Updated: February 21, 2011
Latest Burnham-On-Sea Ritz Cinema films reviewed

Burnham-On-Sea film enthusiast Molly Harding, who was last year nominated for the national award 'Young Film Critic of the Year', reviews the latest crop of films showing at Burnham's Ritz Cinema in Victoria Street this week...

127 Hours (15)

Free-spirited if not slightly overconfident Aron Ralston's arm becomes trapped "between a rock and a hard place" whilst exploring the Blue John canyon. To add to his problem he left no note to say where he was going, scarce water supplies and only basic equipment. During the 127 hours he is trapped he reflects and re-assesses his life and values and is forced to go to incredible lengths to escape.

To start with, I would like to talk about "the scene" that I think might put a lot of people off coming to see this film. DON'T LET IT! Danny Boyle tackles this small part of the film efficiently whilst not lingering on all the gory details. I felt fully prepared by the time the scene came, in fact I was pretty much thinking "just cut the damn thing off!" You can't help but watch, it's all medically accurate and Franco perfectly portrays the agony mixed with terrific relief Aron must have been feeling during his real life ordeal.

Now that's safely out of the way let's concentrate on the other brilliant ninety minutes of the film. A misconception people may have with "127 Hours" is how Danny Boyle could possibly make a gripping and compelling film with one person stuck in one place. He does. As he said himself it's "an action movie with a guy who can't move." The action comes in the form of harrowing scenes of Franco battling physically and emotionally with both the boulder and himself. The rest is consumed with flashbacks of Ralston's former life, although full of adventure also empty of compassion which he realises inadvertently led him there in the first place.

Although it is hard to muster much sympathy for our protagonist you are completely behind him. When he finally escapes and has that final hurdle to conquer it took alot of restraint not to jump out of my seat and start cheering him on. The ending is moving and a perfect close to a wonderful true life based film.

The setting of the canyon is vast and beautiful, the shot that particularly stands out is the zoom out of Aron's claustrophobic prison showing how everyone is at the mercy of our ruthless environment. Aside from the stunning and at times surreal visual sequences there is also a fantastic fitting soundtrack and not forgetting the heartfelt and poignant performance by James Franco which all comes together to make thoroughly enjoyable film.

A must see - 5/5

Gnomeo and Juliet (U)

Two garden gnomes are caught in the middle of a bitter feud between the separated red and blue themed gardens. After a chance encounter, Gnomeo and Juliet decide to embark on a forbidden romance despite the tensions and rivalry surrounding them.

Whoever came up with the idea of re-inventing Shakespeare’s classic play is officially a genius! This is such a fun family film and although it really shouldn’t work it really does! The Elton John theme tune was great and it was good to see a fully British cast including Emily Blunt, Michael Caine and Dame Maggie Smith. It’s very colourful and actually raised quite a few laughs – even from me who can be incredibly hard to please at times!

But I think possibly the biggest question this film poses is this; why did I have to spend weeks studying Shakespeare when we could’ve just waited to see Gnomeo and Juliet?

You don’t gnome what you missing! 4/5 stars

Black Swan (15)

Fragile ballerina Nina (Portman) lives a ballet dominated life, sheltered by her over protective (and rather scary) Mother. All she yearns for is perfection, so when she is given the role of Swan Queen in her company's Swan Lake production this could finally be her chance to shine, but to do this she must explore her darker, more sensual side to be able to embody both the black swan as well as the innocent white swan.

The way in which Darren Aronofsky captures the raw paranoia and competitive world of dance in not just powerful but also masterful. It takes a lot of skill to pull off laughing paintings and body morphing while not losing the creepy and suspense-charged atmosphere. I was practically cowering up to my equally scared friend at times and there are some finger/toe nail injuries that are so awful to watch they make you cringe and send a shiver down the spine. If this isn't enough from Natalie Portman to bag the best actress BAFTA then I don't know what is, she is fantastic.

I have never seen anything so unique as this. It's a visual and mental experience of which comes around rarely. Even if, like me, you get confused at times by the complexity of this psychological/suspense/thriller/horror, like Inception, it's still one hell of a ride which will stay with you long after you leave the cinema (the Ritz Cinema of course!).

But the supporting performances mustn't be forgotten, although slightly overshadowed by Portman's. Mila Kunis plays the outgoing and seductive character, Lily, whom Nina is convinced is trying to take her role. Also, Vincent Cassel is the production's director who tries to help Nina relax and better portray the black swan role whom in her uptight and childlike state she cannot find the part of herself she lacks. All these different pieces assemble to push Nina over the edge. Cue gory and chilling hallucinations, many of which you yourself do not know if they are real or just a fragment of her increasingly warped imagination. Your just as confused as she is by the end of it!

A solid and scary 4/5

Sanctum (15 in 3D)

"What could possibly go wrong?" exclaims one of the explorers about to absail into a vast, unknown and unexplored cave system as a cyclone knowingly draws near. Well, when down there, their escape route is blocked by a boulder so with the waters rising and limited oxygen supply, the only way is down to try and find another way out, so I guess quite a lot really...

With its "from executive producer James Cameron" poster tag and promising storyline PLUS the fact it's in 3D I had high hopes. It should've had all the magic of Avatar underwater and the special effects did, but that doesn't distract from the fact that the acting, to put it bluntly, was absolutely terrible!

It was as if they just picked any old cast, with a good cast I would undoubtedly be giving this four plus stars. All the characters were incredibly annoying and it was almost amusing when some met their grisly end. Don't get me wrong it wasn't as if I didn't enjoy the film, I actually did and I did want to see it out until the end because the visuals and the setting was amazing. I would say eighty-five percent of the film is in the cave and I didn't tire of the story, but regardless of how many effects, money and top producers you have that doesn't mean you'll get away with naff actors. They struggled to portray the emotions you would definitely be going through while stuck against all the odds in such a helpless situation. Some couldn't even make themselves shed a tear.

Dad said 2, I argued 3, unfortunately it gets a disappointing 2.5/5

Read more of Molly's regular film reviews on Burnham-On-Sea.com


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