Even though film reviews are suppose to be impartial but I have a soft spot for Wes Anderson. From a personal stand point his films are comfortable to watch. It has this style which is weird and wacky but it’s colour aesthetics gives a sense of nostalgia and the retro grandeur is a pleasant portrait to cast your eyes upon.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is no different. Anderson stays to his way of film making. Even on a limited budget the sets and the direction is one of a majestic feeling and the tone is quirky enough to become a joy to view. The huge and acclaimed cast is perfect for this film. It;s huge cast of all era’s and the only downside is that every big star gets limited to a cameo performance.
Ralph Fiennes plays the concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel and his character is a unique in Anderson’s universe. In past films every character plays to Anderson’s world. Wacky in style and peculiar in their speech, There’re normally a calm tone to the characters speech even when they are angry. However Fiennes breaks out of this mould and at times, quoting ‘fuck it’ and loses his marbles. Fiennes breaks out of that mold and it provides a comedic strength to the film. Fiennes definitely shines in this film and that is not putting anything down on the supporting cast. Every actor did their job to the Anderson standard. Especially Ed Norton’s character was also a favourite, now becoming a regular in Anderson’s troupe. I would love if he had a leading role in the next Anderson film.
This is not Anderson’s best film, Moonrise and Steve Zissou is still by far my favourite films. The story had a lot of tangents that wasn’t necessary and the cast was too big. Their was a lot of talent on show and not enough screen time. The Royal Tenebaums shows that Anderson can utilise a big cast, in this film some big names had very little screen time.
However The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the best films I’ve seen this year and would recommend everyone to watch it. It was hilarious, not massive laughs but constant chuckles. I just had a 100 minute smile on the whole time. This film will surprise you, it will make you laugh, make you cry, amaze you though the style and sets. I have yet to come across a Wes Anderson that I’m disappointed by.
Overall - Wes Anderson creates another masterpiece and if everyone followed suit of how much effort the director put’s into the set and utilise the budget every film would be a joy to watch. Maybe it was over ambitious in it’s cast but Fiennes shines, Norton excels and Dafoe just terrifying. If you love Anderson watch it, If you don’t find your lost soul and watch it anyway. Film Rating 8.5/10
This is not just a wolf on wall street, it’s the wolf on Hollywood. How did a film with 500 mentions of the word fuck, full frontal female nudity, constant depiction of drug use and a film glorifying a criminal get nominated for so many Oscars? Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio playing Jordan Belfront, a stockbroker who creates a company to fraudulently sell shares. Even though the second shot of the film is him snorting cocaine out of a hooker’s butthole. This is an Oscar worthy performance. Sounds crazy but this is a film that goes 200 mph and doesn’t want to stop. DiCaprio is so diverse in this film, he’s hilarious in this film. The whole cast in this film is on top form. Jonah Hill, I’m not his biggest fan but he shocked me and his future is looking bright. It needed more Mconaughey, he was so funny.
There were scenes that I couldn’t stop laughing especially the ‘lemmon’ scene, tears were pouring down face. Also the whole modget talk, It was so offensive but I had this itching urge to bawl out laughing and I did. This is a comedy but a well scripted, directed, acted comedy. DiCaprio’s monologues and talks were so inspiring and he acted so well. When he was shouting you could see the vines pop out of his head. It will be tragic if DiCaprio gets snubbed by the Oscars…..again.
The whole cast was fantastic, the whole film was fun, yes it’s full of sex, drugs and fucks but that’s what makes this film so great, it doesn’t hold back. I was in a room full of all ages from 18 to 65 and I felt so uncomfortable in the sex scenes but it was a good uncomfortable. It added to the humour. One of the best of the decade. A little long at 3 hours but who cares when you are having this much fun.
