The Help (2011) Review

Directed by: Tate Taylor
Screenplay by: Tate Taylor
Cast: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia L. Spencer
Genre: Drama
Colour, 145 Minutes

There are a few who have not enjoyed this film, but Golden Globe winning The Help is a film with plenty of heart that captures a moment of time when things were not the best. I am talking of the 1950’s in the Southern states of America. I think the thing that puts people off is the setting concept. Films based on racism towards black people have been done many times (Mississippi Burning, Hairspray etc.), but in no way here does it bring anything down as it works effectively. The films touching characterisation and portrayal of just how cruel hearted some people can be can serve up a very entertaining movie.

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What I thought of the 69th Golden Globe Awards Results


I am sure I am not the only one making this post and if youhave not seen the results yet, prepare for spoilers. 2011 has been an all rightyear for cinema, with films like Hugo,The Artist and Midnight in Parisall coming in. However, only a few films I have considered truly great (over9/10 rating). This year we had some pretty bad films like The Human Centipede 2, Red Riding Hood, Big Momma’s: Like Father, LikeSon, Sucker Punch, and swamps of mainstream (The Smurfs, Captain America, Sherlock Holmes). Some will be happywith the results, others not. I was not a big fan of 2011’s films, but theresults have seemed fair. Now let us take a look at some of this years mostrevered films and their results.

The Iron Lady (2012)

Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
Genre: Drama, Biographical
Country: United Kingdom, France
From a person who is very out of touch with politics andunaware of many things that I probably should know, but hey who tells me? Ialso don’t know much about Thatcher. TheIron Lady gives you a biopic experience that shows this headstrong politicianin her highs and lows and her arrival to politics. Meryll Streep is unforgettable and the flashback structure makes thingseven more exciting. Despite not teaching much in-depth about this fascinatingwoman, we see moments of her career that will likely want you to learn moreabout her. The film is quite plain in storytelling, but Streep’s performance makes up for it.

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Are all the best films adaptations of literature?

I have just been thinking about all the great films there is, and just how many of them are based on books. Most of the brilliant films that are adaptations of books are the older ones, 80’s and below. Just think of films such as The Godfather, The Silence of the Lambs, A Clockwork Orange, Psycho (1960, the Harry Potter franchise, Hugo, Frankenstein (1931), Jaws, Rope, while all of these are not masterpieces, they are great films. And there are plenty more where that came from.

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The Artist (2011) 200th Review!

Directed by: Michel Hazanvicius
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance
Country: France 
They don’t make them like they used to, but now they do. The Artist is the answer to film lover’s prayers, and mine too. Michel Hazanavicius, writer and director ofthis delightful motion picture was criticised for his idea of making a silentfilm in today’s modern age. Nevertheless, with the film’s sincerity, emotion,wit and crowd-pleasing homage to early Hollywood, it sure proves them wrong.The genuine charm this film has stands out from the CGI, 3D and blockbustermovies that have barraged are cinemas in recent years, and I can definitelyapprove that this film will be successful for those who have not yetexperienced a silent film. Simply one of 2011’s finest!

So what is this acclaimed film allabout? Our film opens in 1927 with famous actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a silent moviesuperstar. The advent of the talkies will sound the death knell for his careerand see him fall into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), it seems the sky’s thelimit – major movie stardom awaits. The Artist tells the story of theirinterlinked destinies.

The cinematography is absorbing andeverything is gorgeously shot. Everything was so convincing I forgot I waswatching a film from 2011. Everything has been executed so perfectly. Thecostumes, the old Hollywood sets, the cars, the streets, everything! Half thetime it felt like an authentic 20’s silent film and I kept forgetting it wasmade in 2011. The music was beautifully done and is one of the elements thatgive it the most authenticity.  Whetherit is that song, “pennies from heaven”, or the opening sequence, or even theboogie-styled jazz, you really feel like you watching a film made in the 20’s. A round of applaud for Ludovic Bource’s work here.

