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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Catfish - Mini Review

Catfish - Documentary Film - Movie Poster
Catfish - Documentary Film

Well I must say... this is an “Utterly Compelling” Documentary film - that’s a box quote if ever there was one!

The thing with this film is I really can’t tell you too much about it as it would take away all the interest in actually watching it, but I’ll see if I can describe the gist of it briefly. Don't worry, there are no spoilers here.

Catfish is the ‘Other’ Facebook film that came out in 2010. Two documentary film-makers start to document their brother/friend who has developed an interesting friendship with a stranger on the Internet through facebook - A little girl who is apparently a talented young artist... they became online friends when she painted one of his photographs.

The online friendship becomes more interesting when he also becomes friends with the rest of her family and even exchanges phone calls with the mother.  He and his film-making partners are based in New York City, while the so-called 'facebook family' are in Michigan.

In no time he develops what can only be described as an online romance with the eldest daughter Megan who is 19. Now I can’t really say any more as it would totally ruin the experience of watching Catfish.

I won’t lie, Catfish won’t blow your mind, and in fact, it's pretty much just what you expect it to be, but what follows will hold you gripped to the end regardless; it's a really well made documentary and captivated the Sundance festival during it's initial release - so much so that J.J. Abrams put his seal of approval on the film to give it a bigger release.

Anyone who enjoys documentary films and in fact, anyone who uses facebook or indeed the Internet in general should definitely take the time to see this excellent little documentary.

In the end, the ultimate question is: Is it real or is it faked?

Answer: It's certainly plausible, but actually, I don’t think it really matters!

My Rating: 7/10


About the Author: Chris Russell has a passion for movies, films and cool TV shows and loves to share that passion here on Movie Retrospect where readers can join the discussion in the comments below or directly to Chris though his profile. If you enjoyed this post, please follow @MovieRetrospect on Twitter.


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Sunday, 7 October 2012

Looper - Film Review

Looper with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Movie Poster
Looper with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I absolutely love this genre of movie, this is what a live for; a quality bit of time travel science fiction. It's so hard to do time travel movies well, so the best ones are few and far between. Thankfully Looper is an excellent example of how to do a time travel movie and how to do it well.

It's the year 2042, time travel hasn't been invented yet, but in thirty years time, it will have been. Gordon-Levitt plays Joe - a hired gunman known as a Looper, employed by mob bosses thirty years in the future. In the year 2072 it has become almost impossible to dispose of a body after a 'hit' due to the tracking technologies invented by then. When you want somebody dead, you tie them up and send them back 30 years to be immediately executed by Loopers like Joe. They do the dirty work and dispose of the body which technically doesn't exist. Its the perfect crime.

Looper - movie still - Execution

The opening scenes of the film explain the concept of Loopers brilliantly with the aid of Joe's voice over - we see numerous quick edits of Loopers doing their job. They check their watch, a person appears out of thin air all tied up, BANG, collect the pay, get rid of the body. It's quick, easy and deadly efficient. The audience is immediately hooked.

At some point a Looper will execute a person and discover a massive pay day. They have just killed their future self. This is known as "Closing the Loop". Good work, happy retirement, enjoy the next thirty years.

Targets cannot be allowed to escape, there are too many consequences when time travel is concerned and early on we are shown what the penalty can be for letting your target get away when another Looper - Joe's friend allows his future self to run. It's a brilliant scene as we see what horrible things happen to him even though we don't actually see anything. Its gruesomely clever... Personally, I think you're better off just killing your future self and being done with it.

Things kick into high gear when Joe is confronted with his future self. After a moment's hesitation, future Joe (Bruce Willis) is on the run.  Now we're all set for a cat & mouse chase movie with a difference, but with an added element of The Terminator thrown in for good measure too.

Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as old and young Joe, meet in the diner for a stand off
Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as old and young Joe, meet in the diner for a stand off

The film is only set 30 years from our own future and as such, the world hasn't changed massively like we see in the recent Total Recall re-make. It's a somewhat dystopian future much like we've seen in other near future movies such as Children of Men. Some of the weapons are almost retro in their design and styling giving the film a bit of a Wild West sort of vibe that feels appropriate considering most of the film takes place in Kansas City and the surrounding mid-west farmlands way outside of the city.

It's in these mid-west settings in a typical US diner where we get a great meeting between the two versions of Joe, where they discuss how things are "gonna go down". This is the kind of scene where the writer tries to NOT explain time travel but gives us just enough information to enjoy the film. Old Joe explains "I'm not going to sit here and tell you how time travel works!" but goes on to say how his memory of the past is "Fuzzy, I remember bits, but sort of as they happen". It's one possible path, but things can be changed. I love all this stuff as it really gets the audience involved and thinking.

