Saturday 3 April 2010

Review: Clash of the Titans

Year: 2010
Director: Louis Leterrier
Screenplay: Travis Beacham, Matt Manfredi, Phil Fay
Starring: Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Mads Mikkelsen, Pete Postlethwaite

Synopsis is here

Well what to say about Clash of the Titans? I will say I was happy to watch it in 2-D the way it was supposed to be viewed and not in the rushed, outsourced £-D that has been cynically placed during the 11th hour in order to boost the box office. Watching it in 2-D was a plus because instead of bitching about terrible £-D, I could bitch about the film instead.

So what aspects of the film will I bitch about? Not much. Oh. So what will I gush about? Not much either. COTT is a main meal of meh with a side order of shrug. There's nothing amazing about it, and nothing truly terrible. I'd love to write a review that goes either way but unfortunately Louis Leterrier's film sits stubbornly in the middle, doing no more, no less. I'm sure I could probably end the review there to be honest. But I feel I must finish for the seven people who enjoy my writing and press on.

My main issue with Clash may be that even though I'm not a scholar on Greek Myth, I still get the feeling that the film is still quite light on it's source material. In fact when looking back at the film, there really only is three scenes of interest and even then they feel usually light considering A) what the films about and B) what a film like this should contain. I understand that many don't go to a movie like this for dense plotting but even the (admittedly well captured) action feels more lightweight than expected. I'm not sure about yourselves but I expect a film with the name clash of the titans to feel more epic. Never the less, Clash isn't a terrible film. Leterrier handles his visuals well and manages to bring about enough excitement to the films set pieces to keep it watchable, although those who expect immense Kracken action may actually be slightly disappointed.

Once again, when it comes to the acting, I didn't expecting grand, epic displays but I was just hoping for the film to deliver something not awful. Once again Clash does merely OK. Sam Worthington can't get rid of his Oz accent which distracts from a moderately spunky everyman part. He doesn't suck, but he doesn't astound. Gemma Arterton holds enough screen presence to make me sightly more interested in the upcoming Prince of Persia blockbuster. Other displays of interest include a solid display of badassery from Mads Mikkelsen while Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes ham up proceedings more than a pig on a spit. Nicolas Hoult and Kaya Scodelario (both from Skins) turn up and look a bit lost in the surroundings but at least they have more to do than Danny Huston who appears to have had all his lines end up on the cutting room floor. There's a similar feeling for the sparse appearance for Pete Postlethwaite who could have done with more screen presence considering that his role is quite pivotal.

Clash of the Titans is the kind of forgettable fluff you expect to come out at this time of year. If you have a younger sibling or haven't let the child within you die then you may get more than enough enjoyment out of it. A lot of people however, just may be happy enough that it's shorter than Troy.

Review: Remember Me

Year: 2010
Director: Allen Coulter
Screenplay: Will Fetter
Starring: Robert Patterson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan

Synopsis is here

It didn't take me more than a few minutes to guess the ending of Remember me. When the film's Gorgonzola cheese ending took place I had my head in my hands. I was slightly frustrated with what had took place. The reason? It almost undid all the good this movie has within it.

OK. Now don't laugh. As a straight, 26 year old man, who had so many issues with twilight I would need a therapist to get through them, I find this a hard thing to say...I really dug this movie. Now if I didn't write a film review blog and co-host a podcast I probably wouldn't go near a movie like this. Hell my girlfriend wouldn't touch it (she thinks Robert Patterson is ugly). However as a film reviewer with a podcast in tow, you do find yourself watching stuff you'd scoff at in real life.

The film has a tried and tested formula, the ending is not only predictable but cheesy and don't expect any visual mastery or epic storytelling. However, as a romantic drama, a date movie and a showcase for Robert Patterson...the film WORKS. Instead of being bored out of my mind, I found myself quite involved with the characters and the drama of the movie. This is a movie about guarded people who despite their losses, are given the chance to open up due to the connections they make, no matter how insignificant. It's not spectacular, it's not a high art, but it is thoroughly entertaining for what it is.

The reason for this is director Allen Coulter manages to coax convincing drama from the films actors and Will Fetter's mostly good natured script. It follows the right beats and hits the right mark. Coulter's time as a TV director clearly allows the people within film to breathe. The characters aren't special, but their well rounded and likable. We're not watching award winning stuff, but it is very manageable and goes down a hell of a lot smoother than I imagined.

A small amount of praise must go out to the two young leads who take something that should be quite tired passable. Robert Patterson with his wannabe James Dean brood and restraint quieter moments shows that when the material is stronger than "stand and look pretty" he is a capable actor. His most "showy" moment does show he weaknesses but his smile and all round charm minimize the damage. Emilie de Ravin's Ally is not only cute but a nice fit for Patterson's moody Tyler and levitates the role above the one note love interest display that it could have been. The chemistry works from the off and keeps the movie on it's path.

Seasoned pros Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan are slumming it a bit but still bring in the gravitas needed for their roles to be interesting. It was quite amusing to see Brosnan lose it in an office, as was Cooper going medieval on R-Patz ass. But I think that may be Twilight residue still inside me.

Unfortunately Remember Me suffers from having an obvious ending, badly executed, with an event that many critics have considered offensive. I'd love to say it's trying to deal with something that many would still find difficult...but alas it falls flatter than the pancakes that everyone is so interested in eating in the film.

But in all honesty, from a moral standpoint, I've seen far worse in the twilight films than anything that appears here. Before going in I was embarrassed to tell my girlfriend on the phone what i was going in to see. At the end of the film I phone her again and told her to watch it. The charm of the R-Patz eh?