Showing posts with label Tom Wilkinson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Wilkinson. Show all posts

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Lone Ranger

Something is happening in Hollywood. Something which isn’t new but is becoming more apparent with each passing year. Studios are throwing vast sums of money at films in the hope that the sheer amount of razzmatazz on screen, couple with stars and overblown effects will prize people from their sofas and towards the cinema. The problem with this is that the films are becoming ever more formulaic and uninspiring as studios attempt to attract the maximum number of people to their films. It’s the same with most art forms that the more broad you make your product, the less exciting and unique it will be. Mumford and Sons might outsell Goat but only one of those bands sound like a Saturday night pub band that got too big for their cowboy boots. When I think of the studios that are producing the type of big budget, low risk films I’m discussing here, the one that springs to mind first is Disney.

Disney obviously have a tradition of making family movies and as such you aren’t expecting gore or thrilling twists but they’ve managed to entertain generations of people simultaneously for decades while maintaining their wholesome image. They also have a strong tradition of borrowing stories from other sources but appear to be on a run at the moment of producing the blandest of films which are amongst the most expensive in history. Alice in Wonderland, Oz the Great and Powerful, John Carter and now The Lone Ranger are all films which make use of established, much loved characters in films which Disney have sucked all the life and fun out of. The problem they’re really facing though is that they’re no longer guaranteed $600 million if they plough $250 million into a movie and not only that, the films themselves are dull and don’t even warrant a second viewing.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Debt

"The truth stays in this room, between us"

In 1997 an Israeli journalist is at the launch of her new book. The story is based on her mother’s (Helen Mirren) first assignment as a Mossad agent in which she and two other agents captured the Nazi War Criminal “The Surgeon of Birkenau” (Jasper Christensen). The plot then shows what happened in East Berlin in 1965 and reveals there is much more to the story than the published account.

The film goes back and forth from 1965 to 1997 but stays in 1965 for the most part. We watch as Rachel Singer (Jessica Chastain) arrives in Berlin and takes up her role as a field agent along with David Peretz (Sam Worthington) and Stefan Gold (Marton Csokas). The trio successfully track down the old Doctor and capture him before a problem with his extraction means that they have to bring him to their apartment and find a new means of escape. The film is full of surprising twists and revelations which along with some great acting and terrific script make a dramatic thriller.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

"Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end."
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a feel good film about a group of British pensioners who forgo to the traditional Rest Home in Eastbourne or Villa in Spain and instead decide to spend their golden years in Jiapur, India in a Hotel run by enthusiastic young Sonny (Dev Patel). The film features a mix of stereotypical middle class pensioners which includes Widow Judi Dench, unhappily married Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton, retired High Court Judge Tom Wilkinson, grumpy, racist Maggie Smith and singletons Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup. Quite a cast!

Upon arriving in India each character copes differently with the culture shock with some settling in as though they’ve lived there all their lives, others trying to experience all the country has to offer and some staying hidden in their rooms in case they see or taste something different to their norm. There are love interests and surprises but on the whole the plot is fairly predictable. It is funny though. I laughed along on multiple occasions with the entirely OAP audience I saw the film with. It is obviously aimed at older cinema goers but can definitely be enjoyed by all age groups.

The cast of The Avengers 4: Vacation

The acting is great across the board but it is Britain’s go to Indian Dev Patel who comes out on top. His character is frantic and funny, caring and loveable. He does a great job by giving the film real heart. His is a great performance. Bill Nighy was also very likeable but he was basically just playing his usual slightly stoned old guy character. Tom Wilkinson showed interesting emotional touches and there was no real weak link, as you’d expect from a cast of this calibre.

India looks and sounds beautiful. While it’s not particularly difficult to fill the screen with beauty and colour when a film is set in India, it still looks fantastic and the music had me tapping along throughout. I could listen to the sitar all day. (Look up Ravi Shankar if you are unfamiliar with Indian music. It. Is. Sublime.)   

Patel playing 'whose a lucky bugger' again with his love interest.

This is a very good film on the whole but there were some problems. Firstly, Judy Dench’s character manages to get a job within a couple of days despite never having had a job before in her life. The film also glossed over the poverty of the country with only a passing mention to the financial and social problems that millions of its citizens face. Maggie Smith’s characters transformation from racist old biddy to zen master/financial whizz seemed a little far fetched and felt a bit too convenient.

Despite these problems, it is a lovely film with plenty to like. Not least the wonderful love stories which feature throughout. It is also very funny and well written and acted and would recommend it to anyone, young or old.