Its also in this scene where it really pays off that they used two actors to play the same character instead of just using make-up to age Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It would have never worked seeing the same actor talking to himself in make-up and could have been jarring. But having different actors working together so well like this, you completely believe that this is the same person talking to himself - just 30 years apart. It's really well done.

Emily Blunt puts on a great American Mid-West accent in Looper
Emily Blunt puts on a great American Mid-West accent in Looper

I won't explain any further plot points here as I don't want to spoil the film, but we also get to meet Emily Blunt as a single mother living on a remote farm. I'm a big Emily Blunt fan and speaking as an English person myself, I thought she did a fantastic job with her American mid-west accent.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to have picked a few winners with his recent film roles what with Inception, 50/50 and The Dark Knight Rises. He is fast becoming one of Hollywood's leading actors, which is great to see. It's also good to see Bruce Willis is still able to pick up some great roles, he gets some cool guns blazing moments. In fact, Bruce Willis must be one of the busiest actors going in 2012 looking at his IMDB profile.

Looper - Movie Still - Bruce Willis Guns Blazing

In Conclusion

So who is this film for? It may be a science fiction, time travel movie, but I honestly feel that this movie is so good that anyone, even non-sci-fi fans can enjoy it - that is a sign of a really good science fiction film. From the opening scenes, the concept is introduced so well that you are all set to stick with this film to the very end.

There are also some funny moments too, despite all this talk of killing, and it was good to see Garret Dillahunt (Burt from Raising Hope) again.

It's a film that keeps you thinking during and even long after it has finished. I may even go as far as to say this *could* be my film of the year so far. Possibly even this year's answer to Inception. Basically, get yourself to the cinema as soon as possible and watch this awesome movie.

My Rating: 9/10


About the Author: Chris Russell has a passion for movies and loves to share that passion here on Movie Retrospect where readers can join the discussion in the comments below or directly to Chris though his profile. If you enjoyed this post, please follow @MovieRetrospect on Twitter.


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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel - Mini Review

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Time Travel - Movie Poster
FAQ About Time Travel
In light of the recent release of the excellent time travel movie Looper, I decided to dig out my review of Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel from 2009. I'm guessing this little British film would have been missed by many, so here's your chance to find out more.

This little BBC/HBO produced film is about as British and low budget as they come; although it does star American actress Anna Faris - better known by most for her role as Cindy in the Scary Movie films. Anna Faris would have been the biggest name at the time of the film's release.

These days the film's biggest name is arguably Chris O'Dowd who we all know and love as Roy from the excellent channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd. American readers not familiar with The IT Crowd should check it out immediately!

The pub featured in the movie is definitely one I recognise from somewhere, but for the life of me I cannot remember where from right now. Is it Spaced, or Sean of the Dead? - Let me know in the comments below if you know it. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel - Movie Still - Pub Massacre

What's it all about?

In short - three blokes discuss time travel in the pub then discover a time porthole in the gent's toilets and skip through time (like you do). During their quirky adventure, they do their best to take into account 'The Rules' of time travel such as the Butterfly Effect, or the Grandfather Paradox.

It's a bizarre film that is nice and short, making it easily watchable after coming in from the pub yourself. It's fairly entertaining while it lasts, but wont be sticking with you too long after you've seen it. This is definitely a TV sort of movie perfect for Netflix subscribers who have seen everything.

From a sense of humour point of view it does has a vibe of coming from the same sort of stable as Sean of the Dead or Spaced, although not really up to the same standards.

This is definitely one for sci-fi fans looking for a bit of a geekfest, its perfectly watchable for those kinds of viewers and there are lots of references and Easter-eggs to keep you happy.  Look out for the movie posters at the theatre - the posters feature original or working titles for movies such as Close Encounter of the Third Kind, Back to the Future or E.T.

Non-geeks and non-sci-fi fans probably won't enjoy this at all though. 

My Rating: 5/10


About the Author: Chris Russell has a passion for movies, & cool TV shows and loves to share his thoughts here on Movie Retrospect where readers can join the discussion in the comments below or directly to Chris though his profile. If you enjoyed this post, please follow @MovieRetrospect on Twitter.


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About the Author: Chris Russell has a passion for movies, films and cool TV shows and loves to share that passion here on Movie Retrospect where readers can join the discussion in the comments below or directly to Chris though his profile. If you enjoyed this post, please follow @MovieRetrospect on Twitter.