Tag Archive: 2009


Steinfeld made a name for herself as always being one of the best dressed stars on the red carpet.

In 2010, young actress Hailee Steinfeld burst into the world of film with a truly magnificent performance in True Grit alongside Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. Steinfeld’s performance in the Western was nominated for an Academy Award. The nomination strangely came in the category of Best Supporting Actress; strange because Steinfeld was really the only female character, logically making the lead actress er… Matt Damon. Anyway, since that performance Steinfeld has moved away from acting but looks set to return with a very busy schedule ahead for films released in the next couple of years.

Steinfeld began her career acting in short films at the age of 8, in order to gain experience of the acting industry. In 2009 she starred in the award winning short film She’s a Fox which featured at many international film festivals so people in the know really recognised her as a great talent even before True Grit hit the cinema screens. Clearly her talent shone through at the True Grit auditions as Hailee Steinfeld was chosen out of 15,000 girls to play the part of Mattie Ross, the girl who hires Jeff Bridges Deputy U.S. Marshall to find and kill the man who murdered her father. Steinfeld is also the actor granted the privilege of saying the name of the film in the film by telling Jeff Bridges that he has ‘true grit’.

After rising to fame through that performance Steinfeld went off the radar for a couple of years. You’ve got to imagine that a big reason for this was to concentrate on her studies; Steinfeld is, after all, just 15 years old at the time of writing. But she was also chosen to be the face of worldwide fashion brand Miu Miu for their 2011 campaign. But now she has returned with a whole host of projects coming up in 2013 and 2014, most notably perhaps landing the role of Juliet Capulet in Carlo Carlei’s retelling of the most famous love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

True Grit

Firstly though, Steinfeld is set to star alongside British starlet Keira Knightley and everyone’s favourite Incredible Hulk Mark Ruffalo in Can a Song Save Your Life? which, in all honesty, is something I probably won’t be watching. Another project Hateship, Friendship sees Steinfeld working with some more big Hollywood names in the form of Kristen Wiig and the rejuvenated Guy Pearce. The upcoming project I am most looking forward to that Steinfeld is involved in is Gavin Hood’s science fiction film Ender’s Game, slated for an autumn release in 2013. Although I am yet to be impressed with Hood’s direction (Rendition was an average, slow burning thriller, and the less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better) but with a synopsis that reads “70 years after a horrific alien war, an unusually gifted child is sent to an advanced military school in space to prepare for a future invasion” it has grabbed my attention: it also stars science fiction heavyweight Harrison Ford who still has a huge fan following despite winning my award for most boring person in the world.

Hailee Steinfeld

Also this year Steinfeld appeared in the music video for The Cab’s single Endlessly

Steinfeld continues to work in 2014 with The Keeping Room, being directed by the same man who brought Harry Brown to the big screen back in 2009. She is also rumoured to be in the comedy Why We Broke Up although confirmation is still being awaited for that. And Steinfeld has recently been announced to star alongside Kevin Costner in the thriller Three Days to Kill being directed by McG (This Means War) and produced and written by action God Luc Beeson.

It is clear that despite the couple of years break that Steinfeld has had she has a huge career ahead of her. And even though she missed out on winning the Oscar for True Grit I think an Academy Award is more than certain for this huge talent.

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2013 will see the release of the sixth film in the highly commercially successful and highly critically criticised Fast & Furious franchise. Last week Vin Diesel uploaded some pictures to his Facebook account of him on set and these photos were met with largely negative response to people on the internet with people saying things like “oh look, Vin Diesel in a car, they’re really pushing the boat out for this one” or just simply “shit” etc etc etc. But really, what did people expect from the Fast & Furious franchise? And with every film pulling in great box offices so far and the latest instalment Fast Five being the highest praised and highest box office is there any need for all the negativity and is there any need for the series to be clamped?

It all began back in 2001 when producers decided to make a film about street racing clubs that use Japanese cars to race in New York City. And the first instalment, The Fast and the Furious, set the tone for what every other film that follows was set to be about; illegal street racing. And while these are just typical popcorn, mindless action films (up until Fast Five) is there really anything wrong with that? Actors, especially back in the 80s, have made names for themselves in making mindless action movies and what we have here is just an hour and a half – two hours of real escapist fun. The films aren’t made for the critics, they’re made for the fans and as long as the fans are out there the films will get made.

The fourth instalment reunited the original cast… if only for a brief time.

