson. They both did terrifically in the film despite one of them just being a voice. They may have been a voice, but they did such an excellent job at it that I, too, believed they were alive and standing in that room.
To sum up Her features a completely original screenplay full of terrific performances. It's a representation of what mankind are coming to in the next decade or two and it's oddly extremely relatable.
Apologies for not getting around to doing any reviews lately as I've been sick since Saturday, but my review for 47 Ronin is better late then never. 47 Ronin follows the story of Kai, a man raised by demons who when he was a teenager lived with a group of samurai. After the death of their master the group are banished and are forced to go there separate ways. A year later they return to get vengeance on the people who banished them and killed their master. That's the plot of the film yet it's also half the movie.
The plot for the film, as I just hinted at, isn't really set up until halfway through the film. I'm not even exaggerating this fact as I was constantly checking my watch hoping this excruciatingly bad experience would come to a close. The first hour of the film features a bunch of scenes, half of which are completely irrelevant to anything, although none of them are setting up a goal or a problem needed to overcome. There's no real structure anywhere in the film. It's all pretty much just a jumbled mess. The samurai decide to avenge their master half way through the goddamn movie!!! It's infuriating to watch nothing occur yet it's just as infuriating to watch something happening!
If the movie is set in Ancient Japan then why is everyone in the film primarily using English? Why? Because it's an unrealistic movie. Yes there are dragons and witches and demons and weird bloody nose creatures that kill people then go to sleep, but that's not the point. All the events in the film without any hints of fantasy or the supernatural just wouldn't work. They're too dumb and completely oblivious to logic. A character can be dropped into a ten metre pit and just be absolutely fine.
None of the actors in the film are trying to act. I would be lying if I said that there was at lest one decent performance in this film. Not a single actor looks like they're in the film because they thought the film would be good. I can almost assure you everyone is in this film for the pay check. Nothing more, nothing less. Keanu Reeves used to be a great actor, but now he's become sloppy and dull. I LOVED him in the Matrix, but here he almost put me to sleep. Plus that bad witch lady gave the most atrocious Japanese accent I've seen in a very long time.
To sum up 47 Ronin is two hours of horrifically bad fake accents, acting and no logic. The first hour is a jumble of irrelevant scenes that doesn't set up the actual plot until an hour in, but once it does you'll already be sleeping.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the fifth and inevitably not the final film in the famous found footage series. The film follows the story of the two best friends who have recently graduated from high school, Jessie and Hector. When Jessie's downstairs neighbour mysteriously dies the two friends go to investigate. They discover the woman downstairs was part of a cult that performs ancient demonic rituals on unborn babies - one of which was Jessie.
Coming from a fan of the first three Paranormal Activity films I can honestly say I was disappointed with this film. I'm a huge fan of this series although everyone can agree that the fourth film was somewhat of a let down. The first three films in the series were gripping, thrilling and scary. They were excellent horror films. Now the series just continues to make more and more sequels because the films make hundreds of millions dollars when they are released. The series is taking a turn for the worst and they're getting dumber and dumber and dumber.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones failed to get my heart racing. I really wanted to say that it failed to be scary, but that's not true. There were around two or three moments that I jumped in. One of which I jumped at not because of a loud sound bellowing throughout the cinema. The film is jump scare galore, much like the fourth film. What I love about the first three films is that they weren't full of jump scares; they had lots of slow, dark and creepy scenes that had my heart pumping out of my chest. A lot of the scares in the film are really predictable too. You can tell exactly when something or somebody is going to pop out and this, of course, makes the film not quite as disturbing.
There is way too much humour for a horror film. Every film needs a bit of humour now and then, but making a horror film with more humour than horror isn't the way to go. When the film starts out I actually enjoyed it quite a fair bit because it was like a dumb home video with dumb people doing dumb things and I thought it was funny, but I thought that this would end soon. I was wrong. The film was still making plenty of jokes a fair way into the film. I'm afraid I have to admit that some of these jokes were pretty funny, but hardly any of them were necessary to the film.
