Reviews of the Week

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Selma

Genevieve, 18

5 out of 5
School
Coleg Sir Gar
Review Date
19 January, 2016

Selma

“I feel a lifetime commitment to my community, to capturing the nuance of who we are. I’m not interested in broad strokes. Just in our day-to-day existence, society puts a lot of broad strokes on us anyway: This is who black people are. It’s very easy to marginalize us if you generalize us. But if we can dig deep into the macro level, it gives us a greater depth of humanity. That’s where our paths connect.” - Cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma)
'Selma' (released on February 6th, 2015) paints a rather distressing picture of the trials faced by Martin Luther King and his followers in the months when they were trying to ensure that all black American citizens were able to vote without obstruction from the rest of the American population. They did this by going on a peaceful march from Selma, a small town in Alabama, to Montgomery; an act that eventually persuaded then President, Lyndon B. Johnson, to pass the 1965 Voting Rights act.
David Oyelowo gives possibly one of the most thought-provoking performances of his career as the film's protagonist, Martin Luther King, and his complex portrayal of one of the most inspiring people to have ever lived is undoubtedly deserving of our applause. Through Oyelowo, we witness not the god-like, legendary figure that King has become, but rather an ordinary individual, flawed in his own way like everyone else, and not always certain of himself, but one who strove for equality and who would do anything for justice. Co-starring alongside Oyelowo are Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo and Oprah Winfrey - all of whom depict their respective characters with the utmost dignity and respect. Directing the film was maverick director Ava DuVerney, and the poignant and perceptive screenplay was written by Paul Webb. This gripping film is predominantly dedicated to the movement that King led, and not solely King himself, and it is for this reason that we begin to understand the enormity of everything that they did. However, the script was criticised for having some historical inaccuracies - for instance, the relationship between President Johnson and King. Johnson actually cared deeply about Civil Rights, but was drowning under his own responsibilities so he deemed that the voting problem would do better to wait.
The cinematography of this film is a work of pure genius. For a cinematographer, lighting a black actor can be a challenge because darker skin tones absorb more light. To overcome this, talented cinematographer Bradford Young subtly bounced the lighting instead of just direct-lighting the actors, so as to enrich their skin tones. A lot of practical lights were used throughout this film to illuminate the subjects, thus creating a very warm orangey atmosphere. The result was an almost ethereal quality, especially when backlit. The overall lighting of the film however, had a Kodachrome look. This was inspired by Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral train footage, and the result of this was fairly subdued, with bursts of colour. One particular scene that stood out for me regarding the cinematography was when the marchers were attacked at night. The lighting here was fairly simple; white flickering torchlights that sharpened the shadows and threw the actors into silhouette, creating a mass effect. This was particularly poignant due to the slaughter and attack on many nameless people. The screenplay was phenomenal, and captured the essence of both Martin Luther King and President Johnson perfectly. The majority of the film’s music score consisted of Jazz and gospel songs that highlighted the sense of black culture and pride that the film conveyed.
The word ‘enjoyment’ is not necessarily a word that I would use to describe my own experience when watching this drama; however, that is not to say that I didn’t ‘enjoy’ it. It is difficult to put into words the cascade of emotions one feels when viewing work like this - on the one hand, it fills you with despair when witnessing tragedy such as this, and you cannot help but be ashamed of humanity. But then again, the other hand holds a very different story. One of hope, peace, and justice, objectives that still resonate with us today. ‘Selma’ is an astonishing film, and definitely one to watch, as it is a stunning tribute to King and his movement.

Watership Down

Kryspin, 11

3 out of 5
School
Carrick Primary School
Review Date
24 January, 2016

Watership Down

This movie is one of my favorites. It's very violent, and definitely not for young kids. I think the worst part is when one of the characters gets caught in a snare. He almost dies, but he ends up escaping. However, the imagery was very disturbing: the character started foaming and bleeding from the mouth and his eyes rolled back into his head. Another scene that was really disturbing is when one of the characters is telling the others about what happened to their warren, and it shows a bunch of rabbits trying to escape from their warren, only to find the tunnels blocked by the bodies of dead rabbits. Furthermore, this movie has great role models. The main character Hazel is a smart, diplomatic pacifist who only sends his followers into battle if absolutely necessary. Rather than starting an all-out war with General Woundwort, he proposes that they unite their two warrens for the good of all. Hazel always listens to the other rabbits and only occasionally dismisses his brother, who has prophetic powers. I don't believe that young children would get all of what happens in the movie, but it's still a great film.

