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The Descendants

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 12 February 2012 04:14 (A review of The Descendants)

After his wife has a boating accident, lawyer Matt King is left to pick up the pieces and help his two daughters cope with what has happened. As Matt makes decisions regarding real estate, his wifes health and the well being of his daughters, he must also deal with his own emotions and realizations about what comes next for everyone.

Beautifully written, the complete opposite of what has become the norm for the type of genre it falls under. What The Descendants captures so well are the moments where people are hesitant and unsure of what it is they are dealing with. The Descendants captures the essence of a modern day family. The parents always busy with their jobs, the teenager off at school, and the younger sibling caught in the middle of a mess they want no part off.

Matt King is dealt the blow that his dying wife had been cheating on him before her accident, and his teenage daughter is left to pick up the pieces of a relationship that has been shattered because of said events. What that does is it brings an outside view of how things were before that, making the scenes where they deal with the new developments even more emotional and impacting. The emotions and the decisions to either hold onto the resentment or let go make the film very poignant and bittersweet when it draws to a close.

Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash have taken the whirl wind that is life and told a story that allowed for that whirl wind of feelings to be exposed unlike it has been in the past. Sincerity and honesty are present in just about every scene, which relies on the candidness of the actors to portray emotions that usually seem redundant or melodramatic. George Clooney and Shailene Woodley had a very good father-daughter chemistry and it was rewarding to see the relationship between their characters take on a uniqueness of its own.

Very much like other films, as it develops the urgency to make a decision becomes prevalent. Adding that element to a film that tries to bring a balance of humour to the mess of emotions floating around, allows The Descendants to play with a few genre clichés and get away with it. Eventually some of the characters say and do a few things that are visible from a mile away, but given the overall circumstances it seems right to allow that to be their decision.

For a film that is classified as a comedy, the dramatic moments are what keep the flow of the film. For example talking to the children, telling them that their mother will be removed from her life support, adds the next step in the chapter of their lives, which is coming to terms with that and moving on. Another example is the way in which Matt approaches his wife cheating on him; absolutely nothing was funny about him confronting two of her good friends. In fact it was awkward, it was genuine. Matt had an idea of what he was trying to say but failed to get it across without causing more harm than good. What was funny were the small little scenes with the children, and his teenager daughters friend Sid. These scenes kept it from being nothing but a soppy mess of emotions. Humour is the thing that keeps the film grounded.

Certainly worth a viewing, not because it is up for best picture, but because it has so much to offer those who still look for good writing, good acting and a relatively emotional film that tries to end things as happy as possible.

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Chronicle Review

Posted : 6 years, 5 months ago on 11 February 2012 02:24 (A review of Chronicle)

After three teenagers find a mysterious hole in the ground after a party; they begin to notice that they have developed a set of superpowers. Initially the three of them use their new found powers for pranks. As they grow stronger, the three young men debate how to use their powers so they use a set of ground rules in order to get a better understanding of their powers. Personal relationships are tested when the three men are forced to embrace the dark side of their powers.

Set up to be a first person account of the story told through the camera of main character Andrew, Chronicle is very much a fancy camera trick piece as it as a dark and sophisticated drama. Establishing the flashy aerial shots and then taking to the skies to have them fly in and out of the clouds with such grace and speed gives Chronicle an added sense of realism. Flying high amongst the clouds, the blur of his friends off in the distant added a tension; there was always the sense of feeling. As they tip-toed above the city streets, there was this undeniable feeling that you felt as if you were the camera, you were the eyes watching their new found transformation take place. In essence Chronicle would be just another drama had it not been for the use of some of the best cinematography seen in a long time.

The downside to home-made like films is they tend to move from scene to scene without a transitional period. A black screen appears for a brief awkward moment, and then a whole new set is established. There is always a sudden jolt when the scenery is vastly different without explanation. The upside to home-made like films are they tend to make you feel a connection with the characters, mostly the one the camera focuses on the most, which in Chronicles case was Andrew. What Chronicle has going for itself is they let Andrew become the dark character as the film progressed.

