John Hurt Provides Voiceover for ‘Ayamé

Ayamé_BTS_2

Ayamé is a Proof of Concept prologue for a science-fiction fiction film by director Conor Maloney.

An impending disaster looms. Facing total extinction, a military operation turns to the stars in order to relocate the entire human race. During the exodus, one man is sent to rescue his former comrade after she mysteriously disappears while executing a covert operation off world.

Ayamé features the voice of John Hurt. Director Conor Maloney is known primarily for his commercial and music video work. His previous short, Blink, was selected for the Montreal World Film Festival.

“The initial idea was far too big to take on so we decided to concentrate on just the prologue, to act as an introduction to the world of Ayamé,” said Director Conor Maloney. “Hopefully the future for Ayamé is to be able to elaborate more on the world and take it from being the small segment that it is to hopefully a feature film.”

 

 

 

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Hercules

hercules-dwayne-johnson-screaming

DIR/Brett Ratner • WRI: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos • PRO: Sarah Aubrey, Beau Flynn, Barry Levine, Brett Ratner   DOP: Dante Spinotti   ED: Mark Helfrich, Julia Wong  DES: Jean-Vincent Puzos MUS: Fernando Velázquez  CAST: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but there’s one thing for sure, this Dwayne Johnson vehicle is as cynical as it gets.

I had previously been very optimistic about the casting of Johnson in the title role, with the main reason being that he looks the part, but also because he’s proven himself an extremely charismatic lead in the past. Unfortunately, this is the worst I’ve ever seen Johnson, playing the role of Hercules without an ounce of wit or vigour, and it’s the first time he’s looked like a juiced up wrestler trying his hand at movies. His lacklustre performance is made all the more confusing by the fact that this was reportedly a passion project, leading him to turn down the lead role in the established Transformers franchise.

The storyline shamelessly cobbles together plot points from other movies, with Ridley Scott’s Gladiator proving to be a wonderful source of material. The story follows Hercules after he has completed his Legendary twelve labours.  He has since become a sword for hire, travelling Greece with a crew of highly trained warriors, each with their own special skill. The crew is hired by King Cotys to help defeat a tyrannical war Lord, and we find out through flashbacks why Hercules has been reduced to living his life as a sell sword.

I would have found it a lot easier to accept this movie for what it is, if there had been any self-awareness present. Unfortunately, there isn’t, and we in the audience are expected to take what we see at face value, which I can only take as an insult to our intelligence. I must admit that I did laugh numerous times during the film, aided and abetted by a fellow sitting to my left at the press screening. The laughs. however. came at what were clearly intended to be some of the most poignant parts of the film, comically contrived moments. Hercules is about one degree away from being a decent lampoon of the sword and sandals genre, and maybe if it had been marketed as such I could have got on board.

Here’s hoping that poor box office results will put an end to what Johnson and co. are hoping will be a long running franchise.

Michael Rice

12A (See IFCO for details)
97 mins

Hercules is released on 25th July 2014

Hercules – Official Website

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Cinema Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

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DIR/WRI: Jim Jarmusch  PRO: Reinhard Brundig, Jeremy Thomas   DOP: Yorick Le Saux ED: Affonso Gonçalves • MUS: Jozef van Wissem  DES: Marco Bittner Rosser  CAST: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt

 

The oddest thing has happened to vampires over the last few decades – they have lost their ability to bite. Originally embodying a monstrous sexual predator, their desire to penetrate the necks of beautiful young woman had previously been their overriding attribute. Now, they seem more concerned with the moral quandary of biting and these previous imps of evil have transformed into moody, self-indulgent figures. Surely we have humans enough for that?

 

Moody and self-indulgent are also labels that could be applied to Jim Jarmusch’s latest venture Only Lovers Left Alive. Despite being a vampire romance, this film will equally dissatisfy any Twlight or horror movie-fans that venture along to see it. However, Jarmusch fans who are ready to be absorbed into this his aesthetically and aurally rich world of by gone Hipster-dom won’t leave disappointed.

 

The plot, if that is not too strong a word for this meandering piece, centres around two vampires called Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton). Even after being married for nearly two centuries they are still in love like newly weds. Adam lives in a suburb of run down Detroit, symbolically representative of how he feels humanity (who he refers to as “zombies”) has reached an all time low. He skulks around his run-down mansion, playing complicated music while contemplating ending his world-weary existence. Basically, he’s that guy you knew in University who carried around a copy of the Communist Manifesto, only wore black, listened to obscure music and thought everyone else was an idiot. Eve is the metaphorical and literal light to his darkness. Dressing only in white with stark blonde hair, she lures him out of his depressive with talk of the wonders of the universe and the glories of past cultural endeavours. They name drop to the point of obscenity, Byron is labelled “a pompous bore” while Eve congratulates Adam on letting Schubert take the credit for his music. These modern vampires only drink blood procured from hospitals and reliable sources; biting necks is considered “so 15th century”.  The action builds to the arrival of Eve’s little sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska). Despite being an ancient vampire she has all the characteristics of an annoying teenager, and she comes to wreak havoc on their blissful, loved up existence. However, once again “action” is a strong word to give to any part of the script; this is a film to be enjoyed for the atmosphere and languid pacing rather than any plot driven devices.

