Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Lives of Others aka Das Leben der Anderen (2006)

Rating: 8.2/10

"An innocent prisoner will become more angry by the hour due to the injustice suffered. He will shout and rage. A guilty prisoner becomes more calm and quiet. Or he cries. He knows he’s there for a reason. The best way to establish guilt or innocence is non-stop interrogation."

Das Leben der Anderen' tells the story of "an agent of the secret police in Berlin in 1984, who is conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, and finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives."

THis post-noir espionage social drama, over the years has increasingly become a favourite feature among the critics and the general public. The gloomy atmosphere and the voyeuristic themes that bounce within the visual narration of the story keep you all the more hooked into this character-based drama.

We are transferred to the last years before the Wall of Berlin is demolished; the secret services of Germany see enemies and political spies everywhere. The once-glorious Germany is in tatters and fear is but a looming prospect for the German horizon.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, writer and director of the film, created a multi-layered environment of the film. The creeping voyeuristic style of choice to shoot the film almost bring chills and goosebumps to every viewer. As a kind of the prototype of a 'Big-Brother-Is-Watching-You' style of cinematography, he slowly sucks you in into the lives of a couple. The act is a glorious manifest of a post-war Peeping Tom who undermines the authority of only just doing his duty but finds something so sinfully delicious into a world that does not belong to him.

In relation to how the tone of the film is based, Donnersmarck chose to collect ideas and thoughts of his characters and give you a matter-of-fact kind of shooting technique.

But the film would be un-glorious without its actors. The undoubtedly brilliant (and sadly too soon departed) Ulrich Mühe, who got his recognition posthumously, but who managed to captivate and make such a sneer character into such a liked person. Mostly I think his best achievement in this film is that he managed to create such a multi-layer character and made his audience to try to understand and capture the humanity and the vulnerability of this role. Went into this film quite blind, not knowing what to expect, but by the end of it my heart was sinking for Mühe's performance. Like a tragic greek hero that leads himself into his fall, he sustains a sense of logic but also of a sadness that no one seems to share with him.

Likewise his on-screen protagonist and much to excellent Sebastian Koch who lets us into his character's private life and lets us be intrigued by what we, and Mühe, are not suppose to hover in. Koch's on-screen presence is so stunning that leaves us wondering whether we are suppose to like him or not. By the end we learn so much about him that perhaps we shouldn't that we can't help but like the little glimpses we got to eavesdrop about his life.

For me this film is a serene post-noir political thriller. It does not let you in on any glorious symbolistic secret you're suppose to uncover as a viewer. It lets you get sucked in slowly, and with time. Just enough to keep you guessing on where these characters will go.

Personally this filmic endeavour is a masterpiece because it dared to explore again the 1960s shooting technique that does not give you this hype-action political thriller but makes you work for your appreciation, something which makes it all the more valuable and delightful to watch.

I highly recommend this film for those who like to discover good European cinema and who are willing to let go and enjoy this film's penetrating story.

The Lives of Others (2006)

The Iron Lady (2011)

Rating: 6.9/10

" It used to be about trying to do something. Now it's about trying to be someone."

'The Iron Lady' is a much talked about film these days; Having won the Academy Award for Best Actress with Meryl Streep this film has gone to be hailed as an anthem for the English's ex-ruler Margaret Thatcher.

As a political genre film this does not sets its basis only in with the politics factor. The film cleverly takes us on a journey to discover the unknown life of Margaret Thatcher, from the time she was a young lady till the time she became an old lady. Flashbacks were a must for the story, something which made the film quite rough around its edges. The non-linear narration was quite complex, thus leaving the audience at times perplexed and confused as to how they should feel for Streep's role.

Although the directing seems to be sailing with a smooth pacing, Phyllida  Lloyd does not fully succeed in her vision to make us fully sympathize or even understand the purpose of the film; whether we like the protagonist or not and what purpose did her life and actions served at the end. Albeit these minor flaws the film has a lot of emotional background, taking us slowly into the mentality of the Iron Lady and at the end releasing us into her world of hallucinations.

There's too little I can say for the real-life Iron Lady of the cinema though; whatever I put into words for Streep's acting would be pointless enough, as this actress never seems to fail in every portrayal she may give. In my opinion the Oscar was well deserved, not because of the girth and the humanity she brought into this role but because of the pieces she gave from her heart into Maggie Thatcher's character. You could feel her pain, her loss, her hallucinations, her long-forgotten glories, her strength, her ambition and her love for everything she may have tried to do. For Streep it wasn't just to portray the goodness in this character but to present her reality, with the good and the bad equally and in the end to let you decide on the qualities that this character deserves.

A wonderful achievement of the recreation of so many different decades would be in order for the costume designer, Simon Elliot (North & South TV Mini Series), who literally had an overwhelming task to achieve in his creation of the first lady in the English Cabinet. Superb production design.

And it would be a mishap on my behalf if I failed to mention the always breath-taking music score of Thomas Newman (American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption) who as always was not much appreciated for his astounding work. Truly a remarkable musical score.

And last but not least, it is only fair to mention Steep's co-star and brilliant's not too good enough of a word to describe this actor...the extraordinary Jim Broadbent. What a colossal performance each time this thespian gives. He truly is the modern embodiment of a thespian. Always carries his performance on screen with such ease. In the Iron Lady he was so carefree, so pious and willing to give an emotional portrayal of his relationship with Streep that it couldn't fail but move the viewer.

As a last thumbs up I would give to the young, and yet so far unknown, actress who portrayed Margaret Thatcher as a young lady, Alexandra Roach. In my opinion she is among the newly rising British actresses and would love to see more of her in the near future. She had the zeal and the stamina to portray such a crucial character and yet she did not fail.

The film as a whole does not say a lot, but the performances speak aloud. Watch it for the  brilliant acting and the production design and relish for a little while how it must have been for a lady of Thatcher's stature. Albeit many people suffered under her time of ruling, she did leave her political mark in the British people; restrain.

The Iron Lady (2011)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Sound of Music (1965)

Rating: 8.7/10

"The Von Trapp children don't play. They march."

The ULTIMATE feel-good family-movie!

How can anyone review a masterpiece such as this film?!? Not only this film is the ultimate classic, it surpasses anyone's expectations when we look at today's musicals.

