Casino Royale

James wanted to watch a Bond film in the weekend, so he chose this one as he has not seen it yet.

I have seen this a couple of times before at least, with my last post about it way back in 2012. So here is what I wrote that time:

I saw this a few years back for the first time and decided to watch it again to see how well it has stood up after seeing most of the older Bond movies.

And I was quite impressed. Daniel Craig was as good as I remember and the rest of the film was much more polished, mature and action-like than any Bond film before it, but pretty much minus the camp Bond humour. That though did not matter too much, this seemed more like a proper action/thriller/spy film that can hold it’s own against the Jason Bourne and Tom Cruise flicks that could have easily wiped out Bond if he did not get up with the times.

Hopefully Daniel Craig does a few more Bond films.

I am in agreeance with myself on what I wrote, but I don’t agree with my score of 8.5 out of 10, it was a tad too generous. There were a few long scenes where the story slowed down just a bit too much and I was longing for some action sequences. The poker game for example dragged on a bit which could have been shortened or livened up a bit with a shootout at some point. And the romance storyline in the third act, which seemed like it was tacked on, was kind of dull… it too needed a shootout scene or at least a car chase somewhere.

But these gripes aside it was still a good Bond film, and solidified Daniel Craig as a very worthy Bond.

Date watched: August 3rd
Score: 7.5/10
James’ score: 7.5/10
Film count 2019: 22

The Informers

Not long into watching this I realised I had seen this before, and looking back through my blog posts I found that I had reviewed it back in September, 2012. No matter, it was kind of worth watching again.

The film involves different characters and follows them as they go through 1980’s high life in Los Angeles. So there is a lot of being high, and one character comes down with a mysterious new sickness, the result of sleeping around too much.

The acting by all is superb, and it should be with actors like Mickey Rourke, Amber Heard, Kim Basinger, Winona Ryder, and Billy Bob Joe Hank William Thornton. Chris Isaak is in it too, and he did an admirable job of it.

Ultimately though it didn’t really do much at the end. Some of the stories had an ending, some not, and maybe it was not supposed to come to a satisfying end. Basically the film was about despair, loneliness, and helplessness so perhaps the filmmakers were trying to get us all really down.

A whole subplot that involved vampires was cut from the film, perhaps for the best. Then again, it could have spiced the film up more. There was one scene in the film though that did show a remnant of that plot (involving a very nasty and pale-faced character who was trying to buy a kidnapped child). The film was a huge bomb, which is a pity as it was not a terrible film, but I guess most people want a happy ending, and maybe keeping the vampires would have helped.

Date watched: July 6th
Score: 7/10
Film count 2019: 20

The Pianist

This is based on the true story of a Polish=Jew who survived the German occupation in World War Two, directed by Roman Polanski. And it is most excellent. It was a French, German, Polish, and British co-production.

Adrien Brody plays Wladyslaw Szpilman, a gifted piano player who along with his parents, sisters and brothers tries to survive the German occupation after Poland is invaded. Things only get worse of course.

The film portrays the hardship and horror of what the Jews had to go through, some of it quite shocking, and no doubt based on actual accounts of what went on. I didn’t know that a part of Warsaw was used to house all of the Jews in the city temporarily, and was walled off from the rest of the city, like the Berlin Wall.

The acting was absolutely superb from all, as was the direction and the sets. Some of the shots of bombed-out streets towards the end of the film could not have possibly been real, so the CG was most excellent too.

It is a long film at 150 minutes, but it does not feel like it at all.

Not an uplifting film, and not easy to watch at times, but it’s three Academy Awards (out of seven nominations) proves that this is a must-watch.

Date watched: June 1st
Score: 10/10
Film count 2019: 16

Fish Tank

My roll of excellent films continues with this 2009 BBC drama film, written and directed by Andrea Arnold.

As you can see on the poster above, there are a lot of stars which signifies that this is indeed a very good film.

It tells the story of Mia, a rather angry 15 year old who is not going to school and gets into all sorts of trouble. She is a loner and picks fights with the neighbourhood girls, and like her mother drinks a lot. But she is a talented hip-hop dancer, and wants to become a dancer like those she sees in hip-hop videos. She lives with her mother and younger sister, and in the film the mother becomes involved with Michael Fassbender, which is where all of the drama begins.

This is a very raw film, no dramatic music or over-acted dramatics, just a very real look at problems in an East London council estate (depressing-looking places). The acting by all is superb. The girl playing Mia’s younger sister was especially good, she must have been 9 or 10 at the time.

From Wikipedia about the actress who played Mia:

Katie Jarvis, who plays Mia, had no prior acting experience. She was cast for the film after one of Arnold’s casting assistants saw her arguing with her boyfriend in Tilbury Town.

And…

In early 2014, she was reportedly under consideration for a role in the Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens after taking a hiatus from acting to concentrate on her family. However, she did not appear in the film.

She has just finished a role in EastEnders.

Excellent stuff.

Date watched: May 4th
Score: 9.5/10
Film count 2019: 13

Children of Men

I watched this back in 2008 and recently decided I had to see this excellent film again.

As I wrote in my original post for this it is a brilliant film. It is extremely well made, acted, and told. The story is pretty depressing stuff on the whole, but it ends with hope for humankind.

Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Michael Caine were all bonkers good, as were the rest of the cast. The cinematography was stunning, especially the long shots which this film is well known for. The dark post-apocalyptic style of the film looked very good, they certainly went to a lot of trouble to make it look that way.

Some of it seemed a bit forced, especially the extras who were trying just a bit too hard to look desperate and downtrodden. No biggie though.

I will definitely watch this again in another 11 years time, and blog about it again of course. Gee, I wonder what Tommo will be starring in then? He will be 67 in 2030.

Date watched: May 3rd
Score: 9/10
Film count 2019: 12

Headhunter

This is a very slick 2011 Norwegian thriller about a headhunter/art thief. It was dubbed into English, unfortunately.

The headhunter, who for some reason has the very English name of Roger Brown (in the original Norwegian language film as well), headhunts a Danish fellow who worked for a big American tech company, but what Roger does not know is that he is being used as part of a scheme to steal secrets from a rival company. It is actually a lot more complicated, but not too difficult to follow. Everything is very neatly tied up at the end.

It is very well made, very Hollywood in style, but being Scandinavian it goes places where Hollywood would not dare tread (nudity and some gore). It is also very well acted and is just an all-round good film to watch for a few thrills and action.

The rights for an English language remake were of course bought by an American film studio (Summit Entertainment), and were actually sold even before the Norwegian film had finished production. I have no idea what kind of budget it will have, but if it gets big money then of course Tommo will get the main part.

As I wrote earlier, it was dubbed with American voice actors and it was quite jarring. I don’t like anything dubbed, so even if Tommo himself dubbed the main character I still wouldn’t like it… actually, having Tommo voice-act the main role could be quite entertaining.

Certainly the best Norwegian thriller I have seen for quite some time. Maybe only.

Date watched: May 2nd
Score: 8/10
Film count 2019: 11

4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

This is a 2007 Romanian film set during the days of Nicolae Ceaușescu and tells the story of a university student and her friend who is illegally getting an abortion.

So there is no need then to explain that this is heavy stuff and overall quite a downer. It is though a very well made and told film and has some very tense scenes, the final five minutes or so especially. It is all done without dramatic music of any kind, no fancy cinematography, or over-the-top acting.

The acting is superb, and for the two main female roles was obviously very difficult at times.

It was very interesting to listen to the Romanian language. It seems to be very similar to both Italian and Russian, and even a little French.

Superbness.

Date watched: May 1st
Score: 10/10
Film count 2019: 10