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Fish Tank Reviews part 2

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:49 pm

http://il2w.blogspot.com/2010/12/fish-tank.html

Saturday, December 25, 2010
Fish Tank
2009, directed by Andrea Arnold, starring Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender

Comcast On Demand in Tennessee (I don't know about elsewhere, since I don't have cable) had this film available, and since I'd missed it during its run at the Music Box I chose to watch it on Xmas Day, when my nieces would be out of the house. My mom started watching it with me then walked out after fifteen minutes in obvious disgust, probably to watch something on Lifetime. She even made a crack about Fish Tank when I was making fun of the dialog in whatever Michael Bay testosterone blowout my brother turned to later that night.

My mom and I don't get along in regards to certain things, like cultural choices, but at least we aren't like the dysfunctional characters in this film.

Arnold doesn't pity these characters because they don't pity themselves. They may not have the best lot in life, stuck in Essex's projects with no real escape, but they process and escape their poverty however they can. Teenage Mia (Jarvis) is the classic embodiment of a young person who wants to rise above her upbringing through dream fulfillment. She buries herself in her dancing. Her mother and sister act as agents of discouragement--not because they don't love her, but because they've bought into the ghetto mentality of keeping your head down and your expectations within reach, and doing anything beyond that is a risk no one can afford to take so it ain't worth trying. They can't even communicate basic sincerity to one another; loving your own family is a minefield fraught with casualties. (By contrast, as f&%$#& up as she is, at least my mother can tell me she loves me when it's appropriate and mean it.) Despite this, Mia's mother is realistic enough to schedule an STD and pregnancy testing appointment for her when she finds out that Mia and Connor, mama's boyfriend, had a sudden drunken tryst the night before. She's in bed sobbing when she tells Mia about the appointment in a matter-of-fact way, when you expect a shouting match based on previous scenes. But why scream at your daughter when every man leaves? Why put what little you have at stake?

So when something vaguely like stepfatherly love and acceptance appears in Mia's life, she wants to leap on it but keeps her distance in order to protect herself. Because for poor kids raised by single moms, father figures always disappear into thin air. And of course this one does. Fassbender's portrayal of Connor is as multifaceted and filled with mixed messages as it should be for a man in his situation, and he downright cauterizes the screen--it's no wonder Mia has a bit of a crush on him.

What begins as an obvious trope, trying to rescue what appears to be an abused horse, leads to Mia meeting Billy, who offers Mia an actual route of escape at the end of the film. After a dance-off with her broken mother (who lets her go without argument) and sister, Fish Tank ends on an optimistic note in the same way that Precious did: the protagonist has discovered the path to self-actualization, but you have no clue if she's going to succeed or just become another impoverished, knocked up teenager like her mother.

Katie Jarvis was a hell of a find for the role of Mia. I can't find a time table for production, but since Jarvis gave birth days after the film's British release, it's arguable that she was pregnant during filming. She knew more about a girl like Mia than we can imagine as a local girl with no acting experience. But that doesn't matter--her performance is shattering. Mia's constant disappointments are etched into her face in the way only stoic teenagers can express.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:24 am

Thursday, December 30, 2010
My Favorite Films of 2010

Here's my very personal list of my favorite films of the year, limited as it is to what I could practically get access to. Unfortunately, I don't live near any major festivals, so I miss out on a great deal of smaller foreign films that struggle for distribution. But I've kept up my reading this year, and I stay pretty up-to-date, so I know exactly what I'm interested in seeing. Furthermore, I just plain missed some of the bigger theatrical releases, which is pretty upsetting (especially considering how I probably won't ever have a chance to see Unstoppable on a big screen again unless the growing legion of young Tony Scott scholars band together enough to support some future theatrical retrospective of his work). At the bottom of the list, you will find an unwieldy pile of films I missed out on this year that likely would have had a shot at the list. They're also films that I will actively keep an eye out for in 2011. Feel free to converse, dissent, and direct me to your own lists. Happy new year!

10. Fish Tank

Were it not for Andrea Arnold's casual poeticism, her firm handling of mood shifts, and the foul-mouthed verisimilitude of the performers, Fish Tank would be a very by-the-numbers piece of British social realism. As it is, it's almost that, but there's enough penetrating insight into the psychosexual maturation of the lead character Mia (newcomer Katie Jarvis) to prevent it from being so. This is not merely grotesque miserabilism; Arnold has an almost magic realist sensibility that renders some fantastically sensual moments, many of which have to do with the ambiguities in the role of Jarvis' opposite performer (Michael Fassbender, the two of whom share amazing chemistry). Is he a surrogate father for Mia, necessary purely as a guardian, or is he closer to a companion, and thus indicative of sexual temptation? The tension makes for arresting drama. (I still plan to write at length about this one.)

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:56 pm

http://anto-karuthavavu.blogspot.com/2011/01/filmsuk.html

Monday, January 3, 2011
Films_UK
‘Fish Tank’
Directed by Andrea Arnold. Starring Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths
by John Carvill
__

Andrea Arnold’s second full-length feature, ‘Fish Tank’, plunges the viewer into a Britain which is not so much ‘broken’ as ‘splintered’: although you could summarise the film’s tone and milieu by describing it as a sort of non-cartoonish version of ‘Shameless’, your overall lasting impression is bound to be positive, rather than despairing. That said, there’d be every reason to fear otherwise during two hours in which you could easily find yourself glued to the edge of your seat with fingernails clasped between your teeth.
Seventeen year old first-time actress Katie Jarvis plays fifteen year old Mia, feisty but fragile daughter of dissolute single Mum Joanne (Kierston Wareing), older sister to bulldog-tempered Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), and reluctant inhabitant of a council flat on an Essex estate. Mia’s character is quickly established in two brief early scenes. In the first – a gritty modern updating of Katherine Hepburn’s ‘window pinging’ scene from ‘Bringing up Baby’ – she tells her friend’s father, who has come to the window to angrily request that Mia stop throwing stones though it, to pass on a message to his daughter for her: “Tell her her Old Man is a c***!”; in the second, she gratuitously headbutts another teenage girl whose sub-Spice Girls dance routines she disdains.

It’s an environment in which jobs are rare while pre-teen binge drinking is a nightly ritual. Profanity prevails, home comforts are few and far between, and tenderness is in short supply until the arrival of Joanne’s new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender), a marginally more stable and emotionally available character. Mia has a passion (and talent) for street dance, which she practices alone in a derelict flat, fuelled by frequent pulls from a two-litre plastic bottle of budget cider. Encouraged by Connor, she responds to an advert requesting hopefuls to submit audition tapes showcasing their dancing skills. Meanwhile, Mia is romantically pursued by a member of a local traveller community, Billy (Harry Treadaway), whose advances she indulges whilst clearly hankering after someone more like Connor.

The performances are uniformly excellent, and Katie Jarvis more than deserves the accolades she has received; it is simply astonishing that anyone of her age could act this well in a debut role. The minute to minute experience of watching the film is an uneasily enjoyable one. The direction is fluid, the narrative never sags, there’s a satisfying mix of roughly five parts bitter to one part sweet, and the salty dialog is often very funny. But there’s a pervasive air of foreboding, gut-wrenching tension, and the dreadful feeling that something awful is about to happen now and then culminates in some awful thing actually happening.

