Starlet (2012)

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Perhaps not a fully engrossing story and one that offers up at least two wholly annoying toon like disthpicable (despicable) characters but moving away from this there are two first time movie actresses that bring sweetness, tenderness and enough grounded realistic performances that make the whole film a hit.

This independent film by Sean S. Baker revolves around the unlikely blossoming friendship between an at first supposedly unemployed young lass and a widowed 85 year old. They cross paths one day as the 21 year old Jane (Dree Hemingway) goes to buy yard sale items to make her room more her style. After buying a thermos/vase from the elderly woman named Sadie (Besedka Johnson) she discovers rolled up cash inside and in her guilt of spending decides to help and befriend Sadie leading them to become the most unlikely of allies after Copper and Tod.

It’s a simple enough story of this cheap independent kind of film making to focus on an earthy relationship like dynamic rather than what Hollywood loves to do and centre on explosions and CGI. It takes a while to get into this odd friendship pairing though but once you get there, it is properly worth it and there is a real sweet touch to this bond. There are times when you really wonder what Sadie is doing but she wants the companionship even if she never admits it and with the annoying start in Jane’s character and her guilt overriding the reason to be nice you get to an end road where she realises Sadie is a better truer friend than anyone she knows. That’s about it with the friendship though, it’s plain Jane kind of sailing from Jane and Sadie even with a few story turns thrown in.

I do like the finding out of character backgrounds as the plot progresses, a good welcome change to having exposition spoil all secrets and pasts before the half an hour mark. The secret of Jane concerns her and her brattish roommates work and there’s drop feeding to hint at things but it’s subtle and when you come to uncover what their jobs are it’s a good payoff that makes you understand why Jane is the way she is. There’s a character payoff too with Sadie that comes right at the end of the movie which is sort of obvious by the time they both reach the grassy destination but it’s an eye opening moment for us and Jane that could completely change their friendship for the better.

The non-diegetic music on the most part is like a lullaby summery tone drifting in before sharply cutting to a stop as dialogue is spoken or diegetic sounds hit the speaker. It’s an interesting choice that reflects the warmth of the location that fills the entirety of this movie and also works with the up and down friendship nature of Sadie and Jane gaining momentum and then suddenly stopping every now and then.

Jane’s living housemates are a living nightmare and yes they’re meant to be unlikeable but they’re drawn way too hideously to deem them as real people and they’re like walking caricatures that you hope to die, harsh maybe but watch the film and you’ll most likely agree. Melissa and Mikey are mad, mopey and moronic. Alliteration is the only way I can go about describing their ghastly personalities. It’s just a good thing that Jane shows a sign of stepping out of that world and into a more interesting, nice and cultured one…well maybe, even though the threat of her career and new quarters still lead you to worry how she’ll carry on.

Dree Hemingway is childish, mature, kind, angry and helpful but most of all she’s believable as this growing young woman. It’s a confident rooted performance that somehow amongst the times you see her like a Paris Hilton tragedy you still like her. There’s a smile she gives that radiates beauty and warmth, for example at the bingo scene when she shows it off knowing Sadie will agree to the plan she has paid for. Besedka Johnson is sadly no longer with us and that makes the film even more sad to a degree and for a first time ever acting in anything she is incredible. She acts the detailed opposite world of Jane’s with ease and a calm aurora. The image of her shaking and beginning to cry as she tries finding Jane’s dog is enough to rend the heart into many little pieces. It’s these two female performers that make the film what it is and even if the story is basic they sell it fantastically.

A very indie feeling film that explores how two people from separate lives can blend in the image obsessed environment of LA. The story and Jane may have their flaws and the washed out palette of the movie may feel tiresome but stick with the story and you’ll end up seeing a good honest and bittersweet story about human connections.

7.5/10

 

The Fault in Our Stars from Ruffell Reviews

The latest installment in my guest review series and this time it comes from Ruffell Reviews who arrives with a fun and personal style of writing and likes to look over DVD releases and posts new material every Sunday, so think of this as a treat for they are reviewing a cinema release and it’s here and ready to read on a Saturday! Enjoy.

See their blog and give a follow over at Ruffell Reviews.

