Showing posts with label Jeff Goldblum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeff Goldblum. Show all posts

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The latest picture from auteur director Wes Anderson is in my opinion, his finest to date. A typically lavish and exquisitely designed movie, it stars Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustav H, a respected concierge at The Grand Budapest Hotel. Pitched as a sort of cross between a Palatial residence and the hotel from The Shining, The Grand Budapest is seen in all its splendour during the majority of the film. The movie opens however around thirty years after the events to be depicted in, at a time during which the grand old hotel is but a shadow of its former self. The action is depicted in flashback, from the memories of Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), a once Lobby Boy and apprentice to the aforementioned Gustav H.

In 1932, Gustav H. is seeing off one of his many elder lady friends, a rich widow by the name of Madame D. (Tilda Swinton). Gustav’s charms have lead to an on off affair which has lasted for many years and she is upset to be leaving the hotel over which he holds sway. Days later the woman is dead. Gustav H. rushes to her Estate in the hope that his romantic efforts have written himself in the will and sure enough discovers that they have. The deceased’s son (Adrien Brody) is outraged at the reading of the will and accuses the concierge of murder. Gustav H. is soon on the run and ends up under lock and key inside an intimidating maximum security jail.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Jurassic Park

The fact that Jurassic Park is twenty years old makes me feel older than I’d like to think I am. It’s hard to believe that it was two decades ago that a wide eyed seven year old me took a trip to the local cinema for what was only my second cinematic experience at the time. The film was a sensation with children, adults and critics and became the highest grossing movie of all time. Although I loved the film, there was a part of me who secretly hated it as it opened children’s eyes to the dinosaur world, something which I naively thought only I liked. Suddenly all my friends had dinosaur toys too and it annoyed me that they’d stolen my thing. It was the equivalent of that cool, underground band you like appearing on TV and going mainstream. Despite my anger over the film taking dinosaurs mainstream, it was pretty much the best thing my seven year old eyes had ever seen.

Twenty years, two sequels and about a dozen viewings later I heard that Universal were bringing Jurassic Park back to the big screen in 3D. Part of that sentence made me very happy but I was rather sceptical about the ‘3D’ element. I was even offered the chance to join a critics screening in New York City of all places, six months ago while on holiday there. I was unfortunately unable to make it though as I’d left my girlfriend shopping somewhere and knowing that she never notices her phone ringing and wouldn’t be able to make it to the theatre in time anyway, I had to decline, something which was deeply disappointing. All was not lost though as although I had to wait nearly half a year, I was eventually able to see the film on one of the largest screens in the country, the IMAX screen in Manchester.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

As soon as I hear the opening notes of John Williams’ iconic Jurassic Park score I can’t help but smile and be transported back to the mid 1990s and to a time when Jurassic Park was pretty much all the boys my age would talk and think about. I experienced the Jurassic Park smile recently when I re-watched the sequel to the 1993 film for what must be at least the eighth time. The smile stuck with me for the opening hour and a half as I reminisced about when I’d first seen the film and remembered what was coming next. Some of the things that made this sequel good are still evident but unfortunately so are the aspects that made it bad.

Four years on from the Jurassic Park Incident as it is now know, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) is assembling a team to explore, catalogue and protect the Dinosaur inhabitants of a second island, close to the original known as Site B. For this mission he recruits a reluctant Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), a man who has been publicly and academically chastised for talking about the Jurassic Park Incident. Malcolm is understandably hesitant about mixing with Dinosaurs again until he learns that his girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) is already on the island. So, he travels to the island along with equipment specialist Eddie (Richard Schiff), photographer Nick (Vince Vaughn) and a stowaway to rescue Sarah but not only come up against Dinosaurs but the InGen Corporation who want to further exploit the animals for profit.  

