Film Review: Cemetery Junction

24/04/2010

After Ricky Gervais’ last co-written, co-directed and co-stared feature, The Invention of Lying, you would be forgiven for being a little skeptical about this latest offering. However, Cemetery Junction is an enjoyable picture, combining an adequate amount of laughs with a genuine emotional depth.

Freddie Taylor is the son of a factory worker, living in the dead-end town Cemetery Junction in the early 1970s. Wishing to make more of his life, Freddie thinks working for a big insurance company will help achieve his goal of leaving his old life behind. But things rarely work out as simple as this…

Christian Cooke is bright as the protagonist Freddie; his blossoming friendship with Julie (played by Felicity Jones) is a delight to watch. Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hughes and Jack Doolan are all believable in their roles. The star turn, however, is delivered by Emily Watson, who gives an understated yet strong performance as Mrs Kendrick.

The relationship between Freddie and his friends Bruce and Stork seems very natural. The film is well written; the dialogue and circumstances appear very believable. Gervais and Merchant have succeeded in producing a well-crafted drama with a sufficient amount of comic relief. Aesthetically, the film seems authentic with its depiction of a small British town in the 1970s; the soundtrack is bursting with hits of that decade.

Ricky Gervais has a role in Cemetery Junction, but given his reputation for playing very similar characters, it is thankfully small. Overall, the film should strike a chord with audiences all too familiar with the small-town mentality; the theme is broad enough to be identifiable where ever in the world you watch it.

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Film Review: Clash of the Titans

13/04/2010

Seeing the film a few weeks after its release, Clash of the Titans is actually an enjoyable enough movie. Granted, this may be the case as expectations were significantly lowered by the considerable amount of negative press and reviews the film has received.

Louis Leterrier’s version makes a number of changes to the plot from the 1981 original. Sam Worthington’s Perseus no longer seeks the hand of Andromeda; instead he seeks revenge for the murder of his adoptive family by Hades. The focus in this 2010 remake is firmly on Perseus and the human characters, a lot less time is given to the gods, some of whom are ousted altogether from the film. The story, then, becomes very human, and similar to many other revenge quest themes in fantasy and other genres. In retrospect, the presence of the gods in the original film separated it from similar fare; something this remake perhaps should have kept intact.

The performances in the film are passable, with Gemma Arterton featuring as the love interest more for her looks than anything else. As villain Hades, Ralph Fiennes comes across as a little hammy, whilst Worthington’s changeable accent is distracting.

One of the main criticisms of the film is the use of 3D, which was tacked on in the post-production. Whilst one may expect it to look shoddy, in actual fact it is not that noticable. The use of 3D doesn’t necessarily detract from the film, but it doesn’t really add anything either.

As an epic fantasy adventure, Clash of the Titans is entertaining fare. Whilst younger audience members will most likely enjoy the picture, especially the action sequences, for older viewers this remake may bring about a nostalgia for the original. For all its blockbuster special effects, this remake can’t quite replicate Ray Harryhausen’s quaint but much-loved creations.