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So I went to go and see ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and I have to say after sitting there for 2 hours, seeing those credits role and leaving to walk out afterwards, my first thought was… there were no Faults in these Stars my friend. Okay maybe a couple and we will get into them I can assure you but the stars still shined bright all the same! As most of you may already know ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ film is based on the worldwide best selling novel of the same name by John Green, who you may know from his previous novels prior to this one or you may know him as one half of the ‘vlogbrothers’ on YouTube OR you may even just know him simply because of the buzz of this book because that’s exactly how I discovered him, in other words the lazy way of discovering something.  When it was first released back in January 2012 I didn’t pay attention to it at all but had heard everybody going absolutely crazy over this book and some of these people being my own friends but that still didn’t really encourage me to read it, now I don’t think there has been one title out there where I have read the book before seeing the film and it’s not something I plan, it just happens and it was no different with this one! Although after watching I will definitely be checking out the book now. Let’s get in to the actual film shall we?

So the basic outline of the story without giving too much away surrounds a teenage girl called Hazel who is a cancer patient whose life pretty much only revolves around hospital appointments and reality TV shows she watches at home to cope with her own not so fulfilling life you could say, the subject of support groups gets brought up which her mum pretty much forces the poor girl to go to, Hazel FINALLY gives in to attending just to please her. Come on Mum! She just wants to stay at home and watch TV and read that damn book that she goes on about throughout the movie which I must add I don’t know the name of and can’t really be bothered to Google at this moment in time to find out. Where was I? Support groups! Ah yes! At one of the support classes she meets one Augustus Walters who was a cancer patient that has just come out of remission and takes an immediate interest to Hazel which is the start of a story in which you could say Hazel reaches some sort of fulfilment which is what she was perhaps missing, this is something that I can only describe as truly touching without giving too much away.

Now I know what you’re thinking, it’s what most people probably thought going into this movie without reading it first “so boy meets girl, they fall in love, how cliché” it really isn’t like that all in my opinion, I feel the story teaches a lot of morals surrounding life itself and living it to the absolute fullest despite your situation and that is a constant theme in the film, grabbing life by the scruff of the neck and not letting go! I think this is the running theme throughout. Another theme that is played out in the film is the feeling of not taking the people in your life for granted and being really thankful for the people that you have around you, I certainly got that as I was watching and that feeling grew as it went on, I suppose you could say that that ties in with the theme I originally discussed which is living life to the fullest because you never know when your last moment will be and don’t take for granted the people you’re doing these things with because you never know what could happen to them… okay wow that got deep… let’s lighten things up a bit shall we and talk about the cast!

Shailene Woodley plays the role of Hazel who really took me by surprise in this one, I mean not only did I think she done an exceptional job as the character but Shailene is incredibly beautiful, now I am convinced that she is an angel who came to the audition wearing a halo and wings, I think one of the things that made the film more sensitive for me is the fact we are given this delicate subject being played out in a story with the casting of a woman with the sweetest face and the most delicate voice. I must add that this delicate voice also narrates the film too! Bless you Shailene. In a positive way… looking at her just made me want to cry. I’m actually a teddy bear for things like that. Now I am just talking about this from a movie standpoint because as I mentioned before I haven’t read the book (and I’m going to keep saying it till you are sick of it) but I know there are people out there who have read the book that may say differently because of how she is described in it and how her character differs, this is one of many reasons why I am looking forward to reading it personally because for all I know she could be exactly the same which suits me! Now Hazel’s love interest Augustus Walters is played by Ansel Elgort who I enjoyed watching on screen also, his character is very inspiring which is what I bought into with him, this pays homage to the script because of the lines he was given and also not forgetting it pays homage to the book which I’m sure most of the same lines are in there too but I’m sure the book worms can confirm this for me or I will do so myself once I have read it.

