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Posts Tagged ‘Spring Breakers’

Before I post my top ten movies of the year later in the week here are ten surprisingly good movies:

White House Down: The best Whitehouse home invasion movie of the year and much better than this years entry into the Die Hard franchise.White House Down

Mama: Effective and surprisingly good horror movie with a great performance form Jessica Chastain.Mama

Flight: Denzel Washington is immense and the plane crash scene is stunning.flight

Spring Breakers: A mess of a movie but an interesting an good looking mess.Spring Breakers

Oblivion: Despite the flimsy plot this is still a very watchable sci-fi movie largely thanks to the cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko & Andrea Riseborough.OblivionThe Conjuring: James Wan’s horror is reminiscent of 70’s & 80’s horror and is all the better for it.The Conjuring

About Time: Richard Curtis’ time-travel rom-com is both funnier and less sentimental than I expected it to be.About Time

You’re Next: Another surprisingly good horror. It’s a little cheep and some of the acting is a little wooden but it gets away with it.You’re Next

The Counsellor: Don’t believe the reviews this is a great film that will people will come to like over time.The Counselor

Ender’s Game: Forget baggage and mixed reviews it is an entertaining and interesting movie.ENDER'S GAME

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Inspired by Spring Breakers from earlier this year I was wondering is there a film that represents each month of the year. For some there are lots to choose from, others are a little harder to think of. Here is what I came up with:

JANUARY In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007)
New Years Day

in search of a midnight kiss

FEBRUARY Some Like it Hot (1959)
February 14, 1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day massacre.Some Like it Hot

MARCH Piranha 3D (2010)
Spring breakPiranha 3D

APRIL A Night to Remember (1958)
April 15, 1912 – The Titanic sank. A Night To Remember

MAY Dazed and Confused (1993)
May 28, 1976 – the last day of school at Lee High School, Austin, Texas.Dazed and Confused

JUNE Bobby (2006)
June 5, 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy was shot and mortally wounded while leaving the Ambassador Hotel.Bobby

JULY Independence Day (1996)
Independence DayIndependence Day

AUGUST Richard III (1995)
On 22 August 1485 Richard III become the last English king to die in battle. Richard III

SEPTEMBER Dirty Dancing (1987)
Labour DayDirty Dancing

OCTOBER Halloween (1978)
31st OctoberHalloween

NOVEMBER Pieces of April (2013)
ThanksgivingPieces of April

DECEMBER Die hard (1988)
Christmas EveDie hard

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Dead Man DownStar Trek Into DarknessMan of SteelFast and Furious 6The Great GatsbyOblivionMudByzantiumThe PurgeSpring Breakers

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Jack the Giant Slayer: The latest cynical attempt to craft a knowing, fun and funny film suitable for all the family from a fairytale. Like most of the previous attempts it is okay attempt, reasonable funny and entertaining but without anything original or exceptional.Jack the Giant Slayer

Dark Skies: Sci-Fi horror about a suburban family that will be very familiar to anyone who has seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies. Not bad but probably one to wait for the DVD or stream.Dark Skies

Spring Breakers: Satire or exploitation? Four young female college students looking for “a break from reality” head to Florida for spring break, there they meet Alien, a drug dealer, rapper and wanabee gangster. Depending on your point of view they get more than they expected and all they ever wanted. Not as hollow and meaningless as some would have you believe but not as edgy or subversive as the filmmakers would like you to think.spring-breakers-640x426

Papadopoulos & Sons: British comedy about a self made millionaire who loses everything and is forced to reopen the family fish and chip shop with his estranged older brother. Lightweight but well-meaning and enjoyable.Papadopoulos & Sons

Oblivion: Set in a dystopian future on an abandoned earth. It has its problems but it looks great and there is enough going on to entertain. Forget the anti Tom Cruise backlash he is actually perfect for the role although totally overshadowed by the mesmerising brilliant Andrea Riseborough who steals the film despite having a relatively small part.oblivion-andrea-riseborough

The Place Beyond the Pines: Splint into three distinct sections. As a whole the film is really good but its lasting impression suffers as each section is a little weaker than the one before. Taken on its own merits the contrivances of the plot are a problem but they rely on coincidence far less outlandish than many Shakespearian tragedy.The Place Beyond the Pines

Olympus Has Fallen: Basically its Die Hard in the White House. It has its problems chef amongst them is not casting an everyman in the lead. That and totally steeling its plot from Die Hard.Olympus Has Fallen aaron eckhart and gerard butler

