Thursday, 28 March 2013

Quick Reviews #3

So it's time for another round of quick reviews. This time round I review Wreck it Ralph, Zero Dark Thirty and The Impossible. Read and enjoy!

Wreck it Ralph
(This review was written under a brief from my film course, so it may read slightly different to my usual style. Please let me know what you think of this so that I know whether you guys prefer this style or not.)

After taking it’s time to be imported from the states Wreck it Ralph is finally here in the UK and ready to do business. Does it quite live up to the hype that many critics overseas have been calling ‘the new Toy Story’? Well unfortunately not, but that is not to say that it isn’t a decent animation film.
Wreck it Ralph follows arcade game villain Ralph, voiced by John C Reilly, sick of always being the bad guy, Ralph attempts to become a hero, jumping from game to game around the arcade, Ralph finds that becoming a hero might not be for the best. This is Disney’s best attempt yet to keep up with the big dogs like Pixar and DreamWorks in the animated film race. But unlike its competition it fails to attract the parents in the audience. Pixar does it perfectly; somebody of any age can sit down and really enjoy one of their films (forgetting Cars 2).  Wreck it Ralph on the other hand is not as much a family film but more of a kids film. 
Not that they don’t try, in the first act we get a load of cameos from other game characters such as Bowser and Sonic the Hedgehog, that will be enough to wet most gamers appetites, however this stops in the second act where we are left in a game called Sugar Rush which is way too sweet for most to handle.
This is where we meet Penelope an annoying glitch in the games framework irritatingly voiced by Sarah Silverman. This is when the film starts to fall apart because it just becomes very cliche' and boring, nothing new or original is being done to make this film stand out amongst the crowd. If the film had kept up its solid first half then we might have had the next Toy Story on our hands but instead we get bored by staying too long in a world we don’t like and followed around by a really irritating character that again we don’t particularly like and then we finish with an ending which is too predictable. 
The animation may be solid but it still has nothing on the advancements that Pixar make in every film they do. Wreck it Ralph starts off so well but disappoints in the last half, making this film nothing special in the animation genre. Therefore I am giving it a rating of 3/5.

Zero Dark Thirty

There has been a lot of mixed feelings about this film and when I finally came to watch it I didn't have the highest of expectations, however once I had finsihed it I was happily surprised. Zero Dark Thirty is based on first hand accounts of the events that led up to the eventual assassination of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. The film starts off with the very difficult to watch torture scenes that have been picked apart by the press since it's release. I can understand some of the criticism but these torture scenes are essential to the film and I believe were most likely essential to the information they gathered in real life. This is not the kind of film you are going to sit down one Saturday evening with your family and have fun watching. No, you have to watch this thoroughly from start to finish so that you can understand  what is going on and how difficult it must have been for the team that were trying to track down Bin Laden. If you are expecting this film to be anything like Kathryn Bigelow's last film The Hurt Locker then you will be disappointed, apart from the last 30 minutes the film is mainly made up of a bunch of people having meetings in offices with occasional real life acts of terrorism thrown in. This film wasn't as 'god bless america' as I thought it was going to be, with a lot of the film putting America in a kind of controversial light. Especially the CIA, the people there don't always seem to be that good at their job. As much as this film tries to give a realistic portrayal there are some points that feel quite fake, mainly with Jessica Chastain's character Maya who starts to shout and scream at her boss at one point and then when questioned by a senior personal she calls her self  'the motherf**cker who found this place', something I doubt would have happened within such a disciplined organisation. At two and half hours long this film still manages to keep you interested even though you already know the ending, the cinematography is incredible and the film really does look amazing. The acting is top notch with Jason Clarke's performance particularly standing out. The last 30 minutes are exhilarating and feel very real as we have since learnt that the director was allowed to see some of the real footage that took place during the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this film and was really interested from start to finish. I am giving Zero Dark Thirty a rating of 4/5.

The Impossible

Based on the real survival of a Spanish family The Impossible does the hard job of putting the tragic events of the 2004 tsunami onto film. A hard topic that the film sometimes pulls off and other times does not. For one, the main family's nationality was changed from Spanish to English, one can only assume this is for the film to attract a more mainstream 'western' audience. The problem with this is that the family are a very stereotypical posh English family that within the first 10 minutes of the film cannot stop referring to each other as 'darling'. This straight away provided a barrier for me as I found the family to be quite irritating so therefore when disaster eventually strikes I did not have an emotional connection with them. Thankfully their irritating nature decreases throughout the film enough for me to feel for the family and want for them to survive the disaster. However it is only this family that you care about, almost like any other survival type film you care for the characters you follow and not for the ones around them, which would be fine if this event was fictitious but it is not, it is real and a lot of people lost their lives and were affected by the tsunami and feeling for so few throughout this movie does not seem right. Maybe it is because director Juan Antonio Bayona has his previous roots in the horror genre that this film sometimes feels like a genre piece rather then a documentation of real life events. That's not to say that some of the horror elements in this film don't work as sometimes they really add to the scariness of the event but then again other times it makes it feel like a disaster movie. The title of this film is quite right, the story that happens does feel impossible and might be the reason that certain moments felt dramatised or too good to be true. As a film it has been shot beautifully with some scenes being absolutely terrifying, just like they should be. By the end of the film you do feel like you have been through an emotional journey, one that you may not want to take again. The 2004 disaster is one that is hard to portray on the big screen and The Impossible doesn't always pull it off however the film still isn't half bad, therefore I am giving it a rating of 3/5.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Teacher - Production Post #1

Myself on the left with Aaron OToole on the right.
So I wanted to write this post about some of the film work I have been up to as I am very excited about my current projects. You may or may not know that I am currently studying a Film course at Falmouth University where each semester we are given a new film project to work on. This time round we were pitched ideas from other students in our course and then we had to develop these ideas and make a 5 minute short film out of them. I had the privilege of taking on the directing role in my film group and what we have produced so far makes me very happy!

Chloe Maliphant
My group, which consists of three other people, went with an idea that looked at a teacher's point of view when permanently excluding a child from education. We have since developed that idea and have a done a lot of work on it. Faith Stoddard wrote an amazing script whilst producer and DOP Laura Whittington got everything in place for us to film some amazing footage that wrapped up nicely last week, the footage is now left to our editor and sound designer Aaron OToole who no doubt will have made something brilliant out of what we have, in time for when we meet up again after the Easter break.
Jono Blythe

The two actors taking the lead roles in our film are Chloe Maliphant and Jono Blythe. The two truly have some amazing talent which I believe will come across very well when the film will be released and entered into festivals later this year.

I am very excited for this short and I hope that you might be too but if my word isn't enough then please take a look at this amazing poster helped realised by Rita Kazakevica and designed by Faith Nelson:

If you are still on board and think this is something you are interested in then please support us by liking our Facebook page and following the short film's Twitter account.

Most of the crew are on Twitter apart from our editor, feel free to follow them also. Myself/Director @SuperAlexMan, Producer and DOP @UkuleleLaura, Producer and Screenwriter @FaithhS.

Please blog about us and share our short film with your friends. We have been getting a lot of positive support and the whole crew would love for this film to be shown to as many people as possible once completed.

If you want to know more detail or would just like to get in contact then either contact my email; or the film's email:

Thank you very much for reading! Over the Easter I have another exciting project I am working on which if you follow my Twitter I will hopefully be able to spill the beans on soon and I also have another round of Quick Reviews planned.