Dane Dehaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan are amazing in their respective roles. Matt (Russell) and Steve (Jordan) begin to take a liking to a distant Andrew, and as they grow stronger Matt and Steve have a tough time keeping Andrew from having emotional outbursts. All three young men do a fantastic job of portraying their characters within this fast paced flick. When you try and keep things moving in a film of this nature, sometimes the little things are the ones that lose, but Chronicle had a fine balance of both.

The first solid flick of 2012, Chronicle proves the found footage idea that has been recycled through-out recent years still has new tricks up its sleeve. The trick is creating a sleek script that benefits from that type of storytelling. With a reported budget of 15 million and already having made 22 over just one weekend, it looks like Chronicle could be the next beneficiary of all the sequel talk, just like Cloverfield was when it premiered.

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Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 25 November 2011 05:47 (A review of 50/50)

Adam is a 27 year old writer of radio programs, and his life is turned upside down by the blindsiding news that he was a rare form of cancer. With the help of friends and family Adam must learn to adapt to new emotions and feeling, while trying to keep his head up and remain positive.

Its hard to think of a perfect summation of what 50/50 is, there are so many good elements of cinema present it is very hard to narrow down one way of describing how 50/50 makes you feel and what you are thinking about. The film ties in all the components of real life and sadness, but continues to make the scenes funny, but you never get the sense that a joke has been taken to far.

50/50 deals an appropriate amount of scenes that make you laugh and scenes that make you tear up. It keeps a sombre undertone, while the primary focus is the humorous uplifting moments. The impending scenes of how Adams sickness changes him are always lingering, keeping a somewhat tight leash on the humour and where they are taking it. Somehow it never seems forced, there are two sides to life, the one with our parents and the one with out friends. Lets be honest here we have all made a wise joke at the expense of something that was deemed to be off limits. The tight-lipped humour allows this picture to carry a melodramatic and lamentable mood through out the film. The humour always maintains a relevance to the story, it may be profanity laced at times as it exits the mouth of the un-censorable Seth Rogen but it keeps its focus.

The movie not only takes us on a personal journey of writer Will Reiser, and his struggles with cancer but it takes us on this incredible journey of these characters that are loosely based of the personal stories of Reisers friendship with Seth Rogen. Rogen is playing the role here in the film that he played in real life. Rogen falls into with relative ease, its seemingly Seth Rogen playing Seth Rogen with just the right amount of absolute absurdity and charisma. Angelica Huston comes off a bit strong in her performance, but as all mothers would do she immediately wants to jump right in and be there every step of the way. It was a fine portrayal of motherly affection and smothering. It is however the man of the hour Joseph Gordon-Levitt who perfectly balances out the humorous Adam and the emotionally torn apart Adam with simple and brilliant execution. His continuous efforts to downplay his feelings are well performed with a soft smile and darting eyes, but Gordon-Levitt is quietly filling the scenes with his personal acting touch, a charming approach to these very real and very deeply confused characters. First it was his performance as Tom Hansen in 500 Days of Summer and then Arthur in Inception, but Gordon-Levitt seems to have just the right touch of A-list appeal and buddy like personality to sustain these characters.

Not only will 50/50 stand as the best film of the year, but it may just stand as one of the better comedies to be smart and clever about a very touchy subject. It seems as though Seth Rogen summed up this movie just perfectly when he said “Most movies about cancer try and systematically avoid that funny things happen during tragic situations. I don’t think we added humour to something that wasn’t funny, but I think most movies removed humour from something that can be very funny sometimes”. 50/50 is in prime shape come award season, and this complete package of a film may just be the darling of 2012. Heres to the Oscar Campaign for 50/50 because this is a movie worth cheering and celebrating.

