Monthly Archives: May 2013

First Position (2011)

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Documentaries should effectively draw you into a world where you otherwise have no real interest, and this is a riveting glimpse into the world of ballet. First position is a film that follows contestant for the Youth America Grand Prix, the largest ballet competition for youth worldwide. the competition offers scholarships and entry to ballet academies and companies. One of the nicest aspects of this film is the contestants it folows are extremely diverse, and each of their stories are just as compelling as the next. The passion is tangible and the unwavering dedication is admirable, it’s really a inspiring follow your dreams message. Directed by Bess Kargman, this film makes it easy to connect to the story and characters like a good scripted movie. It is an effective drama as it questions to what extent passion and following your dream is the right choice, but as it is an uplifting film it mainly answers this question with yes it is the right choice. It believe it would have been a more effective portrayal if it focused more on the struggles and harsh realities of dancer’s world.

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Big Fish (2003)

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A man tells his stories so many times that he becomes the stories. They live on after him. And in that way he becomes immortal.

My favourite Tim Burton film, with close competition, but this is a movie I am fascinated by each time I watch it. It follows the troubled relationship of father and son, played by Albert Finney and Billy Crudup respectively. The father tells his whole life in stories and it flashes back through his life, and the young Edward Bloom is played by Ewan Mcgregor. It’s a fantastical epic life story, based on the 1998 novel Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace and was adapted for the screen by John August. You have to embrace the unbelievable mythical aspects of the story to love this film, much as you learn to embrace Edward’s factually inaccurate life story. Other notable characters are portrayed by Jessica Lange, Helen Bonham Carter, Marion Cottillard and Danny DeVito. It’s a fantasy film that transcends the mythical aspects to study the father son relationship and the role of stories in our life. Film is a form of story telling and having this story based on a man made up of stories is an interesting manner of analysing their importance and role. It leaves you amazed by the characters and scenes but is extremely telling on reality a rarity in Burton films.

I love you Phillip Morris (2009)

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Even if sometimes I don’t know who you are, I love you.

This movie was not the biggest hit, but I personally was a big fan. It’s the most ridiculous story to the point where I googled it for around an hour before actually believing it was in fact – a true story. NEVER had I been so surprised by a moment in a film, I had the ‘holy shit!’ expression on my face for a good ten minutes. Also, this film is just hilarious. Jim Carrey plays the main character, and his over the top performance is necessary and vital to the energy of this film. However, this is one of the few times Carrey’s performance doesn’t feel forced but simply natural to the character – equally crazy I would say. Carrey is the highlight of this film, and despite it comedic drive there is a  genuine true love that even romantic films often lack to portray with such power. Then the other main character is played by one of my favourites, Ewan McGregor, so not much could go wrong for me. It is so entertaining, extremely high energy and yet completely unique in it’s characters, story and style making it unforgettable.

Tiny Furniture (2010)

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Poems are a very stupid thing to be good at. Poems are basically like dreams. Something everybody likes to tell other people but stuff that nobody actually cares about when its not their own.

This is a film I’ve wanted to watch for a while because I absolutely love Girls. This was Lena Dunham’s film that led to her creating Girls, and is written and directed and starring her (much like Girls.) I can’t say it was my favourite film but i have to say that Dunham has a way of making a film in a unique manner. She makes a film with all the small moments in life that are usually edited out, but she makes you realise how important and telling these moments are about us and our lives. It wasn’t the most enjoyable or riveting watch, it wasn’t visually striking but it left me extremely introspective. A good film makes you think, and this left me thinking and I really appreciate that. Dunham’s work speaks to me just because she puts situations I can relate to on film and makes me think – what art should do.

Back to the film, it follows a recent college graduate (Dunham) as she moves back home to New York following a break up. It investigates the post graduate life and how a college degree doesn’t mean life is figured out. It also features Dunham’s real life sister Grace, Laurie Simmons and Girls stars Jemima Kirke and Alex Karpovsky. Laurie Simmons is the disattached mother who brings a great uncomfortable sense to scenes and Jemima Kirke brings great hilarious on screen energy just like she does in Girls, definite highlight. In the end, it’s a unique film with a strange set of characters with the feel of real life and not simply movie magic – also, rest assured, everyone goes through a hard time.

Adventureland (2009)

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“Jesus Fucking Christ! They play this song like 20 times a day!”

A guy that has just graduated college, goes to work at the worst thing imaginable: at an run-down amusement park. It’s engaging because of the characters, and yes Kristen Stewart is watchable (might I say good?) in this film unlike most others I’ve seen with her. Ryan Reynolds helps for the hotness factor, and Jesse Eisenberg is proving once more his talent in this role as the main character. It’s a touching coming-of-age story set in the likes of an amusement park; it quickly becomes a funny, sweet, authentic and thoroughly enjoyable film. I was extremely hesitant when first starting on this film (mainly because of Stewart) but I was quickly put to ease and was loving the witty vibe that this movie captures. The trailer and plot summaries simply don’t do this movie justice for the weird dynamics created, and moments seized as a great film. Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader compliment the film with their small roles and help this film reach it’s comedic height, and the best part is honestly that it’s just a quick paced enjoyable watch. Their characters are representative of the weird small characters found at this run-down amusement park. I actually rewatch this film quite a lot during the summer because its easy to watch and puts me in a good mood.