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Thursday, 30 May 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: "Broken" 2012

Rufus Norris’ film: “Broken” (2012) is a wonderful film. This movie is set in a small cul-de-sac in England. Living in this quiet neighbourhood is 12 year old Skunk (marvellously brought to life by acting newcomer: Eloise Laurence) through whose eyes we witness the gradual decay of this little community after a young man: Rick Buckley (played by Robert Emms) is violently assaulted by a neighbour: Robert Oswald (Rory Kinnear). “Broken” was based, to a point, on Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”; having said this, the film did not follow the book to the point of the court case, and I’m quite glad about that because this film would not have been as passionate or powerful as it is, were it a courtroom drama. The film is told in a way that really compliments the somewhat taboo nature of the story.

When I went to see this movie, I had no real idea what it would be like. I knew very little about it seeing as it was not a huge filmic event, however I came out of the cinema completely bedazzled and amazed by not only the amount of care that was obviously put into every technical and story-wise aspect of the movie, but by the quality of the acting, especially by these young children with probably very little prior acting and performance skills. The story choked me up multiple times throughout. This film is an absolute gem in every notable aspect.

“Broken” has superseded every expectation (of the limited ones) I had. This is just about one of the best films that I have seen in a very long time. Although not all aspects of the film will be relatable to everybody, thematically, everyone should find something to enjoy about this movie whether it be paternal relationships, bigotry in society or communal function. This lovely film is about as wonderful a film as I have seen.

Rating: 10/10

Friday, 10 May 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: "Marnie" 1964

Alfred Hitchcock made “Marnie” in 1964, just after “Psycho” (1960) and “The Birds (1963). This film was more of a return to some of his earlier working approaches, being somewhat stylistically similar to “Rear Window” (1954) (it included the patented “Rear Window zoom”) and “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956) in its visual approach. The movie’s story is as follows: Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren) is a compulsive thief and liar, she is conned into marrying Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), even though she is repulsed by the mere thought of men. This results in a series of events which leads to the uncovering of her mysterious, clouded past.

While watching “Marnie”, I felt something was amiss, the acting was fine, the direction was of Hitchcock’s brilliant standard and all of the technicalities were in order. After the film I realised that for the longest time in the middle of the film, the story didn’t really move, didn’t really go anywhere. This pacing problem did bring down the film a bit (though not enough to make it a really bad film). The film was about 130 minutes long, this could have been cut down to 70-90 minutes easily. This film was supposedly going to be a dialogue orientated movie; however the dialogue did lag at times in Marnie. All in all not a terrible film, but not up to the standard that Hitchcock set for himself in most of his movies.

Rating: 6.5/10

Marnie (1964) Poster

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: "Escape From New York" 1981

John Carpenter’s 1981 film “Escape From New York” was one of the director’s early feature films. The futuristic story sees Snake Plissken (Kurt Russel), a dangerous criminal who is sentenced to be captivated in the now sealed off maximum security prison of the former state of Manhattan. As he is being prepared for arrival, he is conned by police commissioner: Hauk (Lee Van Cleef) into saving the President who had become trapped within the perimeter walls on his way to a summit meeting.

The movie, in my humble opinion, is ordinary at best. Though the visuals and concepts were nothing short of stunning, none of the characters really developed terribly much, nor did they really show much personality at all. I also feel as though most of the characters were heavily under-utilised, especially the madcap, somewhat joker-esque Romero (Frank Doubleday) who, I felt, showed a lot of promise as a villain. The final thing that I found somewhat annoying was that The Duke (Isaac Hayes) was not as evil and merciless as his reputation would lead one to believe; he was just a powerful man in prison who was no meaner than any other hardened criminal. I did, however enjoy seeing the colourful and vibrant world that Carpenter had dreamed up and executed with skill and precision.

Rating: 6/10

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: Jacob's Ladder (1990)

Adrian Lyne’s innovative 1990 horror classic “Jacob’s Ladder” really gets under my skin more than any film I’ve seen since the original Japanese “Ringu”. “Jacob’s Ladder” trails Jacob Singer, a veteran of the Vietnam War, who after an odd incident among his platoon is sent home. The film jumps in time between his experiences in ‘Nam and his current life, in which he finds himself being chased and tormented by hellish, demonic creatures intent on murdering Jacob. Soon he is contacted by an old friend, who was in the same squadron as Jacob, and confides in Jacob to seeing similar horrific images and dies soon afterwards; after consulting several other friends from his army division who have all been seeing the same thing, Jacob becomes intent on finding the reason for this.

