RSS

Guardians of the Galaxy

At the Movies

gotgBefore seeing this film I was only vaguely aware of the Guardians of the Galaxy since I never regularly followed any space based comics so I had very few preconceptions about this film. This lack of familiarity has been taken into account and Marvel has given us a big colourful space adventure that assumes no previous knowledge and only marginally connects to the other Marvel films. The basic story is that a team of criminals are forced together by circumstances to combat the plans of a genocidal fanatic who threatens all life in the galaxy.

Right from the first appearance of Star Lord (Chris Pratt) this film sets its tone as he dances his way through the ruins of building to steal the Orb. We get a real sense of what sort of idiot this guy is when he picks up a rat creature to use as a mic as he sings along to Come and Get your Love on his battered ancient Sony Walkman. Star Lord’s real name is Peter Quill and he was born on Earth but got kidnapped by space pirates when he was about eight which is where all his dated references and taste in music come from.

Next we meet green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana)  who worked for the villain Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) but has had enough of working for a fanatic and wants to steal the Orb for herself. She was adopted by the Mad Titan Thanos who has manipulated and modified her into a weapon then lent her out to Ronan to assist in his plans for genocide and destruction. She has had enough crap and doesn’t take any more from Star Lord.

The next two come as a pair Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). Rocket is a smartarse bounty hunter, thief and whatever else it takes to make a living when he’s a creature created in a lab and is only two foot high that looks like a raccoon. Groot is an intelligent tree and very necessary muscle for Rocket’s schemes and he is very strong and able to recover from serious damage. Amazing work has been done to bring these two CGI characters to life in a way that makes it believable that they are there interacting with the live actors it no surprise they are the breakout characters of this film since they manage to not only deliver plenty of laughs they manage to bring some the more emotional moments too

The last member of the five man band they meet in prison and he’s a huge lump of angry muscle called Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who has been jailed for going on a campaign of vengeance across the galaxy after his family were killed and now he really wants to kill Ronan. No-one gets most of Star Lord’s jokes but Drax’s culture apparently doesn’t understand metaphor so we get a nice running joke of Drax taking figures of speech literally.

Star Lord convinces them that they can all get what they want if they work together. They can escape prison, sell the Orb and split the money then when Ronan comes after Gamora Drax will get his chance to kill him.

The villain side does not get much focus since the film spends the majority of time with the Guardians. Ronan the Accuser is the chief enforcer of the Kree interplanetary empire and he cannot accept the peace treaty that has been forced on the empire by their enemy the Xandarians. He needs the Orb as the price of gaining the help he needs to take vengeance on Xandar. He is a fanatic so is devoid of humour and I thought he made the perfect foil for the irreverent humour of the Guardians .

Assisting Ronan are Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Never really learned much about Korath but Nebula is another one of Thanos’s weaponised adopted daughters and when she fights Gamora there’s a sense of long familiar antagonism. I have mentioned Thanos a few times and though his fingers are all over this story I’ll just say he is firmly in the background and leave it there.

There is no skimping on the supporting cast. The Nova Corps are an interplanetary military style police force based on Xandar led by Nova Prime (Glenn Close). They are the ones who put the Guardians in prison and include actors such as John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz and they really become important in the film’s climax.

Another important group of characters are the space pirates called Ravagers led by Yondu Odontu (Michael Rooker) and these are the ones who snatched Peter Quill from Earth as a boy. Yondu really doesn’t liked being cut out his share of money for the Orb and with his whistle-controlled arrow and gang of cyborg enhanced pirates he’s on Star Lord’s trail.

The set designs in this film are stunning, from the squeaky clean streets of planet Xandar to the prison asteroid called the Kyln, but the most stunning is Knowhere, a lawless trading post set up in the moon-sized head of an ancient being called a Celestial. This is where the Guardians meet The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) and just a glimpse of his collection will make many comic fans happy.

Watching this film is the most fun I’ve had at the cinema this year. The story has a great sense of humour from a team of likeable characters which is a great way of introducing the scale of the greater Marvel universe with its battling empires and maniacal warlords. Every member of the cast do an amazing job bringing these strange characters to life but that’s helped by the familiarity of Star Lord character with his time capsule memories of 1988 pop culture and tapes of music that helps give us Terrans something to connect with.

