In the second part of their interview with Kryztoff TV, Caitlin Stasey and Deniz Akdeniz talk about the impact of Tomorrow, When The War Began on them personally and the potential for their careers.
Reviewed By Lucy Campbell
When American pulp fiction journalist Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Cairo to meet her UN jetbug husband Mark (virtually-no-screen-time Tom McCamus) she ends up stranded in the city with Mark’s friend and local, Tareq (Alexander Siddig). Of course, Juliette and Tareq grow close through a mutual loneliness and embark on an emotional affair. And all in all, it’s a terribly dull film that plods along with lingering gazes, conversations and scenery, and garners the rather dubious title of the dullest opening ten minutes in film.
Patricia Clarkson’s notorious monotone and ‘subtle gazes of love’ (that in the real world would make you think she was either a couple of bob short of a dollar or taking the mickey) make the film feel like it is literally in slow motion, and Juliette and Tareq’s love affair has no spark, no tension, little humour and is ultimately unsatisfying. Neither the main characters have any charm that sets them apart from a cliche: the lonely Westerner meets handsome Easterner in a series of long conversations resulting in wan gazes into the middle distance.
The few themes that ‘Cairo Time’ attempts to explore are sketches to say the least, which seems odd considering there’s little storyline to dominate screentime, and issues such as the contrast of Eastern and Western cultures, poverty, loneliness, isolation and the transition between the old Cairo and the new, are splashed about at the shallow end of the paddling pool: revealing little, explaining none.
Somehow, even the cinematography, beautiful though it is, struggles to illuminate anything other than a travel documentary, and leaves you feeling hollow. For writer/director Rubba Nadda, ‘Cairo Time’ a disappointing offering that fails to enchant beyond a postcard.
Kryztoff Rating 2K
In the first of a two part interview, stars of Tomorrow, When The War Began, the georgeous Caitlin Stasey and the hunk, Deniz Akdeniz talk about the challenges of preparing for filming and being on the set.
The greatest fear in all of bio-technology is the creation of a creature that by accident or intention is released onto the world with unknown and unintended consequences – like cane toads only developed in a lab. Splice takes this issue head on when Nerd’s headstrong scientists Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) develop a part human embryo only to find it survives and develops. From there all manner of maternal and male instincts kick in as they battle the rapid development of their ‘child’, Dren (mostly Delphine Chaneac) and try to keep it all a secret.
If what you are after is a Sci-Fi schlock DVD to watch late one evening with your partner armed only with a bottle of scotch then Splice is five star entertainment. The is the Creature From The Black Lagoon meets The Room aided by 21st century film technology. The ethical and scientific dilemmas thrown up are given at best lip service and are overwhelmed by the human hormonal imbalances of the grossly selfish.
Once all semblance of credibility is lost after the shareholders meeting ends in a bloody fiasco one can only marvel at the corny dialogue. The sex scenes that climax the film (if that is the right word) are extraordinary but only in the context of being very silly.
If you are after a primer on the challenges of raising children then other films do a lot better. If you are interested in the clash of ethics between the scientific, commercial and domestic worlds, then this offers zero insights. If you love Frankenstein style Sci Fi flicks and can suspend reality for 2 hours, Splice may be a film for you.
Kryztoff Rating 2K
Reviewed by Lucy Campbell
Roman Polanski’s latest effort sees the controversial Pole tackle an airport fodder heavyweight in the form of ‘The Ghost Writer,’ an adaptation of Richard Harris’ thriller novel ‘The Ghost.’ Ewan McGregor plays the writer (simply named Ghost) who is employed by ex-British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) to edit his memoirs. The film takes place in Massachusetts, where Lang and his wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) are isolated from prying eyes and pesky journalists. When Lang is accused of war crimes, the film slowly begins to escalate into an espionage thriller, spearheaded by the rather bumbling yet placid Ghost. Of course, it’s all very Tony Blair; names are barely altered for the sake of the film, and it’s sure to be mildly controversial.
But at the centre of this film is some really creaky dialogue, a great deal of exposition and some unsettling acting from the leads. There are parts of the film that veer into Cohen brothers-esque black comedy: “They can’t drown you both. You’re not kittens,” placates an ex-minister to an increasingly paranoid Ghost. But other parts feel heavy and plodding, a few of Ghost’s decisions seem downright bizarre, and really the twist at the end we could see for miles. But in all of this McGregor’s Ghost is strangely unsettling (he also has an atrocious English accent, as is Tom Burlinson’s American) and unequivocally ordinary. His stupidity is understandable when one sees him as a man un-wittingly thrust into a conspiracy, and he reacts in the same way any of us would.
The structure of the film feels a bit off, the set-up is far too long, and there is so much exposition you want to take an axe into the edit room, but there are some great sequences. It isn’t Polanski’s best by any means, but it’s a solid shot at a political thriller that seems ever more relevant in the wake of Iraq and the midst of Afghanistan.
Kryztoff Rating 3.5K
Geeks of the world rejoice! Computer games and comic books are cool. That is the premise for this brilliant and refreshing movie directed by Edgar Wright, of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead fame, and based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. 22 year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is in a band, Sex Bob Omb (great name) and he’s fallen for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a roller blading delivery girl who changes her hair colour every week. In order to win her heart he must fight and defeat each of her seven evil ex-boyfriends.
At times you feel as if you’re playing a computer game, as text boxes appear on the screen labelling items in the room or to give a brief bio on characters. Giant scores and prize coins shoot out of each conquered ex-boyfriend.
Fairly simple plot, but the special effects and graphics combined with an exceptional cast, Michael Cera’s cute awkwardness is particularly perfect for this role, raise the bar and make Scott Pilgim vs the World refreshingly unique and incomparable to any other movie. It’s important to note here that Cera brings additional bite to the role in what is up there as his best performance yet. It’s not just his stock standard character that he played in Superbad, Juno and we’ll forget about The Year One.