'The Sound of Music':

The story involves some nuns, a governess, a captain, some Nazis and a large family of kids that sings and dances. Pretty straightforward story: "A young woman trained to be a novice, leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a Naval officer widower." (

I'm sure there's plenty of governesses stories out there, although this one is slightly different. There is indeed a lot of singing involved and quite a bit of dancing, as there is a lot of pranks and heartfelt performances. This film is a special treat for the whole family, because it takes you step by step into this gloomy household and its transformation into a house of laughter and singing. Imagine a more mature Mary Poppins type of film.

The newly-Academy-awarded Christopher Plummer and the always astounding Julie Andrews give a bedazzling performance and really pour their heart and soul into bringing their characters to life. Although rumours may suggest what a struggle it had been for Plummer to really connect with his character, having to do all that singing, he found it a sheer joy to be pummeled day in and day out with the passion and the stamina of Andrews. Their on-screen chemistry as master and governess at the beginning and their growing likeness towards each other as the film progresses really give the audience feel at ease and  joyful to watch this on-screen couple. Both actors apply the performing girth into full gear, especially when it came to their vocal numbers they leave one breathless with their heartfelt emotion that they put into their songs.

Of course the key ingredient in all of this is the music, and the children. Nothing would have been made possible without these two elements. A combination that truly makes any family member involved. Each vocal number for the children was definitely a challenge but all seven of them did a superb job with both their hilarious acting as well as their singing. Considering that for some of these kids, this film was their debut into the acting world, one can't help but admire their fantastic energy and enthusiasm that they bring in this film. But like I mentioned before, nothing also would not be the same without the exquisite original music score of Irwin Kostal, who has the audience still singing the songs of the film forty-seven years after its making. What a wonderful achievement that must be for a music composer.

This film would be suggested mostly for the families, the people who love musicals and singing in general, but I would recommend it to people who enjoy a good performance, a good subtle story of an estranged family and people who like to relish on classic cinematography. I mean look, the shot of having Julie Andrews at the beginning of the film singing in the Austrian mountains (which I've checked it's quite real I guarantee you) is one of the most unique shots in all of cinema history, and that's not an exaggeration. I mean beat that today, without any visual effects and CGI. Very few can!

This film is full of heart and soul, and above all some exquisite, original, authentic music!

Enjoy the VonTrapp family my lovely cinema-goers!

The Sound of Music (1965)

Monday, 27 February 2012

A Dangerous Method (2011)

Rating: 5.4/10

"Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable... just to be able to go on living."

It isn't often that I want to slander a period piece. Since they kind of are my cinematic vice, I find it hard to bad-mouth or give a negative review to a period drama piece. This time round though, the case was somewhat different.

'A Dangerous Method' "tells about the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis."

All's well and good with the story-line, only we seem to see more of Carl Jung's character than sir Sigmund and the relationship between the two forefathers of psychoanalysis. We do however, see a lot of Carl Jung's ex-patient and mistress and how that relationship affected Jung into the depths of psychoanalysis.

I am a great fan of Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen but this period drama was lacking chemistry between the protagonists as well as a stamina to follow up with the characters' story-line. In my opinion I believe the scripted lacked this emotional ground that could be built between these two men, thus leaving me emotional detached from their drama and their emotional journey. Since both the actors above have well proved in the past to be one of the best-in-depth actors in currently in the business, I expected a lot more from their performance, but instead got very little and a lot of jumble trying to follow where they were coming from.

Keira Knightley....Oh the never-ending battle of this actress's pouting. Indeed I do hold a bit of prejudice against this actress, since I have been watching her progress since she was 16 years old, and have yet to be impressed by her. With this film, she really did try to do the best she could, I could tell she struggled with her role, but in the end she did not again manage to exceed her yet-so-far acting abilities. She can do a lot better I think. She still needs more work in her craft, because a pretty corset and a bit of provocative nudity won't do. Keep on acting Keira.

All in all, story was a bit dull and mundane for my taste. Found it a bit hard to follow the characters and what their ultimate goal was. Had a couple of good scenes with Fassbender and his on-screen wife, Sarah Gordon. The direction was mellow and uninteresting; followed a very steady pace but which at the end lost me as an audience as to what it was trying to tell me. A very peculiar phenomenon if you think that this film is by David Cronenberg, an acclaimed director in the business who failed in many ways to deliver with this film.

Worth the watch if there's nothing else in the cinema this award season, which I can assure you this is not possible as there's plenty of much worthier films out there currently showing.

A Dangerous Method (2011)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Spirited Away (2001)

Rating: 9/10

"There must be some mistake! None of these pigs are my parents!"

It's not many times that I will sit down to watch anime feature films, but with this one I made the exception. The film is 'Spirited Away' and for 2hrs, we are being asked by the Studio Ghibli to sit back and get carried away in a mesmerizing journey. First time I watched this was back in 2003. And it literally took my breath away.

This film tells the story of Chihiro. "After she's forced to move to the suburbs with her family, Chihiro, a 10-year old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse for these creatures." (

This was the first film I've ever watched by world acclaimed director Hayao Miyazaki, and surely wouldn't be the last one as well. To express my overwhelming desire to want to live in the world that Miyazaki so brilliantly created would be an understatement.

This animated feature film holds high its sceptre as on of the best animated films of all time, due to its unlimited length of imagination, its overwhelming spirit to show go beyond the boundaries and with a plot that can simply attracted even the more demanding anime-viewers.

The freshness of the story is not only addressed to young audiences, as this film also talks about moral messages that rule our 'adult' society today. The issues at hand begin from the theme of greed and gluttony up to the themes of envy and how to surpass everything negative that life may through in your way, and to try to be as authentic and as honest as when you first start a journey as such as Chihiro's.

An overwhelming animated experience. This is why I recommend this film. It will fill you up, bedazzle you and then spit you up like a hurricane with a sweetness you will not be expecting.

For those who will indulge to roam around in Chihiro's world for the two-hour length of the feature, I hope you let also your imagination run wild. That's all you need to have when you sit to watch this.

Spirited Away (2001)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Rating: 7.4/10

"We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that's all."

Shall we take a journey down to memory lane, when the hair were inexplicably large, the make-up as intense and bright as it could be and the disco beat in the music was a must?!?

A film swept from the mid 1980s, 'The Breakfast Club' is one of those cult classics that made their mark into the film history map, with its simplesness, its raw freshness and its brutal honesty of how things really are when you're in high school. Of course, there were many more high school films before this one out there, but they didn't really give you the one truth behind this wonderful myth of what high school really is about; TOUGH, MEAN & DIFFICULT!

