27 February 2015

Revisiting Cloud Atlas

Thank to the sour taste that the truly awful Jupiter Ascending recently left in my mouth (and you can read my full review here), I decided that a great way to cleanse my film palate would be to go back and re-watch a Wachowski film that initially blew me away - I'm talking, of course, about Cloud Atlas.

Directed in tandem by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer and based on a book of the same name, Cloud Atlas was considered unfilmable by a great many people thanks to the nature of the story being told. Cloud Atlas has no central narrative or main characters, the film instead being split into six short stories that are each set in a different time period, linked by something (whether that be a character, a decision, a piece of art or an idea) to the last one in a demonstration of how the decisions that we make now will no doubt have long lasting consequences in the future, not just for ourselves but for potentially the entire human race.

19 February 2015

Jupiter Ascending review

I was really looking forward to Jupiter Ascending. The Wachowskis are an interesting, if not necessarily consistent pair of directors, their short filmography showing a large variation in both style and quality, as demonstrated by the near perfect Cloud Atlas and the mundanely bland The Matrix sequels. They are amongst just a small number of directors that are truly open to new ideas, and as demonstrated in a number of their films are more than happy to push the boundaries and test the conventions of story telling in order to provide a new experience. So an original, big budget sci-fi action film from these people? Sign me up.

Unfortunately, Jupiter Ascending seems to have taken everything I ever found interesting about the films that the Wachowski's created and buried the bodies so deep no one would ever find them.

13 February 2015

Big Hero 6 review

I want to live in San Fransokyo.

Big Hero 6 takes place in a slightly futuristic combination of San Francisco and Tokyo, the whole city (but particularly the Golden Gate Bridge) having a slight oriental flavour that when mixed with the signatures of San Francisco create a visually stunning and unique location for this film. The technology of this world is slightly in advance of our own, and there is an abundance of it - Hiro Hamada, our main character, makes money by betting on robot fights, and both he and his brother have a vast wealth of technology available to them to experiment with. This creates a fantastic little world which you are drawn into immediately, a perfect example of world building in cinema and a great place in which to set this kind of story.

5 February 2015

Inherent Vice review

Based on the book of the same name, Inherent Vice follows Larry "Doc" Sportello, a hippie Private Investigator operating in Los Angeles in the 70's, as he stumbles through several different cases after learning of a plot to do away with wealthy businessman Mickey Wolfmann from his ex-girlfriend, ultimately uncovering a much larger conspiracy at the heart of it all.

Between the varied cinematography and the pseudo-philosophical narration, it would be hard to argue that Inherent Vice isn't a stylish film. The 1970's Los Angeles setting gives it plenty of opportunities for interesting costumes, dialogue and music choices which it consistently capitalise on, and when mixed with the vibrant tone provides the film with a very unique feel to it. I haven't seen anything else in Paul Thomas Anderson's filmography (shoot me, cinema buffs), but Inherent Vice has certainly made me interested to see what else he has done, even if it ends up being totally different to this.

2 February 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service review

Kingsman: The Secret Service is the latest film from the team that bought you both Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class, director Matthew Vaughn and screenwriter Jane Goldman once again loosely basing their new film on a series of comics written by Mark Millar. The film follow Gary "Eggsy" Unwin, a young and reckless council estate kid with a kind heart as he is recruited by a member of the secretive special forces group known as Kingsman, who operate out of a secret base that is accessible through the basement of a tailors.