Sunday, 18 June 2017

Quick Reviews #18: 2017 So Far

We’re halfway through the year already! So in this quick reviews post I wanted to talk about some of the films released in 2017 that I haven’t given a full review to. This in no way means they’re worse than the ones I did a full review of (especially Get Out, which as of now is still my favourite film of 2017), it just means that I probably didn’t have the time to write one. So read on and find out my thoughts on these five films from 2017.

Get Out

This film is absolutely brilliant. The way the film plays out is so smart, lots of intriguing elements get paid off by the end that it will have you grinning in your seat. All the technical elements of this film, the camerawork, the score, the performances are so well executed. I was also surprised by how funny it was, and yes I know the director has a background in comedy (I love The Key & Peele Show!) but I thought he was going for a straight-out horror/thriller with this film. It never set itself on one genre but this never dragged it down, it worked through all the emotions, creating tension in one scene and having you laughing in the next and then back to getting me well and truly freaked out and I loved it for doing so, this could have so easily not worked but thankfully it did, it really, really did! If anybody has watched Inside No. 9 on BBC 2 then it’s kind of like a feature version of one of those episodes.
5/5

Casting JonBenet

I usually hate re-enactments of horrific crimes; they tarnish the realism of a situation and make it something trivial. This documentary however, uses the re-enactment in the most unique and cleverest of ways, making it a starting point for a discussion with people who are very loosely tied to the story, allowing them to delve deep into the minds of the real people involved and what might have been going through their heads. It’s therapeutic in a way and makes this documentary more than its subject matter. I knew little of this case beforehand, and although it was frustrating at times to not be given all the information, it was a creative and thought provoking way to look at a homicide like no film I’ve seen before do. It’s on Netflix, you should definitely go watch it!
4.5/5

Beauty and the Beast

Do you know what? I enjoyed the hell out of this! Yeah, I’m surprised as well, I went in with little to no expectations but came out with a massive goofy grin on my face. I knew it had songs but I was not expecting a full blown musical! It really worked, the music just heightened everything and took what could have been a bore of a film to the next level. The design was great, the CGI wasn’t always amazing but it still fitted nicely into the aesthetic of the film. It was very theatrical, most of the performances are great, Emma Watson does well with what she is given but is not the strongest actor in the film. Probably the best live-action Disney remake yet, it just felt more classic and nostalgic. Lots of laughs, lots of music and lots of fun, I really liked this one.
4/5

Split

For the most part I really enjoyed this film, its premise was interesting and the focus of the film was amazingly performed by James McAvoy. However, I did find some of the choppy ambiguity at the beginning to be off putting, and when the exposition did come it was handled very clumsily. This film was tense but I never got scared, it’s a good thriller but I wanted to be on edge, the film for me did not do that. Also, this is only the second ever M. Night Shyamalan movie I’ve seen (mainly due to his reputation and because I’ve heard all the spoilers from his first film!), so when the “twist” came at the end it didn’t do anything for me and felt like a strange ending for what was a pretty solid film. I will definitely check out more of his early work.
3.5/5

Berlin Syndrome

A really well shot, quiet and subdued thriller. I mainly wanted to watch this because of my love for Berlin and I was not disappointed as the city looks beautiful in this film. The whole film has this great mood and feel to it that is kept throughout and constantly keeps you on edge. Spending so much time with two characters, I did find myself wanting to get inside their heads more than we did but overall I enjoyed this one, a great, smart and tense psychological film. I will definitely be checking out more of Cate Shortland’s work!
4/5

Power Rangers

The Breakfast Club meets superheroes. I have never seen the original TV series and films and whatever else the source material may be. My only knowledge of this franchise is the toy store where I work, and the toys are a pretty big deal there. It never looked great but… This film may be my new guilty pleasure. It’s overly cliché, has a terrible taste in music, is borderline Transformers cringey at times and takes way too long to get to the action. However, it won me over with its heart, it’s cheesiness and its message of friendship. It’s very light hearted, doesn’t take its self too seriously, and it filled me with a lot of joy. Billy, the autistic Power Ranger was a breath of fresh air and Elizabeth Banks stole the show with her brilliantly over-acted Rita Repulsa. Haters gonna hate, I really liked this one. 
3.5/5


What did you think of the films I've reviewed above? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Wonder Woman

It’s here, it’s finally here, Wonder Woman’s first live action feature debut. You may be worried that the latest entry into the DC Extended Universe would follow the trend of their less than great previous films, but worry no more, Wonder Woman is the superhero film the studio needs right now, but more importantly it’s film the world needs right now! Read on and find out why.

This film tells us the origins of Wonder Woman, a long time before the events of Batman V Superman, during WW1, when a pilot crashes on the mysterious island, Themiscyra, he tells the young warrior who saves him, Diana, of the war to end all wars and without hesitating she joins him to help bring an end to the fighting.

In the wide range of superhero films on offer today, Wonder Woman is kind of generic, it’s a good mix of Thor and Captain America but is able to stand on its own two feet. Its main strength lies in the films message, this is what makes it stand above the rest, delivering a solid superhero origin story that commentates and criticises our world, views and values. When Diana first ventures from her island, it’s her first interaction with ‘man’s’ world. She’s naïve and obviously there is comedy to go with that but there is also a fresh look on the way we do things, which in her eyes isn’t all that good and throughout the film she begins to learn that men aren’t all bad but they’re also not all good. Diana’s arc throughout this period of realisation is one that insights hope and joy within the viewer and that’s what brings this film home, elevating the formulaic superhero film into something more special.  

Playing the icon is Gal Gadot and boy does she bring her A game. She truly carries this film and breathes life into Diana, making the character her own and diminishing any doubts audiences may have had about her taking on the role. She owns Wonder Woman. Everybody in this film does a great job, even with the little amount that some characters get. Up there with Gadot though is Chris Pine as Steve Trevor, the two have amazing chemistry and together they steal the film, creating real emotional connections between the two characters in the space of a couple of hours, you care about these characters and what happens to them.

My favourite element of this film is the action. The action is so badass, it’s so cool, it looks beautiful with great cinematography and sounds awesome with an excellent score. The theme we heard first in BvS is truly earned in this film and when it arrives, it really does deliver. Wonder Woman in full costume, in all her glory, taking out bad guys is a moment to be experienced on the big screen, it gave me goosebumps and I have read barely any Wonder Woman comics.

No matter how much I’ve raved about this film, it’s not perfect. It’s a tad too long for a start and the CGI does not always hold up, which is shame considering previous DC films have been pretty good with this element to date. And as I’ve stated before, it’s a bit generic, it doesn’t take many risks or feel much different from previous superhero films, but also as I’ve mentioned, because it works the tropes so well and has a message worth spreading, it is still able to stand above many that have come before it. Talking of other DC films, if you liked the grim tone and serious nature of this films predecessors then you may not like where they take this one, this one has jokes, is uplifting and is a film where the hero is heroic.  

Patty Jenkins, the director, should be applauded for bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen in such glorious fashion, a job I’m sure brought a lot of pressure on getting it right. Finally, we have a female led superhero film that is great and will hopefully usher in a new era of equality within the genre. This truly is a film and a hero the world needs right now, not flawless but still great, a solid 4/5. Go see Wonder Woman now!

I'm actually a little excited for Justice League now, even if it is just to see Wonder Woman again!

What did you think of Wonder Woman? Have the DCEU taken a step forward or backwards, let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!