Wonder Woman is the movie fans of DC comics have been waiting for since Christopher Nolan departed from the Batman Franchise in 2012. It also feels different enough from other superhero films to feel enjoyable without being truly refreshing. Logan has been and gone, and if you wan’t a superhero movie that actually has something new to offer, then see that. Wonder Woman works as a welcome refinement of tropes we know and sometimes love, and the addition of a female lead for the first time on the big screen from DC or Marvel is very much welcome, though rather than feeling revolutionary feels like a natural progression. That said, it is hard to not revel in sheer joy that someone finally had the balls to take the helm and show that Women can be just as heroic as men (and in this case, significantly more so).
I’ve watched the previews; seen the trailers and read the reviews. Many of them say the same thing in their own unique order: ‘I had absolutely no desire to see “Cinderella” when it first came to my attention’. Who can blame them? There’s an inescapable cast iron ball of assumption attached to the ankle of “Cinderella” that can be directly attributed to recent attempts such as like “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”, “Mirror Mirror” and “Alice in Wonderland”. My opinions aside, the general reception of the modern movie adaptation of the classic Disney fairy tale is fairly mute. Then comes “Cinderella”, somewhat unannounced in the years first quarter, to show those movies how its done. Buy your ticket online so that you aren’t dissuaded by the “G” rating, the glitter and — In what will be your most trying test — the little girls dressed in frilly blue dresses that threaten to make you think better of yourself. “Cinderella” is a light but nonetheless enjoyable film that may be somewhat forgettable for playing it safe but is a great deal of fun without a talking rat in sight.
“Cast Away” is in some ways a pseudo-bottleneck movie, it removes something that would usually be considered crucial to the smooth operation of any movie, characters. Or at least for the most part, before our protagonist washes up on the unnamed island we see him propose to his fiancé whilst furiously trying to rearrange work schedules to be there for her. It is the island though, that is the soul of “Cast Away” and I have huge respect for Robert Zemeckis who has managed to create a lengthy and consistently engaging movie using almost just the dedication to acting demonstrated by Tom Hanks and his heartfelt method of film making.
It’s nice to visit an old friend again. I’ve been telling people to watch “District 9” for years now, ever since I watched it with my uncle at the ripe old age of 14 or so. It was nice to pick it up again and finally visit what I’ve been telling people is one of my all time favourite science fiction films. I’ve watched a lot more since then, and I can now recognise that “District 9” isn’t as great as I perhaps made it out to be, but for the most part the intriguing plot and the lack of concrete information we receive about the ‘prawns’ keeps the film engaging until we reach the film’s slightly weaker final act. In essence, I still feel there is a lot to like about Neil Blomkamp’s “District 9”, despite it’s diminishing returns upon my second viewing.
It’s peculiar to think that a director such as Wes Anderson would decide to direct a stop-motion family film based on a book by Roald Dahl, but nevertheless it did happen. It is less surprising to an extent given his admittedly limited work using stop-motion in his films, such as “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” but this time he goes full steam ahead. I remember watching “Fantastic Mr. Fox when it came out and I distinctly recall snorting in superiority when I watched the adverts on TV, back when I was 12 I didn’t give a rat’s ass about who Wes Anderson was but needless to say after the movie I found myself intrigued.
Terence Young returned to direct the second Eon produced Bond film and he seems to have learned from his first entry “Dr. No”. That film itself was by no means a disaster but instead a tepid achievement that contained many characteristics that would be associated with James Bond in the future but not quite fully formed. “Dr. No” didn’t even have the character of Q to distribute to Bond his gadgets for the mission. “From Russia With Love” takes the foundations lade down by its predecessor and improves it in virtually every way. This film makes me excited to continue watching the Bond series in its entirety.
Gregory Peck stars in “Cape Fear” though only when the credits roll. The real star without a shadow of a doubt is Robert Mitchum as Max Cady, the ex-convict who is now seeking revenge against Peck’s Sam Bowden — the lawyer that helped put him away. Mitchum, who also starred in the unprecedented “The Night of the Hunter” as a villainous preacher, seems born to play the bad guy. The scenes where he reservedly watches Bowden’s family at a distance all too close for comfort are disturbing despite us not actually witnessing any brutality from the man himself. The presence of the villain elevates J. Lee Thompson’s “Cape Fear” above the usual trappings of the revenge thriller.
Too often “teen romances” scare away anyone over the age of 15 and almost all of the male audience. Or at least that’s what I’m told, but the box office figures would suggest that each of these teenage girls see the film around 5 times each, but I digress. Marketing campaigns may disagree with what I say, but “The Fault in Our Stars” isn’t a chick flick, it is in fact a surprisingly well told story. It concerns cancer — or more appropriately — the effect a person dying has on those around them, and what happens to those people left alive once the sufferer fades into oblivion. After a story ends what happens to the characters? Nothing, they are just characters in a fictional story and they were never real, and therefore can never cease to be real. “The Fault in Our Stars” isn’t real, but it could be.
I can’t really recall a time that this has happened before. I have heard of sequels improving on the original before (“Spider-Man 2”, “Goldfinger”, even “Kill Bill Vol.2” as just a few debatable examples) but never to this degree. “The Raid: Redemption” was one of the most beloved action films to have come out in the past few years, and it took many by surprise as it was indeed a low budget foreign film that found significant success overseas. It’s no secret, I hated it, and I still do. I could see why people loved it but it wasn’t for me because people loved it for only one reason, the action. The problem was that if you weren’t a hardcore action — with an emphasis on martial arts — fan then there is almost nothing to enjoy. I can gladly say that Gareth Evans has increased his scope and made a truly stunning martial arts film, that improves on literally everything the original did. I mean it, there is not one thing worse.
Its been said time and time again with regards to what a “good” animated film is, the idea that a truly good animation should not only keep the kids quite for an hour and half but also keep the adults engaged as well. I don’t think every movie necessarily needs to cater to everybody, movies for children alone are totally fine. Movies like “The Iron Giant” however are special because they involve older and younger audiences perhaps equally. How can kids not appreciate a story where a normal kid befriends a friendly alien robot? How can adults not appreciate a great story with stellar visuals laden with relevant historical context? “The Iron Giant” is engaging and utterly rewarding.