So this is primarily a love story about two people okay and when you’re talking about them on screen together I don’t think the chemistry between the two characters was anything special, I mean there were a couple of moments, like literally 2, the chemistry was sort of felt when the two would share a joke but that was about it. I felt as if the chemistry between Hazel and her parents was even better and more chemistry felt to be honest, naturally you would expect that with your parents right? But I’m strictly talking on screen partnership here. Let’s just say Hazel & Augustus weren’t Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper chemistry level and definitely not at Rachel McAdams and Ryan Reynolds chemistry heights, it just seemed very forced and awkward for the most part. The Forced in Our (Movie) Stars. I need to mention and talk about some other actors in this film who I think deserve to be mentioned because in case you guys didn’t know already the film doesn’t feature only two characters believe it or not. OH YES! The first is Nat Wolff who plays Isaac, who is a friend of Augustus’s that suffers from eye cancer that also attends the support groups, the reason I would like to talk about him is because I really did enjoy his role within the film, he is quite a quirky character and a couple of the gags I enjoyed in the film featured him, his story intrigued me because of how the character develops like whilst he deals with the things going on in his own life he also tries to juggle everything else that is going on around him which is never an easy thing to do which made me really relate to him . William Dafoe makes an appearance as the Green Gobli… no I’m kidding but no matter what film I see him in the Green Goblin stigma will never budge, not me for anyway, DAMN YOU SPIDER-MAN! Yeah but in this he plays Peter Van Houten who is the author of the book that Hazel has read 50 million times that I have already mentioned that I forgot the name of and as we progress I still cannot be bothered to Google the name so sorry not sorry. I’m not going to reveal how he comes into it and what his role is specifically but he is arguably in one of the most powerful scenes in the entire film which I think he done an amazing job with, so look out for it people!

Now let’s not take anything away from the story, the bad chemistry between the two main characters didn’t ruin it for me by any means. The whole thing felt like a roller-coaster because as an audience member sitting there watching this thing, I felt as if I was being pulled in quite a few directions which kept me on my toes whilst watching which is never a bad thing. The nature of what I was about to watch I did anticipate this to be honest so that didn’t come as too much of a surprise, the story is very emotional and if you’re a softy like me you will find tears flowing down your cheeks at quite a few points in this one, not only are the scenes that I was witnessing largely emotionally driven but a lot of the language used was too, I mentioned Augustus being inspiring because of his lines but that is only half the story, it is one of the most quotable films I have seen this year/the last couple of years which did leave me with a really warm feeling inside as I felt I really took something from what I watched and that I could share with others and possibly even inspire them the way it inspired me.

I did feel emotionally attached to Hazel and Augustus and found myself caring about these characters as the story developed and same goes for most of the characters to be fair which is always a good thing when it comes to this type of film and I really hope the book gives me the same feeling, I think my only criticism apart from the chemistry of the two which I have already spoke about is some elements seemed really rushed, just how the transitions were quite fast with certain things that were going on inside the story like one minute this is happening and then the feeling of “oh wait.. how did we just get from that to that? I need a better explanation” type thing. yeah only a couple of times though but they were at very important points in the plot without giving too much away… yeah how many times have I said that in this review? Hey stop counting! I see you! Anyway speaking of counting I’m going to give this one an 8/10 and would recommend it to all the hopeless romantics like myself. Good day… now where is that book?

8/10

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)

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Barry Levinson directs a good comedy here with a later style introducing the war movie theme that brings in the needed punch of conflict and consequences to clash nicely with the lighter affair of Robin Williams’ wisecracking humourous radio DJ character.

It’s 1965 and Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams) arrives in Saigon to work as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio Service. Cronauer’s zippy style and knack for sending up political figures in his sketches on air rub his superiors up the wrong way but his daily broadcasts soon make him a celebrity and other personnel such as Edward or ‘Garlic’ (Forest Whitaker) love the funny work he is doing. In the midst of this blossoming Vietnam DJ career Cronauer takes up teaching English to some Vietnamese and befriends a local lad called Tuan (Tung Thanh Tran). Though the sights and sounds of Saigon may start grating against his usually preppy radio hour.

It does take a while for anything of importance to happen and that can be deemed as a slow ride up until that point. There’s at least sixty minutes that pass before the first dramatic visual of war in Vietnam hits the screen and from that point you can feel the change in the movie and it’s a welcomed one. The first hour does well enough in setting up the style and charm of Williams’ Adrian but in that time he can now and then get annoying, sure he is funny and he can do impressions at the drop of a hat but even his well choreographed improvised routines on air lead you to start groaning at the severe energy this man has. At least once the huge boom and shock of what he sees happen so close to him in the centre of Saigon he becomes a more rounded grounded character, still with that spark but with humility and awareness attached.

The soundtrack throughout this movie is top rate material with poppy tunes lifting the spirit in the right places that coincide with montaged shots of army guys listening in and needing the songs of The Beach Boys, James Brown and Martha and the Vandellas to raise their spirits too. It’s a great set up in Adrian ignoring the in house rules of playing certain records as we understand more about his happy go lucky character from the choices of songs played. This in contrast to the frankly dire polka tunes green lit by Steven Hauk (Bruno Kirby) who fills in for Adrian at one point and becomes a hate mail target due to his incompetence at DJing and being totally unfunny.

