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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Return to the Big Screen!

IMG-20141011-WA0001Reviewed by Joy Dembo, blessed to have a wonderful husband, a 23 yr old son, a married daughter, a 2 year old grandson who is the light of my life and 2 fur babies. Recruitment Response Handling Consultant, interview coach, and Freelance Copywriter, vegetarian and animal lover. Visit her blog.

This sweet movie made me feel extremely nostalgic, as my 30 year old daughter was just a kid when the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was released. In fact she grew up with the lovable pizza eating grand master turtles. Three decades on, I can unashamedly say that even without having a kid to use as an excuse to go and see the sequel, I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful 3D movie.

The movie begins with Channel 6 reporter, April O’Neil, (played by Megan Fox) hot on the heels of a big news story involving a gang calked the Foot Clan, who have been terrorising the people of New York. Believing that something big is going down at the docks, the intrepid April, goes down to the docks one night and witnesses the Foot Clan unloading cargo. She attempts to film the goings on, but it’s too dark. Suddenly, she sees someone, or something, emerge from the shadows, and she sees the gang members being stealthily taken out, one by one, by the silhouette.

Sadly none of her colleagues believe her!

April witnesses another attack at a subway station and encounters the same vigilante, accompanied by 3 others this time. Teenage_Mutant_Ninja_Turtles_film_July_2014_poster When she attempts to photograph them, they see her and warn her not to tell anyone of their existence.  She discovers they are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonard!

April realises that this is not the first time she has crossed paths with the turtles and her chance encounter sends her off on a wild adventure, which sees her and the turtles thwarting an attempt to infect the city with a deadly virus and hold the people to ransom by selling the antidote which the bad guys intend to harvest from the Turtles.

Prepare for lots of laughs, some sad moments, some tense moments and some heart-warming moments, when good eventually triumphs over evil and the story ends happily ever after!

The movie was based on the franchise of the same name and was directed by Jonathan Liebesman, produced by Nikelodean Movies and Platinum Dunes, and Distributed by Paramount Pictures.

The film releases on 17 October, at cinemas countrywide, and is classified 7-9 PG.

This is family entertainment at its best, so grab the kids, get your popcorn and prepare for a couple of hours of fun!

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A most wanted man : a review by Daniel Janks

Daniel janks 1Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

Rated 4/5
Director Anton Corbijn
Writer   Andrew Bovell
Cast     Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Grigoriy Dobrygin

AGE RESTRICTION: [R]

This is a taught suspense thriller, there’s no blood, no sex, and nothing to make a sailor blush. All good reasons not to take your kids.

Bottom Line

Loved it. A suspense spy thriller with guts and grit and not a single laser beam watch or remote controlled BMW in it. Brilliant. A film with character and story at its heart that makes you want it to never stop, right up until it does.

Plot

Based on a John Le Carre novel, you might expect to spend quite a lot of time sitting in the movie trying to figure out what’s going on in the film. But, magically, A Most Wanted Man seems to somehow escape this common trap. The story is at once intricate and nuanced, and, simple and driven. It motors along at just the right pace and never left me behind, nor left me bored or disinterested.

It tells the story of Günter Bachmann, the head of a non-existent unit in the German intelligence service dedicated to, mostly illegally, combatting Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in Hamburg, Germany. When the unit gets word that Issa Karpov, a Chechen radical, has entered the city looking for a banker named Tommy Brue, they go on the hunt.

What follows is a fascinating tale of cat and mouse intrigue that pulls the audience along like we’re caught on a hook.

ActingAmost wanted man

Sublime and magnificent. The ensemble cast is lead by the late grand-master Philip Seymour Hoffman. He is exquisite in this film, one of the last of his career. He delivers one of his usual painfully real, painfully delicate, painfully gravitational performances, that is as moving as it is compelling. With seemingly little effort and no help from the narrative we find ourselves placed into the hands of a character as rounded and real, as deep and layered, and as seductive and mesmerising as one of our best friends. When he finally lets us go, in the last moment of the last scene of the film, it’s like watching your best mate immigrate to another country.

