Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My Favourite Films from Previous Sundance Film Festivals

So as Sundance London is just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to let you guys know my favourite films from the festival since it started in 1978. Obviously I have not seen all the films that have been screened there but I have seen a few, so here are my top ten favourites:

This film is funny, touching and just genuinely great! It is a directorial debut for Richard Ayoade and he has started well! The director will also be at Sundance London so hopefully he may be able to give some tips and advice on his film making style. I have reviewed this film before and that can be found here.

Mean Streets
Martin Scorsese started his well known fame for bringing us the greatest gangster movies right here! The film has everything we love about the gangster genre and mixes it with a pretty awesome soundtrack. Although dated the opening credits sequence still remains one of my personal favourites.

The Kids Are Alright
This is also one of my favourite films. I think it is brilliantly filmed with a great story and an issue which has not been explored much by other filmmakers. The cast are spot on and they perfect every scene. Especially Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore who are standouts among the cast. But with a start and end that is soundtracked by two of my favourite artists, MGMT and Vampire Weekend, how could you go wrong?

The film that brought Christopher Nolan into the limelight. Starring the underrated Guy Pearce, this film has it all, action, romance and thriller of a plot! Yes it is crazy and messes with your mind but it sure does deliver! Has the man ever made a bad film?

Blue Valentine
This film is one of the most depressing films ever made, but it sure is good! Standout performances from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple who's relationship is going down the drain. The film also gives us plenty of flashbacks into seeing the start of their relationship. Truly a great but depressing film!

This film proved to me that Tom Hardy is a hell of an actor! He is almost unrecognisable in his role. The film is dark, violent and surprisingly funny! I have reviewed this film before and you can find that here.

(500) Days Of Summer
Another one of my favourite film. I love films that recreate the romance genre and make something new, original and exciting. This film is edited together brilliantly with comedy, great casting and some awesome tunes! The director Marc Webb is now about to film my most anticipated film of the year The Amazing Spider-Man.

Reservoir Dogs
One of Tarantino's best and also considered one of the best indie films of all time, started at Sundance. Could we see another breakthrough hit or future big star director premiere at Sundance London? I have reviewed this film before and that can be found here.

Four Lions
This is one of the best British comedies to come around since Hot Fuzz. It is hilarious and rather controversial, everything us British love about a comedy film! Who thought a comedy about terrorists could be so good!

Super Size Me
I could do this list without adding a documentary from the Sundance Film Festival! This is arguably one of the best documentaries ever made, it also had a big impact on audiences and the fast food industry alike. It certainly made me think twice when ordering a giant Big Mac!

So that concludes my list. Other films that didn't make it but should be given a mention include:
Donnie Darko
Napoleon Dynamite
American Psycho
Hump Day
Take Shelter
The Guard
Perfect Sense
Unmade Beds
World’s Greatest Dad
Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Twitter @SuperAlexMan or subscribe to my YouTube account and watch my short film!

Come back Monday to see the review for a movie I am extremely excited about, Avenger Assemble. And then after that you can watch my first ever video blog for Sundance London!

See you then!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Sundance Comes To London

Next week London hosts the first ever Sundance Film Festival that isn't in Utah. The giant indie festival is held in Utah each year and premieres some of the biggest indie films soon coming to a cinema near you. About 120 films are screened at the festival, in London we get to see 14 of them, we also get a range of short films and panels one held by the creator himself, Robert Redford. I have been lucky enough to acquire tickets for my birthday in January and after a long wait, it is almost here!

I have the top ten film package and sharing those ten films with my Dad. So that's five films and exclusive passes to the Sundance Inc Club. This is my first ever film festival and I cannot wait. The films that are coming sound great and so does the host committee which features people such as; Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, Helen Mirren and Richard Ayoade. Excited is not the word to describe how I am feeling right now. As a budding filmmaker it will be great to here from the masters and hopefully get some advice on how to break into the industry. This could be a life changing experience!

Bellow I have listed the films that I am going to be seeing and why I am anticipating them:

Safety Not Guaranteed
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.

My Verdict: This looks very funny and has the possibility to be a touching film also. It also stars that guy from New Girl! I am really excited about this one!

For Ellen
A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter.

My Verdict: Paul Dano is one of the most underrated young actors at the moment. He nails every role! So he is the main reason i'm excited about this one, but the supporting cast is great, including Jon Heder and Jena Malone. Should be a good one!

Over the course of one day, a shy 13-year-old forms a bond with his troubled uncle.

My Verdict: The director Sheldon Candis seems like a very down to earth guy, he also wrote what could be a very personal and emotional story. Really looking forward to this, it also stars Danny Glover and Boardwalk Empire's Chalky White, Michael Kenneth Williams.

Liberal Arts
When thirty-something Jesse is invited back to his alma mater, he falls for a young 19-year-old college student and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them.

My Verdict: Although  I may not have loved Martha Marcy May Marlene I did love Elizabeth Olsen and I cannot wait to see her in another film. This looks like it could be a really good love story that makes audiences question age differences between lover. And for the ladies, it also stars Zac Efron. Looks like good one!

