Film

Django Unchained Review

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Tarantino has a cult following but it almost seems that he has another cult that hates him. Personally I like his films. Some are a lot better than others but I do consider him one of my favorite directors. I think he has a very specific style and trademark. When you watch a film of his you know that he wrote and directed it. Even just watching a few minutes of a random scene you would probably notice that it fits his style. Tarantino has almost made a genre of his own.

The film stars Jamie Foxx as Django and Christoph Waltz and Dr King Schultz. Christoph Waltz is the supporting character but almost steals the show and this role earned him a second Oscar nomination and win. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the villainous Calvin Candy who is considered the main antagonist however does not feature heavily in the film and doesn’t show up until over half way through. Kerry Washington plays Django’s wife Broomhilda who is a slave at Candyland. Samuel L Jackson plays Stephen head slave at Candyland and who is just as evil as Calvin Candy. I do think Christoph Waltz really delivers in this but all the other cast help to make this film something the audience will remember.

The film follows Django a slave who is found by Dr King Schultz. Schultz is a bounty hunter who is looking for a gang called the Brittle brothers and needs Django to identify them. Once they have caught the gang Schultz promises to free Django and help track down his wife. They are lead to a plantation called Candy Land ruled by the cruel owner Calvin Candy and his assistant Stephen. The film does go off on several sub-plots but they do work really well as they help build up the characters.

The film is almost three hours long which I think is a very long time to sit in the cinema for. I don’t tend to like films that go on too long however I felt this film flowed very well. Long films can go off topic and get boring and that is what makes them bad. However Django Unchained keeps the audience interested throughout the entire film. I could have seen some of it being cut out for convenience but at no point when watching this was I bored.

The film is not really a western but something completely different. It does contain lots of elements and iconography of the western genre. Tarantino has described this film as a ‘Southern’ due to its main setting being Mississippi and taking place on plantations. The first half of the film is defiantly iconic to the western genre but then the film deviates. This is good though as I like things to change and I like to see different things. The film contains elements of other genres and it works really well mixing up genres.

The film has been criticized for the levels of racism.  I do think it is justified though. I do think that if you are doing a film about slavery then you need to have racism in it. I think censoring racism would ruin the film. I do think films should inform and highlight issues. Slavery has not really been shown in that many films before and the subject is taboo.

The film is very violent and this may deter people from seeing it but I think that if you are going to see a Tarantino picture you expect violence. I do not think that is is unjustified though. This time in America it was a violent time. Slavery was so brutal and I don’t think this film would have been as good if it censored the levels of violence. I also think that the characters actions of violence of justified. I don’t want to spoil the film but something Christoph Waltz’s character does towards the end of the film I first felt was out of character but after thinking about it, I think that his action was completely justified and not out of place at all.

Overall this is a great piece of cinema, I think this film is perfectly appeals to both fans of the art house film and those who like blockbusters. There is plenty in the film that will appeal to a lot of people and despite the subject matter being a touchy subject I don’t think that should deter anyone from seeing it.

8.5/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

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Do The Academy Awards Matter?

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Everyone likes to get praised for their work. Awards season for the film industry is important to so many people and winning an award really matters to them. The Academy Awards is considered the most prestigious film award a person can win. Actors dream of winning Oscars in particular and many not just actors but anyone who works in the film industry would be so honored to have their work recognized. However with mixed opinions on films and performances do awards really matter? There have been many roles by actors which I feel were undeserving of Academy Awards and many actors who have missed out on an Oscar nomination despite receiving praise by other awards for their performances. Some have actually made me really angry and even though some may be my personal opinion towards a performance or film I can still show my disapproval and approval of what happens at the Academy Awards.

Meryl Streep is a fantastic actress and has received so much recognition from the Academy Awards but one thing has really annoyed me recently. She won best leading actress for The Iron Lady. Now I can only say this is my opinion but I know many agree with me. In The Iron Lady it is not a powerful biopic about Margret Thatcher it is a pathetic attempt at a dementia awareness the film. He performance was so weak and she only got nominated because she gets nominated. There were better roles that year for the actresses who would have loved to have won an Oscar instead. Also many of Streep’s nominations mean that other new actresses are not getting recognized just because of the Academy’s stupid obsession with Streep. Some nominations are good but some are just put there for the sake of it and it is unfair.  I really don’t get how she won and it really makes me angry. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes the academy has ever made.

