The Dos and Dont’s Of Biographical Films Part II

Words by Benjamin Pinsent

A sub category of this point is Don’t make it about everything. It is easy to just follow the complete life of a person in a film and show the entire thing. An example of this is would be the 2010 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, the story of Ian Dury’s rise to fame as well as his relationship with his girlfriend, wife and son. Already it seems to be a jam packed film, but throw in Baxter Dury’s coming of age story and loads of real life events you end up with a crowded mess that doesn’t shed much light on the inner workings of a talented cripple.

Do cast on ability to act like an historical figure. Looking like someone else is a bonus but if an actor cannot act like the said person the whole film falls apart. The reason why Walk the LineSex & Drugs & Rock & Roll and The Kings Speech work is down to the lead actor, Joaquin Phoenix, Andy Serkis and Colin Firth, all act and sound like Johnny Cash, Ian Dury and George VI, the fact that they look like them as well is considered secondary. Colin Firth does not even look like the King yet his performance makes him believable.

Don’t think you can make a bio-pic about anyone. Like any film, it must contain interesting things and characters. The made for TV movie, William and Kate (2011) was a film that most can learn from in how not to make a movie. Instead of the fairy tale romance that the media was pushing for upon the announcement o the engagement what actually arrived was a typical romance with the only the name of the lead characters setting it apart from all the others.

A better example of a good bio-pic was the 2002 Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It was an intriguing notion a game show host claiming to work as a CIA hitman. It was well shot and acted but most of all it is interesting and follows all the dos and don’ts of making a bio-pic.

Review: The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn

Words by James Rednall and Yazen Al-Salman

The author of “TinTin”, Herge, once said that the only filmmaker able to bring his famous comic books successfully to the screen would be Steven Spielberg. With Peter Jackson attached to produce it; this raised the anticipation level even more.  This film was not going to be a mere adaptation, but made with the new and rather debated technology, performance capture, as well as using 3D.

The movie, consisting of three TinTin books plunges straight into the story; he and his dog Snowy encounter a bearded man who wants to buy a model ship off them. When TinTin refuses, it sets off a series of events and adventures that makes the plot of the movie, in classical Spielbergian-Indiana Jones style.

The movie simply delivers. It’s a throwback to old Spielberg charm of E.T and Indiana Jones. It’s very well written for an action movie, with some very funny dialogue. Especially for the extravagant Captain Haddock; wonderfully played by Andy Serkis, in yet another performance capture role. The technology as a whole is perfected in this movie. The 3D is well worth it, bringing the visions of Spielberg and Jackson to life. There is a fight scene with cranes which just demonstrates how effective 3D can be.

The film is great entertainment.  It’s gripping, rousing, well-directed, well-edited, and full of multi-dimensional characters. It uses a technology to perfect an art instead of just a gimmick. Herge was right to entrust Spielberg with his classics. This is one of the best films of the year.