Tuesday, 2 August 2016

August 2nd Recently viewed

Okay so I haven't posted anything in a while but I have still been seeing films so here is a big dump. I am certainly missing heaps but I can add more later. Also I have been at the film festival lately. Will add those in later.

Good will Hunting (1997)

So, for the first time since I made this blog I have re-watched my favorite film. This movie is about as close to perfect as you can get. The film has a wonderful script from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and a great ensemble lead by Matt Damon in a role that kick started his career. The standout of the ensemble is Robin Williams in a career best performance that blends humor and heart with believablity and realness (yes its a word).

This film is smart, funny, heartfelt and real. Its characters are whole, real and deeply moving. The casting is perfect, the music is perfect, it is paced perfectly and it is shot in a simple, non-invasive fashion, which makes it easy and pleasant to watch.Would thoroughly recommend to anyone.

Finding Dory (2016)

Finding Nemo is a film I have great affection for. Its far from Pixar's best and it is relatively basic but it is colorful, pleasant and easy to watch. This made the prospect of a sequel seem a little odd and unnecessary. I am, however, pleased to say that Finding Dory is the smart type of sequel that is not just Finding Nemo done again but instead takes the characters and does something entirely different with them.

The idea basically boils down to "remember that comic relief character that you enjoyed laughing at in the previous film? Well what makes her that way is actually a serious childhood condition she has been struggling with her whole life". That is an interesting way to go and actually gives the fun little fish film something to say. Beyond that, it looks exactly as pretty as you expect, the characters are otherwise how you remember them and the plot moves along at a fun pace. 

Those who have raised a kid with mental disabilities will probably feel like they have been hit by a ton of bricks. However, for the rest of us it is a fun distraction that will not change your life but will give you a couple of hours with a smile on your face.

The BFG (2016)

Steven Spielberg shows once again that he has still got it. The BFG is one of the best looking films you will see this year. The motion capture work is very impressive, as is the whole production set. It also features an original score from John Williams, which is as beautiful as anything he has done. The script is very well written with infectious humor scattered throughout.

What makes this film truly special, however, is the way Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill act together. Rylance is continuing to show himself as one of the most talented living actors and Barnhill makes an excellent film debut. If there is one issue I had with it, it is that the story lacks tension at times with rather one-note antagonists. This ends up being somewhat unimportant, however, because the movie is really about the relationship between our two protagonists and that is the stuff Spielberg excels at.

Star Trek Beyond (2016)

The Star Trek reboots have taken a lot of flack from avid Star Trek fans recently. I, however never got into the original series so only judged them as action science fiction films and as far as that goes have rather enjoyed them. The latest is a bit of a mixed bag. I found the first act to be sort of messy. It is obvious Justin Lin is not used to shooting action in confined spaces and the editing gets very choppy early on when a lot of action is occurring on a ship. Eventually, the crew end up separated on a planet and things start to pick up from there.When Justin Lin is given space to breathe he shows that he can direct a hell of a spectacle. 

The plot is rather thin but there is some great character development, especially between Spok and McCoy. As usual the usual actors all do a great job, I should mention that Anton Yelchin will be sorely missed. Idris Alba does a good job as our main antagonist. He comes across somewhat one-note for a large portion in the movie but is brought back to reality much more in the third act. All in all it is enjoyable and with some great moments. Far from the best I have seen this year but well worth the ticket.

 Dazed and Confused (1993)

I must admit, while I am a huge fan of Richard Linklater, I only just got around to watching Dazed and Confused. When it was getting started, I found myself thinking "really, this is what people refer to as Linklater's masterpiece?" but as the film progressed the film snuck up on me and by the end it absolutely had me.

Like many of Linklater's films, this is light on story, high on character and it is very real. It is clear that he has very strong feelings for this part of his life: carefree, fun, wild but in a way oppressed and desperate for freedom. The characters are all people who easily could have existed and while I am a generation or so removed from this time, even I can relate to many them. The film also has an understated, timeless look to it and wonderfully timed music throughout. I would thoroughly recommend that this film is watched with groups of people from different age groups because it will create conversation. In my opinion, it is not Linklater's best, but still a wonderfully realized conversation starter with great character and some decent humor spread through. Well worth the watch.

Song of the Sea (2015)

I promise I will stop watching so many animated films one day. Song of the sea is a colorful, fun, unique, interesting experience. The story is engrossing, the characters are brilliantly realized and music is hauntingly beautiful.

This international collaboration brought together aspects of many different countries and cultures in the way it was made. This gave it a special feel to it that leaves you with the realization that there is not anything else like this. It comes complete with a refreshing art style and diverse voice-work. Would thoroughly recommend.


Brooklyn (2015)
This is the 4th time I have watched Brooklyn in the small amount of time it has been available. Saoirse Ronan gives the performance of a lifetime as a young woman who moves from Ireland to America in the 1950s and falls in love. Brooklyn is understated in the best sense of the word. It is simple, elegant and thoroughly engrossing. 

The cast sells the variation between Ireland and America in those times, giving us a real glimpse of what it must have been like for a woman such as our main protagonist. The cinematography is gorgeous, focusing often on artistic close up shots of our main character. Ronan suits this style of film as she is an impressively expressive actress. The score gives it that added touch to really hold you in. I found myself absolutely entranced by this film and would strongly recommend it.