The ending isn’t quite what you could call ‘happy’; instead, it could best be described as cautiously hopeful. This is a film that’s hard to watch, but will undoubtedely prove even harder to forget. You believe in, and care about these characters, and the resulting emotional involvement is a key component of the film’s success. Despite the almost ever-present humour, a strong emotional stomach is required. But the sense of hopefulness and potential redemption the viewer is left with, spreads out from the protagonist(s) to encompass the community the film depicts, and – despite the current government’s plans to scrap the UK Film Council – this is a British film which holds out more hope for the future of British Film than any other of recent years.
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:10 pm

http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/135254-the-best-independent-international-films-of-2010/

The Best Independent / International Films of 2010
By PopMatters Staff 3 January 2011

cover art
Marwencol
Director: Jeff Malmberg
Cast: Mark Hogancamp
(The Cinema Guild)

25

Marwencol

“My memories that I do get,” says Mark Hogancamp, “They come back in stills, just a single shot, but no context.” Jeff Malmberg’s extraordinary documentary traces Mark’s journey, as he recalls it. The victim of a horrific attack on 8 April 2008, he woke nine days later in a hospital with his face smashed beyond recognition. Five men, he learned later, had beaten him almost to death outside a bar in his hometown of Kingston, New York. Mark’s recovery included learning basic functions all over again. As the documentary shows the show, it suggests that Mark’s capacity to share his experience through photos of Marwencol, through such precisely ordered and reordered forms, helps him to rediscover himself. Marwencol the movie is another opportunity for rediscovery, for Mark certainly, but also for the rest of us. As Mark describes it, he sorts through a past and builds a present on the “memories I do get,” memories he absorbs and transforms. This process, of self-imagining and storytelling, reflects the intricate, ever shifting ways that we all understand ourselves, the worlds inside and around us. Cynthia Fuchs

cover art
[REC]2
Director: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Jonathan Mellor, Óscar Sánchez Zafra, Ariel Casas, Alejandro Casaseca, Pablo Rosso, Pep Molina, Andrea Ros, Ális Batllori
(Magnolia Pictures)

24

[REC]2

How do you make a sequel to a horror movie with a reputation for being extremely frightening without shooting yourself in the foot? Especially when the main characters from the first movie largely end up dead? For [REC] franchise creators Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, you pick up right after the first movie ended, but from a different point of view. [REC] 2 follows a helmet camera-equipped SWAT team into the same quarantined building, preserving its found-footage perspective. The team is accompanying a medical officer who actually knows what’s going on inside, giving the audience the explanation we never received in the first movie. This explanation skillfully expands the world of the franchise while fundamentally changing the nature of the scares in the film. It may not be quite as terrifying as the original, but [REC]2 still packs plenty of punch from a horror movie standpoint. And it’s a step above the original in terms of storytelling, making it a near-perfect sequel. Chris Conaton

cover art
Fish Tank
Director: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths, Harry Treadaway
(IFC Films)
Review [15.Jan.2010]

23

Fish Tank

Plenty of films have presented us with the Angry Young Man but not so many with the Angry Young Woman, an odd state of affairs when you consider that young women have at least as much to be upset about as their male counterparts. Andrea Arnold does her bit to help correct this imbalance with Fish Tank starring newcomer Katie Jarvis as Mia Williams, a 15-year-old living in tough London estate. Mia has plenty of reasons to be angry and the attention she receives from the adult world ranges from indifferent (her mother) to clueless (the school system) to predatory (her mother’s new boyfriend). So she makes lots of mistakes on her journey to adulthood but also displays a tenacity and sense of self which gives you hope she will become more than just another victim of her environment. Sarah Boslaugh

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:36 pm

http://feitelogram.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/because-i-had-nothing-to-do-on-a-sunday-afternoon-and-felt-guilty-that-it-was-already-2011/

Because I Had Nothing To Do On A Sunday Afternoon And Felt Guilty That It Was Already 2011…

AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WONDERING, IN TYPICAL SPITEFUL FASHION, HERE’S A MOVIE NOBODY SAW:

1. FISH TANK

For the past while, Chadd Harbold (mentioned above as the guy who would have something “despicably French” on his top 10 list) was bothering about the number 1 film would be on my list and I kept telling him that it was a film we saw together and a film we saw in the beginning of the year. “Those are pretty big hints.” Chadd said, but he still wasn’t able to guess. He didn’t even say a single movie. Which was interesting as I think we both had the same reaction coming out of the film: we were floored by how good it was. Newcomer director Andrea Arnold has succeeded in my eyes in creating something new, exciting and meritorious, just as Joachim Trier once did on this list previously with his 2008 film Reprise. A worthy successor both to the Dardenne brothers’ style of gritty modern-day neo-realism a la L’Enfant and (yes) the sentimental filmmaking of Francois Truffaut in The 400 Blows, Fish Tank is a movie unsurpassed in its rawness, honesty and kinetic energy this year. The story of Mia, played by unreal newcomer Kate Jarvis in easily the best performance of the year, a 15 year-old scrappy-as-f&#! white chick living with her trashy/abhorrent mother and her feral little sister in a crappy British ghetto, is a dystopian story played real. While one might be put off at first by Mia’s fist-fighting hip-hop dancing ways, her fighting instinct is quickly realized as survival impulse, when you find out that her life is one where the closest thing to familial love is familial silence and there is no one in existence to watch her back. When “mum” brings home a boyfriend (Michael Fassbender, quickly becoming one of our finest actors), it’s all Mia can do to reject and then latch on to the little bit of common-sense affection he throws her way; it’s like nothing she’s ever experienced before in her conspicuously father-less home. What follows is an aria of children breaking bad, adults breaking worse and a story of a place without hope. The title seems to represent both Mia’s trapped existence and our complicity in it, as the people in her life fail to help her, one by one, we sit on the outside and watch. Like Lorna’s Silence or (again) The 400 Blows, the ending represents the degree to which we can move on in our lives, our ability to escape and the recognition that the most tragic moment is the one where you can run no further. A feminist masterpiece, a humanist masterpiece, if you were to see any movie off this list, see this.

-Nick

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:25 pm

http://njambi.blogspot.com/2011/01/fish-tank.html

Monday, January 3, 2011
"Fish Tank"
“Fish Tank”, written and directed by Andrea Arnold, is a heartfelt drama set in the down-trodden public squalors that beleaguers Britain’s municipality. Though the title belies a story of a fish and its environs, we soon come to realize that it is an analogy for the relationship a feisty, precocious teenager Mia (played by Katie Jarvis) has with her mother’s boyfriend, Connor (played by Michael Fassbender), a bemused yet seductive man.
We first catch a glimpse of Mia out of breath and sweaty in a neighborhood that could use some air. The blighted area, an array of shacks accustomed to neglect and indifference, is a breeding ground for this teenage girl’s discontent, to the point that we see her head-butting a girl who mocks her in the next scene. But this tough demeanor is quickly put out, when we see her running to save a white disheveled pony, locked up by a bunch of hoodlums. We fear for her because of the stench Arnold put before us, and yet are hopeful because of what that horse symbolizes—a chance to escape and see what the world has to offer. In Mia’s eyes, that world encompasses hip-hip dance and music, a lively escape from the lifeless echoes that bounce between grafittied walls. But it doesn’t take too long for someone to take notice of the silent desperation that pervades a self-proclaimed outcast. A rare ilk amongst his hoodlum clan is a teenage boy with an affinity for cars who helps her flee his fellow band of brothers, who are upset that she attempted to free their horse, as he sees a mirror image of himself in her. The other, the more contentious of a relation, is her mother’s boyfriend, a man naturally inclined to selfless affection and consideration, though his intentions are never very clear. And though both these characters share a fondness for her, it is the latter she responds to most, the one who unwaveringly badgers her into confidence, vulnerability, desire and obsession.
Arnold’s gift truly lies in suspending disbelief through the deliverance of audacious and brutally honest material she invites her audience to partake in without judgment; stunningly crafted in the weaving of each scene. From the music selection and montage in the beginning to the different types of camera shots and lighting (most memorably recalled in the scene where Mia demonstrates her dance routine to Connor), as well as the beautiful cinematography captured in the wild enveloping landscape you would never have imagined existed in such deserted territory (eerily represented in the scene where Mia chases Connor’s daughter), the audience is left gushing through each amplified provocation of emotion.
The perceptive structure of the script and the level of acting are also commendable, as it allows the former to engender authentic delivery in the latter, further reinforcing the rawness of the story.
“Fish Tank” is a human story told through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl. May be a little kindness, understanding, and encouragement are all it takes for a fish to muster up the courage to leave its tank and join the sea. And this could not have been better encapsulated than in the final scene where Mia, her sister and mother dance along to a hip hop tune, as she makes an attempt to swim to shore.
Posted by Njambi at 10:58 PM

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:39 pm

http://stalepopcornau.blogspot.com/2011/01/everything-but-fish-tank.html

Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Everything but the Fish Tank

There is actually no fish tank in Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank. That's a shame. But for a film that many seem to want to reduce down to being a downbeat, British "counsel estate movie", Fish Tank is a fairly generous movie in its design. It's not want for vivid use of colour and eye-catching production design. In fact, one of the aspects I enjoy most about it is in fact the art direction, which many may not recognise. As framed by Rabbie Ryan's TV aspect ratio cinematography - a very literal "boxed in" aesthetic, there - production designer Helen Scott does a marvellous job at making this cramped Essex flat feel personal and lived in.