Whilst the series continues with 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, when the rightful sequel arrived in 2009 with the original cast members all back together the franchise seemed to be reborn. Fast & Furious reunited Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez as well as adding new characters that would seem to become main players in the franchise from her on out: Gal Gadot and Sung Kang (the latter also appearing in Tokyo Drift). With Fast Five some more talent was added and Dwayne Johnson received high critical praise for his performance (and is it any wonder? He was brilliant!) and the series continues to add fresh acting talent with The Fast and the Furious 6 adding Luke Evans, Gina Carano and Joe Taslim. It was rumoured that Rihanna (excuse me while I throw up) was reported to be in the next instalment but thanks to scheduling conflicts (Hallelujah!) we are not being subjected to that torture and she is rumoured to be replaced by British pop sensation Rita Ora… interesting.

Various shots of The Fast and the Furious 6 in production

Anyway, it was Fast Five that was the real game changer. It seems that now Fast & Furious has finally reached it’s full potential. With Fast Five, the writers, cast, crew, directors, producers, whoever! had got a grasp on what was going on in the series and Fast Five showed that it was more than just mindless action. They allowed for real character development; it was great to see how much Dom Turetto had changed since his first outing in 2001 as well as Paul Walker’s former cop turned criminal’s relationship with Jordana Brewster’s character. The really disheartening thing is that, because people think the first few films are rubbish, the majority of people will not watch Fast Five and they are missing out on a real treat and one of the greatest action films of all time!

Yes, the acting isn’t always brilliant and the stories aren’t always gripping but Fast & Furious has never set out to be a contender for big awards in film making. For this series it’s all about having fun; fast cars, hot women, tough men, big action scenes and explosions. And when you watch Fast & Furious you can’t help but have fun. So people should stop moaning about the quality of previous films, sit down and watch Fast & Furious (2009) followed by Fast Five and prepare to be swamped in fun, explosions and at times surprisingly touching friendships. Embrace it.

 

 

How can you not want to at least watch Fast Five after that?

This week’s news is all about some of the biggest franchises in cinemas today.

A couple of months back the X-Men: First Class sequel was given an official name. X-Men: Days of Future Past. For anyone who doesn’t know, Days of Future Past is a hugely successful and incredibly popular storyline among comic book fans and it deals with an alternative future where all mutants have been killed but for Shadowcat and Wolverine. An older Kitty Pryde transfers her mind into the younger, present-day Kitty Pryde, who brings the X-Men to prevent a fatal moment in history which triggers anti-mutant hysteria. Anyway, that’s not news. The news is that The Wolverine (sequel to the dreadful X-Men Origins: Wolverine) which was originally thought to be a stand alone film may not be as stand alone as everyone assumed. Set pictures have been released that feature a logo for the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning which would suggest that the film takes place in the future and Logan has opened up a new school for mutants in memory of Jean Grey. This could bridge the two strands of the X-Men franchises together and if done well it could be absolutely incredible and would allow for actors and characters from the two strands could both appear in the new film. Although a big factor in the success of this happening would be how it is written. Nothing has been confirmed as of now but when asked how The Wolverine would fit in to the X-Men timeline director James Mangold said on twitter “I can’t answer you now nor could I answer you before, but after everything is over I can answer, and that, in itself may be an answer”. Cryptic much?

James Cameron is currently busy preparing to make Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 which are being shot back to back, a brave move but considering how well the original film did back in 2009 you have to expect a success, especially with the time being taken on this project. However, this week Cameron has been talking about a fourth Avatar film. The director has said that after this original trilogy the fourth film and future ones would be prequels, in the same vein as Star Wars. There is obviously a long way to go before Avatar 4 even starts being written but if it does get made then hopefully it won’t be quite as bad as The Phantom Menace.

The rest of the news is pretty short, I must say that this week I have been rather excited about the X-Men news more than anything else. But anyway, the biggest other stories of the week involve future James Bond and Star Trek films. Daniel Craig has signed on to star in two more James Bond films which means he will be playing Bond probably into his 50s. And the new Star Trek sequel now has an official title: Star Trek Into Darkness. Yes, that’s really what it’s going to be called, and this is nothing but a major disappointment. I was expecting a much better title for what is one of the most highly anticipated movies of next year.

It is probably the most needless remake in the history of remakes: the novels that the film were based on were only released in 2005 and the novels were turned into films in Swedish (makes sense considering the author of the novels was Swedish and the film itself takes place in Sweden) in 2009 to very positive reviews. Apparently though it is deemed impossible for people to watch a film in a foreign language and so it was remade for a larger mainstream audience with studios hoping to cash in. So how good is the remake?

