Posts Tagged ‘2011’

The Woman in the Fifth directed by Paweł Pawlikowski; released in 2011

What is there to say about this film? Is it a romance, is it a drama, is it a violent thriller? If you were to combine all three of those genres, you would still probably be wrong. The film starts out as an innocent story of a broken man, with an unexplained past wanting to get closer to his six-year-old daughter in a small unpopulated unnamed French town. From then on, the levels of intrigue, suspense and confusion mount and you are pulled quickly and cleanly through a timeless period in the life of an American writer who may or may not be completely sane. He is used differently by three women, his wife hates him and sees him as the reason why they broke up, which may be wrong, as you are again, much like his past, not given any sort of basis to understand their relationship. Margit (Kristin Scott Thomas) is his escape, the one he uses to pour out all his feelings and needs without any censorship; the scenes with Margit, once the film is finished add to the confusion of the entire movie but at the same time help you understand what is going on with the other women in the film. The final woman, Ania, played kindly by Joanna Kulig is the one who truly loves him but the one he shows most negativity towards, which completely explains the frame of mind he is in. Much like the classic David Fincher film ‘Fight Club’, this film doesn’t fully explain itself to the very end, which makes for, at points, some tedious viewing but at the same time the intrigue is so much that you can’t help but watch it till the very end. This may have been the point of the film and if it was, the film maker has more than achieved what they set out to do. If Pawlikowski set out to confuse you on a level that is hard to explain but when viewed, easy to understand, in a world so close to reality that you could be there, then this could be one of the best films I have seen in recent years. Ethan Hawke’s French is great and acting along side a legend of 80’s French Cinema, Kristin Scott Thomas, it’s not hard to see why this film has been highly praised and with the use of American English speech throughout, this film could easily make the move into the more commercial market. I also enjoyed the performance of the French supporting cast, mainly the inhabitants of the hotel, who were as close to reality as you could get, which is in great contrast to the rest of the film, as it seemed like one long dream sequence, reminiscent of Cameron Crowe’s ‘Vanilla Sky’. I enjoyed this film and believe it will see Ethan Hawke go on to achieve even better things in the future and also underline the presence of Kristin Scott Thomas as one of the best actors of the last 30 years. I would recommend this to fans of French Cinema and the two main stars.



Attack the Block directed by Joe Cornish; released in 2011

In a year which saw the release of the final Harry Potter instalment and the new Mission:Impossible, it may be a film packed full of unknown future stars which steals all the attention. ‘Attack the Block’ tells the story of a gang of youths from a council estate in South London, who, after carrying out a mugging are attacked by what seems to be an extraterrestrial. The comedic background of director Joe Cornish shines through, as he is able to make a film that could be the distant love-child of Shaun of the Dead and Alien vs Predator. What sets this film apart from other science fiction films is the opposition to the scary creatures who have decided to invade South London – a gang of immature teenagers with criminal tendencies. The banter is spot on and is pretty much what you would hear on the streets therefore I recommend any elderly women do not watch this film, as it may bring back memories of abuse suffered in supermarkets from local kids! The banter flows throughout the film and you grow to love the characters, even if they are the sort of people you would choose to avoid when out in your daily routine. Action scenes that play on the youthful nature of the film also set it apart from big action blockbusters of the past; Die Hard saw John McClane fight numerous terrorists AND Alan Rickman while in this two children hide in a bin! This allows you to grasp the rural nature of the goings on and fully believe the task that the locals have been given, in not only escaping from the scary alien but also having a go at trying to defeat it. The film’s similarities with Edgar Wright’s ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ are visible, the interactions between the characters have a truth, which thanks to a great script allow friendships to have believable backgrounds. This is not taking away from Joe Cornish though, who with his own comedic background guides you on a whirlwind 88 minute real-time adventure, which again adds to the realism and emotive nature of the scenes. Individual performances are great aswell, the cast of unknown teenage actors all have their own unique skills; John Boyega is courageous and maybe a tad bit to big for his boots as Moses, Jodie Whittaker is scared yet accepting as Sam the muggee, Luke Treadaway is funny and out of his comfort zone as the stoner Luke and Nick Frost in a cameo as weed dealer Ron is his funny old self, reminiscent of his portrayals as Ed in ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and Danny in ‘Hot Fuzz’. The main draw though for this film is the performances of the young cast, which overall is a great advocate for British cinema. I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to fans of Joe Cornish’ comedy duo ‘Adam and Joe’, the films of Edgar Wright, British Cinema and the science fiction genre.


Young Adult directed by Jason Reitman; released in 2011


In the midst of depression, the best idea is definitely to realise that the person you love is back in your town of birth, happily married and now with child. Along with this, heavy drinking, hardly talking to your parents and discovering your career could be over, really puts the nail in the coffin of a life that is far from complete. Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gray, the writer but NOT creator of popular young adult series ‘Waverley Prep’ who, on checking her email stumbles across a picture that on closer inspection is the daughter of the man she has lusted for since she was a ‘Young Adult’. This film, much like Jason Reitman’s previous, ‘Juno’ and ‘Up in the Air’, contains comedy which is painfully truthful and cuts deep to the bone of not only the main characters but also you as a viewer. Content which is easily relatable to  many people make the picture all that more effective as a tool for funnelling what seems to be the writer’s (Diablo Cody) own personal history. This is what makes the film’s sad moments, which there are plenty of, tough viewing, with Mavis continually digging her own grave and actually contemplating destroying a marriage, the laughs are at her but with disdain. You want her to realise that her life isn’t totally down the pan, that she has more to live for and that it shouldn’t start with attempting to woo her childhood sweetheart who is set in a new life. What I most enjoy about Reitman films, apart from how good they are, is the scenes where characters are alone, performing something in their daily routine, this really allows you to see who they really are, adding depth and true meaning to scenes that contain dialogue. I really enjoyed the interactions between Charlize Theron and her co-star Patton Oswalt, these seemed as though they actually bared a childhood grudge, that through Mavis’ intent on securing a definite future with Buddy (Patrick Wilson) is broken and in the penultimate seen of the film sees them secure a life long friendship. Oswalt’s performance needs recognising though, as he is hilariously funny, blunt when need be and portrays the link between ‘Mini-Apple’ and Mavis’ home town problems very well. Charlize Theron is great as Mavis, she is as evil as she is in ‘Prometheus’ but has the soft side that she displays in ‘Italian Job: L.A. Heist’ (she plays mainly strong evil women, this is the only film I could think of – don’t watch it though) which rounds her into a character that you want to see succeed in life but not tear apart Buddy’s blossoming marriage. Patrick Wilson is childish, immature and stuck in his hometown, which makes his character hard to judge. Throughout the film you wonder whether or not he is going to leave with Mavis and complete her life back in the big city. Happily, the film comes to a climax, which isn’t surprising but welcomed. I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to fans of the main stars and the Director/Writer team of Reitman and Cody.