The main characters in the film are completely oblivious to everything going on around them. When Jessie is marked they kind of just shrug it off like it was nothing. He soon gains these kind of powers and they're playing around with the powers and neither of them find it the least bit suspicious that all of a sudden they can do this superhuman things. In fact the first thing they do after playing around with it is post a video of it on YouTube and to make it worse they complain when people call it fake. That's just one example of how idiotic the protagonists are in this movie.
This new installment turned the franchise into more of an action film. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph Jessie gains all these cool Chronicle like powers which him and Hector believe to be pretty normal. The film tries to 'shock' you by making him do all these violent and action movie like things that don't bring the story any further forward. There is also one scene near the end, I won't spoil it but you will know it when you see it, that's so over the top, dumb and out of place. It's a full on action scene in the midsts of what could have been one of the first fully creepy scenes.
The ending tries to tie the film into the original trilogy, but doing this doesn't quite work out. WARNING I WILL TALK ABOUT SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH! The finale to all the Paranormal Activity films are always unexpected and usually the best part of the whole film. In The Marked Ones the ending is pretty unexpected, but it did what my main issue with Insidious 2 was. Insidious: Chapter 2 showed a lot of explanations to the scares that occurred in the first film and so when I went to re-watch the first film I didn't find it nearly as scary. In the ending of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones they go back in time to an unholy pace which is of course Katie and Micah's house from the very first film. The ending of the first film was creepy because we didn't know what was going on downstairs. All we could hear were noises then BAM! We see the aftermath of those noises. The new film gives an explanation of what all those noises were and to be honest it was baaaad. I will not look back at the first film and not be scared in any way by the ending.
To sum up Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a real let down. It's not very frightening, there's more humour than scares, the protagonists are oblivious to everything, it's more of an action film and the ending is just weird.
(a low) 2 Stars
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the origin story of the famous Jack Ryan character. The film begins in 2001 with the attack on the twin towers. This incident encourages Jack to drop out of school and work for the CIA. Back in the present day Jack uncovers a Russian plot to take down the U.S economy by performing another terrorist attack. Jack must travel to Moscow to uncover more about this plot and stop it from happening.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is surprisingly fast paced despite there not being a lot of action for the first two acts of the film. There's not a lot of gun fights or punch outs or really anything in the first two acts of the film. We do see a bit of action here and there, but it's scarce. This is why I was surprised at how fast paced the film is. Before I knew it action started kicking in and the film was over. I only thought I was half way through the film yet it was finishing up. The film actually felt longer in the final and more enthralling act then it did in the first two acts.
The final act of the film is full of heart pounding action sequences with even higher stakes. The first two acts of the film were fun, but they hardly ever got my heart racing. The final act of the film was when my heart really begun to race. The stakes are high and the action is on - car chases, punch outs and close calls. It's all you could possibly ask for in a spy film conclusion.
The storyline for the film is too generic. This is the first Jack Ryan film not based on a book by Tom Clancy and while doing so they made the film too generic and unoriginal at times. There are more then a few original moments, a lot actually, but the whole plot and the stakes in the film have been done dozens of times over. You can find this same plot in various James Bond movies or Jack Reacher novels. I'm not saying it's a dull plot I'm just saying it's unoriginal.
The shaky cam gets annoying every so often. I'm not overly fond of the whole shaky cam style of filmmaking. I much prefer to watch a scene where the camera is still and we aren't watching a bunch of blurry people rolling around. There is the odd exception to this though, eg. Paul Greengrass films. There were two or three scenes were shaky cam caused the action to be unwatchable. We'd be able to tell what is going on just as well if we closed our eyes and just listened. It wouldn't hurt the eyes as much either if that was to happen.
To sum up Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is an enjoyable and action packed film with a generic storyline and too much shaky cam. However the film's nearly action-less first two acts are fast paced, but the action packed final act is superior.
