Showing posts with label Michael Caine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Caine. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Now You See Me

For weeks, the cinema chain I pay my £14.99 to each month for unlimited movies has been teasing its clientele with the promise of a Secret Unlimited Screening. This one off, top secret screening would be open, free of charge to anyone with an Unlimited Card but the film was to be kept a secret. All we knew was that it would be a 12A Certificate movie and that it was being screened, across the country for one night only at 8:30pm, long ahead of its UK theatrical release. The brilliant marketing behind the scheme insured excitement, anticipation, discussion and a full cinema on a Monday evening for a movie which turned out to be Now You See Me. My initial reaction was one of slight disappointment as I was hoping for something like Pacific Rim which hadn’t been released anywhere else in the world for the selfish reason that a review would drive more traffic to this very page. I’d heard a couple of good things about Now You See Me from the States though so eagerly settled in for the next two hours.

Now you See Me is a heist movie in the vague style of the Oceans movies in that someone (a mastermind whose identity is unknown), draws together a group of experts in their fields to carry out heists on an epic scale. The difference here though is that the individuals chosen aren’t safe crackers, getaway drivers, contortionists or Matt Damon but are magicians. Their heists will involve magic and illusion to steal from banks and companies chosen by their puppet master. On the trail of the magicians is FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) who is teamed, much to his disliking, with Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent). Together the pair chases magicians Daniel (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt (Woody Harrelson), Henly (Isla Fisher) & Jack (Dave Franco) across the United States from show to show, always remaining two steps behind their cunning and trickery.

Monday, 10 December 2012

The Muppet Christmas Carol

The first film to be produced following the death of The Muppets creator Jim Henson, The Muppet Christmas Carol was well received upon its release in time for Christmas 1992 and has grown in stature ever since. The film is a fairly faithful retelling of Charles Dickens’ famous novel albeit with Muppets in most of the roles. The central character of Scrooge though is played incredibly straight by Michael Caine. I have a vague recollection of seeing certain scenes but don’t think I ever saw the film as a child. I had been warned that it is impossible to hate the film but if anyone was going to then it would be me. Around this time of year every year my girlfriend will inevitably yell the words “You’re running Christmas for me!” as I moan about decorations, cards, crap TV or buying presents. I am the archetypal Grinch like character, a man who cares nothing for Christmas and even less for Christmas movies. (See my Die Hard rant). It was always unlikely then that The Muppet Christmas Carol would strike a chord with me and as it turns out I didn’t really enjoy it. It is not without its positives though.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The Prestige

Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige is a story of obsession and sacrifice and stars Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as two up and coming magicians whose lives are transformed into an increasingly disastrous struggle of one-upmanship following a tragedy on stage. Each tries to out wit and out trick the other by disrupting each others acts, leading the other down blind alleyways and twisting reality through illusion and showmanship.

Mirroring the rest of Nolan’s filmography, The Prestige is a smart and beautiful film that is full of big ideas, well explored themes and unexpected twists and reveals. Nolan appears to take great delight in playing with his audience and treating them as intelligent equals, almost leading them along with him, through his twisted and mystifying subjects, knowing that by the time they reach the other side they will thank him for it. Nolan’s films are about ideas and he doesn’t shy away from presenting them to the audience without subtlety. Where he is perhaps more subtle is in his delivery which as usual is pitch perfect here.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hannah and Her Sisters

In typical Woody Allen fashion, Hannah and Her Sisters is a comedy-drama that intertwines several stories from a large cast. The plot centres around three sisters and their often interconnecting relationships. Hannah (Mia Farrow) is a successful Actress and married to financial advisor Elliot (Michael Caine) who in turn is infatuated with Hannah’s sister, Lee (Barbara Hershey). Lee is in a relationship with a reclusive artist named Frederick (Max von Sydow) but begins to realise that she too has feelings for Elliot. The third sister Holly (Dianne Wiest) is an unsuccessful Actress who is recovering from a cocaine addiction. The final piece of the jigsaw is a hypochondriac TV Producer and Hannah’s ex-husband Mickey (Woody Allen) whose philosophy on life changes as the plot progresses due to the sudden realisation that he will one day die.

The film is set over a two year period but also contains flashbacks to times before the narrative began to contextualise certain relationships. Voice over from several of the actors provide the audience with access to the characters inner thoughts as the merry go round of associations and affairs slowly unfolds. The film is witty and sometimes interesting but for a fairly short film, it felt long and sometimes tedious.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Spoiler Free

The final part of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy finds Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) broken, physically and mentally, eight years on from the events of The Dark Knight. Wayne has become a recluse, staying away from the limelight both as a Billionaire playboy and masked vigilante. Wayne is temped out of retirement though through a combination of curiosity about a wily cat burglar called Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) and the threat of a powerful anarchist named Bane (Tom Hardy).

I’ve never been as much of a fan of Nolan’s Batman films as some people although I did like Batman Begins and really enjoyed The Dark Knight. Going in I’d avoided all spoilers and reviews but expected that I would enjoy the film. I was wrong though. I didn’t just enjoy it but thought it was one of the best, if not the best film I’ve seen so far this year. Nothing prepared me for just how good this film is.