Beside him and around him in the film are arrayed as fabulous a company as one could ask for. There are big names like Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams and Willem Dafoe, as well as plethora of relative unknowns, at least to a Hollywood-centric audience. Each delivers a delicate and nuanced performance, that together, perfectly populate the film’s world and narrative.

Directing

This is only the second film I’ve seen by director Anton Corbijn. But, like the first, it’s going to be a favourite that I’ll watch over and over again. The other film is The American, with George Clooney. And like The American, A Most Wanted Man is exquisitely crafted and delicately paced. It rests at it heart on character and story and achieves it’s taughtness and tension though the motivations and machinations of it’s protagonists, rather than the all-too-common opposite we find in many, if not most, films of the genre.

So

See it. It’s great.

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Planes – Fire and Rescue : a review by Daniel Janks

Daniel janks 1Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.
Director: Roberts Gannaway
Writer:  Jeffrey M. Howard
Cast:  Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen

AGE RESTRICTION: [PG]

It’s a kids’ movie, so you can take the kids.

Bottom Line

Not one of my favourite kiddie movies, but the kiddies will probably enjoy it.

Plot

Dusty Crophopper busts a gasket (or something) and, as a result of a series of unlikely plot points, ends up having to train as a fire and rescue plane in order to save the airfield back home in Bumsville Idaho (or wherever it is he comes from).

If I’m not making this sound all that great it’s because it isn’t. I’ve never like the Planes franchise. Riding the success of the Untitlednot-very-good Cars films the Planes spin offs have always felt like slightly retarded third cousins to me. There isn’t a lot of story, not too much character, and nothing to recommend the films to anyone over the age of “ooh-look-dad-a-talking-plane/car/boat/forklift!” My daughter loves the films. She’s three though, and also likes to eat her own snot. So it’s possible we may have to take her opinion with a pinch of salt.

Acting

Ja, it’s fine. The script is very simple, lacking all of the sophistication of great animated films like, Monsters Inc, The Croods, and Dispicable Me. It really is aimed at the littlies and no higher, so the actors don’t have much to work with. Kind of like the guy in the Barney suit isn’t shooting for the stars and going all method and stuff.

Directing

Again it seems like once the sights were set pretty low, everyone got on board and fixed their attention on making a mediocre kids’ flik. This film is very one-dimensional, often doesn’t make sense, and isn’t too fussed about it. It’s good at doing what it seems to want to do. But if you’re looking for it to be anything more than that, it isn’t. There isn’t much to say about the directing. It starts, it’s more or less finds a storyline and follows it along until the end. And then it ends.

In a way it’s kind of a pity. Firefighter movies are cool, right? They have grand scope and deal with high concepts like bravery, heroism, really really hot things. At times it even seems like this film wants to go to those goose-bumpy places and follow in the footsteps of some of the great firefighting movies of yesteryear, but then it seems to get scared and veer off again into nothingness.

So

Take your toddlers, take your littlies, take the family. But don’t expect this to be anything other than what it is: a kids’ movie.

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One Direction’s ‘Where We Are’ concert movie: a review by Tiffany Markman

Tiffany Markman latest feb 13. jpgBy Tiffany Markman, copywriter, editor and mom to an almost-four-year-old, who tries to balance her workaholism with cuddles, books, caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow her on twitter.

As I type this I’m listening to ‘Best Song Ever’. What’s that, you ask? Well, if you have tweens or teens, you should know that it’s a One Direction song.

(I don’t, so I didn’t. Til last night. I now own five 1D songs, and I’ve already added them to my running playlist. Oh hell, I guess that makes me a #OneDirectioner.)

What’s Where We Are?

Approximately 12 hours ago I was sitting in the audience for the pre-release screening of One Direction’s Where We Are concert at San Siro Stadium in Milan – which was attended by 80 000 hysterical teenage girls and studiously watched by a preview audience of some of the coolest-looking local teens I have ever seen. Plus some dedicated moms and some young guys. So what’s the deal with this film?