Tommy Lee Jones is a fantastic actor and gives great performances in all his films. However he won an Oscar for The Fugitive. Now if you have seen the film it is hardly a pioneering film in the world of cinema and Jones basically plays himself. Its not a terrible performance but its not an Oscar worthy performance. Compared to the other nominees in that category I am surprised that Jones came out on top. I personally would have awarded the Oscar to either Pete Postlethwaite for In The Name Of The Father or Ralph Fiennes for Schindler’s List. The other two nominees were John Malkovich for In The Line Of Fire and Leonardo DiCaprio for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. These were all worthy performances except for Jones who has done many better roles than The Fugitive that were worthy of Oscar nominations and even wins. What were the academy thinking when they gave the Oscar to him? I really don’t know.

There are many snubs made by the academy. Some have been nominated and still have not won whereas some great performances have been ignored  completely. As I said there were many better performances when Tommy Lee Jones won. Also more recently I felt Anne Hathaway was an unworthy winner of the academy award for Les Miserables.  I felt her role really lacked something but that is my opinion. Someone else should have won but I am torn at who should have though.

Gary Oldman finally received a Oscar nomination  for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy two years ago. However he did not win despite giving a fantastic performance. Jean Dujardin won for The Artist which I think is another overrated film. That is only my opinion. Oldman has been snubbed by the Oscars on many occasions but I would not have wanted him to win for just because the academy was trying to make up for snubbing him on in my opinion on 5 separate occasions. I feel that the academy did this with Russell Crowe. He won for Gladiator which was a great performance but I think he only won to make up for him not winning the previous year for the film The Insider.

Michael Fassbender received recognition for his role in Shame at the Golden Globes but was snubbed at the Oscars. He gave a really intense and powerful performance but the academy deemed the topic too sensitive and ignored his fantastic performance. Will Ferell a well known comedy actor gave a brilliant performance in Stranger Than Fiction which I felt was Oscar worthy as well as actor Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. I thought that range would be recognize range in performances.  I worry this will be done again for this years academy awards with Steve Carell. He is playing a serious role in the film Foxcatcher but because of his body of work the academy may snub him. I think the Academy needs to look at range of actors performances and not just the performances they are being marked on.

Snubs are not just for actors but it has been done for directors as well. Martin Scorsese winning for The Departed seemed to make up for snubs for his films such as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Casino. Although I liked The Departed I felt some of his other films are more deserving of recognition. The Departed is actually a remake which most people don’t know.

It has also been done for best film at the Oscars. The Hurt Locker won Best Picture a few years ago and I don’t think it was the best film of that time. I felt District 9 was more deserving of recognition. Also it is controversial that Forrest Gump won Best Picture over both Pulp Fiction ans The Shawshank Redemption. There two films are considered some of the best pieces in cinema history and The Shawshank Redemption is number one on Internet Movie Data Base’s top 250 list. I personally did not like Forrest Gump and I think most people would say that both The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction are much better films despite the Academy disagreeing.

Overall I do like to keep up with the Academy Awards and other awards but I do think they have made the wrong decisions on many occasions to the point that if you work in the industry that winning an award is a bonus and may help your career but sometimes the voters don’t have a clue and it is down to personal preference and if something is good but not recognized critically it does not mean it is any lesser than a film that has received recognition.

What do you think about the Academy Awards? Do you think they are unfair and they make the wrong decisions often? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

Hugh Jackman Retiring From Wolverine?

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Hugh Jackman is one of the highest paid stars of our generation. He is most famously known for his portrayal of Wolverine in the X-men films. He has now played the character of Wolverine 6 times if you include his brief cameo in First Class and soon to be 7th portrayal in next years film X Men: Days Of Future Past. Hugh Jackman first appeared as Wolverine in X-men back in 2000 and has played the character for 14 years on and off which is a long time to devote to any character. Jackman is approaching 50 and the role of Wolverine is physically demanding.

He has stated that he knows he will not be Wolverine forever and he knows he has an expiry date as the character. It has also been speculated that next years Days Of Future Past will be Jackman’s final portrayal of the character. What does this mean though? Will Wolverine be killed off? I know he cannot die but from what I understand about the character he would never walk away from doing what he does best. In The Wolverine he had been an outsider for years and was reluctant to return but when he got into the swing of things he was the same old Wolverine.

A reboot would have been perfect for recasting the role of Wolverine but now Singer is involved with Days Of Future Past and even Jackman’s cameo in First Class meant that clearly Jackman is here to stay as Wolverine, With the younger versions of the characters in First Class, Wolverine could have been ignored completely or recast with a younger actor like the other cast members. Also as Jackman has been playing the role for such a long time and most people know him for this role people will always see Jackman as Wolverine. Even if he is eventually recast people generally believe that Jackman is the only Wolverine and it would be hard for any actor to take on such an iconic role.

