Reviews of this month’s film....
On DVD this month...
A list of DVD releases for this October
In cinema next month...
A list of films set to be released in November
Charlie Derry http://www.charliederry.com email@example.com
Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD Editor of Movie Marker http://moviemarker.co.uk/
Ben Harris @benh4rris http://mrreviewblog.blogspot.co.uk/
We’ve reviewed lots of films for you this month!
Reviews of this monthâ€™s film...
Madagascar 3 DreamWorks’ latest, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, picks up with our favourite animated zoo animals – Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) – as the group continue their adventures from the first two films. After experiencing the African wildlife, the escapees plan to return back to their home town of New York City. Pursued by the fanatical Animal Control officer Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand), the animals are forced to join a travelling circus, staffed by the likes of Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain), and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short), if they are to travel through Europe unnoticed. Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon, Madagascar 3 is the highest-grossing Madagascar film to date, yet for me it wasn’t nearly as good as its predecessors. I’m a big fan of the Madagascar films and, just like the Ice Age franchise, this seems to be a series of films that could go on forever without getting too old. That being said, this third instalment doesn’t quite do it. It’s not that it lost its appeal, nor that it
isn’t funny, it’s not even that it used the same old recycled jokes; Madagascar 3 just didn’t rub me up the right way. Whilst there are some very funny moments throughout and the new additions to the cast make a fresh change, there are also a number of down right ridiculous parts to the plot of Madagascar 3. I know that it’s hard to question a children’s film, with the whole premise of talking animals travelling the world being unbelievable in itself, but it’s another thing to have these characters in highspeed car chases and jumping from sky scrapers. Taking the animals out of their wildlife setting seems to be what ruined this instalment for me, altering the film’s premise slightly and therefore giving it a different effect; it was like having the next Ice Age film time travel to present day and set in the Sahara Desert. With the exception of the circus scenes, which reminded me of the Disney classic Dumbo, it was all a bit too much and just didn’t work in context of the first two films. What I enjoy most about the franchise, however, is that it has a great collection of characters, and this is one thing that remained constant here. With three additional animals,
Madagascar 3 yet again has one of my favourite animated casts, but there was not nearly enough King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) for my liking. His character was what made the first two films hilarious, and without more of his comical lines inserted randomly into the script, this instalment wasn’t as funny as it could have been. As for those behind the animation, Chastain and Cranston were brilliantly additions to the voice cast, and were almost unrecognisable in their parts. Madagascar 3 isn’t a bad film and the younger audience it is aimed for are sure to love it, but I won’t be re-watching this over and over again as I do with the other two Madagascar films. Nonetheless, it was still fairly enjoyable to watch and I will definitely be buying it for my young siblings to see on its home release.
19th October 2012
Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, and Conrad Vernon
Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jessica Chastain, and Bryan Cranston
12th October 2012
Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, and Amy Adams
On The Road Directed by Walter Salles and based on Jack Kerouac’s highly acclaimed 1957 novel of the same name, On The Road tells the largely autobiographical tale of author Kerouac’s spontaneous road trips with his friends across mid-century America in the 1940′s. Not using any real names in the film, Kerouac is named Sal Paradise and is played by Sam Riley, whilst his travelling companions Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg are named Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and Carlo Marx (Tom Sturridge) respectively. The trio encounter a mix of people on their journey, including both of Cassady’s wives, Lu Anne Henderson who is named Marylou (Kristen Stewart) and Carolyn who is named Camille (Kirsten Dunst), as well as Kerouac’s friend William S. Burroughs who is named Old Bull Lee (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Joan Vollmer who is named Jane (Amy Adams). With Kerouac’s novel considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation, the trio’s journeys are full of jazz, sex, drugs, and plenty more sex, as their lives are impacted in very different ways. Yet to read the novel it is based on (It’s on my shelf, I’ll get to it soon!), this was one of my most anticipated films of this year. Whilst it didn’t fully meet my expectations, On The Road excels in a large part because of its stunning cinematography. Set for the most part, as its title suggests, on the road, and with a cast of attractive actors,