There is a great deal of buzz about his film and I think that comes from just how refreshing it is to watch a film that just revels in sheer joy of the world it creates. It is such a rich world that I look forward to revisiting it and catching just how many things I missed in my first viewing.

Rating 9.0/10

Related Articles

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Detention

Streaming on Netflix

detentionI have already reviewed a film called Detention with a similar basic premise to this film but this has very different style. In fact this film is all about its style and if you find its too-cool-for-school self-aware hipster hilarious then this will be perfect for you. I didn’t like it at all. I think that this film annoyed me so much because it wants desperately to be a cool, culty film but it’s so busy being impressed by itself I felt it vanished up its own fundament.

The hate starts right away with an introduction to some spoilt brat cheerleader character Taylor Fisher (Alison Woods) whose fourth-wall-breaking reality show style narration of herself gets interrupted by the film’s killer in the mask of a cheesy derivative killer Cinderhella from a slasher film series that is popular because it is cheesy trash.

The main character Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell) is introduced by a sequence that deliberate echo of the Angela’s introduction and she’s every bit as self-obsessed as Angela but it manifests as self-pity instead of arrogance. She is also cynical and judgemental and it’s this character who put me off the film because I found her insufferable.

Riley goes to high school to meet the other characters who are the usual bunch of clichés that never get deep below the surface of what the barely literate literati use as labels nowadays. There’s Carlton Davis (Josh Hutcherson) who is a bland adolescent but apparently cool because he doesn’t care and is so random and he has a cheerleader girlfriend called Ione (Spencer Locke) who used be Riley’s best friend until she got a bitch implant and of course Riley fancies Carlton because it is in the script.  Carlton has friend called Sander Sanderson (Aaron David Johnson) who is barely formed just like him but a virgin. Of course there has to be a bully and he is  … who the hell cares really he’s a cartoon character defined completely through the eyes of those who are not him and the film just at laughs at its own attempt to give him a backstory and he’s called Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley) just like theBully in Carrie and he’s a football player

There are various background clichés like the nerdy Asian student called Toshiba and the teachers at the school are the various types of caricatures of the types staff that populate the American High School movie such as the cartoonishly angry football Coach and the Headmaster Verge (Dane Cook) who hates all the kids. The story is so busy giving us all these characters and set up before it finally remembers that there is a killer.

There plot with the serial killer is still somewhere in there and he makes a couple of attempts on Riley but no-one believes her until after a drunken party where Billy Nolan gets killed and Verger puts the main cast and supporting characters in detention to prevent them going to the prom. This is the point where the plot starts piling on the absurdity in the hunt for the killer which includes time travel, an alien modified stuffed bear and a threat to the future of the whole world. The story is certainly not lacking in imagination or audacity. There’s an amusing scene where they are watching Cinderhella on an illegal streaming site and there’s a scene in that film with a bunch of students in detention watching an illegal bootleg DVD of a cheesy horror film which in turn has a scene of students in in detention who watch a bootleg VHS tape of a cheesy horror film. It gave me chuckle

I have been pretty negative about this film but I realise it is not being targeted at me. Many people will love this film and I can completely understand that. It has been compared to Scream and Scott Pilgrim vs The World and that is a reasonable comparison but I don’t think it succeeds like those films. I will not be surprised if this becomes a cult films as it will probably find an appreciative audience out there. I’m just not one of them.

Rating 4.0/10

Related Articles

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , , ,

Wolfen

One from the Vault

41yzr9evhpl_ss500_I know this is based a book by Whitley Strieber but I have never read any of Strieber’s books so can’t compare it as an adaptation. I have heard this film named among werewolf films of the 80s but [SPOILERS AHEAD] it really isn’t a werewolf film. In fact it is difficult to categorise this film since it has elements of the creature feature mixed with what is an urban crime drama.