He will be accepted as Wolverine for as long as he lives and he may even be typecast for the rest of his career. Recently he has starred in Les Miserable and Prisoners which show his acting range but if you say Hugh Jackman to someone they will think Wolverine straight away.

As Wolverine is basically immortal he can be part of the new x-men team which he wasn’t initially a part of in the originals as he was a late comer to the team. Also because in Days Of Future Past, Wolverine will go back into his younger body and this will reboot the continuity of the series but not the actors who have played the characters. Time travel allows the character to have a rebirth and his character which is loved by fans can be explored more and more for years to come.

I think Wolverine being part of the early X-men team in this semi rebooted series would be really cool and I am more than happy for Jackman to continue playing the role. More stories could be explored in standalone Wolverine films such as Old Man Logan which does include wider characters of the marvel universe but I am sure could be adapted specifically for the X-men universe.

Also that would allow Jackman to continue playing the role even into his 60s if he was still up for it. Also we may get more standalone Wolverine films, X-Men Origins was not received well at all and The Wolverine got mixed reviews but I personally think The Wolverine was a fantastic film that was more about the character. I would love to see a standalone Wolverine sequel involving the X-23 story line.

Maybe it is time for Jackman to give up the role of Wolverine and work on other projects but if Days Of Future Past is received well by audiences I think Jackman may still be around playing Wolverine for a few more years yet.

What do you think about Hugh Jackman’s potential retirement from Wolverine? Do you think he can still do more films? Is there a specific Wolverine storyline you would like to see adapted on the big-screen? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

Untouchable Review

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I have previously said in some of my other blogs that I am not a big fan of foreign cinema. I have justified reasons and I do not think they are unreasonable. Some foregin films can be decent though. I ususally think those are the ones that still follow Hollywood conventions. I watched the Frech film Untouchable the other day and I have to admit I was really impressed with the film.

I may even say this is cinema at its best. The film does not rely on explosions or a hugh budget, it simply relies on the story. The fact that the film is based on a true story really makes it more appealing. The story itself says a lot about the class system as well as the way disable people are treated.

The film follows Phillipe a wealthly quadriplegic and Driss a rather lazy unfulfilled African Man. The film starts with Driss trying to get benefits from the government and he goes in for a job interview just to show he is trying. In the interview he is dressed poorly and is very rud. Phillipe hires him and the story follows their growing friendship of people from two very different worlds. The film is not doom and gloom it is really uplifting and cheery. The films themes are universal so anyone can enjoy it.

I don’t speak any other languages other than English and I get annoyed reading subtitles but in this film I really didnt mind. The film is intresting enough to both read the subtitles and pay attention to the actions on screen. With Hollywood the audience is passive usually and being an active viewer can be difficult. For this It is not. I may even say this is the best foreign film I have ever seen and it is a definate must see for anyone who loves films.

8.5/10

Top 5 Action Films

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Action films can be highly entertaining. They are not short of explosions or shootouts and sometimes have an interesting story. Here are my top five action films.

5. Shoot Em Up

Shoot Em Up

Shoot Em Up worked as a homage to most action films. The great thing about this film is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. And whereas some people may just think it is too unrealistic, that is the point. The film was made to be over the top and silly. In the film Clive Owen’s character kills several people using carrots. Now that’s funny. This film is nothing short of incredible action sequences and shootouts.

4. Con Air

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Con Air sticks out as one of my favorite action films. The premise may be simple and the fact that 90% of the film takes place on a plane the action is still awesome. Featuring Nicholas Cage as the protagonist and John Malkovich as a chilling and excellent villain the film is highly entertaining. Nicholas Cage does play similar characters in most films but he is an action star and its in these films where he gives his best performances. The film also has a great deal of wit in it. And one sequence that sticks in my head is when Cage’s character Poe proves to his friend that their is a god. Those of you who have seen the film will know what I’m talking about.

3. Terminator 2

Terminator

I feel that Terminator 2 has far better action sequences than the first film. Although the first Terminator film is good, many people including me prefer the second one. And it is fair to say the action in Terminator 2 is a lot more dynamic than its predecessor. The premise of the film is fantastic and it is a brilliant continuation of the story. Unfortunately its sequels failed to capture the essence of the first two films. Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation lacked the human element and even at points were boring.