This film, though, through my description may sound pretty standard fare for a horror movie, is anything but standard. It is truly a very creepy and bizarre film. Jacob’s ladder is truly an unnerving film that is quite unlike anything else I have seen before. The movie was the first to use the patented horror technique of speeding up blurred images to create a scary supernatural effect. For the fact that this film managed to successfully freak me out while managing to fascinate me, I would recommend this movie to most any serious horror fan. If there was anything that bothered me about the film, it would be that it peaked too quickly and lost some level of intensity through that, however this is easily overlookable through the fact that it is an otherwise extraordinary and completely uncanny picture.

Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: "It's a Wonderful Life" 1946

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is Frank Capra’s 1946 immortal pantheon classic. The film focuses on George Bailey (played here wonderfully by James Stewart) who, through a series of events, has decided to kill himself by jumping off a bridge on Christmas Eve, however through the prayers of his friends and family he is visited by his guardian angel: Clarence (portrayed by Henry Travers) who shows George what life would be like for the people in his little town of Bedford Falls if he had never been born.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a lovely, lovely film that has truly earnt its title as one of the greatest of all time. This was the first film to make me cry since I was 5 years old. I am not the biggest person on soppy or sentimental movies for the majority of the time, but this film is just such a beautiful piece of work, it was just impossible for me to dislike it. The only criticism I make regarding this film (and it’s a very small one) is that Mary (played by Donna Reed) was put in the position of a weak female stereotype very much reflective chauvinist of attitudes toward females that were very much dominant at the time that this film was made.

Rating: 9/10

Friday, 15 March 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: The Silence of the Lambs, 1991

Jonathan Demme’s 1991 thriller classic: “The Silence of the Lambs” has undoubtedly earnt its title as a one of the greatest, most suspenseful movies made in (relatively) recent years. The film trails CIA trainee: Agent Clarice Starling who is required to match wits with the equally insane yet brilliant Dr Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins) to assist in the persecution of serial killer: Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb (Ted Levine) who was based on true life murderer: Ed Gein.

“The Silence of the Lambs” is a perfect mix of general technical filmic excellence, a genuinely gripping and disturbing tale and a completely intense mesmerising and feel about it. I was absolutely captured by the elements of philosophy (what is sanity and how is it measurable), dark thematic tones and the general all round brilliance that seems to have surrounded this picture. If there were one small gripe I had with this film, it’s that some elements could have been further extended upon; just to have an extra quarter of an hour added on to make more of the background story of agent Sterling or Dr Lecter. (although they revealed very little about Buffalo Bill’s past, his character was best left mysterious and menacing) also, have a lookout in this film for a brief cameo by George A. Romero.

Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Film According to Mr Cinema review: Terror Toons, 2002

“Terror Toons” is Joe Castro’s 2002 straight-to-video horror/comedy b-movie gorefest. In the film, Cindy (Beverly Lynn) receives a DVD sent by Satan himself in the mail while her parents are away for the weekend; she proceeds to watch it, to find that the two homicidal cartoon characters that are on the DVD transport from their television realm into the human realm to wreak surprisingly nasty, bloody havoc. Meanwhile Cindy’s older sister, Candy (Lizzy Borden) is having a house party downstairs with her friends, will she manage to save the day, or will the toons conquer the world.

I saw this film about a month back on YouTube, and knew that I was in for a chortle or two after the first 4 minutes. “Terror Toons” is a very entertaining little schlock-horror movie. If you drop all pretence towards any pretence towards watching an artistically great film at the door, you are more than likely to have a good time watching this film. I certainly enjoyed this film, just because it was a fun little movie with laugh worthy acting, shitty directing and actually, half decent special effects (considering the ultra-low budget). If you want a film that delivers funny one liners, amusing concepts and downright laugh out loud dialogue, you can do worse than “Terror Toons”.

Rating: 7/10