Monday, 15 February 2010

Film - Ewar Style!

Good day everyone, and welcome to "Film" with me, Ewarwoowar!

A few months back, I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a website that allowed me to watch a wide array of movies on it for free. I have absolutely no doubt that this site is a bit dodgy, so unfortunately I've completely forgotten the name of it, and I'm sure it doesn't really exist. However, if you wish to look for it, send me an e-mail, and I might dredge the address back from the depths of my memory. (Or just ask Dan)

Anyway, so recently I've been watching a few movies, and thought it would be nice to do a little round-up of reviews about them. None of these films are new releases, so chances are some of you will have seen them already. Please bear with me, as I'm always about 10 years behind everyone else.

"Ewar, that's all well and good, but shouldn't you have been doing university work instead?"

Shut up. Right, here we go!

Valkyrie (2008) When I looked at the cast for this beforehand, I thought this couldn't work.

The Hollywood A Lister - Tom Cruise.
The "thesp" - Kenneth Branagh.
The English maverick - Bill Nighy.
The comedian - Eddie Izzard.

Them all together? Crazy. Yet, it works quite well.

Cruise plays Claus von Stauffenberg, a central figure in the German Resistance movement of WWII and the main conspirator of the failed 20/7/44 plot to blow up Hitler, remove the Nazi bastards from power and end the war. The film is a good re-telling of that plot, and whilst it's unfortunate that you know the unsuccessful ending beforehand, the film is still gripping and absorbing.

I'll be honest, I like Tom Cruise as an actor. Yes, he is mental, but he's done so many good films, most notably for me the wonderful 'Jerry Maguire'. He also does a very decent job as von Stauffenberg in this, alas with one slight problem that irritated me throughout - the lack of a German accent. He's not the only one, but for a film based on German military men, I expected the actors to at least try the accent, instead of speaking Hollywood-stylie. That annoyed me about this film, but that is the only negative I can come up with here. If you haven't done so already, it is well worth seeing this movie.

Ewar Rating 8/10

Madagascar 2 (2008) Yes, well, I watched this with my little brother, but thought I had better just quickly mention it. First off, it's a lot better than it's predecessor. Having been marooned on, yes, Madagascar, the animals attempt to fly back to NYC and their zoo. Sadly a problem with their plane leads them to crash-land in Africa, where Alex the Lion just happens to be re-united with his family. A big decision soon looms for the gang - to stay in the glorious surroundings of an African safari park, or to try and head back to New York?

If you want a kids film, you could do worse, however you could also do much better - 'Finding Nemo' is still the dogs bollocks for me.

Ewar Rating 6/10

Dirty Pretty Things (2002) Before this film, I had never seen an Audrey Tatou film. This is quite surprising, considering that my good friend "G" goes into a frenzy/starts masturbating whenever anyone mentions either her name or her signature film 'Amelie', and he recommended I try out this film. A splendid recommendation, because this film is bloody superb.

I'll deal with Tatou in a bit, but I want to focus on Chiwetel Ejiofor, who puts in a very good performance as an illegal immigrant from Nigeria called 'Okwe'. Working in a London hotel, he soon discovers the unpalatable and grim side of the city, and soon gets embroiled in a rather unsavoury situation involving peoples organs, passports, cash in hand, backstreet operations...

The film itself is a social commentary on the dark underbelly of urban life, which it handles magnificently. It also has humour, emotion, morality, romance, sadness and happiness, and a gripping and involving story that will keep you hooked throughout. I loved it.

If I had to have criticisms about this film, I could only really suggest two, and both are minor. Firstly, I found Tatou a bit annoying, and I would argue forever that Ejiofor deserves far more recognition and praise for his performance in this film. I felt that Tatou was a little OTT and just a little bit too excitable for me. Very pretty girl though.

Secondly, Okwe begins to stumble upon the seedy nature of his surroundings when he discovers something that is blocking a toilet in a hotel room (I shan't say what it is). However, this bit makes absolutely no sense, and even after browsing through the imdb forums I'm still left searching for an answer as to why this thing would be down the toilet. It is quite simply a bit of "popcorn logic" - it's not a big thing, but it just irritated me a bit, as I like my films to be perfectly cut and dried with everything nicely explained and tidied up neatly.

Never the less, don't pay too much attention to those criticisms. If you haven't seen it, I absolutely urge you to watch this film - I'm certain you won't regret it.

Ewar Rating 8.5/10

Rachel Getting Married (2008) I watched this last night, so I haven't had a great deal of time to ponder over it like I have done with the others.

As you can tell from the title, Rachel is getting married. However, despite it being her big day, Rachel is not the focus of the film - instead we're spending 2 hours with Rachel's sister Kym, a model who has been allowed out of rehab for her sister's big day.

What this leads to is an interesting little film about family dynamics, focusing on the strained relationships between Kym and those around her - her sister, her divorced parents, the maid of honour. Oh, and this isn't helped by what happened to Kym's little brother, Ethan, when he was left in her charges, unhappily at the exact time that she was completely stoned.

The film itself, in my opinion, is a bit of a letdown. There's a potential there for a really, really good film, but it's ruined by a number of strange decisions throughout. So many scenes either are irrelevant (including a very strange scene involving a race to load a dishwasher) or go on for far too long. There's about 15 minutes worth of "wedding speeches" which again is totally unnecessary - it's a wedding, we get it.

Than there's the use of a hand-held camera throughout, which again is meant to symbolise that it's a wedding, and there's someone filming it for prosperity...but the audience are not idiots. We understand this already. Above all else, this film desperately needed a good edit - it is 20 minutes too long, and after about 5 minutes of watching people dancing at a wedding, I found my attention wandering somewhat.

Despite all these criticisms however, one thing impressed me greatly in this film, and that is the leading lady, Anne Hathaway. I only really knew Hathaway from 'Get Smart', the slightly tired and contrived comedy she co-starred in with Steve Carell, and I presumed that's all she was.
I was hideously wrong. As the complex, outspoken wild-child Kym, she is absolutely brilliant, and it's no surprise to read that she was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for this role.

Do I recommend this movie? As a film, probably not, but if you want a woman in a strong and convincing role than I certainly would point you to Hathaway in this.

Ewar Rating 6/10

Of course, films are all about opinions. If you agree/disagree or maybe want more info about anything, drop a comment below!

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