Friday, 31 August 2012

Film Review: THE WAY BACK (2010)

The Way Back - poster Director: Peter Weir
Writers: Peter Weir (screenplay), Keith R. Clarke (screenplay), Slavomir Rawicz (novel “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom”)
Running time: 127 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Adventure/Drama
UK Release date: 21st January 2011

Watched on DVD Friday 31st August 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of those films I have been meaning to watch for a while now. I always like a film based on a true story, as this one is; somehow it makes the action on screen more real to me. Although a little over-long, I must say I did find this quite an inspiring tale. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

The Way Back - 6 When a Polish man Janusz Wieszczek is thrown into prison in 1940 on charges that are, let’s say, dubious to say the least; he is sent to Siberia. Here he is put to work in a labour camp cutting trees and preparing logs. After an incident with one of the guards, he is sent to work in the mine; effectively a death-sentence. All this time he is talking to several others about getting out. They have a rough idea where they are and have worked out that if they head South they can make it to Mongolia. On the night of a big storm a group that includes Janusz, Valka, Mr. Smith (an American), Voss, Tomasz, Kazik and Zoran make their bid for freedom. Heading south and using to storm to cover their trail they soon lose the prison guards. They lose one of their number to the cold, but press on. They are joined by a girl, Irena, who seems to have a bit of a shady past, but they take her with them anyhow. They eventually make it to Mongolia but realise that Communism has reached there as well. Their only option is to cross the Gobi Desert to Tibet and finally the Himalayas into India. Who will make it? Well, you probably guessed it, I’m not going to tell you here or the Spoiler Police (Soviet Division) will be sending me to Siberia (again).

The Way Back - 5 A really well made film about an epic journey; Peter Weir is good at this kind of thing and this is a good example of his work. A nice musical score by Burkhard von Dallwitz complements the visuals with quite anthemic themes, particularly towards the end. All the performances were very good; particularly Jim Sturgess as Janusz, Colin Farrell as Valka, Ed Harris as Mr. Smith, Saoirse Ronan as Irena and Mark Strong as Khabarov. Honourable mentions must go to; Gustaf Skarsgård as Voss, Alexandru Potocean as Tomasz, Sebastian Urzendowsky as Kazik and Dragos Bucur as Zoran.

The Way Back - 1 There is a bit of a spoiler at the beginning of the film where the audience is told how many make it to India which does take a little of the impact away from the film. You find yourself wondering just when various cast members might either meet their demise or decide to take another path. It’s a distraction I could have done without. The film is a bit too long and there is a lot of time spent in just getting out of Russia which, I felt, could have been better spent in crossing the Himalayas (just my personal preference). Over all though I did find it quite inspiring that such a journey could be made and I felt quite elated at the end. I may not watch it again, but I’m glad I gave it at least one viewing. Worth a look!.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED.

My score: 7.7/10

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 42,826 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1023114/

MetaScore: 66/100: (Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Way Back - 9 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75/100 (based on 122 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 70/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 29,977 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the-way-back/

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
[in Polish, using English subtitles]
Interrogator: [presents pen to sign confession]
Janusz: No.
Interrogator: Bring in the witness.
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [brought in]
Interrogator: Do you know this man? His name?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: Janusz Wieszczek.
Interrogator: Witness, what's your relationship with this man?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [crying] I am his wife.
Interrogator: Accused, do you confirm this?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: Yes.
Interrogator: Witness, what do you have to say about the accused?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [agonizing] From his conversation, I have come to know he is critical of the Party, especially the leader of the Soviet people, Comrade Stalin.
Janusz: What have they done to you?

The Way Back - 3 Mr. Smith: Kindness. That will kill you here.

Valka: Prison is okay. Debt is bad. But there are many prisons, they don't find me.
Zoran: What about America?
Valka: Oh, it's not for me, freedom. I wouldn't know what to do with it, I swear to God.

