Taking a marked turn from Gareth Edward’s survival film Monsters, Monsters: Dark Continent feels like Pacific Rim smashed into Hurt Locker with all the best bits taken out, ending up as a gritty depiction of modern warfare with, hm, twelve-story-tall shuffling tentacle monsters from space. Though its technical prowess makes it a seemingly worthy sequel, Monsters: Dark Continent is severely hampered by its inconsistent focus, shallow characterisation, and bizarre racially-charged mysticism.
When one thinks of the big Oscar hopeful films, those backed by major studios and a wide audience, one rarely associates such films with subtlety or nuance. They are generally grandly emotional, with inspirational speeches played against a sweeping score whilst panning shots of the environment remind us that we’re watching a Big Important Movie. Refreshingly, Gone Girl follows none of these clichés, keeping quiet where less confident films would get very loud. As one would expect of a David Fincher project, almost everything, from the performances to the score to even the cinematography is underplayed just the right amount. You’ll never be distracted from the core story, nor will you ever get bored of it. (more…)
In a particularly memorable moment in Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder’s seminal deconstruction of Hollywood, Gloria Swanson’s Norma Desmond intones the iconic line ‘alright Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close up’. In David Cronenberg’s new semi-satire of that very same town, however, no one is ready for any sort of close up. Linger on the profoundly disturbed and disturbing characters of Maps to the Stars for too long, and it is doubtful that you’ll see anything good. As is his wont, Cronenberg has created a cast who manage to make an audience not just uncomfortable with the world of the film, but also within their own skins. No other director manages to make the human body look quite so unpleasant to inhabit, and it is this visceral disgust combined with a disconcerting psychological element that is almost guaranteed to leave an audience feeling uneasy long after the credits roll. (more…)