3 1/2 Stars
The Wolf of Wall Street is the true story of Jordan Belfort. The film follows his rise in power by building his own firm in a rented garage. The firm, Stratton Industries, keeps getting bigger which makes Jordan and his co workers all the more greedy. They decide to fraud investors which - in the long shot - allows them to make millions of extra money. This fraud leads to the infamous corruption of Wall Street in the late 1990s.
The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese's funniest film. I'm a fan of Scorsese and while he's only tackled the comedy genre once or twice nearly all his films have some sort of comedic aspect to it or a humorous moment every now and again. That's what makes The Wolf of Wall Street so different to the films we're used to him making. This film is a riot from beginning to end. Belfort is just a despicable human being, but us as audience members love it. We thrive off watching stuff like this because we know we're not as insane as he is and that we'd never do the things he did. In the first few minutes of the film we see a montage that includes Belfort blowing cocaine into a prostitute's ass and the people of wall street throwing a midget around. We know it's so wrong, but it's so funny.
The film features a variety of absolutely phenomenal performances. 2014 is just a superb year for performances so far as I've mentioned in a previous review and this is no exception. The Wolf of Wall Street could be the film that finally gets Leonardo DiCaprio his oscar. He's been snubbed too many times and I believe that now is finally his time to shine. But DiCaprio isn't the only one to do a sensational performance. Other sensational performances include Jonah Hill, Mathew McConaughey, Margot Robbie and many others.
The soundtrack for the film is sensational. This is another aspect of the film that is so different to how Scorsese makes his films. What he does the same is that he hardly uses an original song. Most of the music is music some of us hear everyday. This is done again for The Wolf of Wall Street, but it doesn't suit the scene what so ever. Now this may be a bit unusual, but not fitting the scene is perfect. It reminds us that this film is in fact a comedy as the music is oddly sensational. I mean we didn't really need reminding in the film place. We were already laughing our heads off.
The Wolf of Wall Street is the shortest three hour film I've seen in my life. I've seen more then a few films that go for around three hours or just over three or just under three, a few of which I will review soon, but none of them felt as short as this. When the film begun to wrap up I was confused. I thought 'surely it's not over already. I've only been here for like an hour tops!' In fact I'd been watching it for 3.
The film's use of deliberate continuity errors is both a negative and a positive. The biggest problem I had with Shutter Island was that there were more than a few continuity errors. Here, Martin Scorsese returns to his continuity-less glory with plenty of continuity errors. I know that they're deliberate and therefore will not downgrade the film's overall rating, but I can'y help cringing upon the sight of them all.
To sum up The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese's funniest film to date. The film features phenomenal performances, a sensational soundtrack, never once felt like it was three hours long and the continuity was irritating, but forgivable.
The Book Thief, ironically enough based on a book, follows the story of a young girl named Liesel during World War II. After her baby brother passes away she is adopted and moved to a new part of Germany where she struggles to fit in. Here she finds herself at peace by stealing books and learning to read them with her adopted father and an unwell Jew on the run from Hitler that has taken refuge in their basement.
The Book Thief depicts World War II and the holocaust in a rather family friendly way. This is a rather refreshing way to view the war if I'm perfectly honest. Nearly every film that depicts World War II or the holocaust is gruesome and features foul language everywhere. The Book Thief shows views of the war through a child's perspective and how they too were affected by it all, not just the adults. A refreshing, enjoyable and realistic take on a rather dark era.
The Book Thief is continuing the line of great performances this year. I've seen three films to be released this year and trust me I have a lot more coming, but what stands out for me in all of them are the performances. It is again here; the film is full of spectacular performances from nearly everyone. There were actually one or two slightly dull performances, but I can assure you they weren't in the film for more then a few minutes.
