Wednesday, 27 May 2015

May Watch List

1. Les Combattants
 Called 'Love at First Fight' elsewhere or will be called this elsewhere. Although it is partly true, that title, dumbs down the story between Madeleine and Arnaud. She is aggressive and outspoken, while is calm and sweet natured. After being transfixed by her, he follows her into signing up for a military program. Where she is keen to do hard training but shot down for being too forward, he continues along doing well with the tasks asked of him. The tipping point is when she questions his authority during an orienteering exercise. This being the final straw for him, leaves but this time she follows. They escape and its their time in the woods alone things come to a head, in a symbolic and tension freeing way. I really enjoyed this film, especially as the leads had such great chemistry, switching up the character traits with her being the 'hot head' and him being 'calm and collected'. The film has won awards and so far talk about the film has been 'so-so' but I think the characters are refreshing and the comedic moments are well dispersed. 3/5
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
 How do I begin with this Mad Max film? Maybe by answering all those, let's face it, men, complaining that the film was dominated by Charlize Theron's Furiosa and not enough of Tom Hardy's Max. To them I say, please do shut up. The film is not a feminist riot. Women, yes do take centre stage and there are more women than men in the 'main' cast catagory but why does this matter? Doesn't it show that films have progressed and that stories, even big blockbuster films can be about women too? All the films are about Mad Max and how he survives in the wilderness, but all the films aren't solely about him, they're also about the people he encounters. If you really want to summerise the epic film that is Fury Road, you could say its about a strong woman who saves three women from being owned by a crazy dictator. They all go on a road trip to find a better place to live. Also Max is there.

The film is more than these sexist views about the film. It begins with Max's story, then intercuts with two others, Furiosa who drives a war tank and Nux (Nicholas Hoult) a 'war boy' in the crazy dictator Immortan Joe's army. Max is captured and used as blood bank for Nux. When Joe realise that his prize possessions, the last breeders, his 5 wives have been kidnapped/saved by Furiosa, so begins the epic road trip/war to bring them back. Max, is caught up in another war (as you remember this happens quite frequently). At first reluctant, nearly driving off leaving the women stranded, but soons he is part of the gang trying to escape the clutches of the actuallt really disgusting and truely terrible being, Immortan Joe. The film doesn't break away and reboot anything, its stays with the universise of the other three films but on a bigger playing field. Everything from the machines, vehicles, costumes, the language and the just the characters themselves are brilliantly executed in screen. I only have a few qualms but they are just my own views (one is a plot spoiler, so I won't do that). It was mainly Hardy's choice of accent, it was part Bane, part American, part Austrailian, let's just say it was odd. If you liked the classics, you will not be disappointed. If you like road movies with violence, you won't be disappointed. If you're sexist and only like films where men take the centre stage, grow up, Furiosa is coming for you. 4/5

 3. Moomins on the Riveria 
The scary images of The Congress aside, long live 2D animation in all its beautiful glory. This Finnish-French production of a new story based on the characters by beloved author Tove Jansson and the comic strips by Tove and her brother Lars, is simply long overdue. Not only is the storyline in keeping with the adventers of the Moomins but the designs are truely amazing, as of they were lifted straight from the books and comic strips. The use of colour is very strong, especially in the settings. Bright yellows and pinks for the Riveria and bright blues, greys and reds for Moomin Valley. As well as the main story, there are a few small story plots that develop to the side which just adds to the sheer delight of the whole film. I say this was long overdue but I'm glad that time was spent making it worthy of the original work. A film that all Moomin fans will enjoy and one that will convert new fans too. 4/5

4. Clouds of Sils Maria
Juliette Binoche is a great actress, Kristen Stewart in the past has not been but the two of them make a brilliant and compelling team. The film, about a middle aged actress who is goes to the Alps to prefer for a role she is not completely committed to. Having played the role of Sigrid at 18 years old in the acclaimed fictional play 'Maloja Snake', Maria Enders (Binoche) is asked to play the older character, Helena in the play who is madly in love with Sigrid and ultimately kills herself. That, is the basis of the plot, but there is so much underneath that is just under the surface of Maria. Valentine (Stewart) is the secondary character but she is forever expressing the opposite and sounded opinion needed to groud Maria. The film would make an excellent play on its own, even though that setting whould lose the amazing views of the Alps and eponymous cloud formation (Maloja Snake) of the play within a film. Comments about actresses, films and genres today are also brought up and are discussed intelligently, expressing interesting opinions from both characters. A great film and brilliantly acted, two great roles for women, wish there was more of these. 3/5

5. The Congress
After seeing the trailer I was intrigued by the story and I was mezmerised by Ari Foldman's Waltz with Bashir documentary, so I thought it was time I watched the film. Beyond the set up of Robin Wright playing a version of herself where she offered by the studio, one last contract, where they scan her image in everyway, including emotions, and she never acts again. She does this, ultimately to take care of her sick son. Then 20 years later, her contract is up for renewal, she is asked by the studio to appear at the Futurological Congress, in a strictly animated zone. She attends the congress which is in a bizarre world, but things take a turn when rebels attack the city. The film and story enters a whole other reality, literally and it becomes confusing to follow. Time passes but she looks the same and familiar characters pop up throughout, its hard to follow but looking past that, the 2D animantion gives the film and story something strange and unnerving to look at. For the first time the animation is unsettling but its meant to be. 3/5

6. Far From the Madding Crowd
I've written quite a post comparing the 1967 film directed by John Schlesinger and the newer 2015 version by Thomas Vinterberg. Here is a link to that post. 4/5

7. Tomorrowland 
I was sceptical about this film, another based on a theme park area/ride, but I thought, let's give it a chance, it is directed by Brad Bird after all. Like a few other reviews have said, it is hard to describe the story and I don't think I would want to. Casey, a teen who tries to stop a rocket launchpad from being destroyed, as this would cause her dad to lose his job, gets arrested. Upon being released she comes across a pin that allows her to see another dimension or the future as the case may be.  After trying to track down where it came from and how it allowed her do so, she ends up being chased by robots and a mysterious young girl Athena. This leads on to Casey meeting Frank, a grump middle aged man who knows about the pin and Athena. From there its best I stop as its gets complicated and I don't want to spoil anything. The first half the film is brilliant, it hooks you into the story, bar the annoying talking to the camera part which turns out is necessary, but I felt the second half leaned more to a mixture of 'family fun', gadgets galore and the old schmaltzy, 'need to save the world' plot line. The film had potential but in the end was a family film where 'be positive' is the message, I expected more. 3/5


  1. Nice quick reviews! Mad Max has been on my radar forever. I'm hoping I can FINALLY squeeze it in on Monday. Tom Hardy is rad, but he cannot do accents - which he's admitted to. He tries, but hopefully it won't be too aggravating. Clouds of St. Mila is on my to-watch list. I was super impressed that she was the first American actress to win a Cesar award.

  2. Thanks, I try not to dwell too much on the story just brief notes on what I saw :) Hahahah yes its odd but not distracting, too much drama going on around him for it to be a big deal. I was impressed by this too - Kristen Stewert I mean, it's the first time, part from The Runaways, where she's acted well, she did great in this role.