Sunday, 23 October 2011

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Much like the book of the same name, Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin is a slow burner. Filled with repulsive (but effective) imagery of stale food and red stained houses, WNTTAK takes it's time before tackling the real meat of its story: How does a 15 year old boy commit mass murder?

In fact, Kevin doesn't even utter a single word until 30 minutes into the running time. The film, instead, focuses on the mother, Eva - played perfectly by a disconnected Tilda Swinton. Shifting from present day, where Eva lives a sheltered and nightmarish existence, to chronological flashbacks of Kevin's upbringing. Disorientating at first, the film finally finds a suitable rhythm with which to tell the story - making the inadaptable nature of the book seem all the more impressive when watching the film.

The beautiful thing about WNTTAK is its ability to be its own beast. The depth and slow brooding nature of the book are imaginatively recreated on screen via Ramsay's uncanny eye for the sinister. Innocuous actions, like Kevin making a strawberry jam sandwich, are turned into painfully creepy insights into the mind of a sociopath. This is helped immensely by a mesmerizing performance by Ezra Miller, who turns Kevin into the Hannibal Lecter of a new generation.

As for enjoyment, the 112 minute running time will feel like 5 hours of intensive hard labour. But for sheer psychoanalytical depth and breath-taking cinematography, WNTTAK cannot be beat.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Too old for this shit

Just like Courtney Cox's face, Scream 4 is fooling no one. A once great franchise has been brought back from the dead, only to be fucked up once again.

Scream 4 starts out surprisingly well. A few cheeky misdirections in the first 5 minutes give it the same unpredictable feel of the original. This soon, however, descends into tedious observations about Hollywood's recent trend in rebooting old franchises. And the fact that Scream 4 even takes the time to point out the flaws in rebooting old horror films, makes it even more inexcusable when it makes the same mistakes.

It's like a child shitting on the carpet, then having the child calmly explain to you why shitting on the carpet is wrong.

Yes, all the old cast and crew are back (Campbell, Arquette, Cox, Craven, Williamson), but their once youthful talents appear tired. Desperate, even. Williamson's script, in particular, crams in as many web 2.0 buzz words as physically possible (drink a shot everytime someone says the word 'blog', I dare ya). But worst of all, the films have become the very thing it has been trying to satirise all these years - there is absolutely nothing separating the Scream franchise from it's own fictitious OTT 'Stab' franchise. For example, instead of screaming for help or doing anything remotely 'human', characters will spout witty one-liners just before they meet their inevitable and bloody doom.

It appears that all of Scream's charm and wit died with Randy in the second installment.

If there's going to be a backlash on the whole meta craze, it begins with Scream 4.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The 3 worst slanty angle offenders

What's the most heinous cinematic crimes? Needless B-list celebrity cameos? Plot twists involving time travel? Adam Sandler? Close, but it's actually slanty angled scenes. A desperate and cheap way of creating 'drama', the most primitive of camera techniques is somehow still in existence today, and is even used by some of Hollywood's most prolific directors. Let's name and shame.

1. Carol Reed - The Third Man
I guess we can forgive Carol as he used slanted angles before it became a horrible cliché (and even used it to great effect). But he has a lot to answer for...

2. J. J. Abrams - Star Trek
Abrams, however, is less forgivable. Why did this scene need a sweeping corkscrew shot? It's a Vulcan courtroom, not a rollercoaster, 'J' (if that is your real name).

3. Michael Bay - Everything
I spotted about 5 examples in the Transformers 2 trailer alone. When Judgement Day arrives, Michael will be first to feel the firey wrath of the Cinema Gods.