A wealthy businessman Van der Meer and his wife are brutally killed along with their driver in Battery Park, New York. The police chief Warren (Dick O’Neill) puts semi-retired detective Dewey Wilson (Albert Finney) on the case. Dewey is an experienced cop but he’s rarely seen anything like this with the bodies torn apart and pieces missing. On the scene is Whittington (Gregory Hines) from the coroner’s office

They suspect a political motive in the murders. Van der Meer had a private security firm watching him and his driver worked for them too. They are able to trace everywhere Van der Meer went until he was killed.  Rebecca Neff (Diane Venora) is an expert in terror groups and fringe political organisations so Warren asks her to work with Dewey.

They don’t get anywhere with the political angle but that doesn’t stop them and the security company keeps at it while Dewey consults Whittington who can’t help identifying the murder weapon since he can’t find any trace of metal in the wounds. The body of a homeless wino is found in the rubble in a demolition site in the slums of South Bronx and though there is no obvious connection between the victims evidence from the body shows he was killed the same way. Dewey thinks this proves that the motive is not political.

Dewey and Rebecca visit the South Bronx site and are drawn to the remains of an old church. Rebecca climbs the bell tower to investigate a strange noise she thinks is like a baby crying but Dewey gets an urgent feeling of danger so he grabs her and rushes both of them outside. Rebecca asks what he thought was up there and he can’t really say apart from the glimpse of a pair of glowing yellow eyes.

Whittington finds hair on the body of the homeless man and they match hairs he found on the body of Mrs Van Der Meer. Hair expert Baldy (James Tolkan) eliminates humans as the source of the hair so they talk to Whittington’s friend Ferguson (Tom Noonan) at the zoo who identifies them as wolf hairs. Ferguson would have been my number one suspect but then I think that’s because I saw Manhunter and Robocop 2. Ferguson goes on about how wolves aren’t killers and how it is humans who are the savages. It’s a point of view held by many who seem to be overcompensating for centuries of abuse but events will prove him wrong.

Dewey knows there is something strange about the killings but he still thinks a human is behind them. In fact he wants to talk to a Native American construction worker Eddie Holt (Edward James Olmos) who has been jailed for violent activity for the Native American cause. Dewey has to climb up one New York’s massive suspension bridges to talk to Eddie [There is no way I would have gone up there. Those shots were stunning and terrifying]. Eddie knows what he thinks and plays up to his fears with talk of skinwalkers being able to take on the shape of an animal.

This is what Dewey actually thinks and he follows Eddie when he leaves his local bar. Eddie goes to the beach and strips off and starts some crazy running about like he’s possessed by a wolf. He comes towards Dewey acting crazy and frothing at the mouth. This freaks Dewey out at which point Eddie spits out the foaming tablet and laughs at his joke on Dewey. “I told you it’s all in the head,“  he says as he runs off.

The last part of the film Dewey is left with only the truth about the killers but the killers know that Dewey has been looking for them and they have to take steps to stop Dewey uncovering them. After Ferguson disappears and Whittington gets his throat torn out trying to get pictures of the killers, Dewey goes to the bar where Eddie Holt drinks and they tell him about how when modern man arrived and built cities on their old hunting grounds a pack of magic wolves adapted to the city and lived off those who fall through the gaps. The rich man died because he wanted to redevelop the slums where they hunt.  I id cringe at this stuff but giggled out right when Dewey calls them wolves and he is corrected that they are Wolfen which might impress the ignorant or the hippies but that is just German for wolves.

Magic wolves may seem a bit of an unfair way of describing them but that is the only way to explain ending. Dewey was in Van Der Meer’s penthouse putting everything together when Warren and Rebecca arrive with news that a group of terrorists are being blamed for killing Van Der Meer and they’ve all been killed. They found a wolf skin in their base which is good enough to explain the wolf hairs. So everything has been wrapped neatly for the authorities even if Dewey knows it’s all BS. They leave and when getting to their cars the wolves strike killing Warren and driving Dewey and Rebecca back into Van Der Meer’s building and up to the penthouse. Just when they think they are safe wolves smash in through the window. Dewey does not attack the wolves but instead makes a point of disarming and then as symbol of his understanding he smashes up the model of Van Der Meer’s redevelopment plans and after that the wolves disappear.

