Fight Club review

I think I’ve already broken rule #1

Fight Club is a drama based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahnuik, directed by David Fincher, starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meatloaf and is very much a film of its time in the late 90s’ anti-establishment style of The Matrix, though it’s still relevant to today. The character of the narrator is somewhat of a blank slate, dissatisfied with his dull work life and longing for something more, he meets the wild, unpredictable Soap Maker Tyler Durden and gets brought into the Fight Club.

Where he meets other disenfranchised, jaded modern city workers who go to the club for catharsis and to just feel like men, fighting bare knuckle and shirtless, there are 8 rules of fight club with the most important two being, “you DO NOT talk about Fight club”. The films’ story is and it stands out from a lot of other dramas in its’ material and execution, the premise is a interesting on a basic level, imagining an underground fight club for dissatisfied, emasculated feeling male city workers, seeing them unleash their raw angst through fighting. But the plot dramatically veers off from the fight club itself into interesting and surprising places, things you definitely didn’t see coming the first time around.

Pitt brings a wild, unhinged role to life as Tyler Durden in one of the best performances of his career, he’s unpredictable, seemingly has his head on straight and is also charismatic and a leader of men, drawing people to his cause while Norton is the practical opposite as the Narrator, insecure, unsure of himself and much more of a follower. While Marla (Helena Bonham Carter) brings a quirky, surreal touch to an already surreal feeling film.

David Fincher relishes in the film with his grounded directorial style, depicting the gritty violence, which fits in with the context of the film and with an long running underlying tone of control, influence masculinity, the film has some pretty vivid imagery and looks great in several scenes, with an effective use of slow-motion that’s made more effective with near constant narration by Norton. Nortons’ narration adds that extra element to the film which not only adds exposition but gives us his own point of view as he goes on a pretty wild ride after meeting Tyler, this is a fish out of water type story with a bit of a difference. And the film works effectively as a sort of character study for the narrator and Tyler Durden initially getting on but finding them selves on differing stances. What if you met someone that embodied your raw, unhinged drive and desires, what would happen? Though the film does ask that question, it also flips the script and makes you remember and view the entire film from a changed view point after the twist is revealed, a very mind bending plot point to say the least.

Fight Club is a film that has been analyzed and broken down a thousand times with undertones in the film that are as intriguing as the films plot itself but I think the film is better enjoyed as a great nuanced drama with a solid story and brilliant characters characters and the joy of the story is that you can get enjoyment out of just watching it or breaking it down and discussing it further but either way, you’re engaged.

Fight Club stands the test of time as one of the best and most imaginative dramas of modern film, it’s a fantastically well directed story with some great, iconic performances and a plot that twists, turns and keeps you engaged throughout.

8/10

. Engrossing plot that takes interesting turns

. Brilliant performances from Pitt, Norton

. Very well shot film

Goodfellas review

Goodfellas pic

Martin Scorcese directs the crime drama Goodfellas as poor child Henry Hill works his way up the mob ranks alongside his friends and tastes life as part of the mob in full, the film stars Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro.

Scorcese brings his deft touch and careful handling of long running stories to Goodfellas, a story I like to think is sort of a modern Greek tragedy, with twists, left turns, U-turns as the plot goes in all sorts of directions, it’s quite long but worth watching. With a great cast from DeNiro in a more calm persona, Pesci in one of his most manic and intense roles and Liotta in one of his most trans-formative, Scorcese gets the best of the actors and crafts a vibrant group of characters with some brilliant writing, which works to reflect a feeling of realism to the gritty world of the mob in the past and the reality that people really lived with.

And with some great directing, the film really captures how you can imagined parts of America actually were at the time with rampant crime, gang wars and so on, the costumes are on point as well and work to create a believable setting, while the effects in the movie again service believability – so yes a lot of shootouts. The plot is a memorable and fairly long one but that doesn’t take away from the film itself, you get the feeling of an epic biopic in a way, following Henry (Liotta) along his journey as a naive kid to a respected mobster and his escapades along the way, with his lunatic friend Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). Pesci is part of some of the most memorable scenes in the movie and amps it up to 10 on the intensity scale but is never quite hammy, balancing his anger with his own twisted sense of justice and reward while Liotta really has some emotional and harrowing scenes in which he shines in.

There is a sense of tragedy to the bad situations the characters go through but you get recognize that it’s part and parcel of their lifestyles and they all chose to live that way so have to deal with it but even with some rather nasty characters, you do sympathize with them and what they go through, though some just really have it coming. Another thing the film does really well is using tension and that feeling of paranoia that becomes very present in Henry in his later years, still part of the mob but wanting to get out and live normally, he fears for his own life and his families and simply wants normalcy, something you get the feeling other characters also want but just can’t get now that they’re so deeply entrenched in the mob.

Scorcese crafts a very lived in, gritty world with some great characters and a brilliant story, emotional, dramatic and tragic, it’s a very modern greek tragedy if it can be classed as one and an great story overall.

8/10

. Has some fantastic performances

. Great characterization, you see Henry grow up, mature and develop

. Plot keeps you engaged despite the long run time

Pulp Fiction review

Quentin Tarantino directs this iconic crime drama, centred on varying tales of revenge, a storytelling formula which has come to be the staple of the acclaimed director, the film stars Samuel L Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames.