2 Days in New York
Marion has broken up with Jack (Two Days in Paris) and now lives in New York with their child.

My Verdict: Sequel to the great 2 Days in Paris which I watched the other day and liked very much! This time Jack is gone and a new boyfriend played by the brilliant Chris Rock! And if that doesn't flick your switch the main character Marion played by Julie Deply once again, writes, directs and produces! Should be a great end to what could be an incredible weekend!

So if you are also going to Sundance London then you might see me there! If not then I am going to hopefully film the experience and release an Alex's Essential Movie Blog - first ever video blog!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Assembling The Avengers

Two weeks from now I will be coming back from Sundance London and my first stop will be at my local cinema. The film I will be going to see is Avengers Assemble or for those is the U.S.A The Avengers.

It all started back in 2008 after the release of Iron Man. A film that was an unexpected success at the box office. It is also one of my favourite films and I can never get bored of Robert Downey Jr. We are also introduced to Samuel L Jackson's kick ass Nick Fury! So 4 years and 5 films later, we are almost here, the moment every fan boy in the world has been waiting for, Earth's Mightiest Heroes uniting to face off an army sent by the mischievous Loki.

After Iron Man was released then saw the next stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk. This time played by Edward Norton who did a very good job at it. Unfortunately Norton was a pain in the ass and therefore the studio decided to pick Mark Ruffalo as the Bruce Banner of The Avengers.

Iron Man 2 was next. It delivered a good post Avengers film but never really hit the heights of the original. A good movie never the less. Although I am saddened that Jon Favreau won't be returning for the threequel I am happy that Shane Black will be directing as I loved his previous film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Then came Thor. My least favourite of the group but a suprisingly good film that delivered well and created a well made backdrop of Asgard that I hope will not be underused in The Avengers.

Then came 'The First Avenger' Captain America. Another great film that helped secure the origins of Cap before (SPOILER) gets frozen and wakes up modern day ready to assemble! the film was good though the second act felt a bit rushed. Personally if any film Marvel film could have benefited from a sequel it would have been this one rather then Iron Man as I would have loved to see more WW2 footage that had been less rushed.

Now we are here, a week and a bit away from being able to see it. Some lucky people already have!! And first responses have been positive which just helps the nerding out even more! Lots of comments from people saying they 'won't spoil it' so does that mean there is more then meets the eye? My bet is on another villain from the Marvel Universe rather then just Loki and has army. Either way I cannot freakin wait!

Thanks for reading! In 2 weeks time my review of Avenger Assemble will be online and that thought just makes me giddy!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Easter Reviews Part 2

So another week and another batch of movie reviews. Thankfully I split this post into two as I watched more films then last week. Some good and some...weird! Take a look:

Half Nelson
This is the first of three films starring Ryan Gosling this week and this was the best one! Gosling plays a teacher with a cocaine addiction who starts unlikely friendship with a pupil. This can be quite a depressing film in places but this isn't a bad thing. The chemistry between teacher and student is what keeps the film running and gives the best heart warming moments. Quite a touching film in places and Gosling's performance really does stand out as one of his best! I highly recommend!

The Dogfather
So I sat down with family to watch this one. We put up with it for 20 minuets before switching over to Hellboy. A terrible film even in kid movie standards! The acting was poor even from the guy who plays Dr Leo Spaceman in 30 Rock! Terrible, terrible film!

Well anything is better then The Dogfather. Hellboy is a good comic book movie film. Unfortunately compared to the comic book movies around today this doesn't feel as good as it used to be. But the first part was never as good as it's excellent sequel!

Wayne's World
This is actually one of my favourite comedy movies ever! A cult classic that is so stupid its funny! I have watched this film so many times and it never ceases to crack me up. This is Mike Myers at his best. Unfortunately the sequel is pretty rubbish, but I still keep fingers crossed that they plan on making a threequel! EXCELLENT!

This was actually one of the scariest movies I have ever seen! It's not a horror but the thought that a virus could wipe out millions of people is scary enough! A really good film with some great editing and soundtrack from Cliff Martinez who also did an awesome job with Drive! It's only flaw is that there are too many characters to keep up with and apart from Matt Damon you never really connect with them emotionally. Apart from that it was actually one of the best films of the week.

Everything Must Go
Will Ferrel doing a serious acting part in this touching drama about a man who loses his job, wife and house in the space of a day. Although Ferrel plays somebody who has messed up his life you will actually care about him more then any of his other films. How could his wife leave such a sweet guy? Well he does have moments where he can be a bit of an idiot but apart from that he's really nice! Overall a nice heart warming and touching film.

Lars and the Real Girl
The second film containing Ryan Gosling and one of the oddest films I have ever seen. Gosling plays a delusional man who has a relationship with a sex doll. It is just weird! It was funny in places but you never knew whether to laugh or not. Congratulations to the actors having to act seriously around a sex doll but overall not the best movie ever made.

