In Retrospect - Issue 3

Page 1

Content: 3-23: 4-5: 6-7: 8-9: 10-11: 12-13: 14-15:

Reviews of this months film...

Retreat Contagion The Three Musketeers Midnight In Paris Johnny English Reborn Everything Must Go

16-17: On DVD this month... 17:

A list of DVDs releases this October

18-19: What’s on next month? 19:

A list of films to be released in November

Creators: Journalist and Editor: Charlie Derry: Designer and Art Director: Mikie Daniel:

Creators Notes: Hello, and thank you for reading Issue 3 of our little publication, In Retrospect. I’m sad to say that we started a new year at university this month, so it has been a very busy few weeks for us. This means that we have missed out on some great films for October, including The Adventures of Tintin and The Ides of March. We may put them in next’s months issue, but we will just have to wait and see. Enjoy.


Reviews of this months films...



This month sees the release of two very different takes on the widespread of a killer virus. The first with Retreat, a psychological British thriller directed by Carl Tibbetts, and the second with an American thriller, Contagion, which you can read my review for on the next page. Retreat was released in the UK earlier this month, following couple Martin (Cillian Murphy) and Kate (Thandie Newton) who take a break to an isolated island in an attempt to fix the troubles of their marriage. When they rescue a washed-up man, Jack (Jamie Bell), and bring him into their home, the last thing they expected to hear about was the threat of a killer virus heading towards the island. Unable to leave their house and with nobody on the island to help them, they begin to think this violent stranger has been


lying. When their situation reaches ultimate intensity, they have a decision to make – to believe the only company they have, even if he has a gun to their heads, or to make a run for it. But nothing could have prepared them for them for the ultimate and

“It is only in the last half an hour that you are unable to take your eyes away, but the final few twists really pick the film up.” shocking truth. Retreat is Tibbett’s first attempt at directing, yet he has successfully produced a well-crafted thriller full of suspense. Whilst a little slowpaced during the main part of the story, the twists at the end of the film magnify what had been dragged out

beforehand. The conclusion, which comes as a surprise to the audience, is why this film can be deemed as a unique and outstanding take on the killer virus genre, and is what sets it apart from Contagion. The main triumph of the film is the real emotion between Murphy and Newton, who play their characters extremely well alongside each other. Without this, the film wouldn’t have worked at all. Jamie Bell also delivers a solid performance, showing real versatility in his role as he changes from an innocent stranger to a violent commander in seconds. Known primarily for his role as Billy Elliot when he was younger, this is the first time I have seen him in a film to remember him by since. Of course, he is in next month’s The Adventures of Tintin as well, or at least his voice is, so maybe this

is a new start for him. From his performance in Retreat alone, I would definitely like to see more of him. However, with only a main cast of three, Retreat comes close to being unenjoyable to watch when the third character is an extremely unlikable psychopath. The company is on the verge of getting boring, but it breaks away from this focus of three people stuck in a house together at the right time, and this is when the film gets interesting. Notably, it is only in the last half an

hour that you are unable to take your eyes away, and you do find yourself screaming “JUST BLOODY SHOOT HIM!” a number of times, but the final few twists really pick the film up. I’ve read a lot of reviews focusing on the lack of gore in this film. But why does it need gore? That’s what keeps the suspense high throughout the film. We don’t know if the virus is really out there or if it has been made up, so a clean and healthy setting makes us believe that everything is safe, whatever the outcome.