I personally love that each room seems to have its own theme or colour. We can all spot the fiery temper that routinely bubbles to the service of Katie Jarvis' "Mia", but on first look at her would you expect her to have a bedroom painted purple? And how about the moment later in the film when we realise the image on her door has changed from blue skies and clouds to a raging tiger? What's that saying, I wonder.

Or what about the bedroom of Mia's sister "Tyler". Love the image below of the yellow-painted walls and the kiddy pink television, as well as the way Arnold shows a closeup on the stickers Tyler has stuck around her room and the hamster she has caged against the wall.

Perhaps the oddest of the three bedrooms belongs to the mother, "Joanne". Her room is not only pink, but she has beaded wall-hangings and creepy masquerade masks tacked on to the wall (above a perfectly fussy make-up table). What this says about Joanna, I'm not too sure, but those masks... whoa. They're the sort of thing you'd wake up screaming to in the middle of the night. And, of course, that cheeky "Parental Advisory" sign on her bedroom door. Good one, Joanne.

Of course, my favourite room in the Williams household is the living room with its giant palm tree feature wall. I can't say I'd like that in my apartment, but as a visual kick to Fish Tank it works wonders, while also serving as a sort of "fantasy" ideal for Mia and her family. It's an obvious visual cue, but one that still works.

I don't think location scouting counts as an aspect of production design, but Fish Tank's locals are so perfect, don't you think. Apart from finding the block of flats that is so important to the setting of Fish Tank, I was immediately taken by the greenness of the park that Michael Fassbender's "Connor" takes the family to, as well as the seaside area that Mia takes "Keira". That colours of that park just scream out because, well, it's a colour the film hasn't shown us much of. And all that thick, matted grass with the looming clouds overhead towards the end are a perfect example of why 1:33 aspect ratios can work.

I just rewatched Fish Tank for the first time last in nearly a year and a half. I first saw it at MIFF in 2009 and I liked it a lot. That love has only grown over time and I was so relieved to see I still found it an incredibly powerful piece of cinema. Don't let your 2010 movie watching go without seeing it. Bring on Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights, I say!
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:50 am

http://cinefilestv.blogspot.com/2011/01/fish-tank-2010.html

Wednesday, January 19, 2011
FISH TANK (2010)

Written & Directed By: Andrea Arnold
Cinematography By: Robbie Ryan
Editor: Nicholas Chaudergue

Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths

This film is one of those diamonds in the rough, That you want everyone to witness. It catches you off guard. That would also perfectly describe the lead character a girl named Mia. Who is so full of rage at everyone. She seems to only be at peace in dancing (I know it sounds like a female STEP-UP but trust me it’s deeper then that).

Her mother wears shorter skirts then she does. Her mother seems to also put her dalliances with men above her own children. She was also the same age as her daughter when she had her child and forced to grow up fast but now seems that since her kids can take care of themselves it’s her time to have a bit of fun. Her mother also seems to be a alcoholic. Then one day a savior comes to the family in the form of a man the mother brings home who actually seems to take a interest in all of them. At first Mia treats him badly suspecting him of wanting something. He eventually wins them over. He seems to be the one who is going to make things better. Her friendship with him soon develops into friendship, then obsession. Which becomes confusing when he returns her feelings.
The film then seems like it is going to cross the line into a taboo romance. Then things turn haywire as secrets are discovered. Which may lead to tragedy.

Through it all the film stays emotionally truthful. It is a coming of age tale, but not your typical one. This one seems a bit more brutal. It works as a drama though at times it feels almost like a thriller.

The film plays like a kitchen sink drama, But seems more to the point and not so interested in minimalism. The film still never presents a false note. The films throws a lot of balls up in the air. Thankfully none drop to the ground and break

Mention must be made of the actors. Katie Jarvis is a natural in her first film as the lead she captivates you as you generally begin to care about her and cringe when she makes a wrong decision. Since you know her character has good instincts. She is truly believable which since she is a newcomer is made easier as there are no other roles or films to cloud your judgement and take you out of the film. Michael Fassbender other then being a great actor must have the best agent in the world, Good natural instincts when it comes to material or is very lucky because whenever I see him in a film it is phenomenal like HUNGER and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. Here he is mesmerizing as a character who is charismatic and even when we see his bad side we can’t fully hate.

Director Andrea Arnold is a true visionary. Who I look forward to further work from.
This film while long totally grabs you from the opening frames. It is long but the film seems to pass so quickly you never really notice. It’s one of those films where you really want to know what will happen to the characters after the end. You hold out hope for them and get a general sense they will be ok. But then again like the film. It could surprise you and the decisions could come out of nowhere and throw each of them off balance.

While not the happiest film. It gives you some kind of hope that this girl will be alright and make her way in the world.

I highly suggest the film and it is a worthy addition to your film library. See it as a gift to yourself.

GRADE: A+
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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:16 pm

http://popcultureninja.com/2011/01/18/indie-watch-fish-tank-review-2010/

January 18th, 2011 | Featured
Indie Watch: Fish Tank Review

PCN RATING:

There is a lot going on under the surface of Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank and it is a testament to the director’s management of her subject that the film is focused and prickly, instead of muted and insubstantial. Telling a story that will probably be off-hand referenced as the white, British version of Precious, Fish Tank follows the tumultuous existence of Mia, a 15 yr old delinquent girl living in a British housing project with her estranged little sister, neglectful mother, and her mom’s charming, opportunistic boyfriend(Michael Fassbender).

The film is pensive and harrowing, and occasionally it’s even lonely and elegiac, as if it’s planning Mia’s funeral before she even grows up. I dare confess that there were times I would have gladly stopped watching it, so unsavory and forthright in their honesty are some of Arnold’s scenes and conversations. It takes a lot of bravery to tackle the world of teen poverty, neglect, and sexual abuse without the usual trappings of melodrama. For example, Precious leaned heavily on emotional manipulation and calculated uplift to weather the stormy seas of its protagonist’s unfortunate life.

Fish Tank doesn’t feature any mentor characters or charitable individuals showing up to rescue Mia. This is her life, and she’s living it with uncertainty. She’s far older emotionally at 15 then she should be, and certainly older than her mother, who’s still living the irresponsible life of a drugged-out party skank who dances in her underwear while her underage children are smoking and drinking upstairs.

Still, Mia is just a teenager, and there’s so much of life she doesn’t understand not simply because she is young but because all of her experience comes from the dysfunctional microcosm she lives in. She can’t differentiate sex from love, affection from attention, or passion from intensity. She’s bitter, angry and lost and thinks she understands so much that she never sees danger or misfortune staring her in the eyes. Which is probably why Fassbender’s Connor so easily seduces her.

The passages of the film that deal with this older man carrying on an affair with a young, underage girl are, indeed, challenging ones. We see the film from Mia’s eyes however, so the initial outrage is lessened but the tragedy and sadness of it all is magnified. Arnold knows what she is doing here, and she pursues onward, giving Jarvis and Fassbinder scenes together that are emotionally difficult and intensely dramatic. What keeps rising to the surface is the hope that Mia will pull free and find a way to focus the restlessness, the passion for dance, and her own suspicions that her home life is fractured beyond repair.

Katie Jarvis as Mia is so good that it’s easy to assume that she’s just taking her background (she grew up in similar housing projects, was picked for the film when Arnold witnessed her having a row with her boyfriend, and had a child at 16) and living it out on camera. That’s not how it comes across here. She has real talent. Usually, people who have a real world knowledge of something actually let it prevent them from portraying it credibly onscreen.Film is never reality, and sometimes we want to inject too many cumbersome details into what will always be, at some level, fiction.

. Not Jarvis, who uses her ability for channeling simple, direct emotion to evoke and make sense of her own background, bringing in reference but creating Mia as a whole character. Fassbender is great too. He’s made Connor into a man who feels totally real and grounded, and his disarming air of charm makes it harder to wrap our heads around what he truly is. He doesn’t play a stereotype or a one note expansion of a trait, but a credible person and that somehow makes him all the more sinister.

