Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekly Film Review Round Up 24th May 2014

For the first time I really enjoyed an X-Men film, and it wasn’t just due to Hugh Jackman’s nude scene. I also urge to you to go out and see a small Australian film, The Babadook. It's one of the best horror films you will see this year. Warning: Don’t take the kids if you want them to continue to go to bed with the light turned off. Releasing next week is The Trip to Italy, which is more of the same as the first one if you caught that. Though, it sure does make me want to get on a plane for Italy. Until next week… Ciao!

(My movie Pick of the week)

The Babadook ✪✪✪✪½

Opens in Australia:      22nd May 2014
USA: 6th June 14    UK: 24th October 2014
Other Countries:          Release Information
Perth:                          Luna Palace Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
This horror or, depending on your take of it, psychological thriller is creepy… very creepy. Its an extremely well executed story that is a patchwork of Hitchcock inspired scenes, striking visuals inspired from The Ring, and anticipatory set-ups reminiscent of Paranormal. Horror usually suffers from feeling too derivative of horror films watched in our teenage years.

The Babadook probably shouldn’t have worked. Somehow, though, it manages to skilfully pull everything together, in no small part due to the assistance of some compelling, raw performances from the two leads: Essie Davis as single mother Naomi and six-year-old Noah Wiseman playing her son Oskar. Wiseman gives an extremely nuanced, authentic performance of a troubled boy attempting to deal with a mother who is becoming unhinged.

Naomi is still mourning her husband’s death the day her son, Oskar, was born. Oskar’s behaviour is becoming increasingly worrying; he insists that Mr. Babadook, a character from a disturbing book that has just turned up in their house, wants to kill them both. Oskar’s obsession with the monster causes him to be expelled from school, and creates a rift between Naomi and her sister. Whether the monster is real or part of Oskar’s and his mother’s imagination is the heart of the story.

First time feature Director, Jennifer Kent, also penned the script, and she’s pulled of a great feat, creating a well-paced storyline, immersive visuals, and eliciting confident, stylish performances from her small and mostly unknown cast.

A good horror thriller is a rarity; a director who knows how to create the immersive feel required to soar above cliché into unsettling thrills, even more rare. We may not want The Babadook under our bed, but we certainly want more films like this on our cinema screens.

STUDIO BLURB
A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son's fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.

X-Men: Days of Future Past ✪✪✪✪   

Opens in Australia:               22nd  May 2014
USA: 23rd  May 2014              UK: 22nd May 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information

OUR THOUGHTS
Marvel releases are the best popcorn films around these days. You are guaranteed wit, action, good looking, muscle-bound superheroes and no-expense spared special effects. The one exception, for me, is the X-men series. From the very first episode, they have always managed to be just “good enough,” but not exciting. The story lines just haven’t grabbed me and they feel kind of a poor cousin to The Avengers and Spiderman.

So with a decided lack of excitement, I sat ready to be unimpressed much to the consternation of friends who are fans of the great Wolverine and his gang of straggly heroes in uncomfortable looking suits. It was quite a surprise to discover that from the opening sequence, through to the very interesting concept of Wolverine travelling back in time to work with the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Magneto, I was hooked.

James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto really shine. But the real show stealer is Evan Peters as Quicksilver. The scene in the kitchen where we steal a slowed-down peek of his view of the world as he moves at super-speed will probably be my favourite scene of the year.

This film feels fresh, original, and has turned a non-fan into an X-men follower. Now I am eagerly awaiting the next installment, and that surprises me.
P.S. Stay for the end credits.

STUDIO BLURB
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, "X-Men: First Class," in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future.

The Trip to Italy ✪✪✪      

Opens in Australia:      29th May 2014
USA: 29th April 14        UK: 25th April 2014
Other Countries:          Release Information
Perth:                            Luna Palace Cinemas

OUR THOUGHTS
The hubby and I enjoyed the first one of these, The Trip. This one is more of the same, although I do think its too much more of the same. There’s also an odd storyline thrown in, among what is improvised comedic scatting, which I don’t think works very well.

Something is a little off in this one, and it’s definitely lost some of its original charm. The views of the Italian countryside are glorious, but around the half way mark, I just kept thinking that they had now overstayed their welcome and that they needed to cut their trip a little short—and I’m a big Steve Coogan fan.  If you are a huge fan of the original and are hankering for more of the same, do go along. For the rest, wait for its showing on television or catch on DVD

STUDIO BLURB
Michael Winterbottom's largely improvised 2010 film, The Trip, took comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon or semifictionalized versions thereof on a restaurant tour around Northern England. In this witty and incisive follow-up, Winterbottom reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip, retracing the steps of the Romantic poets' grand tour of Italy and indulging in some sparkling banter and impersonation-offs. Rewhetting our palates from the earlier film, the characters enjoy mouthwatering meals in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman's vocal register, the artistic merits of Jagged Little Pill, and, of course, the virtue of sequels.


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