The final film of the week. And the last Gosling film. Ewan McGregor stars as a psychiatrist who is tyring to stop his student (Ryan Gosling) from killing himself. A bit of mind bender this one but not at Nolan standards, this one is just too weird for its own good. It isn't really a smart thriller in anyway. Also McGregor's accent is a bit rubbish, like the film then really.

Thanks for reading! Not long now until The Avengers comes out! First reactions from the premiere are good so it looks like we are in for a treat! Seems like only yesterday Iron Man came out...

Friday, 6 April 2012

Easter Reviews Part 1

So over the Easter holidays so far, I have watched a lot of films and I am most likely to watch a lot more! So for this post I am going to write short reviews for all of the films I have seen so far. Then next week I will review the rest of the films I am most likely to watch in the coming days. So please enjoy!

Paranormal Activity 3
I was a big fan of the documentary Catfish which the directors of this film previously worked on. So I was hoping that they would do this franchise some good. I liked the first film, due to its originality in the horror genre, but I wasn't a big fan of the second as its seems they just copied what had happened in the previous instalment. The third, although having the same sort of rhythm to it, was actually my personal favourite of the series! I thought that it pushed the boundaries of the previous film and delivered some pretty creative scares. If you were put off by the second film then don't turn this one down as it might regain your faith. But I must ask how much life the series has left in it?

Martha Marcy May Marlene
I reviewed this in previous post but I thought I would still give a short verdict; If you are a fan of films which have interesting plots but don't actually go anywhere with it, then this is the film for you. Unfortunately this is not the film for me.

Danny Boyle has no boundaries! He can take any genre and make his own brilliant film within it. Sunshine is a great film and stars some great actors including the new Captain America. A great film that felt almost like a new take on the Alien films. Some great story telling done here and it was actually quite scary in places. My only criticism is that the ending was a little bit crazy and a points I was unsure as to what was actually happening.

Reservoir Dogs
This is the first time I have seen this Tarantino masterpiece. It was a great film which had me glued to my seat throughout. A proper classic and if you haven't seen it, you need too! This really is Tarantino at his best and I don't think I have seen a bad film from the director yet. I cannot wait for Django Unchained!

We Need To Talk About Kevin
I really enjoyed this film and thought that the subject area of which it is based on was handled well. My only problem with this film is that they try to hard. They try to establish this bad relationship between a mother and her soon to be mass killer son. The director obviously wanted the audience to question whether his actions could have been prevented by better parenting. The director also wanted us to think whether the mother is just as bad as her son. The only problem is, is that they focus to hard on making the character of Kevin come across as an evil delusional child. He needed therapy and he needed to be told off by his mum every once and a while for his terrible behaviour! A good film but it could be better.

Red State
This film has been heavily slated by audiences and critics. So I didn't watch this film expecting anything special. But actually it was a good fun watch and I enjoyed it very much. It is sold as a horror but actually isn't that scary. It's more of a fun thriller that makes fun of 'America's Most Hated Family' the Phelps family. The OTT Christians that goes to soldiers funerals with banners saying 'God Hates Fags'. Great way of spreading Gods love?? The family in the film now actually catch these sinners and kill them. The whole film turns into a massive shoot up between them and the police. John Goodman steals the show as usual but Michael Parks was not far behind. Some great acting and a good film which unlike many, i recommend.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene

A massive hit at Sundance, among the critics and audiences alike. This set the torch alight for Elizabeth Olsen's career. She certainly did give an incredible performance! But unfortunately for me the film fell short of all the hype and was somewhat disappointing. But the idea for this film was so good! So what went wrong?

The whole premise of a girl escaping a cult and adjusting to life outside of it, sounds very cool and has the makings to be a n excellent film. Which this was not. Don't get me wrong, the story was interesting and some bits of it were really interesting but it just wasn't enough!

The only bit that had me going 'this is a good film!' was the bit when John Hawkes's character Patrick played the song he had written for the main character. The song was suprisingly good and had a chill about it that had be glued to the screen and mesmerised by the lyrics. That unfortunately was about it.

The acting from John Hawkes is just as good as Olsen's but unlike her, he has little screen time for the audience to understand his character and motivations for leading the cult. The whole film is like this, very little back story, which can be a good thing, but in this case it left the audience in too much mystery.
If you are a fan of unresolved plots and endings then this is the film for you. But for me it was too unresolved and left me needing more in order to say that this film was as good as the critics say it is. It is different and quite creepy, which is good but it just needed more! Even the dialogue needed more, it wasn't like Drive in which the dialogue style was used to make it unique, it just needed more and to be faster. Some more speeches from John Hawkes would be nice, then even the audience might be able to see why the cult is so appealing to these people. Because at the moment I feel as if the cult was one where you go to if you hate the rich and want to become a sex slave. Not so appealing if you ask me!

Overall it was an ok film that could have done with more to become the amazing film I was wishing for!

If you haven't watched my short film you can here:

Over the Easter holiday I will most likely see lots of films so I will review the all at once in a post at the end of the month!

Thanks for reading!!