Tag Archive: genre


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!

Rendition (2007) Review.

Rendition is a thriller, released in 2007 to mixed reviews. It centres on a CIA analyst who begins to question his assignment after witnessing an unorthodox interrogation at a secret detention facility outside the US. The film is based on the true story of Khalid El-Masri who was mistaken for Khalid Al-Masri.

It features a cast of many big names: Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard (who spends most of the film looking incredibly similar to Ewan McGregor), Meryl Streep and J.K. Simmons and is directed by Gavin Hood who is also responsible for ruining a fan favourite Marvel character’s origins in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The performances of the above are not that bad and that is the highest compliment I can pay them, however the performance of Omar Metwally who plays the man mistaken for a terrorist is absolutely fantastic; he completely steals the show.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is very two dimensional. I like Gyllenhaal as an actor and when he turns it on he really does turn it on, but here in Rendition something is lacking. His character is poor and nothing can really bring him to life. Witherspoon’s character is just irritating from start to finish while Sarsgaard’s character seems useless. The heavyweights Simmons and Streep aren’t used nearly enough. The character development and characters in general need to be better written and are not well rounded or even that likeable.

Some of the torture scenes in which Anwar El-Ibrahimi is treated horrifically by the American government are when this film comes into its own. They are very well filmed and recreated and clearly a lot of research went into making those scenes authentic and they do, at times, become very hard to watch because we, as the audience, know that the victim is innocent.

My biggest problem with Rendition though is its genre. Thriller. Here’s a little piece of advice; you can’t call a film a thriller when it isn’t even thrilling in the slightest! A thriller, in my opinion, needs to have a mystery, it needs to have shocks and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Rendition fails to do this majorly. There are parts of the film where it seems as though the director is trying to build up sympathy or the characters or try and give a subtle shock to the audience but it only plants the seeds for a plot twist and the seeds never really come to fruition.

When I sat down to watch the film I had read what it was about and was anticipating something very entertaining as I was impressed with the storyline and the cast but as the film grew on (from what was a very boring first half into a mediocre second) I soon came to realise that I was not watching the film I had hoped. Rendition was a let down; an anti-war film that never really takes off.

Having read around the film I know that it has its fans but I just can’t imagine myself wanting to watch it again.

My Rating: 4/10.

Django Unchained is the upcoming western film from critically acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino. It is set for a Christmas release in the States and has a release date of January 18th 2013 here in the UK but so far, very little has been seen from the film. For a film that is already all but guaranteed success being a Tarantino film it is unusual that we have heard little of it; no trailer has been released and limited set photos and official photos have been seen but it is one of the films I am most looking forward to seeing in the next year and here is why:

The Story: Django Unchained is set in the deep south of America and follows Django, a freed slave who travels across America with dentist turned bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz. Together, they try to retrieve Django’s wife from the charming but sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candie and his band of ruthless slavers. It sounds like a good old revenge story, something which Quentin Tarantino has done excellently before with the wonderful Inglorious Basterds and possibly my favourite Tarantino film: Kill Bill.

The Genre: This is Tarantino’s first Western. Having dipped his toe in the action, crime, war and thriller genres he now turns his hand to this. The western is the oldest genre of film and cinema owes its heritage to the genre. However, recent westerns such as Appaloosa, The Assassination of Jesse James and 3:10 to Yuma haven’t been critical successes (despite the last two being brilliant films) and maybe the audience has grown tired with the genre as it offers nothing new really. Recently, sci-fi has taken over as the dominant genre of film in cinema but Tarantino obviously just sees that as a challenge.

 

The Cast: Regular Tarantino collaborator Samuel L. Jackson is on board (no surprises there) but in the main role is Jamie Foxx. Foxx seems to split opinion between film fans and it is obvious why, his back catalogue of films leaves a lot to be desired but he does have one Oscar win and another nomination to his name, proving that he does have the talent and Tarantino could easily get the best out of him.

Playing the villain of the piece is the phenomenal Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio started out as a young heartthrob but has developed into a fine actor and seems to get better and better with every film he makes; working with such a highly rated director could give DiCaprio the chance to win the Oscar he longs for. Playing the German bounty hunter is Christoph Waltz who, of course, won an Oscar for Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds where he put in a great performance and I think the same can be expected here. The supporting cast includes James Remar, Kerry Washington and James Russo, all well established actors themselves.

The Director: Everybody knows Quentin Tarantino and everybody on the planet should have seen at least one of his films during their lifetime. Ever since Tarantino made his directorial debut he has churned out success after success with Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds. He is yet to falter in the world of film making and so that pretty much nails success to Django Unchained. Everything that he touches turns to gold and, as a big fan of the Western genre, I hope he has the same effect here. His very unique style and love for action, dialogue and story make his films a delight to watch and Django Unchained should be fantastic!

Django Unchained comes out in less than a year, spot on for Oscar contenders and you have to imagine that this would be a tactical move by Tarantino and the studio. In the build up to its release we can hope for a lot of trailers and more pictures to be revealed soon which will almost certainly raise the hype for Django Unchained.

The Coen brothers have been hugely successful in the world of film making. Joel and Ethan Coen have produced hit after hit including Fargo, The Big Lebowski and True Grit (to name but a few). Released in 1991, Barton Fink is a genre defying movie that has since garnered a huge amount of critical praise and still causes discussions to this very day.

