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REVIEW: Remember Me March 31, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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If there’s one thing that put me off Remember Me initially, it was that it starred Robert Pattinson in what seemed to be a run of the mill romantic drama – not exactly a million miles away from Twilight. But thanks to a multi-layered story and likeable characters, Remember Me shines as a character study that you won’t soon forget.

Robert Pattinson stars (and executive produces, you’ll note) as Tyler Hawkins, a 21 year old auditing classes and working in the book shop of NYU. Lost‘s Emilie de Ravin plays Ally Craig, a student at the same university. After Tyler is arrested by Ally’s father, Tyler’s roommate Aidan (Tate Ellington) encourages him to pursue Ally and dump her in revenge.

Rather predictably, the two hit it off after a series of dates. De Ravin and Pattinson are very convincing as a couple, and Pattinson seems a lot more comfortable here than when he plays his vampire alter-ego Edward Cullen. If you doubted his acting ability post-Twilight, his turn as chain-smoking, troubled Tyler should prove you wrong.

It’s nice, too, to see Emilie de Ravin in a role where she isn’t constantly screaming about her “baaaybee” or “Chaaahlie”. Her character’s quirks, like eating dessert before her main course or stopping herself in a ‘water fight’ scene from letting the whole thing become a cliché are likeable rather than irritating.

From the harrowing opening scene, it becomes clear that the film’s focus is not just on the couple’s relationship, but why they are the way they are. They both have daddy issues, Ally living with her overprotective, alcoholic single father (played by Chris Cooper), and Tyler with his father, a divorced distant and uncaring businessman (played by Pierce Brosnan). They’ve both also suffered major losses in their life, with Ally losing her mother as a child and Tyler’s brother having committed suicide years earlier.

Pierce Brosnan is a revelation here, with a Manhattan accent and doing everything in his power to make the audience hate him. At the same time, however, he lets us see some vulnerability in the character, and by the closing credits he’s completely three-dimensional. The showdown between Brosnan and Pattinson in a crowded boardroom is a particularly well-acted, memorable and extremely excruciating scene.

The rest of the cast are all more than capable in their roles, with Lena Olin as the Hawkins family matriarch, and Ruby Jerins, an Abigail-Breslin-in-the-making as Tyler’s younger sister Caroline. Tate Ellington perhaps is the one weak link, playing an annoying character with an extremely grating voice. The subplots of the Hawkins family dealing with the death of their oldest child six years earlier and Caroline’s exclusion from her peers at school get ample screen time and are extrmely compelling in themselves.

The final twist of the story will be seen by many as offensive and unnecessary, and on paper it definitely sounds like it. But in the context of the rest of the film, where characters deal with tragedy after tragedy, the ending underscores the theme of grief quite plainly and undeniably – memorably.

Remember Me hits cinemas this Friday

REVIEW: Dear John March 30, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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There’s a metaphor that runs through Dear John about how soldiers in the US military are like coins. (Bear with me) They are churned out every day, and expected to be perfectly minted. The ones with imperfections are thrown away, but some, known as ‘mules’, get through and are circulated. While there’s lots to like about Dear John, you can’t help but feel that if The Notebook is a shiny penny, Dear John is a bit of a mule.

Tragic Nicholas Sparks love stories are ten-a-penny these days, so if you’re not a hopelessly romantic teenage girl who loved The Notebook, you can forgive yourself for not wetting yourself with excitement about the author’s latest adaptation, Dear John.

Of course, Dear John tells the story of two star-cross’d lovers, this time two teenagers who meet by the beach and, in the course of two weeks, fall in love. But, he’s only on leave from the military for those two weeks, so there’s tearful goodbyes and the end of their fortnight together. That’s all fine, as he’s only going for a year and they plan to write letters to each other the whole time. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t all go to plan, and after 9/11, the couple face a much longer separation.

The two leads, the always-charming Amanda Seyfried as Savannah Curtis and Channing Tatum as the eponymous John Tyree, have good chemistry and a believable connection in the film. Seyfried even picks up a guitar and sings at one point, recalling her turn in musical Mamma Mia! Tatum on the other hand, is someone I’ve always thought had quite a limited range, and playing the military guy doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for him. His scenes with his father, played by Richard Jenkins, however show that he can handle heavier material at a push.

