The 405- Film VS Book #10: Lord of the Rings

Thanks to everyone who helped!

The 405- Blue Valentine Review

Another great film, there have been a lot recently!

 

The 405- The King’s Speech Review

A great film.

The 405- Film VS Book #9: Watchmen

Kicked off a lot of debate, please add!

127 Hours Review

This was a film I had looked forward to for a long time. When the reports fist came through of a climber who had been trapped under a rock, and was reduced to cutting off his arm to survive, it seemed like a story of such suffering and triumph that a movie seemed inevitable.

James Franco takes on the role of Arlon Ralston, an extreme sports junkie who takes one wrong move, and ends up with his arm trapped under a boulder. He spends the next five days trying to escape, and in the end it seems that only a pair of pliers and a blunt knife is the only possible solution. Franco is utterly convincing, and considering the selfish nature of his character, we really don’t want to see him hurt.  His charm really comes through in what are essentially Vlogs of the situation, recorded the actually camera Ralston himself used, and we can feel only sympathy for his plight.

127 Hours doesn’t feel like we are being told the story from Aaron’s perspective , but rather some force looking over him. The film often swoops over to other locations, and uses very obtrusive sound to scream the situation into your brain. This is the first soundtrack since Trainspotting I might consider buying.  His hallucinations are outward rather that inner looking, and this really keeps the pace going. Considering this is a movie mostly set in ten feet of rock, anything can happen next. He takes what it such a simply concept, and turns it an exploration of any human being stuck in a jam, without ever losing sight of telling the story.  The broken relationship Ralston keeps thinking back to doesn’t really have an impact on the narrative, but is something we can all relate to.

Danny Boyle is turning into the master of the intro.  From the word go the camera is swooping off all over the world, from a football stadiums to a camera lens.  It feels much more like Boyle’s early work, and has a nineties-feeling, indie edge that only adds to the grittiness.  This is more Shallow Grave than Slumdog Millionaire.

I have waited for this movie for eight years, and it has kicked off 2011 to a great start.  Those of you that can’t bear the sight of blood may want to watch half of it through your fingers, but Danny Boyle has gone back to his roots to pull off a classic, and this should have been his first Oscar.

10/10

The 405 Film Awards

An article I contributed to.

Monsters Review

Two American get stuck behind the Mexican border, and have to take an extended to get back to their home country. This would be simple enough, were it not for a large section of the US being under quarantine thanks to an alien invasion several years earlier. This is a love story by the way.

The strangest part of Monsters is that it works, both as an idea and as a completed film.  Director Gareth Edwards took a small crew and two actors to Mexico, with a basic plot and storyboard, and let them get on with it. He then took the resultant 100 hours of footage, cut it down to ninety, and then added in the aliens in his bedroom.

What has emerged is a film with a great atmosphere. This is a world that has moved on from the invasion, and Mexico has ended up somewhere between nonchalance and decay. Signs of destruction are everywhere, be it a crashed plane or a mural of an alien attack.  It might be slow-paced, but the movie draws you in, which considering the intrinsically silly premise is all you can ask.

Yet there is more to it than pretty special effects. Monsters might look like a film about immigration, but for me the main theme is the beauty and danger of nature.  Footage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Tsunami could easily be slotted into the destroyed American town Mexican “jungle”, and the parallel between the creatures from the sky and the ones at the bottom of our ocean are clearly made. Edwards makes us very aware of us a beings surrounded by and a part of nature, and as much as we try to control it, all we can do is look on in wonder.

There are a few duff lines, and the ending is a little underwhelming, if beautiful. Some of the more romantic moments border on cliché, and what actions scenes there are borrow heavily. But if you are looking for something really different, it’s worth a look.

8/10