Tag Archives: film

Review for “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas”

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

There’s something particularly peculiar about the adaptation of this particular novel. A children’s book with very adult themes, the story is told from the perspective of the narrator, an 8 year old boy who moves to Auschwitz with his family including his Nazi superior officer father, but without understanding the reasons behind the move, nor exactly what it is that his father does there. The story is revealed to the reader at the same pace as the lead character, and therein lies the problem. Not only has The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas been translated into 34 languages around the world, and remained in the Irish Bestseller’s List for over a year, the film has to take a different slant towards the story. Telling a story from a perspective is one thing, but showing it is something else entirely.

The film does take a fair amount of time to get going, especially considering its rather meagre running time of 94 minutes, but once it arrives at its destination, the sense of foreboding ratchets up constantly. As Bruno, the inquisitive boy always looking for adventune, Asa Butterfield delivers a performance that can be placed among the ranks of the Fanning’s and the Joel Osmand’s of the world; kids with scarily too much talent for their age. But even surpassing him is Jack Scanlon as Schmuel, aka The Boy, who’s expressions rarely fail to be set to either confused depression and rampant fear. The image of Bruno, son of the Soldier in charge of one of the Auschwitz concentration camps, trying to play a game with Schmuel, who doesn’t understand why he’s being treated so badly beyond knowing that its because he’s Jewish, across a barb-wired electrified fence is striking, and just one of the many images that will remain in your memory long after the film is over.

Outside of the children, the adults all step their game up. David Thewlis plays the German soldier/father with suiting subtlety, being impossibly creepy as a loving father all the while knowing exactly what his happening in his back garden. Vera Farmiga outdoes herself as the mother of the family, trying to keep a loving household together in the midst of such a violent atmosphere. And Rupert Friend is absolutely terrifying as a rage-fuelled soldier with a possible murky past of his own.

Director Mark Herman knows how to play down a situation and let the story speak for itself, and has proven himself fully capable of such in the past with small hits like Little Voice and Brassed Off, but here he seems overtly aware of the story’s power and where it is all inevitably heading, and underplays the entire thing to such a degree that for the most part it seems like nothing is ever going to happen. But lurking beneath all the scenes of emotional ambiguity and personality revolutions, there is a constant sense of dread, and while we may not know for sure, but we all know that this can not end well. The climax still retains the same power that the book had, perhaps even more so thanks to a fantastic score by James Horner.

But in the end, the movie will leave with the feeling that while very competently made and well acted, it was a 5 minute climax that merely required a 90 minute build up. Everything that had gone before was secondary to how it was going to end. In this case, where we got was the most important part, not how we got there.

Seven Out Of Ten

Young Voldemort played by chocolate bar!

New pictures from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are online today, courtesy of USA Today (here). They show Tom Riddle aka the young Voldemort, and Dumbledore in full fiery action mode.

The young he-who-must-not-be-named is played by (see if you can guess which famous fellow cast member he’s related to!) 10 year old Hero Fiennnes-Tiffin.

Let me say that again: Hero Fiennes-Tiffin.

Who. The. Fuck. Names their kid that?! He has not one, but TWO chocolate bars in his name! Voldemort is meant to inspire fear and dread – not make me peckish for a cup of tea and chocolate treat!

Although he does now become our new favourite “child actor with hilarious name”. The previous title holder was Mackintosh Muggleton, the kid from 28 Weeks Later. His always sounded like a makey-uppy Harry Potter name anyway, so now our new favourite is actually in a Harry Potter film – brilliant!

Picture: Dumbledore couldn’t quite remember if he turned off the gas before leaving Hogwarts.

The film’s trailer will be online later today. We’ll have it up later. But only if it’s better than the shit teaser trailer (here).

10 things we’ve learned from Comic Con 2008

1) Fat people should not wear spandex. Or any tight-fitting costumes.

Ironman does like Burger King

Ironman does like Burger King

2) Kids in costumes are very cute, as are whole families dressing up.

The family that dresses up together, stays together.

The family that dresses up together, stays together.

Although some are just creepy.

I know a doctor who might be able to help you.

I know a doctor who might be able to help you.

But either way, there will probably be therapy issues later in life.

3) Terminator Salvation may be okay.

Full Throttle

The tragic results of excessive exposure to Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

Read how McG wowed the Comic Con crowds here. News that Jonathon (brother of Chris) Nolan is the “lead” scriptwriter is encouraging.

4) Hugh Jackman knows how to work a crowd. And is still hot even with shaggy hair and beard.