This film is one I often forget about. It didn’t spawn any sequels and doesn’t seem to have acquired a large cult following. It does have some of the typical simplistic romantic attitude of the evils of modern man and how he is out of touch with nature and his past and that is a sort crude them running through the story. The film does a good job of building up the tension of the presence of the killer wolves without actually showing them until the climax and I wonder if this is because the wolves just too adorable to show very often. It plays about with  audience expectations very deliberately when Dewey seems to be following up the skinwalker angle then laughs at us for taking it seriously. This may be why some misremember it as being werewolf film. The best thing about the film is Dewey and his dry morbid sense of humour and he is full of funny lines though the rest of the cast give back as good as they get. He comes across a bit like a grumpy Columbo and Albert Finney plays him perfectly. While it does get a wee bit preachy and pretentious and it’s a bit dated in its style, subject and pacing it is an enjoyable film.

Rating 7.0/10

Related Articles

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 20, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , , ,

I Frankenstein

Bluray Pile

I Frankenstein Bluray 001This my second attempt to watch this film without falling asleep to give it a fair review then I can just forget it existed. This film is certainly not horror but is more of a fantasy action adventure film and in tone and colour palette is very similar to Underworld, which means very stagey dialogue interspersed with bloodless cartoon fight scenes and a sense that it’s up itself with its own importance.

The film starts right where the novel finished with Frankenstein dead and his creature (Aaron Eckhart) brings his body home to bury him in his family plot. That’s when he gets attacked by demons that seem to have escaped from an episode of Buffy. He kills some of them before getting knocked out and a couple of CGI gargoyles fly to his rescue, transforming into humans as they land.

Ophir (Mahesh Jadu) and Keziah (Caitlin Stasey) take him back to the cathedral to see their queen Leonore (Miranda Otto). After reading the text of the book they found with him Leonore realises what the Creature is and takes pity on him, naming him Adam. She explains to Adam the war between the gargoyles who fight for good and the demons who fight for evil and that he is being sought by the demon Lord Naberius. Leonore offers Adam shelter but he’s not interested though he accepts the offer of a free dip in their armoury and leaves with two demon killing sticks.

Forward about two hundred years to the present (I think, it is difficult to tell since the only real world event ever referenced is the publication of the original Frankenstein novel). Adam hunts down and kills demons in an alleyway but a policeman gets killed by a demon and this apparently is such terrible event that the gargoyles grab him and hold him prisoner.

We finally get to see Naberius (Bill Nighy) the lord of the demons as he supervises an experiment by a scientist called Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) who is trying to reanimate a dead rat and the experiment works. Naberius wants to know when human testing is happening and Terra claims that reviving a rat is simple! and that humans are so much more complex than a rat. That is just ignorant bullshit and I have been given no reason to be kind to the writer of this garbage.

Naberius asks Terra about what she thinks of the story of Frankenstein and Terra dismisses it as fiction but Naberius pulls her up for her close-mindedness. Naberius is funding Terra’s research for the same reason he has been looking for Adam. He needs soulless re-animated corpses to house the demon army he has waiting in hell and wants to examine Adam because clearly Frankenstein succeeded. He sends one of his demon commanders to capture Leonore to force the gargoyles to hand Adam over.

Adam escapes the cathedral and breaks into the demon base and meets Terra who is very excited to see him. Terra wants to help Adam if he can help her but she has no idea what Naberius plans to do with her work.

Visually the film is okay but the story is dull and the characters are just flat creatures of the plot. The script tries to draw on emotional relationships during death scenes that were never given the time to be established. The whole story is ridiculous but the film has no humour or joy in it.

