Possibly the most anticipated film of the summer and having been to see the film in its opening weekend I now know that it broke every record.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (UK release 2014 dir. Terence Nance)Standard
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is the debut film of young African-American filmmaker Terence Nance. The experimental film is semi-animated and difficult to place into a genre, it is a drama, a romance and as it claims ‘educational’, and although described as non-fiction often extends into ‘what if’ fantasy scenarios.
The film explores Terence’s feelings after his beautiful friend, and object of his desire, Namik Minter, calls to cancel plans she had made to visit his apartment one night in 2006. The narrator explains that the film is really two films, one about his feelings that night called How would you feel? made in 2006 and the other made much later after Terence shows his film to Minter called An Oversimplification of Her Beauty.
As well as exploring his feelings for Minter, Terence also recalls numerous past loves through animation, photography and film; all the while with his own academic narration.
An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is an ambitious and refreshing film that will not be to everyone’s taste due to the narrative and artistic risks it takes. However I enjoyed it and would definitely see it again for its honesty and the beautiful images it paints and would urge you to give it a go. I think Nance is a refreshing new talent and cannot wait to see what he will create next.
Prometheus (2012 dir. Ridley Scott)Standard
Having been too young to fully appreciate the Alien movies first time around I was able to watch Prometheus without making constant caparisons to the first four films. So when the plot diverted slightly from the first film I didn’t feel cheated or that sacred ground was being trampled on. Although Prometheus has not been billed as a prequel to Alien many have been viewing it as such.
It is 2093 and a group of unconventional scientists and archeologists are sent to investigate the origins of humankind on a distant planet in their ship Prometheus, by Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), the aged CEO of Weyland Corporations. When they get there they find a large construction made by what they think may be extra terrestrial. As they explore the structure they come across snake-like beings and begin to realise that the true purpose of their visit has not been fully disclosed to them.
The film is both Sci-Fi and Horror, with the characters making dubious decisions which isolate them and put them in vulnerable situations. There is also comedy to break the tension and Idris Elba’s one liners are brilliant as he taunts an uptight Meredith Vickers, played by Charlize Theron. There is some excellent acting in the film with Noomi Repace playing the invincible powerhouse Elizabeth Shaw with passion and grit. Michael Fassbender is also superb as the complicated android David.
As is expected the visuals are excellent and with CGI effects and imaginative set design the world on board Prometheus and in space are mesmerising. A lot happens during the film but the action is fast paced enough so that the 124 minute running time is barely noticeable.
As Hollywood blockbusters go this is probably one of the year’s best, having already made $147.7 million at the box office I think that this film will go on to smash records and draw a whole new generation of fans to the other Alien films. Prometheus is a definite hit which should not be missed!
Men in Black III (2012 dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)Standard
My last memory of the MiB is linked with Will Smith’s accompanying 1997 single and dad-dancing, so I was glad that this new instalment would provide for a less embarrassing picture to add to my memories of the franchise. Now I can replay the amusing moment when a usually super-chilled Smith looses his cool and smacks a Russian reporter around the face for trying to snog him on the red carpet!
MiB III is all it promises to be, its funny, it has great special effects and an entertaining story. In this instalment Agent J travels back in time to the colourful 1960s to save his partner, Agent K, from being murdered by alien villain Boris the Animal at the NASA Moon Launch.
A fun Friday night movie with great performances by Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson and Nicole Scherzinger!
21 Jump Street (2012)Standard
Anyone who remembers the original 21 Jump Street series as a kid will immediately jump to see this film and after seeing it will probably have mixed feelings. The film is good, enjoyable to watch and plays on high school stereotypes in an original and amusing way, but at the same time is stupid to an extent that may leave some people thinking “what was that all about”. However, it’s simply a good lighthearted comedy that tells an underlying story of the misfit going back to school, becoming one of the cool kids and getting the girl. The script is witty and for me there are some excellent moments of the stupid humour that I describe above and I was laughing from the get go.
The performance by Jonah Hill was compelling and interesting and having seen him in Money Ball most recently, I can honestly say he’s a very good actor.