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Abduction? Review

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 19 November 2011 04:59 (A review of Abduction)

After Nathan Harper finds a picture that oddly resembles himself online, he begins to ask questions. With in a day there are people attacking his house, trying to catch him. Nathan does not know who he can trust, so he goes off on the run, trying to remain hidden at every turn, all the while trying to figure exactly what is going.

Abduction was released earlier in the fall, and was supposed to be Lautner’s expose; he was supposed to come alive as the next big action star. If that was his sole intention, he should have chosen a script with at least a shred of credibility, and not just a typical action movie with the same old stunts seen hundreds of times. Lautners Jacob Black may have gained him a few supporters, as he is one of the few who has given off a worthy of mention performance in the Twilight saga. Lautner has the look, at 19 he is physically fit for any role. He can climb walls, kick, and punch and use all the martial arts moves he chooses. If anything in this film Lautner gets credit for at least kicking ass in the action scenes.

What Abduction suffers from is lack of integrity. It tries to build the romance between Nathan and the girl across the street, but it is just not necessary for the plot line at all. The character of Karen played atrociously by Lily Collins (daughter of drummer Phil Collins) had no reason to be in the film at all. Karen was simply used to add sexual tension and climax to a scene where the make out heavily on a train. Why do you they have these sexually charged young adults stopping to have a little romance and then suddenly just stop awkwardly to say “we should get food”? The reason is the PG-13 rating, it enables kissing and flirting, but very little else can be shown. PG-13 also brings down the limit of using the F-bomb to just one use.

Very little of Abduction is worthy of redemption. There are a few scenes that maybe could have used a touch of better writing, or at least an edit of the initial draft. Abduction was a film that got the green light because of the action. Everything else is a dull attempt to be better then what it is. All the dialogue is unpleasant to sit through, because Lautner hides behind his squished up face, it seemed like he was attempting to show rage. I feel like at times, when Lautner was attempting to sound like a tough 19 year old kid, his voice sounded shrill and child like.

Enough with the baseball stadium scenes, why is that the only public place to meet? Why would you choose such a place, unless you know every little crevice of the place it is probably not a good idea. It is more then likely possible, Nathan Harper would have known a much better public place to manoeuvre around in, a place much easier to plan a grand escape from. Also during the baseball stadium scene, Nathan does what every action movie character does; he meets with the bad guy when he was still ten steps ahead of him.

Lautner may be adored by screaming fan girls young and old all over the world, but that does not change the fact if he wants to remain a star, he must choose films that are worthy of him remaining a star. Perhaps he is still young, drawn to scripts that are a breeze to read, but someday Lautner it would be good to see if you can read a script and play a character that isn’t tough and does not rely on fighting. He is on the way to limiting his own career, because the worse movies you do, the likelihood of getting a quality script sent to you is lower.

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Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 3 November 2011 10:28 (A review of Drive (2011))

The Driver is a Hollywood stuntman by day and chauffeur for the criminals by night. He gets his cars from a middle aged washed up mechanic named Shannon. He gives the criminals five minutes to be in and out, no questions asked. He meets a woman named Irene who lives in the same apartment complex as him. He begins to spend a lot of time with her, and one night after her ex-husband is released from prison he is found badly beaten. The Driver helps him by offering to provide his services when he hears that Irene and her young son may be in danger. After the heist is botched, The Driver is left to fend for himself.

Drive is a film about a man who has a special talent. He is skilful in the art of driving a car. He can gear up and gear down like there is nothing to it. He weaves in and out of traffic with such ease and proficiency, like a paintbrush lathering on the paint with perfection. He spends most of his time quietly waiting as the thieves do their business, he never asks them questions, never meddles in their affairs. He always gets the job done when he is called upon.

Drive is very different from films of the same nature. Most of them of are in your face adrenaline rushes, similar to Fast and Furious. Drive is a bit of oddity because there are scenes of dramatic getaway chases, but there are also scenes where it is slowly paced in order to fully progress the story of the film.

