Archive for November, 2013

Based on the novel ‘Flowers for Algernon’ written by Daniel Keyes, 1968’s ‘Charly’ brings the much loved characters onto the big screen for the first time (after a tv drama in 1961 also starring Cliff Robertson). When released it garnered critical acclaim and gained lead actor Cliff Robertson an Academy Award for Best Actor.

The novel is one of my favourite stories of all time and as such I approached the film with great hesitation as I remembered watching another production when I was younger and not enjoying it. After watching this one I came away pleasantly surprised.

Although the novel could be considered a novella by some, it crammed an awful lot of emotion and powerful character development into its shortish page count. As such it fits the 104 minute runtime pretty well. But I will say that the 3rd act does feel slightly rushed. It doesn’t wreck the film but it does feel a bit odd after the great pacing of the first two acts.

The acting throughout is amazing from all parties and the Academy Award was definitely given to the right person as Cliff Robertson’s performance is stunning. The film is also beautifully well filmed and every shot looks great and carries deep emotion and power.

The film unfortunately doesn’t have quite the same power that the book does and the relationship between Algernon and Charly  is nowhere near as emotional. It isn’t to say that there isn’t emotion in the film as there really is, but those hoping for the deep emotional involvement and the truly heartbreaking nature of the book may come away slightly disappointed.

Overall I’d recommend the film and although I probably wouldn’t watch it again soon, I am very happy I sat down and watched it. 7/10

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Let me begin by saying Enders game is possibly my favourite book of all time and i was expecting to truly hate the film after seeing all the trailers. even after attending a Q&A with the director Gavin Hood and the cast I still had a lot of fears about the film. but to be fair when i watched it I thought It’s not too bad.

there are massive faults with some of it but most of this comes down to the fact that they had to squish the film down to 2 hours (which apparently wasn’t Hood’s choice.) I can understand why they stripped out some things such as the politics on earth and pretty much all of Valentine and Peter (which kind of nullifies Enders fear of becoming like him) and I understand they probably couldn’t put in all of the battle room battles but that’s not to say that I agree with them..

Valentine and Peter are arguably as important in the book as Ender is as they are the ones who Ender compares himself to (well Peter is) so by getting rid of most of their story time we no longer feel anything for them or Enders love for his sister. The battle room bits also annoyed me as you never really understand how he builds the respect of the other battleschool students which was a pivotal part of the book. He seems to gain friends very easily throughout the film which again kind of goes against everything that made Ender such an interesting character in the book….

I’m happy that they didn’t include a proper romance between Ender and Petra. There is a close friendship but nothing more. I was worried they would put in a relationship after seeing the photos of them holding hands but I think they handled it pretty well. They have that friendship that one forges when both parties are essentially alone (although Ender is very rarely alone in the film).

By far the weakest link for me was Harrison Ford who just didn’t seem to be bothered with anything at all. He simply was there for the money. He was very much a ‘What’s the point’ character in the film mainly down to Ford’s non acting.

I though the rest of the cast were great (although some characters got nowhere near enough screen time, namely Bean) 0

but overall I did enjoy the film. I think the film worked as a kind of ‘Best Of’ trailer for the book and I think it worked better for me after reading the book as the blanks were filled in. It could have been far far better, but in these days of child friendly blockbusters I doubt a better version would have been created by anyone.

It should be commended if only for presenting a sort of sci-fi film that you don’t regularly see nowadays in amongst all the political thrillers, clichéd horror films and comic based movies (not that there isn’t a place for all of them)

those are just my thoughts……

It’s rare for a film to come along that transcends genres and actually works. One such film is ‘Martyrs’. Many have simply dubbed the film with the horrible expression ‘torture porn’ but I don’t agree with that. I think you’ll find a lot of the people who simply explain the film with that expression haven’t actually seen the film and they are simply going on what they’ve heard. It’s a shame; it really is, because many would have missed out of this amazing film.

Lets get a few things out of the way:

Yes there is violence.

Yes there is gore.

And yes there is nudity.

But the thing is, none of it feels out of place. Never did I feel that anything was handled in an exploitive way as many say it is. It’s not. And when it comes to the actual ‘torture’ that does occur in the film, it is handled very carefully and very well. It takes an hour before any of what could be considered ‘torture porn’ occurs but even then it isn’t in the same vein as something like ‘hostel’ or even the likes of other extreme French horror films like ‘inside’.

One of the things that is so clever in the film is the fact that, as mentioned earlier, it transcends genres. We go through straight horror to revenge flick to supernatural horror to human drama and back to horror before going back to human drama. It’s a magnificent achievement.

I’d say that the theme that runs through the whole piece is the human condition and how the mind can be broken and manipulated. But even then that doesn’t explain it all.

Nothing I can say can do this film the justice it deserves. It is a film that is a must see for and fans of cinema or anyone interested in studies of the human condition. For me personally, it’s a film that I can endlessly watch and I always get something new from it… 8/10