Going into Anchorman 2, I had very low expectations. From the trailer, rumours and the fact that it exists; I wasn't looking forward to this at all. However, I was very happy to have wrong expectations.
To me, Anchorman is a film I treasure, it is one of my all-time favourite comedy films so I of course hated that this existed because I knew it would at least partially tarnish how I see the first film. But, it was very similar to the first film in its style and it thankfully wasn't too silly. One of the problems is that a few jokes slightly miss the mark but some of these are relevant (Ron repeatedly saying "Black" to a black boss was silly but it was relevant as people were still close minded back then). The bottom line is, if you didn't enjoy the silliness and sketch-like humour of the first then you will hate this even more.
From start to finish, Anchorman 2 follows a basic formula but it is a formula that works very well for this kind of film. It is linear and not hard to predict but it has a few unexpected twists. A huge reason for why it is partly unpredictable and why it is so refreshingly funny is because of the involvement of Judd Apatow & Adam McKay. Under the wrong direction, this film could have been so much worse.
Overall, Anchorman wise, it is a great film. It feels like an Anchorman film, not just a comedy. As you can tell, this film succeeded on what it was trying to do and will surprise you if you are a fan of the first. Oh and p.s. it also has a battle scene and it is just as good as the first with even more impressive cameos.
After Only God Forgives, Gravity was my most anticipated movie of 2013. I waited months to see it and I was so glad when it turned out to be nearly as good as I was expecting. Everything that you would want from this film, is delivered. The biggest compliment I can give this film is that I would say it is the greatest CGI I have ever seen in a movie.
I saw this movie in 3D (only because 2D wasn't showing) and I am so glad I did because this is probably the best use of 3D I have seen in a movie. In a world where 3D is never good and is only used as a gimmick, Gravity manages to go beyond this typical mediocrity and use it as a tool to help make the world seem more whole. The 3D truly is spectacular and makes the movie even more jaw dropping.
As I briefly touched on it in the introduction, this movie contains the greatest CGI I have ever seen in a movie. The whole film is basically shot on a green screen as little of what is shot is actually possible to accomplish without digital alterations. The space landscape looks absolutely incredible, the Earth looks beautiful and detailed. If the visuals in this movie don't impress you, nothing will. I don't think I can say enough how amazing it looks, the CGI is also detailed according to real physics also. For example, one of the most impressive things for me about this film was how it digitally altered a tether to make it move exactly how it would in such a scenario.
The running time is an amazing 90 minutes, to some this might seem too short, however it was perfect for this type of film. It never dragged and I never wanted to check my watch. The pace never got sluggish, nor was it overbearingly non-stop. Narrative wise, it developed really well and had a great structure to it that did not hinder it in any way.
However, the problem with this movie for a lot of people is the ending. A lot of people dislike how this movie ends, I won't say why so not to spoil it, however; I will argue against it. I feel the movie ended greatly, I feel it is a brilliant way to end it but I will admit there are other endings I would have preferred but I feel they may have been too bleak to work.
Overall, Gravity is impossible to not love, it is a beautiful and unique film that will be admired for years to come. It is exactly what you want it to be and it is groundbreaking in many ways.
Going into The Railway Man, I expected a mediocre Oscar-bait biopic however, I was more than delighted to be wrong. While it has many of the run of the mill true story drama conventions, it is superior to most of them and feels very subversive to such a dry and boring sub-genre.
The Railway Man follows two timelines, one of an English group of POWs trying to survive in Japan during World War 2, and another set decades later following the psychological fallout from the trauma the soldiers endured.
To me, this story is much stronger than typical true stories and it worked really well. It fits in themes of forgiveness and overcoming tragedy really well. It delivers a very strong performance from its lead Colin Firth (which is great to see after the dreadful Gambit) and equally great performances from Hiroyuki Sanada and Jeremy Irvine. The film's greatest strength probably lies is the brilliant performances on offer, however Nicole Kidman slightly missed the mark. After War Horse left a bad taste in my mouth, I have steered clear of cheesy Oscar-bait films and of Jeremy Irvine, however this movie gives me hope that both of those things are not always bad.
The run time of these kinds of films tend to be too long and they drag on a lot, however; The Railway Man fits quite well with its 115 minute run time. I didn't have much of a problem with its length, nor its pacing; bar having a couple of time checks throughout. It is also shot very well with sets that really help to capture the intended environment and time setting, particularly the great dreary 80's English seaside environment.
In regards to the intended target audience, this film predominantly aims for elderly people as they will understand the jargon and context of the film better than any other demographic. As a teenager in a screening surrounded by elderly people, I could tell the film was hitting its mark well as they understand and laughed at things I didn't; but thankfully this ignorance didn't hinder my viewing experience.
Overall, The Railway Man more than succeeds on what it is trying to accomplish and is definitely compelling viewing. It is great for mature audiences and feels like a standout in a boring and tired sub-genre. However, if you truly dislike biopic/true story films then this will probably not be for you and the same goes for people strongly uninterested in the second World War.
Scent Of A Woman is one of them films that really blows you away if you're not expecting it.
Like The Place Beyond The Pines, I got so much more than I was expecting. Al Pacino has never had a better role since Godfather 1 & 2. He just BLOWS YOU AWAY, he is on top form. It's funny this is Chris O'Donnells best performance to date and yet it was one of his first!
The running time is 150mins which scared me but I was gripped the whole time. I had to stop half an hour in due to the time but I just wanted to carry on so much. The story is amazing and even carries a moral message. It follows a young college student who goes to earn money by looking after a knowledgable blind war veteran while dealing with a big problem at school. It's captivating from start to finish.
As I said early, and I cannot stress this enough, Al Pacino has hardly ever been better, he is breathtaking in every scene he is in. The whole mentor, student relationship is interesting throughout & Chris wasn't even a hinderance. There are so many amazing scenes in this movie. It is a classic for sure. It is the only film Al Pacino has ever won an oscar for, and you definitely see why. He is one of the greatest American actors who has ever lived.
Overall, Al Pacino brings out an AMAZING performance, the supporting cast are excellent, the story and it's progression are amazing, a great score and a definite classic.