Hugh Jackman shakes hands with Len Wein, creator of the character Wolverine

Hugh Jackman shakes hands with Len Wein, creator of the character Wolverine

5) Comic Con girls dress slutty. But we like it.

Evil cheerleaders

Evil cheerleaders

6) Twilight fans are INSANE. And scream too much and too loud. And Robert Pattinson’s hair is ridiculous.

Robert Pattinson's silly hair

Robert Pattinson's silly hair

You can watch the video below, but Correct Opinion are not responsible for any loss of hearing incurred. You have been warned.

7) Turns out San Diego doesn’t actually mean “whale’s vagina”.

We want to believe...

We want to believe...

8 ) There is a very good feeling about Watchmen.

Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II), Zac Snyder (director) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschack) presented well-received new footage

Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II), Zack Snyder (director) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) presented well-received new footage

9) Ray Stevenson looks great in a suit. But that still doesn’t mean the new Punisher will be any good.

Titus Pullo scrubs up pretty well

Titus Pullo scrubs up pretty well

10) Some people get way into their costume. But it’s all cool. Geek cool.

You'll believe a man can wear baby blue

You'll believe a man can wear baby blue

Go on...admit it...it looks fun...right?

Go on...admit it...it looks fun...right?

For more photos, blogs and videos direct from the event, check out Empire’s Comic Con coverage here.

Christian Bale: not just Batman!

That’s right folks. In the week of The Dark Knight, when all we hoped for it came to pass, another Christian Bale film is sneaking out some teaser stuff. Not content with one mega huge franchise, he’s also part of another little-known, not-that-popular, could-do-with-more-action indie series. What’s it called again…oh yeah….Terminator something.

There are many reasons for our reaction to Terminator Salvation to vary from indifference to skepticism to outright hostility, but most can be summed up in one word: McG. The McDonalds happy meal of the directing world, we have every reason to fear the worst. But at least the marketing team are earning their retainer so far. The previously reported trailer gives some good hints and flashes, without being stupid enough to show us any real, judge-able footage just yet.

And today’s shot of John Connor? Bale’s just doing what he does best – kicking ass and taking names.

And thank jebus they’ve dropped the original cumbersome title for the better-but-not-quite-as-good-as-just-T4 for Terminator Salvation.

Who watches the Watchmen trailer?

Empire have the exclusive on the first trailer for Watchmen, the Zac Snyder-directed movie adaption of the brilliant graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. You can watch it here or on the no-doubt-soon-to-be-removed youtube version below.

(EDIT: the Empire online link has been removed for now. The article (here) clearly went up too soon, although AICN are linking to it too.

EDIT #2: Empire seem to have lost their exclusive. It’s up all over the net, and Apple trailers has the glorious HD version here.)

The film itself isn’t due out until March 2009, but to say it’s eagerly anticipated doesn’t even begin to describe the fans’ expectations.

Set in a parallel 1980’s set world, Watchmen tells the story of a group of costumed superheroes, who are now outlawed. They have to renew their association, though, when one of their own is murdered and the whole group appears to be targeted.

Snyder’s film version has cast Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhatten, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, Patrick Wilson as Niteowl, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Comedian, Matthew Goode as Ozymandias and Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II.

The trailer is fab. The comic-to-film comparison is very impressive, without appearing too comic-y. For the special effects on Dr. Manhattan to be this good so early in the process bodes well. Although he does appear to have been given a pair of hide-his-modesty briefs at 1:38 – let’s hope that’s just the trailer! We’re still not quite buying into Matthew Goode as Ozymandias, but the others look the part (well, as much as you can tell at this stage with the masked Rorschach).

And a comment on the choice of song used: the Smashing Pumpkins’ The Beginning is the End is the Beginning. Not The End is the Beginning is the End, as used on Batman and Robin – nice cheeky touch! Hopefully it’s Snyder’s way of telling us that this won’t be shit.

Trailer Park Triple – Max, Choke, Elegy

The first trailer for the John Moore-directed Max Payne has been revealed to the interweb:

For some reason, this seems better the second or third time you watch it. As trailers go, it’s nicely paced and edited, with some good shots on view without (seeminly) giving too much away. It helps that it has Marilyn Manson’s “If I Was Your Vampire” as the soundtrack. Hard to say at this early stage if Wahlberg &co will do justice to the video game source, but we’re not giving up hope. Yet.

Next up is the redband trailer from Choke, based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel:

Still using the great Clap Your Hands Say Yeah song, “Satan Said Dance”, (anyone else noticing a trend in trailer songs being used….?), this trailer has more new footage, more new laughs, more naughtiness and, more importantly for some of you, more boobs! This film is shaping up nice and the early good word from the likes of Sundance and SXSW bode well.

