Review: The Thing (2011)

Upon discovering an extraterrestrial lifeform, Dr. Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen) handpicks top minds, including student Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), to carry out experiments upon it at a remote Antarctic research site. When the alien breaks free, the team must combat unease and distrust to stop it before it’s too late.

Pitched as a prequel to John Carpenter’s cult classic, Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr.’s The Thing attempts to cleverly replicate the tone and Continue reading “Review: The Thing (2011)”

Advertisements

Feature: Top Ten Films Of 2010

In total I’ve seen a lot of films in 2010, but here are the ten I consider my favourite:

1. The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is an altogether clever, humorous and emotional film, supported by tremendous performances from it’s central cast. A must see, by all accounts.

2. The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right a fantastic film, exuding charm, wit, love, insecurity and anguish at every appropriate corner. In essence, it’s a film about the struggles of human relationships, and shows a family’s love has the potential to overcome any obstacle.

3. The Social Network

The Social Network is a film that deserves your attention. It’s not only a film about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook, but also one of morality. One that requires your full attention and questions your beliefs and values;  but also one that rewards you with its passion, attention-to-detail and humourous nature.

4. Another Year

Mike Leigh’s measured, and scarily realistic human nature drama is impossible to dismiss. Leigh’s laid-back approach let’s the characters and on-screen drama speak for itself. The central leads invite you into their lives and take you on a emotionally and wholly real journey through old-age. Lesley Manville, in particular, is breathtaking.

5. Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone is a film of true craftsmanship. Haunting, gritty, yet oddly inspiring, featuring a nuanced and captivating performance from newcomer Jennifer Lawrence.

6. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Edgar Wright stepped up his game with this genre-crossing comedy film. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a zany, mis-construed film that explores deep, poignant ideas, inter-cut with lots of crazy, heart-pounding action scenes, hundred of popular culture nods and hilariously odd performances from its central cast.

7. Toy Story 3

Defying expectations, Toy Story 3 proved sequels can be successful. Directed by the incredibly talented Lee Unkrich, the film manages to be a fitting, touching and honest conclusion to one of the most beloved, and inspiring, franchises of all time.

8. Inception

Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending science fiction, Inception is a singular accomplishment from an extraordinarily talented and game-changing director. It’s a visually stunning, intellectually challenging and emotionally engaging triumph, one that truly exemplifies modern filmmaking.

9. Monsters

Monsters is an incredible achievement in more ways than one, showcasing fine performances, an afflicting narrative, wholly real character interactions and special effects that rival those used on Blockbusters

10. I Am Love

Possibly one of the most overlooked films of the year, I Am Love is an incredibly well shot, acted, portrayed and directed. Tilda Swinton provided a flawless, and incredibly raw performance. One to seek out.

Honourable Mentions:

Easy A, How To Train Your Dragon, Four Lions, Kick-Ass, Piranha, Lebanon, Despicable Me, Bad Lieutenant – Port Of Call: New Orleans, The Runaways, Please Give, Cyrus, Splice, Mary & Max, The Hole, Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Killer Inside Me, The Illusionist, Whip It, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Somewhere, Dogtooth and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

Review: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010)

Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a story of a 22-year-old bassist, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera), who plays in a band called Sex Bob-Omb and dates a high school girl (Ellen Wong). Everything changes when he happens upon Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who infects his brain, which eventually becomes an obsession of his.

Not is all well, though, as Ramona comes with some heavy baggage. The baggage just so happens to be in the form of seven evil exes, all of which have super powers. Scott must defeat each evil ex in order to take his love affair with Ramona to the next level. The evil exes themselves (portrayed by Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Swartzman, Mae Whitman, Keita and Shoto Saito and Satya Bhabha), despite their brief on-screen presence, are a welcome addition to the film, while never detracting from the films overall purpose.

The partnership between Cera’s Scott and Winstead’s Ramona is pitch-perfect. Combing her effortless, beyond cliché nature, with his haphazard, anxious being may sound like a recipe for disaster, but the pair make it work, en-capturing audiences attention, making us care about their relationship.

Another reason Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World works so well is due to the supporting cast. Not only do Cera and Elizabeth provide a likeable, and explorable love affair, but co-stars such as Kieran Culkin, Alison Pill, Aubrey Plaza and Johnny Simmons all shine in their respective parts, delivering laugh-out-loud one-liners and welcome sub-plots to the main story-arc. Ellen Wong and Anna Kendrick in particular administer stand-out performances, showcasing their incredibly diverse talent.

Wright’s direction is superb, managing to make the film visually spectacular and inventive, whilst maintaining an old-fashioned, youthful nature. Fusing live-action with video-game and comic-book intellect was always going to be a risk, but Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World pulls it off perfectly.

The films screenplay, an adaptation of Bryan O’Malley’s comic-book series, has so many levels, that there’s sure to be something on offer for everyone. On the surface, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is all about the zany action sequences, awkward teenage humour and video-game references. Underneath, however, there’s a whole new level of meaning, one that explores the true meaning of love and how relationships are never easy, but full of obstacles couples must overcome to reach their destiny.

While the awkward subject matter and unfortunately poorly-executed marketing campaign ended up hurting the box office gross, the film will undoubtedly find a home on DVD amongst young, or the young-at heart who like zany indie films that explore deep, poignant ideas, inter-cut by lots of crazy, heart-pounding, fighting scenes and witty dialogue.

Seek it out. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a film that deserves an appreciative audience.