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A Christmas Carol
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I've seen various adaptations of this classic novel, but this is certainly one of the darkest. I was surprised at how accurately it portrayed the original novel, respecting all aspects of the text while still making for an entertaining film.
Though the story never let me down, I didn't warm to the animation and it was too clearly made to be watched in 3D (it was like playing a video game at times). Jim Carrey was a fair choice for Scrooge; he stayed far enough away from another Grinch but was light enough to ease the grim moments in the film.
Not for younger children at all, but a great adaptation for older generations.
A Night In The Woods
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You are informed of the conclusion to this night in to the woods from the start, but at no point does this film manage to make you care. It is disjointed and very tedious in places, with perhaps one or two startling moments (very loud sudden noise after minutes of nothing) and in the end you are none the wiser as to exactly what happened.
Really not worth spending your money on. Watch the Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity and you'll have seen all this genre has to offer.
Rize Of The Fenix
Tenacious D - CD
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If the album cover and song titles don't give it away, then let me say now that this is Tenacious D as they were. Never takes itself seriously, self deprecating but a heck of a lot of fun.
Much like the Tenacious D album there is a mixture of spoken word skits and songs on this album. Though none reach the legendary status of Tribute, they stick in the mind and raise a smile.
Worth a listen.
The Death of Bunny Munro
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There is a lot to take in in this story, and the pace of the writing gives the reader little time to absorb everything. It is clearly meant to be as rushed and confused as the title character, but as the viewpoint hops from one character to the next the writing becomes bewildering.
The story itself is both tragic and sentimental. As much as Bunny Munro is grotesque, he is also a character to pity. It is his son who is the more rounded of the two and it is he who I wanted to see triumph at the end.
And ending that is suggested all the way through, but not a bad one. In it's horror this book is fairly positive if you observe it through the eyes of a child who idolises his Father.
The Devil Inside (with Exclusive Artwork)
This film promises so much from the trailers, but as it turns out everything worth a watch is in the trailer.
It starts out well with an interesting, if not far-fetched story, about a woman who commits murder while having an exorcism performed upon her. Is she crazy or is she possessed? This is what the "documentary" is about as her daughter looks for closure.
Then not a great deal happens. Unlike Paranormal Activity achieved, this has no startling moments, anything that is meant to surprise you see coming. The characters are confused and simply seems to raise more questions. Without giving too much away its as if this film was made with the soul purpose of starting a series, as the lack of conclusion would suggest.
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Though I would suggest reading the book of the film as a general rule, it applies here more than ever. The importance of some characters is lost in the film and plot developments will need the context only the novel supplies.
It is a pretty film and the music is well chosen. However the long silences are perhaps too long and interest wanes. There is no great plot development and if you haven't read the book you may still find the conclusion predictable. The point of Murakami's novels to some extent is that they aren't twisting plots or thrills and excitement, so they are hard to film.
Confessions (2010) (2 Discs)
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Confessions is an excellent piece of cinema, playing on the mind as only Asian cinema can. With an outstanding cast and carefully chosen cinematography, this film keeps you gripped without the need for dramatic scenes or gory shock tactics.
Confessions follows the perspective of 4 of the key characters, the teacher and her students. As the plot unfolds the viewer is taken back and forth in time, but not so much the story becomes difficult to follow. Though the conclusion isn't too surprising, the journey is worth the ending as it takes the time to explore the characters and what has led them to their actions.
It is a long film, and perhaps there are one too many slow motion scenes, but the lighting is effective and music is used to it's full extent in adapting mood. There are moments of gore but they do not dominate. There is certainly a Battle Royale theme to this film, of a teachers revenge on unruly students, but this film is much calmer and darker, making the evil actions of a few enough to warrant revenge.
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What an utterly awful film.
The idea of plants releasing deadly toxins is fine. That the toxin makes people kill themselves is simply bizarre. It's not a loss of inhibition or understanding what's dangerous...just people purposely committing suicide.
The script too left me frustrated. Though he realises early on it may be the plants, Mark Wahlberg's character still sticks to the plan to avoid public places and groups of people for most of the film...choosing instead to stare at the trees blowing in the breeze. How terrifying. Characters are introduced who add nothing to the overall plot and the story plods along until you are left with an unsatisfying ending.
The acting too makes you wonder if they ever took it seriously. Mark Wahlberg's character is not developed and his relationship with Zooey Deschanel seems neither here nor there. She too looks as if she isn't sure where she is half the time.
I'd like to have something good to say, but I don't. Avoid at all costs.
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This is probably the most emotive Pixar created so far, a stunning mixture of complete fantasy and the most human reality. There is nothing typical here, even if it may seem another "gruff old man turned soft by kid in need of Father figure" it is leagues above.
The best part of "Up" for me is the jokes you don't see coming, the little quips they've added for the adults in the audience as well as the laugh out loud moments for the children (usually involving the brilliantly thought out talking dog Doug). The animation is certainly no let down, but the film doesn't need to rely on only the visual quality to...excuse the pun...float on high.
This film brought many a tear to my eye, both happy and sad, I would recommend to anyone.
An Artist of the Floating World
I'm glad I read other Ishiguro books before I tackled this or I may very well have given up. The pace of this novel is very slow and it can be difficult to keep up with the scattered recollections of the aging artist. I stuck with this through to the end and I'm glad I did for it is a wonderful exploration of a man trapped by his age and his ever decreasing social status.
Eleganty written and with much thought gone into it this is a great book, but it's hard work for someone who cannot put themselves in its surroundings.