Film Review : Sightseers (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.5
Rotten Tomato Score – 85%
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Directed By – Ben Wheatley
Starring – Steve Oram and Alice Lowe

Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, but events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn.

Last year I was rocked off my ass when I saw Ben Wheatley’s fantastic hitman/horror mashup “Kill List”. The film was beautifully shot and paced and left just the right amount of questions for me to ponder over after the film. The film also has the luxury of having one of the most frightening and tense last fifteen minutes I’ve ever seen and it’s been a favorite of mine since. A couple months ago I noticed Wheatley’s new film on VOD and procrastinated like I always do, missing the chance to see it. Luckily for me, Sightseers became available on Netflix this week and my procrastination went rewarded once again.

I actually didn’t care much for this film until about 40 minutes in. What starts out as a typical road trip movie transforms itself into a black comedy nightmare that became more and more entertaining as it progressed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a strange film. Like most black comedy, it isn’t going to be for everybody but once you see one of the main characters try to write a letter using a four foot long giant pencil then you realize that this is satire and shouldn’t be taken seriously. The whole film doesn’t evolve like that but there are plenty of moments where you’re wondering what the hell is going on…and I like that. I don’t like to be spoon fed plot and cliches and watch the same story carry on for the 90th time and wonder how THIS one is going to end. I applaud Wheatley for sticking to his guns and directing this film in a unique and independent manner.

Once again Ben Wheatley has proven himself to be a talent behind the camera because this movie has some absolutely gorgeous shots. I knew going in that I wasn’t going to get the angry nightmare that was “Kill List” but I still witnessed that style in some scenes of Sightseers. It also helped that there were some flat out wackiness and humor to keep the viewer interested in one of the more bizarre road trips to come on screen. It’s worth an hour and a half of your Netflix time.


The Grand Budapest Hotel Trailer

Well as if there were any doubt whatsoever, Wes Anderson’s new film is indeed a Wes Anderson film. I never get tired of his work and after Moonrise Kingdom I can only attest to him getting better. I love the fact that he’s using a new actor for his protagonist and Ralph Fiennes was a wonderful choice. Everybody has a mustache and Tilda Swinton was unrecognizable. I can’t wait.

Film Review : Oblivion (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.0
RT Score – 54%

Joseph Kosinski directs this sci-fi thriller a couple years after his take on Tron. I still haven’t seen Tron: Legacy but I could tell from the visuals in the trailer that it’s a beautiful looking film. My thoughts as Oblivion ended were that Kosinski certainly has a future in the industry as a visual up and comer. The film is gorgeous. The first half of the film gave us grand views of a desolate landscape that once was the Earth that we know. The action pieces were pretty good as well as Kosinski didn’t fall into the popular habit of making the action too fast to realize what the hell was going on. The problem I ultimately had with the film wasn’t the visuals but every other aspect of the damn thing.

Michael Arndt, who won and Oscar for his fantastic Little Miss Sunshine screenplay, helped Kosniski write the screenplay and pretty much failed on all accounts. There were some ideas that were there. I’ll give them that. The problem is that they’ve been done before. This film could have been called 2001: A Blade Runner Moon. Just think about that and then try not to kill me for potentially ruining this film for you. There was just way too many recycled concepts used in the second half of this film. I also had no real connection towards the characters. Tom Cruise gave a respectable performance but got nothing really out of the supporting cast besides the typical awesome voice of Morgan Freeman.

Overall it was definitely a watchable attempt new sci-fi. There was just little substance to have a lasting effect on me. Perhaps seeing Gravity multiple times has ruined sci-fi for me.


Film Review : Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows (2011)

IMDB Score – 7.4
RT Score – 60%

I’m a usual fan of Guy Ritchie even though I feel his style can get old after the fifth film in a row that looks exactly like its older siblings but Snatch and Lock, Stock… are just WAY too much fun. I love the banter and the slo-mo shots and when his first Sherlock film came out a couple years ago I loved everything about it. I really couldn’t say the same about the sequel.

Game of Shadows has the same parts and fixings as the first film but lacks serious substance and flat out humor to sustain itself for two hours. Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law are once again perfect for each other but the addition of Noomi Rapace as this travelling gypsy just came off hokey. I also just found the story flat boring and was not once intimidated by Moriarty like I was with Mark Strong in the first film.

It just seemed very flat. I hope they don’t do another because it’s seriously going to tarnish how much fun the original Ritchie adaption was.


Film Review : Stoker (2013)

IMDB Score – 6.9
RT Score – 69%

Anybody who is a fan of foreign cinema should be a fan of Korean cinema, and anybody who is a fan of Korean cinema HAS to be a fan of Park Chan-Wook. The man who gave us Oldboy and the rest of the vengeance trilogy gives us his first film in the English language which seems to be a common thing now from all the amazing Korean auteurs. I’m just glad this one didn’t star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Stoker does star Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and the always creepy Matthew Goode. Goode plays the uncle of Wasikowska and brother in law to Nicole Kidman and enters the women’s lives after the death of his brother.

This film is all over the place. Did you know Wentworth Miller writes screenplays? Yes, the Prison Break guy. Yeah I just found out too. This is his first one and it leaves a lot to be desired. You can’t just make everything that happens in the first sixty minutes a mystery and try to bring it all back in the last thirty. It’s a risky way to write and it didn’t work here. I can applaud the effort but it all just came out too rushed and illogical. Plus neither of these men know how people behave in high school but one has an excuse because he’s Korean. Miller’s screenplay killed the movie for me. There are two “saving graces” if one can call them that because I just didn’t like the film overall. One is the direction of Park Chan-Wook who filmed a gorgeous film filled with wonderful transitional shots and dark imagery. The second is the performance of Goode who really plays the creepy uncle well. He had this subdued but back door madness pinned down very well and he stole every scene. Kidman needs to stop with the plastic surgery. She has ruined her face.

Not bad for a rent but don’t expect much besides a pretty film that made little sense.