Personally I always find Channing Tatum hard to watch because (not that anyone else would) I can never fault him in his roles as he always delivers, but I find that he’s almost playing a cameo of himself (big, strong, handsome, leader). Well in this film they make a distinct point about not over playing to these strengths and we see something a little different in places and it works.
Overall Tatum and Hill play the best buddies role excellently. I could imagine them as Devito and Schwarznegger in a reprisal of Twins for example, and believe me this is a complement despite whatever connotations of acting or physic you might think I’m making. I am in fact eluding to the on-screen chemistry of 21 Jump Street which reminded me of being at school or what I wish school could have been (busting school drug rings, messing up the school play and yes, winning the girl at the end of the night) .
An easy to follow plot with stupidly funny humour and a little romance. What more could you want from a laid back friday night.
Trishna (2012 dir. Michael Winterbottom)Standard
Pinto is mesmerising as the naive and delicate Trishna, in this loose adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, and even though I hadn’t read the book I was still throughly impressed with the universal issues within this film.
A key line from the film, which also features in the trailer, has Jay, the wealthy son of a businessman, saying to Trishna that The Karma Sutra
says there are three types of heroines that you’re allowed to make love to, the maid, the single lady and the courtesan. So which one are you?’ Themes of unfairness, social expectation and male dominance are explored when Jay embarks on a passionate affair with Trishna. As they travel from Jaipur to modern Mumbai their relationship seems to transcend that of master and servant, and at times it looks as though Jay wants to elevate Trishna to his equal. However as the film develops we see both characters struggle with their feelings and social position.
The film has received mixed reviews with some critics claiming that the film fails to make a big enough impact on the audience. I disagree, I found this to be both an intricate and compelling film. The film also boasts an excellent musical score by Shigeru Umebayashi and Bollywood composer Amit Trivedi that creates a perfect bed on which to navigate through the narrative’s complex themes.
Rampart (2011 dir. Oren Moverman)Standard
I have never sat in a cinema and thought I’d rather be at the dentist before, but this film really did induce filling fantasies! Not because it had anything to do with teeth, but rather because I couldn’t help but wonder which was more painful!
The film begins with Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) smoking and driving around in his police car, in fact he is sucking on a cigarette in nearly every scene, if tobacco advertising wasn’t illegal there would definitely be lots of opportunities for product placement here. Brown is a self-possessed, deluded and corrupt policeman from LA’s Rampart department, which was found to be riddled with corruption in the 1990s. Brown convinces himself that he is administering justice during his many fracases with unsuspecting criminals. His relationships are all unsuccessful with his eldest daughter amusingly addressing him as ‘Date Rape’, a nickname he obtained after supposedly ridding the streets of bad guys a few years earlier.
Ice Cube makes an appearance as Kyle Timkins who is assigned to investigate the corruption charges against Brown but is not on screen long enough, instead we are forced to endure the twisted exploits of the deranged and unlikable Brown. It’s not that Harrelson’s acting is unconvincing or inadequate, in fact he plays the role very well and has received praise from newspapers such as The Guardian for his performance, it is rather that, unlike similar characters in films like Training Day and Bad Lieutenant, his character does not make enough of an emotional impact for us to care about whether he is brought down by his arrogance or sacrifices himself in repentance. One of the best things for me about seeing this movie was that it only cost £3.50 courtesy of The Coronet Cinema’s discounted ticket prices on a Tuesday!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012 dir. John Madden)Standard
A film based on the novel These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel portrays an alternative image of retirement through a colourful bunch of over sixties who have abandoned the UK for the warm and eventful surroundings of Jaipur, India. The film’s cast of talented stars like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson and Dev Patel, as well as the backing of Fox Searchlight Pictures will ensure that this is a hit with the marketing campaign having started as far back as November 2011.
Nevertheless this film is a real gem not simply because of the budget and acting talent but also due to the wit and charm of the characters, the wonderful and modern story it relays and the beautiful pictures created by cinematographer Ben Davis.
Another great thing about going to see this film was that it left you feeling hopeful, that there was more to life than worry and in deed more to old age than urine soaked undies and senility. At the end of the film I enjoyed turning round and seeing an audience that were made up of all ages but more wonderfully, an audience that included more mature cinemagoers. This film rejoices love, life and living for the moment.