Showing posts with label Danny Glover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Danny Glover. Show all posts

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Royal Tenenbaums

I first saw this film when I was about sixteen on one of my frequent trips to the cinema with friends. When one of them told me about it I thought it sounded awful. I was used to seeing action and comedy films on a Friday night and didn’t want to sit through a film about some family and an old man dying. In the end the film completely shocked me and helped to introduce me to the joys of cinema, seeing passed the Friday night popcorn movies to which I was accustomed. It was also the first of many Wes Anderson films that I fell in love with. I often site Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver as being the film which opened my eyes to cinema but thinking about it now, this film did the same thing, albeit to a lesser extent, two years earlier.

Royal Tenenbaum (Gene Hackman) is thrown out of his house by his wife (Anjelica Houston) before their three genius children (Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow) reach their teens. This has a far reaching impact on all of their lives and none of the three grow up to fully reach their potential. Playwrite Margot (Paltrow) stops writing, Tennis champion Richie (Wilson) retires ages twenty-six after a breakdown and business guru Chas (Stiller) becomes overly protective of his own children following the untimely death of his wife. After years of being out of the picture, Royal decides he wants to become reacquainted with his quirky children but ends up going about it in all the wrong ways.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Color Purple

"I'm poor, black, I might even be ugly, but dear God, I'm here. I'm here."
It’s 1909 and a young girl who has had to endure terrible sexual abuse from her father, baring him two children in the process, is given to another man as a wife. Despite being freed from her father’s clutches this is extremely painful for her as it means she is separated from her sister to whom she is very close. Her new life is no better than her last as she soon discovers that she is to be treated like a servant by her new husband, a man much older than her and who shows her no love, affection or kindness. Tasked with raising his children (one of which is barely younger than her), maintaining the house and satisfying him sexually, the film follows her life over the course of the next thirty or so years as she and other black female characters have to endure some of the worst of the racism, sexism and poverty that people had to face during those times.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Who knew the apocalypse would be so boring? If the Mayans were right and the world ends this year, at least it will probably be quicker than sitting through 2012.

This science fiction disaster movie, directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, Day After Tomorrow) is set in the year 2012, the year that the Mayan civilisation supposedly predicted that the world would end. Dr. Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is an American geologist, working for the White House. He travels to India where his friend and fellow scientist has discovered that neutrinos (remember them?) from a giant solar flare have mutated and are heating up the Earth’s Core. The US President (Danny Glover) begins a top secret project which involves building giant ships in order to save around 400,000 of the worlds best and brightest (and richest). The more human side to the story comes in the form of John Cusack’s character, Jackson Curtis who spends the film trying to avoid the disaster and save his family.

The film has been lauded for its special effects, and they are spectacular. While it is impressive to see cities destroyed and mountains covered with waves, the characters never appear to be part of it. Even when John Cusack is driving a limousine through the crumbling streets of Los Angeles he feels distant and separated from it and you never get the sense that he is in any real danger. It never feels real. Perhaps part of the problem is the realistic knowledge that none of the main characters are going to be killed off in the first two acts and this takes away any feelings of peril.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
The script is really poor. The dialogue feels unrealistic and lacks drama while the characters are one dimensional. Much of the film is ill thought out; for example upon returning early from holiday, Cusack’s character suddenly receives a call to say he is late for work. He’s meant to be on holiday. Also, every time the US President walks into a room, the rest of the world’s leaders are waiting silently for him. I expect in real life they’d probably at least be talking amongst themselves about the end of the world and not always waiting for the US to sort everything out. Without giving too much away, the President also does something which he would never be allowed to do once the disaster strikes.

The acting isn’t very good. Many people are miscast. Danny Glover is unconvincing as the President and John Cusack’s wife is an empty shell. I expect some of this is down to the script and characterisation though. Cusack is affable but nothing more but Woody Harrelson shines in a small role as the token nut-job who was right all along.

"Stay perfectly still. Earthquakes can't see you if you don't move".
At 158 minutes, the film is about half an hour too long. It is too boring to keep you entertained for even two hours, let alone nearly three. Maybe the obligatory shots of the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben could have been lost. We get it, we are in France, we don’t need to see the bloody Eiffel Tower. As with any film of this nature there were plenty of moments where the audience are left thinking “come on! What are the chances?” Examples include the whole earth shifting on its axis so that Cusack and co doesn’t run out of fuel over the sea and a chance meeting with a Tibetan monk on a Chinese mountainside. I know I should cut the film some slack but come on!

There is plenty more wrong with the film but I try to keep these reviews fairly brief. It took over $700m at the box office so it must be doing something right. All I can say is that Independence Day wasn’t that good but it had more likeable characters and was shorter. The Day After Tomorrow had equally as good GCI, more likable characters and was MUCH shorter. And despite both having fairly poor storylines at least they didn’t have (SPOILER ALERT) a character called Noah saving everyone on an Ark and a parallel to the evolution of our species by resettling in Africa.