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Fly

"Your stocking has just been, teleported"

Eccentric scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum) meets journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) at a party. Attempting to impress her he shows off his latest invention, a teleportation device. Suitably impressed she shares the idea with her editor and ex-lover Stathis Borans (John Getz) who thinks the whole thing is a windup. After convincing Veronica not to run a story as the device is not yet complete the two enter into a relationship. One night after discovering that Veronica and Stathis are ex-lovers, Brundle gets drunk and decides to step into the machine. What he doesn’t realise is that a fly is also in the teleporter and when he and the fly are teleported they are merged at a molecular-genetic level. Over the coming months Brundle transforms into a human-fly hybrid which he names ‘Brundlefly’.

The film opens with the orchestral boom of a 1950’s B-Movie in perhaps a nod to the original film upon which it is loosely based. The film retains very little of the original and is much more a metaphor for disease and the process of aging than the original. In my opinion the film owes as much a debt to Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis as it does to the 1958 version. The film is also thematically very similar to Italian Giallo Horror, especially in its depictions of madness and alienation.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Morning Glory

Morning Glory is a 2010 comedy (apparently) drama set in New York. Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) is an up and coming TV News producer who loses her job on a New Jersey TV show due to budget cuts. She lands a job in New York City at Daybreak, a national morning network show which is struggling with poor ratings and a lack of funding and direction. Becky sacks the male anchor and tries to get veteran journalist Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) to join co anchor Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) in fronting the show. Pomeroy has to accept due to a clause in his contract but makes it clear both on and off air that he is above the show and doesn’t want to be there. Somehow Becky must try to improve the ratings before her boss Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) cancels the show.

Do you think she will manage it? Will Mike Pomeroy come around and save the show? Will Becky end up in a relationship with the hot guy she meets on her first day? Of course she will. The plot is so obvious you might as well have a director’s commentary telling you what is going to happen next. It isn’t just the plot that’s obvious but specific parts of the dialogue. I found myself saying what characters were about to say before they said it. The film treats its audience like idiots, as does the TV show which they are trying to save. It is the kind of sunny, happy, vacuous show that is on some channels in the morning. You know the type. Here in the UK it’s whatever is shitting all over the screen if you tune into ITV in the morning. I was actually routing for the arrogant and grumpy Pomeroy when he tried to inject some current affairs in amongst the stories of psychic pets and celebrity name changes. Occasionally the script will make fun of these types of shows but then go straight back to telling Pomeroy he can’t talk about the news.

The film has one of those terribly annoying and patronising soundtracks which sound like a tampon advert. Every time Becky makes strides we get some uplifting warbling from Natasha Bedingfield and then some slow schmaltz when she hits hard times. It’s predictable and lazy.

There are so many idiotic problems with the film. After losing her job, Becky is offered a job in NYC which is one of the most expensive cities in the world. She is told she will be earning half what she earned in New Jersey but moves in to an apartment that is large enough to swing several cats. Also, while she is still on the verge of having her failing show cancelled, she is offered her dream job on The Today Show, which makes no sense. What makes even less sense is that she turns down her dream because Harrison Ford makes a bloody frittata on TV! It’s infuriating. The Daybreak office is unrealistically unkempt. The filmmakers try to get across the idea that the show is in turmoil by having everyone speak at once in a production meeting and showing that the door knobs are broken. I’m pretty sure that even the forth biggest morning show in the richest nation on earth could replace a couple of f***ing door knobs! This film is so stupid!

This is a truly terrible film but is partially salvaged by four excellent actors. At least three of them should have gone nowhere near it but nonetheless, all four are good. Rachel McAdams is affable as Becky. This is a role she is comfortable in but has done many times before and since. Diane Keaton is believable as a news anchor and Jeff Goldbum is good in a very small role but is by no means stretched. The standout is Harrison Ford though who, although playing a version of himself brings some gravitas to the film. His character really seems like he doesn’t want to be there, but that could just be the actor’s emotions showing through. Patrick Wilson also features but has so little to do it is hardly worth mentioning him. He basically has to flirt with Rachel McAdams and act sad when she thinks about work too much.

I wouldn’t recommend this film to anyone. Even for fans of the normal Rachel McAdams rom-com type films, this would be disappointing. It isn’t funny, nor is the idea interesting. The romantic storyline feels like it was added on the set and if not for some fine actors paying their bills I wouldn’t have made it to the end. There is nothing to like here.