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.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Taking Woodstock Review

Director: Ang Lee Screenplay: James Schamus, based on the memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte Cast: Demetri Martin, Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton, Eugene Levy Time: 121min Age Restriction: 16NLD


Summary Review:
Taking Woodstock is a psychedelic behind-the-scenes look at the lives of the people behind the first Woodstock event that, instead of making you wish you had been there, makes you believe that you were.

Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) comes home to his immigrant parents' dilapidated motel in White Lake, Bethel, New York, to once again rescue them from bank repossession. They take in a hippie theatre troupe called The Earthlight Players and give them residence in their barn, but the troupe can hardly pay them.

Elliot decides to hold his annual small music festival and when he hears that the Woodstock Festival organisers are facing opposition against the festival's originally-planned location, he invites them to hold it in White Lake.

Little does he know that this will turn out to be one of the largest and most historic music festivals of all time.

Don't expect to see performances (real or re-enacted) by any of the great musicians who made the original Woodstock such a concert coup, like Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix. Taking Woodstock is about the people behind the scenes who made it happen and how this historical event changed their lives and relationships.

The sudden influx of thousands of strangers places the Tiber family conflicts under a microscope and dirty laundry is aired by all. Insecurities are dismissed and friendships are formed, all at a groovy, mellowed pace.

I totally lost my innocence watching Taking Woodstock. I have never seen so much nudity in my life! The thing is, it didn't come across as dirty nudity, because it seemed so natural and unquestionable, which just goes to show how excellent Taking Woodstock is at portraying the atmosphere and feeling of the '60s.

Ang Lee is one of my favourite directors, one who can make brilliant films in any genre. He again excels in Taking Woodstock, using many of the most popular filming techniques of the '60s (combined with the latest technology, of course) to produce a creative and psychedelically authentic movie that easily transports one back in time and provides an unforgettable Woodstock memory of one's own.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Now Pronounce You Black And White Review

Director: Oliver Rodger Screenplay: Oliver Rodger Cast: Tyrel Meyer, Astara Mwakalumbwa, Ian Roberts, Sylvia Mdunyelwa Time: 81min Age Restriction: 13MDL


Summary Review:
I Now Pronounce You Black And White is a side-splitting movie that proves South Africa really can do comedy.

Simon Dawson (Tyrel Meyer) and Jackie Msolisi (Astara Mwakalumbwa) meet by chance at a mutual friend's braai. They fall in love and start living together. Simon is a white Jew, Jackie is black.

Both Simon and Jackie's parents had hoped that their living arrangement would be nothing more than a brief phase, but these hopes are shattered when Simon asks for Jackie's hand in marriage.

I Now Pronounce You Black And White follows the days leading up to Simon and Jackie's wedding – the family tensions, the parents' plotting to foil their union and their friends' awkward support.

The editing is not as smooth as we've grown accustomed to from international films, and I Now Pronounce You Black And White has a distinctly home-made feel (not sure if this is a good or a bad thing?). There are many classic jokes that only a South African audience would get.

I wouldn't say that I Now Pronounce You Black And White quite does for South African comedy what District 9 did for South African action films, but it definitely deserves a place in the archive of national film treasures.

Filled with first-rate South African humour and a melting pot of typically South African characters, I Now Pronounce You Black And White shows that South Africans really can do comedy films and that we have a unique sense of humour one can be proud of.

Show your support for South African film and go watch I Now Pronounce You Black And White, not just because you're patriotic, but because you'd be doing yourself a favour and guaranteeing yourself 81 minutes of laughter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Leap Year Review

Director: Anand Tucker Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan Cast: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Kaitlin Olson, Adam Scott Time: 99min Age Restriction: PG

Romantic Comedy

Summary Review:
Leap Year is an insubstantial rom-com that is kept afloat by its charming stars and beautiful locations.

Anna (Amy Adams) and Jeremy (Adam Scott) have been dating for four years and the night finally comes when Anna expects Jeremy to propose to her once and for all.

