Film Review: Starred Up (18)

Eric Love, cialis a rough young criminal, online is escorted off a van and into the prison that is to be his home for a very long time. The real world is left at the door. The next time he sees outside it will be a privilege. Eric Love is a thug, and he belongs in that prison. Easy to say for somebody on the outside, isn’t it? On the inside, there’s a whole other story that takes place after they close the bars. 

Freshly transferred from a criminal youth facility to an adult prison, Eric (Jack O’Connell) wastes no time in causing havoc for the guards and other inmates alike. Before even unpacking his few belongings, he makes himself a weapon and soon after renders an inmate unconscious. He is crude, violent, and unbelievably aggressive. Anything can set him off. But he soon becomes wise to the fact that he is living amongst many other ticking time bombs, and his real problems start when he crosses paths with another inmate, a familiar face; his father, Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). Neville is torn between wanting the best for Eric and leading him down the same bad paths that he has ventured. But when Eric starts attending a therapy session, referred to simply as ‘group’, Neville shows himself to be the hostile, violent brute that Eric runs the risk of turning into. Eric must choose between seeking help and bettering himself, or giving in to his animalistic aggression, which is sure to add more years to his already long sentence.

A painfully gritty portrayal of prison politics, Starred Up unashamedly questions Britain’s prison system. Teaming with corruption, the prison sees Eric as just another thug for them to lock in a cell and take matters into their own hands if he steps too far out of line. Hope manifests in the form of social worker Oliver (Rupert Friend), who thinks not enough is being done to guide the inmates on the right path and believes he can reach Eric as long as they allow him to attend ‘group’.  But everyone on the inside knows that there is no easy way out, and with a new enemy around every corner, it is every man for himself.

Director David Mackenzie is consistent in cornering in on his audience and including them in the action, with carefully placed moments of tension and violence confined in small, restrictive spaces. Adding to an increasing sense of claustrophobia, Jack O’Connell’s performance certainly ensures that being in such close quarters with a convict as abrasive as Eric Love is not an easy experience. This film is an intensive and brutally realistic look at extreme cases of prison life, and the sense of dedication radiates from O’Connell’s intense onscreen presence. Admittedly not an original role choice for the Harry Brown actor, the role of Eric Love has revealed O’Connell’s talent for taking on difficult characters and smothering them with an inexplicable grit and authenticity. With palpable tension in O’Connell’s performances with Mendelsohn, who is terrifyingly convincing and with unavoidable presence, the end result is nothing short of excellent.
Supported by a fantastic and almost unrecognizable Rupert Friend, who takes the opportunity to show his range in a genre far from his period-drama roots, the cast inject the gritty and simplistic story, narrative and style with the hard-hitting energy that makes this film such an intense but brilliant experience, and in my opinion O’Connell is making himself a promising and well-deserved future in film. Although it is thought-provoking and intelligent, Starred Up is by no means an easy watch, nor is it for every taste. But it is British grit at its best. And if ‘starred up’ means you’re a leader, then this film may hold a title in British drama for quite a while.

Lara Shippen

Film Review: Her (15)

As pub table conversation gives way to a group of people sat silently, help faces down toward small screens, viagra a film that questions our dependence on technology has never been more prescient. Such films tend to be satires or dark thrillers and it is commendable that Her asks these questions openly and honestly, attempting not to judge, but to ponder. The story follows lonely writer Theodore Twombly in futuristic Los Angeles as he goes through the last stages of a drawn out divorce and generally does his best to be thoroughly depressed, his primary requirement of music being melancholy. In an attempt to organise his life, he purchases a brand new operating system that is advertised as containing breakthrough artificial intelligence. Choosing a female personality for his OS, Theodore is rapidly entranced by the self-named Samantha, feelings that appear to be returned. As they grow closer, both parties question the possibility and wisdom of a romantic relationship that is without any chance of physical contact.

The film shies away from questions about whether the artificial intelligence is genuine or merely extraordinary programming, focussing instead on the “human” relationships and the technological issues we are likely to be facing in the near future. The script is heartfelt and the pacing slow and deliberate, emphasising the unhurried nature of Theodore’s life, as well as adding believability to the growing depth of relationships. Unfortunately, it does feel a little baggy in the middle and a more rigorous edit would not have lost the tone. The film looks stunning, with Spike Jonze’s eye for the absurd fitting smoothly into a future setting, with some beautiful small moments such as dust motes floating in and out of focus as Theodore struggles with this difficult relationship. The main issue is that, much like current software programming, this felt more like a crafted approximation of life, than the real thing. It is easy to recognise the emotional quandaries of the well drawn characters but there is an awareness of the distance between fiction and audience that could leave some quite cold, including one intimate scene where the boundary between viewer and voyeur is uncomfortably breached.

The fault is not with the acting, which is uniformly superb. Joaquin Phoenix shines as Theodore, nimbly jumping between depression, optimism and caution as his relationships change. Amy Adams is excellent as his understanding best friend whose own marriage is not going too well and Chris Pratt is charming as the colleague who is enamoured of Theodore’s writing (and moustache). The most difficult job is left to Scarlett Johansson as the voice of Samantha, who manages to convey the initial naivety and growing self-awareness of a newly born super-intelligent being.

Her is a film that has much to admire but may have trouble truly connecting with an audience. Seen as a reflection on technological dependence, it works wonderfully, with some well observed moments of humans disconnected from reality. As a romantic drama, however, the constituent parts are there but do not quite resonate as required.

Peter Wood

Standard Blog Post With All The Trimmings

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, pilule consetetur sadipscing elitr, ask sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, capsule sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Read more

Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
Mark Twain

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, viagra consetetur sadipscing elitr, sales sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Our Trip in Brooklyn

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, viagra dosage consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Read more

Awesome Gallery Post

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua.At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Read more

Brooklyn Brewery Mash Video Post

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, viagra consetetur sadipscing elitr, drugs sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Read more

Super Duper Audio Post

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, cheap consetetur sadipscing elitr, sale sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

Read more