It’s like a concert DVD deluxe, with a full 30 minutes of awesome interview beforehand and then the complete concert afterwards. And it’s fantastic.

Now, if you remember, I had no idea what One Direction was about until very recently. I didn’t even know which one was Harry Styles (the hottest one, fyi).

And now I know quite a lot.

Namely:

Once Direction

L to R: Louis, Niall, Zayn, Liam and Harry – One Direction, ‘Where We Are’ Tour

  • Louis and Zayn prefer sleeping in their tour bus to any hotel, worldwide.
  • The band members have lots of tattoos. Lots. And…interesting accents.
  • Niall is very quiet in interviews, but he totally rocks the stage in concert.
  • Liam remembers singing along to Coldplay as a kid and wondering how it felt for the band to know that they have fans who loved them that much. Ironic.
  • Zayn didn’t own (or foresee ever needing) a passport until four years ago.
  • Liam’s the only band member who never exits the stage mid-concert to pee.
  • Harry has poor taste in women (Kendall Jenner), but is otherwise perfect ;)
  • So…nice. But I wasn’t initially convinced. They’re cute – a Simon Cowell-created mix of former singing competition talent (they came third) – but could they sing?

    What’s the film actually like?

    Once the concert started, I got it. These guys are brilliant. They have Rolling Stones-calibre stage presence. An amazing sound. Fascinating staging. And a cool look (barring some of the tightest pants I’ve ever seen on males or females.) Plus, it’s hard not to get into the music when the bedazzled cinema audience alongside you is clapping, singing and using their cellphone flashes to wave lights at the screen.

    Click here to check out the trailer for the film.

    What’s the bottom line?

    Go. The Where We Are film opens worldwide on 11 October (that’s this Saturday) and shows for two days only. (It’s at Ster Kinekor cinemas throughout South Africa.) If you have kids aged 7 and up, you’ve just gotta do it. It’s fun.

    Click here to book now.

    Everyone who watches the 1D Where We Are Concert Film at Ster-Kinekor cinemas this weekend, 11 and 12 October, stands the chance of winning two tickets to the band’s much-anticipated live tour of South Africa in March 2015, thanks to Edgars. All you need to do is SMS the keyword “1D”, your name and your movie ticket reference number to 33007 – and you could find yourself watching this international boy-band phenomenon LIVE on stage!

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    Boyhood : a review by Daniel Janks

    Daniel janks 1Reviewed by Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

    Director Richard Linklater
    Writer  Richard Linklater
    Cast    Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke
    Rated 4/5

    AGE RESTRICTION: [R]

    This film is fairly tame and I don’t think it poses too great a threat to your pre-adolescent and adolescent kids. It deals with some definite adult topics and themes but isn’t explicit in any way. It’s kinda slow and meandering though so they may get bored, and nothing blows up, so there’s that.

    Bottom Line

    What a great film. Unique in many ways and beautifully ordinary in many others.

    Boyhood took 12 years to film. It follows a boy as he grows up between the ages of five and 18. Uniquely Linklater chose to allow his cast to age in real time, filming each section of the film when appropriate over a twelve year period. This gives the film an amazing sense of time and growth, as we literally watch a boy become a man, adults move through significant stages of their lives, and the world slowly changes over more than a decade.

    Plot

    Mason is a boy. He is the son of a smart and determined single mom, a flighty but fiercely loving father boyhoodand the brother of a ferocious sister. He’s a boy adrift in a life he can’t control and doesn’t understand, but Mason makes his way slowly and inexorably through the world dodging and dealing with all the curveballs and medicine balls it throws at him. From a far-too-wise five-year-old, to a gangly but determinedly independent 18 year old,  we watch Mason grow up and become a young man.