One of the most fascinating things ishow brilliant this film is, and how much I do not know any of the makersinvolved with the film. The only three familiar faces were Malcolm McDowell, John Goodman and Missi Pyle who was Violet’s mother in “Charlie and the ChocolateFactory”, who in this film, does an excellent job as the attention loving withof Valentin. She also reminds you of Singinin the Rain’s Lina Lamont. I can definitely see potential in these actorsin the future and I will be checking out their work.
The acting was golden and convincing. Berenice Bejo pulls off her rolemagically, and she would certainly give HelenKane a run for her money with her stunning beauty. Her performance wasemotionally driven, energetic and full of life.  The ley thing that was enjoyable about seeingher was her great mime acting and expressions. With silent films, those twothings are extremely important. Movement and facial expression is used to thestrength of them, and so it is for this film and executes it wonderfully. 
Malcolm McDowell in his cameo to the right.
Of course, how could we forget the delectableJean Dujardin with the looks of Errol Flynn and the charm of Charlie Chaplin. His performance asGeorge Valentin is simply one of 2011’s finest performances with wit, humour,sadness and great finesse. 
As a silent film lover, and enthusiastof cinema the film was exuberant, fun, charming and astoundingly entertaining. Itcaptures the early days of Hollywood with excellent grace, and seeing talkiessweep cinema in the film definitely pulls a grin to my face, in loving memoryof “Singin’ the Rain”, which also revolved around the invention of ‘talkie’pictures. While it does share it’s similarities with that film, it is still afresh film that overlooks the hard times of silent filmmakers. 
This may not be my favourite film of alltime, but it is up their somewhere. I will go as far as saying that, if you donot like this, even just a little, you are crazy; especially if you are afilmgoer. That is quite how strongly I feel about this film. The film hasflawless charm and a classic plot that absorbs you right to the end withheart-warming emotion and beautiful imagery. There is too much charm not tolove this film. It has a classic story that retains the spirit of a greatsilent film, but still has a great vibrancy and energy to it.

Some enjoyed the film, although not tothe extent I did. I cannot see anything wrong with this film. The story hasbeen done a few times in cinema, (finest example is of course Singin In The Rain), but the fact thatsomeone went and made a silent film today; Especially with how cinema hasevolved. Therefore, it is a blissful homage and reminder of the era. Despitebeing a little old fashioned, it still connects to the audience with itslovable charm, wit, humour and gripping plot. You don’t need to be a historianor know about the talkies and their revolutionary impact either, because thefilm presents those details enough. For those unaware, it will be athought-provoking experience, and for those who know, it will be a portrayal ofbrilliance.

The cinema in which I saw it in I praisefor running the film, as it is the only place within 100 miles it is playingfor me. In addition, it was an Art House cinema. There were no more than 80people and the atmosphere was magical. Despite my friends and I being almostthe youngest (16-17) I was happy to see people appreciated the film. Even oneof my friends said a tear caught his eye in one of the films most tense moments. People laughedat the little jokes, and I heard discussion of the film as I walked out. The Artist has been one of the bestcinema experiences I have ever had with a film that showed such simplisticbeauty in its emotion and humour. 
It has the poignancy and simplicityfilms lack today. Not today modern cinema has not had brilliant films (The Social Network, Inception, SlumdogMillionaire etc.), but romancestories have definitely taken things up a notch in complexity. This film getsto the roots of emotion, making it genuinely accessible and breath-taking towatch. Despite the characters not having a literal voice, through expression,gesture and body language, the film definitely has touching, surprising, funnyand emotional moments.
The film has had six golden globenominations, including best picture (comedy or musical), and with awards allover institutions, it is sweeping the floor. Popular among critics, andaudiences worldwide, I hope to see this films name appear frequently. For some,it may not seem like a broad film, but I firmly say that it is a wonderfulhomage and reminder to silent cinema, a time that should not be forgotten. Youngor old, this is a must-see film and is likely not to disappoint with its crowd-pleasingcharm, beautifully shot imagery and classy acting. The Artist is a poignant homage to early cinema that is likely toimpress even compared to today’s standards. 
Fun fact: The film is shot in 1.33:1 ratio, just like how they did it back in the day.
My Rating: 10/10

Extra Information
Written by: Michel Hazanahvius
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Music by: Ludovic Bource  
Distributed by: Warner Bros. France