For some reason it just does not work. It is meant to bring a counter balance to the recent trend in fast paced car chase movies, but the fans of those movies pay to see exactly that. The reason it does not work in Drive is because the action scenes are slow building. The Driver is waiting for the criminals to come back. He keeps checking his watch; he takes notice of other cars. This builds tension because it is clear that something bad is going to happen, but you need to watch and wait. Then it happens, a gunshot, a squeal of the tires and the action begins. Both cars are engaged with each other, slowly bumping one another. Then they pull out all the big stops like sudden turns and drifting. Then one car gets away. Right after this intensely built scene, there is a slow scene with very little dialogue and characters staring at a wall for twenty minutes. It just doesn’t flow; more dialogue could have built better characters. It should have been more action and less attempted character development in the format they used. Or another solution could have been a different format all together, with more character development and shorter more direct action scenes.

Ryan Gosling plays a character that says very little but accomplishes a lot through-out the film. His character is soft spoken, and on top of that rarely ever speaks. Gosling however somehow pulls off a tremendous performance. His gruff and intimidating look is enough for him to sell the performance. His intensity in the build-up scenes and his emotions as the film progresses were all enough for him to look tough. Gosling may not have said much, but his expression and emotions colourfully lathered on many different coats of carefully applied craftsmanship.

Drive has more flaws than it does positives; it is a film where the characters are not at all relatable. They all speak, but are not given enough dialogue to say anything that resonates with the audience. Irene spoke very few words herself, so her development scenes with The Driver were all but useless to the overall story. Some movies bog down their action with dialogue, but Drive had already established the action. The film was roughly 100 minutes, therefore extending the dialogue and adding on an extra 20 to that total would have given the producers the perfect recipe for success.

It is a very simple movie. If you like movies that are straight forward, feature no complicated twist or real shocking moments then Drive is essentially the movie for you. Other than a few scenes with gun shots and blood splatter, Drive is essentially a movie where a driver gets to drive his cars. It is good for what it is; it could have used a few rewrites to be just that much better. Overall it is a three out of five and is good for entertainment value.

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The Rum Diary

Posted : 6 years, 8 months ago on 29 October 2011 12:16 (A review of The Rum Diary)

Paul Kemp is an American journalist who is struggling to find his voice. When he takes a job in beautiful sunny Puerto Rico he hopes that his life will turn around. He finds himself drinking heavily, writing horoscopes and trying to build himself a life. It all turns around when he meets Hal Sanderson and his beautiful girlfriend Chenault with whom he feels an instant connection. Paul struggles to maintain his professional and social life, all the while trying to find his own voice.

A well written, well balanced story based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson applied for a job at the real San Juan Star, just like the one portrayed in the movie. He made friends with the writers on staff and then wrote the novel based around them. This provided good source material for a film that deals a lot with substance abuse. Paul Kemp is an alcoholic who is denial, and finds himself dealing with the struggles of maintaining a normal life. The 60s atmosphere is captured; the unabashed lifestyle is well defined by the public drinking the inherent ability to light up a cigarette anywhere they chose. The lifestyle is much different then the modern era, but it very much came alive through the eccentricity of the characters.

Lead by the talented Johnny Depp, the cast does a marvellous job of giving breath to an era that has been over done in films. Ms.Heard is very sensual in her portrayal of Chenault, a natural beauty who catches the eye of every man as she enters the bar. Chenault catches the eye of a charismatic Paul Kemp, but their relationship is forbidden as she is dating Hal Sanderson. A tension builds between Kemp and Chenault, an undeniable connection is immediately established and it built through out the film.

The cast may have been the central factor in driving the feel of the era, but another big factor played an important role. The source material as touched on before is a unique style created by Thompson himself. Many of the works of fiction directly mirror the career of Thompson, of course the trouble and the absurdities Paul and his friends find themselves a part of may have been a bit over dramatized or over exaggerated, but the material and the realism was already there. This movie was based on a novel that was based on a real world situation; therefore the ground work for a successful film was already laid out.

