Thursday, 30 May 2013

'How I Finally Became A Film Reviewer'.

Well today was a  big  day for me. To  tell  you the story of how I got here I'll have to go  back a couple of weeks.

It was early May and I was reviewing a couple  films and I was  doing the  rounds on Twitter, Facebook and my Blog, sending out my reviews  to be reviewed by  film review sites. I  was hoping to get some outside opinions that would help me get a fresh perspective on my work. Then an administrator got  in touch, explained that he was impressed with my review style and hoped that I  would contribute to his website 'Movie Marker'. After a little deliberation I  sent out him out some more reviews to cement my place with the people at 'Movie Marker'. 

There was  a great back and forth between myself and the admin. I  imagine this  is what it's like to work as a reviewer, it's fun. There were requests and ideas and I even got to go through the process of inquiring about a press screening. I'v been added to  databases in Ireland with various film companies, it was  really something, but the most wonderful and fantastic thing happened today when I went to the 'Movie  Marker' website.

My review had been published...I am ecstatic, follow the link below

Monday, 27 May 2013

'Studio Ghibli' season continues with 'The Cat Returns'.

'Studio Ghibli' season.

After watching 'Whisper of the Heart' I looked up some stuff about it, there was some wonderful little  gems.  These included one or two  little Easter eggs which allude to previous 'Ghibli' films. However the most interesting nugget of information was that  there was a sequel, well there was a spin-off dealing with one of the most interesting characters from 'Whisper of the Heart', The Baron. This is a review of a very unique element to 'Studio Ghibli', a spin-off.

#5 'The Cat Returns'

Director- Hiroyuki Morita
Starring- Anne Hathaway
Cary Elwes
Peter Boyle

Haru, played by none other than 'Catwoman'  herself Anne Hathaway, is a girl down on her luck. Right now in her life nothing seems to be going right for her. It all seems to  be due to an inability to get off her ass and do anything truly productive  in her life. Sure she has friends and she is  relatively good  at sports, but she has no  direction in her life. Then one day she saves a cat, a really weird  cat, and from that point on things get a little funky.

It was lovely to see 'The Baron'  and 'Muta' from 'Whisper of the Heart' return and in the form of main characters. Cary Elwes has brought a real charm to this  role that will remind people of his character 'Wesley' from 'The  Princess Bride', if  you don't know what  this film is  you have seriously missed  out. The set  pieces and characters are both outlandish and fantastic. The 'Cat Kingdom' is very much a 'Wonderland' to Haru's 'Alice'. The greatest part of this whole piece was 'The Baron' himself who was charming, dashing and  suave and  many other adjectives that my  girlfriend kept listing out.

Cats are not a particular subject that I enjoy, I've always wondered why  the 'Ghibli' team have such  a fascination with  cats and unless I  ever  meet one of the lads from 'Ghibli' I  don't think I will ever find out. While  the setting and characters were wonderful the dialogue was  a bit dodgy at times, some of it was very corny and the dubbing sometimes did not  match what the characters seemed to be emoting. One  particular issue of the film which kind of irked me was the animation style, it was slightly different  to some of the other films from the 'Ghibli Collection',  there was just something about it, I don't know what there just was.

A stairway  full of crows, very cool.
It's a film that builds on a character  who was a fan favourite, it works well, to a point. In the end it comes down to one thing, are you a cat person or a dog  person, I'm a dog person.

A bunch  of friends falling from the sky, what could be more  fun.
Anne Hathaway has been a catgirl then a catwoman, interesting.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

'Studio Ghibli' season continued...

'Studio Ghibli' season.

With my next review I really wondered which of the 'Ghibli' films I wanted to bring to you next. I gave you super sweet, I gave you ultra realistic and I became kind of stumped, there are so many to choose from and I would like to keep the theme of each film review varied, unique and fresh. Will that happen? I'd like to think so, so in the immortal words of a hero of mine, “Geronimo”.

#3 'Whisper of the Heart'

Director- Yoshifumi Kondo
Starring- Brittany Snow
David Gallagher
Cary Elwes

Shizuku is a 14 year old girl who does very well in school, she reads non-stop and has loads of fun with her friends. She seems to have her life pretty well put together until she comes across a name that will change her life forever. This is a coming of age film with a few twists and turns you don't see coming and a wonderful side story that will melt even the coldest of hearts.

