Posts Tagged ‘Warner Bros Pictures’

The Prestige – Not That Exciting When You Know How It’s Done

Posted 09 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

The Prestige, USA / UK, 2006

Directed by Christopher Nolan

The Prestige, we live in the turn, while the pledge is revealed to us in flashbacks, and then the prestige isn't what the prestige is supposed to be, but rather something that cheats and gives an easy out. The prestige is only the third act. At least that’s what we’re told by Cutter (Michael Caine) in his opening monologue. It’s more a set of instructions for the film, we’ll discover, but that’s a later point. Every magic trick comes in three parts: one – the pledge, in which you give the audience something real to hold onto; two – the turn, in which you take that something and turn into something impossible, the part where the magic lies; three – the prestige, in which everything comes back to normal, and the audience (hopefully) cheers. Usually, magic is all about sleight of hand and misdirection. Christopher Nolan is great at that; recall the difficult but astonishing Memento (2000). There’s a pledge, a turn, and a prestige in that, but here, in The Prestige, we live in the turn, while the pledge is revealed to us in flashbacks, and then the prestige isn’t what it’s supposed to be, but rather something that cheats and gives an easy out.

Still, though, the pledge and the turn make the film exciting and the thriller it should be. Don’t be fooled – this film isn’t strictly about magicians. It’s a cat-and-mouse game about two men obsessed with one-upping each other, and who both end up destroying themselves in the process. Read More

The Hangover Part II – Completely The Same, But Exactly Different

Posted 13 Jun 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

The Hangover Part II, USA, 2011

Directed by Todd Phillips

The Hangover Part II is a 2011 American comedy film and sequel to 2009's The Hangover.You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have The Hangover Part II, a movie that takes everything clever and amusing about its first part and turns it into something of a retread. We’ve seen it all before, and we certainly know the story: a few friends get way too drunk, wake up with no memory of anything that happened, and have to go on a fact-finding mission to recover the pieces of the night before. The film falls into the trap of its formula and can’t seem to get out. It worked in the first one because there’s no reason that any of that stuff should have happened – it wasn’t in the nature of those characters – but now it is in their nature, we’re taught to expect it, and there’s no reason it should have happened. Again. Maybe that’s funny to some people, but it belies the originality of the characters, characters I grew to love in the first film. Read More

Arthur

Posted 17 May 2011 — by Nicole P
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott MartinArthur starring Russell Brand

Arthur, USA, 2011

Directed by Jason Winer

There are moments of genuine comedic genius in this updated remix of 1981’s Arthur, starring Dudley Moore, Liza Minelli, and John Gielgud. Here, Russell Brand portrays our titular loafer in wildly expensive loafers, while Helen Mirren takes Gielgud’s spot as his live-in nanny Hobson. Greta Gerwig, affable and luminous as ever, takes over for Liza Minelli as Arthur’s love interest/savior. He drinks more than anyone should, to a debilitating degree, and every time he steps out of his house, it’s a party. Drinks are on him, of course. Most remakes today have nothing to offer audiences, and do nothing to improve upon or rethink the original films. Admittedly, this version of the popular Moore film (for which he was Oscar-nominated, and Gielgud won) doesn’t do much to rethink the original, but the improvement is there. In the original film, Arthur’s alcoholism isn’t treated with the same touch (it’s merely a plot point, it feels) and Brand’s performance here has more heart than most things Moore did. Both are fine films, and this one certainly won’t see the Oscars, but that doesn’t stop it from being a warm and abstractly hilarious afternoon at the movies.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again with confidence: Russell Brand is an excellent actor. More important than being funny, he’s lovable. There’s a certain heartwarming quality to his humor, even when it’s vile, so that you can’t help but want to hug him when you should want to slap him. That’s an important quality for Arthur Bach, a man with about a billion dollars and a billion fewer brain cells, to have. Matched with Helen Mirren’s gift for dry wit and being so damn lovably herself, it’s easy to find why this movie works. On one hand, the film underuses just about everyone except Brand, almost like it’s a vehicle for his comedic riffing. It isn’t as balanced as last year’s Get Him to the Greek, but everyone gets their fair share of screentime, and no one is forced. That’s probably the best thing about this over-the-top film – nothing feels like it isn’t natural. We live in Arthur’s billion-dollar world, and what we see is a normal day for him. Read More