Thursday, 30 December 2010

Favourite films of 2010

My top picks:

1) The Social Network
2) Somewhere
3) Toy Story 3
4) Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows Part 1
5) Get him to the Greek
6) Cemetery Junction
7) Winter's Bone
8) How to Train your Dragon
9) The Town
10) Chico & Rita

Some from 2009 I didn't see till until 2010 that I rated highly:

11) Up in the Air
12) Fantastic Mr Fox

The one that got away and that I'm certain would have made my list into a 'top 13'...

L'illusionniste - I'll see it in 2011. It's a Resolution.

Biggest Let Downs:
1) Eclipse
2) Easy A
3) Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
4) Kick Ass
5) Inception
6) The Princess and the Frog
7) Gainsbourg

Worst of the year:

1) The Hot Tub Time Machine
2) Brooklyn's Finest

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Everybody goes through that pretentious photography phase at least once...

...for me, that phase is now.

When it comes to 'art', I've always preferred photograph over painting. Though I will happily admire the work of fine water or pastel painter, I have always found it difficult finding that particular something that connects between myself and the painting. This, of course, could be due to lack of imagination on my part.

However, I never seem to struggle to discover the innate beauty or sense of wonderment captured in a good photograph. A photographer I have admired for many a year is David LaChapelle:

LaChapelle snaps mainly celebrities (like Ewan Mcgregor pictured here). He is vibrant, colourful and is at a standard that cannot be held up to any other photographer I've seen the work of. He also directed Christina Aguilera's infamously raunchy video 'dirty'. LaChappelle's work is like a frantically camp, but passionate affair with which ever A-Lister is in the frame.
He is the master of the wacky and his portfolio should be attempted by no one.

Though I am a big fan, LaChappelle was still not the somebody who actually inspired me to crack out the old Olympus - which had been gathering dust in the shed for far too long. It was Robert Doisneau's photos which sparked an interest. Though Doisneau is one of France's most noted photographers, it was only very recently that his work found me. His photographs date back to the 1930s and continued throughout most of the 20th century. He managed to capture, what can only be described as the simple and subtle beauties of everyday life. Sticking mainly to the streets of Paris, he transformed the ordinary into profound art:

And here are some I took over summer (It's a work in progress):

'The Marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street' - Robert Doisneau

Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Town

When did car chases become such fun?
One should always be somewhat sceptical when entering a cinema where a Ben Affleck production is being shown. You never quite know what you are getting yourself into. (Remember Gigli? No? Well, you're lucky). With The Town being directed by and starring the man himself, it is double the pressure for Affleck. Luckily, this fast paced thriller offers even more of the Gone Baby Gone-type redemption from the Pearl Harbours and Paychecks of his career.

So what makes this heist-flick a pleasant experience for the cinema-goer, rather than giving us the 'I want to tear my eyes out with a corkscrew' sensation we experienced during Surviving Christmas?
Firstly we have a lucid and engaging story which is not 100% original, but does more than the job.
Secondly, casting is key. Though we have no academy -worthy performances here, each actor holds their own: Rebbecca Hall does her signature straight laced, girl next door thing while Blake Lively climbs down the social ladder from being a Manhattan socialite (Gossip Girl), and becomes America's finest example of trailer trash. And though Affleck never has quite had the cinematic presence in the action-drama role as, Leonardo Dicaprio, for example, he still packs enough spunk to keep us genuinely interested in the, 'redeem me' villain that he plays.
The most surprising part of the film for me however, was the fact that I wasn't thinking of what to have for dinner during the inevitable car-chase scenes. I was instead hanging on at every wheel-screech and police siren and waiting for the next explosion.

So for finally I agree with Empire's 4 stars on this one.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Four stars? Really Empire...?

I remember my first ever issue of Empire...It was the release of the first of Sam Rami's Spider-man's, Back in 2002. I was just a pubescent boy with acne and terrible hair at the time. Ever since, Empire has been a kind of hero to me. Not Total Film, not Sight and Sound and not Film two-Thousand and whatever... it was always Empire.
I always agreed with any criticism or praise Empire dished out on default. Since, in my early years of high school I had few friends, Empire became a kind of imaginary friend to me:
‘Well Empire gave it four stars!’
Date Movie is fockin’ bangin’ mate’
‘Uh, Empire gave it one star...’
Recently, cracks began to form between me and the movie magazine that I once loved so dearly. When, last week my father kindly purchased me a cinema ‘Unlimited Card’ (My last one expired in 2005) I went online to have a gander on what to watch and Empire nudged me towards two films:
Brooklyn’s Finest
Empire – Four stars
Me - Two Stars.
Looked shit in the trailer, so I should have trusted my instincts. Nevertheless, my ‘yes lord Empire, I’ll see it’ auto-response pushed through. Total rubbish. Boring characters. Recycled plot. Gratuitous violence. It was lucky I had the Facebook phone application to get me through.
Shrek 4 – Four stars. Me - 3 Stars Thank fuck for that - the last installment of the quadrilogy was total shit - glad to see the friendly geen ogre is back on top! However, apart from some nice 3-D, it was total ogre-shite, I didn’t even snigger. Not once.
A week later I felt I had to see the latest Twilight effort. I had seen the last two and given it has become such an iconic franchise, I thought I may as well. I don’t quite know why, since I thought the first two were pretty crap...Either way, I still somehow ended up munching on my starburst in the opening day-advanced screening of the film. And yes, I was surrounded, of course, by the ritual horde of screaming 14 year old girls.
The good thing about the first two films in the “saga” was that however badly acted or poorly written they were, they remained entertaining throughout. This time I was actually bored throughout the entirety of Eclipse . Even the climax was as dull as my grandma’s stroodle. It was an overly-sappy, badly put together and rushed MESS... Worst of all, Dekota Fanning’s only intriguing character - though plastered all over Eclipse posters - barely had one line throughout.
“Empire is going to tear this summer turkey apart,” I thought when leaving the screening. But to my horror I came home and checked the review and it read – “By far the best Twilight film to date.” – Four stars. (Me? ... 1 star)
And that was the moment I lost all faith in Empire...
...I am willing to be fickle on the matter though, considering I still have a subscription...