Oz The Great and Powerful

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**

James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams star in Sam Raimi’s prequel to the much loved 1939 classic film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ which starred Judy Garland.

There are one of two ways you can view this film, 1. As a Date Movie or 2. As a serious prequel to the original film. And, I expect that many audiences will be disappointed at the lack of originality in this film, the opening sequence for example is a carbon copy of the original.

It is also hard to like James Franco, who, frankly looks tired, and is trying too hard to be flamboyant, camp and a ‘showman’. Perhaps best known for his role in the serious ‘Spiderman’ trilogy, coincidentally, directed by Raimi. He simply doesn’t have the range to pull off such a complex character as Oscar Diggs.

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However, Zach Braff of ‘Scrubs’ who portrayed Finley, the flying monkey was the character who had the most heart, and the best jokes. Michelle Williams gives a good turn as Glinda the Good and Mila Kunis tries, but fails to do anything new with Theadora the Good, whereas Rachel Weisz seems to be going through the motions.

In a film which could be so much more than simply filler before the much loved original ‘Wizard of Oz’, Raimi misses the point and is instead more intent on big action sequences, and animated sequences, which are well done, but are almost to no avail.

What was once so good about ‘The Wizard of Oz’, the clunky props, the so-so animation, the brilliant direction was what made the audience work for the magic, for their own belief in Oz.

Naomi Jeffreys, Film Editor

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Blue Valentine

Words by Bianca Castro

Blue Valentine follows an ordinary married couple, Dean Pereira (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy Heller (Michelle Williams) over a span of numerous years, showing the slow evolution of their marriage. Gosling and Williams are both fantastic in their field, and I was expecting great things when I watched the film. They did not disappoint and their acting was heartfelt and sincere.

The filming is close and intimate, almost uncomfortable at times and the relationship between Dean and Cindy seems genuine and, as an audience member, you follow them through their highs and lows. There are scenes that are so awkward you can’t help but squirm and the realism of their small family, the beginnings and the more evolved latter parts of their marriage is fantastic. The story, in true indie style, seems to simply depict snapshots of Dean and Cindy’s growth and their fast moving relationship; the flashbacks are filmed like memories and it’s all so convincing that you forget it’s a film and you live those moments right there with the characters.

The acting is of high quality, something to be expected from the likes of Gosling and Williams. Faith Wladyka who plays their daughter, Frankie is also excellent in her role; the three together are a match made in heaven. The relationship moves with a depressing realism: from idealistic beginnings to a slow failure. It shows what indie fans love, dramatic in the undramatic and Blue Valentine shows it fantastically.

It’s a great film and not the typical paint by numbers drama. It’s portrayal of Cindy and Dean’s ever changing relationship is tender and almost painful at times. The director and writer of Blue Valentine: Derek Cianfrance is able to portray the humble beginnings to the crumbling ends, the details are magnificent. The beauty is in the details of Blue Valentine. It’s a wonderfully touching, poignant film.