Please note there are some small spoiler alerts in this movie review
First off, This is not supported to be a word for word telling of the famous Alice in Wonderland story – this is actually the second time she has been down the hole. Therefore this is actually a sequel to the Alice in Wonderland story based on the 19th century novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now 19 years old who has forgotten about her last childhood journey into Wonderland – yet her dreams still recall the visit.
Just as she is proposed to by a insufferable bore of a ginger haired “Lord”, she wisely avoids the proposal of marriage and ends up falling down a rabbit hole and falls back down to Wonderland. Of course she thinks this is all just a dream and plays along for a while.
Alice is then given the mission of saving the Wonderland from the madness of the Red Queen played by Helena Bonham Carter (Helena Bonham Carters playing of the Red Queen reminds me of Queenie from Blackadder – even mis-pwe-nounces a wange of words using w’s for r’s). The Red Queen is still as we remember her, obsessed with shouting “Off with her head”. I though it was quite funny the way she always asked for a warm pig to put her feet on – it is this sort of curiouser and curiouser imagery which makes the film work. The film is just unusual – so don’t go expecting straight forward.
One of the main draws of this film is the portrayal of the Mad Hatter by Johnny Depp. This is a very good performance with lots of madness, and a very unusual “Futterwacken” dance, but there is a kind of scottish accent which Depp tries to use but in these places the dialogue is hard to understand. Other characters include the Cheshire Cat which is perfectly voiced by the one and only Stephen Fry.
The film itself has live action and CGI mixed quite well – the film looks amazing … I don’t think it looks like any other film of the last few years in the way digital and film are combined. Don’t go to the film expecting the original “Alice in Wonderland” story – perhaps a title of “Down to Wonderland again” might have been a better title. It is a fun film but there are some scenes younger children might not appreciate (i.e. lots of roaring and chasing monsters).
The film flaws are mainly that the story is not as well developed as it could have been and there is a little drama, but being a Disney film this is to be expected but Tim Burton’s visual creativity makes up for any lacking in the film. If you can, see this film in 3D as it does add soemthing extra.
Movie Classification: PG Director: Tim Burton Film Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helna Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen
District 9 This is a film which has received a lot of hype recently, about a spaceship which stops over Johannesburg, unlike other films where it is always New York and Washington. The story is set 20 years on where more than 1m aliens, known as Prawns by the locals, have been shoved into chaotic refugee camps called District 9. Wikus van der Merwe (played by Sharlto Copley) is not really a hero type, more like an office nerd, and is person put in charge of evicting the aliens to a camp over 200 miles away from the main centre of population.
During the eviction procedures, he is exposed to an alien liquid and Wikus starts to turn into a prawn alien. Because he can now use the DNA Weapons that the prawns use, he is very valuable and is hunted by the MNU corporation that he once worked for.
The film which is by Neill Blomkamp is shot like a documentary, with news footage, amateur footage, one on one interviews and live footage. At one point it reminded me of Cloverfield!
What I will say is that at some points it seems more comical than serious. Without too much warning it then moves from comic to squeamish. There are some references to the race card and apartheid as well as referencing the attitudes to refugees.
The film has no real draw and there is very little to keep you interested all of the time, especially later in the film when its run, shoot, run, shoot, bang, splat – nothing really new here.
Go to this film if you like
– new fresh films
– Sci Fi
– great special effects
– lots of action
– a fairly good story
Don’t go to this film if you don’t like
– films which show cruelty (even if it is to CGI Aliens)
– People Exploding in a big bloody splat after being hit by laser beams
– squeamish scenes like peoples fingernails falling off, peoples arms being blown off and people vomiting
– a grown man eating cat food from a tin
Finally : Have a listen to the Wikus character pronouncing the work F**k , as Fooock – it gets really annoying the more you listen to it.
District 9 – Official Trailer I had here was removed from YouTube so the link to the District9 Trailer is available if you click here.