The later parts of this 1987 film are much better in my opinion as they start opening up the eyes to the damages done around Vietnam by the Americans. At first it seems bad in Cronauer being all mighty US lord and teaching this school Americanisms and cursing but then his nature helps these locals have fun with the better side of America, in helping them understand language divides and playing baseball. There is still that problem of America treating themselves as the hero but at least when the Viet Cong are introduced there’s mention of why they’re doing it leading back to the threat of US soldiers ruining their lives. It’s not a truly one sided treatment though it could still do more to not be so white in letting American characters help try and save the day.

Robin Williams is in what feels like one man show mode during this film and you can completely understand why he was nominated for an Oscar as he steals the attention from pretty much everyone around him. The comedy radio speeches and his second half more serious portrayal of a man seeing the danger around him make for a three dimensional character with more than just funny bones but a heart too. Forest Whitaker does well to act opposite Williams and provides a fully likeable sidekick to the DJ as they go about and he gets a fine spotlight moment in helping Adrian Cronauer realise his vocals on the airwaves are providing helpful moral to the troops. Credit too must go to Tran, Sukapatana and the other actors who play Vietnamese locals. They give out a warmth and boost of Asian culture amongst the militarised world Cronauer comes from.

It’s not a perfect insight into the war that went on in Vietnam but it is a perfect demonstration of Robin Williams fine work as a comedic actor. There’s a good enough level of both humour and war like drama in this film and by the end you leave with a different feeling than you went in with which is a sign of a good movie to me.

7/10

13 Sins (2014)

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A fairly average psychological horror that has some interesting threads that eventually come to a frayed end. It’s not something dramatically different from horror movies you’ve seen before but if you enjoy a building of shock and dread then this film is ticking those boxes with a big red pen.

’13 Sins’ uses the notion of a sadistic game as the main meat of this story and the rules of the game are not to let anyone know you’re playing and if you don’t complete all 13 tasks then you don’t win the money you’ve previously accumulated. Of course other rules enter the twisted mind of the game keeper later on but that’s for you to discover if you watch this film. The main fellow in question who gets gripped onto the game is Elliot Brindle (Mark Webber) who has the chance to pick up money to help his debts, his mentally disabled brother and his fiance Shelby (Rutina Wesley) with the wedding of her dreams. Though of course his increasing worrying actions gain the attention of the police and the detective Chilcoat (Ron Perlman) who gets knowledge that this game could be wider than expected.

Opening up the movie is a neat little package in Australia concerning a toast and hall full of people who listen on in astonishment to an elderly man reciting rude limericks before going all out crazy. This pre credits scene lets a truly violent act come out the blue so apologies if I’ve now spoilt that surprise but I had to mention it to relate it to the rest of the plot. As when you see what he does you wonder what in hecks name is going on but soon as the movie itself begins you understand that this is the midst of the game taking place and now you don’t fear the man or see him as deranged but you grasp the idea of him being overwhelmed by the anonymous voice in charge of this game. It’s a world wide game with financial profit that has apparently gone on for years which makes no sense as how did the people of years before mobiles and computers get watched all the time? Odd. The main problem I had with this film is in the latter stages of the plot.

Nearing the end it starts really ramping up in feats of violence for Elliot to undertake which works for the horror genre but not for his character who is meaning to transform but does so unconvincingly. There’s times when he’s addicted and revelling in smacking chairs over people or being suddenly cool and confident at a wedding rehearsal but then other times he’s that wreck again. The end just started getting silly as the game expanded and the secrets of the idea unravelled to shed light on family traumas. How many people are playing this game for crying out loud?! It just got out of control sadly after a well contained tense and interesting first quarter/half of the running time.

The earlier stages are really good I thought, the shadowy unseen voice being mysterious and goading on the phone made for a chilling presence and the first few acts pull you in as you feel this world of pain clouding over. The third task involving a small girl and the darkly funny scene involving taking an unwilling man for coffee are really fantastic and create this suspenseful sadistic tone which gets lost when the bigger grander tasks come into fruition and blood replaces brain. Also the thirteenth task is of no huge surprise, even if a nicely unexpected twist did catch me off guard the final act itself is obvious, or at least the lines it goes along is of no real shock.