Daniel Craig is Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has just lost his reputation in a very public court hearing. Blomkvist is then hired because of his investigative talents to take on a case of a disappearing girl that happened over 40 years ago. He works with Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a very complicated girl with a dark past but is a skilled computer hacker, to delve deeper into the mystery. The pair bond as they work together to uncover hidden secrets in a dark past of the Vanger family.

Rooney Mara is brilliant as the title character; she has to put in a very very emotional performance and she goes through some very dark and brutal scenes. Mara’s dedication to the role was clear beforehand as she got several real piercings instead of opting for fake ones for her character and that dedication shows on screen. She has good chemistry with Daniel Craig who seems to be the only person in Sweden without a Swedish accent but that can be overlooked. Most people will know Daniel Craig as James Bond and playing such an iconic role it becomes difficult to distance yourself from that. It takes a really good film and a really good performance to move away from being thought of just as Bond and Craig accomplishes that here with a very assured and understated performance. Yorick van Wageningen, Christopher Plummer, Stellen Skarsgard and Joely Richardson make up part of the supporting cast in what is an all round wonderfully crafted cast.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo lasts for two and a half hours but moves at such a fast pace that this doesn’t drag at all. The opening twenty minutes as the film introduces it’s characters is a little sluggish and uninteresting but it is vital to gain backstory. Once Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist takes on this mysterious case though the film begins to roll and doesn’t waste a second to look back. There are lots of things happening at once and if you blink you may miss something important; you can’t take your eyes off the screen for a second. They mystery of who is responsible for the missing girl all them years ago is fantastic and keeps you guessing with revelation after revelation having lasting effects on the Vanger family at the centre of the film. There are parts of the film that are horrible realistic and will make you cringe at the sight of it but the sensitive issues are handled well and the brutal events are handled even better by director David Fincher. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a crime thriller deserving of the highest acclaim.

Fincher is easily one of the best directors of the past twenty years churning out Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network and now this; I would say The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is second only to Fight Club and even gives that a run for its money. The suspense created throughout the feature is wonderful and the beautiful editing is what makes this such an invigorating watch. Once the mystery is solved things revert back to how they did at the beginning and the film unwinds slowly but we are too invested and curious about the characters to mind that any more.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a masterpiece.

My Rating: 9/10.

There has been a lot of movie news this week and there is a lot that I am interested in around directors, casting news, sequel announcements but all of these things come with fans and haters. As such, there have been a few announcements made that I am not too happy about. So let’s start with the bad things:

“But Mr. Jackson, this contract just says two films?”

As we know, Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has already been split into two parts, the first will hit cinemas this year with the second chapter following in 2013. Fans were already a bit skeptical about this money making move because of the lack of material in Tolkien’s original book but now they are set to be angered even more. Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit, has announced that The Hobbit will be a trilogy with the material from the third film thought to be coming from Tolkien’s appendices (the final chapter) of Return of the King, so not exactly The Hobbit is it? Peter Jackson needs to be careful with his Lord of the Rings treatment otherwise he will become as hated by his own fas as George Lucas by the Star Wars fans.

In 1987 Masters of the Universe was made with Dolph Lundgren. In recent years there have been rumours that the film will be remade and it appears that headway is being made. I would be interested in seeing this as I grew up watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on tele. However, the news that Jon M. Chu is in talks to direct is what has me worried. Chu’s most famous directorial outings to date are Step Up 2: The Streets and Step Up 3D; he also directed the absolutely disgusting, despicable, outrageous, vomit inducing concert biography that i’m not even going to mention on here but look it up if you’re interested. He is known for having dance in his movies and says this is because “dancers motivate me the most” but lets hope we don’t see He-Man and his friends breaking into street dancing when fighting Skeletor.

Avatar became one of the highest grossing films of all time when it was released in 2009 and since then James Cameron always said there would be more sequels but it has been delayed and delayed. Some people expected a 2012 release, then it got pushed back to 2013, 2014 and now the latest news has it slated for a 2015 release. Will they ever get made? Will Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana be able to reprise their roles when the sequel eventually moves forward? Let’s hope so.

Avatar is one of the most visually stunning films ever!