Overall - Only Scorsese could make an 18 a mainstream film. Rude, crude and so well acted. Wolf On Wall Street is a fun, fast film, that is 3 hours of a ride through materialistic glory, sex and drugs. Every part of this film was amazing. Funny, brilliantly acted, just fantastic. Film Rating 9/10
Film Review - American Hustle (2013) An awards film, already bagged a few golden globes in the actresses department. I went to see the film as it was raved by a bizillion (an actual number….. ) critics. About a con artist (Bale) who is caught with his mistress (Adams) by an FBI investigator (Cooper) and forced to work for the FBI to take down the big shots in the con industry.
Review - Before I go into the problems of the plot, the performances is what makes this film an enjoyment to watch. Christian Bale is one of the greatest actor to ever live and this is another performance which shows this. Watch the fighter or the prestige, this is up there with those performances. Amy Adams has a lot of side boobs but don’t let that distract you, you also has a good performance, sometimes confusing with the constant change in mood and accent but definitely award worthy. Bradley Cooper is very comedic in its role and Jennifer Lawerence is the one to watch. She is the hottest thing in Hollywood right and that sounds so MTV to say that and it hurts me morally but its true.
Now the performances are great, the cinematography is great, Russel’s style is one to marvel at. ie. Silver Lining Playbook and The Fighter. American Hustle doesn’t falter in that. However I was let down by the plot. It was more a character central piece which is fine but in a con movie, it needs to be about the con and the whole pay off didn’t really satisfy me. The director has state it was more character focused with improvised scenes but I didn’t know what this movie was. It wasn’t a full on comedy or thriller or action. It kind of which a mixture but it was so lack off each that I didn’t know how to take the film.
I still enjoyed the film, as I mentioned amazing performances for me Bale stood out as the overweight con artist. It was funny at part, not chest pain inducing but a slight tickle. It isn’t the greatest con movie of all time or neither the best released film of 2013. It was a little too long but I would still give it a watch for the performances. Good but I expected more. Rating 6.5/10
Film Review- Little Miss Sunshine (2006) This film is the reason why I love this medium. A heartwarming story about a little girls dreams of becoming Miss California with a side dish of a dysfunctional family. It’s a film that is packed with issues but still turns out to be a lovely uplifting saga which is filled with light hearted comedy, emotion and pure beauty.
Plot- The Hoover family is filled with massive problems. The father (Greg Kinnear) has a step by step program for winners and losers that he wished to proceed and make famous with a book deal and so on. However success is slim and this puts pressure on his relationship with is wife. However the film is focused on the daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin) who enters the Little miss Sunshine contest who was trained by her Grandfather(Alan Arkin) , who an old WW2 veteran who has an addiction to Heroin. Also the Son, Dwayne (Paul Dano) takes a vow of silence to become a Pilot and he hates everybody. Finally Their Uncle, Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) is a gay Proust Scholar who tried to commit suicide. This film tracks the journey to the little miss sunshine contest.
Review- There are not many films that I watch that I think are perfect. There are not many films that I get so engrossed into, that I feel for every character and enjoy it throughout. This is one of those films. Little Miss Sunshine is one of those little gems, that didn’t need multi-million budget, explosion or nudity to appease audiences. This film has a heart, great script and a perfect performances from every member of the cast. I can’t stress how perfect each actor/actress were. Steve Carell was perfect playing the guy who has just tried to commit suicide. He plays the silent, edgy character which tries to say that he’s fine but everywhere he looks he reminding of his pain and he acts it so well, showing that Carell can play more serious roles. Kinnear and Collette was just perfect playing the pushy and laid back parents with their own struggles but its Carell, Dano’s performance as the silent son, who hates everybody is even more perfect. Abigail Breslin as Olive is fantastic, the scene where she asks her granddad if she’s pretty is a stand out scene and it’s because of Breslin’s performance makes it so amazing. A brilliant child actor. Alan Arkin as the Granddad is the source of Comedy and his performance is a scene stealer he is a much deserved Oscar Winning performance. I cannot fault anyone on their performance because they were flawless, every single one.