Rating 4.0/10

Related Articles

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 11, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , , ,

Odd Thomas

Streaming

odd thomasThis is a film that suddenly appeared on Netflix with little publicity and I certainly heard nothing about theatrical release or even DVD. The film is based on a book by Dean Koontz but I haven’t read the original story so I can’t really say how good an adaptation it is. I found it an entertaining story and it has quite a memorable punch to its ending

Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) starts out by justifying his Odd name and for better or worse we learn that this film is narrated. This a common way of adapting novels and providing the internal monologue that is such a common part of a novel. This has the danger of making the narrator’s character seem like a smug know-it-all. Odd is charming enough to get away with it but it’s a borderline case. Anyway Odd’s mother claims it was a mistake and his name was supposed to be Todd but his father claims his mother is insane and his name was always meant to be Odd and he seems to have point since all we see of her is a couple of scenes of his mother lunging at someone with a knife and then getting taken way to a psychiatric hospital. We see even less of Odd’s father.

Odd can see dead people but Odd doesn’t just see them: he does something about it. He claims that he keeps this a secret in case he get locked away like his mother but it seems to be a secret that everyone he knows is in on. The dead people he sees are hanging around because they have unfinished business and he confronts the murderer of a teenage girl in a chase and fight across the neighbourhood that Odd eventually wins and he turns the murderer over to the police. Odd has a strange relationship with police in that the Police Chief  Wyatt Porter (Willem Dafoe) knows about Odd’s abilities but he needs to present a case to a judge that doesn’t involve help from the dead.

Odd works as a cook in a diner where he’s very content since so much of his spare time is taken up with helping the dead. We meet his co-worker Viola (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her two young nieces. Then we meet Stormy Llewelyn (Addison Timlin) the love of Odd’s life. Stormy and Odd have known each other since childhood and he knows they are destined to be together because a fortune teller machine give them a card to say so.

Odd gets worried when a bizarre looking man that Stormy nicknames Fungus Bob (Shuler Hensley) comes into the diner and he is being swarmed by bodachs that only Odd can see, nasty looking parasitic special effects that are attracted to pain and carnage. One is bad news but there are dozens swarming around this guy. Odd decides he needs to keep an eye on him but he knows that bodachs will kill anyone if they discover they can see them.

The small town of Pico Mundo seems like such a nice place that it’s surprise that Odd finds much to do but he’s never seen anything on the scale that all the signs seem to indicate is on its way. Odd tries to investigate but he lives up to Stormy’s nickname of Pooh Bear because at times his head is full of stuffing and he notices important clues then forgets them.

The mood of the film seems to be quite light and humorous but there is a sense of the threat building and only Odd seems to have any clue that something is going to happen. When a woman called Lysette (Shuler Hensley) is killed by dogs only hours after Odd spoke to her at a barbecue he really takes it badly.

I really enjoyed watching this film and I liked the quirky characters and the set-up though there weren’t very many ghosts around. It reminded me a lot of Paranorman only this is live action and definitely for an older audience. It has a sort of indie feel about it so that will it probably not appeal to everyone. There’s a character played by Patton Oswalt who was probably more significant in the original story but has been cut down to a single appearance which is a pity. It has the feel of a TV pilot about it, but one of those pilots that makes me think about checking it out for a few more episodes.

Rating 7.0/10

Related Articles

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , ,

Inception

Bluray Shelf

inception bluray 001I honestly though that I had reviewed this film before when I saw it at the cinema or when it came out on Bluray but I guess I haven’t so this will be a SPOILER HEAVY review.

I had a great time watching this film right from the first time I saw it and subsequent viewing has only enhanced that experience. Christopher Nolan has earned himself a reputation as a skilled storyteller willing to work with non-traditional narratives though this film is not as challenging as Memento. When you look beyond the science fiction technology It is basically a heist movie which means there isn’t much in the way of characterisation apart from the main character of Cobb

Industrial espionage in the unspecified but not too distant future has gone to whole new level after the invention of a Mad Science device that allows people to enter another’s dreams. This has been developed for the military to help with training but has other even less legitimate uses. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is skilled at working with a team to steal secrets from the minds of others by putting them into a dream state and then taking them into another person’s dream which has been designed to give Cobb and his team control over the environment.

Cobb and his team of Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Nash (Lukas Haas) are trying to extract secrets from energy company boss Saito (Ken Watanabe) but Saito is onto them and knows he’s in a dream so Cobb has to make a quick getaway before the criminal Cobol conglomerate employing him catches up to him and punishes him for his failure. One of the consequences of the existence of people like Cobb is that targets like Saito have been taught techniques to defend their subconscious from attacks though it seems he also had help from Cobb’s dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard).

