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Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review:
Let me preface this by saying that not everyone is going to like this film. In fact it will be so divisive that you'll either outright hate it or like it. I'm also in the camp that disliked aspects of the book, so going into this film I was feeling very hesitant to seeing the scenes I hated played out. However, under the assured direction of Francis Lawrence, the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 transcends its source material in every way possible. The movie is hauntingly grim throughout, and hope is sparse- as it should be! This movie doesn't aim to gloss over the effects of war or PTSD, it tackles them head on, unflinching, which can be hard for an audience member to take in. This movie will make you feel whether you want to or not- it will not let you stay pedestrian as it demands a reaction to what you're viewing. A lot of credit also has to be given to Jennifer Lawrence, who's nuanced and at times passive reactions to the events around her are so perfectly fit for this dystopian world. There is a scene towards the end of the film, that is so heartbreaking and Lawrence commits her all into the scene, truly encapsulating the grief of loss. Josh Hutcherson also shines in this final instalment, giving a real depth to Peeta during his period of recovery. The other noteworthy performance comes from Donald Sutherland as President Snow. This film isn't perfect and there are many flaws (especially with pacing), and an argument can be made to splitting the movies into two parts (it still would of worked in one film) but I'm willing to overlook the flaws in this movie, through the way it spoke to me, and at the moment it's a touching piece of commentary of the ongoing conflicts around the world. I'm giving this final part a perfect score- does it fully deserve it? No, most probably not. But if I didn't give it a perfect score, I would be being disingenuous to myself.
The Martian Review:
There are some movies you know going into them that they're going to be great. The Martian was not only great but exceeded all my expectations as well. A return to form from director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) who directed last year's abysmal "Exodus: Gods and Kings (which I adeptly gave 1/5 because I was happy that it ended), The Martian soars to the heights of a great space epic. In fact the thing that I loved about the Martian more than Alfonso Curon's "Gravity" and Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" is its optimism. Botanist Mark Watney played by an incredible Matt Damon, plays his character to a tee without depressing or alienating viewers. It is through this lens that we see plausible science (well somewhat plausible) succeed and the audience truly root for Mark Watney to be rescued by his Ares III crew creating a palpitating suspense during the rescue launch. That aside the supporting cast is impeccable, literally every single character feels important and is given enough screen-time to shine, from Jessica Chastain's Commander Lewis to Chitwetel Ejiofer's Vincent Kapoor. Also to be highly commended is the diversity of this cast- where every character is simply just equal- just the way it should be in every film.
Finally the cinematography and soundtrack is also used brilliantly with breathtaking visuals of the simmering sun making it's way below the mountaintops of Mars and a soundtrack that utilises Abba's "Waterloo" to great effect also scores some brownie points in my eyes.
All in all a fantastic film and so far my favourite film of 2015:
Fact: I enjoyed the first Maze Runner- it had me on the edge of my seat and had some solid acting from a young cast.
Fact: I'm glad to say the second outing of Maze Runner- The Scorch Trials is just as good, if not better.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials directed once again by Wes Ball is a fun, suspenseful and surprisingly action heavy outing. Is the story tight? Not really- it's still your typical run of the mill teenage dystopian story. But the thing that sets this franchise apart is the perfectly constructed atmosphere of suspense and fear. The stakes feel higher thanks to the elevated sense of the action sequences. No one feels safe thanks in par to the strong acting of the cast- where nobody feels wasted. The addition of Game of Thrones veteran Aiden Gillen as Janson is a welcome addition breathing life into his character's villany. Once again Dylan O'Brien does fine work as Thomas.
In saying this the movie at times can be a bit confusing and a bit jarring in its use of conveying location to the audience and can be a bit of a trek trying to locate where the group is. The action sequences while great, can also be a bit shaky at times making it hard to decipher what's happening on screen.
All in all I'm impressed with this franchise so far. Please make sure the final movie isn't split into two parts though!
I tried writing a review for this but I simply couldn't think of the right words to express how I felt so simply...Ricki and the Flash is a good movie that has an authentic portrayal of a broken family. And despite the fractures in the relationships presented, that the love between child and parent is imminent even if the love isn't always reciprocated back at first.
Based on the 1964 television series of the same name, Guy Ritchie's The Man from U.N.C.L.E pits Man of Steel's Henry Cavill and The Lone Ranger's Armie Hammer together in this buddy spy romp. While the plot itself may be predictable, this film has a lot of fun, with a great rapport between Cavil and Hammer being the reason this film succeeds. Cavill plays womaniser Napoleon Solo with old-school American charm, while Hammer plays IIIya with a guarded demeanour and a thick Russian accent (which I thought was quite good) making for an hysterical time when the two share the screen together. Another stand out in the film is Alicia Vikander who plays Gabby giving her some grit and proving that she's just or more capable than the two male leads. The set pieces are beautiful, especially when they are in Rome. The action sequences are also well shot and executed giving this film a lot more life than the trailers let on. All in all just a quick review but I greatly enjoyed the film.