Evil Dead: It doesn’t know if it wants to be a remake, a rebook, a reimagining or a sequel to the horror classic. It lacks the humour and the originality of the original on a positive note it does still manage to be repugnant and repulsive.Evil Dead

Iron Man 3: The perfect steppingstone between the first and forthcoming second Avengers movie. It ticks all the boxes and avoids all the pitfalls of Iron Man 2. I doesn’t quite live up to the first Iron Man and could do with having about ten minutes trimmed from the running time, mostly in the final act.Iron Man 3

I’m So Excited: Following The Skin I Live In was always going to be an impossible task, that’s why Pedro Almodóvar did the right thing by turning to a lightweight farce, or did he? While on the surface the movie is a silly and irrelevant comedy, not far below the surface is a cutting political allegory. Far from the directors best but still worth seeing.I’m So Excited

The Look Of Love: You never know what to expect from Michael Winterbottom and this biopic of Paul Raymond doesn’t disappoint. It starts well but losses its way towards the end. The casting is perfect, particularly Steve Coogan as Raymond.The Look Of Love

Iron Man 3 is probably the best film of the month, Oblivion was certainly the most pleasantly surprising but the movie of the month has to go to the one that is being talked about most and will probably have the most lasting impact. Surprisingly, the movie of the month is:spring-breakers-posters-slicespring-breakers

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Desperate for “a break from reality” four young college students (Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine) hold up a diner to fund their spring break trip to Florida. Once there, they party with other like minded kids until they hook up with Alien (James Franco), a drug dealer, rapper and wanabee “Gang-stA”. From there, things descend from hedonism to nihilism.spring-breakers-posters-slice

There is technique used by DJ‘s (I know nothing about the subject other than hearing it, I don’t know if there is a name for the practice) where they play the hook of a song during another song. When done well it is both subtle and obvious at the same time. This gives the audience a idea of what is coming next or later, but a DJ may play with the audience playing just a snippet of a song that never comes. There is a similar practice in film editing where a part of a future scene is cut in. There is nothing unique or original about its use in Spring Breakers, however I can’t remember it ever being used so much or so well in a movie.spring-breakers

The film has achieved a certain notoriety due to the casting of former Disney starlets Hudgens and Gomez, when put into context of the actions of former Disney starlets real life in recent years, this is little more than a marketing gimmick. That said as I watched the movie I was never sure if I was watching something exploitative or something profoundly satirical.spring-breakers-640x426

Despite the attractive young bodies on display and the often stunning photography there is something unattractive and almost dirty about the movie. This is a reflection of the characters and their actions, despite their assurances that they are having fun, there is little evidence that they are actually happy or having any fun. Following their arrival in Florida I can’t think of any scenes where the girls have a conversation with anyone other than each other and Alien. Their existence is empty and banal, I did question a few times if it was real. The film exists in a sort of a dream-state that never feels quite real, we keep hearing the repeated phrase “a break from reality”, are we watching reality or the delusions and dreams of a group of board teenagers?Still from spring breakers

The plot is paper thin and overly simplistic, the dialogue is often incoherent but it gets away with it largely because these things appear to be intentional. Despite reports to the contrary, it is actually a well made film mating it an easy watch and as such it can be forgiven a lot. The pace works well with each act ending before it outstays its welcome. The film is at its best when James Franco is in it, although the female quartet are given top billing, it is Franco that makes it work. The directors wife, Rachel Korine is given the least to do, Selena Gomez is given what looks like it is going to be the most interesting character but it is ultimately underused and under developed. The characters played by Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson are largely interchangeable. Ultimately the characters are little more than caricatures, this again appears intentional and is possibly essential for the feel of the movie. And that is where the movie exists, it is a feeling, a dream like poem, a dream without narrative whose finer details fade as you wake, “a break from reality”.SPRING-BREAKERS

Not as hollow and meaningless as some would have you believe but not as edgy or subversive as the filmmakers would like you to think. It may be one of those films where viewers will take out of it what they bring to it. Those who want to be shocked or outraged will find plenty to be shocked and outraged about; those who want to be titillated will certainly find what they are looking for; and those wanting a deeper meaning or subtext will find even if it isn’t there. Not a film that is easy to recommend but one where it is worth seeing to form your own opinion and see what all the fuss is about.

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