After her moped is stolen, Lola (Franka Potente) fails to pick her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) up from a deal where a large amount of money is involved. This sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Manni losing 100,000 Deutschmarks that are owed to his boss. He phones Lola to tell her that if he doesn’t manage to get the money to his boss within 20 minutes, he knows he’ll be killed. He quickly conceives a plot to rob a nearby supermarket of the money, much to Lola’s disapproval. She instructs him to wait, and says she’ll get to him in time, and tries to plan a way to get the money.
The film is relatively short, clocking in at just 80 minutes. Within this time, we see the story played out three times. Each of them starts with Lola hanging up the phone to Manni and making a run from her flat down a spiral staircase. For this, the picture deviates from live action to animation. I liked this touch; it adds a quirky element to the film that never feels forced or out of place. In each of the three versions of the story, Lola sets out to run to a bank where her father works in the hope of convincing him to give her the money. Along the way, she encounters several different people. These include a woman with a pram, a man riding a bike alongside her, a man driving an ambulance and a few other characters. Continue reading
Attack The Block is the 2011 directorial debut from England’s Joe Cornish. In South London, a gang of seemingly no-good teenagers are forced to defend their block from an alien invasion, requiring the help of a woman they had mugged earlier in the night.
I would normally say that being predictable, clichéd and refusing to stray from genre conventions are all things to criticise a film for. Strangely though, these can all be said of Attack The Block, yet I found them to actually be strengths, rather than weaknesses. I knew within five minutes who the hero would be and the type of journey they were going to take. What Joe Cornish manages to do as a writer though is work in plenty of in-jokes and tongue-in-cheek nods to familiar plot devices that made me smile plenty of times. Continue reading
There are few films that hold an iconic status as strong as Citizen Kane, directed and co-written by Orson Welles, who also stars as the titular character. Released in 1941, it has long been held up by critics and commentators as the greatest film of all time. That’s an argument for other people to make, but having finally seen it myself I can fully understand that incredible acclaim.
The plot of the film is outlined early on, taking the form of a news bulletin announcing the death of Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles). The bulletin details briefly that Kane had become a powerful media magnate, loved and hated in equal measure. We find out he had been married twice and who the wives were, and we have been made aware that his last word before he died was ‘Rosebud’. The plot is driven by the desire of a journalist to find out who or what Rosebud was, and what it meant to Kane. Continue reading
Stand By Me is the story of Gordie Lachance (Will Wheaton) and three teenage friends on a journey to find a dead body. The story is narrated by an older Gordie telling the tale of some of his formative days. His friends are Chris (River Phoenix), Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Vern (Jerry O’Connell).
Each of the kids has their own problems. Gordie is haunted by the death of his older brother who he looked up to, and whom he feels his dad always loved far more. Chris has a family name that carries with it a bad reputation, Teddy was abused by his father and Vern is…well he’s just Vern. The four of them make a fantastic group of friends, all with sufficiently different, multi-layered personalities, but similar enough to believe them as a group of mates. Continue reading
American David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) and his English wife Amy (Susan George) move to England, where they are hoping they can enjoy the quiet life in a picturesque setting. Their move soon turns nightmarish when a group of locals start to harass the couple, becoming more menacing as the film progresses, leading to an epic conclusion.
As a quick warning, please be aware that there will be some plot points discussed that you may consider to be spoilers – if you don’t want to know them then stop reading now.Released in 1971, Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs has long been seen as an iconic and controversial film. The concluding scenes are incredibly violent; I was expecting it to be fairly tame and just violent by the standards of the time but that isn’t entirely true. Don’t get me wrong, there are more graphically violent films made these days, but there are still moments that took me a little by surprise and I can see why it would have generated the controversy it did on it’s initial release. Continue reading