Fish Tank isn’t an easy film, and Arnold doesn’t try to sell it as a ‘necessary’ one. It exists as what it is, telling with great sympathy and delicacy a story grounded in reality. It doesn’t argue for itself, but like Mia, boldly strides across the screen just existing. You can take it or leave it, but make no mistake, it’s an effective piece of work.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:29 pm

http://phantommenace2.blogspot.com/2011/01/fish-tank-2010.html

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
FISH TANK (2010)

Written & Directed By: Andrea Arnold
Cinematography By: Robbie Ryan
Editor: Nicholas Chaudergue

Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Griffiths


This film is one of those diamonds in the rough, That you want everyone to witness. It catches you off guard. That would also perfectly describe the lead character a girl named Mia. Who is so full of rage at everyone. She seems to only be at peace in dancing (I know it sounds like a female STEP-UP but trust me it’s deeper then that).

Her mother wears shorter skirts then she does. Her mother seems to also put her dalliances with men above her own children. She was also the same age as her daughter when she had her child and forced to grow up fast but now seems that since her kids can take care of themselves it’s her time to have a bit of fun. Her mother also seems to be a alcoholic. Then one day a savior comes to the family in the form of a man the mother brings home who actually seems to take a interest in all of them. At first Mia treats him badly suspecting him of wanting something. He eventually wins them over. He seems to be the one who is going to make things better. Her friendship with him soon develops into friendship, then obsession. Which becomes confusing when he returns her feelings.
The film then seems like it is going to cross the line into a taboo romance. Then things turn haywire as secrets are discovered. Which may lead to tragedy.

Through it all the film stays emotionally truthful. It is a coming of age tale, but not your typical one. This one seems a bit more brutal. It works as a drama though at times it feels almost like a thriller.

The film plays like a kitchen sink drama, But seems more to the point and not so interested in minimalism. The film still never presents a false note. The films throws a lot of balls up in the air. Thankfully none drop to the ground and break

Mention must be made of the actors. Katie Jarvis is a natural in her first film as the lead she captivates you as you generally begin to care about her and cringe when she makes a wrong decision. Since you know her character has good instincts. She is truly believable which since she is a newcomer is made easier as there are no other roles or films to cloud your judgement and take you out of the film. Michael Fassbender other then being a great actor must have the best agent in the world, Good natural instincts when it comes to material or is very lucky because whenever I see him in a film it is phenomenal like HUNGER and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS. Here he is mesmerizing as a character who is charismatic and even when we see his bad side we can’t fully hate.

Director Andrea Arnold is a true visionary. Who I look forward to further work from.
This film while long totally grabs you from the opening frames. It is long but the film seems to pass so quickly you never really notice. It’s one of those films where you really want to know what will happen to the characters after the end. You hold out hope for them and get a general sense they will be ok. But then again like the film. It could surprise you and the decisions could come out of nowhere and throw each of them off balance.

While not the happiest film. It gives you some kind of hope that this girl will be alright and make her way in the world.

I highly suggest the film and it is a worthy addition to your film library. See it as a gift to yourself.

GRADE: A+

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:50 am

http://jamesnicholasdavis.blogspot.com/2011/01/film-21-fish-tank.html

Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Film #21 Fish Tank
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When watching the first few minutes of Fish Tank you would be forgiven for lumping it in with the usual straight to DVD foul mouthed s$#! that the British film industry provides on an almost weekly basis. The films central character Mia (Katie Jarvis) exerts her dominance by head butting another girl within the first ten minutes. It doesn’t take long though before the story establishes an emotional depth that most Danny Dyer vehicles could only dream off.
Mia is fifteen years old and lives on an estate with her boorish mother (Kierston Wareing) and cocky little sister (Rebecca Griffiths). She spends her summer days either just walking the streets or practising her dance moves in one of the empty flats adjacent to where she lives. Her dream is to be a professional hip-hop dancer, not that she will admit it. She mostly hides her thoughts and ambitions behind a wall of insults and abrasiveness. However when her mother brings home a new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender in another brilliant performance), things start to change. For better or worse, his presence slowly brings Mia out of her shell.

Directed by Andrea Arnold, this is a sterling combination of realistic story telling with a tale of lower class dreams. Mia isn’t driven to succeed in spite of disability or poor surroundings. In fact she isn’t driven to succeed at all. It’s not until Connor gives her a brief glimpse of self-worth that she finally decides to go to a dance audition. The rest of the time she resigns to the fact that her dreams are just that. The almost total lack of idealism is what makes the film stand out. This isn’t 8 Mile where the main character is going to become a loco hero. The best thing anyone can really hope for is to find their place within their means and achieve as much contentment as possible. By the end of the film, one of the main things Mia had learned is that the only person she can really rely on is herself. Which is a very bleak fact for any fifteen year old to have to face. The idea that the film conveys so perfectly though, is that even if Mia’s future doesn’t look too bright, it is at least in her control.
4/5

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:17 am

http://kuma-on-a-cloud.blogspot.com/2011/01/analysis-of-fishtank.html

Sunday, 30 January 2011
Analysis Of Fishtank
Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank (2009) is the story of a fifteen year old teenage girl called Mia in Essex who has a dream of becoming a dancer but is unable to because of the unstable environment that she lives in.

Themes & Situations:
Fish Tank contains many themes and situations which are very stereotypical of teenagers but most films will not wish to show because of the reception it may receive.

Sex: Is seen throughout the films and is a key theme. Connor (Michael Fassbender) has a sexual relationship outside of his marriage not only with Mia's mother but also Mia herself. The films theme of sex tackles aspects of sex such as paedophilia and adultery the former being an aspect of certain relationships most films would be uncomfortable tackling. Casual sex is also witnessed in the film when at a party of Mia's mother we see two characters having casual sex in the kitchen even when there are other guests at the party in their vacinity. These views of sex not just represent possible British relationships as negative but also shows a distorted view on the relationships some people and families have and how there is no love.

Jealousy: Is an evident theme of the picture. The audience is aware of the jealousy Mia has towards her mother for the love and affection she is given by Connor and this jealousy is not just there towards her mother but to other female characters that Connor seems to show any sign of affection towards; his daughter Keira and her mother. The jealousy is shown when Mia witnesses her mother having sex with Connor and she watches them before finding it too much for herself and storming off to her room in anger. The jealousy towards Keira and her mother is shown when Mia kidnaps Keira with the intentions to make Connor and his wife feel the pain she went through while also upsetting their daughter in the process.


Abuse: There is a strong theme of varying types of abuse. These include sexual abuse from local thugs and Conor. The local thugs torment Mia and touch her inappropriately while the paedophilic relationship that Mia has with Conor can also be interpretated as a form of abuse. The way in which Mia treats her younger sister and how their mother treats them is also abusive, we (, the audience) see the characters verbally and physically abuse one another by swearing and fighting with each other. Mia's younger sister is seen drinking and smoking which is against the law and the person who supplied the child with the means of getting hold of these things has (possibly unknowlingly) committed child abuse.


Representation (stereotypes & archetypes):
From the start of the film you see the environment that the main character Mia lives in and it is very stereotypical of her character who appears to be a trouble startting youth. This stereotypical view is further amplified by having her get in a fight and calling another girl a "pikey". The word pikey is used derogatory and is used to reflect the world she lives in and also show how the characters see this sort f racism as acceptable.

Mia's family is shown to be of underclass by the way in which the family interacts and the environment that they live. Mia's mother is shown to wear clothing like a vest and knickers while sitting in a house that's a mess shouting at her daughters. This gives a stereotypical view of how people who're underclass are and the places they live in. The mother dosn't seem to care about her kids and allows them to freely turant off school, this representation of the mother shows her as a woman who dosn't care about her children and is a character that the audience can possibly blame on the way her children are however in real life there are children like this with parents who are nothing like Mia's mother and the children are still badly behaved, the film does nothing to try and represent her mother like this.

Mise-en-scene: In the mise-en-scene of the film we see costumes that're very familiar to British people and characters wear costumes that are that of typical working and underclass people such as stone washed jeans, plain t-shirts, tracksuit bottoms and hoodies. The dyed hair and extensive make up and eye shadow are very stereotypical appearances of people who live in Essex but it helps the film give more verisimilitude.

The locations we see such as the place that Mia dances at is rundown and the park she is at in the beginning of the film is an existing location that gives the film a naturalistic feel to it. Most of the locations are actually existing places like the internet cafe, the street that Connors family lives on and the estate that Mia lives on. These locations and the color palette the cinematographer uses makes the film naturalistic and adds to the verisimilitudel.