Janusz: [eating snake] Tastes like chicken.
Zoran: Yeah. A big black poisonous chicken with no legs.

The Way Back - 8 [last lines]
Man: Where have you come from?
Janusz: Siberia.
Man: Siberia?
Religious man: [speaks to crowd in unknown language]
Man: And how did you come, sir?
Janusz: We walked.
Man: Walked?
[crowd noise]

The Way Back - 2 LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.thewaybackthemovie.com/
Trailer:

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Film Review: LET ME IN (2010)

Let Me In - poster Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Matt Reeves (screenplay), John Ajvide Lindqvist (screenplay & novel of the original Swedish production: “Låt den rätte komma in”)
Running time: 111 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Horror/Mystery
UK Release date: 5th November 2010

Watched on DVD Thursday 30th August 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Having watched, and loved, the original Swedish film “Let the Right One In” (2008); (see my review here) it was with much trepidation I turned on this American remake. In fact, I have to say that when I watched “Let the Right One In” back in 2010, it only came second in my top ten because a certain film called “Inception” happened to be released that year. But I digress; I was in fear that the studio would dumb it down so much that it wouldn’t have the same haunting quality of the original. Was I right? Well, I’ll tell you after this very brief summary.

Let Me In - 1 Twelve year old Owen is a loner; he spends much of his time in the courtyard of the apartment block he lives in with his mum. Some boys at school, Kenny, Mark and Donald (particularly Kenny) take great delight in bullying and tormenting him. One day a girl, Abby, moves into the apartment next door with her ‘Father’. They meet in the courtyard and, after a bit of an awkward start, begin to become friends. Abby has a secret though and when Owen finds out about it he is left with a dilemma. I will leave it there, although I’ve given less away here than they do in the trailer.

Let Me In - 6 Very well made with the same haunting quality of the original; they got the look and feel of it just right. The performances were all excellent as well; particularly the two young leads; Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen and Chloë Grace Moretz as Abby. They were ably supported by; Richard Jenkins as The Father, Elias Koteas as The Policeman, Dylan Minnette as Jack and Cara Buono as Owen’s Mother.

Let Me In - 5 I find it hard to talk about this film without drawing comparisons with the original. I guess if I hadn’t seen, and fallen in love with the original, I would have thought this was quite brilliant. The trouble is, it’s almost shot-for-shot the same film; with some obvious references changed. I noticed also that it was set in the 1980’s also, giving scope for a sequel with Owen as a grown-up. So how does it compare; well I must say I preferred the mystery of the original and it will always be my favourite version. However, I still found this one perfectly watchable and have no problem in deeming it Highly Recommended if you’re not lucky enough to have seen the original… Otherwise.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED.

My score: 7.5/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 45,673 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1228987/

MetaScore: 79/100: (Based on 35 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Let Me In - 2 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89/100 (based on 205 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 58,854 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/let_me_in/

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Paramedic #1: One-three-one to dispatch, come in.
Radio Dispatcher: [after delay] One-three-one, this is dispatch, go ahead.
Paramedic #1: This is one-three-one. We have a male, mid 50s, with burns over nine to nine and a half percent of his body. Prior to arrival on scene, the patient apparently doused his head, neck and face with some sort of highly concentrated acid. patient's airway severely compromised due to fume inhalation. Vital signs undetermined. Please advise, patient is a federal suspect. We're coming in with a police escort right now.

Abby: I want to be left alone.
Owen: So do I.
Abby: Now go away.
Owen: No! I've lived here longer than you.

LET ME IN Abby: Just so you know, I can't be your friend.
Owen: Why not?
Abby: That's just the way it is.
Owen: Well, who said I wanted to be your friend? Idiot.

Abby: [touching Owen's bandaged cheek] What happened there?
Owen: Some kids from school.
Abby: I'll help you.
Owen: But you're a girl.
Abby: I'm a lot stronger than you think I am.