And now the good!-

The next instalment of the Fast & Furious franchise has announced its next new cast member after Gina Carano, Luke Evans and Clara Paget have all been added. It has now been confirmed that Joe Taslim will be joining Vin Diesel and company for Fast Six or whatever it ends up being called. Taslim starred in The Raid: Redemption that received great reviews and showcased that Taslim has a talent for action films.

Here is the news that so many film fans have been waiting for. There have been a few comments made by important people this week that could indicate that a sequel is in the works for one of the funniest film series’ I have ever seen one of the most enjoyable action series’ that I have ever seen and introduced one of the on screen duos with so much chemistry that work surprisingly well together. RUSH HOUR 4 may well be on the cards!! That’s right, Rush Hour 4!!

There aren’t enough words to describe how excited I am for a new Rush Hour film!

Earlier this year, Jackie Chan suggested that he would be quitting action movies.. what he  clearly forgot to mention that he has since said is that he does not want to quit until he has made a Rush Hour 4. Chris Tucker is also back on the big screen this year after a five year hiatus and is clearly feeling the time is right for him to get back into the world of acting. Now producer Arthuer Sarkissian has dropped the biggest hints yet that a fourth film will be on the cards. At the Television Critics Association press tour Sarkissian said that he is already working on a fourth film with both Tucker and Chan! He said that he was not too happy with how the third film turned out but what he wanted to do was make a fourth seem more real, put the two characters in a different world (Sarkissian cited Fast Five as a template of how to do this) and also introduce two new characters. Could Chan and Tucker be passing on the franchise to two new actors? For now, who cares?! Let’s just get Rush Hour 4 out right now!!!

For years and years Danny Boyle has been my favourite director. With so many great and bigger names in the directing world at the minute (Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Zack Snyder, Martin Scorsese etc. etc…) Boyle does seem to fly under the radar because of his low profile and because of the fact that, despite being critically acclaimed and having won numerous awards, he continues to work and remain in his homeland of British film. For the past few months Boyle has been kept busy with his latest project; this time it is not a film though. In just under two weeks the whole world will be watching as the Olympic games kick off in London and the opening ceremony has been put together and directed by Danny Boyle himself, no pressure. It’s been a long but very worthwhile journey for the lad from Lancashire.

Before getting into the film world Boyle began directing theatre projects; he directed plays for both the Royal Court Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company so right from the very beginning he was clearly ready to take on big projects. After that Boyle got into television and directed a few episodes of various television series such as Inspector Morse and Mr. Wroe’s Virgins. Then he finally got his big break in the world of movies with Shallow Grave, a crime thriller starring Christopher Eccleston and Ewan McGregor.

In 1996 Danny Boyle was responsible for directing one of the greatest films ever without a shadow of a doubt; Trainspotting. Again he teamed up with Ewan McGregor who this time took on the lead role and helped to make Trainspotting what it is, often voted the best British film of all time. Trainspotting received one Oscar nomination for it’s scriptwriting and Boyle was unjustly left out of the Best Director nominations. It was always going to be difficult to carry on the wave of success that Trainspotting brought him and his next couple of films were pretty far from that standard; first was A Life Less Ordinary (again starring Ewan McGregor) and The Beach. Originally Ewan McGregor was cast in the lead role for The Beach but rumour has it that Hollywood executives wanted to push through Leonardo DiCaprio as he was the current Hollywood pretty boy and hot property so DiCaprio got the role and, to this day, Ewan McGregor still hasn’t worked with Boyle since that dispute.

Anyway, Boyle returned to his best with horror film 28 Days Later… and followed that up with Millions. Since these two projects Boyle has continued to direct to the very highest standard. It took three years after Millions for another Danny Boyle film to be released but it was well worth the wait. Sunshine is a sci-fi film about a team of astronauts who are trying to reignite a dying sun to save the planet and it is absolutely brilliant! It was also named as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favourite films of recent years, pretty high praise indeed!

In 2009 Danny Boyle finally won an Oscar for his direction on Slumdog Millionaire which pretty much cleaned up at the 2009 Oscars; as well as Boyle’s directing Oscar it also won for it’s cinematography, film editing, original score, original song, sound mixing, adapted screenplay and it won the big one, Best Motion Picture of the Year. This time round as well, Boyle was able to follow the success of Slumdog Millionaire with another one of my favourite films, 127 Hours which got nominated for six Oscars (including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film).

After the Olympics Boyle will return to the big screen with Trance, a crime thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. He is also working on a follow up to 28 Weeks Later… which he has stated that it should be called 28 Months Later… in theory. Boyle has also expressed in interviews his desire to work with Ewan McGregor again on his next feature film. I hope that he does but I really hope that he continues to make prominent British films and remains to make them of the highest quality!

