Tron Legacy (2010)

The visual feast that is Tron was not on my list but something made me watch it and I am very glad to have. The immaculate design of the world in which it is set begins even before we enter the computer and begin the adventure. Accompanying the perfect image is an elaborate (award winning) electronic score from Daft Punk.

Overall the effect of modern VFX and cinematography made this a very enjoyable film. I never got too into Sci-fi films but perhaps this new technology which helps blur the boundaries of possibilities, makes them all the more realistic, thus allowing natural emotion and realism from the acting.

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Mr Nobody (2009)

How this film evaded me I have no idea as I found it truly spectacular. Beautiful visuals and perfect nuances in sound design only went one step further on evoking the imagination whilst the compelling narrative and plot kept me well indulged.

It was a feast of scenery and twists, every moment was consequential, with terrific performances from a strong cast. Full of emotional and quirky rivets that exploit the surreal to its maximum, creating only a feeling of lust and discovery for the viewer.

Jared Leto played the ever tormented and desperate lead character “Nemo Nobody” with great support from a generous cast. Including strong performances from my favourite attitude driven female, Juno Temple and emotional Rhys Ifans.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)

I have always thoroughly enjoyed the entire Harry Potter series. The magic, fantasy,drama and yet family orientated films have captured my imagination and now are a catalyst of nostalgia. With that it is no surprise that I was very much looking forward to this penultimate offering.

The film was strong but not as much as the previous. It was wonderfully shot though mostly very dark. I never noticed before the attention to detail in the design of everything including the newspaper which is a typography dream.

The flow of the film was slow, very slow, but it didn’t feel drawn out. At two and a half hours it is quite an epic feature, it doesn’t quite necessarily need to be this length though. Overall it is a very good film, though there are still a few things that could have been ironed out, for one thing the acting is still not the best.

How Do You Know (2010)

A romantic comedy with all the right elements. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson, the plot follows an ex USA softball player on her quest for something new. A professional baseball player who is self-obsessed and romantically awkward. A corporate employee in crisis and his father who put him in such a position.

The film is an easy watch, humorous and even touching at times. A perfect example of the genre. It was clean in presentation, performances were strong especially by Paul Rudd who is being made an escape goat of by his father. His comic acting is sincere and allows for much greater depth of character than many others.

It has been reported that the film was set into production in 2005 when director James L. Brooks began researching female athletes. He then got interested in corporate dilemmas. Eventually the total cost of the film reached $120 million, which may be why this feature is so very well made.

Inside Job (2010)

A film about the 2008 global economic crisis, documenting the events that happened and explaining in some detail how the financial system collapsed. This award winning feature focuses on the avoidance of political process by the financial industry to build their fortunes. It is not an objective look at the crisis but a piece aimed at displaying the ‘crimes’ that were committed and have gone unpunished. The film uses animation to explain the structure of the financial industry, though even with some went well over my head. The film does use a lot of techniques to make it more appealing, the most obvious is the narrator, actor Matt Damon and the use of interviews with front line economists.

Overall this was a good film though it did feel at times to be applying too much emphasis on getting its anger portrayed.

S.W.A.T – Firefight (2011)

This isn’t usually my kind of film as it is usually trying to portray an exaggerated sense of hero and success whilst demonstrating vast downfalls which are never addressed. This was no exception.

A ‘S.W.A.T’ captain Paul Cutler (Gabriel Macht) is sent to help out and certify a team, though his presence is resented and through a failed mission Paul gets himself an enemy. All pretty standard, and all that follows was to.

The acting was perfectly acceptable for a film of this genre and production value, of which was rather good. My biggest gripe came in its blatant predictability and the use of tired and worn plot developments, characters and scenarios. This film is just  a composition of many films in the same genre. I can think of a handful that could be watched simultaneously and you’d not miss anything from watching each sequentially.

Directed by Benny Boom who also directed”50 Cent: The Massacre” and “Next Day Air” which gives you an idea on what audience this is aimed at. For me it lacked any thought or imagination. Films are supposed to be the essence of creativity and possibility; being the ultimate entertainment platform, this made no use of such a privilege.

Winter In Wartime (2008) [2011 international distribution]

Called “Oorlogswinter”, this Dutch wartime film is a fresh look at the acts conveyed in WWII. As a hugely successful film in the Netherlands (out grossing Twilight and The Dark Knight so say Wikipedia) I was surprised to only be seeing promotion for it’s international/ UK & US release in 2010-2011.

It shows the view of a 14-year-old boy, Michiel van Beusekom (Martijn Lakemeier), who in turns demonstrates and is exposed to many defining features of Wartime. His family is conflicted between resistance and collaborating. When he finds a British solider (Jamie Campbell Bower) stranded in the forest he fights to get him to freedom with huge sacrifice. It is in his struggle that the typical themes of a war film come to a new level of emotional context.

With such natural drama and tension fused with gorgeous cinematography this is one of the best war films I have ever had the pleasure of watching.