'The Breakfast Club' was filled with 'the brat pack' at the time, a group of actors who would often work in films together or would be seen in one of the A-list party zones at the time. In this particular film the actors of the 'brat pack' were Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez, the pack's leader.

The films goes somewhat like this:"Five high school students, all different stereotypes, meet in detention, where they pour their hearts out to each other, and discover how they have a lot more in common than they thought." (

John Hughes didn't give out any gimmicks in his actors' performance. He let them roam about. Feel like 16-year-olds, thus making this film all the more truthful for the average-high school audience. Hughes managed to give a straight-edge truth on how things really are in high school, of how kids really feel about classes, their parents, themselves and ultimately about life. The script and the dialogue speaks for itself. Raw honesty. Nothing more, nothing else.

Although this film is set in the mid '80s, its transcendental themes still echo any high school student who feels an outcast, or a weirdo or different from the social circle; that's almost every teenage youth in the western world.

But I think what really stands out in this film are the actors. They don't beat-around-the-bush with their acting. They are what they are and they want you to listen to them, they need you to give them your respect to listen to what these characters go through and sympathize with their drama, as small-minded and unimportant as it may be, they would like you to see this as a statement for everyone who passed through high school and feeling alone and like they didn't belong. This is why this high-school film differentiates itself amongst so many other teen films; it speaks straight from the heart!

I will not bore you any more with filmmaking technicalities or trivia from the film, but simply say watch this cult statement, and try to empathize with the characters and realize that at any given moment of a person's life all the same feelings might have or will come rushing inside of you as well.

Happy screening...and..."Don't you forget about me".

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Artist (2011)

Rating: 9.2/10

"Perfect. Can we do it one more time?" - "With pleasure!"

Probably one of the most talked-about films of the year, if not the decade! 'The Artist' is the most recognizable silent films of the 21st century!

A lot has been said and written on this film, and my review will not be the exception of the majority of what's been said. This film is quite the accomplishment for writer/director Michel Hazanavicious. Although this is hist first transatlantic endeavour, Hazanavicious did wonders. He simply proved to every active director out there that simple is best!

He managed to get people from around the globe into the cinema theatres to watch a silent film; in our day and age when people are more and more driven to words and blabbering on screen, Hazanavicious was capable of mesmerizing the cinematic audience with no words, no dialogue, simply image, music and sound.

The story in brief: "George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the king of silent movies in Hollywood in 1927. Audiences just adore everything George is a part of. Along comes Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) who you just know is going to be a huge star some day. George and Peppy work together on one film as George not only takes her under his wing, but an undeniable spark develops between the two. Over the course of the next few years, silent movies fade into obscurity as talking pictures or "talkies" explode onto the scene. George finds himself struggling for not only work, but a purpose to live as Peppy becomes the next big thing overnight." (

Hazanavicious innovative idea of shooting this film silent, black and white but also in a 1:37:1 aspect ratio has literally and figuratively brought Hollywood and the rest of the world by surprise, as it not only dares to experiment on a very unique film idea but also make the world experience cinema like the old days. He asks of his audience to relive the golden glory of the silent film era; an era full  of romantic ideals and enthusiasm for what was to come in the future.

The absolutely vital ingredient for this film's success though lies in the protagonists; Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo. A match-made in Heaven. In cinema heaven. These two actors,  bring the enthusiasm, the energy and the passion needed to carry through the narration of the story. Their merge is astonishing, as the freshness in their performance, is able to magnetize every viewer on the big screen. An amazing pairing in my opinion, that manages not only to captivate and engage the audience with their very heartfelt performances, especially Dujardin who holds the lead role, but also both actors are able to let their faces light up on screen, thus reminding to the audience how powerful the face of an actor can be on camera.

Russian director Grigori Kozintsev once said "what would be the point of  setting-up a camera to shoot anything, if that camera does not manage to capture the facial expressions of the character's emotional journey". And this is what exactly this film is about. It has the courage and the guts to remind us what we, as an audience, forgot nowadays; to pay a little less focus on the visual and a little more attention to the character development.

A worthy mention to the cameos and non-cameos of veteran actors such as Malcom McDowell, John Goodman and the always warm James Cromwell, as well as actresses that have many-a-time been underestimated by Hollywood producers Missi Pyle and Penelope Ann Miller, are few of the names that simply add to this cinematic recipe of success.

The costume and production design certainly must have been an overwhelming task for the production team to fulfill but it accomplished to transfer us for an hour and a half back in the late 1920s with such ease, it made the make-belief all the more easy to buy in and get sucked in the feeling of the era. So wonderfully designed and mastered!

And it would be a tremendous error of me if I wouldn't praise the music design in this film. The soul and heart of this silent 'picture'. Ludovic Bource. A true artist who I do hope his name will echo loud and clear this coming Sunday evening at the Academy Awards Ceremony for the Oscar for Best Original Score, since to say that he did a superb job in the musical enhancement would merely be an understatement on my part. Thumbs up for the brilliant work he did!

This film is not just a brilliant masterpiece made for the wider audience to enjoy; it is an experience that everyone who loves and appreciates good cinema should indulge in! It is the wonders of all wonders of filmmaking, and it came from a very unknown background, and not a mainstream filmmaking co-operation that just wanted another blockbuster hit, but instead wanted to make magic on the big screen. And that it does.

Just to clear the air of a myth though. The film is not entirely in silence; and for those who will endeavour to watch this film, they will understand why I'm saying this.

I do urge people to go and watch this film. Support it, love it, and simply enjoy the ride!

Sound rolling. Camera rolling. Aaaaaaaaaand.....Action!!!

'The Artist' (2011)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Jane Eyre (2011)

Rating: 7.2/10

"I offer you my hand, my heart. Jane, I ask you to pass through life at my side. You are my equal and my likeness. Will you marry me?"

Today's kick off is a period film. Jane Eyre. The most filmable novel since the time of its publication, Jane Eyre has attracted throughout the 20th century a number of directors wanting to bring to life on the big screen the gloomy sadness of the most famous governess in all of English literature.

The novel was written by Charlotte Bronte and was published in 1847. The screen play though was written by world renowned playwright and screen writer Moira Buffini (Gabriel, Loveplay) and was directed by a new-in-town director, Cary Fukunaga.