Music & Sound effects:
Lack of a soundtrack and relies more on adjacent sound and foley sound. There is lots of existing music throughout such as "California Dreamin'", as covered by Bobby Womack (1968), "Me & U" by Cassie,"Life's a Bitch" by Nas, "Just to Get a Rep" by Gang Starr, "Cool Down the Pace" by Gregory Isaacs, "Your house" by Steel pulse, "Juice" by Epic B and Rakim, "Baby girl" by Wiley, "Show Me Love" (Stonebridge Club Mix) by Robin S, "Get Up Offa That Thing" by James Brown, and "Original Nuttah" by Shy FX & UK Apache.

Camera work & Editing:
Extensive use of handheld camera work when there are scenes that are intimate (Love scene between Conor and Mia). Handheld camera work is also used when Mia is in danger for example when she's runnign from the thugs who own the horse. Ontop of handheld camerawork there are lots of jump cuts and quick cuts to show that Mia is disorientated. When Mia is running from Connor after returning Keira the camera is at a long shot with a tracking shot that is also a pan before becoming a tracking shot. There are alos lots of long takes and establishing shots.An example of a long take is when Mia is walkign behind the man who owns the horse and the camera tracks them as they walk down a street. An example of an establishing shot s when the camera is at an over the shoulder shot of Mia looking out onto the town she lives on, the shot contains other estates and pylons which let the audience know that the film is set in the uk by the terrain and certain things in the s$#! like th eestates and pylons.

Dialogue:
Violent swear words that commonly stated with British people. "c***" and "Wanker". The dialect used is rather typical of people of where they live and their status. The dialect is very common and their pronounciation tends to be poor, with msot characters dropping their T's and sayings things like "init" instead of isn't it. The things the characters say is also often things you wouldn't associate with people who're middle class saying like " nearly had you aborted" and "pikey".

The character of Connor has an eccent that is not British and in turbn makes him seem exciting and new to the characters. Conor also speaks with much better pronounciation then the other characters which builds to his character because he dosn't live in an area as poor as the area that Mia lives in.

Examples of the "common" and rude way the character speak to each other:

Mia: I'm leaving then.
Joanne: [dances] This is one of your CDs.
Mia: Yeah. It's nice.
Joanne: Yeah, it's great.
Mia: You can keep it.
Joanne: Well, go on then. f&#! off

Tyler: Why do you need so much stuff?
Mia: [packing] Just in case.
Tyler: What about the referral unit?
Mia: You can have my place.
Tyler: I don't want it. They're full of spastics and idiots, those places.

Mia: Cor! Clever Dick!
Mia: Keeley, it's me. What's going on? I've left like three messages. I said sorry, didn't I? You know what I'm like. I was pissed off. Ring me back, you bitch.
Posted by Zak Gorman Year 12 AS Media Studies Blog at 09:50

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:26 pm

http://mcollene.co.cc/fish-tank-2009-aquatildeiexclrio-best-buy-76/

Fish Tank (2009) ( Aquário For Sale

Permalink to Fish Tank (2009) ( Aquário “Fish Tank” was written and directed by Andrea Arnold. It is a gritty, disturbing coming-of-age story for Mia played by Katie Jarvis, a fifteen year old girl who wishes to be a dancer but lacks raw talent and makes up for it with raw attitude against everyone in her life until the introduction of her mother’s new boyfriend, Connor played by Michael Fassbender makes a major impact on her life.

First off, I never deciphered the title. Fish Tank (2009) ( Aquário Why Fish Tank? There is a fish in it and some swimming in the water but at no point did I feel this girl was trapped in her life and while she maintained a bit of routine aka swimming in circles, I felt she went through a great deal of journey and changing up of her habits due to new circumstances introduced into her environment so….why?

Next, the main character Mia is almost impossible to like. The biggest problem is that she is difficult to understand when she is speaking and at least 25% of her lines were lost. She is hostile and spews bile out of her mouth at anyone who even glances at her the wrong way. The littlest thing sets her off and even when someone takes a chance on her and shows her attention, tries to get her to smile and encourages her to pursue her goals, she’ll turn on them in a heartbeat. Granted, not everyone here is deserving of good behavior, in fact all the characters have a dark streak in them and rub each other the wrong way, but her temper is so explosive that it becomes difficult to make excuses for her purely based on environment and genetics. She has a few fleeting moments of happiness and has a very pretty smile in those rare moments but she never holds on to it and pushes it away as if it makes her vulnerable. This is one tough cookies, almost inaccessible to anyone who speaks to her until a particularly hot older man breaks her down.

All that being said, Katie Jarvis’ first movie role as Mia was pretty amazing. The unsentimental presence that she stays guarded with throughout is consistent and compelling for a new performer. Her own dream is to be able to dance but her stiff movements and lack of a gift for rhythm makes all of her moves, no matter how rehearsed seem forced and unnatural. She is extremely defensive and secretive about her dream until she lets another character deeper into her life. The peeling away of the layers and slowly exposing the depths of her character also reveals ulterior motivations of the others in her family. Jarvis’ talent is proven in how unsettling the movie feels until the eventual mild, calm ending.

The most enjoyable (if there is something to enjoy here) part of the movie was Michael Fassbender as Connor. Obviously he is an attractive man shirtless but he has an effortless charm and walks the line perfectly between responsible adult and possible lech for a minor. You can’t tell what side he is leaning towards because all of his actions and remarks can be seen in both lights and it really keeps you guessing throughout. Either way, the impression is given that he cares about Mia for some reason and encourages her to help her succeed and perhaps the factor that he might be the only person to do that for her wrapped up in a sexy package feeds Mia’s hidden desire for him.

The story was riveting and difficult to look away from. It ties your insides up into a knot and stays that way for the two hour duration and is so disturbing that it sticks with you and I have a stomach ache sitting here immediately afterward. The acts were well set up gradually increasing the stakes and suspense and a few scenes I couldn’t look away even if I wanted to! The shaky cam was only occasionally distracting and overall served the movie well for realism. The lighting was not always lit in such a way that you could see the characters and the experimentation with light and shadow and focus made the reality take on a different feel adding suspense and confusion. Using these techniques, the film takes on the feel of a waking nightmare while displaying a window into British lower-class.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:40 pm

http://pericson.com/2011/02/fish-tank/

Fish Tank (2009)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | 14:01 CET
Rating: 4.5/5
Movie poster for "Fish Tank" (2009)

Raw authenticity. Those are the words I would use if I were to describe Fish Tank in only two words. Sure, there are moments when the stark social realism takes on a kind of dream-like, almost poetic quality, but the picture is still defined by its realism.

Writer/director Andrea Arnold skillfully weaves an engrossing and unpredictable narrative that effectively holds the viewer's attention in a vice-like grip from beginning to end. Things are constantly bubbling beneath the surface, and situations of pulse-pounding intensity occasionally arise over the course of the movie's 123-minute running time. The stylistic choice to shoot Fish Tank in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 gives the film an appropriately claustrophobic feel.

Katie Jarvis, who plays Mia, delivers a marvelous performance that is made even more impressive by the fact that she has no previous acting experience (she was discovered while having an argument with her boyfriend); Mia may not be a particularly likable person, but one nevertheless wants to find out what is going to happen to her next. Kierston Wareing and Michael Fassbender are remarkably good in the roles of Joanne, Mia's mother, and Connor, Joanne's latest boyfriend, respectively. Rebecca Griffiths, who is a natural as Tyler, Mia's younger sister, provides some restrained comic relief and also shares a genuinely touching scene with Jarvis at the end of the film.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:33 am

http://www.xcatik.com/2011/02/25/fish-tank-2009/

Fish Tank (2009)

Garage. Grime. Dubstep. UK Funky. These are just a few of the offshoots of British urban music that circle the blogosphere. Rarely, if ever do they impact the charts on either side of the pond, but over the last decade, the stylistic calling cards of these flavor-of-the-week genres have been seeping into the mainstream. Genre superstars like Dizzee Rascal, Burial, and more recently, Joker find their work, or at least its derivatives, popping up in unexpected places. But where does the music originate? What inspires its hauntingly distant vocals, its garbage can drums, or its stuttering rhythms? “Fish Tank”, Andrea Arnold’s sophomore effort offers a glimpse.

