Film Review: Oblivion

Oblivion

Science fiction blockbuster Oblivion is flawed, but entertaining nevertheless. Fans of the genre are likely to spot allusions to earlier films.

Following a war that ravaged the Earth, drone repair operative Jack is one of the few remaining humans on the planet. The rest of the surviving humans have made a new home elsewhere. With two weeks left before he joins them, an incident occurs which makes Jack question everything he believes…

Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion circles around some interesting topics, although it never outright asks and answers the questions. Instead, the film is a sci-fi blockbuster which offers action, mystery and suspense, but lacks substantial depth. This is not catastrophic, although those looking for a film to really tackle philosophical aspects may be unsatisfied with Oblivion. The film works well in the sense that it successfully entertains viewers, even if does not leave them pondering.

The narrative of Oblivion is brimming with twists. Viewers may well be reminded of a number of other sci-fi films, but to make reference to them here may drop some spoilers.  The twists in the film are acceptable enough. However, it can seem like the film attempts to shoehorn too many ideas into its plot. Furthermore, when scrutinising the chain of events and the motivations of certain characters, holes do appear.

The production design of Oblivion is great. The film’s futuristic setting is identified in subtle rather than outlandish ways. Special effects are also seamless. The score also owes a debt to a few other film scores. Notwithstanding, it is highly effective at times. Casting for Oblivion is spot on, with Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough all delivering decent performances.

Oblivion has the look and feel of a sci-fi blockbuster. Kosinski’s film teeters on approaching some fascinating themes, but falters in its approach. In terms of entertainment however, Oblivion does the trick.

Stuff to Look At

A catch up of all the trailers you may have missed for the Easter weekend…

The Big Wedding

Robert De Niro heads an all star cast in comedy The Big Wedding. I wish Robert De Niro was still making films with Martin Scorsese, but there you go. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, and Katherine Heigl, who surely cemented this role in her pact with the devil. The Big Wedding is released in UK cinemas on 29th May 2013.

Oblivion

Above is a featurette on upcoming movie Oblivion. Starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko and Melissa Leo, Oblivion is a future-set science fiction film from the director of Tron: Legacy. Oblivion is out in cinemas on 10th April 2013.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness looks very promising. J.J. Abrams’ 2009 update of Star Trek was a great sci-fi action romp, and Into Darkness seems to be following the same path. Starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch, Star Trek Into Darkness hits UK screens on 9th May 2013.

World War Z

Brad Pitt stars in apocalyptic extravaganza World War Z. Based on the novel by Max Brooks, Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a UN employee trying to ascertain the cause of a pandemic which is threatening the world. World War Z is released in UK cinemas on 21st June 2013.

Despicable Me 2

Gru is back! But perhaps more importantly, Agnes is back! From the above trailer, Despicable Me 2 appears to have a sound plot. It also features a host of talent, including Steve Carell, Al Pacino, Kristen Wiig and Steve Coogan. Despicable Me 2 is due for release on 28th June 2013.

Kick-Ass 2

Hit Girl is now a fully-fledged teen! Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Chloe Moretz return for Kick Ass 2. The sequel, which also stars Jim Carrey, is released on UK screens on 19th July 2013.

Film Review: To The Wonder

Beautifully photographed, those who become immersed in Terrence Malick’s vision will find To The Wonder thought provoking. Those that do not may find the film a chore.

After embarking on a romance with Marina in Paris, American Neil asks her to move back to Oklahoma with him. Marina meets a priest who his struggling with his faith, while Neil connects with Jane, a friend from his childhood…

Director and writer Terence Malick tells his story through narration and visuals. Dialogue is present, but it is kept to a minimum. Even the voiceover is used sparingly, with Malick preferring to rely on images to move the story along.

The themes in To The Wonder are more potent than the narrative. The film concerns itself with love and faith. The theme of love is dealt with through Marina’s character, while faith is conveyed through Father Quintana. It is no coincidence that these characters dominate the narration. Likewise they are the most interesting of the four main characters.

To The Wonder explores these themes, without offering any firm judgement or opinion on them. Instead, the audience are left with their own thoughts. To an extent, Malick’s film lacks real substance. It is not imbued with concrete ideas, or an unambiguous narrative. The imagery and sometimes poetic narration allow viewers a form of escapism, even time alone with their thoughts on the themes. Those not engaged by To The Wonder may find this dull however.

Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography is as beautiful as ever. He really makes the most of the natural light and the landscapes. There is some familiar imagery in To The Wonder; those who have seen Malick’s previous films should recognise this. Performances are good overall, particularly Olga Kurylenko’s Marina.

To The Wonder is not Malick’s best work, but it is an interesting forage into love.

Enter the To The Wonder competition to win a DVD bundle.

To The Wonder Competition

To The WonderWin a DVD bundle to celebrate the release of Terence Malick’s To The Wonder in cinemas this Friday, 22nd February 2013.

To The Wonder is the latest acclaimed film from Terrence Malick, the legendary director of The Tree of Life, Badlands and Days Of Heaven. The film is centred on Neil (Ben Affleck, Argo), a man who is torn between two loves: Marina (Olga Kurylenko, Quantum of Solace), the European woman who comes to United States to be with him, and Jane (Rachel McAdams, Midnight in Paris), the old flame he reconnects with from his hometown. Neil’s doubts about his life and loves are reflected in the crisis of faith experienced by Father Quintana (Javier Bardem, Skyfall), who only sees pain and the loss of hope in the world.

In To The Wonder, Malick explores how love and its many phases and seasons – passion, sympathy, obligation, sorrow, indecision – can transform, destroy, and reinvent lives.

To win a DVD goodie bag courtesy of Studio Canal including Take This Waltz, Searching for Sugar Man and Blue Valentine answer the following question:

Which film did To The Wonder star Ben Affleck recently direct?

1) Fargo

2) Argo

3) Cargo

To enter, send an email to contact@iheartthetalkies.com with the answer, your name and full postal address by 12th March 2013. Please put ‘To The Wonder’ as the subject title.

Terms and Conditions

1. Open to UK residents only.

2. Competition closes at 23.59 on 12th March 2013. Entries received after this time will not be counted.

3. Winners will be selected at random. Successful entrants will be contacted via email by 22nd March 2013. If you do not here from I Heart The Talkies by this time, please assume you have not been successful.

Trailer Round-Up

While the Oscar-nominated films may already be out or due for imminent release, there are plenty of films still to look forward to this year…

Trance

Following 2010’s immensely tense 127 Hours, Danny Boyle returns with Trance. The film is a psychological thriller featuring an art auctioneer, a missing painting, a hypnotherapist and a criminal gang. Starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson, Trance is released in UK cinemas on 27th March 2013.

To The Wonder

As the above trailer exhibits, To The Wonder is teeming with the kind of beautiful images we have come to expect from director Terrence Malick. Starring Ben Affleck as a man torn between Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams, To The Wonder is released on 22nd February 2013.

Sammy’s Great Escape

Sammy does not seem to have aged a day! Sammy’s Great Escape appears to be the sequel to A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures. The first film had a definite environmentalist angle, so it will be interesting to see the spin of this new film. Sammy’s Great Escape is in UK cinemas from 15th February 2013.

The Place Beyond The Pines

Ryan Gosling reunites with Blue Valentine director Derek Cianfrance in The Place Beyond The Pines. The crime drama features an all-star cast including Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper and Ray Liotta. The Place Beyond The Pines is released in UK cinemas on 12th April 2013.