    Acting

    I think you take a risk casting a five-year-old boy in a film you plan to make for 12 years. You kind of know what you’re getting now, as much as you do with any child performer, but who knows what he’ll turn into? With Ellar Coltrane, Linklater chose well. His performance is solid throughout, and from the beginning of the film to the end he is un-ignorable. For my own tastes his performance gets a little too languorous towards his late teenage years, but it admittedly fits his character perfectly, and I’m very interested to watch him in his next role to see how much of it is acting, and how much is him. Linklater cast his own daughter as Mason’s sister and she delivers a powerhouse performance. We watch her grow from a precocious young girl into a gorgeous, tough, and tenacious young woman. While there were moments in which I didn’t like her character, I always loved her performance.

    The adults in the film are great. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play Mason’s parents. Hawke is as he always is, frenetic and solid at the same time, slightly overacted, but in a believable way that we somehow find easy to relate to and associate with. Arquette is sublime. Like Hawke, she too has a slightly hammy, slightly larger than life feel to many of her performances. From True Romance through to Boardwalk Empire I’ve watched her deliver some breathtaking performances and some very ordinary ones, but in Boyhood she shines.

    Directing

    Richard Linklater has directed some of my, and the world’s favourite films. The Before Sunset series is a personal film milestone for me. I made the mistake of seeing it while travelling the world alone, and spent the rest of my journeys searching every bus, train, plane and coffee-shop for my own Celine. Unfortunately, and predictably, to no avail.

    In Boyhood we find another stunning example of his slow and meandering style of storytelling. His narratives feel like icebreakers ships, slowly and inexorably ploughing their way through pack ice and gently curving around icebergs, as they navigate their way around life and through the world. Boyhood is exquisitely helmed and gently maneuvered.

    So

    It’s great. Definitely see it. But don’t expect anything epic or grand, apart from the scope of the concept and the project, because the film itself is soft and gentle.

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    If I stay : a review by Daniel Janks

    Reviewed by Daniel janks 1Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

    Director R.J. Cutler
    Writer  Shauna Cross
    Cast    Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley
    Rated 2/5

    AGE RESTRICTION: [PG-13]

    KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AWAY! People kiss in this movie, and even make love at one point, I think. Why one would not allow 10-13 year olds to see this movie is beyond me, as they are probably the only people who will enjoy it.

    Bottom Line

    Blech! It’s like a tablespoon full of saccharine. It’s sweet but completely artificial.

    I can’t help but draw parallels between If I Stay and A Fault in our Stars. On paper they seem so comparable. Both deal with young women and their relationships to young men. Both look at first love, budding adulthood and young life on the brink of death. Both feature brave young actresses emerging out of the world of child stardom into the dubious and treacherous arena of adult stardom. But where one is fresh, and enchanting and seductive, the other is boring, sentimental and left me thinking halfway through the film: “Should I Stay … till the end?” Can you guess which is which?Untitled

    Plot

    Mia Hall is a virtuosic cello player, born to two reformed-rocker parents and a victim of her own timidity and teenage self-doubt. When she meets Adam, a year older but eons more mature, a confidant rock-band leader and budding star, she is pulled slowly and painfully out of her shell and blossoms into a beautiful young woman who comes into her own during an audition for the prestigious Juilliard Music Academy.

    Oh, hang on, she also gets into a car accident at one point and spends the film as a spirit/ghost/barefoot-wraith-thing who watches herself in a coma trying to decide whether or not she should come back to life as an orphan. There’s no spoilers here, it’s all in the trailer. In fact if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve seen the film. Anything they don’t show you, you can guess, I promise, there are no surprises or twists in the full-length version.

    Acting

    There are two standout performances in the film. Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard play Mia’s mom and dad, and they shine. They have the relatively easy task of playing cool, easygoing, dedicated parents. It’s hard not to win over an audience playing cool, easygoing, dedicated parents. But they do it with style and flair and I loved watching them every minute they were on screen.

    Other than them there isn’t much to say. Where Shailene Woodley shone like an approaching meteor in the sky in The Fault in our Stars, Chloë Grace Moretz falls a little flat in If I Stay. She has moments of real fire and spunk, moments of irresistibility and charm, but they are sadly few and far between. I think she could be a great and charismatic actress, but it feels like she needs a deft hand to direct her, and that was conspicuous in its absence in this performance. The rest of the cast are sadly forgettable, including Mia’s true love boyfriend played by Jamie Blackley. Whose performance I have unfortunately forgotten.