I didn’t mind this film as I do like watching horrors, though the lack of smart horror films now is a shame, suspense or dramatic fear is nearly always shoved aside for splats of gore and this film is not really any different. Also apart from those few beginning cool aspects there is no intelligence, you never know how Elliot and the others are being forever surveyed and Elliot doesn’t even finish one of the tasks yet somehow he gets away with that and goes onto round 13. It’s like a controlling tech threat akin to Jigsaw in the ‘Saw’ franchise that this seems to resemble but never gains the heights of that fresh horrific clever lightbulb moment. It’s not great but it certainly isn’t awful, you can be a tad hooked by the unravelling actions of this plot even if the ending isn’t as great as you want it to be.

It’s grim, it’s full of blood and mindless shock but at least there’s an opening segment of the movie that is engaging and interesting before all out violence and underwhelming turns take over.

5.5/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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This is a phenomenal film, there is so much greatness in the way of story, music, visuals and performances. I liked 2011′s ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, but this surpasses it in leaping bounds and provides a near flawless amount of smarts, heart and dramatic tension. It punches to the core, it’s violent, it’s touching and it’s one stunning work of art in motion.

This sequel picks up with a brief outline of the spread of the Simian flu (ALZ-113 to be precise) and leaves us facing a desolated San Francisco where Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads a massive group of apes in their new forest home. On the other side of these woods is a small camp of humans led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) trying to survive with decreasing power who stumble onto the ape’s territory and bring about a bubbling sense of dread and danger as each side gets closer to fighting one another. I literally won’t go into any more detail about plot info or other occurrences so as not to spoil a clever and well paced tale.

Let me start with the biggest and most astounding quality of this movie which is in the special effects. I’m not normally fond of films that use a lot of or rely on large amounts of CGI but ‘Dawn of the Apes’ as I shall now call it, uses it so well. The majority of this film falls into Caesar’s camp as his story unfolds, so of course there’s a lot more effects driven drama this time around but wow, it’s so damn impressive. From the opening stampede hunt alone you get the sense of this grand scale effects laden world and it captures the imagination and pulls you right into the environment as if you’re there. The work undertaken by the team who made the effects as perfect as they is groundbreaking. I could go on for ages about the visuals of this film but I don’t wish to bore you. It’s just incredible to believe that these apes are real even though you know they’re not. The slightest details of wet fur matting to wrinkled fingertips immerse you into the brilliant texture and efforts of the team that bring Caesar and his generation to life.

The story is tense and ticks away so nicely that you never feel a lull even when things slow down to let characters or moments breathe. It’s an intelligent plot concerning the troubling turnabout of dominance in both apes and humans and what disaster this can bring to both races. The focus being more on the monkeys this time is a great treat and Caesar’s plight is a thing to behold, even without a lot of dialogue you empathise with him and as his followers begin losing trust in the humans he knows more about you strongly feel for him. The dark touches are a brave yet frankly necessary move for a story such as this, with the threat of mankind being quenched by some oppressive few furry swingers. I may even go to use the word daring in some terms of this 12A movie to include some harsh bleak moments to push the narrative along. It really grabs you from the outset and doesn’t ever let go.

Some of the camerawork is top notch stuff, there’s a lot of sweeping wide angled shots that let you take in a bigger portion of the action, which also makes you admire the CGI work as you see apes in the entire frame doing their thing. The tracking beautiful cinematography inside an empty building and up and through a jagged tower filled with scaffolding showcases some wondrous camera efficiency that plays on the worrying threat of seeing these vengeful apes begin their ascension to take over. A glorious little static moment behind one of the more unfriendly apes as he sits atop a tank is fantastic, the warzone like city moving around and out of shot as we feel stuck to the battle vehicle is a cool little glisten to the cherry on top of the cake I thought.

Human characters in this are a little weak and most don’t really appear apart from showing that we are lovely creatures after all and that they shouldn’t deserve the bad things happening to them. The gritty interesting depth can be found in the apes and it’s not only Caesar who has a story to get told, Maurice the orangutan is back and you get to love him even more, the scarred Koba is back giving more to the story and Caesar’s family are explored as we see his son Blue Eyes, his wife Cornelia and their cute little baby. I like that more of this film revolves around how the apes react to the world around them and how they treat the human influence. There was at least 3 or 4 times that I got misty eyed thanks to events happening in the circle of apes, some sad and some just so touching and sweet with humans bonding with monkeys that you see the resemblance and get all goose bumpy!