Release Date: 12th October 2011 Director: Carl Tibbetts Famous Faces: Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell


Release Date: 21st October 2011 Director: Steven Soderbergh Famous Faces: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Gywneth Paltrow and Jude Law

Linking to my previous review for British thriller Retreat, starring Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell which you can read here, Contagion is the second film to be released this month that explores the widespread of a killer virus. As an American take on the genre, Contagion tackles the situation in a completely different way, concluding in a seemingly more optimistic outcome and looking at the effects of a virus globally. Contagion, directed by Steven Soderbergh, follows the rapid spread of a lethal virus caught through indirect contact. As the fast-moving


pandemic grows, we see how a variety of people deal with the situation, including worldwide medical team members, Dr Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard), Dr Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) and Dr Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), journalist Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law), and parents Mitch (Matt Damon) and Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow). With a race to find a cure and to control the panic as the world turns to mayhem, we see the lengths these people go to in order to save the world whilst

“There’s no lag between scenes and conversations that we don’t need to hear are presented in agile, visual slideshows. This swiftness is what keeps the audience engaged.” having to maintain their own reputations at the same time. The film premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival, and has since resulted in everybody talking about its realistic nature. That’s why this film has been so successful. When a disease

such as Swine Flu begins to spread, this is how the situation would be dealt with, with the film focusing on the science involved in

“Contagion tackles the situation in a completely different way, looking at the effects of a virus globally.” combating such a virus. It’s not until the final scene of the film that we find out how the virus was first transferred, as a test tube labelled MEV-1 is put in a freezer alongside SARS. Until then, we see the development of links between the first people to catch the virus, opening with Gwyneth Paltrow looking a bit under-the-weather when returning to America from a business trip in Hong Kong. In contrast to Retreat, Contagion works better because of the way it is produced. There’s no lag between scenes and conversations that we don’t need to hear are presented in agile, visual slideshows; we don’t have to sit through anything uninteresting or be confused by medical jargon,

and this swiftness is what keeps the audience engaged. This again works through the all-star cast who, even as big names we recognise, do not all know each other. Only a few of these characters ever meet, so we are constantly weaving in and out of their lives as we figure out their relationships for ourselves. All of the characters give strong performances but for me, it was Matt Damon that stood out in this film. Damon, portraying a father figure who is left to protect his teenage daughter when his wife (Paltrow) and younger son fall to the illness, expresses a deep emotion in his character. We don’t often see Damon as a family member, but he really makes this role work, which is why he stands out from the rest of the cast. Whilst Contagion is unlikely to win any awards, it certainly made me conscious of how many times I touched my face whilst sat in the cinema. Fortunately, I returned home without any unwanted sniffles so for now, we are safe.


T he T hree The Three Musketeers (Matthew Macfadyen), is based on a 1844 French Aramis (Luke Evans) and novel titled Les Trois Porthos (Ray Stevenson), Mousquetaires, written by who are currently down Alexandre Dumas, which has on their luck. Now, they had a wide range of TV and must now unite to defeat film adaptations. Directed a beautiful double agent, by Paul W.S. Anderson, this Milady De Winter (Milla latest reinterpretation is a Jovovich), who is playing 3D adaptation following the both sides with the evil same story Duke of “Whilst not adding but with Buckingham a cast of anything new in (Orlando Bloom) new faces terms of dialogue in a plan to that takes seize the French or uniqueness, advantage throne and this a daptation is of the latest engulf Europe in full to the brim of war. cinema technology. This action.” Set steampunkin the 17th century, the influenced film (a fantasy/ handsome D’Artagnan fiction where steam power is (Logan Lerman) travels to widely used) is well linked to Paris in hope of joining the the original Musketeer novel. famed Musketeers, Athos Whilst not adding anything


new in terms of dialogue or uniqueness, this adaptation is full to the brim of action. And why not when you can have objects flying out of the screen in all directions with the over-hyped power of 3D technology? Nevertheless, although the film is action-filled it is also easy to recognise that the film was made with the young audience in mind. With a sword fight happening every few minutes, there was a complete lack of violence with the choreography of these fight scenes taking a playful stance. Whilst this is not a complete negative, against the dense story line the film wasn’t quite fulfilling for an adult viewer. In addition, some of the