    Directing

    This seems to be the first major motion picture that R.J. Cutler has directed, and I’ll be interested to see if it’s his last. The film flatly fails to find it’s rhythm and Cutler seems to miss almost all the opportunities to imbue the film with some sort of stylistic flavour. The few moments he manages to do it are regrettably few, and end up being more jarring than interesting because of their out-of-place-ness. The rest of the film is cloyingly American-TV sentimental and predictable and left me alternating between giggles of nonplussed inappropriate amusement and sneering in disbelieving incredulity.

    So

    Send your twelve year old, despite the age restriction, because he/she will probably love it. If you’re an adult go watch the trailer, it’s quicker and less painful than the real thing, with all the story and character the full length version has to offer.

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    Edge of tomorrow: a review by Daniel Janks

    Daniel janks 1Reviewed by  Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

    Director Doug Liman
    Writer  Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth
    Cast  Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton

     AGE RESTRICTION: [PG-13]
    I’d pay attention to the restriction, this is a pretty violent and gory film.

    Bottom Line
    Aliens? Check. Explosions? Check. Action? Check. Interesting premise? Check. Compelling character story and development? Um … a bit? Logical well thought out exposition of the narrative? Ja … well, you can’t have it all.

    Plot
    No-one likes a coward in a war movie, right? But everyone loves to see a coward overcome his fears and answer the calls of duty, honour and obligation, right?
    Cage is a very pretty and charming Army PR man who has spearheaded the public relations charge of the great human vs Mimic (alien) war. But now he’s thrust onto the front lines (not really sure why) to die with thousands of other human soldiers. And die he does. Over and over again, each time re-awakening just before the invasion and having to do it over and over again. Can his Ground-Hog Day like powers help him thwart he Mimics and save mankind? What do you think?
    The film is fun, packed with action, and a fun watch, no question. But it’s also more than a little nonsensical and in parts, downright silly.

    Untitled
    Acting
    The acting is fine. It’s the script that’s problematic. Tom Cruise, having to relive over and over again the same day, having to die over and over again does a good job bringing to life the inevitable monotony of the task, but so much time is spent setting up the premise that too little is left to play out the narrative development. Coupled with the fact that the film never manages to develop a reliable way to let the audience know when we’re repeating time and when we’re experiencing it for the first time, leaves the suspenseful parts of the film a little dull and plodding. So Cruise does a good job with a flawed script, as does Emily Blunt, who has the challenge of playing a character that only ever knows the character opposite her for a day, but still has to grow to like/love/respect him over the course of the film. Again she does a good job with a bad script.

    Directing
    Doug Liman is a good director. He brought us the original Jason Bourne movie, which was brilliant, and yonks ago he even did the cult comedy Swingers, which launched Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau’s careers. So we know he can do exciting, taught, tense, edge of your seat action movies with a soul, and he can also do touching comedies with heart. Unfortunately in the case of Edge of Tomorrow it looks like he’s been swallowed up by the big-budget, CGI, block-busterness of it all.  The film just doesn’t hold together logically and believably.

    So
    Edge of Tomorrow is a good film. It’s a fun night out, full of booms and bangs, and you’ll want to watch it to the end to see how it all comes out. But it’s no more than good, and isn’t going to make its way onto any cult lists anytime soon.

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    The fault in our stars : a review by Daniel Janks

    Daniel janks 1Reviewed by  Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

    Director: Josh Boone
    Writer: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
    Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff

    AGE RESTRICTION: [PG-13]

    This is a good old fashioned family movie. It’s sad, and there’s some smooching, but it’s safe for  your 13s and up.

    Bottom Line

    Now, guys, I know there are a lot of you out there that don’t like ‘chick-flicks’ but to you all I say: “Grow up and go have a little weep at the cinema!”

    This is a good film, it’s touching, and a bit funny, and very sad and makes for a good weepy night at the movies. And it’s a fantastic launch vehicle for the breathtaking Shailene Woodley.

