Sin City 2: A Visually Stunning and Brilliant Film

From the very opening scene of Marv (played by Mickey Rourke) lying next to a car crash and surrounded by dead bodies it was obvious that this film was going to be a rollercoaster ride.

Rourke’s memorable voice over begins with ‘How did I get here? What have I done?’ and then begins a flashback sequence answering his own questions.

During the flashback, it becomes apparent that this sequel is to be just as violent as the original masterpiece.

This visionary masterpiece will have you hooked from start to finish and for those who have seen the original will not be surprised by extreme use of violence.

There are some scenes of torture that had the entire cinema turning away from the screen but it is Sin City after all.

One actor that needs recognition has to be Eva Green. Her portrayal of the devious Ava was truly one to see.

Eva showcased how her character manipulates men by using her body and will have you captivated from her very first scene to her very last – potentially due to her being naked throughout a large portion of the film.

Nevertheless, the Parisian actress makes this a film that should not be missed and is definitely ‘A Dame To Kill For’.

For those who are familiar with the first film will now how directors Frank Millar and Robert Rodriguez use colour throughout the monochromic adaptation.

Just like the graphic novels, there are certain places where colour is used and this adaptation is definitely faithful to the original source (which should be expected due to Millar being the creator of the graphic novels).

The green eyes of Ava are definitely the most memorable use of colour as through her first few scenes her eyes are the same monochrome colouring as the rest of the film and only turn green when her true intentions become apparent.

Those eyes will haunt as well as captivating you and was an outstanding colour technique.

One must discuss the plot of the film. For those who are not familiar with the first film it must be stated that the film does not follow the generic plot format but instead combines various graphic novels from different characters perspectives.

This is an unusually method and there are times when you will think to yourself ‘What is happening? Who is this?’ and therefore it is advisable to watch the first film before seeing this brilliant sequel.

With an all-star cast including Eva Green, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis this film is a must see for all the graphic novel fans out there, plus an added cameo appearance of Lady Gaga is something to look for.

Will this be the final in the Sin City franchise? One can only wait and see.

This film caters for everyone with the use of sex, violence and humour and is a must-see sequel and a visionary masterpiece!

Check out the trailer here:

As Above, So Below: A Claustrophobic Journey

As Above, So Below follows a group of young archaeologists who venture deep into the Parisian catacombs to find a long lost treasure.

The film begins with Scarlett (played by Perdita Weeks) going into the underground tunnels of Iran where she discovers an ancient artefact, which leads the story to Paris.

From the very start, it was clear that this film was to feature people climbing through tiny holes with the risk of collapse.

This immediately built suspense as the characters were more or less trapped underground and ‘the only way out is down’.

The characters aim to find the Philosophers Stone, which caused a snigger or two throughout the cinema due to the Harry Potter franchise.

Adding to this, the infamous alchemist Nicolas Flamel was also a vital part of the storyline.

Due to the internationally known franchise of Harry Potter, it was difficult to watch this film without thinking about young Daniel Radcliffe searching for the Philosophers Stone.

Maybe if As Above, So Below was shot before the Harry Potter franchise then it would have had more of an impact.

As Above, So Below uses the hand held camera technique to tell the narrative as the premise of the film was that they were shooting a documentary.

The hand held camera, in many other films, adds the horror element as we (the audience) see what the characters see and hear.

The Satanic diegetic sounds throughout the film really built the tension and fear as there was nothing else but the group of archaeologists underground and made you question ‘who is making those sounds?’

As the film progressed the narrative became increasingly difficult to comprehend and posed questions such as ‘What is going on?’, ‘What is following them?’ and ‘How will they escape?’

As the film is a ‘film within a film’ it was difficult to see what was happening at certain scenes but this did add more suspense as the audience could still hear the breathing, screaming and panicking voices of the characters.

Despite adding suspension, the hand held camera didn’t really work. Like all films that use the hand held camera technique, they add a certain motion sickness to it.

With regards to characters, it was clear that each of the six protagonists were being tormented by some sort of demonic creatures and as they made their way further down towards the gates of Hell, the characters were getting dropped off one by one.

However, there was no character development and there was no attachment to any as we did not get to know any of them, not even the main character Scarlett.

The ending of the film revealed that the characters had to admit and repent their biggest sin but we were not given any in depth into why they were being tormented by certain demonic creatures and why some died the way they did.

Advisory note for anyone suffering from claustrophobia, this is probably not the film for you. It made those without the fear of small places panic as the characters crawled through insanely small, tight holes.

Nonetheless, the film was brilliantly terrifying throughout as there was no knowing where the film was going and that added suspense.

However as most horror films, the ending was poor and left the entire cinema asking ‘what the hell?’ (No pun intended).

It was a 93 minute journey through easily collapsible holes, unexplained deaths and being stalked by demons.

Check out the trailer here:

Lilting: A Heart-Warming Story of Love and Loss

Directed by Hong Khaou (Boy Crush, 2007), Lilting is one of the most heart-warming films of 2014.

This touching and intimate film follows the story of Richard (Ben Whishaw) and Cambodian-Chinese Junn (Pei-pei Cheng) as they come together through the death of lover and son, Kai (Andrew Leung).

Throughout the film, we observe the difficulties in connecting with each other without a common language.

From the very beginning of the film, it is clear that this will be extremely moving right until the very end.

The opening scene shows Junn remembering her last meeting with her son Kai and will immediately bring tears to your eyes when this becomes apparent.

It is clear that Kai is dead but it is only until the end of the film that your find out how he died and it is truly a moving scene.

Lilting is a powerful and beautiful story of loss and coming together through death.

Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, Cloud Atlas) brings to life the character of Richard, who is suffering the loss of his lover and every scene is powerful and moving.

Pei-pei Cheng plays Junn the stubborn Chinese mother who you immediately feel sorry for her, not only because she has lost her only son but because she is in a foreign country and is unable to speak the native language.

This isolation and loneliness is reinforced through the death of Kai as he was her only way of communicating with anyone and it is heart-breaking to watch.

Both these leads performances are extremely powerful and though-provoking as they remember their last few encounters with Kai, who they both loved, and the film focuses on what happens/happened through the eyes of these characters.

It is a brilliantly moving film that will have you reaching for the tissues from the opening scene right through to the end.

Despite this, the film does bring some comedic elements in which is especially reinforced through Richard and Vann (Naomi Christie).

Vann is the appointed translator between Junn and Richard and even her love interest Alan (Peter Bowles).

With regards to Alan, this film brings into account the concept of the different cultures as Junn is portrayed as being a stubborn yet romantic and family-orientated Chinese woman whereas Alan seems to be portrayed as a sex-hungry man and is only looking for one thing from her.

One scene where this becomes apparent is when they reveal what they don’t like about each, which will make you smile as they begin to argue despite not having a common language.

To describe this film in one word it would be ‘heart-breaking’. It is a brilliantly moving story that connects to different cultures together through grief.

It is a tear-jerking, fantastic film that needs to be watch by everyone.

Check out the trailer here: