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.


The Tourist (2010)

Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp star in this epic Hollywood action drama. This film has many qualities, with Jolie’s coveted British accent, glorious locations and captivating plot with fluidity that gives extraordinary flow. Though for me the most notable feature is in the swelling ‘old school’ score that made the feel of “The Tourist” something of a ‘Disney’ film. Modern cinema in this genre relies on contemporary scoring techniques and soundscapes based on percussion, rhythm and orchestral bites. The score for “The Tourist” is a full-on orgy of orchestration and emotion that I thought was constrained to the past Bond series or big budget romance dramas.

The plot is full and conclusive and gives the sense of fulfilment so that one can walk away after watching feeling entertained but able to move on. It is, despite it’s ‘epic’ qualities, not completely out of the realms of realism and this adds to the emotional content, although I don’t believe it to be in the director’s interest to make this such a film of romance. It is a very good film and a recommended watch for all. (Rated PG-13/ 12A)

Charlie St. Cloud (2010)

Also known as ” The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud” based on the Ben Sherwood novel of the same title. As a romantic drama full of young naivety and growing up this wasn’t awful. Though I would hesitate on where to put it in a market, is it for teens who adore Zac Efron and will watch anything where he is in emotional turmoil. Or is it to portray a more mature side of him as he plays a more serious role. Either one would work here, but for me, conclusion lies in that this is a teen/ chick-flick.

I was drawn into watching this by the stunning cinematography that really, almost, excuses the lack of realism and connectivity that is possible to the characters. It is as if you are looking into a snow globe and everything is quite perfect, except for the series of events that make up the plot.

For a big budget (est $44 million) romantic teen film this is rather disappointing, the characters are weak and realism that modern cinema has to allow greater emotional success wasn’t present. Thus making the only redeeming feature of this film the visual aesthetic. Though if you happen to be alone with wine and chocolate, don’t hesitate to put this on.

Casino Jack (2010)

A “biographical comedy-drama [focussing] on the career of Washington, D.C. lobbyist and businessman Jack Abramoff, who was involved in a massive corruption scandel that led to the conviction of himself, two White House officials, Rep. Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and congressional staffers.” (Wikipedia). This sets the background quite nicely and as I don’t like to divulge the exacting details and plot, this will suffice as to the tale.

Now if I am honest I knew little to nothing about the real life events of Jack Abramoff and so for me this could have been a completely fictional and fantasised extreme look at the issues surrounding modern politics. With this in mind “Casino Jack” is intriguing and enlightening as much as it is entertaining. Starring Kevin Spacey as Jack, the center of the greed and selfish indulgence that caused a huge scandal. He puts in a brilliant performance playing a character as brave and confident as he is vacuous and naive, a difficult combination to pull of convincingly.

Overall it is a very well presented piece of cinema, well written, well performed and immaculately captured. There is criticism about the authenticity of the events and ideas presented, but if you don’t care for the real world corruption then watch this just as the good film that it is.

The Wolfman (2010)

A vivid and exceptional visual depiction of 19th century England in this horror about a werewolf in Blackmoor. I have found that period horrors are common place to find stunning design and cinematography, probably due to the effort that goes into the creation of a world now gone. It is in this that “The Wolfman” is in it’s element. Fusing wonderful production design with great cinematography.

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker, who also wrote “Sleepy Hollow”, this certainly holds those familiar traits of sinister and dark plot contrasting the simplicity of the 1800’s and the complexity of superstition and the supernatural.

It is a very good watch and performances are strong throughout, I especially enjoyed the visual parade of fanciful imaginings through lighting and sound design.

Howl (2011)

Based on the works of  Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” is more discussion than a theatrical drama, although it is presented as such. A strong mix of poetry, flashbacks, cross-sectioning and animation to illustrate the work and the life of a literary phenomenon.

Unveiled through a mix of animated works depicting Ginsberg’s poems, the drama unfolding in the trial of the book “Howl” on if it is ‘obscene’, and the documentary/ interview style of Ginsberg telling the tale of how he came to write poetry.

It is very well made and cleverly depicts the sentiment of Allen’s poetry as well as the literary judgement of such, including its place in society. So much more than a tale of a writer, “Howl” is the tale of modern thought development and opens the world of Ginsberg back up to public attention. As the world when the original “Howl” book was written(1955), is not so different than the one we live in now, although censorship has certainly eased, the liberal ideas focused in his work are ideas that still hold today.

The Sunset Limited (2011)

Originally a play written by Cormac McCarthy,this  film adaptation, produced and directed by star Tommy Lee Jones, is one of the most simple yet moving and thought provoking watches I have seen since trying to explain ‘The Science of Sleep” to my father.

Of course this script will not appeal or sit well with all, as it picks away at religion and the existence of God. Seen from the point of view from a believing ex-con who thinks that God has spoken to him, and a non-believer who tried to commit suicide as his views of ‘life’ are most bleak.

It appealed to me as it captures a number of my thoughts, which we won’t go into today, but it will provoke thought and discussion. Simply made, with all the action being the two stars, Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson, in a run-down apartment in a fluid narrative. This only serves to frustrate the ideas and make them resonate within ones own mind without being tampered by the fabrication of society.