You see I'm going to  get my own film and then we'll  see.
The characterization of all the characters is superb as you really begin to worry for each character. Each trial and tribulation, each little individual heartache is wonderfully treated with tender loving care. The scenery is absolutely stunning, the artists for this film really knocked it out of the park, there are one or two scenes that will just have you staring in quiet wonder at their beauty. Since this film is a coming of age story and has a female character at its centre you may think that it will get very soppy and though you might be correct to a certain degree I can tell you right now it never complete goes overboard on the theatrics.There is a wonderful sequence that just comes out of nowhere in the later half of the film and it is so fantastic and spellbinding.

Ah love, it can really irk you some times.
I write this now as someone who is not really into love stories, at best of times they can be semi-interesting and decent, at the worst of times they can be vomit inducing. 'Whisper of the Heart' is somewhere in between, there are times where the usual coming of age cliches are avoided and I was impressed with how some problems were handled in a far more realistic fashion, however there are those moments of cringe inducing dialogue and sometimes a cliche is not avoided and I hear a little voice in my head go,”really”. Though I found every character to be interesting some of the minor characters that I found really interesting were not given nearly enough screen time. The grandfather for example had such a rich backstory that I felt we as an audience should have been given a little more closure on his story, but I suppose when you look at the film it is very much true to life and in life there isn't always closure.

A fantastic little shindig.
It's a love story, it's a coming of age story, it's something that could very much have happened to any young woman and for that it's better than any 'Twilight'.

A guilty pleasure, but  still a pleasure.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

'Studio Ghibli' Season Continued...

             'Studio Ghibli' Season Continued...

As I roll on to the next film in my 'Studio Ghibli' season I thought I'd have go to the other side of the spectrum for my next review. Last time around I gave you the super sweet, 'My Neighbour Totoro'. This time around I give you the ultra realistic 'Grave of the Fireflies'.

#2 'Grave of the Fireflies'
Director- Isao Takahata
Starring- J. Robert Spencer
Rhoda Chrosite

Loyalty that shines through.
This film is one of the most realistic depiction of WWII you are ever likely to see, and what makes it so profound and ground breaking is the fact that it is an animation. This film shows what happens to a family when everything is taken away from them, how they can fight for survival, how love can rally them and how pride can destroy you and everyone you hold dear. A young man, Seita has been given the responsibility to take care of his sister after their mother dies, he holds true to this and throughout this film we see the kind of decisions he makes to keep her safe.
A truly remarkable relationship.
This film is uncompromising in it's depiction of WWII, Japan is now on the losing side of the war and we are thrust into the perspective of a young man trying to protect what little he has left. This was such a raw and passionate film, each scene between Seita and Setsuko oozed compassion. Seita is a real human being, not just a pretty picture with sound coming out, he has flaws, he makes mistakes and his pride gets in the way, it makes for a wonderful and interesting watch. On the flip side of the coin we have Setsuko, a child, a tiny little girl who has no idea of the horror that is around her because her brother is shielding her from it with all he has got . She is an absolute joy to watch and I really respect Rhoda Chrosite as she brought such an innocence to a role that will stay with me for a very long time.

A moment of pure innocence.
With such a realistic film and such human characters I couldn't help but come out of this film and really begin to dissect every decision that the characters made and really begin to think about how it came to the ending it came to. I came out kind of angry, kind of regretful and very upset. If I was being completely honest there is nothing “bad” about this film other than the “bad” things that happen in it.

She is fantastic.
This is a superb film, faultless, watch this film. Once and never ever watch it again, you'll understand after you have watched it.

My heart aches.

'Studio Ghibli' Season.

'Studio Ghibli' Season.

Today is big, a lot of great things have happened and I'm really happy about them, but you didn't come here to hear about my life. You came here to read about my opinions on films. After finding out about my news I became inspired to do a film season again since my 'Double Feature' went down so well last time, thanks by the way if you read it. Anyway I decided that over the course of the next few weeks I will give my opinion on the wonderful collection films brought to us by 'Studio Ghibli'. I have given a review of their latest film,'From up on Poppy Hill', and people really seemed to dig it, so I am currently in the process of buying every single film from their extensive collection, watching them and then reviewing them for you. On to my first film from 'Studio Ghibli', 'My Neighbour Totoro'. Enjoy.

