Sunday, 4 September 2011

Friends with Benefits

­­­I know there are going to be a hundred reviews out there comparing this film to No Strings Attached, which came out February staring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher; could be compared to Love and Other Drugs (Staring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gylenhaal) even. But I’m just going to cut out all that crap, to be frank, and just review this brilliant cliché film. It’s a cliché film with little differences. I don’t want to give too much away as every little thing counts in this film. Also, I’m very glad to say it’s not a film that is rubbish because all the good stuff is in the trailer; not at all!

At first I thought this jump into sexual postmodernist rom-coms wouldn’t work and would be a real flop but I now see the film industry did not think so, neither do I now. Yes it remains to have the happy-ever-after ending and typical line: “You’re just like the other guys, I thought you were different!” but it doesn’t feel like a real rom-com if it doesn’t leave you smiling at the end for all the glorious clichés we have all learnt to love. Although, in a funny scene early on in the film Kunis and Timberlake watch this cheesy romantic film, staring Jason Segal no less. Kunis’s character shows her feelings about love and romance, which actually contrasts her sometimes-aggressive behaviour; whereas Timberlake’s character just rips it to shreds with all the musical cues, when actually he is a big softy at heart. Friends with Benefits is a widely funny and is delivered by energetic performances by the central duo; who, I must add, work fantastically together on screen as comic characters.

With help from the extraordinary Easy A, that was easily under-appreciated, director and co-writer, Will Gluck further demonstrates that he has a serious knack for delivery in humour. He doesn’t do the typical comic acts which makes this film a little different, and better, from the others. He has little hints here and there like having Kunis grab an airport-greeting sign marked "O. Penderghast", a reference to Emma Stone's "Easy A" character. Who in return does the humiliating in this film when starting off by dumping Timberlake’s character Dylan, in his city of Los Angeles. Whereas in New York Kunis is getting dumped by her boyfriend, played by Andy Samberg. Now this is where the film begins and the characters develop.

Starting off with what you think would be a non-linear style of film confuses you a little, well it did me, but then it begins to take shape. Once dumped, both ruthlessly plan to just have sex with anyone with no complications, “like George Clooney” according to both Timberlake and Kunis. Now they begin to collide. Jamie (Kunis) is a headhunter and found Dylan (Timberlake) for the new art director for the GQ website. As he is moving to New York with nobody familiar him and Jamie being to make a friendship, and of course leads to the commitment-less sex. Along the journey there are many funny aphorisms and connections to other films. Such as Ugly Truths, which Jamie screams about on how Katherine Heigl lies about love; and also how Jamie’s rather odd mother, shall we say, promises her a “Nora Ephron movie’ weekend.

Timberlake and Kunis are focused on, of course, but there is also other characters to keep the film rolling like the masculine yet flamboyant gay Woody Harellson and the typical man just there for sex, Bryan Greenberg who is one of Jamie’s dates who she got from a little game with Dylan. Not only does the film have a feel-good sense, it also had once hard-hitting scene where Dylan’s father, Richard Jenkins, suffers from Alzheimer’s and wonders where his ex-wife of 10 years is. Dylan and his sister, Jenna Elfman (Accidently on Purpose), have this close-net relationship that shows throughout the film and shows to affect the relationship of Dylan and Jamie; but not necessarily for the worse. Elfman plays her part brilliantly as well as her on-screen son Sam, Noland Gould; who adds to the cute hilarity for sure.

Both Kunis and Timberlake have amusing in-bedroom scenes, taking away the awkwardness and oddly the sexier feel of the movie. In fact the movie is actually sexier when they are not nude, although I wouldn’t say no to the topless muscular pop star Timberlake and I’m sure the guys wouldn’t reject the tanned and toned Kunis. Apart from this in general they are a good on-scene couple and gladly don’t collide head first but just brush each other side by side in terms of comedy and personality.