Abby: You have to hit back.
Owen: I can't. There's 3 of them.
Abby: Then you hit back even harder.

The Father: Please don't see that boy again.

Let Me In - 8 LINKS:
Official Site: http://www.letmein-movie.com/
Trailer:

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Film Review: RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2011) – Re-visited

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - poster2 Director: Rupert Wyatt
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Running time: 100 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Drama/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 11th August 2011

Watched on DVD Wednesday 29th August 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I was totally engrossed by this one when I saw it in the cinema about a year ago. How did it fair this time? Well, maybe not quite the same impact, my TV screen can’t quite match the big one for scale, but it still packs a big punch. I still loved every minute of it and have no problem in recommending it to everyone. Here’s a brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 6 Will Rodman is a scientist who is working on a cure for Alzheimer’s. He is very driven in his work because his father, Charles, suffers from the disease. It affects the brain and so Will’s work revolves around a gene therapy that can re-connect pathways in the brain. They test it out on Chimpanzees and one of them, Bright Eyes, shows exceptional promise. Just as Will and his boss, Steven Jacobs, are asking for funding, Bright Eyes goes crazy and has to be shot. Jacobs orders all the apes put down, but they find that Bright Eyes had had a baby. Will takes him home and discovers that the effects of the drug have been passed on. They call the baby Caesar and, with the help of a primate expert, Caroline Aranha, he eventually grows big and strong. Will gives the drug to his father and, at first, it works but then the effects wear off. He discovers what was wrong and develops a stronger version of the drug. After an incident with a neighbour, Caesar is ordered to be put in a sanctuary, away from the public. It is here that he comes into his own and it is here, under the mistreatment of his handlers, John and Dodge Landon that sparks the beginnings of The Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I can’t say any more or the Spoiler Police will have me put in a cage next to Caesar.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 2 The CGI in this film is truly stunning, and although you know most of it is computer generated, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. As far as performances go, well, for me, the star was definitely Andy Serkis who did the vast majority of the motion-capture work for Caesar, a really stunning performance. As far as the humans go, well, James Franco did a decent job as Will Rodman, as did Freida Pinto as Caroline Aranha, although I felt her character was never fully developed and consequently she was woefully underused. John Lithgow was excellent as Will’s father, Charles and Brian Cox was suitably sleazy as John Landon. Tom Felton did a good job as the evil handler, Dodge Landon and David Oyelowo was Will’s boss, Steven Jacobs.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 1 I loved every minute of this film and I really hope any sequels that are made keep to the same standard. If I have one criticism, it’s that the human characters are not particularly well developed. I can forgive that to a large extent because it forces the audience to see things from Caesar’s perspective. There are plenty of references and nods to the original 1968 film starring Charlton Heston (something to look out for). Certainly one of my favourite films of 2011 and I see nothing here to change my view. I have given it a slightly lower score than after my first viewing, mainly because the film does loose a little of its impact when scaled down for the small screen. Even so, well worth a look for any fan of the ‘Apes’ films and even those that haven’t seen them.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My score: 8.8/10

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 176,850 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1318514/

MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 4 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83/100 (based on 240 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 85,827 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/rise_of_the_planet_of_the_apes/

FAVOURITE QUOTES:
[first lines]
Robert Franklin: [administering chimp intelligence test] Okay, okay. Here you go. And let's go again.
[gives Bright Eyes treat and clocks timer]
Will Rodman: Which one's this? Number nine?
Robert Franklin: Yeah, this is number nine. Bright Eyes, we call her. Are you watching this? This is unbelievable.
[Bright Eyes does the tower fast]
Robert Franklin: Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
Bright Eyes: [grabs treat and eats it]
Will Rodman: How many moves was that?
Robert Franklin: 20.
[Will looks at them and starts to head out]
Robert Franklin: Yeah, a perfect score is 15. Doc, what are you giving her?
Will Rodman: [heads out] Hey, give that video!
[runs out the hallway and opens the door to Steven Jacobs' office]

Will Rodman: Why don't we begin? Meet Chimp Nine. We gave him a gene therapy that allows the brain to create it own cells in order to repair itself. We call it the Cure to Alzheimer's.