    Plot

    Meet Hazel, a pretty, smart, slightly sad teenager with terminal lung cancer. But along with the whole dying-of-cancer-thing she’s also got a twinkle in her eye and quirky, knowing half smile tweaking out of the corner of her lips. Hazel meets Gus, a brash and over brimming with life boy who’s survived cancer, lost his leg in the process, and decided to take life by the horns and be something special. Their meeting is electric, and they both inexorably fall towards each other, a fiery young love affair, and tragic ending.

    Now this doesn’t need a spoiler alert because it’s pretty obvious from the beginning that there’s no way things are going to end well. It’s a sick-kid movie. It’s not going to end well folks.the fault in our stars

    Acting

    Now I said this is a great launch movie for the breathtaking Shailene Woodley, and that’s not strictly speaking fair. Ms Woodley has been around for yonks, her pro acting debut was in 1999 when she was eight, and she’s been going strong since then. But she’s grown up to be the most surprising of creatures. An un-Hollywood, Hollywood actress. She’s beautiful, but not traditionally so. She’s tall and a little gangly, but in a really feminine and, well …  sexy, way. We’re soon to see her in the leading role in the upcoming Divergent, a Hunger Games like cult sci-fi novel turned movie. And perhaps, like the leading lady in Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence, she’ll maintain her qualities and also champion the rise of the ‘real woman’ in Hollywood. Anyway, she’s incandescent in The Fault in Our Stars. It’s a quiet and subtle incandescence, there’s nothing flashing about her performance, but she’s deeply believable, and I quickly found I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

    Co-starring with her is the also relative newcomer, Ansel Elgort, who your teenage daughters are going to want to hang posters of in their bedrooms, and hell, your teenage sons may want to, too. He’s very good in the film. He’s charming and suave, but also tender and vulnerable. He’s the perfect match for Ms Woodley’s rounded, shy charm, and the two of them sparkle.

    Directing

    The film is directed by Josh Boone, who hasn’t done very much, but seems to do it very well. The film is pacey but not rushed, subtle but also funny and charming, touching but not gooey. The performances are, almost bar none, solid, believable and compelling. He got tears out of me, and I shed them joyously and with relish, because to be moved by a film is a great thing, even when you’re moved to tears. So well done Mr Boone.

    So

    This is a great film. It just barely lost out on the 4/5 mark because … hell I don’t know why. If I had a 3.9999999/5 score it would get it. It’s a good, solid tearjerker, well worth the watch.

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    Under the skin: a movie review by Daniel Janks

    Daniel janks 1Reviewed by  Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

    Director : Jonathan Glazer
    Writer : Walter Campbell
    Cast : Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay

    AGE RESTRICTION: [R] (Very, very [R])

    Do not, I repeat do not, take the kiddy winkles. While there’s not much to see, I think it may warp their minds a little. It did mine.

    Bottom Line

    Talk about an art film. This is an art film. It happens to be one about aliens slowly and surreptitiously invading earth one poor bastard at a time, but it’s an art film all right. It’s very good, could be forty minutes shorter, and is a gram or two on the heavy side of weird, but it’s very good.

    Plot

    Scarlett Johansson plays … oh that’s right, there are no character names in the film … so … she plays … this woman, who’s really an alien (don’t worry there’s no spoilers here) who harvests men for their skin. The longer she spends on earth the more conflicted she becomes about her role as a heartless, makes-you-sink-into-the-black-inky-floor temptress of skin-harvesting death. After she meets the elephant man everything changes.

    Under the skin

    The problem with the film, and the thing that knocked it out of the 4/5 category for me, is that it literally takes about forty minutes for anything to happen. Alien woman prowls around and lures men to her inky floor abode and all, but then she just keeps on doing it. It’s interesting, it’s beautiful, it’s fascinating, but it goes on for a LONG time, in my not-so-humble opinion, it goes on too long.