Barton Fink is a writer who has made it big on Broadway, because of his success Hollywood now has that ‘Barton Fink feeling’ and he has been hired by a huge movie company to write a motion picture about a wrestler. Unfortunately, Barton Fink has writer’s block and it is not until he enlists the help of able assistant Audrey and his neighbour at the hotel, Charlie, that he manages to find some real-life inspiration from a very sinister source.

In the title role, John Turturro is absolutely fantastic and was unfortunate to miss out on an Oscar nomination in my opinion. His portrayal of the socially conscious and kind of awkward writer is a very good one and really peaks interest in the character of Barton Fink. John Goodman as Charlie Meadows, Barton Fink’s neighbour and new ‘friend’, also pulls off a good performance and puts across a warm feeling of that ‘ordinary man’ that  Fink describes. Although, out of all the performances in the film it is Steve Buscemi’s very small part as Chet that I really enjoyed; unfortunately Chet doesn’t feature that much (it would probably distract from the point of the film if he did), but Buscemi makes him a character that will never be forgotten in reference to this film with his comedic turn.

Visually and in terms of its direction, Barton Fink is an absolute masterpiece. The shots, symbolism, transitions and the use of mise-en-scene are encapsulated almost to perfection within the screen and the world of Barton Fink, it’s an absolute delight to look at. However, I feel that the story lacks a little bit of something special, a certain spark seems to have gone missing and the Coen brothers couldn’t find it, in my opinion. The first half of the film, I felt, drags an awful lot and it seems like it’s getting pretty boring in some places. But the pace picks up in the second half of the film and a lot of the deeper meanings of Barton Fink come through here; the action picks up, relationships are tried and characters change. If you can put aside the fact that it seems like halfway through the film the Coen brothers decided to change their story completely then you will enjoy the film.

I get the impression that Barton Fink is a film that needs to be watched on more than one occasion to truly enjoy this work of art, but unfortunately this is the first time I have watched it and, whilst I now know what to look out for in repeated viewings, I was getting bored watching it.I do plan on watching it again and maybe I will change my opinion of the first half of the film as it is this that I feel lets Barton Fink down.

An enjoyable film but not one of the Coen brothers’ best in my opinion.

My Rating: 6/10

Cabin in the Woods Review

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!***

Filmed in 2009, Cabin in the Woods hit delay after delay and finally saw its release recently, three years later. Was it worth the wait?

The majority of the film takes place, rather unsurprisingly, at a Cabin in the Woods. Five friends go for a weekend trip to a cabin in the woods but soon find out that all is not as it seems with this innocent looking little shack. Working together, the group must find out what is the truth about the cabin in the woods.

The cast of the film is relatively unrecognisable to mainstream cinema audiences. The most famous member of the protagonist group is Chris Hemsworth who was pretty much unknown himself at the time of filming but has since rose to international fame with Thor whilst the only real star of the cast is Sigourney Weaver and her part is just a cameo really. The rest of the cast features Kristen Connolly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz and Richard Jenkins.

There is a lot to enjoy about Cabin in the Woods. I have read a few blogs that have described this film as being a reinvention or a revitalization of the horror genre, I disagree. Instead of being any of these, I think that Cabin in the Woods is a critique and a very clever pulling apart of the genre, something which Joss Whedon (producer) wanted to do as him and Drew Goddard (director) set out to do.

Lots of common elements of horror films are exaggerated and emphasised within Cabin in the Woods. Starting with the characters, the story of the ritual which the organisation of the film are trying to carry out requires five very different types of people: the athlete, the dumb blonde, the stoner/fool, the academic, the virgin. Sound familiar? These are stereotypes that can be found in most, if not all, horror films.

The 'monster board' from Cabin in the Woods

The fact that the organisation takes bets on which monster will be set loose to kill the five teenagers offers a lot more references to horror movies, from the curse the teenagers unknowingly decide upon to the monsters that it could be; aliens, killer clowns, mermen, jack o’ lantern, vampires and werewolves.

As well as the deep critique of the horror genre there is also a lot to enjoy on the surface of the film. The first two acts build up the characters and the idea of the organisation behind it all, whilst the third act really gets the blood pumping and is really quite exciting. Watching the third act makes it clear why the cast is pretty unknown and locations are limited: their entire budget went on the action scenes during the last half an hour. It is a budget well spent as the monsters and the havoc they reap really becomes real at the end of the film.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of the horror is lost from the film because of what it is trying to accomplish. By this, I mean that the main thing that makes horror work, for me, is the sense of ‘not knowing’, the tension and suspense growing throughout the film because we, the audience, know just as much as the protagonist and nothing more. Here, though, because we are placed inside the organisation from the off, the suspense and tension cannot be created. We are told, pretty much, or it is hinted at largely, what is going to happen to the five teenagers before it happens. While there are still a couple of moments to make you jump, it is not something I would call scary.

Overall, there is a lot to enjoy for film fans of all ages and experiences in Cabin in the Woods. It’s something very new and very original at a time where reboots, remakes and sequels are prominent in cinemas. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard have created something very clever here and well deserve credit for it.

My Rating: 7/10.