M usketeers

characters were verging on worked with Anderson before pantomime. It was surprising in two of the Resident Evil that you couldn’t hear the films, and her performance boo’s every time Bloom was strong as she played an appeared on screen stroking important and intertwining his beard. His character, link in the film. If nothing apparently based on David else, she added a bit of Bowie, was more Russel cleavage. James Corden was Brand with his also a nice “ The Three camp swagger addition to than an evil Musketeers is a the cast, but music legend. legendary tale, unfortunately However, it was he was and it’s obvious interesting to deemed as the why it is one so overweight, see Bloom as the antagonist often reused.” comedic of the film sidekick whose instead of the handsome only purpose was to provoke hero that saves the day, and the odd bit of laughter. But it actually kind of worked. laughter he provoked, despite As for the other characters, his small role. the three actors playing the All in all, this latest main Musketeers had a real adaptation was an interesting chemistry, and Lerman added take on the Musketeer some much-needed charm franchise. The Three to the group. Jovovich has Musketeers is a legendary

tale, and it’s obvious why it is one so often reused. I have never fully watched any of the other adaptations, so it was good timing for Anderson’s remake, introducing this generation to the enjoyable story. However, the film is ultimately a family adventure to take your children to, not one that will be breaking the box office.

Release Date:

12th October 2011


Paul W.S. Anderson

Famous Faces:

Milla Jovovich, Matthew Macfadyen and Orlando Bloom


M idnight I n P aris

Midnight In Paris premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and has since been a global box office success. Written and directed by Woody Allen, the romantic comedyfantasy explores the theme of nostalgia, reflecting back on the Golden era of the 1920s which leads one man to question whether these illusions of the past are better than the present one he is facing. Gil (Owen Wilson), a writer struggling to finish his Release Date: 7th October 2011 Director: Woody Allen Famous Faces: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates


first novel, travels to Paris for a break away from his Hollywood life with his fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) and her parents, John (Kurt Fuller) and Helen (Mimi Kennedy).

“When Gil enters the past, the magic begins for both him and the audience.” After arguing with his fiancée one night, Gil begins to roam the streets of Paris when an old-fashioned car pulls up and the passengers inside ask him to join them. Gil finds himself at what seems to be a 1920s themed party, but he soon begins to recognise that the company around him consists of his literary and artistic idols, including that of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tom Hiddleston), Zelda Fitzgerald (Alison Pill), Ernest Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates). Gil has been transported to

the 1920s, an era which he admires and decides to return to at midnight every night in order to find inspiration for his novel, and maybe something a little more from the stunning Adriana (Marion Cotillard). If you ask anybody with a passion for film, they are likely to tell you that this is Allen’s best film in years. That may be true, but for me there were too many flaws, little aspects that didn’t work or that could have been done better, that downgraded this acclaimed ‘masterpiece’ slightly. The main problem for me was a lack of effort in the present half of the film. It is obvious that Gil is having trouble in his relationship, but it wasn’t obvious as to why he is so ready to abandon his fiancée in the middle of Paris, go back in time and not explain this to her, and then fall in love with somebody else. I feel that this was mainly

because neither Wilson or McAdams were the right choice for their roles. Both actors have proven that they work well together in 2005’s Wedding Crashers, but neither were strong enough in their roles here. McAdams was playing a character that was supposed to be a genuinely horrible human being. This would have explained why Gil was so willing to escape to a different era every night, but her character did not portray this, which unfortunately weakened her performance and the credibility of the film’s story line. Wilson, as well, is too comedic for us to take him seriously in his role. Although he played his character quite well, he was too much of a little boy in a sweet shop to reflect the high standard of Allen’s work. I guess anybody would be the same if they were to meet their literary idols, but immaturity was not what was needed here. It’s only when the film comes to an end, when all is explained a little better and

we have come to terms with everything going on, that you can begin to respect the meaning behind it all. Midnight in Paris is a very light-hearted film, but it is with this extraordinary meaning that we are

left with, which almost overrides anything else. Fortunately, it’s only when the film is in the present that the bumps in the road are hit. When Gil enters the past, the magic begins for both him and the audience.