For once this is a film which actually has you more interested in the characters and story than lacking interest where you begin to focus on the acting on how is it better than other similar movies? They don’t drag it out too much, keep the basic details and get to the point; now that’s all what we want to hear!

In my opinion, Friends with Benefits holds the torch for this 2011 mini-genre of rom-com. With the entertaining help of Gluck and writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman this film has made one of my top romantic comedies of all time I think. A funny yet nice feel-good comical and cliche rom-com. 8/10

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Breaking Dawn Teaser Trailer

I just have to share this with everyone. Please comment your opinions :)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

How To Make A David Lynch Film

Embarrassing being a big film fan I was unaware of David Lynch’s work but once I was given this recommendation by the Director and Editor himself, Joe McClean (@redandtan), I was even more ashamed as Lynch was the director of the famous The Elephant Man and cult classic Eraserhead.

David Lynch, for those who didn’t know like me, is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design. Indeed, the surreal and in many cases violent elements to his films have earned them the reputation that they "disturb, offend or mystify" their audiences.

This short film not only takes the ‘piss’ of Lynch’s style but it goes about it in a rather entertaining way.
The opening credits are very creative, as well as the graphics of scenes on the TV screen and the ‘unrealistic death scene’ looked very cleverly placed in the fact you couldn’t see a fault with its positioning. My favourite shot would have to be where they demonstrate the contrast between light and shadow, it captivates Lynch’s style, and in a modern and dramatic style also.

Throughout it is not only informative but is humorous and enjoyable.
I must admit though, a few scenes do make me cringe like the end part of the kissing scene and the rather bright exposed sex scene, as well as the copy of Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet. Although, it does make it up with the example of pointless instructions on the telephone, it is comical and I applaud the actress for keeping a straight face.
Director, Joe McClean has made a brilliant short film through the topics of education and comedy. He manages to keep the audience watching for it's strange but fascinating features. Also, not only does he direct and edit it, he also stars as the elephant man. Delightful scene!

The ending clips of asking the public their opinions on David Lynch are from different views but the one I found the most interesting was the lady saying that “he’s genius enough to fool everyone in to thinking that he’s done something worthwhile.” And other very edifying quote…”what the fuck?!”

To sum up Lynch’s work in an 8 minute short film, this would be the way to do it. In ways it has made me want to see a film of Lynch’s to see his style, yet not as it seems as if he is a pointless and ‘artistic’ director who just does what he feels. Maybe I will spend some time watching his famously acclaimed The Elephant Man just because it is a classic and I don’t want to waste my time watching anymore of his and not knowing his true classic film.
Don’t understand? Mongoloid! (You’ll get it if you watch)

If you know of David Lynch and his movies or even if you don’t, I recommend the watch.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

My Music Video Project

For my A2 Media work, I created a music video for a covered song, entitled Saviour by Lights. I need audience feedback for my evaluation, therefore would appreciate any comments about specific areas, compliments and constructive criticism is encouraged :)

Either via blogspot or on youtube itself.. Will be seriously appreciated!

Please watch link below

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Fighter

Talk about dramas hitting the UK cinemas. The King’s Speech has broken box office records – reaching Harry Potter levels of attendance in the UK – and audiences lined up to see The Social Network, 127 Hours, and this year’s superb boxing movie The Fighter, all based on true stories.

Firstly, a boxing movie yawns ‘boring’ to me but after this film I have learnt to not knock it till I try it. The Fighter is a touching and dramatic story, based on a real life account; about boxer Micky “Irish” Ward’s (played by Mark Wahlberg) voyage to the world light welterweight title from the suburb of Lowell, Massachusetts.

It takes you on the journey and one of his toughest fights he took with his drug-dependent, criminal of a half-brother Dicky (Christian Bale), a thought to be hero for defeating Sugar Ray Leonard - who is very unreliable - in the blue corner, and mother/manager, Alice (Melissa Leo), a stubborn money-grabbing mother of nine in the red corner. Dicky is an unreliable boxer-turned-trainer who is nearly KO’d by the harsh aspects of working class American life, until he decides to sort himself out and help his brother.

