Ratatouille Review: A Testament to the Artists Working on their Craft

✯✯✯✯✯

Brad Bird’s second animated film for Pixar may not be an action-packed ride in the same way that his previous animated films were but knowing what it is that Ratatouille stands for, it’s hard not to love the sort of experimentation that it sets out for as far as the work of Pixar has gone. But of course being the Pixar apologist that I am, I can’t help but find myself being brought into a whole other world when looking at the beautiful animated backdrops being utilized to their very fullest and Brad Bird’s touch also helps in setting that into place with Ratatouille. In coming back to the familiar and backhanded criticism that animation is recognized as being geared primarily towards children, Pixar’s films have always found a way to resonate with adult audiences over the years but in looking at the story that they are telling in Ratatouille perhaps something more is coming along the way. In this story of a rat who is doing everything that he can in order to become a cook for as unorthodox as it is, we have another tale about the way art impacts others – something that is only set to resonate with viewers of all sorts.

Continue reading →

There Will Be Blood is a Crowning Achievement in the Highest Order

✯✯✯✯✯

Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is a film of many great moments, but between each of the many sequences that we have com to recognize over the years comes rewarding buildup and those great moments end up feeling much greater. But how exactly do you cover something that appeals to every sense the same way that There Will Be Blood does? For one, it would already be easy enough to say that Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best working American filmmakers, but it’s just amazing to think about how a director of his age can so smoothly transition between completely different points of time and settings and they still feel so distinct under his own vision. You can start off by saying that Paul Thomas Anderson is one of our best working filmmakers, because there’s no other working American filmmaker that has established this consistency of making films that always end up becoming the best of their own kind.

Continue reading →

Control – Review

✯✯✯✯

The idea of a biopic about Ian Curtis as directed by a photographer for Joy Division already in itself sounds so promising especially for Joy Division fans. Given as they are one of my all-time favourite bands, a part of my own experience of watching Control may have indeed been influenced by a partial bias rising from the music alone, but nevertheless, the story of Ian Curtis was always one that had broken my heart. Yet years after his own death, Joy Division’s popularity and legacy has only remained so strong. Being a huge fan of their work it was a more harrowing experience than I remember it having been, when I was unfamiliar with Joy Division’s work. After having only gotten into their music all the more just earlier this year, coming back to Control has only reaffirmed why they are one of my favourite bands just as Ian Curtis’s legacy within rock music has lasted through the many years since his untimely death for they nevertheless defined a generation through their small (but excellent) musical output.

Continue reading →

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

Part of me loves this film because of the feeling it creates of being trapped within one space, having a restricted sense of movement – and part of me finds it especially difficult to watch it because of the same reasons. Somehow, Julian Schnabel has crafted an entirely claustrophobic experience through this haunting and heartbreaking true story with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and at the same time one of the best films of the decade, maybe even the century. The first experience I had watching The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I came in blind – but soon I only found myself in for an experience so empathetic, it shattered me the moment it was over. After a few years of not having watched it, its impact didn’t merely stay the same. What happened instead was that it spoke much more to me. Maybe I haven’t suffered the same way that Jean-Do has, but the imprisoned feeling that it ever so perfectly captured was something that resonated with me beyond words.

Continue reading →

The Last King of Scotland – Review

✯✯✯

General Idi Amin’s rise to power and his own erratic behavior can already make for an interesting subject to capture on film, which is exactly what Kevin Macdonald aimed to capture in The Last King of Scotland. Yet for every trace this film has that can signify something far greater it unfortunately falls down at the hands of another story being told at the exact same time, and this portion isn’t nearly half as interesting. That’s not to say a bad film is what we’re left with but rather instead what we have been given is in part something that could have been great because of the craft behind how a story like this is being captured on film. Then amidst all of that, it stops to tell another. The mix that we are left with is exactly what Kevin Macdonald provides in The Last King of Scotland, forming a product that feels only serviceable at its very best.

Continue reading →

Boarding Gate – Review

✯✯

My great admiration for Olivier Assayas’s films has only pushed me further to getting around to Boarding Gate in spite of its mixed reception after finding nothing but excellence in another fairly polarizing effort in his body of work, Demonlover. If a pairing of Asia Argento and Michael Madsen could not even manage to make what should sound thrilling any more than such, where did everything go wrong? Soon I remembered that there was a commentary behind Demonlover which at least granted even more intrigue for the material it was presenting but memories of Something in the Air came by, for this may be the worst Olivier Assayas film I’ve come around to.

Continue reading →

Hitman – Review

✯✯

I don’t have any connection with the Hitman video games as I’ve never played them, but relatively low expectations ultimately set the tone for what I were to come out thinking of the film adaptation. But at its worst, there really was nothing particularly offensive to note (I’d only imagine that I can take greater offense if I had any connection with the games) other than just the sheer feeling of emptiness that ran all throughout. Unfortunately, there was also not very much good being left behind at the same time and instead, Hitman just leaves an empty aura all around – one that is soon to fade away from the memory after having viewed the film. I can assume fans of the games would take greater offense to what the film presents but I’m only left with somewhat of an indifferent reaction. Continue reading →

2 Days in Paris – Review

✯✯✯

Julie Delpy wrote, directed, produced, edited, composed the soundtrack, and played the leading role for this frustrating piece of work, which seems to have caught more admiration around parts where I was instead finding myself at distance. From watching her in Three Colors: White or any entry into Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy, there’s always something wonderful to be found whether it come from her acting or her writing, but seeing as she’s putting herself up for so many responsibilities with 2 Days in Paris, the results were rather interesting but unfortunately not anywhere near the level that could have been reached with the potential being implied. Continue reading →

Charlie Wilson’s War – Review

✯✯✯✯

There’s a beauty to hearing the words scripted by Aaron Sorkin, knowing that they always move at a pace that keeps every scene moving at rapid fire, and paired together with the direction of Mike Nichols, the results are truly nothing more than satisfying. For his final film, Mike Nichols leaves on a rather pleasing note and while it may not reach the heights that he has set behind in his past with classics like The Graduate or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, it goes to show that throughout his career, he’s maintained a consistent level of quality from film to film and would never let anything have him stoop down. Continue reading →