Your eyes do not deceive you, it is the return of FFFD.
After a short time away, I had the chance to view a whole bundle of new films on the 13 hour flights. This is them films, what?
There is no avoiding this film, I swear. After literally being bukkaked with praise from reviewers, and the Academy (best film @ Oscar's), I finally got around to watching the film once the review juice had dried, and I shall be going no further with this comparison.
To those who claim historical inaccuracies, the film is certainly a dramatic piece rather than a hard historical replica, however, to me, the film makes amply clear the incredibly impressive role the Canadians had in making the plan work.
The film is a super-tense, quite funny, enjoyable film which plays sometimes fast and loose with the facts but because of that, you get a film where the tension is incredibly high. The film's first surprising move for me was to point out the circumstances surrounding the storming of the embassy and making it obvious the level of hatred (with pretty good reason) that the Iranians had for storming the embassy. Speaking of which, the opening scene in the film draws you RIGHT in, a brilliant set up and opening few scenes.
Once the situation has been set up, it is where the Hollywood-lite satire about the film industry kicks in and this part is only really carried off by John Goodman and Alan Arkin, who are just brilliant at making this part of the film work. Affleck and Cranston take a back seat more so in this part before the plan gets implemented and the tension comes to a fore again.
Certainly never having really been a fan of Ben Affleck, preferring instead his extremely talented brother, Casey Affleck, Argo proves that he has found his form behind the camera instead. Certainly his previously directed films, The Town and Gone Baby Gone are both exceptional and perhaps being so much more involved the films beyond simply acting means that he pours himself much further into his acting roles than in much of his filmography. Certainly, his acting in Argo is some of his best.
Simply put, the film is maybe not quite a deserving of the accolades as you'd be lead to believe (certainly the political nature of the film has helped with that), Argo is without a doubt a really, really good film. Certainly worth a watch.
Directed by the awesome Andrew Dominik, teaming up with his favourite actor Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly is a visually stunning, tiny little nasty crime story wrapped up in a political message that's about as subtle as a punch to the gut.
Based on the little known crime novel, Cogan's Trade, the story revolves around stupid, desperate people thinking they are smarter than they actually are and then actually having a capable person sorting everything out. It reminded me a little of Get Carter (Michael Caine's version, btw), with it's depiction of poverty, desperation and grotty little people doing criminal activities.
Of course, Killing Them Softly is not a revenge film. Instead, the story is nicely contained within the quite short run time of the film. There isn't a huge amount of action here either, like the novel, the film pretty much consists of scenes of characters talking, the dialogue working well, sometimes tragic, sometimes comic. There are flashes of action and violence which are sudden, shocking, brutal and beautiful.
Indeed, the whole film has a rich visual style which mirrors the sheer beauty of Dominik's previous film, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, the locales in the film are quite ordinary in many respects, but given beauty through talented direction and cinematography.
Brad Pitt is as involving as he's ever been, his character seemingly one of the few to be good at what he does and his cynical points about contemporary american life are delivered with a barely contained snarl. He moves, talks, looks and sounds so involving that every scene he is in is a highlight of the film. The other two main cast which impress are Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn as the two robbers at the centerpoint of the film. They are a mix of comic stupidity and desperation which doesn't go too far one way or another enough to distract. The one weak point of the film is probably Ray Liotta, who has little to do in the role.
The story isn't huge, in fact, the events of the film are portrayed as a microcosm of American life as a whole and as such, given the political overtones about the economy and so on, it is pretty bleak. However, the film is good.
Wreck It Ralph
I am not over exaggerating when I say that this is the best non-Pixar animated film I have seen since Shrek. No lie! It's not a 'laugh out laugh' hilarious as you'd expect but about two thirds of the way through the film, once Ralph has met Vanellope in the Sugar Rush game, that it is a sweetest, nicest film you'll have seen for ages.
First of all, setting the film within computer games meants that the animators can have SO much fun with the look of the film. For instance, the characters in Fix It Felix Jr's game move like old school animations. It's a small touch but it goes so far. The different worlds are vivid and colourful, bright and full of sounds, the only weakness being that apart from the Sugar Rush world, the others get skiped over pretty quickly to progress the storyline of the film.
And the storyline is quite simple but it works well, the idea of Ralph not wanting to be overlooked for his achievements just because he's the bad guy sends him to Hero's Duty, where Jane Lynch is just amazing and there is a great sequence playing with the idea of a 1st Person Shooter. From there the film moves onto Sugar Rush and introduces most of the cast.
There is also great fun playing a 'who's who' of video game characters, from Sonic and Dr. Robotnik, the Zangief, Bowser, Street Fighter characters, a wonderfully clever play on the Pac-Man universe and a whole host of familiar sounds from other games. However, even if you're not someone who fondly remembers a lot of the games, the film never relies on them to bring in the audience, they're certainly peripheral but not the focal point of the film.
And the cast do really well, John C. Reilly is everything the Ralph needs to be to win us over and Alan Tudyk as King Candy is pretty horrible and certainly the bad guy. Sarah Silverman takes a little time to get used to just because she plays someone so hyperactive and talkative, but after a while, you settle right in to it.
It's a great fun film that certainly is a success for Disney.
If you like Family Guy and the sense of humour it displays in the more recent seasons, then you'll enjoy Ted. The story of a talking teddy bear, the best friend of Mark Wahlberg and his random goings on.
To be honest, I half wanted this film to be brilliant and hilarious and whilst it does have funny scenes and some killer lines in the film, it was just a bit of a let down. Something that Family Guy has also been never able to balance is the drama alongside the comedy and this film is guilty of that, so when the film actually decides to move along the narrative, the dramatic moments die badly and there's no comedy to back it up.
Mark Wahlberg is usually very watchable and he is here also, his character is drawn between his best friend and his girlfriend and he makes it real, it's quite a nice character. Mila Kunis is good too, trying to fit her relationship in around Ted, the problem is that all you hear during the film is Meg, the character she voices from Family Guy, and it distracts.
So does Seth MacFarlane, the voice of Ted, who is just Peter Griffin in a teddy bear, yes the film makes that point, but that doesn't mean it won't bug you a lot. Add on top of this the usual pop culture references as a source of humour and some of the comedy just isn't funny. However, the cameo role from Sam J Jones (Flash Gordon) is really quite funny but it is overused a little.
Giovanni Ribisi is actually a very good actor, but his villainous turn is underused and completely at odds with the tone of the rest of the film.
The film isn't bad, but it's not as funny as you'd hope and the dramatic elements suck so hard.