beautiful scenery, brilliant periodic reconstructions, and an upbeat jazz soundtrack, the whole feel of the film is fantastic. Too unfamiliar with its original source to comment fully at this point, the adaptation, however, undeniably feels a little empty in places, but it’s an emptiness that was obviously hard to fill in its transition from page to screen, explaining the many reservations people have had about an adaptation working at all. Still, the pace of the film works really well and whilst it’s just over two hours long, it never slows down and is constantly full of spirit. This constant control in Salles’ directing makes it an easy film to engage with, ensuring that it’s an adventure that you can enjoy to go along with as the urge to explore, experience and to find ones self shines above all else. As far as I can comment I found that the casting worked really well too. The lead males have a strong, and very homoerotic, chemistry, and each give strong performances throughout. Again, without reading the novel I don’t know the full details of Kerouac’s mind, but it was easy to see the conflicts going on in Riley’s character – his disapproval of certain behaviours, his feelings towards Marylou, and above all his determination. I also really enjoyed Sturridge’s performance and felt that the role really suited him, but it’s Hedlund who has been getting all the appraisal. As the ‘wild one’ with no consideration of any
consequences, it is Hedlund’s character that we are able to form an opinion about most, and because of this it is Hedlund’s performance that stands out. It’s easy to both love and hate his character, and by the end even pity him, as it is his role that we, as with the other characters in the film, are drawn into. As for Stewart, who I am a fan of anyway, I felt that she really did give something more than the expressionless performance many often criticise her for. Far from being dull, her on-screen time wasn’t much but she was part of a number of interesting scenes (Yes, I mean that one where she went ‘skiing’). She may not always fill her scenes with pizzazz, and I don’t think it was enough to sway people on her acting abilities here, but it was another well-fitting role, as her exploitable naivety complimented the film well. The supporting cast was also very strong, with Dunst, Mortensen, and Adams each bringing something to the film, but it was Steve Buscemi‘s role that I couldn’t place. In a role that any unknown actor could have played, with Buscemi in the role I found his one main scene quite uncomfortable, but then again maybe that was the point. If for nothing else, this film has inspired me to go travelling. The search for freedom still remains an important theme, but whilst I plan my own journey, I’m going to go read the book and then I will make a better review.
The Perks Of Bei Directed by Stephen Chbosky and based on his own novel of the same name, first published in 1999, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a modern-coming of age story that follows shy and unpopular freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman), who is nervous about beginning his first year of high school. Taken under the wings of two seniors, Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), Charlie is welcomed into the real world of friendships, first loves, drugs, and the general awkwardnesses of adolescence, as the people he meets who help him to find out who he really is. But is it only a matter of time before his traumatised past creeps up on him again?
Directed by the author of the novel that the film is adapted from, it was hard for The Perks of Being a Wallflower to go wrong, yet it still exceeded my expectations on so many levels. Chbosky has done his own novel wonders with this film, and it is the fact that he has directed an adaptation of his own work that this film is so success. Iâ€™m yet to read the novel but this adaptation is brilliantly crafted, combining a witty dialogue (with some absolutely brilliant quotes!), emotional relationships, and a likability that shines throughout every moment. Following a modern-day John Hughesâ€™ type high school drama, the film tells the honest
story of a troubled boy and the people he meets who begin to shape his life. Highly relatable, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is emotional, heartfelt, and has a surprising depth to it that will leave most audiences effected in some way. Showing that everybody has had some form of trauma in their past, whether it be small or life changing and whether they wear it on their sleeve or conceal it from all, the film explores a number of modern, adult teenage situations, bringing together issues of friendship, love, and the different ways that people deal with their experiences. There are so many strong points to the story, but the main quality of The Perks of
ing A Wallflower Being a Wallflower adaptation is its three fantastic lead performances. Logan Lerman finally takes a decent lead with a role that is both engaging and moving, enabling the audience to feel something for his every action. It was about time that he had his break out performance and I can’t wait to see where he goes from here. Emma Watson proves that she isn’t a one trick pony and really puts the effort in to show that she is no longer Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series, and that she can actually deliver something much more. She gives a brilliant and incredibly sexy performance as a slightly promiscuous nonwizard teenager, and was a great addition to the film. And
as for Ezra Miller, just wow! Seeing his transition from We Need To Talk About Kevin to this is impressive in its own right, giving such a contrasting performance that it’s no wonder he stole the limelight in many of the scenes. The trio is completely likeable, no – lovable, and have such an incredible chemistry that the three can’t be faulted. Everything just comes together beautifully, and I have definitely found myself a new favourite film in this. Now on to reading the book, which is already waiting on my bookshelf for me to open.