Saito captures Cobb and Arthur when they are trying to escape thanks to Nash’s betrayal but Saito is not angry. He wants to hire them to carry out an inception which is the planting of an idea into the mind of another. Arthur quickly dismisses it as impossible but Cobb tells Saito it can be done. Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite), the owner of the largest energy company in the world is dying and Saito wants Cobb to plant the idea of breaking up his father’s company when he inherits it into the mind of Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). Saito promises Cobb he will be able fix it to allow him to return home to the United States and tells Cobb to go ahead and assemble his team.

Cobb goes to Paris to talk to his father-in-law Miles (Michael Caine) who is a professor at a university there. He gives Miles gifts for his children who are living with his mother-in-law in the US since his wife’s suicide and Cobb’s exile. He’s really in Paris to recruit one of Miles’ students as an architect and after setting Ariadne (Ellen Page) a puzzle design task he agrees to give her a try. Next scene is Cobb introducing Ariadne to the dream manipulation concept while they are inside a dream in his head.

Ariadne takes to the idea fairly quickly, manipulating the environment easily but this raises another problem, if the subconscious of the dreamer notices it is being manipulated by alien elements it will become hostile to that alien influence. The people populating the dream start attacking Ariadne then the image of Cobb’s wife Mal appears and stabs Ariadne. If you die in a dream this wakes you up from that dream.

Ariadne is not happy that Cobb didn’t warn her about being attacked by Cobb’s subconscious, especially since his unresolved issues with his wife’s suicide are so bad that they prevent him from being an architect himself. These personal issues are actually the main plot of the film but only Ariadne and Cobb seem aware of the problem. What killed Ariadne in the dream was Cobb not Mal who is created from Cobb’s memories.

Cobb visits Eames (Tom Hardy) in Mombasa and convinces him to join the team. Eames doesn’t need to be convinced that inception is possible since he agrees that it is but that is very difficult. Eames knows a chemist Yusuf (Dileep Rao) that can provide the sedation that they will need since Cobb wants to go down into three levels of dreams within dreams to plant the idea deep into Fischer’s subconscious. The only element left is the opportunity which comes in the form of a ten hour flight to Los Angeles. Cobb is thinking about how they will infiltrate the airline but Saito just buys it.

With his team assembled they all go into the dream of Yusuf where they don black masks and kidnap Fischer and Eames takes on the character of his godfather Browning (Tom Berenger). They demand Fischer tells them the combination of his father’s safe which contains his father’s secret will. This is all part of planting the concept of a secret in a safe that Fischer will fill in with his subconscious. Normally their task is to discover what Fischer’s mind puts on the will but the point of inception is to plant the idea they want him to find. This does not go smoothly as it turns out that Fischer has been prepared with training for these mental attacks and his subconscious response is very militarized. Then a freight train comes out of Cobb’s subconscious, sabotaging the mission and resulting in Saito getting shot.

Normally dying in a dream results waking up but Yusuf explains that they are too sedated to wake up that way and instead they will end up with their mind trapped in limbo, a sort timeless zone deep in the subconscious. So Saito has to stay alive or he will lose his mind. I should mention here the time extension property of the dream. Time moves 12 times slower in the dream and this goes for each level so on the second level time moves 144 times slower and in the third level it is 1596 times slower. As for limbo it seems that you can live entire lifetime there in a few hours of sleep.

This is the source of Cobb’s secret guilt. Cobb and his wife used the technology to share a lot of time in the dream world together where they created entire cities out of their memories. But Mal became depressed and withdrawn in the real world and wanted to spend all her time in the dream world, ignoring their two children. To get Mal back to reality Cobb planted an idea in her head that the dream world is not real. Unfortunately Mal carried this into the real world and killed herself to try to get back to ‘reality’ and now the image of Mal keeps leaking out of his subconscious trying to get Cobb to kill himself too. This is why Cobb knew inception was possible and also why inception is just not a good idea.