 RISE OF THE APES Party Boy: [at Caesar's cage] Hey, check out this guy.
Dodge Landon: Hey that one's a pain in the ass, man! He thinks he's special or something.
Party Boy: Freaky. Come here. Come on. It's like he's thinking or something.
Caesar: [grabs the man's throat and stares and growls]
Party Girl #2: Oh, my God! He has his throat!
Party Girl #1: Let him go!
Dodge Landon: [Dodge runs towards Caesar] Let go!
Caesar: [grunts and releases the man and leans towards Rocket's cage]
Rocket: [he jumps up, he growls and jumps down]
Dodge Landon: I told you not to get too close man.

Maurice: [to Caesar in sign language] Why coockie Rocket?
Caesar: [to Maurice in sign language and breaking and bundling sticks] Ape alone... weak. Apes together strong.
Maurice: [to Caesar in sign language as they observe chimps beating each other and stop] Apes stupid.

Linda: Mr. Jacobs, it's Linda from Will's team. Something horrible has happened. Franklin is dead - from a viral infection.
Steven Jacobs: What the hell are you talking about?
Linda: He was exposed to the 113. It does something to people that it doesn't do to apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 5 LINKS:
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apeswillrise
Official Site: http://www.apeswillrise.com/
Trailer:

Monday, 27 August 2012

Film Review: WALLACE AND GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WARE-RABBIT (2005)

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - poster Directors: Steve Box, Nick Park
Writers: Steve Box, Nick Park, Mark Burton, Bob Baker
Running time: 79 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Animation/Comedy/Adventure
UK Release date: 14th October 2005

Watched on Sky+ Monday 27th August 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I first saw this one several years ago and I have to admit I wasn’t all that struck with it to be honest. A second look has totally changed my mind! I think Ardman hide so many little subtle jokes that it takes a few viewings to pick up on them. For a change I found it a comedy that made me laugh out loud (a very rare thing these days)! Here’s a very brief summary before I give you more of my thoughts.

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - 1 Wallace and Gromit have gone into the pest-control business. They are a humane company called Anti-Pesto who don’t actually kill the pests; they take them in and look after them. With the local Giant Vegetable Competition coming up at Tottington Hall they are working round the clock protecting all those precious entries. Even Lady Tottington herself is having trouble with the rabbits and Anti-Pesto are called in to deal with them much to the disgust of Lady Tottington’s suitor, Victor Quartermaine. It’s when Wallace decides to use his mind control machine to brainwash some bunnies into not liking vegetables any more that an accident brings about… (Dramatic Music)… The Ware-Rabbit! It terrorises the neighbourhood taking all the vegetables it can find! It gets so bad that the Giant Vegetable competition in under threat! Not to worry; Gromit is on the case!... I’ll leave it there or the Ware-Rabbit will be after me for letting the cat out of the bag (again).

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - 2 Filmed in stop-motion, it is brilliantly animated with a really marvellous plot and the usual great musical themes that all Wallace & Gromit films have. All the performances were great; You couldn’t have a Wallace and Gromit film without the marvellous voice of Peter Sallis as Wallace (and Hutch in this one). Ralph Fiennes supplies the voice of the slippery Victor Quartermaine and Helena Bonham Carter is great as Lady Campanula Tottington. Also worthy of note were; Peter Kay as PC Mackintosh, Nicholas Smith had some of the best lines (IMO) as the Reverend Clement Hedges, Liz Smith as Mrs. Mulch, John Thomson as Mr. Windfall, Mark Gatiss as Miss Blight and Geraldine McEwan as Miss Thripp.

