30 April 2014

Plastic

Interestingly, Plastic is based on a true story. Whenever a film has that phrase flash up on screen it makes you question it more - except Plastic doesn't have that effect. The film follows a group of four misfits, Sam (Ed Speelers), Fordy (Will Poulter), Yatesey (Alfie Allen) and Rafa (Sebastian De Souza). Living what seems the high life successfully running a credit card fraud scheme, their comfortable lifestyle is disrupted when they steal from the wrong man. The only way to get this sadistic gangster off their trail is to give him what he wants and of course he wants money. Except this needs to be the biggest scam they have ever pulled off.

This is where the girl comes in. Just so happens that Sam's school crush, full lipped and well hair sprayed hair Frankie works at one of the worlds leading credit card companies - handy eh? Once she is on board the gang head to Miami to earn back their lives and pay off Marcel. Sun, beaches and endless cocktails - but is this really what Frankie signed up for? 

This script is laced with lies, manipulation and deceit. On the surface this group of 'lads' seem pretty content with scamming their way through life except we are never really given any reasons behind their motivation to pursue such actions in the first place. Additionally, the character development was a little absent. They all began as unlike able characters and remain that way until the credits roll. Plastic's main problem was the execution of lines. It felt like half the time this rather young cast forced that one line out as if to say, 'guys you need to laugh now'! Despite that, Alfie Allen gave a great performance and had the majority of good lines, which certainly made one chuckle. After Game of Thrones, it's nothing this actor can't handle. It was disappointing to see EE BAFTA's rising star Will Poulter as the on screen clown. The poor boy was dressed up in virtually every scene, along with Skins star Sebastian De Souza sporting a couple of fake moustaches. Starring as Marcel, and doing a phenomenal job of playing a trigger happy hardcore gangster is TV series Dracula's Van Helsing, Thomas Kretschmann. It was clear that the only reason Emma Rigby was on screen was to run around scantily clad on the beach and pout excessively. Surely they could have utilised this Hollyoaks actress a little more? 

After getting over all that, the production values were intriguing. Plastic was shot in an almost independent way and was a breath of fresh air when it comes to teen flicks. Considering this is the latest work from director Julian Gilbey who provided us with Rise of the Footsoldier (2007) and A Lonely Place to Die (2011) Plastic is very light in comparison. The British crime scene is still there and violence is certainly present but nothing compared to what this man can really do. Plastic is a raw, British film not without it's faults but entertaining nonetheless. 

Directed by Julian Gilbey
102 mins, 15 (2014)

8 April 2014

Noah

After Black Swan (2010), Requiem for a Dream (2000) and The Wrestler (2008) it seems you can't go far wrong with Darren Aronofsky - until you witness Noah. The production values were there, the narrative was there, the talent was there all to be let down by one major aspect for any film - the script. 

"In the beginning there was nothing". We are first thrown into a bible lesson of the biblical story of Cain, Abel and Seth which helped put things into perspective before it becomes Gladiator on water. At no stage of the film do you find yourself empathising with Noah and his trying destiny 'The Creator' has chosen for him. Not that Russell Crowe failed as Noah, it just seemed a shame to see an actor as he wasted in such a role. The blatant disregard for human life over nature was too apparent. The entire film was laced with environmental connotations, only for everything to get swept away in a apocalyptic flood to punish man for eating an apple.

Acting beside Crowe yet again, is the wonderful Jennifer Connelly who brings a glowing maternal force to the screen. In a world where one cannot live without fear of being hunted by man, she gives the viewer hope. Not to mention she completely steals the show when it comes to her performance, even if she has limited screen time. Their two eldest boys Shem (Douglas Booth) and Ham (Logan Lerman) served their purpose, but by no means gave stellar performances. Not even your luscious lips can save you now Douglas. However one casting choice did bring a surprisingly good effort, ensuring us she is much more than the fluffy haired witch Hermione Granger. Emma Watson brings emotion and fierceness to her orphaned Ila. The casting of Ray Winstone as the descendant of Cain, Tubal-cain worked to a certain degree, but only because his character was a barbaric carnivore that wants revenge. Nothing the man can't handle. 

So the animals came in two by two, hurrah - except they were poorly CGI generated ones that quite frankly let the film down. Along with the representation of The Watchers appearing as a cross between The Iron Giant and Transformers if they were made of boulders, let's say the budget didn't go to the SFX department. The films saving grace came in the form of weird and wonderful montages. In fact, such dreamlike sequences evoke thought of Malick's art cinema approach and physiological themes represented in Aronofsky's previous work. If only the film explored these aspects further, rather than produce dull dialogue and a hybrid of Darwinism and Creationism. Noah was an overall visually stunning feature, albeit not what one expected from the trailer and certainly not what anyone expected from such an acclaimed director.

Directed by Darren Aronofsky
138mins, 12A (2014) 

7 April 2014

The Snare is set to scare

No Hope, No Way Out, No Turning Back.

Leading actress and associate producer Eaoifa Forward describes The Snare as a vicious, brutal, deranged and psychological horror. Well it's certainly grabbed my attention. 

The Snare follows three students who get held against their will by a paranormal force that resides in the apartment they booked for a boozy weekend. Not only have they hit the nail on the head genre wise with such films as the popular Paranormal Activity series and The Conjuring being released recently, but from the films trailer this looks rather terrifying. This independent horror is director, writer C.A. Cooper's d├ębut and it sounds like he made it a pretty special one!

The feature was shot over 4 weeks, with 4 actors, 4 crew members, with the mere budget of £4,000 and to top it all off - edited in an attic.

It's safe to say that this man had a clear image of what he wanted to gain from his production and took to bizarre methods to achieve it. Cooper's rather eccentric and maniacal approach is said to have pushed the actors to their absolute limit - but boy did he get the results he wanted.  As well as pushing his cast to physical and emotional extremes he also wanted the fear to be ultimately real. To embody the feeling of being trapped inside, he kept the actors safely in the apartment even after shooting had finished. He also controlled their meals gradually reducing the amount of food he gave them, making their feelings and experiences all the more real (but always kept them hydrated). From the glimpses we get here, it appears such methods have translated on screen and it shall be very interesting to see it in it's entirety.

So, do keep your eyes peeled for what looks to be a very chilling independent horror, as The Snare is set for release very soon.  Take a look at the films trailer and see if The Snare is scary enough for you.



For more information please visit: www.thesnarefilm.com