Monday, August 8, 2011
It's been a two years since our last official movie review. Life has been taking all kinds of turns for us during this time. All the while we have been expanding our continued involvement in our passion and pleasure; cinema. The biggest change has been gathering the effort to bring to life the next phase of SLFC. Being computer illiterate hasn't helped, not to mention being separated amongst three countries thus battling three different timezones.
After all the hurdles, we've taken the first step to entertain you with our favorite topic in a brand new way. Leaving the written word was a new and exciting move for us but being a work in process we may have a few shortcomings. For now the main postings will be on our FACEBOOK PAGE, that is until the new site is up and running. Please keep giving us your views, we rely on your thoughts, ideas and opinions.
Thanks for all the support along way and we certainly hope you will be there with us in the future. On that note we are thrilled to bring to you the newest medium of SLFC; The Movie Reviews Podcast. Be warned we will be holding nothing back in views or language.
Heres' a quote to capture the excitement we feel on our new venture; "...fasten your seat belt Dorothy, 'cause Kansas is...going bye-bye!"
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
AKASA KUSUM stars Malini Fonseka (Sandhya Rani), Dilhani Ekanayake (Shalika) and Nimmi Harasgama (Priya). The film is written and directed by Prasanna Vithanage.
The technical aspects of the film take a backseat because it is mainly a character driven piece but they do compliment the subject matter explored. The cinematography is subtle and unobvious, the style of editing is appropriate and the score matches the tone of the film with its somber melodies.
This is truly an actor's movie; where obviously the actors steal the show. Nimmi Harasgama's portrayal of Priya is articulate and captures the tainted fragility of her role. Dilhani Ekanayake is one of a few who can seamlessly work in both commercial and art house films. She gives a capable performance as Shalika. But it is veteran actress Malini Fonseka who deserves all the credit, her acting is filled with nuance and multi-layered emotions. This is a great example of getting the right person for the role.
S. V. Fernando
Saturday, August 15, 2009
JULIA stars veteran actors Robin Fernando, Sriyantha Mendis, Rex Kodipilli, Veena Jayakody and Ravindra Randeniya in a cameo appearance. The title character of Julia is played by Nadeesha Hemamali. The story and screenplay is by Sarath Samaranayake and the two male leads are played by Charith Abeysinghe (Dilrukshan) and Sampath Sri Roshan (Dev) who also happen to be the film's producer and director respectively.
The dialogue does not disappoint in its level of absurdity either. It is melodrama personified like only bad Lankan filmmakers can do. The mixture of English one-liners in the Sinhala dialogue is clearly a Bollywood fad that doesn't need to be imitated.
The ensemble performance by the actors is certainly a sorry sight. Nadeesha Hemamali who is known for her roles in teledramas simply forgot that movie acting requires a degree of realism. Charith Abeysinghe's portrayal of Dilru is lacking in so many ways. He seems too concerned with posing than actually acting, modeling maybe a better career choice. Sampath Sri Roshan's performance as Dev is average but stands out in the sea of bad actors. What really blew me away were the three veterans who proved that acting is not like a fine wine; it doesn't get better with age. Statues carved in stone convey more vivacity than Robin Fernando. Sriyantha Mendis' performance for lack of a better word is LUDICROUS and downright stupid. He is unforgivably miscast as the leader of the henchmen; even his mannerisms appear fake and unnatural. But the Oscar definitely has to go to Ravindra Randeniya; his level of overacting, indicating and facial expressions is an all time low for the Lankan acting profession. It is just sad to see our so called professionals reduce performances to such miserable standards. Absolutely pathetic!
Friday, July 17, 2009
WATCHMEN feature actors Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan), Patrick Wilson (Night Owl 2), Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian) and Malin Ackerman (Silk Spectre 2). The film is written by David Hayter and Alex Tse and directed by Zack Snyder.
The dialogue is rich and constantly reminds us that this is a mature drama made for adults. Rorschach's monologues are complex, Dr. Manhattan's lines are filled with philosophical depth and even the other characters bring a gritty realism with the dialogue.
The cinematography is a feast for the eyes, but certain scenes unintentionally appear cartoonish. The editing is adequate but something that hinders it is the repetitive slowing down and speeding up of many scenes. I understand that every director strives for a visual trademark, but Snyder simply over does it to the point of being annoying. Something else that is overused is the soundtrack; a moody original score is replaced by song after song from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Yes we know its 1985, but we don't need to be reminded of it every scene.
The acting is definitely this film's strong suit. The male actors have been perfectly cast in their respective roles. The stand out performance is by Jackie Earle Haley who plays Rorschach. Even wearing the mask doesn't diminish his acting and screen presence. But the only kink in the armor is Malin Ackerman, who is clearly incorrectly cast as a key figure in the story. Her portrayal of Silk Spectre 2 is superficial and stands out like a sore thumb.