J ohnny E nglish R eborn Johnny English Reborn, directed by Oliver Parker, is a sequel to the first Johnny English film released in 2003. Set a few years later, English (Rowan Atkinson) is learning martial arts in Tibet after a disastrous mission which concluded in the assassination of a President. Head Agent at the MI7, Pegasus (Gillian Anderson), requests English back in the UK for a new mission. Along with ‘side-kick’ Agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya), and the backing of Agent Simon Ambrose (Dominic West) and colleague Kate (Rosamund Pike), English is given the mission of stopping a group of international assassins before they kill the Chinese premier. When the two missions begin to form a link, English is given information about Vortex, a group of assassinations that seem to be behind it all. With two out of three members of the group dead, English is told that the third member is a mole in the MI7, but how will he complete his mission when he is being framed as the mole himself? Johnny English Reborn is a clever film with a decent story line and engaging characters. Its predecessor was a successful comedy and is a film that I could watch more than once, but unfortunately this cannot be said with this sequel. It was funny on occasions, and by funny I mean that it did make you genuinely laugh, but this was mainly in the


few scenes that were shown in the trailer. Everything else was much the same as the first film; Rowan Atkinson plays an inadequate agent that gets himself in the most unrealistic of situations, but somehow ends up working it all out and getting with the pretty girl. Hilarious as it was the first time around, it was all a bit too obvious to be anything more than average. Supposedly a parody of James Bond, this sequel was more like a snippet of scenes from Austin Powers. It even stole one of Austin Power’s key moments when mistaking somebody’s grandmother for an intruder, which the film

“Hilarious as it was the first time around, it was all a bit too obvious to be anything more than average.” then over-played, having at least three Grannies (including the Queen) being beaten up and hit over the head with a tray. Over-repetitiveness is never a good thing, and this definitely lost its comedic attribute by the end. Although most of the characters worked really well in their roles, there were a few downfalls on their part. Pegasus, who at first seems to be a strong, independent woman – as you would expect from a secret agent – begins to lose her strength throughout the film. When her children run in at a meeting – a

slightly unnecessary scene – she becomes detached from the confident agent that we met at the start which, by no fault of Gillian Anderson, begins to add to film’s lack of quality. If you’ve seen the first two series of UK teen-drama Skins, you will understand why Daniel Kaluuya doesn’t really work well in his role. In Skins he plays the role a typical gangster who is outed as a well-spoken English man every time he is heard making one of his “Brap, Brap” references. In Johnny English, he uses this same overly posh accent but sadly it just doesn’t seem genuine. Rosamund Pike, as well, plays her role sweetly, but it seems a bit of a downgrade from her other roles as Bond girl Miranda Frost in Die Another Day (Is that supposed to be irony?) and as Jane Bennet in 2005’s Pride and Prejudice. Still, she adds an innocent charm to the film and was someone for Atkinson to cosey up to. With all things considered, the film seemed more of a spoof than a sequel of a parody. Of course, you can’t beat a bit of Rowan Atkinson, so it wasn’t all bad.

Release Date: 7th October 2011 Director: Oliver Parker Famous Faces: Rowan Atkinson, Rosamund Pike and Dominic West Soundtrack: Word Up by Cameo


Every Release Date: 14th October 2011 Director: Dan Rush Famous Faces: Will Ferrell , Rebecca Hall and Michael Pe単a


ything Must Go Directed by Dan Rush, over the road and whose Everything Must Go husband is working away, is based on Raymond and a young boy, Kenny Carver‘s short story Why (Christopher Jordan Don’t You Dance? The film Wallace), who, in return premiered at this year’s for Nick teaching him to Toronto International Film play baseball, helps him Festival as look after his “ Ferrell’s role well as being belongings in here is less shown at the daytime. the London comedic than the The film then Film Festival revolves ones we know this month around him for, but it along with its these two is one of few release. relationships The film roles that can be that Nick follows manages to related to.” alcoholic Nick find in his sad Halsey (Will Ferrell) who, and complicated situation. after being fired from his Kenny and Samantha job, returns home to find now put their efforts into all of his belongings sat on helping Nick to sell all of the front lawn. His wife his belongings, to help him has left him, changed the move on from the errors locks and frozen their joint of his past, and to start his accounts. Nick, with no life over new without the one else to turn to, sets up influence of alcohol. his furniture into his own The story behind living room in Everything “ The film is set the garden, Must Go is but his only over five days, a truly great real focus is and it is Nick’s one. Ferrell on where the fits his role progression money for his almost too during these five next beer will well, as if come from. days that is the this could Although focus of the film.” be how he Nick’s spends his neighbours disapprove days when not anchoring of him living in their the news for San Diego’s view, Nick finds comfort Channel 4 News. The film in a pregnant woman, is set over five days, and Samantha (Rebecca Hall), it is Nick’s progression who has just moved during these five days that