With the sun soaked atmosphere of Puerto Rico at the ready, The Rum Diary takes a step beyond just being a dramatic story. There are scenes of crude behaviour and excessive drinking and drug use. This as well and every other work by Thompson is targeted at a very specific audience, therefore this film is definitely not for everyone. The excessive drinking and drug use is no stranger in films based on works by Hunter S. Thompson. The alcohol and drug use in this film is mild in comparison to Fear and Loathing, but it still has the willingness to show it.

The way the Rum Diaries is built is the exact foundation necessary to make a film that is adored by its audience. It is broken down into three acts: The introduction, Paul Kemp is first introduced to the island. The second act, his rise among the ranks of local well known men. And the third act, when his lifestyle and choices have real world consequences and he is forced to decide what is next.

The Rum Diary is a well done flick, the essentials are all present. Mr. Depp has successfully portrayed another work of Thompson with ease and efficiency. This cast was superb, The Rum Dairy is very enjoyable as a film. Have your own discretion when deciding whether or not to see, but I say it is well worth a viewing.

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The Help Review

Posted : 6 years, 9 months ago on 10 October 2011 04:49 (A review of The Help)

Told through the eyes of three women in the late 1960’s The Help is a film about African-American house maids and the struggles they go through working for upper class families in Mississippi. Narrated by Aibileen Clark, The Help tells us about social and economic injustices, and how one person can have a voice that helps change the world. Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelin is determined to be writer, and after she gets a job at a local newspaper, she sees an opportunity to tell the world a story that has never been told. She begins to sit down with Aibileen, chronicling the ups and downs of a life that has its hardships. “Skeeter” helps many more women tell there stories, and goes onto to eventually publish the book.

Emma Stone has proven to be talented on a number of occasions, usually appearing in top notch comedies. She really outdid herself this time. Stone is much more honest and real then she has ever been. Playing a much more challenging character, Stone stepped up and gave Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelin a voice on the screen. Stone easily captured the charisma of a young girl determined to do something meaningful. Emma Stone should be very pleased with the fine performance she has given, she has taken such a wonderful and interesting character and given audiences around the world something to smile about.

The Help has everything it takes to be a good film. It has an emotional story, characters who are true to life, and a story that builds itself in three acts. The film allows the characters and there conflicts to grow, leading to a conclusion that is much more real life like then most films. The Help allows itself to be what it is, relying on the message and the power of a single voice. Instead of growing convoluted, The Help sticks to what helps build true story, emotion.

Viola Davis carries the film, her performance as Aibileen Clark is touching and real. Aibileen is an honest, hardworking and sincere woman, who is dealing with very heavy set emotions through out the film. Watching Davis transform into Aibileen, was a magnificent thing from a viewer stand point. When you hear the words, coming out of her mouth, they sting, they are so raw and driven, you cannot help but feel the pain coming from Aibileen. The mix of drama and humour between Aibileen and Minny (played by Octavia Spencer) is what really shows how good The Help is.

The Help is an honest film that takes a stance against social injustices, while showing us how much one person can make a difference, it also reminds us how sad life can be. Unfortunately, even 50 years later we still face social injustices everywhere. The Help serves as a reminder, that society will take every small victory against injustice anywhere we can get it.

Personally, I have no issue with a film taking a stance on a certain social issue. The problem usually lies within it being accurate in depicting said injustice. Yes films usually tend to overexert themselves when trying to subtly nail home a message. The one thing that seemed impressive about The Help, was that there was not that overly painful unbearable scene that will forever remain burned within our brains. What The Help shows us is that we are not only affected by what it is we see on the screen, but we are willing to sit down and listen to a message if the person presenting the message is smart in doing so.

Now is The Help the best film of all time? You could argue that it could be. It has all the makings to be considered for it, but honestly that is not how I want to view this film. I want to view The Help as the small little film with a darling cast, that showed me and hopefully many others the true meaning of having a voice and using it.