The sets in the film were beautiful and dull. I don't want to phrase this in a negative way because that's not what I'm trying to say, but a lot of the locations were really ordinary and dull back in World War II. This film took my breath away with how realistic it presented everything. The set design for the film was extraordinary. There are a few scenes that take place outside the main city of the film and these too were breathtaking. I didn't have any breath left by the end of the film, that's how blown away I was at it all. The film has gone average with critics, but surely it'll get some sort of nomination for set design. It nearly has too!
The film's runtime is way too long. I understand the reasons behind the film being too long, but the runtime of the film still could have been handled better. The book, which I have not yet read, is a rather large book and so the film tries to show as much of it as it can. This makes the film skim through various moments, but still tries to show everything it can which makes this film around twenty minutes too long.
I didn't particularly like the ending of the film. To be honest I'm actually on the fence about the final moment of the film and don't worry, I won't talk spoilers. By ending I don't mean the final few scenes of the film, I was fine with them, but instead I mean the closing shot of the film. We have two and a bit hours of a film set in WW2 Germany then all of a sudden the film fades to black and this rather odd and unnecessary shot appears that really doesn't belong in the film. I would have been more then happy if it ended at the fade to black.
To sum up The Book Thief is a well acted and refreshing look at the holocaust and WW2 that features brilliant set design. The film is just twenty minutes too long and features a rather odd closing shot.
Saving Mr. Banks is the untold true story about the author of the beloved Mary Poppins novel, P.L. Travis or Mrs Travis as she insists on being called. On the twentieth attempt in twenty years, Walt Disney insists that she hands over the rights for a movie adaptation. This time around she decides to come to California and overlook, or dictate in this instance, how pre-production on the film is going.
Saving Mr. Banks showcases a wide variety of sensational performances. If all I knew about this film were the cast then I'd be sold. Luckily for me I knew a bit more then just the cast so I was even more confident that I will enjoy it. The line-up for the film includes Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Paul Giamatti and I can honestly say every one of these actors exceeded my expectations. There are some characters in the film that, at first, appear to be all cliché, over the top and 'disney-a-fied', but that is literally how these characters acted, talked, dressed etc. which just makes me appreciate the performances even further.
The film features plenty of humour scattered throughout. Saving Mr. Banks is a very very funny biography the features plenty of humour that will appeal to both children, teenagers and adults. The humour in the film was absolutely hysterical, but it's humour that everyone will understand and hopefully like. Most of the humour comes from the character's reactions to a certain situation or how they approach something they're not fond of. Two of the highlights being an ongoing argument about making up words and when Travis first enters her hotel room and finds a rather unusual surprise.
The screenplay for the film was marvellous. The film is a Disney film about Walt Disney so I figured there wouldn't be a single negative thing about him in the film, but I was wrong. The film is nearly entirely accurate, a few details about Travis' reaction to the final film was not present for obvious reasons. Everything else in the film was shown in a realistic way that I presume was very precise after hearing the audio shown mid way through the credits which is most certainly worth sticking around for.
The film actually got fairly emotional at various points in the film, especially in the final act. The final act of the film was fairly upsetting yet it was also very uplifting. The final act of the film ended on a high note, which is unlike how it ended in reality, although prior to this my eyes were beginning to swell up with tears. There are a few scenes where the past catches up to both Walt Disney and P.L. Travis and some of these scenes were very upsetting. I am proud to admit that I teared up in the last two Tom Hanks films to hit our cinemas.
There are a few scenes in the film that neared going on for two long. A couple of scenes in this film were verging on the edge of being too long at times. I'm happy to say that this never happened once in the film, but it almost got to that stage at various times. If a few of these scenes went on for just a few seconds longer then I would begun to have gotten fairly restless. However that could of course be because of the uncomfortable seats I saw in; the disadvantages of seeing films in foreign states.
To sum up Saving Mr. Banks is a superbly acted, well written, almost entirely true story that features many humorous moments as well as plenty of emotional scenes. There were just a few scenes that neared being too long.
