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Remember Me: Easily Forgettable
Robert Pattinson steps outside his Twilight Vampire shell in this romantic drama of a troubled young man who falls in love with the equally troubled Ally (de Ravin). Despite its attractive cast featuring major stars such as Bronson and Cooper, Remember Me does little to be remembered.
Tyler (Pattinson) is a young man struggling to come to terms with his brother's suicide and his turbulent relationship with his millionaire businessman father (Brosnan). He constantly gets into trouble and lacks direction in his life until he meets Ally, who, for some reason, is able to get beneath the armour and touch Tyler in a way he had never thought possible.
Of course, Ally comes with baggage too, namely her overprotective detective father (Cooper), who only further complicates her relationship with Tyler. Supporting characters like Tyler’s younger sister Caroline and his best friend Aidan provide fodder to the plot.
The film reaches its climax when the complex characters’ lives all tumultuously intertwine, allowing for the characters to develop and show growth. Sadly, the film’s abrupt ending gives an overly dramatic and unnecessary twist to the story, leaving viewers scratching their heads as to why this direction was chosen.
Despite the believable chemistry between Pattinson and de Ravin, their performances can do little to move the film forward. At times, one feels it is an even slower version of a Nicolas Sparks novel that attempts to touch, make one laugh and create a sense that love can overcome all. The Nicholas Sparks similarity is especially unfortunate, since his latest film adaptation Dear John was released at the same time as Remember Me and may confuse viewers with its very similar dramatic theme (we won’t spoil the ending for you).
Overall, Remember Me is a decent attempt to crawl into the space held by the Sparks' novels of love against the odds. In essence, the purpose of the film is dedicated to the idea of living in the now; and encourages viewers to stop searching for answers in the past and move forward.
This is a perfect date film; if your idea of a perfect date is to have your companion sobbing uncontrollably at the end of the film. Remember Me is still very much a teen flick that will undoubtedly attract hoards of Twilight fans. However, don’t expect this to be in the same world as The Notebook, as the direction leaves just too much to be desired.
Peter Jackson’s fourteen-year-long Middle-Earth adventure has finally come to a close with the third and final instalment Bilgo Baggins’ journey with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; a slightly bloated, but generally successful, finale that boasts plenty of action and technical superiority over its immediate predecessors.
Hitting the ground running and wasting no time in plunging audiences in the deep-end, The Battle of the Five Armies begins exactly where the second film left off, with Smaug (once again voiced superbly by Cumberbatch) setting Lake-town ablaze as Bilbo (Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Armitage) and his army of loyal dwarf-followers watch from the Lonely Mountain.
After escaping imprisonment, Bard (Evans) slays Smaug, leaving the endless treasures of the mountain unguarded for Bilbo, Thorin and co. to continue their quest. But as news spreads of Smaug's demise, the lure of the mountain's coveted riches triggers an inevitable path to war.
A With a running time of just over two hours, The Battle of the Five Armies is the shortest of all of The Hobbit entries, though it’s also the most ambitious and visually-creative of the lot. The cinematography is exquisite and the CGI techniques seem to have been pushed to their very limit.
The cast is, as always, steadfast and dependable with Armitage delivering a blockbuster performance as Thorin, though Freeman’s usual whimsical nature and superb comic timing is, surprisingly, underused. Similarly, the rest of the cast, including Lilly as the she-elf, Evans, as the newly-emerged leader of Lake-town, and McKellen take a back-seat.
With this being the finale, it plays out like a climax and is heavy on the action and not much else – as a standalone film, it may feel a little hollow for some, but for fans, it's a fittingly spectacular conclusion to the series.
Held together by a couple of strong performances, Peter Sattler’s directorial debut, Camp X-Ray, explores the story of an unlikely friendship between a female Guantanamo Bay security officer and a long-suffering Arab detainee.
Private Cole (Stewart) is a young woman from a small town in Florida, who – shortly after the atrocities of 9/11 – enlists in the military and is eventually deployed to Cuba to serve as a security guard at Guantanamo Bay.
Enveloped in her own securities in a harsh, male-dominated world, Cole buckles down and begins her daily routine of walking the restrictive cell-block halls. It’s doesn’t take long before she attracts the attention of Ali (Moaadi), however; a well-spoken Arab detainee who has been locked up for the past eight years. Recognising a chink in the armour of her tough facade, Ali baits Cole for some much-needed attention. Though she initially tries keeps her distance, an improbable, though inevitably strained, relationship develops.
Shot with a sense of pining, Camp X-Ray has a small-movie feel that, despite its sometimes shallow approach and lapses into stereotyping, has a big message. Grounded and engaging, the story very much focuses on the dynamics and the growing connection between two very different, but similarly lost, souls whose hopes and dreams are very different from their existence. Its politically-charged premise is never abused and the script, unlike other war-on-terrorism productions, never spoon-feeds its political overtones to the audience; in fact, it leaves it to them to decide and determine the nature of everyone involved.
For a character-driven piece, Stewart’s trademark cold demeanour is actually well suited for her role, while Moaadi – best known for his turn in Iranian Oscar-winning drama, A Separation – is superb as the tormented detainee, managing to convey a variety of emotions with one seemingly haunted look.
Despite its occasional – and predictable – forays into clichéd territories, Camp X-Ray commendably refrains from using its controversial setting as a plot device, instead using it as a backdrop, letting the characters develop in a much more organic and human way – which the actors execute impeccably.