The reason I chose to first review this film version, amongst the others running around through the cinematic decades, is because first of all this is the most current one and secondly because this film version really stood out in my opinion.

This version is subtle, gloomy, bleak, sad, majestic in its own right, it's mature and its exhausting silence speaks in golden words. The dialogue is sparse but it is also well accounted for.

This is the famous story of Jane Eyre. "A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer, but who soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret." (

The story of the young governess who falls in love with the tough and hot-headed master. The stubborn master who in return is taken back by the subtle and serene presence of the young lady. A very common story nowadays, but with many ways that can be told.

The shadowy and mysterious performance of the new-star-on-the-rise Michael Fassbender (Hunger, Shame, A Dangerous Method, X-Men:First Class,Inglorious Basterd, Fish Tank etc) makes it all the more easier for the audience to believe in the half-hearted role of Mr. Rochester. The resilience and the staggering energy Fassbender encapsulates through our screens is overwhelming, giving it a bull-dozing performance this time round. Known always for the harshness in the roles he chooses to play, Fassbender here is able to transform from the inexplicably wild and rush master into to stricken down lamb that needs saving.

Saving from non-other than the glorious patience of Mia Wasikowska's role, Jane Eyre. Wasikowska was first seen in the role of Tim Burton's 'Alice in wonderland' and this year is currently again on the spotlight for the award-nominated period drama 'Albert Nobbs'. There's always something about this actress's ease to move about on screen. Her calmness, her raw silence, her sad sweetness and this majestic sorrow she has in her eyes, always brings me to my knees. I had wanting to go with half-a-heart whilst watching her performance, wanting to find any flaws or errors, but in the end there weren't none. Young she may be, but I assure you there's nothing young or naive about this actress's performance. Quite the contrary, there is a seriousness and maturity in the way she carries herself and the grave task of bringing to life the role of Ms Jane Eyre.

The cast is filled with a number of young-rising stars such as Jamie Bell ('Billy Eliot'), Holliday Grainger ('The Borgias'), Tamzin Merchant ('The Tudors'), Sally Hawkins ('Made in Dagenham', 'Happy-Go-Lucky') and world renowned Dame Judi Dench ('Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown', 'Notes on a Scandal', 'Chocolat' etc) whose stunning performance in anything she may decides to act simply puts a gauge in your mouth and leaves you to pieces.

The bleak landscapes, the moors, the elements of nature, that seem to go hand-in-hand with the characters' emotional journey, the ironclad script and the oblique sense of the air are amongst the things that should urge everyone to sit down and watch this version of the story.

I am sure you will find older versions depicting the same qualities as the ones I'm describing above, only do give this one a chance as well. It is well-worth its length and it's production. I couldn't find a more fitting Jane and a more handsome Mr. Rochester. What a wonderfully blended combination.

If you do manage to get a hold of this version, enjoy it slowly and with the patience it deserves. Happy screening!

Jane Eyre (2011)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)

Rating: 7.7/10

"It's the oldest question of all, George. Who can spy on the spies?"

Another one of those award films thrust upon us this winter. This one though is somewhat of a different story. A British espionage story, 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy', that is set in the bleak days of the Cold War, about an espionage veteran, George Smiley, who is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.

The plot is one of the most complex and intricate plots I have come across during the last couple of years in the British cinema. The film was made into a TV Series back in 1979 with the likes of British thespian Alec Guinness. This is a film adaptation from the world acclaimed novel of John Le Carre, and it is one of the most fascinating espionage thrillers to have been made into film during the last decade.

The superb acting line-up includes an all British thespian cast: award nominated Gary Oldman (Dracula), Award Winner Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Tom Hardy (Inception), Mark Strong (Body of Lies), Toby Jones (Infamous), Ciaran Hinds (Rome), Benedict Cumberbatch (Warhorse) and the always astounding and award nominated John Hurt (The Elephant Man).  So as you can see a sea of actors parading through the screen for 2hrs and 7mins.

The brilliance of the film though, lies in the unravelling direction of Tomas Alfredson. It is one of those films that it starts of a bit slow but guides you and sucks you in the plot so smoothly you do not even realize where and what hit you by the end of it.

The story is told in a non-linear narration, hence there's a lot of back and forth, thus forcing you to stay glued on the screen. Details are extremely important, so that you can put the pieces of the puzzle together with the protagonist.

This film pays homage to the good old days of British cinema, the voyeuristic era of the long lenses shooting approach, almost giving you the feeling of a 1970s italian film. The set and costume design did an astounding job in transferring you back in 1973, and the dark and gloomy atmosphere of London was very distinctive and apparent.

It truly felt whilst watching this that I was grasped by a mighty force of story-telling, thus making me unable to lose focus in the film (something that happens to me more often than not when I watch films nowadays) and not only was I intrigued intellectually but was also faced with the issue of how different and yet similar the world is today since 1973.

Excellent performances, witty dialogue, carefully woven plot, eerie musical score and an even more visionary directorial attempt on espionage drama by Tomas Alfredson. Go rent it, watch it, if you're lucky enough to catch it in your local cinema that would be superb, pay attention to it, and most importantly enjoy the raw British cinematic excellence.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)

The Descendants (2011)

Rating: 6.3/10

"Goodbye, Elizabeth. Goodbye, my love, my friend, my pain, my joy. Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye."

So you have the award seasons, you get a bunch of new films to watch that there's so much hype built around them, naturally you would be excited to sit down and enjoy a good social drama. This however did not apply in my opinion for the new film of Alexander Payne, 'The Descendants'.

The story talks about Matt King, a Hawaiian land baron, whose wife goes on life support after a boating accident and takes his daughters on a trip from Oahu to Kauai to confront the young real estate broker, who was having an affair with his wife before her misfortune. (

Pretty straightforward story with linear narration and an eerie atmosphere. But the drama in this specific social drama is rather lacking. Throughout the film, the pacing felt odd at moments, the music felt way too up-lifting for the tragedy that this family was going through and the performances left me unemotional and unattached to the characters emotional journey.

It felt more like a travel guide to the Hawaiian islands rather than a social family drama in all honesty. Clooney did his best to carry through his character, to hold this film through, with only one scene that tried to get you attached to his character's drama, but which in the end it left you indifferent and apathetic to his sadness or frustrations.

Worthy to note the cameo of Beau Bridges, who give a more central-american performing feel to the whole film, but who did not fill the story with his character's story-line.