Overall : 7 ½/ 10
I was tempted to give it 6 out of 10 but the effects are very good and redeem the films weak points… I later increased the score for District 9 due to the performance of the main actor who is in line for a part as Howling Mad Murdoch in the A-Team film.
Having seen all previous Harry Potter films, I saw the preview in Storm Cinemans Waterford on Wednesday evening. You won’t be disappointed – good story, good effects and a bit of humour thrown in also.
It is very hard to review the film without spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t read the Harry Potter books.
Basically the plot for this film continues with Harry and friends still in Hogwarts. Voldemort is all around and is impacting the Muggle and wizarding worlds. The normally secure Hogwarts is no longer the safe – students are being attacked and dark forces are apparent from the outset. Harry has a sneaking suspicion that certain teachers in Hogwarts may have been in league with Voldemort. Whether he is right or wrong, Dumbledore helps Harry, by giving him advice and showing him the past, in preparation for a final battle against the dark forces. There are plenty of those “nice guys” the Death eaters and Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter makes a reappearance. Also, look out for the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare which make an appearance in the film.
There is lots going on and if you haven’t seen the previous films, you will get more from the film if you can do some cramming before seeing this one.
There is a lot of Lovey Dovey stuff at the start of the film, which I think goes on for a bit longer than I think was necessary, but overall the film flies along like the train to Hogwarts. Very enjoyable even for a non-Harry Potter fan. The Next film will be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) and I’m sure as soon as Harry Potter fans across the world exit cinemas and theaters, the will all be looking forward to that next film in the series.
Verdict: I didn’t really like the last film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but this certainly made up for it. One small comment about the Storm Cinemas showing of the trailer for the film 2012 which depicts the end of the world, was NOT in my view suitable for an audience which was comprised mainly of children, who are easily affected by imagery such as this – the trailers should not end up giving kids nightmares!!
Running Time : 2h 33mins (153 mins)
Overall : 9/10
Official Trailer – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Another good choice from Waterford Film for All. The Class (or Entre Les Murs in French … don’t know where they got the translation from) is about a teacher in a French secondary school trying to reach out to a troubled and troublesome class of underprivileged kids.
The style of the film is quite unusual, in that you feel you are sitting in the class, the camera panning around the room as comments and chaos fly around the class room. The dialogue is very fast in parts but is witty also. The actors who play the students are very good and the classroom scenes have a bit of improvisation in the dialogue which adds to the realism.
Some reviews claim this is a feel good film – I think, it could have been, but did not succeed. The film starts going in one direction, and you think you know where the film will end up, but I felt at the end it didn’t achieve its potential. Its about 40 mins too long, it has a weaker than expected conclusion (I don’t like films that just leave you hanging), and some loose ends were not resolved. Just because it has weak points does not mean I didn’t enjoy the majority of the film, it was entertaining and compelling in parts.
The Class was directed by Laurent Cantet and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year and was very unlucky not to get an Academy award.
Lakeview Terrace is now out on DVD (having missed it when it was in the cinema). The film stars Samuel L. Jackson as Abel Turner an LAPD cop with an attitude, Patrick Wilson as Chris Mattson who moves next door to Abel Turner along with his black wife Lisa played by Kerry Washington.
Abel Turner has a problem with the fact that he is white and his wife is black. Able tries to intimidate the new neighbours into moving, through a series of psychological tricks and tactics.
The film is very well produced as for a while at the start of the film you can see why Abel has a problem with his neighbours, including some sexual antics in the pool which was observed by Abel’s kids. You can see that Abel is trying to bring up his kids right – and perhaps his tactics are warranted.
The overall plot is very well worked and without spoiling the plot, Abel loses it and becomes a man obsessed with getting rid of them.
Lakeview Terrace is actually the name of the area that the famous Rodney King beatings were ‘allegedly’ made by L.A. police in 1991. His name and famous line, “Can’t we all just get along?” is also referenced in the movie.
Excellent plot, great twist and a great ending. Well worth renting. The only down side is that the couple who move in, don’t really deserve each other – I didn’t really care what happened to them as the characters are not that likeable.