The current situation with COVID-19 has left the world in lockdown, with venues closed and tours cancelled or postponed, a lot of artists have been forced to find new and innovative ways to stay connected wth their fans, such as live streaming performances from their home, going back through the archives and releasing footage of previous shows, or hosting Q&A’s and listening parties. Like many, I’ve had the extra time on my hands to watch a lot of these performances, and found it interesting to see the various ways in which bands and artists are approaching these difficult times.
David Fincher directs one of the most intense and absorbing thrillers to hit the big screens this year, with his wonderful adaptation of the best selling novel by Gillian Flynn. This film is pure jaw-dropping, edge of your seat stuff, and fans of the novel will not be left disappointed.
Finally got around to watching this Oscar nominated film and I was not disappointed. Funny, quirky and extremely well put together it is one of the best films I have watched this year. The film revolves around teacher Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), who has just been released from a mental institution and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with her own issues whom Pat meets at a dinner party. The two are en-circled in a strange and wonderful love story, but the issues that the both of them behold act as barriers, Pat still loves his ex-wife and Jennifer is still in a mourning period after the death of her husband. They find solace and a way to break down the boundaries in gymnastics, with Jennifer having a competition coming up that they can work towards. The film climax’s with the competition and with Pats ex-wife in attendance he has a chance to show that he is fully rehabilitated, a chance for redemption and forgiveness, but has he already fallen in love with Jennifer? A decision has to be made. Jennifer Lawrence was absolutely outstanding in her role fully deserving the Oscar that she won for ‘Best Female Actor’ with Bradley Cooper playing an equally impressive and key part, with myself feeling that he deserved a lot more recognition. A beautiful film that I would recommend watching.
First published: April 14, 2013
First and foremost do not be put off by the three hour running time as the narrative is so complex, in-depth and encapsulating they really do whizz by, and In-fact I even left the cinema wanting more. If you want the most out of this film you really have to fully concentrate on it as it can get quite complicated and the different characters stories can get blurred. The film spans several generations in a six way narrative, showing how everything is connected in some way or another. We follow a rebellious clone in futuristic Korea, a tribe in post-apocalyptic Hawaii, a publisher in a nursing home, a journalist, a composer and a voyager travelling across the Pacific, all seemingly completely random, but connected in clever and intriguing ways. All of the actors in the film play there different roles superbly, with Tom Hanks, Ben Whishaw and Doona Bae likely to take most of the plaudits, which will be much deserved. This film will be probably go down in history as one that some people got and one some people didn’t. As I left the cinema with my friends one of them said that it had gone completely over his head and he thought it was a load of nonsense, the other said he thought it was ok, this left me frustratingly trying to explain the story to them before giving up. I myself thought it was absolute genius and extremely compelling with it up there with one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
First published: March 27, 2013
*Warning some spoiler alerts if you haven’t watched them before…
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas is actually an adaptation from a book called ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream’. It is an autobiographical story that follows its main protagonist, a journalist called ‘Raoul Duke’ and his attorney ‘Dr Gonzo’ as they descend to Las Vegas to chase the American dream, through a drug induced haze. The film lacks a clear narrative and frequently delves into the surreal, never quite distinguishing between what is real and what is only imagined by the characters. The purpose of there visit to Las Vegas was to attend a ‘mint 400 motorcycle race’ because Duke has been assigned by a magazine to write an article on it. However, they soon become sidetracked and use the trip as a chance to purchase a large amount of drugs and rent a Cadillac convertible on a wacky road-trip. This leads to a series of bizarre hallucinogenic trips, during which they destroy hotel rooms, wreck cars and have weird psychedelic illusions.
