Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse Review

This is a guest review by Kylah Renou.

Director: David Slade Screenplay: Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Bryce Dallas Howard Time: 124min Age Restriction: 13V

Rating: 6 out of 10

Eclipse, the third instalment in the Twilight series, brings us back to the adventures of lovers
Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), a vampire of the Cullen clan.

After an army of newborn vampires are created and set free in Seattle (leaving everyone who isn’t “in the know” to believe in a mass murderer), Edward and his family are forced to team up with their sworn enemies, the werewolves, to destroy the newborns. Of course, all to protect Bella, as the infamous Victoria is still seeking revenge.

What sets this one aside from the others is… well, not that much. Besides the overly obvious sexual tension in this instalment, it still comes down to the same thing; Bella’s annoying “I’m in love with 100-something year old virgin and my best friend is a hot adolescent werewolf and I can’t choose who I love more but I can’t have them both because they can’t seem to get along” attitude, that has plagued her since the beginning of this whole Twilight saga.

The third movie calls for its third director. This time David Slade, who did 30 Days of Night (another bloodsucker type movie) takes charge. And whilst I left the cinema disappointed in their portrayal of Eclipse, I have to give credit where credit is due. And in this case, it would have to be with the special effects. They were the one thing that certainly stood out for me; clearly new and improved. For example the CGI used for the wolves in this one gets a definite thumbs up in contrast to the CGI used in the previous installment, New Moon.

It has a few laughs, mainly coming from Billy Burke who plays Charlie, Bella’s father, who has been given more light to work with in this film. Whilst still maintaining that innocent, awkward “dad” image, he really comes out of his shell. The acting is poor, but of course there are those who stand out, like Dakota Fanning. Put aside the fact that she has such a tiny role (again), there is no denying she is a brilliant little actress, and she gives a creepily inviting performance as Jane. Stewart can be mentioned too, but there is no range, and I’m no expert but surely this can only damage her career, if all she has to offer is this same moody teenager look. It feels like I’m watching Kristen playing herself, not Kristen playing Bella.

So, to say the least, it was disappointing for me. And I’m not even a “twi-hard”. Would I go see it again? No, never. I just wasted two hours of my life I will never get back. Should you go see it? If you’ve read the books, then of course. You just have to grin and bare it. It’s the typical scenario of the book that should never have been given movie rights. All in all, I give it a 6 – 6 ½ out of 10.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I've Loved You So Long Review

Director: Philippe Claudel Screenplay: Philippe Claudel Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein Time: 115min Age Restriction: 13


Summary Review:
I've Loved You So Long is an intriguing and thought-provoking study of a convict's return to society and the journey beyond the walls constructed around a woman's heart.

I've Loved You So Long is a French film that was released in 2008, but has only made it onto South African screens now. I've been dying to see it, ever since I first heard about it and I was not disappointed.

Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) is an Anglo-French convict who has just been release on parole after 15 years in a French prison.

She goes to stay with her sister, who is several years younger than her, while she tries to get back on her feet and find a job.

It is not until late in the film that the audience discovers why Juliette was in prison, but the hints dropped throughout create a deep tension and a high level of high suspense. The audience is drawn into an internal debate, trying to figure out whether Juliette is really a monster or whether there is more to the history of this quiet, unassuming woman than meets the eye.

I've Loved You So Long is quite a harrowing film experience, with a relentless honesty, but there are moments of such sweet humour that relieve and reward the viewer, while creating a strong rapport with the characters.

Kristin Scott Thomas is one of my favourite actresses – there's something absolutely captivating about her; when she's on the screen, you hardly take note of anything else. For that very reason, she fills Juliette with a grace and mystery that makes I've Loved You so Long one of the most empathetic films I've ever seen.

I've Loved You So Long is now showing at the Labia theatre on Orange Street and the DVD is available from Take 2.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos) Review

Director: Pedro Almodóvar Screenplay: Pedro Almodóvar Cast: Penélope Cruz, Blanca Portillo, Lluís Homar, Lola Dueñas Time: 129min Age Restriction: 16SNL


Summary Review:
Broken Embraces is an intriguing story, executed with compelling artistry, of jealousy, lust and tragedy borne out of passion, from the same team that brought us the quirky Volver.

Harry Caine (Lluís Homar) is a renowned film director, who also happens to be blind. One day he is tracked down by a young man who wants to write a script with Harry, but something about the man, who calls himself Ray X, makes Harry and his company uneasy.

Broken Embraces is a truly fascinating film and the story is unveiled masterfully, so I would not like to give too much away. Suffice it to say that this young man's appearance forces the spotlight onto many unresolved issues that have had Harry and those who love him walking on eggshells for years.

