Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Beautiful Mind

BeautifulMindA Beautiful Mind (2001) – Originally written August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS

Ok, I admit it, a film about a mathematician to many people seems like a bad idea. Let’s just get that out straight away. Even the most intellectual person might sometimes find fault in a film about a genius. The thing is though that this film isn’t as dull as that one notion might imply.

A Beautiful Mind charts the rise, fall & rise again of John Nash, one of the cleverest men of the 20th Century. It starts with his rise at Princeton & his “Original Idea” which challenges Adam Smith’s Economic principle of everyone working for themselves. Eventually John ends up working for the Government, before it is revealed that the people from the government don’t exist & John imagines them. John finally learns to ignore these delusions however & his star rises once again.

When I went to see this film, I confess to being sceptical. I’d seen Gladiator & the idea of Maximus becoming a Mathematician seemed almost impossible and I couldn’t understand the fuss of this film. Then however I watched the entire film and reappeared a changed man. Russell Crowe could infact be a quality Mathematician & provided possibly his finest performance (in my view), and the film indeed deserved all of it’s praise. There are many reasons why people suggest Russell didn’t get the Oscar for his performance, but I do confess that Washington deserved it. The simple reason that Washington deserves the Oscar is that whilst I don’t feel Training Day could succeed without Denzil, the script & other actors performances in this film were so startlingly brilliant, that I hate to say it, but it still probably would have won best film without Russell’s appearance.

Anyway, the flaws with this film. One friend of mine got increasingly upset one day when I claimed that this film was magical & deserved all it’s praise. Her arguements were simply that the film didn’t take account of certain things in the book and more scarily that The Lord Of The Rings was better. Now I’ve never read the book (to be fair, neither had she, she’d just read a negative review), but as for The Lord Of The Rings, whilst I confess to finding it enjoyable, I don’t think it is in the same league as this film. The plot of LOTR is just as stunning, but it doesn’t make you think in the same way and personally I don’t feel it has the same Longitivity. I’ve seen both films the same number of times, but whilst I try to avoid LOTR (the first one anyway) now, I feel I could keep watching A Beautiful Mind over and over again. That’s part of it’s brilliance.

Truth be told, the thing I adore about A Beautiful Mind (and the same things I love about K-Pax and Donnie Darko) is that it presents you with a brilliant suggestion which you can sit and think about for hours on end. In Donnie Darko there is Donnie’s situation, in K-Pax there’s certain comments Prot makes about time, humans and Earth, and in this film there are the notions of coming up with an original idea (something I confess to have been trying to do for two years of University now) and more importantly the problems of trying to force someone with a mental problem to take drugs. No doubt I’m bound to have some Psychologists shouting at me here, but these people seem to be very split on this view. What I fail to understand is why we don’t consider Nash’s views more and try and cure these people using discussion and reason rather than pumping them full of drugs. One Psychology student I spoke to shot me down and instantly claimed that they need the drugs for reasons I confess to forgetting, whilst another person I know who is actually a practicing Psychologist completely agreed with me (but then, she was drunk!). Anyway, the beauty of this film is that it gives us this idea and attempts to get us to think about it. That is what this type of film should try to do and it is what A Beautiful Mind does perfectly.

So to summarise, a quality script, stunning acting, excellent lighting and a truely Beautiful Mind. Watch, Think, Discover Yourself.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

piratesPirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – Originally written August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS

This film is brilliant! I’m an enormous fan of films which encouraged you to think and consider parts of life. In the end of it all however, nobody can complain about this typical no brainer hollywood blockbuster. This is a brilliant film with a marvellous script, a stunning turn by Johnny Depp & amazing graphics (keep an eye out for the final fight scene).

Every actor in this film gives the film their all & even the slightly infuriating character played by Orlando Bloom comes out trumps in the whole scheme of things. Truth be told though, my favourite character in this entire film is the character played by Mackenzie Crook (Gareth in “The Office”). Crook’s evil pirate is excellent, casted perfectly & at times hilarious. It is unfair however to claim he is the only one to provide humour. Every single person in this film provides excellent comedy.

As well as excellent acting & special effects in this film, there are many other possitive things. The music is as you’d expect by now, beautiful, the way the film flows is worthy of mention as is the strange feeling at times that you are actually watching a film which was filmed at Disney Land, and for once when watching this film, it finally feels like Hollywood has learnt it’s lessons and returned partly to the types of film for which people like Errol Flynn were renowned.

Pirates Of The Carribean is a stunning film which I recommend everyone watches. Watch once at the cinema (twice if you feel like it, but personally the only flaw with this film is the daft certificate and it’s strange appeal to noisey little brats), and then over and over again at home with a beer or two. Enjoy!

Donnie Darko

DonnieDarkoDonnie Darko (2001) – Originally written August 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SPOILERS

In my mind, there are two films which you can always rely on to make you think for hours on end & which can confuse even the most clever mind. The first of these is K-Pax, the second of these is Donnie Darko.

It’s about this point where it’s worth attempting to explain a plot, but the thing is that this film has so many different interpretations, that I can’t help but feel that whatever I say can be questioned. So with this in mind, I’ll just simply state that the film is about the life of the title character Donnie Darko. Donnie behaves differently to everyone else whom you might consider “normal”, (explain this how you might – insanity? fate? genius?) and during this film we grow to really feel for him. Donnie, majestically played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is an amazing character & I must confess that whoever came up with the idea of this film must be a genius in his own right.

The thing which seems to appeal so much about Donnie is that at times, he’s just so obviously right. Theres a scene with one of his teachers, the infuriating Kitty Farmer (played by Beth Grant), and the way he reacts to her teaching is the way so many of us have wanted to act towards teachers/lecturers/etc over the years. Donnie recognises stupidity and rather than just tolerating it, he seems to condemn it and act against it. I think it’s quite possible that the world needs more Donnie Darko type characters.

The thing with this film (and be warned DEFINATELY do not read this if you don’t want to know things about the plot as it’s a BIG SPOILER) is that it seems to almost show two viewpoints. Many people think of it as some sort of time travel escapade, but in my view, it’s more a sort of inverted “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Gyllenhaal takes on Jimmy Stewart’s role in this version & whilst Jimmy discovered that his world needed him, it’s almost like Gyllenhaal realises that the world is better off without him. When I first saw this film, I considered that perhaps this film is some sort of ideal of what life is like once we die. What if when we die, to help us WANT death, we experience how our life would turn out if we lived. Anyway, in the end of the day, this is only my view of this film. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

YOU CAN CONTINUE READING WITHOUT MAJOR SPOILERS NOW. But you’re better off watching this film before reading any reviews anyway.

This film makes people think, it is dark, it has some superb acting in it & by far and away, it is one of the best films of the last 10 years. If you desire something thought provoking, watch this, if you desire something mindnumbing in which you can shut off to, watch “Pirates Of The Carribean” (I’ve reviewed that today too).

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