Showing posts with label Olivia Wilde. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olivia Wilde. Show all posts

Thursday, 20 February 2014


Spike Jonze’s Her is a sweet, poignant and yet gently chilling romantic comedy about a man who falls in love with his computer’s operating system. Nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, it’s been met with critical acclaim. It features a fascinating conceit which is deeply explored and contains some beautiful set and costume design as well as some exceptional performances. Why is it then that I found it as cold as a hibernating laptop?

It’s 2025 and Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a letter writer in Los Angeles. His marriage has failed and he’s delaying the signing of his divorce papers, holding out for a second chance which he knows is never going to come. Desperately lonely, he’s become a slight recluse, distancing himself from friends while maintaining a false sunny disposition in their company. One day Theodore sports a newly released operating system (OS) in a mall, one which promises to learn and adapt, whose artificial intelligence is designed to be more than a computer but to be a friend. Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) as the OS calls herself, becomes Theodore’ friend and soon, his lover. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Rush, the latest offering from director Ron Howard, is an exhilarating and dramatic biographical action movie set in the glamorous world of the 1970s Formula One driver. Being a fairly faithful retelling of true events, the movie focuses on the careers of and rivalry between Austria’s Nikki Laura (Daniel Bruhl) and Britain’s James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) in the mid 1970s during which the pair were the cream of the motor racing world. Though the movie begins in 1970, the main thrux of the plot is the 1976 F1 season during which the pair’s rivalry and willingness to put themselves in the path of danger reached an all time high before the season reached a dramatic climax in Japan.     

I need to mention very early on that personally I’m a huge fan of Formula One and have only missed around three races since my first in 1994. I love the history, the strategy and the technology of the sport and would rank it amongst my biggest passions. Because of this I was worried that my judgement of the film would be clouded but I’m confident that the film is good enough that my love of its backdrop hasn’t affected my enjoyment. In many ways the movie reminded me of the sublime BAFTA award winning documentary Senna in that although both movies are about F1 and F1 drivers, they could be about anything. It’s the story and characters who make both films great. They could be set within any discipline.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

In Time

"For a few to be immortal, many must die"

In the near future the human race has managed to genetically engineer itself to stop aging at 25. Once you reach 25 though you are given one year of time until your death. As a result time becomes currency with people able to exchange, rob and work for it. Society has been divided by social class into various time zones and it is in one of the poorest zones that we find factory worker Will Salas (Justin Timberlake). Salas lives day to day in the ghetto, never having more than a few hours to live. After the death of his mother (the totally hot Olivia Wilde) Will saves the life of a 104 year old with a death wish. The old man gives Will all of his time he but is then hunted down by Time Keeper (Cillian Murphy) under suspicion of murder. Will travels to the prosperous New Greenwich where he meets heiress Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried). When the time keepers catch up with him, Will kidnaps Sylvia and the two go on the run.

There is a very interesting idea somewhere in this film and occasionally it attempts to shine through but is often hampered by poor dialogue and an obvious, much told story.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Cowboys & Aliens

Its 1873 and a man (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert of the Arizona Territory with a strange metal bracelet on his wrist. He doesn’t know who or where he is and is soon attacked by a posse of outlaws. After disposing of his attackers he rides to Absolution where he is again set upon and ends up in Jail. While being transported to another facility, the entire town is attacked from the air by unidentified crafts. It transpires that Absolution is under attack by aliens who are abducting the townsfolk and the man along with local rich man Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford), bar owner Doc (Sam Rockwell) and a mysterious woman called Ella (Olivia Wilde) set out to track the aliens and save the towns people.

There was a lot said at the time the film was released that it was a ridiculous idea to have cowboys battling aliens but to me it is no more ridiculous than having an alien film set in the modern day and is a refreshing take on the genre. The Western sets and costumes look great and most of the cast fit the bill of Wild West inhabitants. The only person who doesn’t is Olivia Wilde who looks completely out of place with salon shaped eyebrows and GHD straightened hair. While Craig and Ford et al look the part in their costumes, her tight and clingy dress doesn’t look right either. I think her look was misjudged in an obvious attempt to attract a teenage male audience.

Jon Favreau’s direction is fine and he balances the fast paced sci-fi action with the slower western style of wide open vistas and gruff dialogue. The aliens are also well designed and look scary in enclosed spaces. When out in the open they lose their menace slightly but still look good.

I thought that the acting was also fine. Daniel Craig produces a convincing accent and suits the role. Harrison Ford is also good and seems well suited to the role he is playing. Sam Rockwell is under used and Olivia Wilde does well in her few scenes in which she has to act. The supporting cast is excellent and helps to fill out the Old West world that the film creates.

So far I’ve had few complaints but my main problem with the film is that it’s really dull. There are aliens - Fighting cowboys - With lasers and stuff! But I felt really bored for most of the film and I was only really interested in finding out about how Daniel Craig came to be in the desert with a metal thing on his arm. I’m very surprised that the film wasn’t more exciting and it doesn’t live up to its title. Another problem was that the script made the action far too predictable. It is obvious for instance that Sam Rockwell’s inability to shoot will turn around and he will save someone. It is also obvious that Harrison Ford will admit to liking the Indian boy he bought up but seems to dislike. Also, there is a rather obvious mention of dynamite which comes back towards the end. The script is full of this sort of thing and everything is laid out in giant capital letters with few surprises or twists.

The film could learn something from Snakes on a Plane which is much more enjoyable. The film is played completely straight and I think it would have benefited from a bit of camp or even just a bit more comedy.

Overall the film has a really interesting idea at its centre and is well acted by a solid cast but doesn’t live up to its premise and takes itself too seriously.