The film was musically designed from beginning to end with Hawaiian music, thus making it all the more hard to really disentangle myself from thinking how beautiful the landscape was and simply focus on the story.

Alexander Payne's directing leaves you wanting as on the one hand brings you a more down-to-earth approach of a family drama but which on the other it does not make you empathize or sympathize with the characters' emotions.

A film I watched once and would not watch again if it was up to me. Watch it if you would like to have an overview of the award season's films out there.

The Descendants (2011)

Friday, 17 February 2012

El Laberinto del Fauno aka Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Rating: 8.7/10

"My mother told me to be wary of Fauns."

Today's film review is about a foreign film, a fantasy film. For the non-fantasy fans do not despair; there's also some raw reality involved.

Film suggestion for the day is 'El laberinto del fauno' or in english if you prefer 'Pan's Labyrinth'.

The film was first released in 2006 and was directed by the world acclaimed director Guillermo del Toro ('Hellboy'). In brief the plot goes somewhat like this:

"In 1944 fascist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she's a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again." (

On first thought, this seems to be another fairy-land story about a young girl and her fairy tales. But when it comes to the execution of the film, the story is somewhat different.

This film is a fascinating suggestion for numerous reasons; the fantasy-world meets the cold reality way too early on in the film, without letting the audience to get un-hooked from their screens. Nothing is what it seems, and the protagonists seems to be in a struggle of trying to cope both reality and fantasy with charisma and courage.

The unwavering of the plot is smoothly translated on our screens with del Toro's majestic directing. He never let us slip. Not for one instance. He manages to engross us so much into the story and the two parallel worlds he's trying to create, we can never stop wondering how he will treat his beautifully written scenario to the very end.

Of course the real gem in the story is the little young lady actress, Ivana Baquero, who steals the show with her sublte but also empathetic film performance. The audience can't help but indulge in her emotions, her fears and thoughts. Baquero's acting is so unique that manages to hold her own in a film set of grown-ups acting in a very cold and cruel war story.

The mesmerizing though hardly stops by Baquero's performance. I would like to comment on the superb performance of Baquero's on-screen step-father who's played by Sergi Lopez. What an on-screen presence. His very presence makes you overwhelmed and shudder with fear. He takes on the role of a regional capitan (commander) under Franco's dictatorship, and the very thought of crossing your path with such a fierce man makes your bones tremble with fright. He manages to keep his audience afoot, always hoping he will get what's coming to him for all the terror he spreads.
And that's what distinguishes him from all the super-villains in films nowadays.

And the ultimate performing task has to be given to the Faun/Pan. The remarkable acting of Doug Jones, the way the production design department presented him in our screens is simply why films are so magical. I can't talk a lot about the Faun without giving anything away, but I will simply say that it's because of the courage and the imagination of such actors that the cinema is still a thriving and booming industry and that is why one falls in love with it in the first place.

Even six years after it's release, I consider this film, as the best European product to have been produced in the last decade, thus marking it as a true masterpiece.

Of course we have to pay a worthy tribute to the musical score of the film, which is so beautifully written by Javier Navarrete. The glory of the score lies in the evocative instrumentation of transporting the mind into a world of magic, without letting go of the fact that sadness does still exist in there as well. Beautiful score. You can listen to the introduction here.

The reason I chose to review this film, is because it hold a particular place in my heart. Not because I was under the Franco dictatorship or have even experienced the ruthlessness of dictatorship at all, but because when I first sat down to watch this film, I went with blind eyes, not knowing what to expect and I got so much in the outcome.

This film is not for children, although it may appear this way. It is a very grown-up film, filled with love, honesty and imagination. And at the end of the day this is what filmmaking and arts in general need; to have the courage to imagine!

I hope you do get to enjoy watching this film, or if you have already I hope that opinions out there are mutual.

Happy screening!

El Laberinto del Fauno/Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Three Musketeers

Rating: 6.2/10

"All for One and One for All"

Since this is an objective blog and I promised to deliver not only the good scoop but also the (I don't want to say bad hence I'll say) not-so-good scoop.

Today I will review a film I was rather reluctant to watch since I am not a great supporter of this new-found genre action/3D/defilement-of-classical-literature-on-the-big-screen. Of course then again, I might be a little harsh on this particular film since it was done before; 'The Three Musketeers'.

No matter if you have seen the Keifer Sutherland version back in 1993 or the less known version of 'The Musketeer' with Justin Chambers back in 2001, this version is a complete stand-out from the rest. Merely due to the fact that this version you can see the three(or four) musketeers bouncing through your screen in 3D, but also because it was like watching 'Resident Evil' but in period costume drama.

Of course the director of such abomination - okay abomination is too harsh of a word so let me rephrase - of such a lacking production - is none other than Paul W.S. Anderson who first filled our once simple-minded brains with the concept of what the f*** 'Resident Evil' is. Of course like 'Lara Croft' and films of such kind, 'Resident Evil' was based on a freaking video game. 'The Three Musketeers' is not on the other hand, which makes it all the more appaling to watch on the big screen.

I have to admit he did gather up a wonderful cast of brilliant actors, unlike the 1993 version of the musketeers which was infused with the American flavor of acting, this version was packed with the British invasion (apart from some); Matthew McFadyen, Orlando BloomMilla Jovovich, Ray Stevenson, Mads Mikkelsen, Juno Temple, Longan Lerman, Dexter Fletcher and last but not least the always brilliant Christoph Waltz. (why Christoph, why did you do it, why???)

The plot of the film is the all knowing story of the stolen diamonds of Queen Ann and how the musketeers fetched it for her to avoid the scandal of being found out that she was involved in any way with the English Duke of Buckingham.

And the story goes somewhat like this: "The hot-headed young D'Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war." (

Pretty common plot, no objection there. But why in the world would they even consider involving DaVinci in the plot and how in the world did they come up with the idea of the floating ships and the air fights? I mean....really Paul.W.S. Anderson? I mean...really? Floating war ships in the 18th century France? And of course the English constructed this "masterpiece" first. Don't get me wrong, I am all about the English, but in all honesty the English are not known for their mechanical expertise.

I would gladly tell you to stay away from this film, but as everyone, now and then we all need some cheap entertainment. This is something of the sort. A lot of gun fighting in slow motion, a lot of dazzling visual effects and a charade of 18th-century costume (thumbs up for that as Milla's dresses, she did look stunning I gotta admit), and a lot of idle talk and uninteresting comic relief from the young and inexperienced royal couple, Louis XIII and his Queen Ann.