When he doesn't, she decides to follow him to Dublin, Ireland and propose to him on 29 February, according to an old Irish tradition that women can propose to men on leap years.

Her trip, however, does not go according to plan and she ends up having to rely on Declan (Matthew Goode), a rough-around-the-edges Irishman, to get her to Dublin.

Leap Year is very much a chick flick. A worldwide study has shown that the accent found to be sexiest to women is the Irish accent and I'm sure Matthew Goode will have many hearts aflutter.

The storyline of Leap Year is frail and predictable and the characters seem to be an American's clichéd idea of the Irish, but the jokes are sweet and there is an engaging chemistry between Adams and Goode. The spectacular Irish countryside and jaunty music further add to the charm of Leap Year.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Prophet Review

Director: Jacques Audiard Screenplay: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Abdel Raouf Dafri, Nicolas Peufaillit Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif Time: 150min Age Restriction: 16SLV


Summary Review:
A Prophet is a creative, but horrifying account of a young man's time in jail that explores many questions of choice, racism and identity.

Tahar Rahim plays Malik, a naive 19-year-old who has been arrested for assaulting a police officer. He has been sentenced to six years in prison, where he gets ordered to kill a fellow inmate. He is warned that it is basically his own life vs. the other guy's life at stake.

This is Malik's first encounter with the Corsican gang who runs the prison and its crooked guards, but he soon becomes embroiled in their dealings, although they treat him like a slave because of his Arab heritage.

Malik is bright enough to soon begin his own ventures, and quickly figures out how to survive. What sets him apart is that he seems to have prophetic dreams and this elevates the film above the rough, violence-ridden prison setting.

I love watching foreign films, because the cinematography and the way of interpreting and portraying a story is extremely creative and original. A Prophet won several awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the coveted Grand Prix, as well as being nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.

As a South African, I also found it interesting to see the depiction of racism between the Corsican and Muslim inmates explored in A Prophet. Especially with the recent events in our country, it is sobering to see that this problem exists between many different groups of people and is played out in many different way in different parts of the world.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Away We Go Review

Director: Sam Mendes Screenplay: Dave Eggers, Vendela Vida Cast: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo Time: 98min Age Restriction: 16L


Summary Review:
Away We Go is a gentle, but slow-moving story about figuring out life and preparing to have a baby.

Away We Go is about a 30-something year-old couple who are still struggling to make ends meet and figure out how to live. The woman is six months pregnant and the only family they have living nearby is ? parents, who have suddenly decided to emigrate to Belgium.

This makes them realise that, with nothing tying them down, they can go anywhere. So they travel around the USA, visiting all the people they know, trying to find a place to settle down and raise their daughter.

Now that they are themselves in the family way, however, they see their friends and family in a different light and notice different aspects of their lives and relationships. They begin to understand the kind of life they don't want and the sort of people they don't want to be.

Although Away We Go is listed as a comedy, and it has its funny moments, I found it largely unfunny. The acting is superb from all the players, even in the smallest supporting roles, but the movie flows slowly, like thick syrup oozing from a spilled jar.

Away We Go is sweet and intimate, but in a tedious kind of way. Sunday afternoon fare.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Full Monteverdi Review

Director: John La Bouchardière Screenplay: John La Bouchardière, with music by Claudio Monteverdi Cast: I Fagiolini Time: 61min Age Restriction: 10M


Summary Review:
The Full Monteverdi is a classical musical about six couples breaking up simultaneously in a restaurant.

Yip, you guessed it – this was another one of my experiments. I decided to check out this British film, which has only been released selectively around the world, to get a taste of modern opera.

The Full Monteverdi is based on John La Bouchadière's live production of the same name. It is an avant-garde venture, combining modern storytelling with the classical Renaissance music of Claudio Monteverdi.

Using Monteverdi's fourth book of madrigals from the year 1603, The Full Monteverdi shows the break-up of six couples in a restaurant. The gifted singers and mute actors do a good job of filling in the different background stories to each split.

