Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Ondine is an original and romantic Irish film starring Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda, which places Irish mythology into a contemporary setting. Farrell plays a fisherman called Syracuse who one day pulls up a woman in his fishing net, but she is rather mysterious and evasive and leaves Syracuse guessing about her true identity; she only tells him that her name is Ondine, which means 'of the sea'. And strangely enough she seem to bring him good luck as his fishing nets become full when she sings. His little girl Annie starts to think that she is actually a selkie, a seal lady of Celtic myth who can temporarily become human if she hides her seal coat, but must eventually return to the sea. Ondine moves in with Syracuse, who falls for her even though he is somewhat wary of her secret identity, and along with Annie they carry on like a normal yet somewhat-dysfunctional family. However, when a mysterious man arrives in town searching for Syracuse's mysterious selkie it seems as though his run of fairy-tale luck is over.

What I liked about Ondine is that I didn't know too much about it, and although the plot is simple it doesn't give too much away and leaves you guessing about Ondine's true identity; Who is really? Where is she from? Is she a real mermaid? I couldn't work it out personally and throughout the film I was left arguing with myself, because the film has a realistic setting and it would be quite a challenge for the film-makers to make it convincing if Ondine was a real mermaid, but if she wasn't then who is she and how did she end up being caught up in Syracuse's net? Although it sounds like a frustrating watch it really isn't, it is quite a joyful and serene film and I thought it was worth the personal battle about what was going on as I wasn't disappointed by the end. But the result is not the only reason why the film is worth watching; Alison Barry who plays Annie in particular is a super sweet actress and she really shines in this film, and she brings all the mythology into the film and it is sweet how Ondine plays along with her theories that she is actually a selkie. Also the location is just beautiful, it made me want to go to Ireland and stay in a little peaceful fishing village like where Ondine is set. But that is enough of what I wanted to say about the film because some films I think you just need to watch without much knowledge and just see where the film takes you; Ondine is one of those films which I highly recommend if you want something a little unique and different

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

When I first heard that Walden media had taken over the third installment of the Narnia series I was somewhat skeptical, as Disney had already done a lovely job of making The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. Also, there were rumors that it was going to be made in Digital 3D, and even though I always go and see films in 3D I think that film-makers can often get caught up in making all the jumpy-out bits that they sometimes forget the more important parts like the story-line and the dialogue!! The trailer was full of fantastical sets and magic, but the part that really caught my eye was when the bedroom was filling up with water and the children swam to the surface to find themselves in Narnia - so beautiful! But I needed to see the film properly to make my mind up about it and to see if it was made of more substance like it's predecessors...

The film is set three years after Prince Caspian, and the two youngest of the Pevensie children, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are staying with their cousin Eustace Scrubb (Will Poulter) which they are not too happy about; Edmund is struggling with the fact that in his world he is not old enough to be a soldier, and Lucy is envious of her older sister Susan who is away in America with their parents. Luckily the children are still eligible to enter Narnia and upon arrival they are rescued by the now King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and their old friend Reepicheep the warrior mouse (this time voiced by Simon Pegg), and taken aboard the beautiful ship The Dawn Treader where they join the voyage to rescue the seven Lords of Narnia whom had been banished by Caspian's Uncle Miraz.

When I finally saw the film at the cinema (yes, in 3D) I came out with only one criticism, and the people I went with agreed, that the only thing that ruined the film was that the cinema screen was extremely dark, and with the glasses on it made it even darker to see much when the film itself was set in low light. But apart from that I loved the film and couldn't wait for its Blu Ray release (typical me!). The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is full of swashbuckling adventure, monsters and magic, with stunning sets and costumes. The film is very visual which I love, as I read all the books as a kid and it is so amazing to see them brought to life so beautifully and realistically (don't get me wrong though, there will always be a place in my heart for the late 80s/early 90s BBC versions). I had spent ages thinking of things from the book and wondering 'how will they do this?', 'how can they make falling into a painting to enter Narnia look good?' etc. but somehow they did it, and I was impressed. I also like that this film centers around Edmund and Lucy, who are more in depth characters than their older siblings; Edmund is more complex and has had more of a personal journey since the first installment, and Lucy is the one who discovered Narnia in the first place and is just lovable in general. Also, newcomer Will Poulter was the perfect actor to be cast as the annoying cousin Eustace; I was aware of Poulter from watching School of Comedy and Son of Rambow and knew he would be hilarious. Oh, and fans of Liam Neeson will love Aslan's short-but-sweet appearances, and fans of Ben Barnes will just love, well, Ben Barnes! All-in-all a light-hearted adventure which will re-capture your childhood, make you laugh and treat your eyes in this visually stunning installment of the Narnia Chronicles

Sucker Punch

I feel like I have waited forever and a day for the release of Sucker Punch. When I come across films that are in the process of being made that really take my interest I get so impatient because I want to see them right then and there (Wrath of the Titans is being made right now, and it's annoying me that I will have to wait another year or so for it's release); Sucker Punch was this kind of film for me. I can't remember how I first came to know of it's existence, possibly from trawling IMDB whilst I should have been doing my dissertation (I may have mentioned this distraction of mine before) and there it was. A film by Zack Snyder with a cast that included Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone, and Abbie Cornish, all set to play characters with odd names like Babydoll and Blondie. Little was known about the film apart from that the girls were set to play girls who lived in a brothel, who also happened to be sword and gun-wielding action heroines who were plotting to escape (confused yet?). Also, they had to take part in intense training prior to filming, which most definitely paid off as in the film they all look flawless in the action scenes.

When I finally got round to seeing the film I had heard a few bad reviews about it, but I tend to not let things like that put me off, and I'm so happy I didn't!! From the very start of Sucker Punch I was just drawn in from the dark beauty of it, and of course the story line is pretty intense and you just want to know where it is going to take you. It takes a little while to build up but once the action started it just blew me away! The only time I took my eyes off the screen was to look at my sister with my mouth hanging open from amazement... I am a fool for films that have an astoundingly rich aesthetic and Sucker Punch pays attention to the finest of detail.

The soundtrack was also a strong point for me, as the music really helps to get you going especially when the girls are kicking ass in battle against samurais, steam powered nazis, robots and dragons. It includes three songs I already loved (but the whole soundtrack is well worth a good listen); Bjork's Army of Me, a cover of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit and a cover of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) sang by Emily Browning herself. The only thing that is a little hard to grasp at first is the quick change of 'setting', as the film's main character Babydoll (Browning) narrates the story, so the events are shown through her eyes and through her imagination. Trust me with this one, once you get into the film it will start to make sense. Browning is stunning in the lead and she is backed up by the other girls brilliantly. Overall, Sucker Punch is a ball-breaking action film that is female led; it is unique in story and style, and there is nothing that I know of that is quite like it. I will definitely be getting it on Blu Ray the day it comes out!!