And if you haven’t joined the Fox Searchlight facebook page yet, go do so now! Just the other week, they sent members a link to four potential TV spots for Choke, and we got to vote on the best one. So even if the one you vote for didn’t get picked, you still get to see all the clips. And wait! There’s more! The official movie page, http://www.chokeonthis.net, has some extra clips, such as passages from the book being read by exotic dancers. Need to get past the US age restrictions? Then pass yourself off as a wealthy writer-producer (Name: Larry David, DOB: 2 July 1947, Zip Code: 90210).

And on a different note, we have Elegy:

No soundtrack songs involving Satan or vampires, but we still have the potential ick-factor of Penelope Cruz sleeping with Sir Ben Kingsley. Yep, you read that right. This is adapted from Philip Roth’s novella The Dying Animal and directed by Isabel Coixet, and concerns a college professor (Kingsley) having an affair with one of his mature students (Cruz). Dennis Hopper and the ever-excellent Patricia Clarkson and Peter Sarsgaard round out the supporting cast.

Correct Opinion: bringing a little something for all the family.

June’s Top Five Films

She says:

The Incredible Hulk

And so the summer blockbuster season came into full swing. Your views on each will probably have depended on your advance expectations. As such, The Incredible Hulk scored well. It’s the comic book hero with the least appeal to me, so to have a film version that entertained, had laughs, very good CGI, good action sequences and good acting was a pleasant surprise. A solid, decent, good value-for-your-money movie.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

No kids franchise these days can deliver a sequel without promising us “darker”, but Prince Caspian is one installment that delivered on that promise. With less of the cutesy fantasy of its predecessor, the bad guys are real people here and actually die too, they aren’t just turned to stone. With all-too-human notions of greed, ambition, hubris and doubt at play, this pushes its PG rating to the limit. The special affects are vastly improved, some of the action sequences are genuinely thrilling and two out of four of the Pevensie kids turn in engaging performances (well done Skandar Keynes and Georgie Henley; must work harder Anna Popplewell and William Moseley – although this was their last chance, as neither will appear in Voyage of the Dawn Treader). Ben Barnes offers some smouldering good looks for the older viewer, while Peter Dinklage continues to delight and impress.

My Brother is an Only Child

An Italian family saga. Spanning multiple decades. Two very different brothers. Their love of the one woman. The Best of Youth (La Meglio Gioventu) I hear you ask? Not quite, although with two of the scriptwriters having worked on both films, comparisons are as understandable as they are inevitable. My Brother is an Only Child, however, still works on its own merits. Funny, warm and dramatically engaging, it tells of two brothers, Manrico and Accio (pronounced ‘Acho’, fact fans!) with clashing political beliefs. Set in 60’s and 70’s Italy, the clash between communists and facists serves as both a grander political back drop for the Italian story, and as a catalyst for the loving yet tense relationship between the brothers and their object of desire, Francesa.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

If a lack of overly high expectations worked in the favour of The Incredible Hulk, then the opposite was the case for Ford, Spielberg and Lucas’s latest (last?) outing as everyone’s favourite archaelogist (sorry Ross from Friends). While far from being a bad film, it certainly disappointed, especially towards the end. A bright opening, some good sequences and a genuinely engaging interplay between Ford and la Boeuf made for a good first hour and a half. We dared to dream. Then Lucas’s influences became all to clear and it lost its way somewhat, with an excess of unnecessary CGI and a ludricious denouement. Harrison Ford has still got it though, and there’s no denying that theme tune.

Mongol

The first in a planned trilogy to chart the life and rise to power of Genghis Khan, Mongol offers us a strange mix – a loving, loyal, family-oriented Genghis (he is still known as Temudjin at this stage), but with 300-esque bloody battle sequences. Oscar nominated for Best Foreign Film, Mongol displays scenes of breathtaking beauty, utilising the great expanses of the Mongolian steppes to great effect. While clearly taking some artistic liberties in telling the story, it is an interesting and well-made epic. We await the subsequent (although as-yet-unannounced) installments with positive anticipation.

Special mention: The Happening. Is it really that bad? Well, yes. Would it have worked if marketed as a knowningly-bad satire? Possibly. It’s the only way that the ponderous, badly-delivered dialogue, ludicrous plot and frequently visible sound boom can be explained. I predict a revisionist take by Shyamalan by the time of the DVD release.