Daily archives "April 29, 2012"

Marley ****

Running time: 144 mins Certificate: 15


Synopsis: A documentary about the godfather of reggae’s godfather, Bob Marley, which tells his story through  friends, family and his musical collaborators.


Kevin MacDonald returns to the world of documentary with a film that should be on every music fan’s lists of  films to watch this year.


The film tells the story of Bob Marley’s life from his childhood in Jamaica to his early music career, pursuit of Rastafarianism and death from cancer. Interviews with his family, friends and colleagues tell the story of his career and personal life first hand and give the audience a real insight into how Marley lived. Throughout the film, the audience learn about his family background, how he made it into music and his family life.


The soundtrack, naturally made up of Marley’s music, will have some viewers fighting the urge to dance right there in the cinema. In particular the gospel version of “No Woman No Cry” is very powerful and reminds music loving viewers why they love music in the first place. The only criticism that could be made is that more of Marley’s songs could have been included in the film.


At almost 2 and 1/2 hours, the documentary is long but does not drag in any way. It includes plenty of detail and has a lot of interesting stories, which makes the time pass very quickly. “Marley” is a must see for all music lovers and fans of Bob Marley. 


Reviewed by Lesley Watt

Being Elmo *****

Running time: 80 mins Certificate: U


Synopsis: A documentary following puppeteer Kevin Clash from his childhood in Baltimore to a career in the Jim Henson’s company and the man behind the muppet Elmo.


Fans of Jim Henson and Sesame Street are in for a treat with this moving documentary about the man behind the cutest character in the Children’s Television Workshop series.


The film tells the story of Kevin Clash, the man who brings to life the much loved Elmo character. Kevin’s passion for puppets and the time and effort he puts in to making them just right is admirable. Having started out as a teenager who made puppets as a hobby, the film follows him as he works his way up from local TV to movies and finally to Sesame Street.


While the film gives the audience a laugh on many occasions (who couldn’t have a giggle at the loveable Elmo), it also has many touching moments when the audience are shown what puppets like Elmo mean to children that are ill or disabled. Kevin’s kindness and consideration for these children is particularly touching and it is lovely to see the smiles on their faces when they meet Elmo. The film also informs about how the puppets are made and performed.


For anyone who likes Sesame Street, the Muppets or just wants a “feel good” movie, this documentary is a must see. 


Reviewed by Lesley Watt

We Need To Talk About Kevin: ****

Running time: 112 mins Certificate: 15

Synopsis: Eva (Swinton), the mother of a teenager (Miller) struggles to cope with the aftermath of his devastating actions. The story reflects on the boy’s childhood and the breakdown of her relationship with both him and her husband (Reilly).


Don’t expect any laughs as this drama about the relationship between a mother and her disruptive son is extremely serious and is very hard to watch with the film’s slow moving pace. But audiences will be rewarded with a powerful experience from a great director like Lynne Ramsey.


Tilda Swinton showed a very convincing performance in Eva, with her lack of feelings towards her son. The character also appears self-centred as she curses her son for making her unhappy, blames her husband for moving them to another house and becomes pregnant again and  does not tell her husband. Eva does love her husband and her daughter, but her main concern always seemed to be herself.


The character of Kevin is well played by Ezra Miller and will actually make your skin crawl at times. Particularly the scene in which his sister has just lost an eye and he eats lychees in a rather creepy manner. There is no doubt that from an early age, the boy does have a lot of malice in him. The scene where he deliberately sabotages his mother’s maps shows he wants to hurt her, and the fact that he is “nice as pie” to his father shows he is a very two-faced individual.


The events of the film will lead the audience to question whether Kevin was born bad or did his mother’s behaviour send him in that direction? It is true that from early on Eva seems to have bad feelings about Kevin, but by resisting toilet training, vandalising his mother’s stuff and generally being unpleasant he makes the viewer see both sides of the story. Was the bad feeling she had a premonition or a self fulfilling prophecy? Did she, as a mother, have natural instincts something was wrong (what I would call maternal intuition) or did she subconsciously make her son behave that way by believing there was something wrong and giving off certain vibes?


Heavy and thought provoking, the film is very well made.  But at times it is hard to follow as it jumped between times regularly but the story is very deep and moving.


Reviewed by Lesley Watt

The Woman in Black ****

Running time: 95mins Certificate 12A

Synopsis: A solicitor Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) is sent to clear up the affairs of a recently deceased woman who lived in a remote house. When Arthur arrives he finds that the house and the nearby village have been terrorised by an entity.

Audiences were a bit skeptical about the Woman In Black, due to Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe’s casting. But people will be impressed with his performance as Arthur, a young lawyer who is sent to the north of England to investigate a dead woman’s estate.

One criticism  is that Radcliffe appears too young for the role. At 22, he still appears very youthful and it is  hard to believe he was the widowed father of a 5 year old child. Putting that aside, he acted well in the film despite having a relatively small amount of dialogue.

While these days there is tendency to scare viewers using blood and guts, the Woman in Black made use of more traditional scare tactics. There were a few scenes in which objects that jumped out at the viewers, terror-filled screams and particularly the face of the title character will have many people clinging to their seats with hearts racing.

As the events unfold, the viewer can’t help but question why the villagers continued to live there if they had children. However the attitude of Arthur’s friend suggests there was still an element of disbelief amongst people in the village and those who had not experienced a loss still wanted to believe the deaths were co-incidence.

Dark, scary and entertaining, why do they not make more horror films in this vain. A classic return for Hammer and ghost story filmmaking at it’s best.

Reviewed by Lesley Watt