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The Revenant

The Revenant

The Revenant is nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and Leonardo DiCaprio for best actor, and I hope he gets it. However, I’m not sure if The Revenant will win best picture. I really enjoyed the movie, but the storyline is somewhat dragged out, I found myself at points being a tad bored, not with the film, but with the lack of substantial action. The film could probably have been about 20-30 minutes shorter and would have been no less impactful.

I did enjoy the film and I thought the scenery and setting was stunning. Apparently the actors had to endure freezing conditions just to shoot the movie. Also they had to move part of the movie to South America as the snow in the area they were in, was beginning to melt.

The Revenant is up against The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max, The Martian, Room and Spotlight.
I have already seen Brooklyn, The Martian, Room and Spotlight and out of them The Martian, Room and Spotlight were ahead of The Revenant for me.

It will be an interesting choice as the films are of good quality this year, my rating of the films I have seen this far is shown below.

  • Brooklyn 76%
  • Room 89%
  • The Martian 87%
  • Spotlight 88%
  • The Revenant 82%

Film Review. Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Alice in Wonderland Movie Review

Please note there are some small spoiler alerts in this movie review

First off,  This is not supposed 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 something extra.

Alice in Wonderland Movie Classification: PG

Director: Tim Burton

Alice in Wonderland Film Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helna Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen

Alice in Wonderland Rating: 8/10

District 9 – Film Review

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.

Spoiler Alert

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.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince : Film Review

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – Movie Review

Having seen all previous Harry Potter films, I saw the preview in Storm Cinemas 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 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince 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.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – 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!!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – Running Time : 2h 33mins (153 mins)

Overall : 9/10

Official Trailer – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

The Class (Entre les Murs) – Film Review

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.

Overall 6½/10