Monsters


My movie-going year is suitably bookended by two Road movie love stories, each with a flavour of the apocalypse about them.  In January, The Road took Cormac McCarthy’s seminal novel and told a love story about father and son that has seldom been rivalled.  Now, in December a young British director has created a love story that is the year’s best, as a sci fantasy and for half a million dollars.  How is this possible?

Written, directed, filmed and CGI’d by the quite remarkable Gareth Edwards, this film is an absolute joy from the first slate to the last.

At every single turn he avoids excess.  The film is so lean it ‘s positively fat free.

The CGI could be Oscar winning if the Academy decide that a Sci Fi movie with CGI you barely notice at times deserves such an accolade. The cinematography is sublime and yet is filmed on a $8,400 camera (My guess is it may have been a Canon because Canon is strongly product placed throughout).

The acting, although not award winning is perfectly good.

It’s a two man show featuring the very able Whitney Able (great too in “All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) looking like a young Charlize Theron, sans scars, and Scoot McNairy.

There’s no doubt which of the pair is more likely to feature in Edwards’ next movie.  The camera absolutely drools over Able for long periods of time, but hey, who’s complaining.  Reminded me a little of Bertolucci and his penchant for ravishing his young female talent on screen.

He uses a lot of very tight depth of field which, if you like it, creates a lovely soft feel with the action often moving in and ourt of focus.  This adds quality and emphasises the beauty of the surroundings that are being destroyed in a war between the US Army/Airforce and aliens who landed in New Mexico six years prior.

Of course it’s like District Nine (everyone says so) but I prefer to compare it to Apocalypse Now (and The Road).  I think Edwards might thank me for that because the movie is essentially a trip up river (as in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness) and he has a couple of homage moments, most particularly in the Army’s motivational music;  The Ryde of the Valkyries.

The day we saw this the cinema was full of young delinquents who were clearly unimpressed.

Barely a monster in sight.

Next to no blood.

Boring.

Alien vs Predator this is not!

My daughter and I  on the other hand were enthralled.

A fine, fine debut and most certainly one of the films of the year.

Let me in


I am ashamed to say I have not yet seen the original Swedish version of this movie although it is on my list of to do’s for the very near future especially after seeing the Holywood remake which is in one hyphenated word.; Jaw-dropping.

From the very first frames it captivates you with every cinematic tool available.  The scary bits are very scary, the photography stunning and the acting beyond description for a cast starring two 12(ish) year olds.  But then Kodi Smit McPhee has previous starring as “the boy” in The Road, another mature and beautiful performance.  One wonders just how far he can go on the basis of these two Oscar quality performances.  Abby, the vampire is played by Chloe Moretz who absolutely stunned in Kick Ass as Hit Girl.

It’s billed as a horror movie but it’s actually a love story and a very moving one at that.  The quietness and intensity of the young couple’s illicit (in so many ways) relationship is at the core of the movie and their shared screen time are the real beating pulse of the movie.  You will not see a better and more intimate love story this year.

Matt Reeves, as director, is surely one of the most promising Hollywood talents out there.  His previous film, Cloverfield, is one of the most underrated films I’ve ever seen.  Why is it not considered amongst the best aliens movie ever made?  Anyway, you can be sure, that after this he will be moving onto the A list.