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Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

(2014)
15 days ago via Flixster

This film has been so hyped up by reviewers and cinema-goers that it's difficult not to go into the cinema with a chip on your shoulder waiting for the film to impress you and it's fair to say that for the first 15 minutes or so this is pretty standard sci-fi fare. However as soon as all the 'Guardians' meet the film moves up a gear and the chemistry between them is what makes the whole thing fly. Marvel took a gamble tackling this team after the success of The Avengers but what they've ultimately created is a film that could arguably be this generations 'Star Wars'! The action is good (like most Marvel films) and the scenes where the team work together are great (the jailbreak for example) but the most important thing is that through all the humour (and there is a lot), action and general madness you actually end up caring for all these characters pretty damn quickly.

Ultimately the villains are pretty secondary to the point of the film which is to introduce the Guardians but that doesn't mean that they don't register at all. Also stick around at the end of the film for a certain duck hero who hasn't been seen on screen since the late 80's. Now if they can make a successful film based around him then Marvel truly are the greatest studio in the world!

Chaplin

Chaplin

(1992)
15 days ago via Flixster

The film may be a series of broad brush strokes of Chaplin's life but as an introduction to the man and his work this is a great place to start. The whole thing is held together by a brilliant performance from Downey Jnr, playing Chaplin convincingly at different stages of his life. I don't think this was recognised enough at the time and although he was nominated for an Oscar I feel there's a strong case for him winning it. As Chaplin gets older more make-up is applied to Downey Jnr but even under all that he still convinces as the character. You only have to look at a film like 'J Edgar' to see how difficult it is to maintain a realistic performance under a lot of make-up (they didn't achieve it) and all I can think of is that Downey Jnr suffered from the poor plotting of the film. However that shouldn't have taken away from his achievement in the role.

Downey Jnr is supported by a starry cast and the period feel is brilliantly recreated by Attenborough. Top that off with a moving score by John Barry and you have a film I will enjoy returning to again and again.

Driving Lessons

Driving Lessons

(2006)
15 days ago via Flixster

It's nice to see Walters and Grint have more screen time than their Potter films and they work well off each other but the whole film is too calculated and Linney's annoying character doesn't get the comeuppance she deserves. Walters is on the verge of hamming the whole thing up but pulls it back enough at certain times to remind you how great she can be with the right material. Unfortunately this isn't it. Lightweight British comedy (?) fare.

Red Dragon

Red Dragon

(2002)
19 days ago via Flixster

To complete the Lecter trilogy the producers returned to the first novel and remade Mann's 'Mindhunter'. I've never seen that film all the way through so I can't compare. However this is an effective suspense thriller that enjoys taking the best elements from 'Silence'. Hopkins' Lecter was always more effective when he was contained and so it proves here. He's not as terrifying as 'Silence' but some of the terror is restored after the operatic but slightly dull 'Hannibal'. The rest of the cast is full of amazing actors and Fiennes and Watson in particular are great. Their scenes produce the best tension in the film. If you've seen any of the 'Hannibal' TV series you'll enjoy the beginning of the film although Hopkin's Lecter is much more pantomime than Mads' version. Ratner is a capable director and although there's nothing flashy in the film the story is told well and is a worthy addition to the series.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

(2014)
19 days ago via Flixster

I really enjoyed the first film and The Avengers gave me hope that Captain America would fit well into the modern age. Thankfully this film shows that the Cap works brilliantly in the here and now. The film plays like a 70's political thriller and for most parts of the film the plot maintains a strong level of reality. The Winter Soldier is a strong villain that can stand toe to toe with Steve Rogers and it's nice to give Jackson and Johansson more to do this time. It all goes a little silly towards the end but what can you expect from a superhero film!

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