This movie is fast paced, fun and hilarious. It’s a surprise package and not just a movie but an absolute experience, highly recommend you check this one out.
Kryztoff Rating: 4k
The Expendables is a light hearted movie to the good old action movie formula. The Hero(s), the big guns, the fist fights, the fiery explosions and the girl in distress who needs rescuing. Add to this an ensemble of stars including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, David Zayas, Gary Daniels and Mickey Rourke with appearances by Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charisma Carpenter. Rumours are that some other well known actors where considered or offered roles and declined, what a pity.
It’s a story presented very entertainingly about a team of elite mercenaries known as The Expendables who get hired to overthrow a ruthless dictator, which does not take itself too seriously, with some good one liners as well as poking plenty of fun at itself, the characters and the Action Hero. Stallone co-wrote the screen play which is by Dave Callaham and also directs with himself as the main hero, of course. Both old, those that grew up with the 80’s & 90’s action movies, and young will enjoy this flick.
The only let down of the movie is the budget, which is unfortunately very obvious in the special effects.
Dolph Lundgren sums it up well as “an old-school, kick-ass action movie where people are fighting with knives and shooting at each other.”
Kryztoff Rating 4K
Reviewed By Kosta Jaric
Michael Sheen is making a damn good living out of other people’s lives. After playing reporter David Frost and famed English coach Brian Clough, he has come full circle and returns as the seemingly affable Prime Minister Tony Blair in “The Special Relationship”.
With Dennis Quaid as the unmistakable Bill Clinton, Richard Loncraine directs the finer moments of their relationship during their overlapping terms. Choosing Blair as the protagonist of the two, Sheen is seamless and brilliant in his role. Being the third time he’s played Blair, he’s almost undistinguishable from the real man. Quaid’s attempt at Clinton’s accent becomes a bit of a novelty from the get go, but he does a fine job playing a morally-questionable man (who on screen is shown to be just as deceptive as his successor).
Hope Davis is brilliant as the turmoiled Hilary, taking a leading role during the Lewinsky period, with Helen McCrory is exactly as she was in “The Queen” as Cherie (also written by Peter Morgan). The support cast is also on song (with Jacques Chirac ever the comedian).
The script is tight and creates some interesting moments between the two leaders. In what could’ve been a very dry film (originally made for US TV), the cast and crew have actually made an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at the marriages, friendships and political relationship between the two couples and their countries.
You won’t kick yourself if you miss this on the big screen but it is worth a mid-week peek.
Kryztoff Rating 3.5K
When as a 17 year old, Richard Samuels (Zac Efron) gets a call up to be in a new 1937 Mercury Theatre production of Julius Caesar he immediately happens upon the massive ego and figure of Orson Welles (Christian McKay) and his crew of actors, stage hands and producers. In the course of the hectic shambles that precedes opening night, Richard gets infatuated with Sonja (Claire Danes) and observes at close range the actor’s world of ego (sometimes fragile), bluff, the lure of the next thing and its brutal impermanence.
To be sure, the ‘Me’ in the title is the star and Welles is relegated to just one of the next lead performers. Whether this is a design flaw will be a matter of taste. Danes is dazzling and immensely charismatic, being flirty but not exploitive. McKay wonderfully channels Orson’s bravado, brilliances and brittleness and Zoe Kazan as Greta, Richard’s off stage friend, is the model of youthful enthusiasm laced with self doubt and an endearing personality. As for Efron, it is rare for a teenage heart throb to develop into a genuine actor but Efron is one such novelty – he is a real actor and will be a star for audiences of all ages for years to come.
This is the third ‘play within a play’ this year (after NINE and I, Don Giovanni) and probably the best. The production is excellent all round. Richard Linklater’s direction is tight, shot in a brown sepia and Holly Gent Palmo’s screenplay (based on a Robert Kaplow novel) is a feature with dialogue that cuts to the essence of the personalities without stereotyping – Welles for all his bravado has his moments of self doubts, genius and cowardice, Richard and Greta have their youthful excesses without marking them juvenile. And who can go wrong with the music of era resonating throughout.
A failure as a biopic of Welles but a simple joy as entertainment.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
Reviewed by Lucy Campbell
Greenberg is the story of 40 year old Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) and his return to his native LA after a nervous breakdown and mental hospital stay. Writer/director Noah Baumbuch’s film charts his relationships with old friend and ex bandmate Ivan (Rhys Ifans), ex lover Beth (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and affair with his brother’s personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig).
At it’s core Greenberg defies the conventions of plot, instead focusing on the intricacies of relationships and the title character’s manic depression, which a brave Stiller plays without the comic stylings that we’re so accustomed. It’s Stiller’s film and he plays the role to a tee: the detachment from his surroundings, OCD behaviour, alienation and complete self-obsession. Unfortunately, all these things mean his character is ultimately pretty unlovable, and his fractured character gradually becomes whining and so downright rude, you question why anybody bothers to hang out with him.
But this is a film of a man railing against the world, against LA, against his desires and against himself. Stiller’s self-destructive Greenberg feels real, as does the loose ends of Gerwig’s Florence. Everybody in this film runs in circles, and by the end one feels thoroughly exhausted though not entirely confident anyone will break the cycle. There are the occasional muted chuckles, but it isn’t by any stretch a ‘Ben Stiller Film’ – more of an awkward insight into emotional freefall and neurosis as we slowly watch Greenberg self-destruct and then attempt to pick up the pieces. Though by no means a bad film, Greenberg still leaves you a little empty as the credits roll.
Kryztoff Rating 3.5K