4 1/2 Stars
Shutter Island is set in 1955 and follows the story of U.S Marshall, Teddy Daniels. He is put on a case to locate a missing patient on Shutter Island, an institution for the criminally insane, with his new partner Chuck. The institution just never feels right; the staff are liars and refuse to let him look at the patient files. A storm hits and forces Teddy and Chuck to remain on the island for a little longer which gives Teddy time to question his own sanity.
Shutter Island is a terrifying film. The film itself isn't meant to be a scary film, it's not even a horror film, but it truly was terrifying. It's a new style for Martin Scorsese, which didn't stay long, and he has already mastered it. This film had my heart leaping out of my chest many times during the film. The film's creepy atmosphere, unsettling cuts back in time and dark lighting makes this film more horrific and disturbing then a fair few horror films that I've seen.
The film is absolutely unpredictable. I can't really give detail in this paragraph without spoiling the film, but I shall try to say as much as I can. The film is a thriller/mystery and throughout it all there are a lot of surprising twists and turns, most of which really blew me away. The final half an hour of the film really puts everything in place, but it does this in the most unexpected and unpredictable way possible that will leave you in a state of shock. As the film was going I tried to piece everything together and my guess of what was happening was the furthest it could be from the truth.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley are only a few of the stupendous cast members in the film. There has not been a single Scorsese film that I've seen that features more then one bad performance, done occasionally in some of his films by a very minor character. DiCaprio, Ruffalo and Kingsley are just three examples of terrific performances done in the film; there were a countless amount. Yet another film where DiCaprio has been snubbed from the Oscars.
Shutter Island is incredibly well written. I really wish to rewatch this film again soon because the film's screenplay is so clever and inventive. There are numerous moments in the film which the general audience member, myself included, believes that it means something completely to what it actually means. There are so many moments that seem like they make sense, but the final half an hour of the film just ridicules your original idea and plants a completely new one. These original events, trust me you won't know them when you see them, are actually foreshadowing what's to come.
To sum up Shutter Island is an intense, disturbing and horrific film that's more unsettling then a lot of recent horrors. The film is a new style for Scorsese that's unpredictable, insanely well written and features countless superb performances.
August: Osage County is the story of a very dysfunctional family. Violet Weston is an uptight, mentally ill woman who's husband has just killed himself. Now her family, consisting of her brother in law, sister, nephew, 3 daughters and their partners and her grandchild, come to stay at her house while she accepts what's going on. Too bad they're all a bunch of 'nut jobs' that will only make things hilariously worse.
August: Osage County is outrageously hilarious. This family is literally the definition of dysfunctional. The two eldest sisters and unaware of how mean and selfish they are, two cousins are in a sexual relationship, there's a 14 year old weed smokers and so so so much more. These situations all pilled up together make for some very awkward and outrageously hilarious moments. The most memorable of which is a prolonged dinner scene that never seems to end, but we don't want it to.
There is not a single mediocre performance in the whole film. This film just boasts so much talent from various talented actors and actresses and not a single one of them disappointed. In fact every single performances exceeded my expectations I had for them. I'd heard they were great in this film, but I didn't know they were going to be this great. The fact that they were so good just made the film all the more hilarious too.
The film features a superb screenplay. Every bit of dialogue in this film is perfect. It's absolutely astonishing. There's not one line of dialogue that doesn't seem realistic or a single reaction in the film that doesn't seem realistic. Sadly, I can't give all the credit to the screenwriter as the film is based on a play that features mostly dialogue like a lot of plays do, but this doesn't matter as it's all still perfect.
The film gets fairly emotional at times, but heart warming at others. As horrific as this family may be they did bring a fair few heartwarming scenes where characters restore the bonds they had previously, which are only to be broken soon after in a rather distressing and emotional scene that will undoubtedly bring tears to many people's eyes.
To sum up August: Osage County is a terrific way to kick off the new year. The film is heartwarming, emotional and outrageously hilarious which is made so by outstanding performances by everyone in the film and a superb screenplay.