Before you quickly skip straight to the answer being ‘no’ at least give it some thought.

There is a thought process that goes through many people’s heads when they see Channing Tatum; he is a former model, he made his name really in more romantically engineered films geared towards the female audience and his looks and body are used to attract said female audience members to his films. Therefore he is seen by many to be a pretty boy with no talent and just looks; a stereotypical jock in all honesty. But this is something that may be about to change in Hollywood over the next year or so.

I can’t talk about Channing Tatum without mentioning his first piece of work even though it has no bearing at all in what I am writing about but it might be good for you to know, or give you a little chuckle. But the first time Channing Tatum appeared professionally on film was in the music video for ‘She Bangs’ by Latino pop sensation Ricky Martin. Funny, no?

Anyway, I digress. Channing Tatum first got audience attention when he appeared alongside Amanda Bynes in She’s The Man, probably because of his looks. He also starred in Step Up and its sequel Step Up 2: the Streets as well as moving into a more drama based film with Battle in Seattle which received mixed reviews but showed that Tatum was more than just a pretty face.

But who cares about his early career anymore? Move forward a few years and Tatum is having a very successful time. Haywire received mainly positive reviews, The Vow, where Tatum partnered the beautiful Rachel McAdams, was a surprise box office hit to me as I don’t think it looked very good but its romantic premise and timing of release (Valentine’s week) surely gave it a hand; but it was 21 Jump Street that was Tatum’s biggest hit this year so far. The comedy film is an absolutely hilarious watch and Tatum himself puts in a very good performance. These successes make the point that Tatum does have some box office pull for both genders of the audience.

The interesting thing is that I don’t seem to be the only one that sees this happening. Channing Tatum’s next release is scheduled to be G.I. Joe: Retaliation which will see him reprise the role he played in 2009’s critical lamb to the slaughter G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, making Tatum one of the few cast members to actually reprise his role. This time he will appear alongside action stars Bruce Willis and, more importantly, Dwayne Johnson!

What an absolute star!… Oh, and Channing Tatum is there as well.

So, to the point: G.I. Joe: Retaliation saw its release delayed by a few months because of reshoots with the reason for these shoots kept tightly under wraps. Now, rumours have surfaced that Channing Tatum is the reason behind the delay because it appears as though his character was set to be killed off. Now, after Tatum’s recent successes and new pulling power they have had a rewrite and decided that he needs a bigger part in the film and may not be killed off after all. Since the first film went down so badly they will not want the same to happen here and are trying to capitalise on Tatum’s new found stardom.

Coming up Tatum has Magic Mike, a hotly anticipated stripper comedy alongside Alex Pettyfer (Stormbreaker) and Matt Bomer (White Collar), Steven Soderbergh directed thriller The Bitter Pill and drama Foxcatcher alongside Mark Ruffalo. Tatum looks set to dip his toe in the pool of different genres and may soon be a name on all Hollywood producers’ lips if he continues to reel off the hits!

Upon release in 2009, Up in the Air was subject to huge critical acclaim. It was named in many critics’ top 10 list of films for that year and nominated for 6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (x2) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, it failed to win in any of those categories.

*** WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

The film centres around Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a corporate downsizer who flies around the United States firing people for a living. We travel with Ryan and learn of his isolated life and his philosophies until his company threatens to ruin the happy life he leads by putting him on the ground.

Firstly, George Clooney is incredible. He has won one Best Actor Oscar (Syriana) and been nominated for three more (including Up in the Air) but I think that Up in the Air is the best I have ever seen him; he brings the character to life and allows the audience to feel how he feels. The supporting cast is just as good; Vera Farmiga (pictured) is great as is Ryan Bingham’s protege, if you like, Anna Kendrick. Then there are smaller, but still brilliant, appearances from Jason Bateman, Zach Galifianakis, J.K. Simmons and Danny McBride to complete a superb acting cast.

Up in the Air is directed by Jason Reitman who is no stranger to critical acclaim with Thank You for Smoking and Juno both under his belt. I wasn’t a big fan of Juno but Reitman has won me round with this masterpiece.

The story is fantastic; it has a strong structure and a complete story arc. The characters really do develop and it is clear to see the three main characters changing over the course of the film. The character development of Ryan Bingham in particular is really good and he is up there with some of my favourite characters from movies ever. The writing of the character, the acting, the story just makes him seem ‘real’ and he’s a man you can sympathise with and empathise with. Although not really likeable at first, after being on the journey with him you come to know him and see sides of him that nobody else sees which is really well done by the film makers.