 

In reality, this need not have been a film about vampires. It could have been about any rich, boho hipsters with family issues and a massive drug problem; the drug in this case just happens to be blood. Being around for centuries has meant these vampires have mastered the world of music, literature, science and language. This often makes them come across as pretentious cultural snobs, as Ava labels the two lovers. But I suppose if you have conquered all realms of culture you are somewhat entitled to be elitist. Jarmusch’s movies have often centred around despondent, cool figures. Yet in Only Lovers Left Alive he seems overly concerned with highlighting their inherent “coolness”, like when they wear biker gloves and sunglasses at night, even inside, for some unexplained reason.

 

The soundtrack is at the heart of the piece, taking influence from the underground rock scene of Detroit to traditional Moroccan music in Tangier, where the couple end up. Swinton outshines the rest of the cast as the tender, light-hearted lover to the artistically tortured Hiddleston, who seems to channel an angst-ridden Jim Morrison for his role.

 

If this is a Jim Jarmusch romance, then his love is directed toward music, literature and culture of bygone eras. However, a note in the end credits to his long-term partner Sara Driver could explain the heart at the centre of this story. Perhaps they’re the only two punks left on a planet over crowed with talentless celebrities. The world of Only  Lovers Left Alive creates a refuge from this place.

Deirdre Mc Mahon

15A (See IFCO for details)
122  mins

Only Lovers Left Alive is released on 21st February 2014
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Only+Lovers+Left+Alive&sm=3
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cinema Review: Immortals

DIR: Tarsem Singh • WRI : Charley Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides • PRO: Mark Canton, Ryan Kavanaugh , Gianni Nunnari • DOP: Brendan Galvin • ED: Wyatt Jones, Stuart Levy • DES: Tom Foden • CAST: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt

Pretty Violent…

Not only is this an expression that succinctly describes Tarsem Singh’s third directorial feature, they are the twin graces which save Immortals from the halls of mediocrity. That’s not to say Henry Cavill’s performance as Theseus is poor, or the writing penned by new scribes Vlas and Charley Parlapanides is feeble. Immortals simply falls victim to the same curse afflicting so many of these mythological epics, in that it’s often painfully derivative.

It’s the discourse, rather than the bog standard fetch quest plotting that offends most. Everyone, even Mickey Rourke’s generic-if-refreshingly-nuts Hyperion struggles with awkward lines. Still, while Cavill’s perma-scowl bodes well for 2013’s Man of Steel, supporting characters Luke Evans, Frieda Pinto and Steven Dorff (remember him?) are more than capable of holding audience attention. Again, the narrative and dialogue are bearable. It’s just a titanic shame a hero as invigoratingly bloodthirsty as Theseus lacked the wit, or task, befitting his exceptionally aggressive psyche.

This imaginative drought contrasts quite spectacularly with the films audio, and to a much, MUCH greater degree, its visual aesthetic. Tarsem is known for his unique visual flair. And though Immortals is decidedly mainstream, compared to former efforts The Cell and The Fall, almost every shot wrestles attention from the senses. Be it a rising tidal wave, or a shattered mountain, a salty desert, thunderstruck skyline or exploding head, Immortals should wake us up to the fact Zach Snyder isn’t the only one with an eye for breathtaking vistas.

Nor is he the only one who appreciates the importance of proper action. Lamentably, Immortals is not as action-packed as its marketing material suggests and could stand to gain another well-choreographed divine clash. However, for the majority of sequences, the action is meticulously designed, inventive, sports an otherworldly flair and is appropriately, inventively brutal. And unlike too many would be action films, Immortals peaks at the finale. Once the Gods finally descend, clad in gold armour, their weapons swung with time-bending speed, your eyes will gorge themselves on 2011’s most visually magnificent action scene! Though the BBFC cut our theatrical version, there’s ample decapitation, impalement, dismemberment and miscellaneous bone crunching to see even the most demanding action fan gratified.

As a whole, Immortals finds an agreeable middle ground between not being the pinnacle of the Legendary Epic genre it might have been, and having the courtesy to utterly smash our admittedly reserved expectations.Though iconic visuals and savage brawling will leave most with severe mouth foam, Immortals cannot quite match the style and swagger 300 deftly managed back in 2006. But lay your minds at ease, as mythic yarns go, Tarsem’s Immortals tramples 2010’s Clash of the Titans into the mud.

Jack McGlynn

Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
Immortals is released on 11th November 2011

Immortals– Official Website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VdONYkKFmQ

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