Month: March 2016

Bit Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane, where to even start? I had been excited for this film since I saw the haunting trailer not long since and found myself invested in the story before I had even seen it. The film is a spiritual sequel to Cloverfield, I hadn’t originally seen this film so I was nervous into whether or not I would be confused. Fear not, the film stands alone by itself and you do not have to see the first.

The story begins with our protagonist Michelle, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, being involved in an accident and finding herself being ‘rescued’ in a bunker by Howard, John Goodman, who is initially seen as a strange character. In the bunker is also Emmett who managed to get into the bunk just as Howard was closing it. Ultimately Michelle finds out that the world above isn’t safe and that she has no choice but to stay in the bunker. As the film progresses we learn more about the inhabitants of the bunker leading the suggestion that perhaps it is more dangerous inside.

Unliked Cloverfield, which is filmed in a found footage style, 10 Cloverfield Lane is filmed in a third-person narrative and at times seems like a staged drama. The cinematography, the editing and music all blend together to form such an excellent combination. The use of the sound is a key area, as there are many times in which we are placed in the characters position and we simply hear the world above instead of seeing it.  The editing too follows the character in moments which are fast paced being disorientating and the moments of status-quo being slow paced. 10 Cloverfield Lane is Dan Trachtenberg’s directorial debut and it is simply breathtaking. I don’t use that often, but the film left me in pieces. The acting from all the cast was incredible each playing their parts with brilliance, Winstead being the determined heroine constantly fighting, Goodman being the eerie stranger and Gallagher, Jr being the comedic relief and assisting the hero. I watched the film with anxiety and couldn’t sit still, the film is a prime example of an active audience member as you feel along with the heroine. To do this film justice in a simple review is not enough, it’s engaging, enigmatic and captivating up until the end.

Bit Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Despite all the negatively, Batman vs Superman isn’t as bad as you think. That doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily great. The film starts following Batman and tells his tragic origin in which his parents are murdered in front of him, both of which were played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohen both from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Which I was initially disappointed to find that they both were literally only in for a split second as they had much more potential as actors. 

The film features a lot of talented actors, such as Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Lawrence Fishbourne but the two prominent figures of the story are obviously Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. Both of which were good in their roles, Affleck brought a maturity to Batman that hasn’t been seen in the screen before (even in Adam West’s portrayal). Cavill’s Superman is clearly different to previous movie portrayals as he is a more darker and selfish character focusing on personal issues than the general public. This isn’t bad, it’s an interesting version of the legendary character but fits into the dark DC world that Nolan helped create in his Batman movies. Both are good in their parts, surprisingly Jesse Eisenberg plays an interesting Lex Luthor and brings a modern edge to him making him a more complicated character and not a one-sided psychopath.

The reason the film has been so badly slated is due to the film being rushed. I am actually a fan of Zack Snyder especially Sucker Punch, but this film was too forced and in moments too meshed together. The cameos of the Justice League, Chris Pine and other characters in the universe is all a build up for future movies and the big Justice League Movie. DC are obviously competing with Marvel, but the success of Marvel is due to years and years of planning. There is a moment in the film, in which it tries too hard to be artistic in a dream sequence which happens to be another dream sequence. The scene is too messed up to be completely understood or even of value, there are many moments like this which is why it feels rushed.

I won’t lie, and say that I hated the film. I’m a huge fan of the superhero genre and Superman is one of my favourites. I liked Affleck’s Daredevil, and thought he was a valid Batman, as well Gadot’s Wonder Woman. Despite being worried about her portrayal, she was credibly and her onscreen as the legend in battle was perhaps one of the best scenes of the movie and her own personalised theme added to the film tremendously. The actors were good, as were the score by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL. Zimmer brought the traditional and grand scale of the Superhero theme but Junkie XL made it more modern to today’s standards. The build up to the big fight in the film, was a major reason into why many disliked it. It was firstly too short, but the resolution was too quick. Batman’s hatred of Superman being resolved by one simply factor (which I won’t spoil).

The film had a huge cast list, and many talented actors but the main focus was of course Batman and Superman. It’s way over two hours long, and maybe should’ve been just under two hours and more condensed for better quality. However, we can hope that the R-Rated version will be more interesting as Snyder will have the freedom that restrains a 12A film. I believe that the theatrical release of the film could’ve been a lot better had it not being rushed, a better script and perhaps a different director. Don’t believe everything you read though, maybe give it a go?

Classic Bit Review: Stage Struck (1958)

Daughter of legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, Susan, stars in RKO’s Technicolor drama talkie featuring Henry Fonda and Christopher Plummer as Susan’s lovers. Fresh from his previous release, 12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet directs the story of Susan Strasberg’s journey as a Broadway actress willing to do anything to get to the top.

Strasberg plays the character of Eva Lovelace, an innocent ingénue whose erratic and flattery ways secure her the affection of almost every man who meets her, especially Plummer and Fonda. Plummer, in his feature film debut, stars as a theatre writer and director who gives Lovelace opportunities. Whilst Fonda plays a theatre producer, who initially dismisses Lovelace until he sees her inebriated at a party. Lovelace’s goal is to achieve fame as a Broadway star, perhaps even a Hollywood actress. Despite claiming to do anything for her career, she refuses an offer by a friend to appear in the Actors Studio, and over-presents herself at an audition provided by Sheridan.

New York plays as the stage, and looks stunning in its amazing Technicolor, making it vibrant and full of life. There are clashings with the title sequences and the mise-en scene on screen, an unfortunate error of making the title credits in the same style, colour and font as the ones on screen. The scene text is unreadable and clashes too much, an error editor Stuart Gilmore should’ve noticed. Alex North’s musical composition is consistent throughout featuring violins and other stringed instruments are used to add sentiment to the drama.

Lovelace ends the film with leading on her director, having a romantic moment with Fonda and leaving the stage after her successful Broadway debut. The screenplay is based on the stage play Morning Glory, that serves the base for feature film Morning Glory starring Katherine Hepburn in Strasberg’s role.

Strasberg should’ve taken a note from Hepburn’s performance, Stage Struck’s failing quality is most definitely Susan Strasberg. Wooden acting at most times, or perhaps a deliberate choice on the part of Strasberg. 132687d