Sunday, 29 January 2012

"The Tree of Life" Film Review

 On the recommendation of some good friends, my wife and I sat down to watch "The Tree of Life" by Terrence Malick tonight. We had read the mixed reviews. Our friends even told us that people had walked out of the cinema during their showing. Now it was time for us to judge for ourselves. Part of the way through scene 4,  when I was becoming absorbed by Malick's phenomenal cinematography, my wife told me something about the garage roof, and I feared that her attention was wavering. Nevertheless, she persevered, and, by the end, agreed that it was a worthwhile watch.

For a film without structure or a neatly-tied up plot, I was left with the feeling that I had been given a magnificent insight into human nature. Biblical references adorn it, including the film-maker's profoundly enigmatic and beautiful representation of Creation (Scene 4) and Eternity (Scene 23). I have to admit something here: I rather enjoy David Attenborough's nature programmes, and, with whole sections looking like something from "Life" or "Blue Planet" this really added to my enjoyment. For others, it might be a "what's going on" moment.

Grounding the action is the story of a 1950s family, headed up by Brad Pitt. The eldest of his three sons, Jack, played as an adult by Sean Penn, is left searching for meaning, after a childhood in which nature and grace, personified by his parents, battle within him.

If you like your movies pre-packaged with a neat Hollywood ending, this may not be for you; if you like a challenge that will make you think, and you enjoy the artistic side of cinema, then I heartily recommend "The Tree of Life".

(My rating:  4.5 out of 5.)
(My wife's rating:  3 out of 5)


Thursday, 12 January 2012

An A-Z of the Morning Male...

(Adventurous and alive
Bold, bouncing, boisterous, baby boy,
Crawled and climbed away from
Daring days and
Early-learning toys...)

Indolence, he
Joined his jet-lagged, juggling,

Lethargic and lively, loving, lion-hearted, listless, losing:
Man is his

Once was
Passionate and playful; now
Quaking, quietly beneath his quilt; at the
Ring of his rapier alarm,
Shattering silence into shards.

Teetering, trembling,
Unearthed, to undertake these 
Weary, wistful, weekday wakenings.

X marks the spot, where his head lay,
Yawning, yearning for the end of the day.... 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Super 8- Film Review:

There could be worse ways to pass a winter's evening than sitting down for an evening of sofa cinema with "Super 8" by JJ Abrams. Fans of his biggest hit TV series may be wary of investing the time. But put your minds at rest: this mystery/sci-fi/thriller takes us on an accomplished hour and three quarters' journey. And the "Lost" director has even thrown in a satisfying resolution for good measure.

Unmistakable Abrams references adorn the film, from the fright- inducing string section, to the character of the police deputy, Jack Lamb (Kyle Chandler), who believes he has to save his small town community. However, it is with the nods to co-producer Steven Spielberg's early career that the film really strikes gold. As a result, a viewer's own memories of a by-gone era may connect with the adolescence being portrayed on screen and this works to produce some moments of nostalgic film magic.

The story within a story technique is skillfully revealed, as a group of school friends uncover a dark secret whilst capturing their own feature film on a primitive 8mm camera. Convincing performances by Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning serve to cement interest in an intriguing story, which shows JJ Abrams at his assured best.

**** out of ******

(Rated 12 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and some drug use.)


White trash-lovers, Freaks for all they’re worth, Anarchy in beady, brazen faces, Seizing stares, Standing ground...