Although the film prioritises the drama aspect of the film and it is about Ryan’s job the comedy really shines in Up in the Air. Their are lots of funny moments, not necessarily jokes but things which can make the audience chuckle and laugh out loud. It really manages to mix the drama and comedy perfectly.

The ending was perfect and ambiguous which is really enjoyable. It can be read as a happy ending or a sad ending depending on your interpretation of the film and your feelings towards the characters but by this time Ryan’s development has become clear and you see what a nice guy he is. I’ve watched a few films recently where the ending has seemed like a bit of a cop out, but this was not one of them. Fantastic.

I fail to think of any negative point I saw in Up in the Air. Perhaps the only thing was that it didn’t last longer. I was more than satisfied with the running length, it didn’t drag, it didn’t rush but I could happily watch George Clooney as Ryan Bingham for hours. I’ll definitely be re-watching this a lot in future.

My Rating: 9/10

In 2009, J.. Abrams introduced Star Trek to a whole new generation of fans with a fantastic reboot of the series. Next year he will be hoping to follow that up with the, as yet untitled, sequel to the blockbuster that was a critical and commercial success.

Not a lot is known about the sequel so far other than the fact that everybody from the crew of the original film will be reprising their roles. Benicio Del Toro reportedly turned down the role of villain which was then passed on to the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch although it has not yet been announced who he will be playing. When that character is revealed we might be able to guess a little about the story.

These first pictures show Spock with the villain in the Vulcan nerve pinch. The villain, by the way, in a Starfleet uniform which is very interesting. The second shows Uhura and the villain after he escapes Spock’s pinch. Hopefully more pictures will be released soon and get anticipation high before a trailer hits, fingers crossed, before the end of the year.

Fish Tank

*MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*

So, I know it came out in 2009 but this is a film that escapes under the radar of a lot of film lovers. It is a small British production with a very strong story and to be honest, it is very difficult to find someone that has seen the film but sometimes there are films that you haven’t seen or heard of and yet, when you watch them, you ask yourself why nobody mentions this film, why nobody has seen it. Fish Tank is one of those films.

Fish Tank centres around the life of Mia (Katie Jarvis), an aggressive teenage girl living on a council estate with her useless mother and a little sister that is even more off the rails, possibly, than Mia herself. Mia’s life begins to change when she begins an uneasy friendship with her mother’s new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender).

When trying to describe the story it can come across to make the film sound boring because there isn’t a lot of action in it. But what Fish Tank has are relatable characters, real experiences and brilliant performances.

Prior to this film Katie Jarvis had no experience as an actress and to this point she has appeared in no more films. Despite this, she portrays troubled Mia to perfection. Her performance is believable, you really feel Mia’s pain and problems in her life and yes, she is acting like a brat, but you empathise with the character. She wants to better herself, she wants to break away from her community and make something of her life even with everything around her trying to hold her back. If she decides that a career in acting is what she wants, then Katie Jarvis could definitely be a star of the future.

Opposite Jarvis we have the, now internationally known and acclaimed, brilliant Michael Fassbender. Currently he is getting a lot of praise for his role in Shame and received great reviews for his performance as a young Magneto in X-Men First Class, but this was the very first film I saw him in and from then it became clear to me that this man had the acting bug. Fassbender plays Connor, the man who comes into his mother’s life and finally someone who gets along with poor Mia. He seems like a friendly guy, someone to trust and confide him (and take advantage of in some cases) yet there is always something uneasy about his character and a big secret is revealed at the end, leading to Fish Tank’s attempt at an action climax.

The film is shot superbly, the community feel of the film is really felt and this makes it appear more real for the audience. There are a few things that still annoy me after several viewings. The end really bothers me. Mia wants to better herself, she doesn’t trust many, if any, people and yet she decides to go all the way to Cardiff with a guy she barely knows in his car. This does seem slightly odd to me but at least she escapes her family, who really manage to show her some affection as she leaves which provides a nice, heart warming moment for the audience.

Fish Tank is one of my favourite films I have ever seen and one so rarely mentioned. If you haven’t seen it already I would highly recommend it. If you like films based on character development and not popcorn action scenes with trucks blowing up left, right and centre then you would definitely enjoy this film.

My rating: 8/10