USA. 2012. Directed by Rian Johnson. Story by Rian Johnson. Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis & Emily Blunt
Looper is the type of film that leaves you questioning everything you know about time travel! The science fiction thrill and thought behind it is evident as the movie progresses. The basic story is about a man named Joe who is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the young Joe and Bruce Willis as the older Joe who are future contract killers called ‘Loopers’.
In the year 2074 civilization have created time travel however it is highly illegal to use. It can only be accessed by the biggest criminal mafia organisations in the world. In this future they can no longer simply kill a person & hide their bodies due to personal tracking devices. So instead they send the victims back 30 years and a looper’s job is to kill them and dispose of their body. Making them simply another blip in the missing persons lists. But when young Joe comes face to face with his older self who was sent back to get killed. He hesitates only for a minute and that’s when the plot takes off.Young Joe is determined to go through with killing his older counterpart something which their industry called ‘closing the loop’. They get paid a hefty amount and live their life in luxury for the next 30 years. But the plot thickens when older Joe manages to escape. Only to contact his younger self again to explain his current situation, unsure whether young Joe will choose to help him or continue with his determination to ‘close his loop’.
The storyline was quite confusing to digest and the plot did have many holes, but the movie does a decent job of explaining itself. To be frank, no time travel movie ever makes 100% sense, especially when the characters start crossing paths with themselves. You’ll always question ‘shouldn’t he have remembered what he did and saw everything coming?’ But generally if you come into the film with an open mind and are willing to let go of some of the flaws, it will definitely entertain you and leave you riveting.
The story had emotion, action and sentimental value. We laughed, we cried and we were hooked as it became more and more intense as the hunter became the hunted. The underlining message is profound and it will leave you thinking about it well after you’ve left the cinemas. It’s hard to walk away from Looper and say it’s just another typical pointless action film. And that in my opinion; is enough to pass as a good quality film. Lastly the acting from all three of the main casts were outstanding. This movie proves the legendary Bruce Willis still has it in him. I give this movie a 3.5/5!
Also have to say, I didn't think they could pull off Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young Bruce Willis. But the make up was pretty darn good. I can definitely see essence of Bruce's hay days in Joseph's made up face
I just read a really interesting article on 'Health and Wellbeing'. I know you shouldn't always believe what you read, but this is so appealing I'm going to choose to believe it. According to some research done at the University of Westminster, apparently watching horror films burns calories!
'The Shinning' starring Jack Nicholson pictured on the left burns an average of 770KJ per view!! That's equivalent to me doing a 1 hour combat training class at Fitness First! I knew movies were good for my health. All those times you told me to go to bed and stop watching TV mum and dad, I could've been losing weight. That explains why I'm a chubs now haha.
If that's true, I'm on the right track with my horror film list endevour. Just need to dig up those really freaky ones, watch a film every night and I'll be a skinny mini by the end of the year.
I wish life was always as simple as this. Read the article for more details on the research & lists of other horror films and their calorie burning capacity. So you can start stocking up this summer :P. It's quite interesting, yet funny at the same time.
Spain, UK & Bulgaria. 2006. Directed by Nacho Cerda. Written by Karim Hussain. Starring: Anastasia Hille, Karel Roden & Valentin Goshev
Second horror film ticked off my list. 'The Abandoned' started out with so much potential. But usually films that build up that much tension & mystery always tend to disappoint because no revelation is going to satisfy you at that point. So if they do succeed, it'll blow your mind! or flop really badly. And in the case of 'The Abandoned' it disappointed indeed.
The first 5 minutes of the film was gripping, it captured my attention immediately. The film had a really great build up. There were lots of twists and turns & the tension continued to build up.Then it got to the point which became too confusing & so many questions where left unexplained. Leaving me feeling frustrated & annoyed.
There were a few creepy scenes, but the good scenes were very brief followed by some badly made-up doppelgangers that followed the protagonists around. It grew tiresome to watch the same 2 people running around screaming with no resolution. They finally delivered the big reveal, which only left me thinking... what a stupid plot!!
USA & UK. 2007. Directed by Gregory Jacobs. Written by Joe Gangemi, Steven Katz. Starring: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes
Rating: ★ ★
I've seen the first movie from my horror list. Wind Chill! The other films are mostly foreign and are proving to be quite difficult to find. Either that or I found them without subtitles, which didn't help at all.
Unfortunately Wind Chill was a little too disappointing. There was a massive build up without much explanation. Which made me bored more than scared. There were so many holes in the story it was frustrating to watch. (e.g. what happened to the snow blow driver?!?!) And the ending was even more frustrating no resolutions, no explanations & no twists! It was a pointless film!
The ghosts weren't mysterious at all! It was meant to scare the viewers by making them think they were regular people trudging around. Then boom! they turn around and they've got crap plastered on their face. As you can see in the below picture. But that failed miserably, because the mysterious element is now out. & because you thought they were just people, the scare factor is also out.
