Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049

I’ve returned from my travels and ready to do some more blogging! Today I’m going to review Blade Runner 2049 but I’m going to talk about the whole day I had dedicated to it. Yes, my friend and I decided to have a Blade Runner day and re-watch the original before going in to see its sequel.

The original Blade Runner is a weird film, it revolutionised the way films and culture in general envisioned the future but never actually did that well in the box office. It acquired a large cult following of fans with many heralding it as one of the greatest films ever made.

However, I don’t believe this to be the case. In fact, my first ever viewing of this film I thought it was quite boring, technically amazing but lacking in story and a compelling main character. Upon a re-watch, I found that I actually enjoyed it a lot more, I’ve matured in some of my tastes and developed an interest in philosophy within film but my initial gripes were still there. It’s a good film but maybe just a tad overrated. I originally wasn’t excited at the prospect of a sequel, well not until Denis Villeneuve and Ryan Gosling were attached as Director and main lead.

Villeneuve is one of the most interesting directors around at the moment, I’ve loved most of his films, especially Arrival, and teamed with his cinematographer Roger Deakins they are a cinematic force to be reckoned with. As shown again in 2049, which honestly might be one of the most beautiful looking films this year, if not the decade. Yes, I loved Blade Runner 2049. It amplified everything good about the original, took away everything bad and made an incredible sequel to a good film. I hope this film teaches Hollywood a lesson on how to make sequels.

There was so much depth to this film, the characters are three dimensional, compelling and you actually care for them. Gosling plays it down but the subtleties in his performance really take your breath away in the films more compassionate moments. Everybody in the cast is doing a great job and I was really taken aback by the performances of Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks who were unknown to me before this film.

The story moves along a lot more swiftly, still slow but a lot more engaging that you barely notice the two hour forty run time. The philosophical musings are still present and are the emotional core of the film, better articulated than the original and they branch off into a lot more territories. The main themes of the original are explored further and it really creates some great questions about what life is.

The world of Blade Runner is a place that is great to watch on the big screen, the dystopian smoky cities looming large, explored more this time as well as taking trips to more remote areas of this well envisioned universe. The cinematography of these places looks gorgeous and the loud and lingering score elevates this images to new heights, you really need to see this film on the big screen.

It’s really difficult to review this film without giving away spoilers, even the plot itself is better left unknown as it kicks off pretty fast and takes you on a wild ride of twists and turns. Just go see this film, if you like Sci-Fi that is taken seriously then this is one for you, it’s just a bonus that its presented to you by some of the best people working in the industry. I’m giving Blade Runner 2049 a 5/5. A serious contender for best film of the year. 

What did you think? Masterpiece or slow and boring? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Super Dark Times @ MOTELX Lisbon

I’m away at the moment travelling Southern Europe but that didn’t stop me from sniffing out a film festival during the trip. The film festival was MOTELX, a horror film festival based in Lisbon that was showing films while we were there. Lisbon is a beautiful city, so to not spend too much time in a dark room or annoying my girlfriend, we decided to only catch one film. That film was Super Dark Times. We saw the film in the Tivoli Theatre, a really cool old building that set a great atmosphere for this horror/thriller film.

Super Dark Times feels like it could be categorised into the Stand By Me, E.T and the Stranger Things genre of media. A throwback to the eighties, though it doesn’t wear its inspirations on its sleeve as other recent nostalgic throwbacks have. The film follows a group of friends who find themselves in a dilemma after an accident leaves one of them dead. Young, dumb and scared the remaining friends decide to hide the body and pretend nothing has happened. There’s more to the film than this but it’s better to go into the film blind, as it takes many different routes along the way to its climax. The young cast is made of unknowns (to me anyway) but all are great actors in the making, with excellent chemistry they carry the film along with ease, the main players being Owen Campbell, Charlie Tahan, Elizabeth Cappuccino, Max Talisman and Sawyer Barth.

It’s more of a thriller than a horror film but it also has a lot of teenage angst boiling beneath its surface, making it a great coming of age film as well. It mixes it up a lot, funny, scary, broody and romantic. It mainly takes places from the mindset of one of the friends, Zach, the camera even inhabiting his dreams as he tries to make sense of himself, his friends, his love life and the dead friend he’s covering up. It’s slightly slow in places but allows the audience to breathe and take in the events and enjoy the beautiful cinematography as it broods over a grey and misty in town in America.

I was really taken aback by this one. I really enjoyed it; I had a feeling I might but I didn’t know I would love it so much. I felt it perfectly captured the troubled mind of a teenager, whether through literal actions or dream sequences and it helped me get invested in the characters and their outcomes. When the more ‘horror’ elements come in, its tense and they do scare you because the film has earnt it. It’s a really incredible film for a debut feature from Kevin Phillips and one of my favourites of the year. I’m rating Super Dark Times a 5/5.

I would definitely go back to Lisbon and I would also love to head back to MOTELX when it’s back on; they obviously pick a great selection of films for their festival. I believe the film itself comes out on VOD later this month. I highly recommend it!

Thanks for reading!