The story is some what simple, a dysfunctional family going on a journey to take their Daughter to a beauty pagent. In that simple sentence their are problems of divorce, bankruptcy, suicide, addiction, sexualisation of young women, homosexuailty, family, death, life. It’s full of these issues but it balances it out with some light hearted comedy and emotion perfectly. It never becomes too depressing or cheesy. It’s a great script that has so many memorable moments. It has moment of problems, solutions and wisdom. It pulled each string perfectly, with every emotion being used. When you needed to feel happy the film produced it, when it needed a problem to overcome, it produced it. When you need to stare at the screen at go all teary eyed, it did it. When a film has no big budget or explosion it can’t hide behind a mask, it needs a beautifully written script, a big heart and amazing performances to make it a great film and this film has it.
[Spoiler Alert] One of my favourite parts were the pageant scene where there is a clear sexualisation of young girls but the audience cheer it and applaud however when Olive explicitly presents a strip tease, the audience are horrified, it’s the irony of the audience that are played so well. However the seminal theme for the film is family, it starts of with a separated family full of problems, and ends with a close knitted family that still has those problems but it’s the togetherness that creates the solution that audiences are hungry for. Some people may find it depressing or not that impacting but it’s not depressing, it’s life. It doesn’t fully go into depth with the problems but it still tackles them perfectly.
Overall- This is a film that is a little gem that has a big heart. Brilliant direction, great script, amazing performances and an emotional ride. Little Miss Sunshine is no blockbuster, no explosion fest of booms and boobs and monster. It’s a stripped down film that is simple. It’s so simple that it is beautiful. Emotional, majestic, funny and sweet. This is a perfect film that is simple, heart warming and just beauty. Film Rating- 10/10
Film Review: Philadelphia (1993) - A mainstream film about the discrimination and ignorance of the AIDS pandemic and homophobia. From two of the greatest actors of all time; Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. I was hesitant of how they’ll portray it because it’s hollywood but they did alright.
Plot- Andrew Beckett (Hanks) is a homosexual lawyer who has contracted AIDS and the owner of the law firm finds out and fires him, Beckett hires Joe Miller (Washington) who is a homophobic lawyer who sues the law firm over discrimination and wrongful termination.
Review: I love Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington and any film these two are in they steal and they are great in this film. Hanks portrays an openly gay lawyer with great substance, similar to Washington’s homophobic lawyer and his struggle to accept Gay’s being human beings can be hard to follow as first because some of the things he does say is quite offensive. However he does accept it in the best scene of the film, which is the opera scene, where Hanks explains a beautiful opera song to Washington and it is a heartbreaking scene where Washington accepts homosexuality, honestly I don’t think he fully accepts it as he goes straight home to see his baby and wife to try to recapture his heterosexual tendencies but for that moment during the opera song, even though he says nothing he face shows that he doesn’t homosexuality as a disease.
Homophobia is a huge problem in 1993 and it definitely still is and sadly it will continue but I don’t want to get fully into the subject as that’s a whole new direction. But that is the only thing I had a problem with this film, it that there were only extremes. IT showed people who was massively homophobic or gay. The middle was hardly shown and I don’t think it showcased a realistic view of societies stance of homosexuality. But what do I know I was born in 1993. Not saying the views are real because there is strong homophobia still present today and it does sicken me that politicians can be openly homophobic and still run for president.