All through the film every time Cobb enters the dream world Mal would sabotage his mission and she is endangering the minds of whole team. But Mal is just a manifestation of Cobb’s guilt and he has avoided confronting her because his memories are all he has left but when she shoots Fischer on the third level and holds him hostage in limbo, Cobb and Ariadne have to go rescue him leading to a climax that resolves both plots.

There is a danger that a story about the dreams within dreams could get confusing but by giving each level a distinctive look I never a problem knowing what is happening. The visuals are amazing through the whole film but the sequence where all the dreams are coming to an end was just stunning. Arthur’s free-fall sequences were really well done but I think I missed how they explained why the snow fortress in level three was not also in free-fall.

Some people have perceived an ambiguity in the ending that may suggest that Cobb is still in a dream or may have always been in one because his spinning top totem didn’t fall before the credits appeared but I think they are just screwing with us. It is true that that the world Cobb calls reality does have some the same elements as the dreams like Cobb being chased by agents of Cobol but that reality is also completely missing appearances by Mal which is only true of actual reality. This is a very exciting action thriller that has all typical elements of a heist story like the different gang member with their character quirks and areas of expertise though at its core is about a man learning to forgive himself and move on from his loss. Some may think it is over rated but I think it is a film that neatly accomplishes what it set out to do

Rating 9.5/10

Related Articles

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Haunting in Connecticut 2 : Ghosts of Georgia

The DVD Pile

Haunting In Connecticut 2 001The title makes no sense apart for wanting to connect this film to another supernatural mystery story by the same producers. And even though is set in Georgia it was filmed in Louisiana. Of course it is ‘based on true events’ but then that is a common claim in many of these films. This film does have couple of scary moments but it really spends more time uncovering the mystery than building up the cheap jump scares. The story was okay but not exactly original

A family move into their new house in country, a house that was going cheap because it has been lying empty for many years and needs some fixing up. Of course another reason it is so cheap is that is very haunted.  The family is Lisa Wyrick (Abigail Spencer) and her husband Andy (Chad Michael Murray) and they have a young daughter called Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind) and there’s also a freeloading sister Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) who appears within a day of them moving in.

It doesn’t take long for strange things to start happening because Lisa, Joyce and Heidi are all psychic and can see ghosts. Joyce totally accepts her abilities but Lisa has rejected hers and constantly takes medication to make them go away. Heidi seems happy with her powers but Lisa is putting pressure on her to reject them too.

This becomes increasingly difficult when time after time Heidi gets information from a spirit she calls Mr Gordy (Grant James) that is not only impossible for her to know but completely correct. When Mr Gordy tells Heidi that there is money buried in the garden and Andy finds a box of old coins buried there he is convinced there is more to Heidi’s story than childish imagination which is what Lisa is trying to convince everyone it is.

They get a visit from Pastor Wells (Lance E. Nichols) from the local church who tells them that their property is historically significant as one of the stations in the Underground Railroad. When slavery was legal in some states and illegal in others slaves on the run could use the Underground Railroad which was a series of safe properties owned by those sympathetic to their cause where they could rest or meet up. The owners of these properties were called Station Masters. They find the remains of the building where those on the run could hide. Many of the spirits that they see are of those who were on the Underground Railroad did not get further than this station. Some were merely victims of misfortune but many others were victims of something much more malevolent and its spirit is also still around.

Lisa doesn’t seem to have any convincing justification for her sceptical behaviour in the film. The ghosts are real and their revelations are true and even Andy who sees nothing spooky is convinced.  In fact Andy is so supportive and understanding of Heidi’s visions that there seems to no pressure on Lisa to be acting way she does. I know she is supposed to based on a real person and people are not always rational but I was never convinced.

This film was okay but I doubt I’ll be remembering it for long afterwards. It’s one of those stories that have been done several times before with minor variations in character and some of the details. The big evil is just nonsense which might be justified if the true story involved making these same discoveries. Unfortunately the only thing that’s true is that Heidi had reported having visions of Mr Gordy and other spirits. The acting was mostly okay and there were some reasonable special effects.

Rating 6.0/10

Related articles

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Entertainment, Film

 

Tags: , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 952 other followers

%d bloggers like this: