Reviews of the Week

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When Marnie Was There

Stella, 12

5 out of 5
School
St James Senior Girls’ School
Review Date
28 March, 2017

When Marnie Was There

I think this film would touch the heart of even the most cold-hearted of people, it is the most unpredictable and complicated story I’ve ever seen!
Now something that is quiet unusual to put in a review, I can only really enjoy foreign or studio ghibli films if they are in their original language, I just think it makes the whole experience better!
Being able to access so many foreign and old films in this day and age is an honour!
Lastly the feeling, the love, the animation in detail, of the sorrow of their face, is almost unbelievable beyond belief, and if the story is as amazing as this one you’re in for a real treat!
And can I just say this film is so clever because it represents so many things for example, the scene of Anna as a young girl, surrounded by these men, looking scared out of her wits, I think represents the idea of panic and drowning.
The connection of family is key in this film, and this film manages to cram laughter, sadness, hysterical tears, and compared to all of the other films I’ve seen stretching far out into the world of film, really by far my favourite film. And I will remember crying hysterically coming out of the cinema for ever! As this film has death, love and letting go of the past, and it taught me to take no one for granted! And it teaches us all something!
(Don’t watch this film if you’re looking for a laugh, watch it if you want to watch a sensational film!!)

Shaun The Sheep Movie

Shaylah, 10

5 out of 5
School
St Andrew's Benn CofE (Voluntary Aided) Primary School
Review Date
30 March, 2017

Shaun The Sheep Movie

The greatest delights derive from this adorable, entertaining story, featuring farm yard hero, Shaun The Sheep. Its extremely brave; telling an 82 minute movie without words- like the best-selling movie charlie brown and the peanuts movie. The sweet-natured, expertly-crafted film is action packed with giggle-worthy gags and body-tingling tunes to make sure to crack you up. If you don't find this all-age film fun, are you sure you have a funny bone?! Over all, i rate this film a five star since it is definitely worth watching again.

~A st Andrews Benn student~

Chaplin

John, 15

4 out of 5
School
St Andrew's Academy
Review Date
29 March, 2017

Chaplin

Chaplin is like a ten foot beautiful ornate bar of chocolate, as in even though it is great, there is simply far too much of it for a person to take in through one sitting.

The film takes on the task of showing the private life of famous entertainer Charlie Chaplin, and how the process of creating great "simple" slapstick requires a truly complex man. Overall the performances in the movie are well done, but the star of the show is definitely Robert Downey Jr. He keeps the lovable comedic traits that people expect of Chaplin while showing his more complex emotions when dealing with people close to him. His banter with Douglas Fairbanks shows Downey at his best, creating levity while also discussing important matters.

The stylised scenes sprinkled throughout the movie are definitely the highlights of the film, creating a Chaplinesque feel while still advancing the plot. The use of classic Chaplin techniques for the action is the best place to notice the more subtle nods to the movie's namesake, with none popping out of the screen drenched in bad taste, which is highly commendable.

The script, however could have done with a further draft or two, as it just seemed as though the writers were going into intensive detail about relatively unimportant points in his life, which seriously impedes pacing throughout the movie. These details are still well directed and enjoyable but just slow the movie far too much. The classic cheesy 90s "where are they now sequence" makes an unwelcome visit at the end of the movie, which could have been excused if it weren't for it dragging on for an ungodly period of time, which significantly damages the goodwill that it had been building up with the reader throughout the movie, as it is the last thing the viewer will see and the most prominent thing in their mind about the movie even long after viewing.

The movie is a beautifully shot homage to Chaplin that still manages to be its own independent entity.

4/5

Kong: Skull Island

Auden, 15

3 out of 5
School
Denbigh School
Review Date
29 March, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island is a flawed film with a lot of problems, but it is also extremely entertaining and surprisingly original, and as a popcorn movie it's pretty great.

Jordan Vogt-Roberts maybe wasn't ready to direct such a massive film, but his exciting voice really breaks through here. Interesting camera work and great cinematography from Larry Fong aid the films awesome Vietnam war feel, as well as the insane action scenes. The huge monster fights are incredible - the effects on the creatures are amazing and watching them battle it out in lingering wide shots is amazing. It's surprisingly brutal too, pushing the PG-13 rating to it's limit, allowing for some intense violence. It also breezes along with a refreshing 118 minute run time, keeping the pace quick and and constantly entertaining.

One thing I did appreciate was the practical filming which makes the film seem more realistic, however when blue screen is used it can be very obvious and fake-looking. Also, although great for the bigger action scenes, the editing in smaller, more dialogue focused scenes (particularly near the beginning of the film) feels a bit off.

The films biggest weakness is the characters however, suffering from a problem a lot of films have. There are way to many of them, and most of them, although entertaining, seem to have just one discernible character trait (as in the tough-guy, the token women, the silent guy, the funny one etc.). You like them, but that's not down to the writing, but to the likable and talented actors, including a-listers like Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and John Goodman; as well as up-and-comers like Thomas Mann, Corey Hawkins, and Jason Mitchell, all of whom can feel wasted. Toby Kebbell is the most under-served here, becoming what is essentially a predictable walking plot device, which he is much better than as he proved in the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Warcraft.

There are a couple of exceptions, like Samuel Jackson's Colonel who's motivation is obvious enough, and John C. Reilly's stranded WW2 soldier who is easily the standout. He's a fun and well-rounded character who you actually care about. His oddball jokes do create a very weird tone, but this doesn't derail the film, it just adds to the unique feel.

The real standout though is Kong himself - he's huge, commanding and you're just in awe of him whenever he's on screen. Watching him fight Godzilla in 2020 is going to be formidable, although the film does well to tell it's own story rather than justs set up a sequel (which it solely leaves to a post credits scene) which is actually very refreshing in this day and age.

This is a flawed but really fun blockbuster, in the vein of recent films like Pacific Rim, which may be silly but are also aware of this, and use it to their advantage; leaving you with an original and entertaining movie with a clear vision - even if it has it's fair share of problems.

Africa United

Usman , 0

4 out of 5
School
Burnside Secondary PRU
Review Date
29 March, 2017

Africa United

The story begins in Rwanda where a football fanatic Dudu Kayenzi is teaching a group of children how to make a football out of condoms, plastic bags and strings. Meanwhile, his best friend (Fabrice) who has a passion for playing football longs to pursue his dreams. Fabrice's ability to do 'kick ups' are amazing. The kids travel from Rwanda to South Africa(for the 2010 world cup), on the way they bump into couple other young people who have there own story. The genre of the film is, 'family film','comedy','adventure','animation'.

I thought that this film was great because, people had there own stories.Also, the 'Africa United' crew is very passionate about making it to the world cup; even though, Dudu
is ill from HIV.

The overall message of this film is nothing is impossible(the dream team).
I would recommend this film to everyone because it is touching.

The Princess Bride

Shaan, 15

5 out of 5
School
St James Senior Girls’ School
Review Date
29 March, 2017

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride (directed by Rob Reiner) was an absolutely spectacular film! Rob Reiner immediately nails and reflects the essence of story-telling captured from the book. When I read the original book and then watched the movie I was shocked (in a good way) by how some of the scenes were interpreted. A lot of moments throughout the movie had me on the edge of my seat whilst I made frustrated, nonsensical sounds as some of my favourite characters came into trouble with some tough situations. The scene that had me most captivated yet frustrated (plot-wise not directorial or actor-wise) was when Westley (which a lot of you will most certainly fall in love with) was being tortured by Prince Humperdinck and the main protagonist Buttercup had no idea! (If you watch the film or have read the book you'll understand why). One of the most comical characters portrayed was Inigo Montoya, a raring to go Spaniard with a penchant for vengeance. (Mandy Patinkin did absolutely amazing in this role). Even if you have read the book, you'll find that the characters are truly brought to life in this fantastically comical piece. And even if you haven't, you're abs will be hurting by the time you're even finished watching the movie and you're on the floor in tears from roaring with laughter! 10/10 would recommend!

Cloverfield

Alfie, 15

3 out of 5
School
Lipson The Co-operative Academy
Review Date
29 March, 2017

Cloverfield

There have been many a version of giant monster films from the seemingly never ending Godzilla franchise to the most recent iteration of King Kong in Kong: Skull Island coming out in 2017 there just seems to be no end with our fascination of giant killer beasts rising out of the ocean and leveling iconic cities. Despite many great monster films being out for a number of years, I myself have never had an interest in watching any of them because I am not usually interested in these types of films. However when I was told that there was a monster film that was combined with found footage, I had to see for myself if this genre of film could wheel me in. So sit back, grab your camcorder, prep your bunker and let us continue on with this review.


Cloverfield is found footage from a personal camcorder containing segments tapped on the night of Friday the 22nd of May. We follow the heroic crusade of our 4 main protagonists Rob, Lily, Hud and Marlena as they traverse across New York City to rescue Beth, Rob’s ex girlfriend from the crumbling remains of her home. All the while, an enormous beast unlike nothing ever seen before ravages the City, killing millions whichever way it goes. As chaos and pandemonium ensue and the army’s efforts to kill the beast begin to put the lives of the civilians at risk, can our protagonists save Beth and escape the Big Apple with their lives? Well… You know how these types of film usually end…


I myself have never watched the Blair Witch Project, arguably one of the founding films to start the found footage film branch, and I have no plans to watch it for the foreseeable future not because I have ruled it out as a bad film (I would be unjustified to do so unless I watched it), but rather because I feel as if the core aspects of a found footage film are starting to become repetitive. Let’s focus on what I enjoyed about Cloverfield. The thing I have to praise Matt Reeves, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Drew Goddard the most about Cloverfield is how they managed to capture the chaos and the uncertainty that surrounded every moment in the film. Similarly to a real live disaster, people were running for their lives, shops were being looted, the army was coordinating efforts to evacuate the city, it felt like a real life emergency and for some time I truly believed that I was watching a real life recording of ordinary people caught in this mass pandemonium. The effects were amazing and the level of detail that went into turning the Big Apple from a mass populated area into this almost post apocalyptic city makes me sad that we never had long enough to appreciate the time that went into creating it. On a side note however, I am incredibly glad that the writers didn’t just use a replica of Godzilla and actually took the effort to design a new monster, not easy if you think about it.


Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to what I disliked about the film.The camera work was shaky making it incredibly difficult to see the surroundings in Cloverfield while our characters were on the move. When there was however time dedicated to breaking up the action and suspense, they focussed on some arguably pointless dialogue instead of moments which could have developed our main protagonists both physically and emotionally. While it could be argued that the shaking camera added some realism to the film, what can not be argued for was the dialogue that at most points in the beginning was pointless. I remember a scene around the end of the film where after one of our main cast has just died horrifically, our remaining protagonists shrug it off as a “Yeah I’m Ok”. This is how I felt about our main cast throughout Cloverfield. Due to the long running trope of most if not all the main characters dying in a found footage film, it was incredibly hard for me to become invested in these characters and it sadly got to the point where I no longer cared weather our cast lived or died. From a writer’s standing point this is the worst case scenario, they want us as the audience to become invested in their characters, to feel happiness when something goes their way and sadness if our character fails. The reason why a death in Star Wars or Star Trek affects us more is because we as an audience have grown so accustomed to these people; we’ve seen their little quirks, we’ve celebrated their victories with them and have even seen them at their darkest moments, so when we see them perish it affects us greatly. In Cloverfield however, time is taken away from developing our main casts personalities and instead devoted to pointless dialogue that didn’t go anywhere.


I would recommend Cloverfield to 15 year olds and older as there is understandably a large amount of foul language present in the film. Also, there are one or two scenes in particular which while not on par with the gore seen in a Chainsaw Massacre film, were still some what disturbing nonetheless. Overall I found the idea of a found footage monster film to be interesting but executed poorly. As a monster film I did really enjoy it but as a found footage film, I would say that nothing new has been brought to this branch of film. I may one day try another found footage film though I make no promises on that. On a final note, as of recently I have not been able to post reviews as often as I would have liked but I hope to make a change to that very soon. Thank you for reading and I will be reviewing again very soon. P.S. I hope everyone has a good half term break!

The Hunger Games

Stevie, 9

5 out of 5
School
Meadows Primary School & Nursery
Review Date
28 March, 2017

The Hunger Games

 
The hunger games ,

Bang crash there is nothing more like a film where the Capital turn there back against you .if you are looking for a film where a war starts every year to help there district to be able to afford food and a life to live in then your search has ended because this is the film for you .

What would you do if your younger sibling got picked to fighte for your district well mine sertainely would not last a second out there without stubbing here toe.

Are you clever then see if you can work out what the contestants skill is let me give you a clue it is either a bow and arrow or making electric shock or is very strong .

This is a story about a a girl named katniss and she has got nomernated to play in the hunger games by the capital this is where lots of contestants risk there life's to live in a much more rich way .

It sounds crazy but katniss did not actually get nominated her sister prim did but Katniss volenteered . Because she was onely twelve .

Moonrise Kingdom

Mia, 11

4 out of 5
School
Lyndon School Humanities College
Review Date
27 March, 2017

Moonrise Kingdom

I have mixed feelings about this film, fortunately more positive than negative. I adored the 1960's setting and the general style of the film , however at first the story felt a bit fast -not really rushed .I really liked how you need more than one word to describe the genre for this film , as in you can't just call it a romance or just adventure , it's a mix (whether you like that or not is your opinion). Furthermore , I think the characters Suzie and Sam are very vibrant , Suzie suffers from depression and Sam is emotionally disturbed (sorry if I got that wrong I'm trying to memorise details) which some may relate to and know they're not alone . I found the humour quite swell too , and the whole idea for this movie is very inventive! However , I feel the relationship between Sam and Suzie happened so quick , they almost followed the 'love at first sight' storyline, the characters and the storytelling made up for that though. Overall , I'd give this a 3 and a half ( I can't do that on here so I'll give it a nice 4!) . I'd recommend this movie to those who enjoy films with hints of multiple genres packed in one!

Charlotte's Web

Karen, 10

5 out of 5
School
Bell Lane Primary School
Review Date
27 March, 2017

Charlotte's Web

Firstly, I LOVED this film. It was amazing.

This film was about a girl, called Fern Arable. She was a really sweet girl, that saved a pig's life. She said that se would take care of him, but after some days she stopped because she was too busy. Wilbur, (The pig) was in a farm with lots of other animals. He then meets this really nice spider called Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger, Charlotte writes a message on her web so she can try persuade the farmer to let the pig live.

My favourite character was Charlotte, because she was super kind to help a pig keep it's life. It really impressed me that such a little creature can do so much.

My least favourite character was Templeton, ( The Rat) because at the start he was really rude to the pig but then he started being more nice. But he still is my least favourite character.

The graphics were really amazing, the spider looked really realistic. I don't think that they used a real spider though , but if they did (which is really rare) then Wow.

If this film would be an ice cram flavour it would be strawberry for the pig with some chocolate sprinkles for the spider with some vanilla sauce for the girl.

I would recommend this film to any age from one to fifty.

Herbie - Fully Loaded

Hettie, 7

5 out of 5
School
Crudgington Primary School
Review Date
25 March, 2017

Herbie - Fully Loaded

A fast and funny trip with Herbie! I liked Herbie Rides Again and Herbie goes Bananas but this is my favourite.
I like it because Maggie and Herbie make a great racing team. The races were so exciting I was shouting "COME ON HERBIE." There were lots of funny scenes especially when Trip Murphy, a selfish race driver, tries to meddle with Herbie but he gets a surprise that made me giggle.
Maggie has to teach her Dad that girls can be racers too.
The film also has people you will recognise from other films and TV shows in it.
All my friends should watch it.

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