WATCHMEN is based on the beloved graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Having not read the novel prior to viewing the movie, I cannot comment on how faithful the film adaptation is to its source material. What I can say is that the film experience is indeed novel (pun intended). The film isn't great, it isn't bad either it's just an ok movie. Director Zack Snyder (300) has come reasonably close to making a good film. Probably the most significant dilemma faced by the director was trying to compress the expansive story from novel to film. Snyder's attempt is commendable although many of the revelations in the plot came as no real surprise. Even the ending seems like much ado about nothing but I'm sure the version in the novel is dissimilar. This is Snyder's Watchmen and not Moore's so some credit is deserved by the filmmaker. Whichever way you view it, cinema or rental WATCHMEN is unique and worth the watch.
S. V. Fernando
Saturday, July 4, 2009
FAST AND FURIOUS reunites the original cast which includes Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Paul Walker (Brian O'Conner), Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto) and Michelle Rodriguez (Letty). John Ortiz (Ramon Campos) rounds up the cast as this film's villain. The film is written by Chris Morgan and directed by Justin Lin.
The technical aspects of the film also fall short when compared to its predecessors. The cinematography is unoriginal, the sound is forgettable, the editing is passable and the soundtrack does not enhance the images. It's as if the director used one of his I-Pod Playlists and selected some random hip hop songs to give the film some urban flavour. What really stands out is the videogame-like action scenes used in the race sequence as well as the cave-drive sequence. It didn't feel like I was watching a movie, instead it felt like I was watching someone play a game of Gran Turismo.
It seems the actors put in exactly the same amount of effort into their roles, as did the filmmakers in trying to come up with the title for the film. Michelle Rodriguez as usual is playing the same role she has played in every single film she has ever done, the tough girl. Jordana Brewster is proof that good looks will not get you everywhere. If you were to replace Jordana with a mannequin, I'm sure none would be the wiser. Paul Walker gives his trademark Surfer-Dude delivery and Vin Diesel gives his typical stone-cold performance. Having acted in such primo films like MIAMI VICE, AMERICAN GANGSTER and the upcoming PUBLIC ENEMIES (with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale) it is surprising to see John Ortiz playing a mediocre role in Part 4 of a waning franchise.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The rabid Wolverine is back in his fourth film installment, but where as the first three was a team effort WOLVERINE is all about the man with the claws. The film opens in 1845 in the North-Western Territory of British North America. A young James Howlett (future Wolverine/
Released in the
SVF: The entire first act feels like a documentary, similar to something you would see on the Biography Channel. By centering on the history of the Wolverine character a number of questions are answered. Such as his approximate age, the beginnings of
DMP: The character of wolverine first graced the covers of Marvel Comics in 1974, and has become the second most popular Marvel Character of all time (right behind Spiderman). He was the first anti-hero & the quintessential bad boy in the marvel gallery. It is not over complimentary to say he is a icon of American literature. He has been known as an superhero for the average joe, with a tough exterior and animal/primal instincts, but it’s his mysterious past that has been continuous appeal for avid readers. In fact since this was such a major attraction to readers, his origin was not written until much later in 2002. This was done with great care so not to upset history & persona of the character.
I wish the writers of this film took the same care to bring the origin to life on screen. Considering the audience unfamiliar with comics had come to love the character over the past 3 X-MEN films, deserved a great origin story.
The ‘brothers’ montage in the beginning was a useful plot tool to fast forward the story to it’s current point. Unfortunately the whole first act moved way too quickly. The remaining 2 acts were just a mess as they attempted to jigsaw puzzle subplots incoherently. There is no character development whatsoever! For a character driven film surprisingly all the characters here played on a single note, there is no arc in their evolution, very 1 dimensional! They are either bad or good, and when there is a change it is literally a flip of a switch rather than a slow growth. It’s only fair to expect more coming from a series (X MEN 1 & 2) which despite having over a dozen characters in each film focused on the story of about 3 at time, and let them grow and evolve. Other than
The characters have absolutely no motive for any of their antics and in some cases a feeble explanation. Sabertooth never gives a reason for why he turns on Wolverine other than their senseless sibling rivalry. The ‘special’ team characters also seem so bland whether they are slaughtering a
SVF: The dialogue is succinct and to-the-point. At times overuse of clichéd one-liners seem to dumb down the movie. But it is worth mentioning that the character of Wolverine is not a prolific orator, he's more of a "Dirty Harry meets John McClane" and you can't expect him to be verbally eloquent just because he's in a more serious film.
DMP: Dialogue was kept simple and to the point. An animalistic yell of “RUAWWWW!” would have been effective if used once maybe twice by our wild lead. But after the 10th & 11th time the sense of menace is gone and becomes laughable(and also makes for a great drinking game:). In fact Wolverine never truly became fearful to anyone. He was supposed to become a frightful and intimidating force deformed nature to his foes, friends and even the audience. This was especially important as he became the ‘animal,’ but this transition happened with no significance or threat.
SVF: The cinematography is mediocre, the Special FX is surprisingly average for a big budget movie and the action scenes are repetitive.