I found this film extremely interesting to watch and critically analyse with there being a lot more to it than the seemingly basic narrative. The film stars Brad Pitt who plays ‘Jackie Cogan’, an enforcer who has been hired to restore order after a mob protected card game has been robbed. This causes the collapse of the mobsters economy, as it is not the first time the game has been hit, with many members pointing the finger at Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), a fellow member. It turns out that three local petty criminals undertook the robbery as a way of fixing their own economic woes and Brad Pitt goes about trying to settle the matter and deal with them. The undercurrent to the main storyline is the collapse of the American economy as a whole, showing clips of presidential speeches and radio snippets with the film reflecting the downturn of the American society, as the economy falls people become desperate for money and are willing to go to drastic measures for a quick way to become rich. The films shows the juxtaposition between what president Obama is saying and what the reality is through the characters stories, with them referencing and explaining this. Set in an unspecified poor Boston neighbourhood, where dreams and hopes are all but gone, the cinematography is very good with the actors being equally, if not, better playing there roles superbly. It is an intriguing film and if you scratch beneath the surface it can leave you with a lasting impression, something I feel all good films should do. A very good watch.
First published: March 15, 2013
Finally got round to watching this last night and despite having extremely high expectations I was pretty impressed. The film is really well shot and visually looks very clean and pristine with superb acting coinciding with this. Ben Affleck directs and acts brilliantly playing the role of Tony Mendez, an exfiltration expert who has the job of rescuing six Americans from the volatile revolutionary Iran. They have managed to escape after the embassy was attacked and ram-sacked by revolutionaries, holding out in the Canadian embassy. It won’t be too long before the Iranians discover that six Americans are still out there though and the CIA needs to act swiftly and carefully with Tony Mendez devising a cunning and daring plan to get them out. The film is a gripping tale and is based on a true story, which will leave you on the edge of your seat. Ben Affleck builds up the tension extremely well and if you haven’t seen it yet I would strongly recommend it. Despite all the superlatives that I have used to describe the film I don’t think it deserved best picture at the Oscars. It was a good film, yes, but I feel that it will go down in history as an Oscar winner that just ticked all the right boxes and that no-one disliked. Still very much worth a watch though.
First published: March 2, 2013
I found this film extremely intriguing, but without really keeping my full attention throughout. That does sound slightly like I’ve contradicted myself, but what I mean is that the ideas that the film presents are actually more powerful that the film itself, which I feel loses itself in a complex spider web narrative. The idea of a young writer travelling across America in a free spirited way meeting new people and doing crazy things is something that I found appealing and amusing to watch. Despite this the film just ends up circling around through events that happen and you end up wondering and losing what the point of the journey is. The last half an hour or so gives the story a bit of meaning and purpose, but it would have been more effective, personally, if that had been a running commentary. The film reminds me of the ‘Big Leboewski’ and ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ in the way it subtly makes stabs at ‘consumerism America’ in a crazy non-linear narrative, although the film is no way near as controversial and good as them. If you’re looking for something a bit different on a boring night then give it a watch, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again.
First published: March 1, 2013
Well, its official, Bond is back and better than ever before. After recent flop ‘Quantum Of Solace’ many, myself included, felt like the Bond franchise was slowly dwindling out to an end, but in true Bond fashion the iconic character returns with a vengeance. A lot of credit has to be given to the director Sam Mendes who manages to en-capture everything that we love about the Bond movies whilst keeping to the expectations of a 21st century action thriller. Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond, is proving to be the perfect front man performing exquisitively with equally impressive performances from Judi Dench (M) and Javier Bardem (Silva), the latter being the sinister revengeful baddy. The film centres around a failed assignment by Bond where a hard drive containing a list of secret agent operatives is stolen and MI6 becomes exposed. MI6 is now compromised with the threats not only coming from the terrorists themselves, but the media as well. It’s now up to Bond and his accomplice Eve (Naomi Harris) to discover who is behind the attacks, leading them to the mysterious Silva, whose hidden motives and powerful demeanour causes terrifying consequences, vowing to stop at nothing until his debt has been repaid in blood. The film had much hype around it before its release and it well and truly lives up to this, proving to many to be one of the, if not, the best Bond film ever made.
First published: February 22, 2013