The 405- Blue Valentine Review

Another great film, there have been a lot recently!



The 405: The Next Three Days Review

Worth a look in my opinion!

Catfish Review

To confirm, I’m giving nothing away about this film’s plot. Just go see it- there will be plenty to discuss.

The most exciting part of this film is the sheer exuberance of the filmmakers. They have stumbled across an amazing story, and the freedom, kit, and technical know-how to pull it off.  This really pays off when it comes to the cinematography, and even the most impromptu filming is beautiful. There have been doubts about its authenticity, and it would seem that some scenes have been manipulated for extra drama .However, in my own experience situations like this can arise in documentary filmmaking, and though some scenes do seem a little forced, it’s worth remembering this is ninety minutes from thousands.

There are points where the filmmakers do slip into exploitation, but it is forgivable. It shows the dangers of the virtual world, not just social networking, but even emails and text messages. This is pure voyeurism, where a beautiful man is better than an ugly woman, and the latter is stalked from all angles. She may have deceived but ultimately it is her who is now a worldwide laughing stock.  This is just as much a story about them exploring as it is the consequences. The final result isn’t actually that amazing; it is much more the fact it actually happened. Catfish’s real awkwardness is that it can be hard to choose who to cheer for.

As with all good documentaries, it’s the little truths found in every scene that make it a classic. Three New York hipsters wondering round an empty farmhouse is both remarkable and chilling. Abigail’s disabled children are heart breaking. It is the film that has physically affected me most this year, and I can’t recommend it enough.


Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale Review

Having watched the original short film only two weeks before (see link below), Rare Exports was top of my list to see this Christmas. The plot follows a young boy as he and a group of Finnish hunters get embroiled with a large corporation that releases an evil Santa from his mountain prison.

It’s true madness from start to finish. This turns out to be the film’s greatest strength. Elves, magic, and Santa are dealt with absolute sincerity, and what could have been such a goofy movie keeps the illusion of the situation going. For a movie about Father Christmas, surely no bad thing.

The acting is great from the whole cast, but special praise should go to Onni Tommila as Pietari the young boy. His charming and engaging performance is crucial for the film to work, and keeps the slower parts from getting boring or odd.

Although some critics have said the ending is a little lacking, the final showdown with evil Santa provides a very satisfactory conclusion.  It brings together a lot of themes from throughout the piece, and although I don’t want to give anything away, keeps true to the characters being hunters.

This film does have a dark soul, and is very strange indeed. However, Rare Exports has created some wonderful scenes, and is in its own way, beautiful. You won’t leave the cinema scared, but roaring with laughter, and very much looking forward to Christmas.


Top Ten Title Sequences

Here is a list of my favourite title sequences. Some of the films on the list aren’t that great, but have a really engaging beginning. They are in no particular order, and I tried to think outside of the box to an extent.

Se7en (1995)

This can be found on many lists, but I feel its place is more than deserved.  It draws the viewer in to the world of John Doe with the images and font, whilst introducing the feeling of the cold dark city with the music. It won’t be a surprise to learn there isn’t much hope to come…

Mean Streets (1973)

God I hate how Dirty Dancing stole this song. This intro not only sums up the decade and the friends’ relationship, its breather with Keitel at the start lets us get to know him separately, and introduces us to the guilt he will feel throughout the film.

Donnie Darko (2001)

For what could be quite a light start, the eerie music, strange font and empty mise-en-scene are very unnerving. Once the music kicks in however, it is a flight straight back into the eighties.

Shallow Grave (1994)

Apologies I could only find the trailer for this movie. The actual intro is a boom through Edinburgh, and the setting up of Danny Boyle’s career. You’ll have to find it to see for yourself!

White Heat (1949)

Each individual part is not so great in itself, but brought together (especially with the music), there is something just so fantastically epic. A brilliant film as well.

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

This intro basically sums up the movie as a whole, especially Voight’s character. Another fantastic song, all I want to do when I watch this is watch the whole film again.

Spun (2002)

Just for its amazing cover of Number of the Beast alone. Very 2002, but just a good music video in itself.

Casino Royale (2006)

Bond had to get somewhere on this list, and this for me was the best of the intros. Again feels a bit dated for something so recent, but is still gorgeous to look at.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

This is rather cheesy, but nicely sums up the film, and brings home what has happened without the use of exposition.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Most musicals have pretty good intros, but this one is just so simple and effective it edged out the competition.

There is a great deal of room for debate on this, so any thoughts post below!