The first Monsters Inc has always been one of my favourite Pixar films. Mainly because of the inclusion of Billy Crystal and his wise cracks, but also the pacing and the story was immense. I always remember seeing the fur effects for the first time and being blown away. Monsters University may be the return to form that Disney Pixar have been waiting for.
Although Ashton Kutcher may look the part in this picture I have my reservations about his acting ability. Don’t get me wrong I think Ashton Kutcher is good in comedy roles, but this is a different kettle of fish. Here he as to portray a popular figure known all around the world, for some people I don’t think it is a stretch to say they saw him as some sort of technological messiah. The script is in safe hands with Aaron Sorkin who has a proven track record in dealing with stories of modern technological events with his work on The Social Network. In a recent interview Sorkin has revealed he the film will be made of just three acts all set before Jobs is due to go and stage and reveal a new technology. An interesting concept, after reading his biography I wonder how in just three scenes they will be able to give you the whole picture of a very complicated man though?
Quentin Tarantino has a lot to answer for. In his wake has come a slew of verbose, pop-culture referencing crime flicks, trash-aesthetic exploitations films, and a dystopian cornucopia of film student imitators. Seven Psychopaths, writer-director Martin McDonagh’s second film, will inevitably be grouped with said postmodern post-Tarantino crime movies, but it deserves more than that.
Describing the film’s plot is something of an exercise in futility, but here goes: struggling screenwriter Marty (Colin Farrell) reluctantly accepts input on his abortive screenplay, Seven Psychopaths, from his seemingly-unhinged dognapping friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell). Throw into the mix Christopher Walken’s character, Hans, as Billy’s partner-in-crime, and psychotic gangster Charlie (Woody Harrelson), a plan that gradually unravels, and a whole lot of violence, and you have a difficult plot to summarise.
The dark sense of humour McDonagh exhibited with In Bruges is evident throughout here, with violent punchlines to profane jokes. Like Tarantino’s movies, McDonagh’s films seem to inhabit a similar but different world to ours, that owes as much influence to the movies as it does to real life. Just like most films about writers, this film is ultimately about the process of writing, as Colin Farrell’s character struggles with writer’s block, and writer’s boozing. With moments that blur the line between Marty’s screenplay and the reality of the film itself, some might find the narrative too confusing or obscure for their tastes, but ultimately the film’s internal logic holds true.
Colin Farrell is as effective as he was in In Bruges, showing the same instinctive feel for McDonagh’s dialogue, and comic acting that often mark out his best performances. The rest of the cast are uniformly excellent, never better exemplified than in Woody Harrelson and Christopher Walken’s elliptical, violence-free Western-style standoff in a hospital waiting room. However, the film itself is stolen right out from under the noses of everyone else by Sam Rockwell. His gleeful, eccentric performance gives the film its energy, and continues his fine career.
This film is violent. At times, distractingly so, with its graphic nature potentially unsettling even those who are familiar with his prior work. Catholic themes of crime and punishment pervade throughout, also something McDonagh fans will be well-versed in, but there is a streak of violence against women that could potentially leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Although women are shown perpetrating violence themselves, and violence against women is repeatedly condemned by characters, actions speak louder than words. Do I think Martin McDonagh is sexist? No. Did I find some moments troubling? Yes. But I think that is ultimately the point with this story, slight as it is. Your tolerance for violence and appreciation of film references will be key to your overall enjoyment of the film, and it is stimulating to see such a unique voice able to get his work released with some A-list stars. See it, you need to have an opinion on this.
This is our first podcast, and the first in a series of exclusive interviews with Tony Guyan, Production Manager of the classic 1984 BBC children’s series The Box of Delights.
Pull your chair closer to the fire, help yourself to a warm mince pie and maybe a glass of something and listen as Tony serves up anecdotes on locations, cast and crew, giving a nostalgic and unique insight into what it was like to be part of a bit of TV magic.
Please do let us know what you think and Happy Christmas from RBTV!
Whoa! This has been a big week in movie trailers. The new Man of Steel trailer is up, The Lone Ranger got its first full trailer, and the Tom Cruise-starring Oblivion set its first trailer on an unsuspecting public. In addition to this, a promising-looking upcoming Brit-crime film Welcome to the Punch brought out its own action heavy trailer, in order to remind us that us Brits don’t only make worthy period dramas. But this is all beaten by my personal favourite, Pacific Rim.
Tom Cruise plays a droid repairman (one of the last few on Earth) in Oblivion. A post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi directed by Joseph Kosinski, the guy who made… er… Tron: Legacy. Still, the early footage looks inviting, with strong production design, and as an avowed Tom Cruise fan, I still think the guy can make a comeback. Even if there’s a credibility gap when it comes to imagining him as a droid repairman.
Despite Zach Snyder’s reputation as a brash, showy, slo-mo merchant, the early footage for Man of Steel has retained a restrained, thoughtful, obtuse quality. Could it the steady hand of exec producer Christopher Nolan on the tiller? His brother Jonathan and David Goyer shaping the story? A young up-and-comer in Henry Cavill in the starring role? Or could it be that Zach Snyder finally grew up? We’ll know when we see it in 2014.
The Lone Ranger shouldn’t work. On paper, I mean. A remake of a 1930s radio serial and 1950s TV show? Get of out of town! Still, the Jerry Bruckheimer factor turned Pirates of the Caribbean from a theme park ride to a cinematic behemoth, Armie Hammer has the talent to carry a franchise, and it has kooky Johnny Depp… er, being kooky Johnny Depp, by the looks of things. It has an interesting visual style, as well it might, with Gore Verbinski on board. As maligned as the Pirates sequels are, it’s undeniable that Gore Verbinski has an interesting visual style, and hopefully he can marry it to the kind of storytelling he displayed in the first Pirates movie, or the still criminally under-seen Rango.
As an initially unlikely action star, James McAvoy showed some action chops in Wanted and showed he likes a genre pic with X-Men: First Class. Here, he plays an unhinged detective given one last chance at redemption in this anticipated Brit-thriller gathering plenty of buzz. Oh yeah, and it also stars Mark Strong. If that doesn’t excite you, I feel sorry for you.
And finally, we have Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim. Del Toro got sick of the pace of making The Hobbit, and went and make this, and boy, does it look exciting. We have monsters from the sea, giant robots, future Earth, Idris Elba, and…. GUILLERMO DEL TORO. In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m a little bit excited.
Excited by these films? Maybe you hate them? Either way, feel free to tell us why in the comments.
The second part of our interview with the 1984 Box of Delights series Production Manager Tony Guyan.
Here Tony talks about locations including steam trains and stations, ‘Tatchester’ Cathedral, ‘Seekings’ House as well as cast members Robert Stephens, Patrick Troughton and Devin Stansfield. Not to mention some Dreft hurling!
This is the third and final part of RBTV’s exclusive interview with Tony Guyan, Production Manager on the classic children’s series ‘The Box of Delights’.
In this part, Tony talks about pyrotechnics at Eastnor Castle, answers some questions from fans of the show, and we get to ask him whether it was actually a dream or not……
Enjoy and Happy Christmas from all at RBTV!