Showing posts with label Toby Jones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toby Jones. Show all posts

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Berberian Sound Studio

An homage to Italian giallo horror films and the mechanics of cinema itself, Berberian Sound Studio stars Toby Jones as Gilderoy, a shy Englishman who gets a job as a Foley artist on the 1970s Italian film The Equestrian Vortex, an giallo horror with typical themes of Satanism and extreme violence. Gilderoy, man more at home capturing the sounds of the English countryside, is like a fish out of water and struggles to get to grips with the Italian way of film making as well as the horrific violence on screen. Set inside a claustrophobic sound studio, the film follows Gilderoy as he slowly becomes more and more dishevelled while trying his best to create the sound to accompany the terrifying visuals, none of which are ever seen on screen.

The film reaches a critical point around seventy minutes in from where everything goes a little strange. It can be described as being without plot and its ending is confusing to say the least. The preceding hour though is amongst the best I’ve seen from a 2012 film and up until the final third it was well inside my top 10 of the year. What is good is that prior knowledge of giallo isn’t necessary in order to enjoy it. I’ve only seen one giallo film in the last year, Dario Argento’s Tenebrae, and know very little about the genre but still really liked the film.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Girl

The Girl is a TV movie about the three year working relationship between Alfred Hitchcock (Toby Jones) and his two time leading lady Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller) star of TheBirds and Marnie. The plot, which has been widely criticised by people who knew the great Director, focuses on his attraction towards his starlet and her rebuff of his advances. Much like a great Hitchcock thriller the film takes a dark turn as Hitch forces Hedren to go through arduous scenes over and over again and puts her in compromising positions sexually.

I’m a fairly new convert to Hitchcock having seen seven of his films in the last year, all for the first time. The Birds is one of the few Hitchcock movies I had seen before I began blogging but not for a long time. It’s been on my list to watch for a few months but I hadn’t got around to it yet and this put me in a quandary; what to watch first? I decided to watch The Girl before re-watching The Birds but now I’m slightly fearful that its portrayal of the Director may put me off the film and perhaps Hitchcock in general.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

My Week with Marilyn

In 1956 the world’s most iconic film star, Marilyn Monroe travelled to England to star in a new romantic comedy, The Prince and the Showgirl alongside famed actor/director Sir Laurence Olivier. Throughout an arduous shoot a young man called Colin Clark who joined the production as third AD kept a diary which became the basis of his memoir and this film. The production took place at a difficult time in the lives of both stars and Clark became very close to Monroe in particular, allowing him to present a rare glimpse into the private life of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

My Week with Marilyn was generally well received upon its release in 2011 and was nominated for seven BAFTAS and two Oscars. I unfortunately missed it on its theatrical release but felt very happy when I caught up with it on DVD. The film is an enjoyable watch with some occasional dark turns which gives an almost unprecedented look into a brief snippet of the life of one of the world’s original mega stars.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Red Lights

"How did you know that?"
"I'm psychic"

Psychologist and paranormal investigator Dr. Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant Dr. Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy) a physicist travel around debunking supposed paranormal activity from bumps in the night to stage psychics. Dr. Buckley wants to investigate their most challenging person to date, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro), a redound psychic who is making a comeback after a thirty year absence from the stage. Dr. Matheson warns Buckley against this though after having come up against him in the 1970s and failing to prove him a fraud. With the help of student Sally Owen (Elisabeth Olsen) Buckley defies Matheson and begins investigating the illusive Silver.

As a radical atheist and sceptic the film’s ideas appealed to me. I was delighted to watch the scientists make fun of and debunk people who claim to see ghosts and be able to read minds. The script treats these people with distain and isn’t afraid to mention how these people can be responsible for giving stupid people false hope and can even cost lives. The cast is also amongst the best of any film this year. With actors such as Signourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy, Toby Jones, Joely Richardson, the delightful Elizabeth Olsen and my all time favourite actor Robert De Niro, anything less than a great film would be a disappointment. Well, this isn’t a great film but it isn’t terrible either.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is the daughter of King Magnus (Noah Huntley) and is known as a great beauty. Her mother, the Queen dies when she is young and her father remarries a freed prisoner called Ravenna (Charlize Theron). On their wedding night Ravenna kills the King and takes the Kingdom for herself. Snow White is locked up in an isolated tower for several years as the Kingdom is left to rot under Ravenna’s cruel rule. When she comes of age it is revealed to Ravenna that she is no longer the fairest of them all and that Snow White’s beauty has usurped hers. Ravenna tries to eat Snow White’s heart in order to stay forever young but Snow White escapes. Ravenna sends a drunken widower Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring Snow White back but things don’t pan out the way Ravenna hopes.

The film appears to be influenced by many different stories and ideas with the most notable being Snow White (obviously), but there is also a lot of Joan of Ark in there as well as a little Twilight, Game of Thrones, Royal Wedding and the visual styling of an acid trip. The castle appears to be modelled on Mont St.Michael in Normandy. The film’s design and effects are amongst its most successful features. Debut director Rupert Sanders has created a sumptuous world of dark forests, great castles, dancing fairies, giant trolls and medieval towns. The film looks stunning.