Paddington

Orla, 11

4 out of 5
School
Ralston Primary School
Review Date
22 January, 2016

Paddington

If you want to be taken on a tale with adventures at every corner then you have got to watch PADDINGTON. We watched Paddington because of all the refugees that are coming into our country. And we have to remember to take care of them. Imagine if you did not have a home how would you feel, I know you would feel scared just like Paddington. This movie is really funny I would really recommend it.

Edward Scissorhands

Abigail, 13

4 out of 5
School
Ysgol Bryn Alyn
Review Date
21 January, 2016

Edward Scissorhands

I think that Edward Scissorhands was an amazing film which made you laugh and cry along the ride of Edward. The main actors Johnny Depp and Anthony Michael Hall pulled it off amazingly, showing what life can really be like for people in similar situation to Edward. I adored the chemistry from the actors which Tim Burton made very life like in many ways. It really made me think about how people aren’t all they seem until you get them to open up or you see them real them. The film also reflected on important things in life that society choses to ignore which makes a classic Tim Burton film for us all to enjoy.

The story of the film is very simple in a way but leaves a nice calmness and warming feeling after you watch it. The film is about a man named Edward who was created with scissor hands, since he was created. When an Avon representative goes to his giant castle (or what he probably calls home) she finds Edward lonely and isolated. She then takes pity on the sweet Edward and takes him home. Everyone in the town then becomes fascinated by Edwards’s deformity and makes him seem like a person for their entertainment. Then you follow the twist on turns of Edward time in the new village and how he finds his place in society.

I think the film is obviously a Tim Burton classic so you can’t exactly label it into a certain genre. (There really should be a Tim Burton genre.) I think it is exceptionally made for a 1991 film and shows how society can make people with difference seem like people we can use. One of my problems because I’m picking is because of the fact the blood did look extremely fake. (More like paint to be honest.) Otherwise the graphics and how the film was made were amazing especially the Scissorhands. I would rather have a good plot that great graphics in my opinion but I had to point it out. My only other fault was that I really thought at the end ‘is that it?’ I can defend the film in my initial idea though because life isn't always exciting and it can end in a depressing way.

I would highly recommend seeing the film is you haven’t already because it really is a true amazing and classic Tim Burton film. It really shows what life can be like for outsider and why we should be thoughtful towards them all. I do think it was a bit depressing but that was what made the film s life like. Over all I would give the film 4/5 for it was very unpredictable and made you do a lot of great conclusions for life ahead of you.

Alice In Wonderland

Roman, 12

2 out of 5
School
Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy
Review Date
18 January, 2016

Alice In Wonderland

A poor, poor adaptation of Lewis Carroll's great book. Lots of people will tell you that this is a great movie, however, have not read the book -- I too would probably raise my rating to 3-3.5 stars had I not read the original. I will begin with several complaints.

Number One: JABBERWOCKY is a poem written by Lewis Carroll, it is briefly mentioned in the book Alice Through the Looking Glass. However, within said poem, the name of the creature is the Jabberwock. Why it has been renamed I do not know, but it seems to show Burton's disrespect for the source material.

Number Two: The tone. The original Alice was this beautiful, mad, dreamy environment. However, Tim Burton has decided to blindly follow the trend of "dark" movies. However, this wasn't dark in a "fun" way but rather dull in a dreary, dead way.

Number Three: Fundamental changing of characters. Let's use the Red (or should I say black?, he seems to be the only red character who does so.) King for this example. In the books, he was hilariously timid - being pushed around by his comically bossy wife. Now he's been turned into this horrible, mean cruel man who just seems depressed.

Number Four: The Ending. Somehow, it was thought that the interweaving of one of the most original books of our time and a generic "prophecy" plotline was a good idea. Of course, Alice will gripe about how we shouldn't follow things we are expected to do, etc. giving us a good moral lesson on how we shouldn't be forced into things. She does this by... doing the thing she's told to????

Also, the dance. ------ What? 2/5, a review by Roman B.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Ryan, 17

2 out of 5
School
Coleg Sir Gar
Review Date
18 January, 2016

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The tale of princess Kaguya-★★☆☆☆

The tale of Princess Kaguya is an animated film based on what is widely believed to be 10th century Japanese folklore, it’s generally a good sign to see the name of Studio Ghibli in the title cards, as they have released some good films in the past such as Pom poko and Castle in the sky. But even with the talent of Ghibli-trained animators rendering a story in a hand-drawn, highly emotive style, it honestly was a letdown for me.