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Brand new album, Same old Chili Peppers

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 19 September 2011 02:20 (A review of I'm With You)

It has been roughly five years since the last time there was a Red Hot Chili Peppers song playing on the car radio as people drove into school. It has been five long years since the Chili’s climbed the charts with Dani California. In 2006 we could not go 24 hrs without hearing Dani California or seeing the video on television. Here we are, Sept. 2011 and The Chili’s are back with their tenth studio album titled “I’m With You”

It has been said that the Chili Peppers were looking for a fresh new start with “I’m With You” after the departure of long time guitarist John Frusciante. Frusciante was with the band since 1989, taking a break from the band during the late nineties to go to rehab. This is only the second album in over two decades that does not feature John Frusciantes recognizable guitar riffs. In comes Josh Klinghoffer to replace the long standing member, and for the most part it works on the album. There are a few times when you would have expected a long solo from Klinghoffer, just so the album could show the fans what he is made of, but it does not happen. The song just ends or there is no build up to a thrilling conclusion.

Despite the fact that Frusciante is missing on certain singles, the Chili Peppers have once again provided an album that is a good mix of old fashioned rock tunes, along with poppy funk tunes to keep their fans interested. The songs still hold a lyrical focus like no other, as lead singer Anthony Kiedis belts out the lyrics to “The adventures of rain dance Maggie” along with Flea’s never boring bass line.

“The Adventures of Rain dance Maggie” is a good single to release off the album for their first single in almost five years. It is a good funky ballad, but not over the top and flashy like some of their older singles. It may prove to the start of a newer brand of the Red Hot Chili Peppers name. Much like their transition from original guitarist Hillel Slovak into John Frusciante, the band seems like they have taken time to figure out exactly where they want to go.

Frusciante may be the one people know, but for a band that has been through a lot over the years, The Red Hot Chili Peppers remained as focused as ever to bring their fans an album worth listening to. Whether it is the funky opening to the song “Ethiopia” where Kiedis simply just says “E I O I E I A” a few times while breaking into the song, or the slowly building “Brendan’s Death Song” it is good to hear music from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, whether it be with Frusciante or not. Klinghoffer will prove over time that he can be a solid member of the band, already proving on this album that he can play multiple instruments. He not only played the guitar for the album but played key board on a few tracks as well as the six stringed bass.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers may have a few kinks to work out a long the way, but with their dedication and determination, It is pretty much guaranteed that this is not the last we have heard from them.

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Buried Review

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 10 September 2011 11:49 (A review of Buried (2010))

With nothing but a cell phone, a bottle of anxiety pills, a flashlight and a knife, Paul Conroy finds himself trapped in a wooden coffin, with very little recollection of how he got there. He does not understand why, because he was just a truck driver making an honest living. As Paul frantically calls every number he can think of to try and get help, he begins to realize that he may in fact be trapped and he may not make it out alive.

This film is 95 minutes of pure tension. There is nothing but Paul Conroy trapped in a coffin and trying to desperately to escape. When it is said there is nothing more than Paul, it is honest. There is no other setting used in this movie other than that of the coffin. There are no other physical portrayals by actors, just one video appearance and a few voices on the phone. Despite the fact it is based in a small wooden box, Buried is still a really good movie. It is about one man struggling to find out all he can, while slowly coming to terms with the fact that he may die.

Ryan Reynolds is essentially the film. He is the only actor physically in the movie like already mentioned. At the beginning it seemed as though Reynolds was going to provide a boring generic portrayal, but as the tension builds so does his performance. His voice, his anger, his anxiety all becomes so real and life like. Reynolds proves to the audience watching Buried he can do just about anything, he held this film roughly for about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be.

Unfortunately the one downside to sticking within the Coffin is we never fully got to be aware of what exactly happened to Paul, we get a very odd description over the phone, one that does not clearly indentify what went wrong with Pauls convoy. One flashback scene could have done the trick and it would have added a visual component to what happened. Audio relay of what happened does not work extremely well for film purposes.