There were plenty of great mystery build up & uncomfortable scenes throughout the film. But the scenes didn't lead to anything or add anything to the plot. Which made the film even more of a frustrating disappointment. Overall the film was a fail but Emily Blunt was cute, that's it.
One of my favourite things to do is to stay in on a gloomy night, turn out all the lights & put in a gripping horror/thriller. I'm not talking about those cheap gores or scare tactic films. I mean a real bone chilling, dramatic thriller with actual character development & intense yet intriguing story lines. The type of films that start to make you paranoid & fear of going to the toilet. Those twisted films that make your skin prickle & your chest heave.
The problem these days is the lack of a real build up in ambiance and mood in this genre of film. Horror films always seem to revert to disgusting blood, guts and gore, which tend to leave me feeling sick rather than scared. Or cheap scare tactics with extremely long build ups that by the time the monster/gremlin/ghost/ghoul jump out at you. Your bored and saw it coming about 10minutes ago. Especially if they're American horror films.
Not that I'm being discriminating against Hollywood (because I do enjoy my fair share of Hollywood blockbusters). But I have to say in this case, the foreigners have got it right when it comes to building up the scary atmosphere. It just seems Hollywood always cheapen the thrill of being scared out of your wits or having that lingering creepiness that makes you look over your shoulders (even when your sitting against the wall on your couch). Clear examples are Hollywood remakes like 'The Eye', 'The Ring' or 'Shutter' which already have the basics laid out for them. Yet they always come up short or lacking, can't quite pinpoint the reason.
I've seen all the famous horror hits. The last amazing horror story that I watched was 'The Woman in The Black Dress' Loh and behold, it's a British film. So I went on a hunt to find some more great horror films that aren't as widely promoted. I've composed a wish list of horror films below that I'll endeavour to finish by Christmas. That's a lot of freaked out nights & 5 second dashes to the loo, but stay tuned for my experience on these films!
Please let me know what you think of the films on my list. Any reviews, grievances advice would me much appreciated.
Ever noticed how the box office always seems to release films in two? Confusing cinema goers making them rack their brains trying to decide on a film!
Here are a few examples to prove my point: - Killers vs. Knight & Day (2010) - Dante’s Peak vs. Volcano (1997) - The Prestige vs. the Illusionist (2006) - A Bugs Life vs. Antz (1998) - Deep Impact vs. Armageddon (1998)
Coincidence? I think not! But from looking at those titles, there’s always one that’s better quality than the other. And if you’re trying to decide which one is worth your time. Let me help you make that decision.
Both films are typical and predictable, definitely something for the ladies. Both portray a modern female character who are empowering and career focused & don’t want a serious relationship. But we can all guess what happens at the end, women hormones and emotions take over.
But if we’re going to compare the pair, ‘No Strings attached’ takes the cake hands down. The film's script takes on a much wittier approach and gave me a few chuckles and giggles. At the same time there were scenes that got me a little choked up. It was a good mix of comedy and romance like the genre suggests.
Not to mention Kutcher and Portman who were portraying these typical characters, seem to have more chemistry and didn’t make my skin crawl. Even the older wiser character in both films, played by Kline (Adam’s Father) had more of a distict characteristic and was flawed and funny as oppose to the ‘Friends with Benefits’ counterpart played by Clarkson (Jamie’s mother) who’s character failed to even resonate in my memory.
‘Friends with Benefits’ is a Justin Timberlake fans only film. Mila and Justin made a good effort, but if you’re looking for a film with a typical plot that would make you laugh and cry. You’d be better off checking out Reitman’s ‘No Strings Attached’ attempt.
Even though the 'No Strings attached' tagline appears to be directly ripping off 'Friends with Benefits'. How I see it is, if you’re going to do something that’s been overdone and clichéd. Then do it well. And ‘No Strings Attached’ did just that.
**Spoiler Alert** My favourite scenes: ‘No Strings Attached’: Portman’s drunken jealous rage ‘Friends with Benefits’: Timberlake’s old school rapping (about the only part in the film that brought a smile to my face, only because I am a fan of his music)
New Zealand. 2010. Directed by Taika Waititi. Screenplay by Taika Waititi. Story by Taika Waititi. Starring: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu
Boy is a simple but emotionally powerful story about growing up, relationships, following your head over your heart and drawing the line between right and wrong. It's easily one of the best New Zealand films ever made. It's Rich characters and humorous dialogue, entailed by the occasional light-hearted hand drawn animations delivered a hugely entertaining blend of culture, comedy and drama.
The story started on a perfect note with Boy played by James Rolleston giving his show and tell speech in the classroom. It introduced the character, his background and set the atmosphere, mood and setting all in one go without being a dull lead up. Taika Waititi (who also plays the dead beat father) did an amazing job in setting out each detailed scene with the occasional Michael Jackson tributes giving the film an even disperse of light laughter at the same time appropriately moving the plot along.
The film gave a heart aching recount on every boy's natural instinct to worship their father, whether they deserve it or not. The growth and resilience of each character portrayed superbly by every single actor from the child stars to the minor adult characters was a pleasure to watch. It still brings a smile to my face today. Pure brilliance...
