January 2011

Films of 2011 Round Up

By Dan Collacott

With a freshly cleaned red carpet whiff entering our nostrils (like Febreeze sprayed over gold) I thought I would check out and give a brief critique on the latest films generating the biggest Oscar buzz across Hollywood.

Black Swan (108 mins)

Darren Aronofsky's visually stunning death of innocence feature - views something like a romantic poem brought violently kicking and screaming to life on the big screen. Natalie Portman's dark voyage of sexual awakening had me trapped between my own two critical selves, my inner ugly ducking wanted a more fully formed script, with more twists, characters and narrative whilst my inner swan just wanted to dance through the emotive imagery and sublimey shot film, thumbing my beak at substance in favour of sumptuous aesthetics and ingenius camera work. Vincent Cassel (Thomas Leroy), and Mila Kunis (Lily) also put in decent turns as the dance director and nemesis of Portman (Nina).

Verdict - undecided, but I think this will definitely win awards.

True Grit (110 mins)

Some people revere the work of the Coen brothers, sadly I find that some of their films have very little of note in them and I don't always really connect with the characters portrayed. This remake of the John Wayne starring original Western is competent enough, Jeff Bridges plays ageing, hard worn bounty hunter Rooster Cogburn who is charged by 14yr old Mattie Ross (a brilliant Hailee Steinfeld) to hunt down and bring to justice the man who killed her father. On their journey they cross paths with Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Matt Damon) who is hunting the same man. There is nothing bad about this film, the script and pacing are as you'd expect from the Coens, my only real complaint is that you need subtitles at times to hear what mumbling Bridges and some of the other deep south twanging characters are saying. The story is simple and rarely builds much intrigue or suspense, but then again did anyone expect it to?

Verdict - Steinfeld should be up for best actress even if the film is nothing special.

The King's Speech (118 mins)

One of those films where the hype is actually deserved. I admit that period dramas are not my bag, especially ones that reference the Royal Family. Despite this I found this film utterly compelling and the performances by Geoffrey Rush (speech therapist to King George VI) and Colin Firth (King George VI) touching and down right inspiring. The supporting cast are brilliant also with impressive turns from Guy Pierce, Helena Bonham Carter and Timothy Spall to name but a few.

Verdict - A tale of war, relationships, family and overcoming adversity, you can't lose! Rush and Firth must both be up for Oscars!

Three Days (122 mins)

Ok so not sure if this one has an Oscar buzz about it but who cares as this nail bitingly cracking thriller from director Paul Haggis is choc full of edge of the seat suspense and Russell Crowe acting his pants off!

Full review here:

So those are some of the films already out there but what else is coming your way in 2011?

Science Fictions films for 2011

As already mentioned by Bernice in her article on science fiction films of 2010, there is hope that upcoming title Battle Los Angeles will be everything Skyline wasn’t:

Also Coming up it’ll be good to see what District 9 director Neill Blomkamp cooks for us with follow up (but not sequel) Elysium starring Sharlto Copley, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. (Update – looking like it’ll be 2012 for this one)

Also inbound for the end of 2011 is the as yet untitled Alien Prequel helmed by Ridley Scott, which surely can’t be any worse than Alien Resurrection or the Alien vs Predator franchise was… can it?

Moon Director Duncan Jones new film Source Code looks a bit Inception-esque but still likely to be a cracker!

Also many of you will be watching The Green Hornet now or soon - and looking ahead to The Green Lantern which looks thoroughly silly but fun!

Oh and lets not forget that Norse piece of beefcake, Thor!

Plus Transformers 3, Paul, I Am Number 4, and many many more! which can hopefully make 2011 a good year for science fiction!

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