3rd October 2012
Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, and Paul Rudd
With 2006′s Casino Royale, our British institution was stripped back to basics after the credible threat of amnesiac Jason Bourne. Whipping the die hards into mass hysteria, perhaps it was inevitable the franchise would suffer from an emphatic reality check. Marc Forster’s Quantum Of Solace, was indeed this unwelcome addition. Proving muddled and almost undoing the meticulously laid foundations of its predecessor, the pressure is on our beloved 00 to fire back at his detractors and come back all guns blazing. Daniel Craig’s Bond and his 23rd outing, Skyfall was on the hunt for a trusty ally with a Goldeneye or spectacle, whilst amplifying the drama to new heights. Mr. Sam Mendes (American Beauty), we’ve been expecting your finished product.. A traditional globetrotting albeit spectacular beginning in Istanbul confirms what the film’s trailer hinted at.. Bond is ‘taken out’. Under fire from a villainous minion with cover provided by Naomi Harris’ feisty agent Eve, M’s (Judi Dench) frustrated frame prevails as she demands a form of resolution to the ‘mission’. With a hard drive containing confidential information of every NATO undercover agent across the globe now MIA, it becomes the crucial ammunition to launch a personal attack on M’s reputation as well as the thresholds of British intelligence. Soon becoming apparent that the ambiguities of M’s past are about to unravel, Bond takes it upon himself to dabble in a hobby he’s very much made
his own.. ‘resurrection’. With the words of Ralph Fiennes’ Mallory ringing in his ears daring to question whether he’s ‘lost a step’, he goes on the hunt for Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). A somewhat unhinged terrorist with a peculiar barnet and persona, there’s damning evidence to suggest he’s encountered Bond’s ‘boss’ previously.. Skyfall has a sense of occasion, befitting of the character’s 50th anniversary. Director Mendes has impressively paid respect to the Bond philosophy by interweaving fragments of previous entries whilst retaining the grit and edge now instilled and associated with Bond, ultimately giving the film a refreshing feel. Whether it’s unleashing Ben Whishaw’s sharp witted incarnation of Q for a new generation, or the playful banter between characters intersecting the more action packed segments, each are handled with care. The real revelation here, is the convincing injection of personal conflict instead of bombarding the audience with intricate plot twists. Skyfall thrives on it’s character ‘dynamics’, as M wrestles with her own integrity whilst remaining loyal to Bond as she fights off the venom tinged claims of Bardem’s adversary. Bringing out the best of such a high calibre cast, various performances are worth shouting about. Craig delivers his most fractured and nuanced turn as Bond to date, as the plot mischievously taps into new ground. Dench’s performance as M is nothing short of stellar,
whilst Bardem’s Silva is an absolute delight. Making a mockery of Solace’s ’anonymous’ threat, he will rightfully go down as a top bracket villain. Refusing to let the action be nothing more than perfunctory, Mendes isn’t afraid to show some muscle of his own, crafting together thrilling set pieces. The chess like approach to a London Underground chase, the glorious neon light heavy Shanghai silhouette moments resembling a kick ass Martial Arts film or a traditionally explosive shoot-out, they’re often inventive and exhilarating. Bardem’s Silva may claim ‘Mommy was VERY bad’.. but Bond’s latest adventure is anything but. An outstanding and emotionally charged return to form with the occasionally ballsy move, Skyfall is a triumph!
Written by Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD
26th October 2012
Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Naomie Harris
Ruby Sparks Written by the film’s leading actress, Zoe Kazan, who stars alongside her real-life partner Paul Dano, Ruby Sparks follows novelist Calvin (Dano) who, suffering from writer’s block, begins to write about his ideal woman. Fantasy soon turns into reality, however, when one day his fictional character, Ruby (Kazan),
appears in his kitchen, doing whatever Calvin wills her to do in his manuscript. Will it end an a happily ever after? Or will Calvin’s fantasy fall to pieces when it inevitably clashes with reality? As a moral crisis ensues, Calvin must decide whether or not his creations are best kept on the page. From the directors of Little Miss
Sunshine, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, I was hoping Ruby Sparks would leave me just as impressed and as completely charmed as their previous film had done. Instead, I ended up on very neutral grounds about this quirky rom-com. The trouble is that I like the idea of the film a whole lot more than I liked the film. The concept is brilliant, and there are times when it really comes together and makes you laugh; times where it makes you jealous of the leading couples’ relationship and fools you into thinking that things could be perfect when you actually know all along that things never could be. These times of hopefulness really suit the romantic indie feel to the film and in parts it does give you a heart warming sensation and that’s the films most likeable quality, but unfortunately it doesn’t stay that way for long enough. Whilst there are also a couple of funny moments, the need for humour was soon lost too.