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - 3 Full of subtle little jokes, but also at its heart a great plot that keeps the audience guessing. I must admit I really enjoyed this one; for me it had everything I would look for in a comedy; characters you actually care about, a plot, some really funny sight gags and a lot of more subtle comedy besides. I should also mention the quality of the performances as well; the comic timing was impeccable. Over all, probably the best comic film I’ve seen in a very long time… Well worth a look.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My Score: 8.8/10

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 57,298 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0312004/

MetaScore: 87/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Gromit measures his prize marrow in DreamWorks Animation's clay animation comedy WALLACE & GROMIT, from Aardman. Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 95/100 (based on 173 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 72/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 360,968 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wallace_and_gromit_curse_of_the_wererabbit/

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - 4 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Lady Tottington: [over the phone] It's a disaster. I have the most terrible rabbit problem. The competition's only days away. You simply have to do something.
Wallace: Certainly, M'um.
Wallace: [Aside, to Gromit] I think we're about to go up in the world, lad.
Wallace: [Back on phone] Just stay right where you are, Your Ladyship, and we'll be with you in an...
[hits the control panel and gets dragged up through the ceiling]
Wallace: Ahhhh!
Lady Tottington: In an hour? But I can't wait an hour. I have a major infestation. Hello? Hello?

Wallace: Burrowing bounders! They must be breeding like... well, rabbits.

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - 7 Reverend Clement Hedges: This was no man. Does a man have teeth the size of axe blades? Or ears like terrible tombstones? By tampering with nature, forcing vegetables to swell far beyond their natural size, we have brought a terrible judgement upon ourselves.
[Ominous organ music plays]
PC McIntosh: [to the organ player] Hey, give over!
[Organ player stops]
PC McIntosh: You're mental.
Reverend Clement Hedges: And for our sins, a hideous creature has been sent to punish us all! Repent! Repent! Lest you, too, taste the wrath of... the Were-Rabbit!

Lord Victor Quartermaine: How on earth would those tiny-minded buffoons ever catch such a big rabbit?
Lady Tottington: Mr. Wallace?
Wallace: Um... with a big trap!
[Gromit slaps his face]
Mr. Crock: By Jove, he... he's got it!

[last lines]
Hutch the Rabbit: Cheeeeeeeese!

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit - 9 LINKS:
Official Site (UK): http://java.europe.yahoo.com/uk/uip/wallaceandgromit/index.html
Official Site (US): http://www.wandg.com/
Trailer:

Film Review: BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (1982/2007)

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - poster Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Philip K. Dick (novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”), Hampton Fancher & David Webb Peoples (screenplay)
Running time: 113 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Sci-Fi/Drama/Thriller
Original version: UK Release date: 9th September 1982
NOTE: This version, from 2007, is the only one over which Ridley Scott had full artistic control.

Watched on Sky+ Monday 27th August 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

NOTE: What follows is much of my review of the Director’s Cut of this film that I wrote back in November 2011. I have made a few additions and removed some bit to make it more relevant to this cut. Hope you enjoy it.

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 2 I have spoken to many fans of Science Fiction over the years and the vast majority of them always have something good to say about this film. Now I know there are those among you, mostly deranged people, who might hold a different view, but I am on the side of those who rate this film. I’ll even go so far as to say its right up there with the very best sci-fi films (if you ignore the original theatrical cut, which was truly awful). More of my praise after this very brief summary.

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 3 There is an opening scrolling text on this version of the film that explains the set-up better than I ever could, here it is:

“Early in the 21st Century, THE TYRELL
CORPORATION advanced Robot evolution
into the NEXUS phase - a being virtually
identical to a human - known as a Replicant.

The NEXUS 6 Replicants were superior
in strength and agility, and at least equal
in intelligence, to the genetic engineers
who created them.

Replicants were used Off-World as
slave labour, in the hazardous exploration and
colonization of other planets.