At the same time, the voice seems to be the one reason Paul is working so hard to stay alive. We hear him talking to a man who helps calm hostages, we see him trying to get a hold of people he loves and cares about. The voices do serve dramatic purposes, especially closer to the end of the movie when he his on the phone with Dan Brenner.

When it comes to the end, there is a bit of a debate, we here over the course of the movie about a man Dan Brenner had saved three weeks earlier named Mark White. When the end rolls around, it is a bit of a dramatic mess. They say they are close to tracking Paul but eventually stumble upon the grave of Mark White. It is never fully explained why trying to track Paul lead them to Marks grave because they were tracking the phone and the numbers Paul had given them. No one number can be tracked to the wrong place. Had they been tracking the number of Pauls phone it could not have lead them that far away from Paul, it may have lead them too a location very close, but not another place entirely. This was the one aspect of the film that is left up to interpretation and when you really think about it, it makes no sense with the rest of the film.

Despite the minor hiccup at the end Buried is still a very enjoyable film, with a surprising performance from Reynolds who seems like an odd choice for a film based solely around one man. Reynolds proved to the audience he can do it, which is why director Rodrigo Cortés wanted him in the first place. This film restores my faith in tense thriller films, while restoring my faith that Ryan Reynolds can hold his own and provide audiences with intense performances.

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JJ Abrams does it again!

Posted : 6 years, 10 months ago on 3 September 2011 04:29 (A review of Super 8)

After a US Airforce cargo train crashes just outside a small town called Lillian, the local inhabitants lead by a group of curious young kids begin to think the Airforce is hiding something about what was actually on the train.

Leading up to the release of JJ Abrams 2008 Monster movie Cloverfield, we were treated as fans to a genius marketing campaign and a brilliant new way of telling a story. Cloverfield went on to be a huge success for Abrams, and then last summer there was another trailer put on the web, same genius marketing strategy. Make a trailer, where all we see is a train derailing and dents being made into one of the train cars while we can clearly read “US Airforce” on the side of it. It was simple, yet affective because it captivated the people watching the trailer. It was quite obvious it would be another film similar and style to Cloverfield, all the while trying to use the faults of Cloverfield to their advantage.

Cloverfields documentary film style, shown from the perspective of a handycam was both the biggest reason it was successful but also made it hard to see a lot of the action from a straight non shaky camera view. With Super 8 we are treated to the delight of a full blown monster flick with great explosions and great camera angles so we get to see closeups of the monster as well as feel the tension throughout the entire crisis more. With Cloverfield you felt only what the four people with the handy cam felt, with Super 8 you got to feel what the entire town folk of Lillian felt.

It also felt as though Super 8 tried to present more of a back-story for the monster, more of a clearly defined back-story during the film. The Cloverfield back-story has had numerous rumours as to what the monster was exactly and what its motives were. With Super 8 the audience was treated to the old camera footage of the scientists working and experimenting on this creature. The suspense was built up when the camera was knocked over and the kids went to get the film developed. It seemed like just when Super 8 was out of things to keep you interested something else happened to bring you right back to being very much interested and aware of what exactly is happening.

All of the actors seemed better in Super 8 then those featured in Cloverfield. Kyle Chandler has gotten critical praise across the board for his performance in Friday Night Lights, and he does good with what he was given here, but he could have been given just a tad bit more dialogue and emotional scenes to showcase his talent on the big screen. The kids in the film lead by Elle Fanning are the best part of the film. Their curiosity as budding young filmmakers is exactly the way any kid would be; with a few things they do being a bit over the top and outrageous but like Charles says in the moving “It adds production value”

Overall it seems to me atleast that Super 8 is a slightly better film then Cloverfield was back in 2008. Super 8 is a good film, well written, amazing special affects and brilliant actors portraying these characters who are curious yet still very much afraid of what the cargo could be.

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