is the focus of the film. We see him hrough both ups and downs, and find ourselves genuinely feeling for the characters we are presented with. Whilst we know Ferrell as one of the funniest men on the big screen, this film isn’t a comedy, nor does it set out to be. Everything Must Go is a serious, indie film based around a wellthought out story line from first time director Rush. Ferrell still has his amusing side, however. He doesn’t make any jokes, but his addiction with alcohol allows his character to get away with his dim-witted charm. His role here is less comedic than the ones we know him for and whilst it’s not enough to be classed as a ‘serious’ role, it is one of few roles that can be related to. Everything Must Go is a contemporary film revolved around true-tolife circumstances and relationships. The film could have done with a few more laughs, but it is a heart warming story that Ferrell performs a really strong role in. With an amazing soundtrack of folky instrumentals in the background, this is undubtedly a film worth a few hours of your day.


On DVD this month...


October DVD Releases: X-Men: First Class Date: 31st October

The prequel to the X-Men franchise, set in 1962 when the United States government enlists the help of Mutants with superhuman abilities to stop a malicious dictator who is determined to start world war III.

Green Lantern

Last Night

Date: 17th October

Date: 17th October

Ryan Reynolds stars as the Green Lantern in a DC superhero movie. Granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, he is given membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Kiera Knightley an Sam Worthington star in a romantic comedy following a married couple, apart for a night while the husband takes a business trip with a colleague, whom he’s attracted to, while his wife encounters her past love.

The Way

Date: 31st October A collaboration between Martin Sheen and his real life son Emilio Estevez. When Daniel dies while walking the Way of Saint James, his father travels to France to collect his remains, deciding to embark on the historical pilgrimage himself in an attempt to understand his son better.

Bad Teacher

Date: 31st October A blue comedy starring Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake, centered around Cameron Diaz, a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague -- a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher.

The Tree of Life

Date: 31st October Directed by Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life is an experimental drama that chronicles the origins and meaning of life through a middle-aged man’s childhood memories. Premiering at this years Cannes Film Festival, the film stars Sean Penn and Brad Pitt.


What’s out next month?


November’s Cinema: 50/50

Date: 25th November Inspired by a true story, a comedy centeres on a 27-year-old guy played by Joseph GordonLevitt who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Also stars Seth Rogen and is directed by Jonathan Levine.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

Piranha 3DD

Date: 23rd November

Date: 18th November

After the events at Lake Victoria in Piranha 3D, the pre-historic school of blood-thirsty piranhas make their way into a newly opened waterpark. Expect more teenage girls, more boobs and even more blood in this prequel directed by John Gulager.

Based on he final novel of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star as a half vampire-half human couple. After Bella and Edward’s long-awaited wedding, they return from their honeymoon with their unborn as a new threat.


Date: 25th November Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill star in the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to put together a baseball club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.

The Rum Diary

Date: 4th November Johnny Depp stars in Bruce Robinson‘s film adaptation of American journalist Hunter S. Thompson‘s The Rum Diary, following a freelance journalist who travels to Puerto Rico to start writing for a run-down newspaper there, but who picks up the habit of drinking rum along the way.

My Week With Marilyn Date: 18th November

Based on two novels by Colin Clark, an employee of Sir Laurence Olivier’s, the film documents the tense interaction between Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl in 1957, the week that Clarkmissed out in his first publication.