With so many things to talk about in regards to the film, let’s start with the ambition undertaken from Tarantino to craft an independent film of such big scale with such big stars, the drive to make a film like this as a third outing is a bit crazy but it really payed off, riding the wave of crime dramas with with a humorous, biting edge to them. Also Tarantino struck gold with his casting as he usually does, with Samuel L Jackson in one of his best career performances as Jules, a silver tongued and hilarious mobster who brings the writing to live, working alongside Vincent Vega (John Travolta).

The writing here is so, so good and it’s Tarantino at some of his most expressive and elaborate with some extended dialogue laden scenes which make for great viewing and some awesome iconic characters who never ham it up either, despite some monologues, a credit to how good everyone in the film is. In films it can be all too easy to wade into pretentious scene chewing with a lot of dialogue but Tarantino is an expert at using dialogue to further plot, keeping it snappy and actually interesting. Pulp Fiction works oddly enough because it’s so funny and enjoyable, despite being a crime drama with a fair amount of blood in it and some serious themes. Scenes like the Jules and Vincent interrogation involving bible verses, Vincent and Mia Wallaces dance, it’s all just very entertaining and the film overflowing with style, with certain chic characters like Jules and Vincent.

I love how the film works well with scenes that would be simply be scene transitions in other films, making them again into very enjoyable segues whether its the characters talking about food or how they’ll do their next job, there’s very gritty, realistic characterization there and its a credit to the writing in making such human feeling characters who mess up, get frustrated and so on.

There’s also a good use of music in certain parts, balanced with the film going without it to emphasize the gritty tone. And also there’s a great aesthetic to the film, something maybe not as talked about but the costumes, the props, all look great as do the gory effects which bring you down to earth in a film that’s almost a comedy, that feeling of bumbling mobsters going about their business evokes The Goodfellas in a way, though not to the point where you feel like it copies from it, Tarantino is known for drawing inspiration from various sources and past works so the comparison is apparent.

Pulp Fiction is a modern great, a fantastic crime drama that pulls no punches and flexes its comedic muscle as well with some brilliant writing and awesome characters with a twisting plot that keeps you engaged throughout with a few unexpected events, one of the 90s best films and a classic crime drama.

8.5/10

. Stellar writing and great hummour

. Has some fantastic performances

. Very engaging plot

Prometheus 2 is up next for Ridley Scott

The news earlier in the week and you may have heard it already but rejoice Prometheus fans out there, all five of you… but who am I kidding, I liked the film. Anyway Ridley Scott is reportedly prioritizing the sequel to Prometheus and getting that done as his next project, which is scheduled to start filming at the start of 2016 with a possible release sometime in 2017.

This means that Neil Blomkamps’ upcoming Alien movie will remain upcoming for a little while longer though, as Ridley Scott prefers to get the new Prometheus out beforehand as it seems he doesn’t want a new Alien film to take too much attention away from the Prometheus films and because Sigourney Weaver needs to be more available to shoot the new Alien film. All in all it’s good news for Alien fans though as new films are well on the way and we won’t have to wait that much longer.

I personally am intrigued by the ideas put forward by Prometheus and I’m curious to see where Scott will take his created prequel but not really a prequel story next and of course there are a load of questions still unanswered, where do the tall bald aliens come from and why do they hate humans? What exactly is the black goo? Does any of this really have anything to do with Alien? Whether any of these questions will get answered is uncertain but I think one thing is certain, we’ll probably just have more questions by the time the film comes out.

But you know, I think there’s still room for some interesting storytelling and themes to come and I have faith Ridley Scott will make another captivating film in the universe he’s made.

Edward Scissorhands review

What happens if you’re a gentle, loving soul but also have scissors for hands? Tim Burton poses the question in a way that only Tim Burton can in Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall.

Burton was in full flow in the 90s, off the back of the successful Beetlejuice and 1989 Batman, his visual and tonal style already well established with his unique form of storytelling really comes to the forefront in Edward Scissorhands, a very literal fantasy imagining of a sort of folkloric character in Edward, a very calm and kind individual with an unfortunate disfigurement.

And what a great performance from Depp, one of the best in his career as Edward, he really delves into character and inhabits Edwards’ psyche throughout bringing a really measured performance and showing the range that he has as an actor, meanwhile Winona Ridyer is also great as Kim, bringing an enthusiastic and emotional performance, this is easily one of Depps most iconic roles and deservedly so as he really disappears into character. I fondly remember the film because of how jovial it feels despite it having a rather dark premise and gothic themes, the odd tonal balance here really shouldn’t work but it does and the film, like Edward himself has more to it than you you would think at first. The music in the film is great and really highlights the emotional points both high and low points, matching with the scenarios Edward finds himself in, in relation to the towns people and his own mental state in a way.

The heart of the plot is a romance and a sort of forbidden relationship Romeo and Juliet style between Edward and Kim, with events following almost along the same lines and with the way Burton presents the plot, it almost comes across as modern fairy tale in its themes, style and tone. And the cinematography and style of the film is definitely one of its strong points, from the winter setting and abundance of snow which gives scenes a more serene feeling to the creative design and look of Edward himself, pale as snow and dressed all in balck, Burton is wonderfully creative here and crafts a film that doesn’t quite look like anything else aside another Burton film.

With Edwards inability to hold people or animals because of his hands, it results in rather tragic situations as people view him as a monster who’s out to harm and are intimidated by his appearance, the message here is pretty clear, don’t judge a book by its cover and there’s surprising depth in places you might not expect, but in the the film works, that message is conveyed in an engaging and well crafted story.

7.5/10

. Has some strong performances

. Striking visual style

. Interesting storytelling, feels like a fairy tale