After a bloody mutiny by a NEXUS 6
combat team in an Off-World colony,
Replicants were declared illegal
on earth - under penalty of death.

Special police squads - BLADE RUNNER
UNITS - had orders to shoot to kill, upon
detection, any trespassing Replicant.

This was not called execution.

It was called retirement.”

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 8 Now you’ve read that I shall continue… Four Replicants have jumped ship, killed the crew and the passengers and made it to Earth. They are; Roy Batty, Pris, Leon Kowalski and Zhora. A retired Blade Runner, Rick Deckard, is brought in to hunt down and ‘retire’ these Replicants. He is first sent to the Tyrell Corporation where he meets Rachael, a Nexus 6 Replicant. At the time she is unaware of the fact, but Dr. Eldon Tyrell assures Deckard that she’s ‘special’. Leon had badly injured another Blade Runner, Holden, and Deckard goes to Leon’s apartment where he finds a clue. Little does he know the replicants are also trying to find someone… Someone high up for whom they have some questions about themselves. I’ll leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be calling me in for a Voight-Kampff test (again).

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 1 Visually stunning with a beautiful and atmospheric score by Vangelis, this film has a lot going for it (IMO). Great performances all round; Harrison Ford plays the world-weary Deckard to a tee, Rutger Hauer is excellent as the brutal but fragile Roy Batty and Sean Young plays Rachael with just the right amount of fear. Also worthy of note are; Edward James Olmos as Gaff, M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant, Daryl Hannah as Pris, William Sanderson as J.F. Sebastian, Brion James as Leon, Joe Turkel as Dr. Eldon Tyrell and Joanna Cassidy as Zhora.

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 4 This is the second time I have seen this particular cut of the film and I have to say I like it just as much as the 1992 Director’s cut even though Ridley Scott didn’t have an awful lot to do with that version. If you are interested, you can find a list of the differences between these two cuts here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Versions_of_Blade_Runner#Differences

A very introspective film with all the action focused on Deckard and the Replicants without the audience really seeing much outside this group. Yes there are hints; the advertising for the off-world colonies, but apart from that it’s very insular. Moving on, I thought the effects were truly stunning, given that there was no CGI back then, although it has been used to enhance certain things in this cut, and the design, the look and the feel of the whole thing is superb. A world is created that the audience could easily imagine Los Angeles 2019 to be like… Ok, maybe not the flying cop cars, but you know what I mean. A truly excellent film that, for its day, has never been equalled.

SteelMonster’s verdict: VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

My Score: 9.5/10

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 9 IMDb Score: 8.3/10 (based on 263,718 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0083658/

MetaScore: 88/100: (Based on 10 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 104 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 89/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 288,583 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/blade_runner/

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Bryant: I need ya, Decks. This is a bad one, the worst yet. I need the old blade runner, I need your magic.

Rachael: May I ask you a personal question?
Deckard: Sure.
Rachael: Have you ever retired a human by mistake?
Deckard: No.

Deckard: She's a replicant, isn't she?
Tyrell: I'm impressed. How many questions does it usually take to spot them?
Deckard: I don't get it, Tyrell.
Tyrell: How many questions?
Deckard: Twenty, thirty, cross-referenced.
Tyrell: It took more than a hundred for Rachael, didn't it?
Deckard: [realizing Rachael believes she's human] She doesn't know.
Tyrell: She's beginning to suspect, I think.
Deckard: Suspect? How can it not know what it is?

…and my personal favourite:

Roy: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Blade Runner - The Final Cut - 5 LINKS:
Official Site: http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/
Trailer:

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Film Review: ENEMY OF THE STATE (1998)

Enemy of the State - poster Director: Tony Scott
Writer: David Marconi
Running time: 126 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 26th December 1998

Watched on DVD Sunday 26th August 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

After the untimely death of director Tony Scott this week I thought it would be nice to have a look at a few of his films. I started with this one because I have always found it entertaining and there are some great ideas used to link the action together. I will explain more after this very brief summary.

