Etikettarkiv: film review

Fiona: The Purpose of About a Boy (English essay)

About a Boy 2

 One of the main characters in Nick Hornby’s novel About a Boy and the eponymous film based upon it is Fiona. Fiona is Marcus’ forty-year-old mother, who tries to raise Marcus as a perfect person into a falling world on her own, ever since she divorced Marcus’ father several years ago. Until the very end of the story, Fiona is incapable of seeing her own wrongs, and thus, she raises her son as a boy who seemingly is every parent’s dream, but also is unfamiliar with social norms in areas such as clothing, music and speech, and all this results in that he’s being bullied at school. Even when she finally hears about the social slaughter he experiences every day, she’s still of the opinion that everything that matters is that he is himself, and that he shouldn’t care about them and what they think. This whole side story about Fiona slowly understanding how the world works, and the difference between theoretical and practical ideologies, has an obvious moral: Ofcourse you should always be yourself, but you should also adjust after the world; if everyone goes as they want, nothing will work. Another moral of the story can simply be that you can’t always save everyone; sometimes you just have to help yourself and try not to think of the others. Fiona’s life was already a mass of grief and sorrow because of herself, so when she tried to help Marcus as well, it all fell apart for both of them. Her suicide attempt was ofcourse the biggest break-through, leading Marcus to worry much more about her for a long period of time, leading the two of them into an evil circle where neither could help themselves simply because they cared too much about the other.
About a BoyEven though she in the beginning of the novel sees herself as the perfect mother as she doesn’t raise her son to be a sheep, she realises more and more throughout the story that she’s wrong, and that she has been too ignorant to understand that everything she does isn’t always right. Towards the end of the end of the film, for example, she has totally change her mind about forcing Marcus to be a vegetarian, even suggesting that they should go eat at McDonald’s. To simplify, I can explain how she sees herself in three states: in the first half of the book, she sees herself as a perfect parent doing nothing wrong in raising Marcus. When she at last realise that everything after all isn’t perfect, she sees herself as an awful human being. When she’s gotten over the shock, she instead focuses on trying to better herself, and again she sees herself as a good mother, which she is, in the very end.
                      It is hard to tell how other characters see Fiona, as this varies a lot. Marcus obviously cares very much about her, but love can also turn into temporary hate, as for example when he lost respect for her after her suicide attempt. He cares for her and tries to help her, but when he realises he can’t help her, he instead ignores the problem, going home to Will instead of coming home to face the problem. Will finds himself annoyed by her and how ignorant she is towards the norms that destroy Marcus, and how she simply won’t listen to him when he tries to help Marcus.
                      Even though Fiona is one of the less important main characters, she is the obvious connection between Marcus and Will, as well as what sets the entire story of with her attempted suicide, as it makes Marcus start going to Will’s house after school, instead of home, where he would be forced to face her depression. Her suicide attempt was ofcourse not a good thing, yet it was what started the entire story, changing her, Will’s and Marcus’ lives forever.
                      To me, About a Boy is a happy ending-story, in which I mean it seems like everything goes fine in the end, and thus, I don’t think that much could happen to change this. I would believe her life continues without a sign of her depression again, and that she soon finds a boyfriend to live with her and Marcus, and well… live happily ever after.

The Last Samurai

Tom Cruise is one of the few super-famous actors who I believe actually deserve their popularity, who actually are good on stage. He and Johnny Depp are the two I can mention right up front that I feel this way about. The problem with him is how he almost only acts action films, and action is probably my least favorite genre in film. So I really love his performance in 2003’s drama-action-history film The Last Samurai.The Last SamuraiIn The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise is Captain Nathan Algren, a war hero tormented of the memories of the Indian wars in which he acted, and the many innocent he has slayed. As the emperor of Japan wants to civilize his country, extincting the few samurai led by Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe), Algren is hired to lead the country’s new troups, basically farmers who hasn’t seen a gun before. After a failed battle in which the entire Japanese army is killed, Algren is captured by Katsumoto. After living with the samurai for a while, he realises that they aren’t the enemy, they are the ones trying to capture the natural beauty of Japan and keep it. Slowly, we are to realise that the emperor isn’t a ”bad guy”, but more of a weak puppet led by assistants and war generals, while the emperor himself is unsure whether to keep or destroy the samurai. Throughout the film, Katsumoto several times says that if the emperor wants him dead, he has but to ask, and he will gladly take his life. The emperor never replies.The Last Samurai is one of my absolute favorite films, a great epic story that has everything: great actors, one of the best music scores ever in film history (by Hans Zimmer), love, death, cool weapons (okay, I admit it, I love Japanese weapons, samurai and ninjas), and a grande ending fight ending with the scene when Captain Alger meets the emperor, and gives him Katsumoto’s katana, and the ending quotes always makes me thrill of epic:”Tell me how he died.””I’ll tell you how he lived.”I never have Swedish subtitles on while watching an English film, but I couldn’t avoid seeing the Swedish title ”Den Siste Samurajen” (”The Last Samurai” in singular) on the cover. What the…? Translators should try getting their facts straight. Director Edward Zwick has himself said that the title refers to the last samurai troop, and NOT Captain Nathan Algren. Get your facts straight.Again: A great film, recommended to everyone. A great epic, with perfect balance of drama, history and action.

Futurama: Bender's Big Score (2007)

”Ah! A bomb!””Stop screaming! That’s exactly what the bomb wants us to do!” 

Bender’s Big ScoreEver since I first saw the Futurama animated TV series as they aired on Swedish TV in the first half of the 00’s, I’ve loved the shows. As Matt Groening more or less created a new genre of animated sitcoms for adults with The Simpsons, no-one believed that other shows could follow without plagiarizing, and shows like Family Guy and American Dad was the perfect example of this. But then Futurama came, from the pen of Matt Groening himself, and it managed to follow in this great genre without any trace of plagiarizing. I’ve watched each Futurama episode at least three times, and I own seasons 3-4 on DVD. And every day I have cursed Fox for shutting the show down after its fourth season. So when they decided to produce a brand new direct-to-DVD-film and released it in November 2007, there was no question whether to buy it.The main story of the film is simple, and could easily just have been a normal episode (about 23 minutes) instead of a feature film at 1:25 hours, but as the story folds out and goes back to seemingly all the previous episodes, including for example the famous pilot, the Globe Trotters episode (The Time Keeps Slipping), and the one in which Fry tries cloning his 1000 years old pet (Jurassic Bark). The Planet Express crew as well as entire Earth falls for Internet spam by nudists of a nude beach planet, and gives away all their belongings, including Bender as he while downloading porn happens to download a virus making him their eternal slave. While having to work for the nudists, they realise that Fry has a tattoe of Bender on his butt, including a code that makes it possible to travel back in time – something the nudists starts to use to steal all famous objects until they own the entire universe.Meanwhile, Leela starts seeing Carl, a handsome man who she realises is the love of her life. They are to be married, but after he leaves her by the altar (after the decapitation of Hermes), the story starts unfolding with a surprising twist and sad story when Fry travels back in time as he can’t find happiness in the future.

Futurama

A really complicated story, but everything folds out perfect and most of it actually makes sense. Even though some things are quite hard to understand, and some things are quite cheap; for example Bender has to leave a place for a time, and to create this situation the writers have put in that he had to go to the bathroom. As Bender is a robot, they put in the line ”damn, for the first time ever I have to go to the bathroom!”.It’s quite cool to see how Futurama always – ALWAYS – manages to create so many original jokes, smarter and bigger ones as well as the minor texts they put in the background and so on. For example, on a phonebook Bender reads in the 21th century the cover says ”now with 20 % more Josés!”, and while flipping through the book there are lots of names ending with José. Such things are so simple yet wonderful for the die hard fans watching the show over and over again – such details help making Futurama one of the best shows ever.The film also included unusually many ”dirty” jokes (sex, naked, etcetera), especially cheap but still great ones such as ”I’ve wiped Fry’s butt clean.” / ”We’ll see about that!” and ”Hm, okay, you’re clean. I meant that metaphorically!”. I would presume it was easier to put in dirtier jokes in a direct-to-video than in a TV series on Fox.And as always, Futurama has a great choice of music, especially in the part when Fry goes back to the 21th century. But I really hate the music in the scenes where they try their best to say ”this is a film, not a TV series”. It destroys all the feelings in the film.And cartoon characters really should stop saying ”things can’t any worse now”

 ******six stars 

Film Review: Babel (2006)

”One gunshot is heard across the world” 

Babel (2006) is one of those films I’ve seen a lot of advertising (posters etcetera) for yet knew nothing about. I was going to rent a film with my girlfriend, and finding nothing interesting we simply picked up ”Babel” – it is after all a well-criticized film so it can’t be all bad, can it?

Babel

The story of the film handles the events of an American couple on vacation in Morrocco, as a gunshot hits the wife (Susan, played by Cate Blanchett) in her neck. We follow the next five days of panic, as her husband (Richard, played by Brad Pitt) tries to save her life in a small village of the Morroccan desert. There are four main families we follow, in four different parts of the world; the couples Mexican maid Amelia and their two children whom she takes care of during their vacation; the two Morroccan boys who accidentally fires at Susan (”the American tourist”) while practicing shooting in the desert; and Chieko (played by Rinko Kikuchi), a deaf Japanese girl in troubles of fitting in and desperately finding a boyfriend in a world where she can’t understand anyone’s words.The film was really interesting and thrilling through almost the entire film, except some parts that felt like nothing but pathetic fillouts. One of the most interesting parts of watching it was trying to find out how the four families were connected, and it wasn’t until the end that Chieko’s life connected to the rest through her father, a Japanese hunter. The most interesting part was clearly Chieko’s to me, as I easily could understand her; being deaf is much worse in every way than merely not knowing the language; you have no possibility to learn it, and you obviously can’t except everyone to learn sign language.Before watching the film, I had never heard of anyone on the cast except Brad Pitt (playing Richard), a way overrated actor who did a very good job in the 1995 film Se7en, but since hasn’t done anything diversing him from 99 percent of the actors of our world. With this in mind, I can easily say that Babel is one of Brad Pitt’s best performances. I also loved the performance of Rinko Kikuchi (playing Chieko), but after checking her previous roles out I can in sadness say that Babel is an exception.One of the things I’ve heard of the film on forehand was the ”amazing” music, that actually – I’m sorry – sucked. Where did all the great, original film music go? Films used to be filled with great music! Just look at the 20th century up to 1980 or so. There are only a few good film composers left (who on the other hand are really great), for example Hans Zimmer and Alan Silvestri.I would call Babel a really overrated film, not deserving much of its positive critisism, but it’s still a nice film and I just couldn’t turn it off in the middle, simply because the ending was so unpredictable.

*****

five stars

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I just finished watching the 2007 musical thriller Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, based on the 1979 musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheelers, which itself is based on an 19th century story about the barber Benjamin Barker, who is falsely accused and sentenced to hard labor in Australia by a man lusting for Barker’s wife. After managing to escape fifteen years later, he returns to London under the false name Sweeney Todd and finds out that his wife killed herself after being raped, and that their child has been adopted. In order to seek revenge, he takes up his old barber shop and starts killing randomly, while looking for the man who betrayed him long ago.Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetThis is clearly my favorite Tim Burton film, and Tim Burton is one of my absolute favorite directors. It stars several great actors, especially Johnny Depp (as Sweeney Todd) and Helena Bonham Carter (as Mrs. Lovett), and it has a great story with wonderful effects, and great music. I’ve always been a great fan of musicals, even though I really haven’t seen that many. It’s more that I’ve really loved those I’ve seen, most significantly by Andrew Lloyd Webber, especially The Phantom of the Opera.Anyway, a really great film, recommended to everyone. I’ll try to find the musical to watch is too, but I seriously doubt they play it in Sweden (especially in the original language). I really need that trip to London to see some great musicals.

********

eight stars 

Snow!

I was opening the door to check if my cat wanted to come inside, when I saw it. SNOW! white, wonderful SNOW! It’s snowing! Last year, it didn’t start snowing till the end of December. Oh dear, how I love snow…

Right now I’m working on my english essay, a review of american film Inside Man. I hope to finish it tonight, it should be finished by Monday next week.