Set in the industrialized marshlands on the outskirts of London, the film concerns Mia, a fifteen year old born into the counsel houses of “broken Britain”. Raised by an alcoholic, seemingly unemployed mother in her early thirties, she has seen an endless stream of ne’er-do-well suitors and hazily recalled parties fueled by cheap drugs and cheaper vodka. Neither a witless dolt or child prodigy awaiting rescue by a privileged benefactor, she’s just a girl making due with less than ideal circumstances. Whether it comes in the form of swigs of cider, an emaciated bone white horse chained outside a pikey mobile home, or impassioned, but unremarkable dance steps, nearly every waking moment finds her fumbling through her next escape attempt. Most notablely, in a world of sex soaked sheets and muffled, anonymous moans, she cocoons herself in the least flattering garb imaginable- a saggy, formless track suit. Long the uniform of dejected youth, her hood and drop-crotch pants define her public persona, but in her world, it isn’t so easy to blend into the cracked concrete.

Like the slice-of-underprivileged-life dramas she’s drawn favorable comparison to, Arnold’s film favors character study over plot. Though less classically shaped than her debut, “Red Road”, that’s not to say there’s no dramatic heft. She simply comfortable allowing it to bubble beneath the surface. Whether Mia is secretly longing to share her mother’s lover, tussling with neighborhood dance rivals, or swiping half-swigged bottles of booze from the strangers who drift through her apartment, there’s a keen eye for both emotional and environmental detail. Rising Irish star Michael Fassbender is the impetus for the bulk of the dramatic moments. His role, perhaps the most difficult in the film, requires a steady hand an a balance between alluring father-figure and leering older man.

As is often the case with the brand of film, it is marketed for an audience that is presumably completely removed from the society it depicts. Regardless, I believe if the children of the estuary were to see the film they wouldn’t feel insulted or pandered to. It doesn’t stoop to fairy tale redemption, but is avoids what the Pet Shops Boys termed “Miserablism” (when there’s no such thing as a happy ending and the characters frown for the sake of it). What is is, and what isn’t, isn’t. And that’s the beauty of it.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 26, 2011 4:01 am

http://cinephilesunite.blogspot.com/2011/02/fish-tank.html

Friday, February 25, 2011
Fish Tank
Director/Writer: Andrea Arnold

Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kirsten Wareing
Story: The loneliness of the girl teenager with dreams in a dream-less world.

IMHO: The movie got some great reviews and I would agree. Mia is a lonely teenager who has a talent for dancing and distancing herself from everyone in her life. Not a wonder, to her mother she is invisible yet irritating, all conversations in her family, with mother and sister, are carried out in screams. If you like the small, slice of dysfunctional life film this is for you. And I do.

Posted by Kris at 9:29 AM

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:05 am

http://strangeluvmusicandfilm.blogspot.com/2011/02/fish-tank-dvd-review-of-week.html

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Fish Tank - DVD Review of the Week

Fish Tank won the Jury Prize of the Cannes film festival last year. It follows Mia, a young Brit girl who aspires to be a hip-hop dancer. She is taken care of by her mother, a hard-drinking and smoking sailor of a mother, who cares more getting drunk and hanging out with her boyfriend, Connor. (Michael Fassbender, who is fast becoming one of my favorite actors).

Mia seems to exist on the fringes of the society, and like most young teenagers can't seem to find her place, even amongst local aspiring hip-hop dance kids. Mia can't quite seem to connect with anyone, including her mother and her little sister who seems to hate her as well as a group of local boys that steal auto-parts and even horses in order to make a living.. Connor soon seems to be the only person that is interested in showing Mia any attention or respect as a decent human being, partially because of his connection with Mia's mother.

The film is about perception, and especially the mixed emotions of a young girl growing up at a difficult age, and in a difficult family. As Mia becomes closer and closer to Connor her perception of her own reality begins to morph into something that perhaps it is not. We don't know anything about Mia's father, so to say that she perhaps has daddy issues isn't too much of a stretch. Connor encourages her to try out for a hip-hop dance crew and Mia soon begins to break out of her shell and find some self-worth, even if her mother still intends on belittling her every chance she gets. She soon begins to flock to Connor because he may be the only decent human being she feels she can trust. But what is he to her? A father figure, a crush, a friend, a monster, or nothing at all.

Mia constantly sits on the precipice of doing something meaningful in her life with her dancing, and losing complete control with her drinking and troublemaking. She's just trying to figure it all out.

Fish Tank is able to straddle this fine line of what is and perhaps is not appropriate behavior between all of the characters involved, and raises questions about a non-traditional family dynamic. Director Andrea Arnold uses a lot of jittery hand-held camera work that can make you feel uncomfortable at times, and perhaps even believe that you are perceiving something that may not be truly happening. It reminded me a lot of Catherine Hardwicke's Thirteen, that came out in 2003, but was much more subtle its teen angst approach. It's a great little indie film, and it's streaming on Netflix instant now.

Grade: B+
Posted by Strangeluv at 10:46 AM

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:21 pm

http://feministmusicgeek.com/2011/03/01/fish-tanks-mia-tries-to-find-the-beat/

01Mar11
Fish Tank’s Mia tries to find the beat
By Alyx Vesey

In an effort to tend to a Criterion backlog in my Netflix Instant queue, I watched Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank last night. I remember being intrigued when I caught the preview during a screening of An Education (which would pair well thematically). I was also more than a little nervous that the movie would take working-class girlhood less as a subject of exploration and instead as grounds for moral panic.

What transpires in Arnold’s 2009 feature is something altogether more disconcerting. It’s an unsettling film about Mia (Katie Jarvis), a fifteen-year-old girl who lives on an Essex council estate with her young mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and kid sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). Joanne, who was probably close to her eldest daughter’s age when she had her, is perpetually drunk and between boyfriends. Mia’s contentious relationship with Tyler is probably the closest thing she has resembling a homosocial friendship. Beyond her connection to local boy Billy (Harry Treadway), Mia doesn’t seem to have friends. Her mom’s new beau Connor (Michael Fassbender) reeks of dishonorable intention.

Mia’s creative outlet is dancing. But this is a solitary activity. She has aspirations to be a b-girl, yet there’s no one with whom to battle or practice. The film is bookended by scenes where Mia attempts to engage with girl dancers in her peer group. All of them are more interested in gyrating like a video vixen instead of popping, locking, and spinning. At the beginning of the film, she admonishes some neighborhood girls for their jiggly routines. Mia spends much of the movie preparing to audition for a local club. When the tryouts finally happen, she’s horrified to discover that the staff is looking for exotic dancers. Two judges preside over the audition. In an interesting twist, it’s the female judge who requests that Mia wear her hair down and asks why she isn’t wearing hot pants. Perhaps recalling an unfortunate set of events with her mother’s boyfriend, Mia walks out of the audition and ultimately leaves home.

Mia’s inability to find a female dance partner or a community who takes any interest in her dancing recalls b-girl Asia One’s frustrations in Rachel Raimist’s hip hop documentary Nobody Knows My Name. Asia One is constantly searching for another girl to dance with and a hip hop video production that isn’t holding casting at a strip club, but neither are easy to come by.

Dance yrself clean, Mia; image courtesy of citypaper.com

Mia’s one-sided love for a genre and dance form is what really resonated with me. It’s hard to love hip hop sometimes when it doesn’t reciprocate. The film’s soundtrack features Wiley, Eric B and Rakim, Nas, and Gang Starr (RIP, Guru), as well as tracks from James Brown, Gregory Isaacs, and prominent use of Bobby Womack’s cover of the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’”. The beats are banging and the grooves are deep, but Mia’s often dancing to them alone.

