19th June 2014 | Films
“One of the best film’s I have seen in recent years! And no, I didn't cry...” - 5 Stars
The Fault In Our Stars is one of those five word phrases that is enough to get you sobbing so much that you’d have to hire a lifeguard. Almost every single teenage girl has been moved by the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young love-struck cancer sufferers, from the book written by John Green.
No, I’m certainly not a girl, but I have to admit that after jumping on the bandwagon of this ever so popular book, I too became moved by this incredible piece of literature. That’s why, understandably, the idea of it being adapted into a movie was both exciting and worrying.
With book to film adaptations’, being faithful to the tale isn’t a growing concern: both are based on a similar idea and the director has every right to be as creative as they like, even if that involves changing the story in one way or another. However, with a book that has, quite literally, touched the hearts of millions of people, it’s not a surprise that the director, Josh Boone, had a hell of a lot of pressure and high expectations on his plate. Fortunately, Boone succeeded on all levels!
The direction shone immaculately through this cinematic masterpiece, accurately capturing the tone of the characters, the context, and indeed the book. The scenes flowed perfectly, expressing the emotions in an appropriate and extremely creative manner. Whether that is through clever camera shots or text messages appearing on the screen (that sound’s quite boring but believe me it’s so cool!), The Fault In Our Stars proved that Josh Boone is a bad-ass director!
18th June 2014 | Films
“Super nicely directed, the soundtrack is brilliant, and the locations are brilliantly chosen!”
Quite bizarrely, I saw Chef almost immediately after revisiting the brilliant but much darker Cheap Thrills with a pal. I happened to have a spare Chef ticket, which I offered up as part of the second most bizarre double-bill ever (the first one was when my parents saw Mrs. Doubtfire and Philadelphia one after the other), but was shot down, under the reasoning of ‘it’s gonna be a couple of guys slappin’ each others asses about a kitchen for 100 minutes’. Very true, but Chef is so much more than just kitchen-based ass-slappin’.
Written, directed and acted by the super talented Jon Favreau, the helmer of one of the greatest Christmas films ever, Elf, Chef tells the story of Carl Casper, a once adventurous and brave chef now working in the kitchen of a fancy Los Angeles restaurant owned by Dustin Hoffman. When a food critic insults both Casper’s cooking and his appearance, he quits his job and buys an old taco truck, taking his son and John Leguizamo along for the ride.
Chef feels like two separate movies, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The stuffy and city-based restaurant half is so enjoyable to watch that you almost forget that this is only the beginning of the story. Taking up a solid 40 minutes of the 114 minute running time, the equally entertaining ‘on the road’ second half almost feels like a coda, when it’s actually the main body of the story. Casper’s rant at Oliver Platt’s perfectly pitched food critic is hilarious and brilliantly written, but ever so slightly let down by the constant use of ‘modern’ words - ‘viral’, ‘trending’, ‘social media’. Whilst not as misguided as that…
7th June 2014 | Films
“A thrill ride unlike anything you’ve ever seen before!”
Cheap Thrills is amazing. There is no other word for it. I saw a preview of it last year, expecting it to sadly never get a proper release due to quite how intense it is. However, here we are, almost a year later, and E.L. Katz’s masterpiece is finally seeing the light of day, on iTunes and in selected cinemas. I’m not even going to write a tiny synopsis of the film, as it really is something you have to see for yourself. It comes out in the UK this Friday, and I urge you not to read anything about it, nor should you watch any trailers. All I will tell you, however, is that Cheap Thrills is an 87 minute thrill ride unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
The performances are all excellent, only enhanced by the direction, so perfect that you feel every single twist and turn like a slap in the face. It’s dark and funny and gritty and gory and upsetting. But it’s a thriller that even Hitchcock would be proud of. And it’s a rare treat.
By Preston Nyman
Preston has his own movie blog. For more from the world of film, visit http://prestondefends.tumblr.com/.