Moonrise Kingdom Review

By Adrian Nathaniel Groves – July 4 2012

Sam – Jared Gilman
Suzy – Kara Hayward
Capt. Sharp – Bruce Willis
Ward – Edward Norton
Mr. Bishop – Bill Murray
Mrs. Bishop – Frances McDormand
Social Services – Tilda Swinton
Cousin Ben – Jason Schwartzman
The Narrator – Bob Balaban
Pierce – Harvey Keitel

 

Focus Features presents a film directed by Wes Anderson. Written by Roman Coppola and Anderson.

There’s a storm coming in Wes Anderson’s latest where a preteen couple try to escape from their miserable lives of adolescent restriction in a beautiful story of young love and the incoming hurricane they call adulthood. Sam and Suzie are pen pals meeting the previous summer and devising a plan to run away for a week. They are sought after by Sam’s fellow scouts led by Edward Norton as the scout captain as well as Suzie’s parents, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand respectively. Their adventure is, as they seem to realize, the final defiant act of their childhood. Looking back I’ve realized the films greatest strength is in making the audience remember our own youth. A lovingly detailed look at the world through the eyes of two twelve year olds who have discovered what they believe to be true love, while probably more akin to real friendship.

The perfs from the two unknown leads are the rock, they become their characters and the palpable chemistry anchors the film. The other star studded half of the cast come across as typical cynical Wes Anderson characters, oftentimes acting childish. Anderson’s contribution to the success of the film is in toning down some of his usual eccentricities, creating a vastly more accessible film with characters we find easier to identify. His penchant for being “too clever” toned down helped to create a genuine love for our protagonists, a quality I found missing in his previous efforts. What Anderson does that always works is he always plays it straight not for laughs. There are laughs to be had, several understated, quiet details that went over big with the audience.

 

 

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Prometheus Review

By Adrian Nathaniel Groves – July 2 2012

Elizabeth – Noomi Rapace
David – Michael Fassbender
Charlie – Logan Marshall-Green
Meredith –  Charlize Theron
Janek – Idris Elba

20th Century-Fox presents a film directed by Ridley Scott.Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof.

Questions of creation are at the centre of Ridley Scotts return to science fiction. His latest epic, Prometheus tells the old chestnut of a crack team of scientists aboard a vessel headed toward uncharted waters. Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall-Green play a pair of scientists who discover an intricate pattern in various cave paintings spanning the globe, believe the paintings are an invitation by a yet unknown form of life across the universe. This sets the crew of the Prometheus on a mysterious mission to a dark moon with an unbreathable atmosphere. Needless to say the journey onto the moon and beyond raise more questions than they answer but such is the task of good science fiction.

The comparisons to the bloated “Alien” saga should be checked at the door. Prometheus is a completely different animal. Containing beautiful sequences including a sort of sand storm and the spelunking of an ancient dome untouched for God knows how long, I was rapt with anticipation from scene to scene. For me particularly the performance of Michael Fassbender made the movie. His incredibly believable performance as an elegant android with a fascination with “Lawrence of Arabia”  and a mysterious motive had me glued to the screen. Providing some of the more sinister moments as well as some of its funniest, he ironically becomes the most layered and provocative character in the film. Charlize Theron as the icy woman in charge and Noomi Rapace as the scientist searching for her creator aren’t given the time to really establish themselves, though Rapace does an admirable job as the Ripley surrogate. The rest of the crew are the usual rag tag group of wise crackers without much to offer, save for Idris Elba who makes the most of his few spotlights.

The second half goes into over drive throwing the explorers into a horrific chain of events including the worst example of “do-it-yourself” ever caught on tape. Broad in its appeal as a summer blockbuster there’s an inquiry at the centre of this opus, though not exactly Kubrickian with its use of shock and awe. I went in with high expectations and walked out surprisingly satisfied. Ridley Scott’s return to his science fiction roots delivers the epic action adventure romp I was hoping for.

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

By Adrian Nathaniel Groves – July 2 2012

Spider-Man/Peter – Andrew Garfield
Gwen Stacy – Emma Stone
Lizard/Dr. Connors – Rhys Ifans
Capt. George Stacy – Denis Leary
Uncle Ben – Martin Sheen
Aunt May – Sally Field

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Marc Webb. Written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent and Steve Kloves, based on the comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

I’ll honestly say I went into last nights screening of  The Amazing Spiderman with mixed feelings. Having grown up a huge fan of everything to do with the teenaged hero I like to think of the original 2002 Spider-Man as the pinnacle of my childhood. The realization of every comic book and cartoon come to life, admirably I might add.  The sequel only bolstered the saga by adding a few layers to the already wounded hero. What I believed to be the greatest comic book adaption at the time was swiftly followed by a shallow and widely discredited sequel. Looking to recapitalize on the potential cash cow, Sony put together a new crew and went to work on a reboot only ten years after the original. Most look at the film as superfluous, unnecessary. At it’s heart, The Amazing Spider-Man is a retread of the origins of Spider-Man but with a very drastic change in tone.

Andrew Garfield is without a shadow of doubt, the superior Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He effectively injects the troubled Peter with a nerdy charm and humour  that trumps Tobey Maguire’s often whiney take on the character. Combined with Emma Stone’s effortless likeability as Gwen Stacy, their sparkling chemistry steals the show almost out from under some of the flashier set pieces. There’s a lot to like about this cast, Dennis Leary in particular maximizes his minutes as Gwen’s hard as nails father, police captain George Stacy producing some of the funniest moments in the film as well as putting Peter into an interesting predicament when he puts out a warrant for Spider-Man’s arrest. Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben comes off here as a fully realized character, a good man who desperately tries to teach Peter about the responsibility those with great gifts are obligated to abide. His passing here comes as a more crushing blow than it had in the original and acts as the catalyst for Peter’s eventual foray into vigilantism. Rhys Ifans is the obligatory scientist turned super villain, but with the added twist of being monster to Peter’s Dr.Frankstein, he’s got a lot to offer.

With a film like this there’s a certain expectation for the action set pieces to deliver on the grand scale. The Amazing Spider-Man, delivers. The action is seamless and easy to follow, especially Spider-Man himself whose fluidity and acrobatics don’t jumble into a mess of blue and red. There also seems to be a real focus on giving the audience as real a depiction as possible of what it’s like for a man to swing from building to building above a sweeping metropolis like New York, including a short but effective POV sequence. I’d have to say the real draw here are the characters, Peter spends a lot of time without his mask in this incarnation. The original set about establishing the Spider-Man persona as fast as possible, while this version is more focused on Peter’s journey to that decision. The losses Peter sustains as well as his own sense of guilt help craft the man who dons a mask to protect the innocent from the hands of criminals.