The problem comes solely down to the direction of Isao Takahata., while I'm certainly not a purist as far as how a film should look, I expected better from such a high class director
.
While the story is a sad and heartfelt one, its presentation suffers greatly as Takahata really foregoes centuries of storytelling know-how, ensuring that audiences will have to expend a great deal of effort to engage with the plot. Kaguya (voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz in the English dub), is a goddess descended from the moon to live with a poor unnamed bamboo cutter and his wife (James Cann and Mary Steenburgen, play these roles respectively). For reasons left unexplained, the child grows from an infant to an adolescent in a matter of weeks (Possibly days), and is blessed with a gift of gold and silks from the stalks of bamboo plants, which sends her father into the path of narcissism and self-absorbed negligence, and social-climbing ambition (to go from rags to riches if you will) . He pulls Kaguya into the city to be raised as royalty in an effort to try to feel fulfilled on his own, and Kaguya is miserable until she's eventually called back to the moon due to reasons we never get the time to know (which did make me dislike the film as the film was so long they could have added a backstory of some sort), because she's off the screen and the movie's over in less than ten minutes after we first hear of it.

This plot, is all over the place if simply put, it sets up a lot of questions for us to ask. It's hard to understand why she's so reluctant to return to the moon (much less how she knows of her destiny), when her father was such a miserable person to her for pretty much her entire life, using her to gain some semblance of self-worth. I never got any time to try to relate to her, or to glean any sense of her relationship with others as I just didn’t feel connected to the character. The plot skips when it should walk crawl and when it should run. At over two hours long, it both rushes and drags in ways I haven't seen in cinema for many years now. Stories like this are the reason so many storytelling tropes have been invented and accepted over the years. This film simply follows a three part plot beginning middle and end but overall in my opinion it was rushed.

Sadly, there's not much else to save it. The music is fitting, and not overbearing. It's not to my liking unfortunately but it's well-done. The voice acting for the three main characters is worth applauding. The performances are characteristically stilted and flat, which might fit the Disney-imported trend, but it's hardly required.

If i had to sum this film up i mildly enjoyed the first 20 minutes to 30 minutes of the film, but if i had to be honest I tried so hard to keep my eyes open, in my opinion it was simply too long rushed and un interesting

~Ryan ~

Inside Out

Sian, 10

5 out of 5
School
The Henry Moore Primary School
Review Date
14 January, 2016

Inside Out

Exciting, mindbubbling, amazing!! That is the three words to describe this film. It takes you through the life of this girl. You may ask why I have chosen these three words? That is they are true. Exciting, the excitement of the film is so high I couldn't take my eyes of the screen. Mindbubbling, it made me think, have I got these characters in my head and now when I fell one of the emotions I always think what character is taking over the control. Amazing, because it dug deep into my heart and it made me feel as if I was in these situations
and that's what I think about,
INSIDE OUT

The Great Gatsby

zoe, 17

5 out of 5
School
Knutsford High School
Review Date
13 January, 2016

The Great Gatsby

The great Gatsby.
A movie of a lavish life full of parties,money,alcohol and love. The life all people dream of brought into a huge motion picture

The original author of the book F.Scott Fitzegard wrote the novel based on a 'Tragic love theory"he decided to produce the book after visiting Long island and seeing the phenomenal parties the rich and glamorous threw he said " something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned" director of the 2013 movie of "The Great Gatsby" stuck very close to the novel out line the same characters,town and location all set in the summer of 1922.

Further more not only did Baz Luhrmann produce and direct Gatsby but Romeo and Juliet in its modern day version yet with original scripture,Moulin Rouge a musical but a classic play its self and Australia and dramatic love story factually based upon cattleman and land in Australia ,all won awards at several shows.

The aspect of dramatic tragedy within the Great Gatsby's vase is there wanting of what you can't have by allowing himself to fall for a woman who he lost years ago yet consistently pursued her for a chance at love. The style of the move is 1920's based yet has intertwined modern music with artists such as Jay-z and Will.Ii.am to appeal to a younger audiences ,yet the music remains emotive with a classic background tone,the age could roughly range about 15 and over .They also represent this through the variety of actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio who was also in previous Baz Luhrmann movies such as Romeo and Juliet but also Tobey McGuire who was a previous spiderman ,the movies tone is upbeat and glamourised with vibrant colours and dramatic speech. Also a point to make which linked the book to the movie was the cover of the novel is the iconic billboard we see within the movie which is seen as "the eyes of judgement".