I enjoy musicals and some opera, although I'm by no means a regular listener. The Full Monteverdi was a bit bland for my taste, with very little movement and limited settings, but real fans of classical music are sure to love it!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Cove Review

Director: Louie Psihoyos Written by: Mark Monroe Starring: Ric O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Mandie-Rae Cruickshank, Kirk Krack Time: 90min Age Restriction: 10VM


Summary Review:
The Cove is a disturbing and suspenseful documentary about the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in Japan.

The Cove was put together by Louie Psihoyos, a former National Geographic photographer and Ric O'Barry, the dolphin trainer of the popular '70's Flipper television series. After gaining many years worth of first-hand experience with dolphins, Ric knows for a fact that these wild animals suffer in captivity and he feels responsible for the cruelty against them. He now dedicates his life to saving dolphins.

In The Cove, he and a team of surfers, divers, scientists and activists work to uncover and stop the secret slaughter of 23 000 dolphins every year in a bay off the coast of Taiji, a small town in Japan.

A riveting and provocative documentary, The Cove is life-changing and shocking. Besides being one of the most important documentaries ever, it is also an expertly-made film.

See The Cove not only for its revelations of animal cruelty, but also for an insight into some of the amazing creatures we share our world with.

After watching The Cove, you will feel a conviction to make a difference – and you can. Visit these websites for more information about what you can do:

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Don Quixote Review

Director: Pavel Bubelnikov Composer: Ludwig Minkus Choreographer: Alexander Gorsky after Marius Petipa Cast: Olesia Novikova, Leonid Sarafanov, Nikolai Subrovsky, Yana Selina


Summary Review:
Don Quixote is a spirited tale of forbidden love and the bitter competition between youth and age, performed by an exceptionally talented company of dancers.

Last weekend I conducted an experiment. Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau theatres regularly screen world-renowned ballet performances and I watched the Bolshoi Ballet Company's recorded performance of Don Quixote to see how a ballet measured up as a film.

Admittedly, the elegant and glamorous atmosphere found in a theatre is missing, but there are also many advantages. For one, it is much easier to follow the storyline in the dancing, if you're unfamiliar with it to start with. Another pro is that you get a much closer look at the more subtle nuances of the dancers' performances.

The young principals give particularly feisty and joyous renditions. Don Quixote's story includes an elopement, several duels, castanets, tambourines, a band of gypsies, a couple of flamenco dancers and an Asian belly dancer.

Ballet is not for everyone and if you've tried it before and know for a fact that it's not your thing, then, well, okay.

But if you've never seen a ballet in your life, Don Quixote is a brilliant show to get a taste of the fun it can be.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Last Station Review

Director: Michael Hoffman Screenplay: Michael Hoffman, based on the novel by Jay Parini Cast: James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti Time: 113min Age Restriction: 13SN


Summary Review:

The Last Station is a biting satire about discovering one's own voice, ideas and opinions from amongst all that you've been taught.

Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) is a naive, over-eager, star-struck youth who has been granted the sought-after position of Leo Tolstoy's (Christopher Plummer) personal secretary.

But as he gets to know Tolstoy, Valentin begins to see the downward spiral of his hero, as Tolstoy is torn between Sofia Tolstaya (Helen Mirren), the love of his life, and Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti), his colleague and dear friend, who has magnified Tolstoy's writings and musings into a teaching that has gained a cult following.

It dawns on Valentin that the ideals he himself follows religiously are simply one man's attempts at making sense of life.

The Last Station shows how the healthy revelation of one man can be turned into a destructive religious doctrine when in the wrong hands.

A wonderful, bittersweet film,
The Last Station is filled with a mixture of wry, caustic humour and deep tragedy (it's just a pity about the graphic sex scene, which spawned my only reservations about an otherwise philosophical delight). 

Friday, March 26, 2010

What Happened To The Review?

As some of you (loyal) followers may have noted, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays tend to be my days for posting reviews. So then where's today's review, you may ask?