#1 'My Neighbour Totoro'.
Director – Hayao Myazaki
Starring - Dakota Faning
Elle Fanning
Tim Daly

A wonderful family.
This film is about a little family that move to rural Japan in the 1950's to be close to the ailing mother who is being treated for an unknown illness in a nearby hospital. When they move in, the two daughters, Dakota and Elle Faning, discover there may be more to the grounds they have moved into than meets the eye.They discover an old kind of magic that will open their eyes to new possibilities.

Superman got nothin'  on him.
This film is absolutely charming,the cast are wonderful, a young Dakota Fanning who is clearly already at the top of her game, brings a wonderful vulnerability to Satsuki, While Elle Faning is charming, cute and absolutely ridiculous as Mei, the irrepressibly adorable little sister. Tim Daly is clearly having a lot of fun playing the understanding father Tatsuo. The real standout character for me however was the title character himself played with gusto by Frank Welker, a veteran of animation. He brings such wonder to the role of Totoro, part mystical God, part cuddly toy.
There are so many wonderful scenes in this film but one that stands out for me would be when the girls need help with a flower that does not want to grow. That is all I will say I don't want to ruin the joy of watching that scene unfold for you not knowing what is about to happen.

Da lads.
Is there anything bad? A tough question to answer, I suppose the dubbing is good but the keen eyed among us will spot problems along the way. Also if you are not in the mood for a film about mystical Gods who play with children then you will find yourself at a loss here. This film is really only targeted toward the very young or the young at heart, if you are neither you may not enjoy this film.

No sense of boundaries.
It's a fantastic film,that has aged well, if you are immature or you want to introduce your kids to a new type of fantastic this film is for you. If the sound of giant cuddly Gods weird's you out, stay away.


Monday, 6 May 2013

A bird, a giant and a boy.

'The  Iron Giant' review.
Very  cool.
Director: Brad Bird
Starring: Eli Marienthal
Jennifer Aniston 
Vin Diesel
Harry Connick, Jr.

A week ago I ordered 'The Iron Giant' from Amazon, two days ago I  received it and all the memories from my first experience of this  film came flooding back to  me. Every little joke, every little reference,  was just pure magic. I couldn't wait to watch it,and I made sure to have the suitable  conditions met while watching this  film, so I  got a brand new 42 inch television and I  made sure to  watch it with someone who  had never seen it before(I know know, what kind of person hasn't watched this by now?). With all my conditions met we sat down and let the film begin.

Hey...What's up?
I'm conflicted, because I  want you guys to  understand the brilliance of  this  film but  at the same time I don't want  to  spoil anything for you, so here goes, I'll try and keep everything to a minimum. 
It's the 1950's, the Space race is  in full swing and a giant robot falls to  Earth, and a boy who needs a friend finds a friend. There that's all you need.

Just talking about  stuff, lad stuff.
Where to begin, let's work up.The animation is superb,charming and picturesque. The style of the animation really  showcases the style of the  era. There is a warmth to the whole film which  is just wonderful and welcoming. The plot is just fantastic, it has giant robots, armies and the space race but at its core it is about  being true to yourself, not how society dictates who you are. It's all about your actions and how they decide who  you are. It is a fantastic message that isn't pushed into your face but  isn't shied away from either. The charm of 'Hogarth Hughes' is really great, he is a kid  a little ahead of  his time in my  opinion. He is a lot  smarter than most of his peers and elders. Then there is the Giant himself played with an amazing  innocence and vulnerability by Vin Diesel. This  is probably Vin Diesels best role  that didn't involve him and a bunch of aliens fighting on a "pitch black" planet. See what I did  there.....anyway. The Giant is fantastic, just so much  fun and interesting.

Even with this  film there are one or  two  imperfections that  come with it.These imperfections simply just come from aging and the fact  that  this film is thirteen years old. The voice acting quality is good, but  not great, but  once again  it is really just down to the passage of time. 

Na na na naaa!!!!
This film should  have been a timeless classic, instead it has been relegated to cult classic, nothing wrong with  that, nothing at all but the ugly is simply this, Watch.This.Film.

'Superman', it's always 'Superman'.