My main criticism of the film is that I didn’t enjoy the leading couple. Both Dano and Kazan are great actors and each give brilliant performances, and there’s no denying their easy yet captivating chemistry when the two are a real-life couple. My problem was that I found it hard to like either of their characters. I was hoping this would be the film that made me fall in love with Dano’s acting in some way, but it didn’t do the trick here. In the end I found it hard to engage with the couple because he didn’t fully suit the romantic lead, at least not with the unconventional twist. His role was brilliant in Little Miss Sunshine but I think it worked so well then because of the seriousness of the film and his experiences. Here, it was all a bit too messy and the foundations of any true feelings didn’t feel real enough. Karzan was much the same, with her mood swings making it hard to care about her character by the end. Whilst she is an extremely quirky actress and takes the lead well, I wouldn’t agree with the comparisons to Zooey Deschanel because she lacked the same allure. Not liking the leading duo was where it all went wrong for me, but just when I started to come around I found myself becoming depressed by their relationship rather than swooning over an apparent
undying love for each other. Concentrating on the reality of a relationship turning sour, making it an almost plausible concept but therefore quite downbeat, it wasn’t as happygo-lucky as I had expected. Little Miss Sunshine had its dark moments but they were dealt with in a much better way and were placed within a much more suited context. Whilst the darker moments of Ruby Sparks hold a lot of meaning in them, looking at the nature of control in a relationship, it’s the reason for the lack of interest I felt when it came to an end. With a decent supporting cast including Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas as Calvin’s parents and Chris Messina as his brother, each brilliant in their roles and bringing in some much-needed fun and entertainment in parts, Ruby Sparks is good for a large part, but I wouldn’t class it as a love story. It’s a mostly troubled story about finding a muse, and whilst it is wellwritten and surprisingly more intense than you would expect a rom-com to be, it probably won’t leave you with much of an emotional response. At least it didn’t end with “Hi, I’m Calvin.” / “Hi, I’m Ruby.” *Big grins all around, and roll final credits.* Still, it might as well have.
12th October 2012
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening , Steve Coogan, and Elliott Gould
In the year 2008, an unlikely action man emerged from the wilderness. At the tender age of 60, Liam Neeson proved a revelation and worthy companion to the likes of Stallone and Statham in such a genre, as his hand to hand combat skills were unleashed upon the cinematic masses in kidnap thriller Taken. A surprise hit it may have been considering it’s narrative simplicity and hard hitting action, the world wasn’t crying out for another installment. But you try telling that to the relatives of the original’s deceased. Disregarding Neeson’s impressive CV which includes Jedi master and an expert at dealing with ferocious wolves, it was inevitable they would seek all out revenge. Neeson reprises his role as government agent Bryan Mills. As he attempts to gather his bearings after the previous ordeal involving his beloved daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), he’s more concerned at this point in his life in helping her pass driving tests and remain
civilised towards his ex Lenore (Famke Janssen). However, it soon becomes business as usual for Mills as he’s transported to Istanbul for a top secret assignment. With quality time proving a difficult concept to nail back home, he invites the family along for the trip once settled into his Eastern European surroundings. Unfortunately for Mills, he is oblivious to the traumatic experiences that are about to befall him and his nearest and dearest. Led by Murad (Rade Sherbedgia) with his warped preaching and impressive beard, he along with his cronies attempt to ‘even the score’ by ‘taking’ out Bryan. Cue Liam Neeson doing what he does best.. Saddled with a 12A rating in a blatant move to expand its fanbase, Taken 2 may deliver the bucketload of action sequences the audience anticipates but it proves too watered down compared to its predecessor. Whilst not to declare that gratuitous violence is the be all and end all to
Written by Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD
quality cinema, the editing is so ‘hack and slash’ and frenetic here in its approach that its key ingredient never has any lasting impact. The finger of blame has to be pointed in director Olivier Megaton’s direction. It’s a tough sell to expect us to excuse how implausiable the film progressively becomes. Bryan demanding his daughter Kim hits the ground running, as he plots their exact location through the throwing of grenades across rooftops? It may evoke memories of the Bourne franchise, but here such antics are likely to provoke laughs rather than gasps. The sequel feels more self aware of the premise’s ridiculousness also, as Neeson grapples with the script’s defecencies brimming with tongue in cheek dialogue and scenarios. Neeson is watchable as ever and whilst Taken 2 has its ‘moments’, there’s no escaping the fact that it is an underwhelming imitator of a much loved original which plods along rather than zips.