Australia. 2010. Directed by David Michôd. Screenplay by David Michôd. Story by David Michôd. Starring: Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Ben Mendelsohn, James Frencheville, Jacki Weaver Rating: ★★★★½
Animal Kingdom is a riveting insight into a 1980’s Australian crime family. The film trails a teenage boy named Joshua ‘J’ Cody (Frencheville). Due to unfortunate family circumstances J moves in with his grandmother and mentally unhinged uncles.
New comer James Frencheville portrays the slow & vulnerable teenager, flawlessly. His pensive dopey expressions are approriate enough to gain sympathy without rendering him useless. Jacki Weaver’s performance as the grandmother is also absolutely amazing. Her sweet, doting, polite characteristics can also be seen as eerily threatening as the plot progresses.
The film’s intensity does not waver from start to finish and is definitely not for light hearted entertainment. Animal Kingdom is a perfect depiction of the different rapacious instincts & cunning decisions brought out in each person for their own survival.
**Spoiler Alert** The one scene I can’t seem to shake, is when J is on the run from his uncle and attempts to get his girlfriend’s family out of their house. To avoid alarming them for their own safety, he simply asks for a lift to the shops. As the family bustles around to leave, the urgency in J’s eyes enclosed by his calm demeanour was insanely nerve racking. I was so intensely enveloped in the scene I began chewing on my hair without even realising it. Not many films have ever caused me to chew on anything other than popcorn. Two thumbs up!
USA. 2010. Directed by Michael Patrick King. Screenplay by Michael Patrick King, Candace Bushnell, Darren Star Story by Michael Patrick King. Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon Rating: ★½
The charm of the original 'Sex and the City' series is that women can relate to each of the awkward, ditsy, clumsy, sex crazed working gal. SATC2 bombed! It took all the charm away and presented a bunch of over-the-hill photoshopped New Yorkers on a glamorous all expense paid holiday. I didn't sign up for this shit! It was detached from reality and completely over the top. The girls are all well groomed in their perfect little lives, with their perfect apartments, loving husbands and massive wardrobes. Yet, still find pointless shit to complain about! Now they're just being spoilt difficult rich bitches. It makes me cringe.
**Spoiler Alert** The first scene already started on the wrong foot, with cheap gimmicks used in an exaggerated gay wedding with an ice palace, swans, choir singers and Liza Minnelli. Who looked like she was about to drop dead after her 'single ladies' performance *cringe again*. Followed by eye-rolling, gag worthy and head shaking scenes one after the other. No interesting controversial topics were brought up. No clever cute humour. All in all, a lame over the top exaggeration about nothing.
Usually I end it with my favourite stupid scene but the whole movie was so ridiculous, I say the worst part was going to the movies to see it in the first place. Short and sweet.
USA. 2010. Directed by Mike Newell. Screenplay by Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro, Carlo Bernard. Story by Jordan Mechner. Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley
To bring out yet another film based on a video game (and with the quality of past video game films like Tomb Raider, Doom, etc) immediately heightened my critical scepticism. But as soon as the first scene leapt on screen, I was pleasantly entertained from start to end. Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney already accomplished a similar feat when they brought Pirates of the Caribbean to the big screen, a movie based on a theme park ride and reigniting the spark in a overly common dwindling genre.
There was really nothing I could criticise too harshly about the film. Some of the scenic choices seen in Prince of Persia were nothing short of breathtaking. The storyline and character development were just enough of an explanation to move the plot along without taking away from the action. No useless characters or WTF dialogue. The theme explores the idea of strong family values, which is a unique take on Hollywood’s usual action packed box office films. It took all the best parts of the original game bringing back the childhood nostalgia but finely tuned the good old Prince of Persia experience. The protagonist prince Dastan (Gyllenhaal) was introduced to the audience as loveable character, immediately intriguing us to follow this underdog’s story. Gyllenhaal who really bulked up for the roll showed off his impressive athleticism and fancy footwork which gave the action scenes a distinct look and feel; and frankly less boring to watch.
**Spoiler Alert** Of course there were annoying little flaws here and there throughout the film that could have been addressed better. Like the occasional awkward romantic moments between Dastan & Princess Tamina (Atertan) or the underuse of the Dagger in critical moments. And worse of all the typical Disney airy fairy happy ending which is as bad as ‘I woke up and it was all a dream’ (an amazing dream at that). But overall entertaining and amusing for what it was, great cinematography, likable characters portrayed by decent actors and an original plot and theme delivered through substantial script and storytelling.
There was no distinctly stupid or funny scene that I can recall, but I did love the 360degree rotation of Dastan standing on the roof’s edge during battle. Which reminded me a lot of the Assassin’s Creed video game and for an instant I thought he’d jump off and land in a shallow hay barrel (often used in the game). But instead he tied a rope to his ankle and managed to jump into the level below in one swift impossible manoeuvre, that gave me a little chuckle.
Looking forward to the next Jerry Bruckheimer & Disney collaboration - The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.