To sum up, yeah, if you want to have a jolly good time on a Saturday night with mates whilst everyone spills the pop-corn that's going round, it's a good mind-numbing flick. Other than that nothing all too special. Too much glitter in its advertising. Too many expectations, too little in its delivery.

Three Musketeers (2011)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Ides of March (2011)

Rating: 7.3/10

"I'm not a Christian. I'm not an Atheist. I'm not Jewish. I'm not Muslim. My religion, what I believe in is called the Constitution of United States of America."

I originally did not want to review this film so early on, because I like films to "sink" in me first, but since February is the Awards season, and we're daily bombarded with what's mainstream, and since I had one of those mornings where I want to watch something of essence, I sat myself down and watched 'The Ides of March'.

The title being literally taken from William Shakespeare's play 'Julius Caesar' - "[...]beware the Ides of March[...]", a soothsayer warns Julius Caesar. Just like that this political thriller sucks you in, into the American political stratosphere of a game where justice is being played upon day by day.

I'm sure that just like this film there are a million political thrillers out there. Ever since 'All the President's Men' hit back in 1976 as a political thriller genre, whose intention was to expose a political figure and the scandalous corrupted political schemes they hide from the public, many directors and script-writers have indulge into this genre.

What constitutes a film apart from all the others is the growth of the plot and the characters. In this film we have a leading cats of titans; George Clooney, Paul Giammatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and the rising star of the last couple of years Ryan Gosling.

I mean how can a director fail with such a recipe?

The dialogue is the key in such films, so that your audience can follow you up. Especially people who will watch this outside of the US and have limited understanding to how their elective system works and so on, you will have to pay close attention to the dialogue so that you don't get lost in translation.

The film talks about "Stephen Meyers; an idealist who's brilliant at communications: he's second in command of Governor Mike Morris's presidential campaign, and he's a true believer. In the middle of the Ohio primary, the campaign manager of Morris's opponent asks Meyers to meet: he offers him a job. At the same time, Morris's negotiations for the endorsement of the man in third place, a North Carolina Senator, hit a snag. A young campaign intern, Molly Stearns, gets Stephen's romantic attention. Republicans have a trick up their sleeves, Stephen may be too trusting, and Molly has a secret. What's most important: career, victory, or virtue?" (

The brilliant acting carries you throw into this world of corruption and false idealism. Unlike other political thrillers here we sympathize the young idealist who still has so many hopes for his country. Who wouldn't?

But the shift in the film comes from all the external factors that seem to affect the protagonist. Because as in life, balances are fragile and especially when it comes to politics one false move can send someone packing. This is what unfolds brilliantly in this film.

The circumstances, the false advertisement of hope and progress, the corruption of the demagogs and the unravelling of the truth by the media. The themes in such films are numerous and after watching films like that you're always left wondering to what extend is the public being fooled at?

Are we all just pawns into the candidate's campaigns or do we really have the right to our free-will? How far will they go to sell their 'holy' image so that we believe them?

Gosling is simply a new-rising gem to my eyes and I am hoping he will get to have his skills crafted even more in the future.

Apart from the snide dialogue and the numerous hints on the corruption of the American Constitution, I really enjoyed the smooth pace of the direction. It carries on the plot in steady pace so that it keeps the audience intrigued on the protagonist's fate. So thumbs up for Clooney's direction. He most definitely knows how to work the art and will be expecting to see more of him in the future.

Worthy mention to the score of the film by the brilliant and artful Alexandre Desplat, who seems to be composing the music for quite a few films in the last few years.

I would suggest to see this with a quiet company, since you need to pay attention to the plot as it unfolds and in my opinion this is a worthy political thriller of the political genre evolution.

Hope you enjoy Clooney's direction!

The Ides of March (2011)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Titanic (1997)

Rating: 8/10

"I'm the King of the World"

It would seem rather pointless of me to even introduce this film. I promised a blockbuster so that's the problem with blockbusters: even my cat knows about them.

So I will begin this review with the plot:

To keep it brief, "Beginning with genuine footage of the departure of the Titanic on its fateful voyage, this epic movie tells the events of that tragic night from the perspective of fictional survivor Rose. As an old lady of 100, she recounts her story of duty, love and disaster to a salvage crew searching for a lost diamond." (

This is James Cameron's 'Titanic'. What a colossal film indeed. Many times Cameron remarks that 'Titanic' was no more for him but a $200,000,000 chick flick. But what an expensive chick flick is this anyway?

I could go on and on about the cheesy plot line of impoverished-upper-class-girl-who-needs-to-marry-rich-to-save-her-family-from-debt meets boy-who's-poor-but-pure-of-heart-and-honest, they fall in love, something which interferes with the girl's plans to marry. In the end the couple endure everything because of Love;and since this is Valentine's Day what a better romance than a romance/disaster flick. I thought it appropriate enough to review, especially today.

The protagonists are merely the subpot in my opinion. The real protagonist is the ship. The unsinkable ship. The ship of Dreams. Not that ships could alter the course of someone's life (despite of what you may have seen on the TV Series 'The Love Boat', these things don't happen). However Titanic was somewhat different. It did change the course of many people's lives. And it gave Cameron the perfect excuse to give us an extrordinary spectacle through our screens.

Even before the fated days of 3D and IMAX, 'Titanic' was a feast for every viewer that visited the cinema to watch it. A truly remarkable feast for the eyes and a filmic directorial achievement. In my opinion, yes it may seem like the most cheesy romance/disaster flick ever, with many teenage hearts going all lovey-dovey for the fated love couple, Jack and Rose, but it's the immensity of hard work and innovative directorial and technological enhancements that make this film to stand out.

Cameron for me is a pioneer. Many see him as a madman who likes nothing more than to spend away money for his own perk. This is the man though that dared in my opinion. He gave us 'The Terminator' ('He will be back'), 'Titanic' ('If you jump, I jump') and his latest innovative-cash-cow-achievement 'Avatar' ('I see you') and there're plenty more to come I'm sure.

But enough about the director. Onto the film now. Beyond the plot and the directorial voice, we have to stand in awe of the production design, the production setting, the superb musical score of James Horner and the beautiful cast that came dazzling through our screen to make the mythology of this unsinkable ship to come to life.

Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton, Billy Zane, Bernard Hill and so many other actors that filled the cinematic ship of Titanic. The tragic story of its virginal voyage that came to an unexpected end.