This is why my favorite scene in the film is at the end. Mia is preparing to leave when she finds her mother in the living room, dancing to her daughter’s Nas CD. Joanne tells her daughter to f&#! off, which prompts Mia and Tyler to join in on a dance to “Life’s a Bitch.” It’s a touching scene in a film that’s relentlessly bleak. While the movie knows this tender moment is fleeting, it’s also the only time we see Mia dance with people instead of for them or in isolation. It’s also the rare instance where we see a smile on her face. And while Mia moves away from her mother and sister, she leaves her CDs with them. Perhaps this will lead to future dance parties.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:44 pm

http://thehollywoodinterview.blogspot.com/2011/03/dvd-playhouse-march-2011.html

FISH TANK (Criterion) Writer/director Andrea Arnold’s powerful kitchen sink drama owes much to the work of Tony Richardson, John Osborne, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, but also stands on its own as a unique work. Fly-on-the-wall realism heightens this story of precocious Mia, a fifteen year-old living in the bleak housing projects of Essex. When her mother’s new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender, in a dynamite turn) finds himself uncontrollably attracted to her, and she to him, dangerous sparks fly in all directions. Powerful, unsentimental and uncompromising on all levels. Not always easy to watch, and not easily forgotten. Also available on Blu-ray disc. Bonuses: Three short films by Arnold; Interviews with cast and crew; Audition footage; Photo gallery; Trailer. Widescreen. Dolby 2.0 and DTS-HD surround.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:41 pm

http://tomblock.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/%E2%80%9Cfish-tank%E2%80%9D-2009/

“Fish Tank” (2009)
By Tom Block

Criterion had a pretty good week, what with the release of three righteous movies about people getting pulled over a waterfall by their desire. Everybody knows about Visconti’s Senso and Alexander Mackendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success, but Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank is the one that’s been rattling around my head since Saturday night—it’s so good it made my teeth hurt. It’s a quasi-realistic look at a 15-year old girl’s emotionally flattened life in a housing project on the wrong side of the Thames, and what happens when her trashy mother’s latest pickup (Michael Fassbender) exudes both the fatherly support and the hotblooded sexiness that she’s been craving. Arnold likes to use the natural world to contextualize her characters (two of her early shorts are called “Dog” and “Wasp”), but unlike Malick she does it in a literary, and occasionally too-explicable, way. Fish Tank has a lingering, observant style, filled with long silences and pointed visuals which call up incredibly stormy emotions; in the long sequence where Mia does something so ill-considered that it threatens to wipe out the little bit of security she has in the world, I felt like I was watching a friend deliberately throw her life away. It’s gotten a lot of comparison to Loach because of the downtrodden Brit factor, but it’s much closer to the subtler humanist groove of Mouchette, A Nos Amours, Vagabond, and Rosette. And though I adore practically all of those movies, my reaction to Fish Tank was still an oddly personal one. (All of the tenderness I was already feeling for young Katie Jarvis was capped off by this.)

This entry was posted on February 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:23 pm

http://readydemolitionfilm.blogspot.com/2011/03/fish-tank-film-review.html

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Fish Tank: Film Review
Fish Tank (2009) ***1/2
Written and Directed by Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank shows that life for British lower class 15 year old Mia (Katie Jarvis) is much like life for someone in prison. Her incarceration is on the streets. She bullies girls the same age or younger and likewise attracts taunting and assault from local boys. She's been expelled from school. She endures even greater abuse from her young mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing). Mia in turn verbally abuses her undeserving adorable little sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). She compensates for this hard life by throwing a big "f&#! you" into everyone's face regardless of whether they're asking for it or not. Like prison, it's kill or be killed on these derelict streets.

Mia is at that teenage age where she has the physical beauty and attractiveness of an adult but still the naivety of a child. Her rough and tough attitude is obviously an attempt at masking her vulnerability, which becomes none more apparent than when her mother's new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) wiggles his way into their already extreme dysfunctional life.

Mia and Connor form a strong loving bond, despite her every attempt at pushing him away with her screaming behavior. There's a wonderful extended scene with Conner taking the family out on a country drive. We see Connor's good intentions. From all outward appearances, he seems like a wonderful man and what that family needs. How Connor can remain attracted to Joanne, an alcoholic floozy, is certainly a valid question.

The family dynamic works better when Mia is absent from home. Joanne is able to to throw wild drinking parties. Mia is able to hide in a nearby vacant tenement, practicing hip-hop dance moves. She's a talented dancer who clings to the hope that her writhing will be the ticket off these streets. She's at that age where such moves can ooze a certain amount of sexuality, whether it's desired or not. Connor's there to notice and at first glance seems to want to protect her.

Fish Tank takes a dark turn about 2/3rds in which will undoubtedly repulse a good majority of viewers. It's a risky move, but one most will see coming well before. From this point to the end of the film, Arnold makes feeling sympathy towards Mia and other characters much more difficult. Everyone spirals out of control. By the end, all characters have exposed some major flaws. There is still good left in most, despite everyone guarding themselves through the manifestation of anger.

Knowing Jarvis's real life situation makes the character of Mia all the more sad. Jarvis is not a professional actress. She was discovered by a casting director, screaming at her boyfriend while waiting for a train. She's from a similar poor area as Mia. At the young age of 19, she's already given birth to a child. I can't imagine it was too hard for Arnold to coax the desired performance out of Jarvis.

Fassbender is an actor that's been on my radar since his performance as Archie Hicox in Inglourious Basterds. He's an imposing, yet charming and quiet figure. Connor is a delicate character to play, one that only Fassbender could. Wareing's performance as Joanne suggests that there might still be something buried underneath that makes her a good person.

The film's only major flaw are the aesthetics. Arnold's decision to shoot the film in the aspect ratio 1.33:1 is a fatal visual distraction. I understand the artistic choice (adding to the idea that these characters live in a "fish tank") but it also limits the possibilities of showing the large canvas of the run down streets.

This is the kind of "woman" film I really respect. Life for a modern girl is not all about boyfriends and fashion. Of course, I'm not a woman but I can't imagine all "normal" problems are relationship issues with men or trying to discover who you really are. Mia has come to terms with her situation as a young woman and she doesn't have time for self-pity or self-discovery. The same goes for Joanne. Real problems in a real world.

Fish Tank is a hard edged feminine 400 Blows, a youth-in-revolt story for the 21st century. There's nothing new to be found here, but that doesn't make the story any less interesting. The streets have probably always been this tough, regardless of the country. Mia's forced to protect her spirits with fists. That's all she can do.

Review by Jason Donovan
3/2/2011

Fish Tank is currently streaming on Netflix.

Note: The film is not rated, which should be a clue that there will be some uncomfortable content featured. Personally, I prefer not to know the rating of a film before watching but I realize some viewers have different standards. I just feel it necessary to give warning when certain scenes are extremely non family friendly.
Posted by Jason Donovan at 10:14 AM

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:50 am

http://eddieonfilm.blogspot.com/2011/03/observing-fearlessness.html

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Observing Fearlessness

By VenetianBlond

Fish Tank won a Cannes Jury Award in 2009 and the BAFTA Award for Best British Film in 2010. Andrea Arnold’s second feature, it’s a fearless endeavor by both the writer/director and the actors. The director trusts that she can create a feature by observing moments, and the actors create their flawed characters with incredibly natural performances. Given that the lead, Katie Jarvis, had never acted before, it was perhaps the only performance she could have given. It’s a wonderful thing that it was brilliant.

15-year-old Mia lives with her mom (who looks young enough to have been Mia’s age when she had her first daughter) and sister in a rundown apartment complex in Essex. She fancies herself a hip-hop dancer, so she practices her moves when she’s not picking fights, fighting back when a fight is picked with her or screaming at her mom and sister. She’s been kicked out of regular school and referred to reform school. Her mom brings home Connor, played by Michael Fassbender, and it’s clear that Mia is struck by his physicality and maturity. Her screamed insults slide off of him, and he insists on relating to her as a human being.

She sees an audition notice in a window and Connor encourages her to make the audition DVD. He tells her she’s a great dancer. All she ever hears otherwise is how awful she is, so she does indeed go for it. When things go wrong, they do in unexpected ways. Mia wins an in-person dance audition, which is surprising because she’s neither talented nor particularly passionate when she dances. When she gets there, it’s not what she expects. Connor does give her the attention she craves, but it’s not just inappropriate, it’s downright wrong. The third act has a twist and then Mia’s impulsiveness takes her in a dangerous direction.

Jarvis stalks through the film as if she dares the very air to touch her. Her defenses are so strong, she attacks without reason just to avoid having to deal with anyone, but the actress also conveys the pain underneath her behavior and it’s not hard to see where it comes from given her mother’s devout lack of parenting. When she’s relaxed, she looks like the little kid she has just so recently been. Fassbender almost brings an actor’s touch to his performance, but he manages to keep it dialed back and just let the relationships unfold. He’s got a tricky job to do, from playing the mother’s party boy, to being Mia’s ally, and then becoming more.