However Baz Luhrmann gave Gatsby a dramatic twist involving his surroundings,for example within the summer the parties are booming the alcohol is flowing and the movie commences on a general high,however after the summer as autumn draws nearer and the leaves turn brown and the winds get cold the movies draws to its emotive dark end leaving watchers on the edge of their seats.

In relation i would personally describe the movie as an emotional roller coaster with highs that make you want to laugh to lows which will bring a tear to anyones eyes,Leonardo DiCaprio with Baz Luhrmann combine to create a masterpiece movie from the original novel whilst including the original scripture which is what Baz was also raved about by critics for doing with Romeo and Juliet.Also an iconic feature within this movie is what could be described as a "loop" where Tobey McGuire who plays Nick carraway starts in the mental institution filled with confusion,pain and over flowing with emotion which loops the whole movie back to "Nick" curled up on the sofa finished his masterpiece now seen as a calm figure now released all his emotion into the novel portraying the original author (F.Scott Fitzgerald) .

Personally i love this movie ,the costumes,colours and the actors who amazingly portray very emotive and deep characters but also the contextual links throughout the play to the tradition novel are accurate and make you want to pick up the book and give it a read for yourself.

Rear Window

Jay, 14

4 out of 5
School
St Clere's School
Review Date
12 January, 2016

Rear Window

IGNORE NEGATIVE REVIEWS!

This movie is great! Though it starts off a little slow, the film builds up very well, with the help of some non- diegetic music. The crime theme of the film really shines through, as crippled Detective & Photographer James Stewart spies across his rear window apartment at the friendly neighbors going about their daily business. Break-ups, Depression, Make-ups, Dance, Gardening, Music playing and party hosting. But their is one thing that catches the keen (and bored) eye of Detective Stewart-

Murder.

Well, at least, he believes he has seen murder. I'm not going to spoil too much, but i can reveal that a murder does actually take place in this movie. And with the help of his young girlfriend Lisa, who seems determined to win her Fiance's heart again, Detective Stewart has to get to the bottom of this mystery, before it gets too late...

All that being said, the film is very enjoyable for a teen audience (12-16), as the murder-mystery/ spy detective theme is quite gripping, and the film does a good job at dropping several hints throughout- and red herrings. I was thoroughly entertained by the 'Rear Window', and I hope you will be too.

Now go watch it!

Mary and Max

JP, 19

4 out of 5
School
Coleg Sir Gar
Review Date
11 January, 2016

Mary and Max

Mary and Max is a 2009 Australian stop-motion animated dark comedy-drama film written and directed by Adam Elliot. With voices including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, Eric Bana, Bethany Whitmore and with narration by Barry Humphries. It tells the tale of two people who find solace and friendship in the most unlikeliest of places.

Before seeing this film I did have my doubts about it as I haven’t watched many stop motion films before, it took awhile to get into the story but after I had, I could see just how incredible the story and the message behind it was. The story is about eight-year-old Mary Daisy Dinkle and a 44-year-old ex-Jewish atheist Max Jerry Horowitz, two people who couldn’t be any more different, finding solace and comfort in each other when they needed it most.

I loved the differences in their worlds how everything in Max’s world was black and white, and Mary's world was colorful and bright. The only things of colour in Max’s world are the things that Mary has sent to him, a bright red pom pom that he wore on his head and the picture of herself that she drew for him. It was all bright and stood out in his dark world; it was as if she was the only thing that put colour and light into his life.

I was in awe of one scene that I saw in the film where Max was typing furiously on his typewriter, the amount of work and effort that must have gone into just that one scene is phenomenal.

I also liked the music in the film, it fit with the story well and kept my interest all the way through.

I will definitely be watching more stop motion films in the future and also more films by Adam Elliot.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Emilia, 10

5 out of 5
School
Stratton Primary School
Review Date
10 January, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

With the all powerful First Order leader, Kylo Ren, it's an edge of your seat adventure through the galaxy. The Force Awakens is a thrilling film with some of the old favourites including Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (General Organa) and Mark Hamill ( Luke Skywalker). With the latest droid BB-8,new characters such as the heroic and gutsy Rey(Daisy Ridley) and advanced special effects, this is one of the greatest films I have seen in a while.

I hope you all enjoy this sensational motion picture - the newest episode of Star Wars history.


May The Force Be With You!! :)

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