Enemy of the State - 3 When labour lawyer Robert Clayton Dean is passed a disc that shows the assassination of a US Congressman his whole life changes. In order to cover up his involvement, one Thomas Brian Reynolds uses the resources of the NSA to track Robert in the hope of recovering the recording. This effects his family and friends, including Rachel Banks, who Dean was using as a liaison between him and a private detective who calls himself Brill. When things go wrong, Dean makes direct contact with Brill, who turns out to be former NSA employee, Edward Lyle. He tells Dean how to avoid detection; but they are closing in and Dean has had enough; it’s time to turn the tables. I will leave it there or the NSA will be bugging me (still).

Enemy of the State - 6 A very slick production with some great touches; I particularly like the way street cameras and satellite images are used to link certain scenes. A very clever use of the available technology. I know it may have been a little advanced for its day, but its well within the realms of possibility today. As far as performances go, well Will Smith did a decent job as Robert Clayton Dean; the usual wise-cracks, but also some nice acting in-between. Gene Hackman did an excellent job (as ever) as Edward Lyle, as did Jon Voight as the cool calculating bad guy, Thomas Brian Reynolds. Honourable mentions must go to; Lisa Bonet as Rachel Banks, Regina King as Robert’s wife, Carla Dean, Jake Busey and Scott Caan as the heavies Krug and Jones, Gabriel Byrne as Brill and Jack Black as Fiedler.

Enemy of the State - 5 Quite an enthralling and captivating film. It does take a bit of time to get going but once it does it keeps the pace pretty well until the end. If I have one criticism, it’s that it’s far too long. I enjoy a complex plot as much as the next guy, but this one did take a long time to tie all the various threads together. Over all a film with some very nice touches and some decent performances but I guess it’s one you can’t watch too many times. Even so, worth a look if you either haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it for a while.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED.

My score: 7.5/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 109,067 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0120660/

MetaScore: 67/100: (Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Enemy of the State - 8 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 71/100 (based on 83 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 76/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 346,391 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/enemy_of_the_state/

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Enemy of the State - 1 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE
Zavitz: Fuck a duck.

Robert Clayton Dean: Actually, I believe the term "shyster" is reserved for attorneys of the Jewish persuasion. I believe the proper term for me is "eggplant".

Robert Clayton Dean: Why are they after me?
Brill: You have something they want.
Robert Clayton Dean: I don't have anything.
Brill: Maybe you do and you don't know it.

Krug: [while ransacking the Dean home] Ooh, nice blender!
[takes Robert's blender]

Enemy of the State - 4 [the NSA team is watching satellite footage of a conversation between Dean and Brill on a rooftop]
Hicks: Can you get a feature scan and pattern matching on him?
Van: No, he's smart, he never looks up.
Jones: Why does he have to look up?
Fiedler: The satellite is 155 miles above the Earth. It can only look straight down.
Jones: That's a bit limited, isn't it?
Van: [Sarcastically] Well, maybe you should design a better one.
Jones: Maybe I will idiot.

Robert Clayton Dean: What the hell is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

[last lines]
Larry King: How do we draw the line - draw the line between protection of national security, obviously the government's need to obtain intelligence data, and the protection of civil liberties, particularly the sanctity of my home? You've got no right to come into my home!

Enemy of the State - 7 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Film Review: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001)

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - poster Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: J.R.R. Tolkien (novel), Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson (screenplay)
Running time: 220 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): PG

Genre: Action/Adventure/Fantasy
UK Release date: 19th December 2001

Watched on DVD Saturday 25th August 2012.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Although I have seen all of the Lord of the Rings films before, I had never read the books, and so recently I decided to read them. I then thought it might be fun to watch each film as I complete each part of the story. And so, having finished ‘The Fellowship’… and read the first hundred pages or so of ‘The Two Towers’ we come to the fist of Peter Jackson’s films. For the record I have to say that I watched the extended version, available on DVD and Blu Ray.