Andy Serkis is a talent and his utter brilliance in motion capture is a treasure, a pure golden treasure and the other acts involved in letting the apes shine are sublime. The performance capture art of this film makes it what it is and thanks to this I am really looking forward to Serkis’ future projects and motion capture school; The Imaginarium Studios. This is a film where you could honestly hope for Serkis to be up for an award in acting because he’s just as good or in fact better than the rest of the cast when playing Caesar.

There’s only a few moments where it starts treading into glory blockbusting action and one or two ideas that can be predicted in advance but aside from this and the fact I didn’t like the subtitles being yellow (see I’m stretching here to think of anything negative) it’s a film that must be seen and isn’t the usual summertime blockbuster silly movie to idly sit by watching. There’s brains and brawn to witness and both get explored in fantastically equal measure.

Entertaining, thrilling, heartfelt, tense and gorgeous to look at. ‘Dawn of the Apes’ is a remarkable film stuffed with welcomed beneficial special effects. Hail Caesar.

8.5/10

 

 

The Machine (2013)

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Cool, slick and a different enough kind of movie to the heavily saturated sci-fi zone that speaks volumes for British cinema and a debut outing for director and writer, Caradog W. James. The threat of robo-intelligence may not be a fresh thing but in this film it somehow feels like it is. The look this film achieves is very cool indeed.

‘The Machine’ finds two scientists striving to help severely wounded soldiers with implants to make them stronger. After one goes rogue the surviving scientist Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens) tries using the same technology to create a fully integrated machine for good to assist his ill daughter. The creation of The Machine (Caity Lotz) comes about through sly military interference and sets up the back and forth tipping balance of war versus peace.

Some parts of the plot may be slightly confusing at times and perhaps, however odd it is to write this, too far fetched in this land of robots and technical miracles. The lead character himself struggles in a bleak and bloody opening scene yet somehow survives, it’s a little too much to swallow considering how hurt he gets. I was hoping for some awesome twist in this story progression but alas that never comes, not that it ruins the actual ending sections of the movie. Another weakening factor is it takes a while to get into the pace of the film and not really until the machine starts being created do you really gain any thrills or momentum to entice you into the land of this film.

The film has moments where you feel like you’ve seen it all before and that does nothing to make this the un-Hollywood movie you want it to be but there are some scenes and ideas that keep you from feeling like you’re voyaging on a sci-fi trip of deja vu. The chilling torture with clowns and spiders or just the machine being pumped full of blood are stark images to stay in the mind. The glowing oranges vibrating around her body as she explores makes for good character exploration. The film may be predictable in terms of guessing at an ending but you can attempt to overview this negative in the dynamic appearance of the story.

Tom Raybould’s score is suitably futuristic and electronic in sounds. It rises and falls in perfect parallels to action in scenes and in general the whole vibe is cool as this film is. There’s a sense of a classic 80′s keys feel to the music and the numerous synths set the necessary atmosphere of this troubling environment the film is in. I suggest listening to the soundtrack even if you’re not tempted to see this greatly different movie to what is normally released all the time.

This film is seared with burning lens flares and soaked in a cold electric blue that gives it a fantastically bold stamp of identity, it’s a glaring wash of lights that J J Abrams would be proud of. The dark corners of danger in this underground bunker and science lab make for some thrilling shadowy shots and really help blow up that sense of paranoia and claustrophobia as mute machines constantly give Victor looks and a controlling man named Thomson who likes to get right into the mix concerning the actions and whereabouts of Victor. The visuals give this movie an edge of coldness and uncomfort as is needed for a film about this God complex kind of topic. It translates the message of tech being used for either good or bad in easy yet stunning elegant imagery.

Toby Stephens plays the scientist with a confidence and nicety to keep you on his side though it’s a pretty uninteresting character aside from wanting the best for his little girl. The real amazing star here is Caity Lotz who plays the bubbly helpful assistant and the twitchy learning and sometimes unnerving machine with brilliance. The subtlety in flicker of her mouth or glimmers in her eye as plays the machine is second to none and you get wrapped up in believing she is some built up piece of tech, beautiful but deadly nonetheless.

A cool idea cooly handled that only stumbles in a couple of places leaving us with a shiny piece of sci-fi filmmaking with enough smarts to forgive the downsides.

7/10