Showing posts with label Emma Stone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emma Stone. Show all posts

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Help

It’s rare that I watch a film and want to hurt the cast but I deeply disliked about 60% of the characters in The Help and wanted to punch about 20% of them in the face. The Oscar winning 2011 film tells the story of disenfranchised maids living in early 1960s Jackson, Mississippi. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Emma Stone) returns from college with the world at her feet but realises that her family and friends expect very specific things of her. She is to act and dress in a certain way, not think too hard and settle down with a husband as soon as possible. Skeeter goes against what is expected and gets a job at the local paper. Desperate for something worthwhile to write about she asks her friend’s maid Aibileen (Viola Davis) if she can write about life from the help’s perspective. Although weary at first, Aibileen soon opens up to Skeeter and soon fellow maid Minny (Octavia Spencer) is telling her story too.

I never saw The Help on its initial release and is in fact a rare example of a recent Best Picture candidate I’ve missed. Something about the movie didn’t appeal to me and my early hatred of the bad guy characters coupled with finding Emma Stone’s character annoying got me off to a bad start. By the end though I was wishing the film wouldn’t end and would have watched another act. I grew to respect and love certain characters but still want to punch others and the story is a remarkable example of bravery, courage and setting right what is wrong.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Gangster Squad

It’s nearly Christmas. You’re really excited and have been waiting for ages. You think that your parents have got you an amazing LEGO Castle with some of your favourite minifigures. Every time you go to the cinema your parents show you a little sneak peek at a couple of the best looking bricks. You can’t contain your excitement. Then some idiot shoots a load of people in the LEGO factory and Santa puts Christmas back. The Castle you are told needs some tweaking. You wait and wait, still excited. The day finally arrives. You rush to the cinema to open your Christmas Present and… wait. It’s not the amazing LEGO Castle at all but some cheap imitation. Your Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone minifigures are there and there’s even one that looks a bit like Sean Penn, it looks great too but it isn’t what you were hoping for.

Originally slated for release in autumn 2012 Gangster Squad was put back following the tragic Aurora shooting in Colorado. After some reshoots to remove a pivotal cinema shoot up the film was released in the UK in January 2013. I’d been really looking forward to it since early 2012 but my anticipation was never going to be met. The film tells the real life story of The Gangster Squad, a small Police Unit given free reign to catch L.A. Gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Sergeant O’Mara (Josh Brolin) brings together a crack squad of rough, strong and smart Police to meet Cohen on his own terms and free L.A. from his grasp.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

"Do you have any idea what you really are?"

Just ten years after the first of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy the series is rebooted with English actor Andrew Garfield actor taking over from Tobey Maguire as the masked vigilante Spider-Man/school kid Peter Parker. Parker is a normal teenager living in New York. He lives with his aunt and uncle (Sally Field and Martin Sheen) due to his parents unexplained late night desertion of their son when he was a child. Peter is in love with fellow classmate Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and shunned by most of his class. After discovering his father worked with Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), Peter helps the scientist with a regenerative formula which could help Connors to re-grow a lost limb. While at Connor’s offices, Peter is bitten by a genetically engineered spider and gains new strength and skills. Following a harrowing personal loss, Peter uses these skills to track down a criminal before turning his attention to a new threat – The Lizard.

Before watching Raimi’s trilogy again recently I thought that it was far too soon for a Spider-Man reboot but after watching and reviewing them for GB Posters I came to the conclusion that I was ready for a fresh look at the series; a more grown up and modern look. The Amazing Spider-Man definitely feels more grown up than Raimi’s trilogy and it has overcome many of the problems that those films had. That being said, it is far from perfect.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Easy A

Someone sound the alarm! This film is quirky enough to be reading 8.3 on the Deschanel Scale. The film is the story of a smart but largely unknown high school student called Olive (Emma Stone) who lies about losing her virginity. The lie cascades and changes the way she is perceived at school eventually bringing about trouble in her life and those around her.

I have to say I was quite disappointed with the film. I’d heard very good things and although I probably fall outside its target demographic now at age 26, good teen comedies are still good no matter what age you are. The problem for me is that it isn’t anywhere near funny enough and although it is an interesting idea, it isn’t very interesting. I’m aware that I’m becoming increasingly cynical but a happy ever after ending was never in doubt so I just spent 90 minutes waiting for it. As I said though, it is an interesting idea. The idea that losing your virginity changes the way people see you, judge you and interact with you as well as the way you see yourself is one that merits looking at but the film lets the concept down.

Another problem is that all of the high school students look like they are in their mid twenties. After a quick Google search I discovered that Stone, 21 at the time of release was the youngest of the main High School cast by a couple of years. One of them is 29! Add this to the ridiculous ‘Hollywood’ High School that the characters are in and the backdrop to the story doesn’t feel very real. That being said, the characters are quite well written. There are obvious stereotypes as you’d expect in any teen movie (geeks, jocks, sluts, religious weirdoes) but they are well defined and well written. Olive’s nemesis in particular is a well written and well acted annoying Jesus-person. The acting on the whole is also good. Stone delivers a confident performance that gained the attention of critics and award’s judges and she is surrounded by a decent young cast and experienced older cast which includes Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Malcolm McDowell and Lisa Kudrow who takes the film past 8.5 on the Deschanel scale. Olive’s family is one of those open, liberal, funny families that could be really annoying but I quite liked them and found most of the film’s laughs in their company.

Part of the film is told with Olive (Stone) talking into her webcam. While blogging etc are obviously popular among young people, I didn’t like it and it felt like a bit of a cop out. It also increased the kooky factor which was already dangerously high. The reason became clear towards the end of the film but it just felt like the film was pandering to its audience. The film plays it safe with the message it delivers regarding sex. Both sides are fairly well presented with the case for abstinence and sex being discussed, but in the end the film plays it down the middle as you’d expect of a mainstream teen movie.

It’s a shame that the film is as dull as it is because there is an interesting story at the heart of it and features a worthy cast, acting admirably. There are just no where near enough laughs and the script is quite weak.