I see this film as a life-altering journey. To be able to capture the essence of how it must felt like to be in the real Titanic is an achievement that not-too-many directors are capable of fulfilling. The camera-work and the state of the art post-production infused techniques shape to what we then knew as an audience back in 1997.

Cameron later on did a documentary in 2003 about his real-life journeys underwater to find the real Titanic and explore the salvaged hull. For those keen on exploring more the idea of the real ship you can find more details here!

For me this film runs like a flowing water. I pay little attention to its extensive running time (194mins) because the truly horrif tragedy of the ship after the first hour and a half (the chick flick part) finishes, the real juice starts to pop in our screens.

Titanic sinking. The vessel leans and give way to its weight. The orchestra that plays all through the ending. The lights going out. The horrendous splitting in half. The final sinking of the hull. The people jumping and trying to survive in the freezing water of the Atlantic. All the lost souls who submit their fate into the ocean. Truly a remarkable cinematic feast!

First time I watched it I was about 11 years old. I remember nagging my mom for ages to go and watching (since I was so influence by Celine Dion's song 'My Heart Will Go On'). And I remember that for the first time in my life I cried in the cinema. I won't spoil at which part I did, because for those who have not seen then film, I will merely spoil the whole thing. But, it was the first and the last time that a blockbuster made me shed a tear. And for that, it definitely goes to my MUST-WATCH-FILMS-OF-ALL-TIME!

Hope when you do find the time, you take your loved one(s) and snuggle up and get cozy for an extraordinary ride.

Titanic (1997/2012)

Empire of the Sun (1987)

Rating: 8.3/10

"Learned a new word today. Atom bomb. It was like the God taking a photograph"

First film suggestion for the day is a not-quite so relative WWII film by Steven Spielberg. Unlike his masterpiece 'Schidler's List', Spielberg begun his WWII fascination earlier on in his career. One of the films that drew critical acclaim to the magnitude of the WWII devastation was 'The Empire of the Sun'.

The Empire of the Sun was an adapted novel made into scrip by acclaimed playwright and script-writer Tom Stoppard ('Shakespeare in Love'). What really is fascinating in the script was the idea of given the unusual circumstances that the protagonist had to face during times of total destitute.

What separates this film from any other WWII that Spielberg directed was the spectacular choice of his protagonist, who is none other than Christian Bale. Bale took on the role when he was just 12 years old, thus marking this as the perfect beginning for an actor of his age to get distinguished. But this is not only what really made Bale stand out. His remarkable on-screen performance leaves the audience gushing for what that boy feels, for everything, every single emotional journey he goes through and it's like you can feel his frustration, his anger, his enthusiasm, his fears, his hopes...He truly gives in my opinion a virtuoso-performance.

It would be an underestimation to say that Spielberg's direction is as always moving. Cinematographer Allen Daviau does a superb job in his expedition of transfering us through the streets of Shanghai into the confinement camp in China. The waste-lands and the beautiful dialogue scenes between the boy-actor Bale and the always superb actor-heavy-weight John Malcovich, prove to be even bigger than the screen, thus giving memorable performances.

In summary the story is about a young boy, "James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured, and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp, next to a captured Chinese airfield. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him." (quote being taken from

Bale truly overwhelmes Spielberg's screen. This is not a world war II film, but a film of a young boy, who lost his family, his way, and is thrown into this unholy place of killings and survival. First time I saw this film was when I was 19 years old, quite old in my opinion. And yet through the vibrant and exhuberant performance that Bale gave, my heart went out to the longing for idealism and freedom that the protagonist felt.

This is probably the underrated WWII film of Spielberg, who stocked up on the DVD shelves once 'Schidler's List' made its appearance. But I believe that is an equal contender of the presentation of the horrific events that WWII brought to humanity and the courage that many unknown souls gathered up for their survival.

It's quite a serious film, I admit and many will find it a bit of unsual of Spielberg, since he does love his WWII war scenes with machine guns and that sort. However, this film is quite the opposite. It focusses more on the plot and the characters rather than the killing.

Also worthy cameos to mention by the always exceptional Miranda Richardson and the then not-so-known Ben Stiller. Trivia suggests that Stiller got his idea for 'Tropical Thunder' whilst on location for this film. Then again who wouldn't be inspired in making such a film, right?

It is fairly easy to get hold of this film on DVD. I haven't as yet read the book, but I hear is equally exceptional and is on my to-read-list. But if you are in the mood for a good WWII flick that doesn't just show fight scenes, this is your gem to look for!

Hope you enjoy it everyone!

Empire of the Sun (1987)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Dangerous Beauty (1998)

Rating: 7.5/10

"Desire begins in the mind. It's the wanting that keeps us alive."

As promised, this is my second review of the day.

For my second review I've decided to go all historic-genre on you, and what a better historic era to start with than...the Renaissance.

Disclaimer: as I am indeed a fan of historic films, I will be a little biased tonight and will suggest one of my favorite films of all times; 'Dangerous Beauty'.

Just to give a brief summary of the plot: 'Dangerous Beauty' is the story of a young woman in 16th century Venice, who is forced to make a decision of whether she would like to become a scullery maid, a nun or a courtesan.

[Women in those times, who were not born into a family of wealth and social status had to abandon their idea and the very notion of finding 'love' in the conventional sense and instead were destined for a life of mental and social imprisonment. Only few women had the luxury of knowledge and total freedom over their mind and body; the courtesans, aka modern day escorts/luxury escorts.]

The story follows the path of a young woman, Veronica Franco, who decided to become a courtesan, thus unable to ever be with her one true love, Marco Venier, who coincidentally happened to be a senator of Venice.

The story is based on true historical figures, but the narration and the plot are obviously fictitious.

The film was released round about the same time that 'Shakespeare In Love' came out (with Gwyneth Paltrow & Joseph Fiennes), and thus it was completely overshadowed and under-received by the mass public in its release.

First time I happened to stumble upon this film I was 16 years old and had no idea what a courtesan even was. One look at the performance of Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt and Jacqueline Bisset was all that it took to get me hooked into the themes and the era completely.

It's a generic film, giving you the all feminist plot of 'I-am-a woman,-therefore-I-can-do-anything-and-dazzle-everyone,-not-only-with-my-beauty-but-with-my-brains-as-well'. This subplot definitely leads the film into a more feministic thematology, but what really is extraordinary about this film is the heartfelt performances given out.