It is a brilliant film that does tug at the heart strings and it does represent AIDS ignorance very well as I have met people who still think you can catch AIDS via the toilet seat. It is a risky film for being one of the first mainstream films to tackle this topic and it’s still a risky topic for mainstream films. The conclusion wasn’t too conclusive, you do hear the case result but the ending is not that closing for me. Apart from that everything is perfect even the song by Bruce Springsteen, “Streets of Philadelphia”
Overall- It is an amazing film that tackles a taboo topic, which shouldn’t be taboo. The conclusion is pretty shabby and representation of society is a bit exaggerated (Well it is Hollywood) however it’s a hard hitting film from two of the greatest actors of all time. Definitely watch this film as it is insightful and has amazing performances. This film definitely should go under the title of a classic. Film Rating- 8/10
30 Day Movie Challenge - Day 20 - Favorite movie from your favourite actor - Glory (1989) Yes my favourite actor is Denzel Washington just because he is an amazing actor and every film he is in he steals it and even if hes the supporting character he makes sure hes not. Glory is about the first black regiment in the American Civil war and how badly there were treated but still fought on with bucket loads of courage to fight for their freedom. Glory is a masterpiece that is hugely emotional and is filled with brilliant performances from Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and even Matthew Broderick. This film is a little outdated and can be slow but this still triumphs as a film with great characters and action sets. It’s a film that is a hidden gem where not many people have heard off, even though Washington won a supporting actor Oscar for this. Damn I’m not sure if anyone will read this but it is a great film- Film Rating- 8/10
30 Day Movie Challenge- Day 14 - A movie that no one would expect you to love- Pursuit of Happyness (2006) Now this was hard to choose because most of the people I know, know that I love a lot of films so I’m picking one of my favourite films that not many people would expect to be. Pursuit of Happyness is a fantastic film about the rags to riches story of stock broker Chris Gardener. Will Smith gives his best performance ever!! I mean ever. He plays the against the odds father with such realism. The connection he has with his real life son is perfect. This allows you to connect with his character because the connection between father and son is real. The most heartbreaking moment is when their homeless and he has to play a game with his son to hide the fact that they have to sleep in the toilets for the night. This is truly an inspirational story where this guy was put down by everyone in the business, society and his ex wife. This made me cry, laugh and smile and any film that can make me do that is one hell of a film. (Smith should of got that oscar!!!) - Film Rating- 8.5/10
30 day Movie Challenge- day 8 - A Movie that you’ve seen countless times- Rocky (1976) Now everyone should of seen or even heard about this film. This is a classic and is one of my favourite films. I’m a massive Rocky fan and I love them all, doesn’t matter how stupid they get. It’s a typical rags to riches story of Rocky Balboa, an amateur boxer nearing retirement gets given the chance to face the champion, Apollo Creed. Honestly this film, boxing is the back story, the relationship between Rocky and Adrian is the most beautiful thing about this film. Them too have such a great connection on screen that makes their relationship so believable and so sweet. Mickey, the trainer is brilliant as the disheveled trainer and every scene he’s in, he steals it. This films plays heavily on the fact that this is Mickey and Rocky’s final chance at making an impact. The fighting in the ring is definitely outdated but the story is just as fresh as it was 36 years ago. The love story is fantastic, the rags to riches story is inspiring, it has so much memorable quotes (Yo Adrian!!!) memorable scenes (Running up the stairs to the Art Museum) and the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic. It works so well with the film. It’s amazing that this was made with a $1 million budget and it made back $225 million, won an three Oscar including best picture and has become a classic in the art of film. This film makes me smile and I love this film and inspired me to indulge myself in the art of film. Film Rating 9/10
30 Day Movie Challenge- Day 4 - A Movie that makes you sad- Up (2009) The whole film doesn’t make me sad, as always this is a Pixar film that has an uplifting powerful message but it’s the first 10 minutes that shows Carl and Ellie life. The reason why it is so sad is because they have this dream from childhood that they would live in a place called Paradise Falls in South America. But as their life goes on and they go through the typical life stages, get a house, get married and have children but unfortunately Ellie can’t have children so they try and saved up funds to make that trip to Paradise Falls. They almost get their as Carl brought two tickets but Ellie falls Ill and dies of Old age. This ends their two dreams of making a trip to Paradise Falls and brings Carl to a depressed and grumpy old man. The rest of the film is Carl realising that he is near old age after being evicted and sent to a care home, so it puts thousands of balloons on his home to fly to Paradise Falls. The reason why I love this movie and why it is so sad is that it handles such an adult subject matter but it presents it in such a way that people of all ages can understand. That’s what is perfect about Pixar, they do that so well. It hits home for me because I’ve made promises and dreams a few years ago to friends and family and as I’ve grown older the dreams and promises and friends start to fade away. It’s a perfect film and one of my favourite Pixar Movies well one of my favourite films. Film Rating- 8.5/10