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Genre: Drama
Country: United Kingdom
At the height of fashion in the mid 70’s, the film captures the 18th century in a gloriously shot manner, with almost every shot being like apainting on a canvas. Stanley Kubrick,who directed, produced and wrote the screenplay of the book, has once more madea distinctive film with storytelling and visual beauty looking at British aristocracyin the 18th century. This time Kubrick has creates a historical epicand in the 3-hour runtime it has, the life of Lyndon is curiously interesting.Three hours is a reasonably long time to watch a film, but sometimes it works, creating a film with a distinguished atmosphere. Just look at the Lord of the Ringstrilogy.

No doubt, Kubrick has touched this film with great skill.With almost every shot having the beauty of a still frame, and directing thefilm engagingly, it makes Barry Lyndoneven more exciting. The film is split into two parts, and it was smart to do sowith the film’s 3-hour runtime. Part 1 involves seeing how Barry got the name‘Barry Lyndon’, and part 2 follows his reign of fortune. From Lyndon’s journeyfrom Ireland to his wealth in England, his life has the upmost curiosity.

It appears that old Kubrick hastaken special care with this film ensuring every shot has atmosphere. Whetherwe are following Lyndon as he walks through the forest with his cousin, or ifwe are seeing the Lyndon mansion and its grounds, the film is definitely filledwith florescent and beautiful cinematography. With fashionable classy clothesof ye olden days and authentic looking set pieces, you definitely get warpedinto the time of the 18h century. It has never been captured withsuch visual grace, which proves Kubrick is a great visionary storyteller. The visualsof this film push the technology of its time (as Kubrick done also with 2001), and it has some of the finestcinematography of any 70’s film.

The characters could have been more distinguished, but Ryan O Neil did a superb job. Therereally is no characters who play a huge part in the film. Instead, Lyndon meetsmany characters throughout the film and only five or so have a recurrence. Nevertheless,they all played their parts fine slapping authenticity on to the films time-period. Lyndon’s character is quite various in emotions.He is devilish, selfish, emotionless and a thief. In addition, he is an opportunist.

Barry Lyndon isone of Kubrick’s underrated films, which is agreeable to some extent. The actingwas interesting, the set pieces were beautiful, and the story that follows aman’s rise to wealth and crumble was plenty to love. However, with this in mindthe film does not explore much. It is a film that simply follows one characters rise and fall and can be quite boring at times. I think its lackof character that brings the film down a little. We have plenty of characters,but no truly engaging ones, except for Lyndon.  

Many critics and filmgoers do not like this film as much ashis other films, which is understandable. This is the fifth Kubrick film I haveseen and it is his weakest, but with that in mind it is still a historicalepic. The characterisation is not the strongest, and Lyndon’s journey may seemslow, but its look on aristocracy makes it a reasonably powerful film. Overall,with artistic tour de force, Barry Lyndonstill excels in the medium with its picturesque cinematography and 18thcentury charm.
My Rating: 8/10

Extra Information:
Produced by: Stanley Kubrick
Written to the screen by: Stanley Kubrick
Runtime: 186 Minutes
Distributed by: 
Age Certificate: PG 

Close Encounter of the Third Kind (1977) Review

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Country: USA

When people refer to 1970’s Sci-fi, they usually think Star Wars. In the same year as George Lucas’s box office smash, we had Close Encounters from Steven Spielberg. Here we see a great director implementing mechanisms that would be used in his later films like E.T and even in the new Super 8. It is clear now that Spielberg is an important director with such successful and well made films behind him. Close Encounters is a sci-fi film that has some brilliantly executed effects (for its time) on an adventure following America, and its encounter with extra-terrestrial life. Continue reading

2011 Film Master Award Nominees

What is it? This is the awards I am giving out to this years greatest films and giving them special honours. I will make a page showing the awards won by films and will do this every year from now on. Consider it a personal academy awards. Instead of making a favourites list, or an overview, I thought this would be more interesting. 2011 had a few great films, but 2012 looks more promising. Now let’s see what films impressed (and sucked) the most. To the nominees!

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