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 6 Frodo Baggins, nephew of Bilbo, has been left all of Bilbo’s possessions after Bilbo decided it was time for another adventure. For those that haven’t read ‘The Hobbit’ well I guess that won’t make much sense… fret not, they’re making a film (or three) of that as well. But I digress, amongst the things left to Frodo was a ring, a very powerful ring, in fact so powerful that the wizard Gandalf will not even touch it. This ring, it transpires, is the embodiment of evil; the remnants of the long-gone evil king, Sauron. With its finding comes trouble, for it has a will of its own and it wants to be reunited with its maker. Finding himself and all his people in danger, Frodo leaves The Shire with his friends Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee, Peregrin ‘Pippin’ Took and Meriadoc ‘Merry’ Brandybuck. After many adventures they make it to the Elves at Rivendell. Here it is decided that the ring must be destroyed; cast into the fires of Mount Doom in Mordor, a very dangerous task. Frodo volunteers to take the ring, along with Sam, Merry and Pippin representing the Hobbits. Gandalf also volunteers, along with Aragorn and Boromir for mankind, Gimli, son of Gloin (another ‘Hobbit’ reference there) for the Dwarves and Legolas Greenleaf for the Elves. These nine form the Fellowship of the Ring… and this is not even half the story.

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 7 The word ‘Epic’ seems insufficient to describe the scope of this production; it is truly mind-blowing. I also have to mention the original music by Howard Shore; a truly magical score that I will seek out just to listen to (it’s really that good). As far as performances go, well everybody did a great job but those that stood out (for me) were; Elijah Wood as Frodo, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Sean Astin as Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn and Sean Bean as Boromir. Also worthy of note were; Billy Boyd as Pippin, Dominic Monaghan as Merry, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, John Rhys-Davies as Gimli, Liv Tyler as Arwen, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Ian Holm as Bilbo and not forgetting Andy Serkis as Gollum (more from him in the next two instalments).

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 3 This is the second time I have seen this cut of the movie and, although it is very long, I must say I have seldom enjoyed a film as much. I will not try to compare the book with the film; I’m sure there are many out there that could do a far more eloquent job than me. Needless to say, there are differences, and I can see the reasons for them. Just daring to bring such an epic tale to the screen would be enough for many, but to also do it justice is beyond imagining. Hats off to Mr. Jackson and all those involved; you did a tremendous job! I know it’s not to everyone’s taste and I really feel sorry for those that can’t appreciate the imagination and effort that goes into an undertaking like this. All this praise and I only give it a 9.4? Well, let’s say I’ve seen the other two films and I’m leaving a little room for improvement.

My score: 9.4/10
SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

IMDb Score: 8.8/10
(based on 592,380 votes at the time of going to press).
http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0120737/

MetaScore: 92/100: (Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

1083_139065.jpg Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100 (based on 209 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 92/100 ‘Liked it’ (based on 1,219,515 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_lord_of_the_rings_the_fellowship_of_the_ring/

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FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Aragorn: Are you frightened?
Frodo: Yes.
Aragorn: Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you.

Aragorn: If by my life or death I can protect you, I will. You have my sword...
Legolas: And you have my bow.
Gimli: And *my* axe.
Boromir: You carry the fate of us all, little one. If this is indeed the will of the Council, then Gondor will see it done.

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 5 Elrond: Nine companions. So be it. You shall be the fellowship of the ring.
Pippin: Great! Where are we going?

Gimli: Nobody tosses a dwarf.

Gandalf: You cannot pass! I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. The dark fire will not avail you, Flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. You shall not pass!

Boromir: [holding the ring after Frodo has lost it] It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.

Sam: I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise. "Don't you leave him Samwise Gamgee." And I don't mean to. I don't mean to.

…and there are so many more!

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.lordoftherings.net/
Trailer: