Luc Besson’s films haven’t really received many good reviews over the past few years and unfortunately his latest release, Lucy, did nothing to change that. Starring both Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, this film had the potential to be pretty damn great, but it fell short at just about every hurdle. The film follows the story of Lucy, a student who is forced into becoming a drug mule with a packet of a new drug, CPH4, sewn into her. Her passage takes a turn for the worse when she is violently attacked, causing the drugs packet inside of her to burst. This releases a very large amount of the drug, which increases the user’s brain function capacity, into her bloodstream. Lucy immediately begins to develop powerful mental talents such as telekinesis, the ability to absorb information instantaneously and mental time travel to name a few.VIEW STORY »
First published on The Oxford Student, see original here.
Maleficent is Disney’s latest attempt at a live action reboot, retelling the tale of the 1969 classic, Sleeping Beauty. This adaption focuses on the story’s antagonist, Maleficent, portraying her as the misunderstood villain. We are first introduced to her as a beautiful and sweet little faerie, but Maleficent grows up to be betrayed by Stefan, the man she loves, who, blinded by his greed, cuts off her wings in order to be named as the King’s successor. Heartbroken and consumed by hate, Maleficent turns to a life of revenge, placing an irrevocable curse upon Stefan’s new born daughter to prick her finger on a spindle the night before her sixteenth birthday, sending her into a deep death-like slumber that only true love’s kiss can awaken her from.VIEW STORY »
The strong female heroine is losing its novel status and fast becoming a pre-requisite for young adult novels.
Although released back in 2012, My Brother the Devil is a film that has only just been brought to my attention. I’m not even going to bother listing the awards that this film has won but, trust me, it’s a pretty darn long list. This fact makes it all the more surprising that this film isn’t more famous as its list of accolades is really impressive being praised for its cinematography and actors by England and Europe.
This film revolves around an Egyptian family living in Hackney with themes such as family, love and gang crime. Rash (James Floyd) is a key member of the local gang who’s always got his wits about him and knows the ins and outs of making a living on the downlow in his local area. Despite being pretty good at his ‘job’, drug dealing and any other sort of petty crime the gang leader wants him involved in, Rash wants out. He wants a better life for his younger brother, Mo, and his family and works hard to do this. However, leaving the gang isn’t as simple as walking away and things get very complicated, very quickly. Meanwhile, Mo, who idolises his older brother, is doing everything in his power to become a part of the gang that Rash is pulling away from. All he wants is for his brother to be proud of him and believing that getting in with ‘boys’ is the way to do it, Mo finds himself involved in the gang’s activities.
With a film such as this, it can be quite easy to overplay the ‘gangster’, in terms of voice, language, mannerisms etc. but I was really impressed by what I would call the ‘authenticity’ of this film. Though the area of London I live in is nothing like Hackney, I have met quite a lot of people who talk in a similar fashion to Rash, Mo and their friends so I highly commend the actors for capturing what I imagine Hackney life is actually like. At times I thought that the supporting actors may have overplayed the gangster a little too much but the main two characters, Rash and Mo, are phenomenally good actors and they really carry the film forwards. Neither Fady Elsayed, nor James Floyd are particularly well known actors in Britain – why this is, I have no idea, because they are both so talented. If you stripped away the plot from this film it would still be worth watching just for the characters of Rash and Mo. Not only do these two actors work well on their own, but there seemed to be a real connection between the two which helped to make their brotherly relationship seem all the more real. Both characters have their own stories which run parallel alongside each other in ‘My Brother the Devil’, but some of the best scenes are those in which the two interact with each other.
What I loved about this film was that it was really subtle in some of its plot points. This isn’t the sort of film you find yourself texting in, it’s one that you pay the utmost attention to, lest you miss the smallest detail. It’s the small things that make this film really good, which I guess is the case with most reality-based drama of this sort, but you’re kept entertained in the build up to all the major plot crises even by something as small as Mo having a conversation with the girl next door.
This film is intense. You’ll find yourself going through just about every emotion imaginable. It was pretty gruesome and violent at some points so be prepared to look away if you’re not a fan of those sorts of things. Most of the time I find that extreme violence is unnecessary, but in a film such as this, you need these difficult scenes to really understand and delve into the world of these characters. There are also scenes of a sexual nature and the theme of homophobia is also addressed.
Acting and plot aside, I thought that the camera-work and soundtrack were also particularly excellent. I rarely notice cinematography and it’s not the sort of thing you’d expect to be particularly amazing in a film such a this which is heavily plot driven and doesn’t involve a lot scenic shots but there’s just something about the way that the cinematographer captured this picture that made Hackney seem almost beautiful (a mean feat). Music always plays a massive part in films and the soundtrack to My Brother the Devil perfectly compliments the tone of the film and serves to enhance all the drama making this a real visual and sensual (not sexual) experience.
One of my first impressions of this film is that it’s awfully like ‘La Haine’, a particularly famous French film about gang crime. There were certain scenes which seemed like they were almost identical and I don’t know if this film was in any way inspired by that film or whether that was a coincidence. Anyways, if you’re a fan of ‘La Haine’, then this is the perfect film for you.
In conclusion, if you’re a fan real life drama and have a passion for more ‘artistic’ and ‘deep’ films, then definitely add this to your watch list. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this film given that I usually go for more lighthearted genres but this is a truly touching story that will make you both laugh and cry. This film has everything going for it: script, actors, cinematography, soundtrack, the works and if you consider yourself a filmie and you haven’t seen this, then you’re missing out.
Have a look at the trailer below:
*This film was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review
That Awkward Moment is the first ‘brom-com’ ever to hits screens, starring Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B Jordan. It’s rare to see a film about men with commitment issues that’s actually from the perspective of a guy and it’s really refreshing to see something different to the repetitive rom-coms that are released in waves, especially at this time of year.
I’m back! Sorry for my prolonged absence. I have been incredibly busy what with starting university etc. and when I got back home for the Xmas holidays, I went straight into a full time job! Busy. Busy. Busy. Anyways, I’m back now and will be bringing you lots of book and film reviews for things I’ve read and seen over the past few months. Hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and Happy New Year!
I started watching this film with very high expectations. My friends and many critics had raved about how good this film was and I was excited to finally see the film from which the infamous ‘cup song’ had originated. Unfortunately, with every passing minute of this film, my expectations dropped lower and lower until the point where I was thoroughly bewildered by all the praise this film had received. This is, by no means, a bad film. It is; however, full of clichés with a poorly developed plot line that tries to pack too much in to too little time.VIEW STORY »
I have to admit, I used to hate Batman with a passion. Spiderman has always been my favourite superhero and I guess I always thought Batman looked pretty darn evil since he’s always dressed in black and has a creepy voice. Then, I was dragged along to see The Dark Knight Rises in the cinema and everything changed. I wasn’t just a new Batman fan, I was frickin’ Batman obsessed. I now own several Batman t-shirts, Batman underwear and lots of other Batman memorabilia.