    Acting

    The acting is brilliant in that it seems, really, not to exist. Performance wise the film feels more like a documentary than a feature. The humans are photo realistic, without any glamour or finesse, and the aliens seem truly … alien, like real un-humans. It’s chilling and enthralling and quite brilliant. But in an EXTREMELY … well … alienating way. This is not a film full of characters you’ll fall in love with. You won’t even like them. Hell you won’t even got to know 99% of them.

    Ms Johannson is very good. I’m not always her biggest fan, but she’s very good in this. She is the lynch pin that holds the film together and she manages it very well. Her journey, eventually you’ll see she does have a journey, is fascinating and in the end well worthy the slog of sitting though the slightly arbitrary first forty minutes or so.

    Directing

    Walter Campbell directed two very very good films before Under the Skin. He did Birth and Sexy Beast. He’s not the John Grisham of the film world, churning out a film a year, but the long waits and big gaps between his films are worth it. He’s being likened to a modern day Stanley Kubrick, and with good cause. Under the Skin definitely has the soft meandering feeling of 2001: A Space Odyssey. His direction is tight, sympathetic and minuscule-ly and minutely detailed, and while the film drags for me at times, it is by no means too long, or too slow.

    So

    Under the Skin is the definition of weird but wonderful. It’s for art-house audiences only and feels more like a 5 day test than a 20-20 wham bam thank you ma’am, but it’s a beautiful, intricate portrait of humanity, and well worth watching.

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    Filth: a movie review by Daniel Janks

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    Reviewed by  Daniel Janks: actor, creative director, writer, cynic, father, husband. He was born in 1977 and has still not died. He loves many things, chief among which are his mythic wife and odd girl-child.  Visit his website.

    Director          Jon S. Baird
    Writer             Jon S. Baird
    Cast                James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan

    AGE RATING:  R
    Definitely not a kiddies movie.

    Bottom Line

    This is a good film, it starts better than it ends, but it’s a very good film. It’s disturbing, and funny, and frightening, and fabulously rich and decadent. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film like this and while I’m hesitant to make the comparison it did remind me a lot of Trainspotting. But while Danny Boyle’s film was close to flawless, Filth suffers the odd bump in the road.

    Plot

    Meet Det Sergent Bruce Robertson, Scotland’s most depraved, disturbed and disgusting cop. Now watch as Bruce looses his mind. He’s trying to land a big promotion at work, he’s trying to turn his etherial wife on and rekindle his marriage, he’s trying to stop seeing people turn into pig headed apparitions (literally), he’s trying not to listen to his swollen headed head-shrinker, most of all he’s trying not to go stark raving round the bend bonkers, but none of it is going particularly well.
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    Acting

    The acting is rich and larger-than-life wonderful. James McAvoy leads the bunch as the suave and debonair Det Sergent Robertson. He’s devilishly sly and seductively charming, all at once being disturbingly amoral and decidedly … well … evil. McAvoy’s performance is entrancing and compelling. But while he hits all the high notes I felt his missed some of the low ones. He is so constantly high-energy and on-edge that it was quite an exhausting experience just watching him charge from scene to scene. No question the character deserved the hi-octane delivery, but like other brilliant contemporary actors, Leo DeCaprio jumps to mind, I find, as an audience member, the total unceasing dials-in-the-red performance style is too all-consuming to allow room for breath.

    The supporting cast is almost unanimously wonderful. Each, almost caricatured, character is bubbling with irony and humour, and as an ensemble they present the perfect foil to McAvoy’s dark lead.

    Directing

    Jon S. Baird is good. He’s relativley new on the block, Filth being only his second full feature directing credit. But he’s been round the block as a producer and writer for some time. Filth is really well directed, the humour and absurdism is well balanced in the plot and flow of the film with the realism and narrative. And Robertson’s gradual decline into mania is carefully plotted and delicately handled. Perhaps the greatest directorial achievement in Filth is that, despite Robertson’s awfulness, we feel some measure of compassion for the filthy little weed.

    So

    If you liked Trainspotting, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Requiem for a Dream, then you’ll like Filth. If you’re more of a Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice kind of person then it may be a bit frenetic for you.  www.Janks

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