His family is all about his money and fame rather than his success and accomplishment. It is not until he meets former athlete, college dropout barmaid Charlene (Amy Adams) that he regains his will and punch out all the stops to win and to stand up against his domineering family – not to mention his six (or seven?) sisters.

Throughout the film we see hints of a mockumentary on the life of Dicky’s crack addiction, for which he seems to imagine is all about his comeback in the boxing ring. After a while on the streets of Lowell Dicky manages to get in a fight with police and get himself arrested. Micky, being the supportive brother Dicky wasn’t to him all the time, he stands up for him and pays the price in the form of a broken hand. As you can imagine these two incidents has stalled his progress and makes him a punch-bag for bulkier opponents; giving him more of a reason to give it one last shot for the big time win.

It has to be said how committed Christian Bale is to his role with his drastic weight loss leading to a wiry frame and thinning hair; and how much it paid off. Bale is just an absolute delight to see on screen and his performance is captivating in many ways. He basically robs every other co-star of the screen with his magnetic performance. Although Wahlberg may be the main character and does give a solid and superb performance which with all due respect, Bale tops him with the most charismatic sport persona in the film.
It’s noticeable that any time Bale is absent from proceedings The Fighter suffers. However, Wahlberg and Bale are incredible together; they leave an intense mark in this film with their brilliant chemistry.

Wahlberg brings this aura of a ground-breaking and compelling attitude with his towering performance as this small town, big muscled fighter. Being one of the youngest of a nine member American family with Irish ancestry, as well as having his father, Donald Wahlberg who had been imprisoned years ago alongside Micky's dad, George Ward. Just to top it all off, Wahlberg has a very violent history and drug habit so can put himself in the shoes of both Micky and Dicky. These similarities helped the choice of Micky become very easy and what a good decision that was. The deep portrayal of a troubled young man is conveyed magnificently through the character.

A film full of male testosterone leaves little room for the female roles, in any other typical film but not this one. The women a have remarkable influence in Micky’s journey. From his level headed red head girlfriend (Adams) and his disapproving mother. Leo is fantastic, with her well-crafted ad superbly performance; she deserves every inch of her 2011 academy award. Adams on the other hand, equally as astonishing but on completely different levels. While she plays this cliché “against all odds” character, she has entire control and executes her support for Micky and disregard for his family tremendously.

Although conforming to a Rocky-style template, as it has been compared to, The Fighter is as much a family drama as traditional boxing movie and is all the richer and more entertaining for it, with an ensemble cast of highly memorable characters. Both films do evolve around working class men trying to accomplish a life in boxing, although are better known for taking punishment and beating rather than wining matches. It emphasises on the gritty working class America in the 80’s and 90’s with the pressures to have The American Dream, whatever that dream may be. Then the cliché trials and tribulations, how they end up with an once-in-a-lifetime chance at a title shot and to be fair it wouldn’t be a good character study if there wasn’t good news at the end.

The conventional story of a low-point boxer getting ferocious beatings in the ring to a temporary abandonment of the sport, to then giving it one last try and finally getting somewhere; to get the win they deserve at the end of all the turmoil. This immediately makes the film less interesting but with all the hype I had to see it and am glad I did. Just like in 127 hours, whenever there's a film based on real people, it's practically a law now to show a celebratory photograph of these real people over the closing credits. They are recognisable as the real deal, though obviously not as attractive as the stars playing them. I feel this adds to the real authenticity of the film and realisation that it’s not just a film but was someone’s life story. O. Russell turned it into a riveting, inspirational and absorbingly entertaining film. He combines essences of both emotionally drained and powerfully strong to create a memorable and worthwhile film.
Result: A knockout of pure power and emotion. A triumph for O. Russell.