Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Call (2013)

Jordan (Halle Berry) is a 911 call centre operator, she is very good at her job, gets along with her peers and is dating a local police officer.  She takes a 911 call from a young girl whose house is currently being broken in to, after telling the girl to find a room, lock herself in it and hide, the call drops out. This is when Jordan makes a grave mistake, she hits re-dial and phones the girl back, this gives the intruder the girls location and costs her her life.

Flash forward 6 months and Jordon is no longer an operator, but a teacher of want to be call centre operators.  That is of course, until a call comes through from Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) who has just been abducted and has managed to call 911 from the boot of the car she is trapped in!  The film actually has some genuinely tense moments during this race against the clock as the police frantically try and track down the car, but alas the tension is short lived and the film takes a harsh nose dive into the pit of stupidity and absurdity.

Clearly not content with continuing the downward spiral of her own career, Halle Berry has decided to try and take a piece of Hollywood's youth with her....Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Abigail Breslin's manager called to tell her of an awesome project he thinks she should do! To her credit, director Brad Anderson has done some fairly decent work over the years with films like The Machinist, Transiberian and Session 9, not to mention his many TV works, but here we are presented with the bulk standard cliche serial killer thriller.  A movie that you will be spending far too much time yelling at the stupidity of the characters on screen than actually caring about them. And one for which Halle Berry must exude every facial expression in her repertoire in reaction to events unfolding countless miles from her location and via telephone hook up!

On the whole, the film is not awful, it is just exactly what you would expect it to be.  Speaking of which, I would normally provide a trailer for the film reviewed at the bottom of this post, however the trailer for the call takes the unusual step of presenting you with the entire plot of the film, ending and all.  So if you did have any thought of seeing the film, don't watch the trailer, however if you are a busy person with nary 94 minutes free in your life, you could always just watch the trailer and be content that is it possibly the most tense 2 and half minute film you will see in a while!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Breakers (2012)

Spring Break in the United States is probably the closest real life equivalent to the adage Sex, Drugs and Rock N Roll you could get!  Here in Australia the closest thing would be schoolies week up on the Gold Coast, either way, it is not a culture that this reviewer understands in the least.

The opening of Spring Breakers is basically a 10 minute segment lifted from the deplorable Girls Gone Wild Series before introducing us to what will be the main plot.  That is, we meet four childhood friends, Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), and Cotty (Rachel Korine), who are desperate to go to spring break and escape the mundane routine of their lives, so desperate in fact that they are willing to do just about anything to get there!  This includes three of the girls holding up an all night diner and robbing its patrons.

Once they get to Florida they partake in many of the expected Spring Break traditions before things soon take a turn for the worse and the girls wind up getting arrested and put in jail.  Soon after their court appearance one of the local drug bosses, Alien (James Franco) bails them out.

His motives are a little unclear at first, but after a quick visit to a strip club, they soon learn that Alien is one of two main players in town, his ex-best friend Big Arch (Gucci Mane) being the other.  They are soon caught in the middle of a drug war and things are quickly spiraling out of control.

I was not really sure what to make of this film whilst I was watching it, I am still not sure what to think writing this now, it is quite honestly unlike anything I have really seen before and is definitely not the sexy no brain comedy that some of the promotional material makes it out to be.  Yes, the girls spend almost the entire duration of the film in bikinis, yes there is plenty of sex and drugs, but it was more uncomfortable than it was titillating or enticing.

Artistically it looks fantastic, but then I would have expected nothing less given the cinematography is by Benoit Debie who has amazing visual presence in all of the films he has worked on.  The score is by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex, so bascially the score to Traffic being remixed into Dubstep.  The film barely takes a breath as far as the soundtrack is concerned with music basically under every scene.

The performances from the cast are great, of course much has been made of the two former Disney girls taking on these more adult roles, but they perform very well in their character shoes (They have little else to perform in...).  James Franco steals the show however, in an almost unrecognizable role as Alien, proving yet again that he is certainly one of the most versatile actors currently working in the industry!

On the whole the experience was certainly different, and whilst I wouldn't say I enjoyed myself, I was at least entertained and certainly intrigued by almost every aspect of this film!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Film Central

Well, as most people have probably noticed, the blog has been a little unattended lately.  Hopefully all of that is about the change as I will be forced to write reviews for the features I see.  I am joining the ranks of Film Central, a weekly community radio show dedicated to film.  Whilst I have been co-hosting the show for a while, I am now going full time every week for 2 hours discussing all of the latest releases in cinemas and on DVD or Blu-ray.  I will be posting my reviews to this blog as well as maintaining the Film Central Facebook page.  (Feel free to like it, but don't feel obligated ;) )

I will also work on podcasting the show, but there are a few rights issues to work out, so once that is all sorted hopefully you will be able to listen retrospectively!