There’s a few heavy-handed subplots going on through the film, such as Savannah’s interest in helping those with Autism, which results in a scene early on where Savannah suggests that John’s dad is suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. Despite this cringe-inducing scene, there are some heartbreaking moments in the film relating to John’s dad’s Asperger’s, and the backstory of how he and his father grew apart is well-played by Tatum and Richard Jenkins, who plays Mr. Tyree.

There are some typically sappy moments, like when John tells Savannah the moon is never bigger than her thumb no matter where she is, and where Savannah shows John a house she’s building for a family whose house got destroyed. Of course, the next day they’re working together on the site. Awww.

Ultimately, the film loses steam in the third act and things get a bit messy as unexpected relationships develop and everything gets a bit depressing. There’s a few war scenes thrown in that may keep any guys who are being dragged along by their girlfriends happy, but in the end, you won’t love this one unless you’re a die-hard Notebook fan.

Dear John hits cinemas on 16th April

iDreamed a Dream March 4, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Televisual, Webshite.
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For anyone not content with watching television on television, Hulu have launched their first exclusively-online series. The series, If I Can Dream, follows 5 people trying to break into the entertainment industry, and basically we get to watch them do it.

From this description, the series doesn’t sound too ground-breaking or even majorly interesting. The first episode of series introduces us to the five wannabes – Kara, Justin, Ben, Amanda and Giglianne. Kara, Ben and Amanda are aspiring actors, while Justin aims to be a musician and Giglianne a model. They’re all going to live together in a house in the Hollywood Hills in the hope of achieving some form of success.

As well as a weekly 25 minute programme broadcast exclusively on Hulu (notably it’s the first thing I’ve ever been able to watch on Hulu, with the rest of its content blocked for viewing in Ireland), you can watch the contestants live on IfICanDream.com. Predictably, this isn’t actually very interesting, like Big Brother Live only with even less engaging people involved. On the plus side, the production values are well up to broadcast television standard, and some form of television broadcast is expected at a future date.

The Justin of the show is none other than Miley Cyrus’s ex-boyfriend, a fact which is largely ignored bar one brief “I want to be known for my music and not because of Miley”.

Former Pop Idol judge Nicki Chapman even pops up for a bit, coordinating the contestants’ publicity trip around the world.

The first episode is only semi-interesting, with contestants that have less personality than you could possibly fathom. They’re all way too friendly to each other in the beginning, so hopefully things will heat up a bit in future instalments. Even worse, we can’t vote out the ones we hate. The producers claim, however, that if a contestant achieves significant success, they may leave the show and be replaced.

Watch the full first episode below, if only to see what web TV is really like.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

King of Minimalism March 2, 2010

Posted by Patrick in Cinematics.
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There seems to have been thousands of these popping up lately, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive. The latest batch of film posters to get a nifty minimalist artsy makeover is ten from Stephen King’s back catalogue of adaptations.

My favourite has to be the Carrie poster, featuring only the famous bucket, fresh after tipping a load of pig’s blood on the protagonist. For a minute I thought that the Shawshank Redemption poster had some sort of PC desktop icon on it, until I realised that it was actually the Rita Hayworth poster from the film with a hole behind it. A poster on a poster. How clever.

Click below to see some of the posters, created by Nick Tassone.

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Through the Looking Glass March 2, 2010

Posted by Paula in Cinematics, Lit.
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Make and Deux were lucky enough to get preview tickets to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 3D last week. Sadly, Patrick arrived too late to actually attend the screening, and was left stranded and extremely hungover on O’Connell St. But that is another story. I was there and lived to tell the tale. And what a tale it is.

Even before we reach Wonderland (or Underland, which we learn is the correct name for the land that lies down the rabbit hole), Burton indulges his delight in all things skewed and technicolor, and creates a whole host of mad and maddening friends, neighbours and relations. Alice (Mia Wasikowska) has aged 13 years since her first trip to Wonderland, and is now in danger of being married off to a snooty Lord of the Manor with a “delicate digestive system”. That is, of course, before she starts to chase after a certain white rabbit at her own engagement party.

The completely satirical version of a stiff-upper-lip English society in which Alice lives probably the closest Burton gets to staying faithful to Lewis Carroll’s original book and the inspriration behind it. The entire Wonderland story has been completely revamped, Burton-ised and loaded with CGI.

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