Release Date: 4th October 2012
Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace
Release Date: 5th October 2012
Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance and James Ransone
S i n i st
Desperate for his next novel to be a hit, Ellison (Ethan Hawke), a true-crime writer, moves into a house, along with his family, where a murder took place some years previously. But he soon discovers a box in the attic, which contains a projector and several disturbing reels of footage. Determined to resolve the crime, and boost his self-esteem, Ellison puts himself and his family in danger of a supernatural force. Combining the efforts of Paranormal and Insidious,
director Scott Derrickson builds Sinister around found footage and conventional direction. For the most part, the two formulate an unsettling atmosphere and generate reasonable tension, and Ellison’s investigation builds up a decent amount of interest. However, asides from the odd “jumpy” moments, Sinister only comes close to being scary through it’s visuals. Deformed figures and ghostly children are paraded around in the second half, and although the make-
st e r up is undoubtedly creepy, the intensity fizzles out once they appear. Also, it doesnâ€™t help that the majority of scares were shown in the trailer. Once Sinister sneaks towards its conclusion, the narrative turns predictable and drab. The outcome is more of an annoyance than a shock and is rather dull considering the build up. Captivating and subtle in his approach, Ethan Hawke is an impressive lead, even though the selfishness of his character
affects the people most close to him. Unfortunately, the supporting cast are rather forgettable, with Juliet Rylance being an unconvincing wife and the rest of the characters not getting much screen time. Sinister may be well directed; especially the found footage segments, and has some genuine chills but it doesnâ€™t have enough originality to make its mark on the genre.
Written by Ben Harris @benh4rris
Parano Acti 4 Itâ€™s been five years since Paranormal Activity made its mark on the horror genre, leading the way for an abundant amount of found footage films to bombarded our screen. After a satisfying third instalment, directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman take it upon themselves to once again create ghostly goings-on. Taking place five years after the second outing, Paranormal 4 focuses on a new protagonist, teenager Alex (Kathryn Newton), and her family. After their mysterious neighbour, a young mother, is taken to hospital for a few days, they offer to look after her youngster. However, once the child moves in strange happenings occur. After a stale second entry in the franchise, filmmakers upped their game in the creative department when it came to its follow up. The camerawork was more inventive, the tension was sharpened and, of course, stupidity came in small doses. It also moved the mythology
Written by @ben
ormal ivity 4 along but left some unanswered questions. Does Paranormal 4 finally offer up a solution as to why this evil presence is one big pain in the arse? No. Unfortunately, we are left with a lazy fourth entry. Door slamming, chandeliers shaking and floor dragging have become tiresome gimmicks, lacking the suspense that enhanced the scares in the previous instalments. For the most part, computers and phones are used to capture the unusual events but the handling of the camerawork leads to foreseen jump scares and, asides from the creative use of technology (Xbox), nothing new is introduced. Itâ€™s a shame, considering you have two new likeable leads and an interesting premise to develop and work upon. Paranormal 4 is just a tedious rehash, with an infuriating ending, which shows the Paranormal team have no guts in wrapping things up once and for all.
17th October 2012
Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman
Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton and Matt Shively
Ben Harris nh4rris
On DVD this month...
October DVD Releases: Prometheus Date: 8th October A pair of archaeologists discover a star map to the origins of mankind on Earth. Boarded on a ship called Prometheus, a team of explorers are lead a journey to the darkest corners of the universe.
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter Date: 22nd October
What To Expect When Youâ€™re Expecting Date: 22nd October
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.
A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby.
Rock of Ages Date: 8th October A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip, while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.
The Cabin in the Woods Date: 15th October Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin in the woods, where they get more than they bargained for. Together, they must discover the truth behind the cabin in the woods.
Dark Shadows Date: 15th October An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.
In cinemas next month...
November’s Cinema: The Master Date: 2nd November Set in America in the years following World War II, when a charismatic intellectual (Philip Seymour) launches a faithbased organization and taps a young drifter (Joaquin Phoenix) as his right-hand man.
Argo Date: 7th November
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 Date: 16th November
Based around the true events of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, Affleck and his extradition team pose as a film crew shooting a sci-fi film in order to gain access to the hostages and rescue them.
The final instalment in a series of adaptations based on Stephenie Meyer’s novels, the Cullens must gather other vampire clans in order to protect their child from the Volturi.
Great Expectations Date: 30th November Based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel, a young orphan named Pip is given a chance to rise from his humble beginnings thanks to a mysterious benefactor.
Rust and Bone Date: 2nd November
Silver Linings Playbook Date: 21st November
Starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts as two strangers who fall in love when tragic circumstances bring them together
A man who has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife – finds himself living back with his mother and father after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain.