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He is one of the rare actors who has made his career in front of and behind the camera. Say what you want, but he has a unique talent to contend with the young whippersnappers of the acting world and the renowned stars of filmmakers.
Ides of March is essentially a popularity contest mixed with the rules of the school playground, political style. Poster boy George Clooney is in line to be the next US President with Ryan Gosling (btw, a handsome man becoming more popular by an equally handsome man? Winner!) but Gosling's hard work is almost tarnished by the machinations of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the villain of the piece, Paul Giamatti.
The interactions between Gosling and Clooney are interesting to watch. The young one mentoring the veteran start on how to be a sure fire hit with the public? It's like role reversal or a newbie making their way through high school. Both stand their ground, especially Gosling who has made 2011 his year. His character exudes a charm as he knows how to make Clooney the Man yet when it comes to branching out to other people, he comes across as innocent and almost naive.
The supporting cast is equally impressive. Between the enigmatic Evan Rachel Wood to the established indie favourite Hoffman, it is an impressive cast. The story is believable and it is easy to get lost in the twisted web of politics. Clooney's direction is equally admirable. From the confrontational scenes to the amassed campaign speeches, he never loses his focus - never drifting away from the character in question.
Altogether, Ides of March is a very neat package. Eye candy aside, smart yourself up in this feature.
There's no denying that Martin Scorsese is a legend. What he can do behind the camera can bring tears to the most hardhearted critic. Yet when rumours came about that he was going to direct a kids' film in dreaded 3D, eyebrows were raised. I mean, this guy who directed some of the most violent scenes in cinema, for crying out loud.
Hugo follows the tale of a young boy who lives in a train station in Paris, living a very lonely life - ironic as he is surrounded by the hubbub of commuters and the train staff. The only friend he has is an incomplete robot, which is the only memory he has of his deceased father. As he stumbles into the path of the hardhearted toy shop owner, Papa George, his life takes an interesting turn.
First of all, the 3D is well used here. 3D films nowadays do not merit the use of it as it does not enhance the filmwatching experience - if anything, it hinders it. This, however, is not too bad. The idea of Hugo's world is that you can get lost in it and the 3D helps that to a certain extent.
The flashbacks of George Meliès are a joy to watch. Many people may not know a lot about the charm of silent cinema so it's great to see a modern-day film celebrate it in its own way. Ben Kingsley is great; an embittered man who feels his achievements are lost and the fact that he cannot convey the same imagination in his later years show a sadness that can be admired. Doe-eyed Asa Butterfield is cute to watch but as his eyes are wide with wonder, something lacks in the eponymous character.
The cultural aspects of setting a film in Paris but have the characters speaking English raises a big debate. Some people may be under the impression that this is like Midnight in Paris for kids, it doesn't show the film in the right light, let alone the best light.
Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Moretz and Christopher Lee are wonderful actors but to have them in the middle of Paris and not fully incorporate them into a slither of Parisian culture is almost a waste of the computer generated settings. The dialogue of the story is also lacking - the flow of the story stops a third of the way in the film, rendering what should have been a main focal point useless and the main characters wandering around aimlessly.
Drawing comparisons from other adaptations like "City of Ember" and "The Golden Compass", the word 'adventure' does not play a major part in Hugo. The film could have become a celebration of the lost eras in silent cinema, a more interesting backstory of Hugo's father - the severely underused Jude Law - or even the nameless automaton. Instead, it has become a wasted opportunity in Scorsese's extensive filmography.
Overall, Hugo is like a Christmas present - the wrapping is beautiful but the present itself is a disappointment.
Spin-offs can be a good thing. But when it comes to cinematic spin-offs (Wolverine, The Scorpion King, Elektra), most of them have fallen short (quality-wise) of the original film or series.
With this offering, it is quite satisfying.
Puss In Boots follows our furry feline hero try and steal some magic beans from outlaws Jack and Jill, with the help of cat thief (see?) Kitty Softpaws and Humpty Dumpty, Puss's childhood friend.
It's nice to see Puss have the spotlight, rather than fight over it with Shrek and Donkey in the Shrek series. His mannerisms along with Antonio Bandera's silky, sexy voice makes him an endearing animated character. Salma Hayek's Softpaws, along with Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris as the rogues Jack and Jill were quite underused in terms of jokes and puns - Banderas and Humpty's Zach Galifianakis easily had all the best lines in the film.
It was fun, action packed and the animation was well-put together - a charming flick.
There is one thing that Brits can do good and that is suspenseful horror. Compared to chop shop of teen American horrors that are just innovative ways on how to kill or be killed, it's good to watch a film and just jump from the tension.
The Awakening is the debut film of Nick Murphy, starring Rebecca Hall as skeptical and hardhearted Florence Cathcart, London post-War answer of the Ghostbusters.
When summoned to a boarding school by former soldier Dominic West to investigate a haunting, her nerves are shredded by what seemed to be an open-and-shut case.
For some, Cathcart is like Sherlock Holmes - methodical with only the satisfaction of resolving a case as payment. Her experience of fake exorcisms and séances make her dubious about the supernatural yet it only takes her curiosity to be peaked to take on one case. Hall's expressions and performance is quite suited to the period in question, which is more that can be said for her co-stars.
The supporting cast are, in contrast to the many layers of Cathcart, almost template characters - you have the timid matron, the vulnerable child and the rugged handsome love interest with a secret. They all seem to revolve around Hall like the sun, looking as if they cannot hold their own whilst being on screen.
The haunting parts are quite chilling yet a couple of them are predictable jumps. It is beautifully shot and the scenery and the ambience of a large haunted house is wonderfully captured, but can this film be the upstart for the modern British horror?
Mr Timberlake has already proven to the world he can act. From a career-defining turn in The Social Network to audience-friendly roles in Friends with Benefits and Bad Teacher, he is now showing us that he can pull off action.
In Time is set is a future where time has replaced money as key currency. The more time you have, the longer you live. Simple as.
When Justin's character Will is given almost a century, he decides to act like a future Robin Hood and rob the rich (the forever young) to feed the poor (the ones who run to save time).
This is a simple concept, but the idea of Will and rich socialite Sylvia, his hostage turned accomplice, acting like Bonnie and Clyde doesn't really save the poor implementation from established sci-fi director Andrew Niccol.
The pace of the film keeps at a steady pace so you end up feeling quite unfulfilled and unsatisfied with the limp action scenes and unsteady tension between our futuristic Robin Hood and the frozen face of In Time's Sheriff of Nottingham, Cillian Murphy.
All in all, what In Time lacked time to get the key ingredients - as well as practically everything else that could have made it great.