Long-kept secrets and revelations wrapped in mystery come out as the film switches between the present and the past, all centring on Lena (Penélope Cruz), a desirable young actress and wife of a wealthy tycoon.

Broken Embraces is one of those films you just want to watch over and over again, because it is so beautiful and the plot so involved that it requires a few takes to appreciate every subtle nuance.

Penélope Cruz has got to be the hottest woman on the planet and it is bliss to watch her, but there a number of sex scenes, shot with a passion only Latinos can generate, that will require discipline from Christian viewers (keep your hand at the level of your eyes ;)).

An enthralling storyline, inspired direction, brilliant acting and inventive cinematography make Broken Embraces a masterpiece of film-making.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To Save A Life Review

Director: Brian Baugh Screenplay: Jim Britts Cast: Randy Wayne, Deja Kreutzberg, Joshua Wiegel, Sean Michael Afable Time: 120min Age Restriction: 13M


Summary Review:
To Save A Life is an uplifting film about the roles we play in people's lives.

Jake Taylor (Randy Wayne) is an all-round popular kid – he's the star basketball player in his school, he has a college scholarship, he's dating the prettiest girl and he's hanging out with the coolest kids.

But when Roger (Robert Bailey Jr.), the boy who once saved Jake's life, commits suicide, Jake is plagued by the thought that he could have done something to prevent the tragedy.

In his search for answers, Jake begins speaking to the pastor who conducted Roger's funeral and who is the only person to take Jake's concerns and self-doubt seriously.

Often Christian movies (slash music slash books) are disappointing or even downright embarrassing. People seem to think that because it is so meaningful and there is a deeper message behind it, it doesn't really matter how well the movie (/music/book) is made.


To Save A Life is a great movie. Everything, from the acting and directing to the script and cinematography, is right on par with the best secular films out there.

Not to mention the fact that To Save A Life gives the truest depiction of what a young Christian lifestyle really looks like.

To Save A Life is a real, honest film about the impact we have on the lives of people around us, whether it is done intentionally or not.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Prince of Persia Review

Director: Mike Newell Screenplay: Jordan Mechner, Boaz Yakin, Doug Miro and Carlo Bernard Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina Time: 114min Age Restriction: 10V


Summary Review:
Prince of Persia is a mystical epic telling the same old story in a more exotic location with better effects.

Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a street orphan adopted by the King of Persia when the king sees him display boldness and integrity in the marketplace one day.

Fifteen years later, Dastan and his two brothers, the king's sons by birth, are on their way home from war crusade, when they come across a city, which they attack and capture.

Tragedy strikes, however, when Dastan is accused of the murder of his father, the king. Dastan must prove his innocence with the help of the mysterious Princess Tamina and a beautiful dagger, in the process uncovering a much larger conspiracy and an ancient magic.

With its fine cast of accomplished actors, who revel in their roles effortlessly, Prince of Persia is an enjoyable romp, with lush, opulent costumes and rich Asian scenery, despite a few inconsistencies in the editing.

Dastan is a hollow character, with little personality, but Jake Gyllenhaal's charms turn him into an endearing hero, with his rags-to-riches story and unaffected character, flying across rooftops and swinging around the marketplace like a real-life Aladdin. Gemma Arterton, although ravishing, is a bit dry as Princess Tamina, with a sphinx-like demeanour that fails to engage.

We've seen films like this many times before; only the settings, the props and the actors are different. But Prince of Persia holds its own in the colosseum of epic films, with its mythology, mysticism, Arabian music, breathtaking special effects and empty substance.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Serious Man Review

Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen Cast: Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Sari Wagner Lennick, Fred Melamed Time: 106min Age Restriction:16SLVPD


Summary Review:
A Serious Man is a hilarious dark comedy that poses many of the questions that any religious person asks of their God.

Larry Gopnik is just an ordinary Jewish man. He has tried to be a serious and responsible mane, a good person. But now, through an unfortunate twist of fate and a series of highly improbable coincidences, so weird as only to be possible in real life, his life is falling apart and Larry feels helpless and bewildered.

In his quest for answers and advice, he pays three fruitless visits to each of the town's three unhelpful rabbis, which leave him more hopeless than ever.

A Serious Man is a deeply ironic story that will resonate with just about anyone. The Coen brothers are two of the quirkiest filmmakers around and are known for their offbeat films, the last of which was Burn After Reading. I honestly did not like Burn After Reading, but A Serious Man is one of the most enjoyable films I've seen all year.

Filled with wry humour, A Serious Man orbits around the search for the meaning of life and will leave you feeling grateful for how simple and easy your life is. Watch it.