Sunday, 15 January 2012


Everybody has been talking about Drive this year, and the trailer did make me want to watch it too. But nothing could have prepared me for what a brilliant piece of filmmaking this movie really is. It is goes beyond your typical action thriller.

Ryan Gosling is captivating in his role, playing a extremely talented stuntman, whilst being a getaway driver for criminals. He doesn't say much in the film, giving his character an aura of coolness and mystery that it very often tried, but almost always fails to be pulled off. Gosling has really had a great year for his career, he showed so much potential in The Notebook, it's great to see his talents being used in great films, films that the awards will take notice of. His driving skills are second to none, but the film is not just about driving.

I very rarely enjoy a car chase, maybe it's the fact I'm a girl, but the car chases in this film are truly spectacular. Not only that, but the scenes that take place in the car, with Gosling and Carey Mulligan, whether it be at night or in the evening or afternoon, have an intense but serene atmosphere- it actually feels like you are in a car - which is surprisingly - a nice feeling.

Mulligan looks lovely, and plays her part beautifully as a wife whose husband is in jail, trying to raise her toddler son, and who falls for her nextdoor neighbour - Gosling. The love story between these two is not what you would expect, it very subtle and beautiful, we really feel the love and tension between both, and throughout the film you are rooting for them to get together.

I will warn you, it takes a while for Gosling's character to show his darker side in this film, and when he does, there is a lot of violence. Not the non-stop violence which is over-the-top, but shocking violence, that can make many people a bit queasy.

There are some great scenes in this film - look out for the elevator scene in particular - and the soundtrack for this film is clearly going to be a favourite for people, and gives the film a greater feeling and ambience. I love it when a soundtrack can tie a film together completely.

If there is one film I have seen this year that you must watch, it is Drive. It is an intense, action fest, but with some great emotion, characters, music, and one hell of a story that will keep you gripped from beginning to end. One to watch - Ryan Gosling. This actor has one hell of a bright future ahead of him, we truly have a star here.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Hocus Pocus: Utter Magic

With the phenomenon of the Harry Potter franchise, it easy to forget of all the other films before it that were magical and fantastical. There were witches and children in trouble before Voldemort and Hermione, and we loved them long before J. K. Rowling's astounding books were published. One of these treasures was Disney's Hocus Pocus.
It is a sad fact that as we grow older, some films we adored as children aren't as good when watched as an adult. But I didn't find that with Hocus Pocus. It was just as magical, funny and captivating as it had ever been, perhaps even more so because of it's charm.
Although a family adventure/comedy, where the witches are given some hilarious lines, the Sanderson sisters remain terrifying. Their old, spooky house, and quest for eternal life by sucking the life out of children really gives you the chills, and as an adult, I found it more disturbing.
The Sanderson witch sisters are what you would call, classic, PROPER witches. They have long nails, old fashioned clothing made of rags and corsets, and all have a quirkyness that is quite scary. Bette Midler plays the leader and is on top form in this role, Kathy Najimy is brilliantly funny and incompetent, whilst a young Sarah Jessica Parker is like a siren, singing a lullaby to entice children to their deaths, and looks absolutely beautiful. Regardless of their surroundings, whether it be Puritan Salem during the 1600s (at least that's what the film says) or near the end of the 20th Century, they are just as scary and superb, and put all other film witches, to shame.
The child actors all play their part in the film well, you really get behind Max (Omri Katz) who is too cool for school at the beginning of the film, but proves himself a true hero, and a great brother. However the person who steals the show is Dani, played by a very young Thora Birch. She is the one you remember in this film, she shows true acting talent and massive potential, and seems to have already developed her own style in this film, that can be seen in her outstanding performance in American Beauty. There is also an adorable cat who helps the children try and stop the witches called Binx, voiced by Sean Murray.
However, a massive applause must go to the make-up artists, costume and set designers, directors, musicians, and everyone who worked on the film, to create a believable Halloween film that involves  children trying to stop witches back from the dead.
Hocus Pocus is a family classic, that everyone of every age will love: it has many hilarious scenes with memorable characters like two imbeciles who can't stop saying 'dude', and a solid story that keeps you hooked for the entire feature. Don't forget this classic.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Graduate: A Great Shame...

Watching The Graduate the other day, I could see why the film made Dustin Hoffman a star. He looked gorgeous, he was different and compelling, and he could act. But gosh, what a disappointment the film was.

Why is it, that one of the most-raved-about films was such a letdown? The answer I'm afraid, is because of the writers failed to see that the most interesting and exciting story in the film, was the story between Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin Braddock, and not the story between the latter and Elaine (Katherine Ross).

The first hour of the film is brilliant, and the first fifteen minutes - fantastic. The moment it starts we are faced with this shy, disturbed, and confused boy who has just graduated from college. Minutes later, he is then confronted with the incredibly confident and irresistibly seductive, Mrs. Robinson (superbly played by Anne Bancroft - who looks gorgeous by the way!). Regardless of their age difference, the two have a great chemistry, and there are some great scenes with Mrs. Robinson trying to seduce the virginal Ben, to which he famously replies, 'Mrs. Robinson you're trying to seduce me'.

Aside from the exhilarating sexual banter, there is an element in their relationship which is quite moving. The young Ben is confused about what he wants to do as a career, and is also, confused sexually, whilst Mrs. Robinson is simply looking for love and sexual attention that she hasn't received from her husband in years, when it is his duty to do so. Watching Mrs. Robinson, you see an older woman, unhappy in marriage and unhappy in life. Her looks have faded, her marriage is empty, and now she is having sexual relations with her friend's son.

However, this brilliantly scripted and wonderfully acted first half, disappears into nothing by the second half, with the arrival of Elaine, Mrs. Robinson's daughter. The story hereon, is nothing but an unconvincing pile of crap. The love story is just too unbelievable, even if it is supposed to be, don't spend half the film on it. Benjamin turns from character we love, to a total loser and unlikeable guy, and the character of Elaine is just irritating and clearly has no self-respect concerning her mother and Ben.

Not to mention this endless amount of Ben driving his car scenes that dominate the last hour, (I swear there was at least 10 minutes worth of film showing him just driving along different roads).

After such a promising beginning, I'm afraid The Graduate is just another overrated movie from the 1960s, that was innovative at the time with the wave of new, independent filmmakers appearing in the American film industry. But unlike the satisfaction I felt after watching Midnight Cowboy, where I became attached to the characters throughout the film, and was touched by the overall themes and outcomes of the story, The Graduate ended up boring me to tears. I'd say it was worth a watch for the first hour, Bancroft's performance, the catchy Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack, and seeing what made Hoffman a star, but as soon as Elaine appears, don't feel bad in turning it off. You won't miss anything. In fact, if you do watch it til the very end, you'll notice that the character's faces in the final scene mirror exactly how you feel - what was the point in bothering, it was all for nothing.