Well, a few weeks ago I met Gerhard Potgieter (aka @diekloon) on Twitter and we started chatting. Gerhard is a very talented developer, who's done some great work, and he has recently started a blog for bloggers and other people interested in the South African online environment. If you're a new blogger, I'd definitely suggest checking out some of his posts on iGeek - he's got some great tips!

So anyway, Gerhard recently invited me to be a guest blogger on his site and to post a few film reviews every now and then. Yesterday was my debut (yay!) and you can check out his site to see my review of The Tooth Fairy

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crazy Heart Review

Director: Scott Cooper Screenplay: Scott Cooper, based on the novel by Thomas Cobb Cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, Robert Duvall Time: 112min Age Restriction: 13SL


Summary Review:
Crazy Heart is a melancholic country film of a defeated man's slow climb out of despair. 

Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges) is a 57-year-old has-been, deadbeat country singer who spends his days smoking, boozing and watching porn, so that when he goes out to play a gig in the local pub/bar he's too drunk to put on a decent show.

But you realise he wasn't always like this. Once a bestselling, sought-after country and western star, a series of disappointments and losses have now left him bitter.

Then Bad meets Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young reporter with a son and he falls in love, which inspires him to turn his life around.

Filled with toe-tapping, bluesy country music, Crazy Heart speaks of the need for human affirmation and support to overcome personal struggles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Blindside Review

Director: John Lee Hancock Screenplay: John Lee Hancock Cast: Sandra Bullock, Quinton Aaron, Tim McGraw, Kathy Bates Time: 129min Age Restriction: PG LV


Summary Review:
The Blindside is a heart-warming tale of compassion and the courage sometimes needed to do the right thing.

Michael is about to turn eighteen. He is nearly finished with school, but has not learned much – all his teachers have simply passed him on to the next grade to avoid having to deal with him.

This is a great frustration to the Christian school where he has now been admitted with the help of the school's sports coach, who sees great potential in Michael.

But Michael is a foster child with no home and Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) decides to take him in to her home. Michael becomes part of the family and together they help him to improve his grades and hone his sporting talent.

The Blindside is a touching movie that will melt the hardest heart and the driest tear ducts. The fortitude Michael displays in resisting the gang culture of his peers is matched by the fierce conviction and encouragement he brings out in Leigh Anne. Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her performance and you can see it was well-earned.

By depicting the struggle to break stereotypes and taking bold steps to overcome the fear of the unknown, The Blindside shows how people flourish when shown a bit of love and respect.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Box Review

Director: Richard Kelly Screenplay: Richard Kelly, based on a short story by Richard Matheson Cast: Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella, James Marsden Time: 119min Age Restriction: 13V

Sci-fi Thriller

Summary Review:
The Box is an eerie, retro sci-fi thriller about the human struggle to put others' wellbeing before one's own.

Nora Lewis (Cameron Diaz) is a schoolteacher, whose husband, Arthur (James Marsden) works at NASA. They have a son called Walter and together they are a typical '70s family, seemingly happy though they are living "paycheck-to-paycheck".

But their happiness gets tested when a box is delivered to their doorstep. Then the disfigured Mr Stewart arrives at their home and explains that when the button on the box is pressed, someone in the world (who they don't know) will die, but they will receive one million dollars in cash (this scene was very reminiscent of Dr Evil).

The Lewises now have to choose between assuring their own financial security and someone else's life, in a very literal metaphor of the kind of battles we all go through every day – putting our own interests aside for the will of others.

I really didn't know what to make of The Box. It seemed very off-balance with fine comic actors, like Diaz and Marsden, playing the leads in a seriously eerie thriller. What's more, they didn't even have their "drama faces" on; it seemed like they were in full comedy mode, while the script and the flow of the film was going in a whole other direction. Quite puzzling.

After a series of twists, The Box gets very weird, following the supernatural sci-fi trends of the '70s. Coupled with the soft transitions of the cinematography, the loopy storyline made me we wonder at times whether The Box was not perhaps meant to be a spoof film.