DMP: The special FX was horrendous and cheap; a few memorably bad examples are Zero jumping into chopper, Gambit climbing up the ladder like a lemur, jumping into the water from the helicopter, Patrick Stewart's de-aging face, the CG helicopter and ‘jungle book’ painted background Patrick Stewart steps out of, The Blob wearing the borrowed FAT BASTARD's suit didn’t help. Making the claws CGI (as opposed to the perfect prosthetics in X1 & X2) was a fatal mistake. The claws looked like a rendering from ‘Roger Rabbit’, the bone claws were worse and looked like ‘chopsticks’ borrowed from Chinese Dragon, every mutant’s ability to jump a round as if their shoes had ‘blubber’ was very ‘video-game-like’ behavior. Forget that they messed up a currently popular character Deadpool, but the whole last action sequence was straight out of MORTAL COMBAT. The sword/action sequences in BLADE ’98 from 11 years ago were far superior to this scene.
The action was simply poor and clichéd giving us nothing new. All 3 face-off fight scenes with Creed & Logan begin the exact same way, the unoriginal, over dramatic 100 meters sprint, I’ve seen more brutal fights with similar scenes courtesy of JCVD in UNIVERSAL SOLDIER’ 92. It doesn’t matter how brutal the fight scenes are when we are told at the opening credits that both characters heal to the point of invulnerability, there is no tension about the damage they might receive in a battle. This is where creative ideas are supposed to come from the directors/writers to make us feel tense about the mortality of these characters. It’s also a little silly to find so many characters with blades, claws, swords but we never see any blood!
The explosive action of the chopper was probably the most prominent but certainly unimpressive. I would like to think BLACK HAWK DOWN or THE MATRIX had better, similar scenes! Each action sequence has been bettered by prior films.
SVF: WOLVERINE is a well cast film. Liev Schreiber is surprisingly sinister as Victor Creed/ Sabretooth. Danny Huston is perfect as the ambitious and ruthless William Stryker. Lynn Collins' performance is natural displaying sexual chemistry with her leading man and Hugh Jackman takes this version of Wolverine to another level. Sadly the supporting cast is forgettable, especially Will I. Am's one-dimensional portrayal of John Wraith. The Black-Eyed Pea certainly needs to stick to his day job.
DMP: The 3 leads of
SVF: WOLVERINE is definitely not a faultless film. Many comic book fans will whine about the screen writers not being faithful to the source material. Stuck-up Armchair Film Critics with their turtle-neck t-shirts and cups of cappuccinos might say that the film is unmemorable, lacked quality dialogue and there are no lessons to be learnt. To all I say "This is WOLVERINE not FORREST GUMP." Wolverine has been voted the No. 1 comic hero of all time so audiences will continue flocking into theatres to watch the sequels.
DMP: The unimpressive plot provokes a few rhetorical questions; Why would Stryker spend all the time/effort/money to find a rare metal, find a 1 in a million matching subject for procedure with little chance at success. And when it works out and the subject gets uncontrollable immediately (after the experiment) try to kill him? Initially Stryker was trying to hunt/kill
There are no answers to these questions as they are the plot holes existent due to sloppy writing and hurried production.
SVF: This is the first big budget film directed by Gavin Hood who previously directed character driven dramas such as TSOTSI and RENDITION. You would think that Hood was the ideal choice as director to help explore a character more elaborately but he fails in his attempt. WOLVERINE suffers from the same dilemma as SPIDERMAN 3 and X-MEN 3; too many characters, so little time. Why is the kid Cyclops even in this movie? The film's biggest mistake is that it's merely a shallow back story. The story could have been better if more in-depth concentration was placed on the psychological elements of human nature versus animal nature. The "feral or primitive side" could have been to Wolverine what "fear" is to Batman and what "rage" is to The Hulk. This would have enriched the character incredibly. Alas X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE is a well made action film, all the loose ends in the subplots are tied up and the ending is spectacular. But if THE DARK KNIGHT is the new benchmark for the superhero genre, then WOLVERINE needs a century worth of evolution.
DMP: Fox had been going head to head with Gavin from the beginning. Considering he’s South African , politico/war issues were very real to him. His prior films TSOTSI and RENDITION both had elements of dealing with government or decay of human society. He had attempted to bring this (along with other elements) to WOLVERINE but Fox shut him down. This article gives some insight to his inner workings.
Deadpool’s character was thrown in here as a plug for XMEN ORIGINS: DEADPOOL Gambit was introduced cause he too will co star with Deadpool, plus the fanboys have been waiting for his on screen debut since 2000. The young Cyclops along with the weird pre-aged Prof X was there to introduce their spin off XMEN ORIGINS: FIRST CLASS. Actually this was the reason for the unnecessary imprisoned young mutants, as they will all be part of the series/movie which will get the typical Fox treatment of DAWSONS’CREEK meets TWILIGHT!
It was rumoured that Fox had capped their production budget, this clearly showed with the piss poor special FX. Especially when comparing to films from last year such as IRONMAN & HULK which had ‘quoted’ the same amount ($150 mil) but gave us far better, polished products. I feel this will be the result of all future XMEN films from Fox until the movie rights come back to the capable & faithful hands of Marvel Studios. This is sadly a very forgettable film for an unforgettable media icon.
S. V. Fernando: 3 COCONUTS
D. M. Pieries: 2 COCONUTS