A small indie production it may have been, but that did not stop the cast and the crew to overwhelm the audience by the dazzling scenery of the golden age of Venice, the poetic and witty dialogue and the incredible romance that unfolded between Veronica and Marco.

For many years, this film got me so engulfed I started an individual search on the real lives of the historic figures, and indeed Veronica's poems and publications proved how real life withstood the social conventions of the time and scrutinized the authorities for women's submission into the State of Venice.

Subtle cinematography, very delicate direction from Marshall Herskovitz, who based his film on Margaret Rosenthal's book 'The Honest Courtesan' and a mesmerizing music score by acclaimed composer George Fenton.

It would be exceptionally stupendous of me not to mention the full on detailed production of the costume design in the film, which was made by Gabriella Pescucci; the flare of the 16th century costume of every courtesan and state wife in the film was a tremendous task which in retrospect, it's costume designer lived up to the expectations of making the gowns of that era come to life.

This is my favorite film because it is a film I can watch over and over again, without getting bored of the performances, the plot and the cinematic narration. Also, since I do love films that belong into an underdog category, I consider this film exceptionally well-made for its budget and standards.

I would mostly recommend this if you're into the historic genre or costume drama. As not many people are these days, since for some inexplicable reason the youth today would trade quality films for the closest blockbuster, I would say that films such as this is not everyone's cup of tea...but unless you do try it you will never know how good it tastes.

Have a good evening everyone!

See you at tomorrow's double bill review with a blockbuster suggestion (yes, indeed!) and also a World War II underdog film!

Dangerous Beauty (1998)
*This is the intro of the film, as I could not find a suitable trailer without spoiling anything, this will 2-minute intro will have to suffice.*

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Rating: 9/10

"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"

There's not a person on this planet in which at some point in their lifetime have not heard this quote.

First review will be a somewhat of an unconventional choice; the first full-length animated film by Walt Disney.

In my opinion, albeit being an animated film, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' it's exactly one of the best classical Disney films that never lose their filmic essence; whether that be plot or camerawork or even musical score.

A certain amount of people, look at this merely as a children's film. However, this is not the case.  A closer examination will prove that indeed, this film goes beyond the boundaries of a child's imagination; into a world of endless possibilities expressed through animation.

I admit that as a child this was the only Disney film that used to horrify me. Yes, indeed horrify me. Whether it was my instinct as a child or not, even now that I re-watch it as an adult my imagination is still frighteningly penetrated by the Evil Queen's hysterical laugh, the tremendously nightmarish forest scene and the bewildering musical score that empowers the villains in the story.

Despite that many out there will pass on such animated film, I am a firm believer of a complex subplot that lies underneath and that's what truly makes for a remarkable film.

Snow White begins with the innocent naïveté of an orphan girl, who is willing to face all the harsh challenges that may come her way just by keeping a light-hearted attitude towards all the wrongs in her life. Morality, plays a significant part in the story, as it is that theme that saves Snow White's life and let's her live. Good-will is another distinct theme that bounces through the screen; the seven adorable dwarfs offer Snow White not only a place to sleep and eat, but a place to escape her wicked step-mother.

As you may see by now, Snow White is not just a boring story of a happy princess singing all day long. Although Disney has a fair amount of that going on to keep the mood of the audience enlivened and spirited, it merely tries to employ subjectively all the clever filmic tricks to awe the spectator and leave them gushing for more.

Snow White was the first feature film of the Walt Disney productions in 1937 and for a whole year was the number one film in the USA, until it was knocked over by another great legend Gone with the Wind (1939).

AFI very well named this as the best animated film of all time. In my opinion, they did this not because it was the first of its kind or length, but because the innovative techniques Walt Disney's crew introduced into the animated field were a remarkable filmic achievement of the era. Quite whorthingly, Walt Disney received 1 Big Oscar (and 7 little ones).

I highly recommend this animated feature film to all, especially from the ages of 14+. This is because, this is not just a film for kids to do a sin-along or learn the "innocent" tale of Snow White, but for adults to explore the visual feast of an unexplored era in animation and the possibilities this opened for the specific field.

I managed to find the entire film on youtube (strangely enough it wasn't taken off by the recent copyrighted laws infused lately) for those who would like to indulge into a world of magic and dark tales. A warning at hand; since this is a Disney version and all, do bear with the singing and the bubbling and giggling. Just keep in mind of how well the film's score is intertwined with the visual imagery and then you will be able to surpass any Disney-lovey-dovey supertision you may have.

I hope you do enjoy the film. It is a worthy animated contender of all the anime-rise and the Pixar-made animated films being produced today, as this was the pioneering film that started it all.

"And they lived happily (n)ever after..."

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

Good evening to you all!

This is my first blog post as a reviewing artist. I have always loved the arts field ever since I can remember myself doing a sing-along number from a musical or a theatre act. Ever since I was a small kid I found myself hooked on the once known in Hollywood 'the talkies', aka films. Today, I can literally lock myself in a dark room watching films for days and days, non-stop, experiencing emotions and feelings of another dimension.

When my time came to decide into what career pathway I would follow, the answer was crystal clear; film, theatre, literature.

My life since the time I was 18 years old, led me on to gain experience in filmmaking; a land of dreams. I am a holder of a BA Hons in Drama & English and an MA holder of Film & Television Production. But my studies, will never be complete unless I reply to my true calling; writing.

Somewhere along the lines of trying to break into an impossible industry, the entertainment industry, I've always felt that I was more of a backstage person rather than a centre-stage one. My vice was always speaking in public. But this however, led me to acknowledge that there was a field I could be good at; writing about films, theatre and books.

So, with the guidance of some wonderful friends and an encouragement from my blogging stratosphere, I've decided to begin a blog with my reviews in film, theatre and literature.

I will try to keep a non-literary language, keep it down a notch, since this is not only a literature-based blog. I am happy to take on board any views, suggestions and opinion-nets on any material I may present in this blog. Everyone is welcome to participate, one way or another.

I hope people will get to enjoy this blog, benefit from it (in case you find yourself stranded on a Friday night with your mates and have no idea what movie to watch, this could/would be a blog to turn to) and gain some valuable insight into this magical world of film, theatre and literature.

I salute you all film junkies or simply people who love a good flick. I will be reviewing my first film tomorrow so keep in tune.

May this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Casablanca (1942)