Although Fish Tank is not particularly plot heavy, the film unfolds inexorably. There’s just no way that things will go right for this family. Even the very sky lowers down upon them, but that makes the sweet moments, when they occur, that much sweeter. It’s too bad the film is marred by a clunky final shot, too obvious by half. It’s as if the director could sustain her audacity for only so long. Credit where credit is due, however, for everything that came before.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:45 am

http://www.reelcelluloid.com/?p=525

Reel Review: “Fish Tank” (2009)

by Reel Celluloid on Feb.26, 2011, under Reel Reviews

Fish TankThe British writer and director Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank is both a seductive and brutal brush with a fifteen- year-old’s coming of age in the welfare-ridden projects that pepper Dartford, Kent in the U.K. Having high-tailed myself out of similar surroundings on a holiday gone awry many years ago, I can tell you it’s not my cup of tea. Nor is it Mia’s (Katie Jarvis), the eldest daughter and neophyte of a slum-scum mum, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), and a pseudo sister to Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths), a foul-jowled enfant terrible that would make Dickens resemble Dr. Seuss.

Enter Connor (Michael Fassbender), neither stage left nor right, but from mum’s blousy bed into Mia’s ripening libido like a cruel Rap version of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Fish Tank waxes both brittle compassion and immoral constraint for 122 minutes of a teetotaler’s nightmare of a Grimm’s fairy tale on Crack.

Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) as Connor is perfectly suited as the Bad Wolf in the Prince Charming disguise and Wareing (Bonded by Blood) and newcomer Griffiths will have you blissfully grateful that they don’t inhabit your ivy-covered, thatch roofed cottage in the emerald forest.

Not so fast, Little Red Riding Hood. This film belongs to a new fish in a very big tank, nineteen-year-old (going on 40) Katie Jarvis, who was discovered having a row across the platforms at a railway station while I was sending my kid to study drama at Cal Arts for $40,000 a year. I digress. Jarvis is to Mia in Fish Tank as Noomi Rapace is to Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While I’m at it, David Fincher, you’re my Oscar favorite tomorrow night, but I fear you put the fragile glass slipper on the wrong Cinderella (Rooney Mara from The Social Network) for your Hollywood remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I’ve seen Rooney’s photos as Lisbeth and there’s only so much black eyeliner and a funky new do can add to a character. Salander’s casting comes from the eyes, heart and “sole” of a different breed of actor that can only fill those slippers: Noomi Rapace, and Katie Jarvis fast on her heels.

Any way the wind blows…

Fish Tank is now available on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:42 am

http://gordonandthewhale.com/new-on-blu-due-date-fish-tank-criterion-and-more/

FISH TANK: The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray]
Written by Josh Brunsting

FISH TANK, the newest film from RED ROAD director Andrea Arnold, is not only a new member of The Criterion Collection, but it’s one of the best films of the past five years, that hasn’t gotten its just due. At least, not until now.

FISH TANK follows 15-year-old Mia, who begins to fall for the considerably older Connor. As soon as he takes a gander at her hips during a hip hop dance, and she has a chance to see him in all his glory while getting some tea, it becomes clear that their worlds will collide in some way or another. However, Connor also happens to be with her mother, making this story all the more conflicted. He moves into their flat, and so goes the film, which in all accounts is one of the most comedic, poignant, and, at moments, horrifying films I’ve seen in a long time.

Lead actress, Kate Jarvis, is far and away this film’s biggest star. She plays Mia, and mixes this sense of being a hard-ass with a stark sense of innocence that makes her all the more compelling, and all the more interesting to watch on screen. It’s a boisterous performance at times, with her dropping the c-word like it’s a bad habit. However, she also has this look of sweetness in her eyes during some scenes, that makes this a truly powerful and raw performance. She takes the strong and difficult dialogue and is able to put such strength into it, with a similar sense of sobriety, that it’s a performance not to be missed.

Alongside her is Michael Fassbender, in a much different role than he may be known for stateside. Fassbender is able to take this easily hated character, particularly as the film slowly begins to unravel, and adds such depth and heart to him, that when everything begins to fall, you honestly still somehow have fondness for this man. It’s a theme and concept that ultimately makes FISH TANK a heartfelt and powerful little film.

However, all of this would be for naught if there wasn’t a steady hand behind the camera. As with her previous work, RED ROAD, Andrea Arnold creates not only a raw and unflinching story, but she paints that canvas with an equally raw frame. The film is full of intense emotions, many of which our characters would rather not have unleashed, however there are also many emotional moments that rely just on moments of silence and the actions of the characters to say what words truly can’t. It’s not a big budget thriller, it’s just a raw look at this teen’s life as she strives to find love, and a place in this world, all the while trying to bust out of this fish tank that she has found herself in. Arnold is able to not only make the story work for the most part, but also, the interesting skill she has is that she is able to, along with music, make a setting come alive. Most of the time in these kinds of films, the characters simply act in front of a background, however, with FISH TANK, this setting becomes its own character.

As far as special features go, this one is chock full of them. Spearheaded by a threesome of short films from director Andrea Arnold, the Criterion Collection has given us our first really solid glimpse at the haunting (if a tad off-putting) MILK, the fantastic DOG, and the Oscar winning WASP, all of which make this a more than worthwhile release. Audition footage is featured here as well, which is simply shows us the dancing footage of actresses who were looking to take up the role of Mia, but ultimately lost out. There are also a few interesting interviews here with the likes of actors Kierston Wareing and Michael Fassbender. Hell, even the damn menus on this release are some of the best the Collection has to offer.

Enough with this rambling. Words cannot describe just how bloody good FISH TANK is, and cannot even begin to describe how much justice the film has been done by this release. Simply put, this is one of the five best films this writer has seen in the past two or three years. See it. Buy it. Love it.

Also available:

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Re: Fish Tank Reviews part 2

Post by Admin on Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:43 am

http://www.kamwilliams.com/2011/02/fish-tank-dvd.html

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Fish Tank DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Raw Brit Melodrama Available on DVD

This searing, coming-of-age saga, written and directed by Andrea Arnold, earned the #2 spot on my Top 10 List of Independent Films of 2010. Although the movie doesn’t revolve around a fish tank, that still might be the best way to describe the cramped confines of the modest flat which serves as the setting for this increasingly-claustrophobic, pressure cooker.

Joanne Williams (Kierston Wareing) doesn’t look old enough to have a 15 year-old daughter, and the immature single-mom certainly doesn’t behave in a responsible enough fashion to be raising Mia (Katie Jarvis) and her kid sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). First of all, she’s an irascible, foul-mouthed lush, traits she’s already passed on to her troubled teenager.

Consequently, Mia has ended up an angry, friendless alcoholic who’s always at odds with the world. This is not a healthy frame of mind when you’re stuck in the forbidding environs of the Essex projects, a maze of cold, towering edifices, each overlooking the vast, soulless wasteland of a totally-defoliated concrete jungle.
At the point of departure, it is established that Mia is a wanksta (white gangsta) who loves to dress, walk and talk hip hop-style, plus she’s doing her best to teach herself to breakdance in order to enter a competition. But she also like boys, and lands in hot water after head-butting a classmate whom she considers competition for the affections of a guy she likes.

Between that infraction and the booze, it isn’t long before Mia isn’t going to school anymore, but instead hanging out at home and contemplating working as a stripper. A little hope comes into the rudderless juvenile’s life the morning Connor (Michael Fassbender) staggers out of her mother’s bedroom after a one-night stand.
He compliments gyrating Mia by telling her that, “You dance like a black,” and it isn’t long before he further ingratiates himself with the needy girls as her new father figure. Too bad sexually-impulsive Joanne hadn’t bothered to determine whether the guy was married, had any kids or was a pervert before introducing him to her daughters. For, there is only danger in store as she endeavors to cobble a relationship with a pedophile who’s just waiting for the right moment to pounce on an emotionally-vulnerable juvenile.
Trouble in Cockneyland.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 122 Minutes
Distributor: The Criterion Collection
DVD Extras: three short films by director Andrea Arnold, a video interview with actress Kierston Wareing, audio conversation with actor Michael Fassbender, audition footage, a stills gallery, the theatrical trailer, plus a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie.

Posted by The Sly Fox at 10:06 PM

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