2. Die Hard

Die Hard

Die Hard is one of the best action films of all time and in a way defined the genre of action film. Unfortunately the sequels to the films lack the same human element story of this one. Not to say they are not entertaining though. The new ones rely too heavily on action rather than simply using it as a by-product of the story. The film is also interesting sub textually. Die Hard is considered by some a metaphor for the United States financial collapse. Using both Japanese and German characters in the film brings up the aftermath of world war two and this questions who really benefited from the war. Especially as at the time of release General Motors was going bankrupt and the Japanese and German car industries were booming. This is a must see action film and does make its way on to critics best films lists.

1. The Rock

The Rock

Many people criticize Director Michael Bay for creating movies that ignore story completely. Depending how you look at it this may be just another one of his actions films. Take a renegade Marine General, Add 16 chemical weapons, Add Alcatraz Island, Add Sean Connery as a former SAS solider and Nicholas Cage as the nerdy Chemical Weapons specialist. You get The Rock. The Rock is my number one favorite action film of all time. The story is fun, witty and it does have a human element to it. This is one of Nicholas Cage’s best films and it is great to see Sean Connery play a badass character well into his 60s. The film contains lots of tension between characters and in the plot itself and this is an incredibly entertaining movie to watch and if you have not seen it already please go and watch it soon.

Hollywood Is Not Overrated

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Many people criticize Hollywood so much. They say all they care about is money. In fact I have criticized the fact actors get paid to much and the pressure to make money forces cinema ticket prices to increase. That may be but people claim all Hollywood films are boring and dumb. I have to disagree.

Every other film industry in the world wants to be like Hollywood. The difference between Hollywood and individual countries cinema is that they do not appeal to wide audiences where as Hollywood does. For example a lot of European and world cinema is so specific to its own people the themes are not as clear to wider audiences. And even some of the themes are not universal at all.

World cinema often references its own countries history and the politics behind the country. If you did not grow up in the country during a regime or know about the history then it will be lost on the wider audiences.

I am British and despite having our own industry we are highly influenced by Hollywood. I do love Hollywood though. It is entertaining. Audiences usually are passive when it comes to movies but that does not mean we are stupid. The audience has to go through the trials of life everyday so having something entertaining which allows the audience to escape their lives is far more important than quirky foreign films.

And most foreign films that are at all decent do contain so many elements of the Hollywood genre and that makes it more watchable. Also I only speak English unfortunately. And I don’t particularly want to read subtitles when watching a film. I don’t hate it but id prefer not to. However saying that. I saw the dubbed version of Das Boot and I would have much preferred to read subtitles in that situation.

Overall I think Hollywood is the greatest film industry in the world as it is universal. They make money and entertaining products. Even a lot of Hollywood contained subtext and can break the typical conventions of genre but we are entertained by it and we recognize the constant themes and stars that we have seen many times before.

What do you think? Is Hollywood Overrated? What’s your favorite foreign film? Please Comment and thanks for reading.

Premium Rush Review

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Despite this film was released in 2012 I only got round to watching it the other night. I did not really know what it was about I had heard of it but I didn’t know the premise. All I knew was it had Joseph Gordon Levitt in it and he rode around on a bicycle.

The film follows Gordon Levitt’s character Wilee who is a bike messenger who gets caught up delivering an important message which attracts the attention of a dirty cop. The film is fun, interesting and does contain a story of hope which is uplifting. The film contains many sub plots which show the motives of the main characters but this is not cluttered. They are all done really well.

The film is a lot more than that. I really loved it. The film uses flashbacks to show how the events of the film unfolded as well as using elements of real time which I enjoyed. The film is not particularly long either which I appreciate so much. A lot of films are over two hours now and even approaching 3 hours in some cases. It has become hard to sit in the cinema or put on a DVD for so long.

Back to the film though. The cast worked together really well. There was a real sense of ensemble whilst watching the film. Joseph Gordon Levitt does steal the show whereas Michael Shannon who plays a crooked cop and the villain of the film also gives us a notable performance. He plays a really creepy character and at some points this seems forced but I think that goes along with his characters personality of being a dirty cop.

The concept of the film was interesting and it gave me an insight into the world of bike messengers something I knew very little about and I assume they are a dying breed due to technology.

This film was highly entertaining and watchable. The concept may not be appealing to everyone but I watched it with an open mind knowing nothing about the film and I came away loving it. I do recommend this film for its entertainment value but it wont be known for being a classic film.