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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.
Before watching Dark Blue I had my reservations that it was going to be quite generic, un-original and very run of the mill but I was very surprised when I was gripped, captivated and very entertained and satisfied with what I got.
Dark Blue follows various cops torn between right and wrong on a case of a quadruple murder. As simplistic as that sounds, there are various twists and turns along the way; some surprising and unexpected and others blandly predictable.
The casting for this movie was great. It was very good to see Kurt Russell in a film seen as his appearances run years between. Along with Kurt Russell is Ving Rhames, Scott Speedman & Brendan Gleeson. Kurt Russell is on GREAT form as the morally corrupted cop, Scott Speedman brought a good performance as the young cop unsure of his corrupt colleagues.
Along with the great cast, the story is great as previously mentioned and as plain, boring and un-original as it sounds it really is quite unpredictable and entertaining. Think Narc but less dark but more entertaining.
The film runs around the two hour mark which sounds like overkill for a cop film, but actually it fits quite well although some parts were in there for the sake of time filling and could have easily been left out and it wouldn't have taken away from the film's greatness. Although, the film wouldn't be nearly as good without Kurt Russell. He brings the charisma, the entertainment and the controversy. By controversy, I mean that his character is morally corrupt and often acts outside the law but paints a picture so it was self defence for example.
Overall, there isn't much more to say about Dark Blue that hasn't already been mentioned. There are great performances, a better than average story with a few good twists and a good running time. Dark Blue is well worth your time if you like these kinds of dark police drama films.
Spring Breakers is a dark, entertaining, unique & original movie that takes you on a wild ride that keeps getting better the more you think about it.
If you'd have asked me after I saw it what I would give it, I would most likely say in-between a 3.5 to a 4 but this is a movie I found that the more you thought about it and remembered some of the scenes, the more you thought you enjoyed it. In the future I will probably see this movie with rose-tinted glasses and see it a better film than it actually is.
Before going into this movie, I expected to see a mediocre and quite rubbish piece of cinema. I saw the trailer and laughed at it, mainly for it's constant repetition of the words 'Spring Break'. This phrase is repeated in the movie several times, as are several shots we've seen multiple times but; for some reason it seems to fit very well and you have no problem with it or at least I didn't.
I can imagine and I can definitely understand if people hate this movie and call it pretentious. Some people will hate this movies' art house style and it's slow burning plot. But for me, I loved that tone; I found it very fitting and refreshing. Normally with a movie like this, you would expect it to follow the generic style and tone of most party movies these days. The stereotypical tone and style I referenced was 'a crazy and wild night followed by a hazy aftermath in the morning'. Instead this movie followed the deflowering of 4 high school girls trying to get have a good spring break.
This movie is very wild, their antics are quite far fetched and over the top but it is deliriously entertaining. The Britney Spears 'Everytime' montage was brilliant. It is a movie full of dark humour and shocking moments. You can tell this from the first couple of minutes as the film starts with a beach party on mute due to the sound of Skrillex in the background, and when the bass drops the viewer is exposed to wild nudity, alcohol and drug abuse.
It is absolutely no surprise that this movie was rated 18 because of it's content. The film is full of sex, nudity, drug use, alcohol abuse, violence and very strong language. It wasn't up to the uncomfortable experience of Killer Joe but it wasn't a light hearted party movie like Project X.
When I say full of sex, nudity and violence... I mean it. From the start scene to the end, you will be surprised at the amount of gratuitous nudity and bad language. I was taken aback at how gratuitous it all was. I knew it would be quite graphic but I didn't realise it would come so heavy. From threesomes in swimming pools to foul mouth re-enactments of a robbery it could be too much for some and it almost felt too over the top for me.
I had never seen a Harmony Korine movie before, and I definitely never heard of one. But now I am going to try to seek out Kids due to my belief that it will rank up in SB's dark nature. The actors do a great job at carrying the movie. The four girls are quite good although I was let down by SLelna Gomez but very glad with James Franco's performance. James Franco was completely unrecognisable and on top form, he was crazy, entertaining and one of the best things about this movie.
Overall, I found Spring Breakers to be a very entertaining art house party movie with a difference. IT stands out and can't be compared with much else.
There have always been many films like Dead Man Down but this seems to stand out because of how more slow burning it seems compared to the more gung-ho revenge films. With a clever plot, good action scenes & great acting. Itâ??s hard not to enjoy Dead Man Down.
The story of DMD seems quite common and run-of-the-mill but it is presented in such a way that it seems different from the rest. The story follows a middle ranking gangster who plots his revenge against his boss who killed his daughter and wife. By just reading that, it could put you off the movie because it sounds very familiar, but just by learning it is directed by the guy who directed the original Swedish film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo may just change your mind.
Dead Man Down is a different kind of revenge thriller because as you can tell from the outset, it is slow burning and puts the adrenaline fuelled action on hold. In most revenge films the action comes frequently and heavily. Films like The Punisher are constantly hitting the gas on action scenes, whereas DMD is more reserved and slower; easing into the action rather than pushing it at every opportunity. Sure it gets carried away with a dubstep slow motion action scene where bullets fly and bodies drop.
Niels Arden Oplev joins the ranks of Chan-wook Park in being a very successful foreign director who makes an English language debut. And while I didnâ??t manage to check out Stoker, I can confirm that Niels can make a great film outside of his comfort zone. And while TGWTDT is obviously a better film, DMD is a great film and you can tell it was a unique director at the helm due to how different it felt.
I was impressed with the stars of the film. Terrance Howard was the highlight for me but Noomi Rapace & Colin Farrell were great. Everyone hit the tone very well with few exceptions (Dominic Cooper). The action is great, with a few impressive set pieces (assassination building escape & final standoff) that look very stylised.
Overall, Dead Man Down is a very entertaining revenge thriller that is definitely worth seeing if you want to see fresh material to a tired sub-genre. Great acting, story, twists, story developments, action & set pieces.
Jack The Giant Slayer is just another one of those modern remakes of classic fairy tales and I believe it outranks the silly Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and the slo-mo filled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
JTGS retells the story of Jack & the beanstalk, modernising it for a new generation. Not meaning itâ(TM)s setting has changed to 2013 but that it is a more suitable for the teenagers of today. JTGS is different to the other â~retellingsâ(TM) because it has a 12a age certificate compared with the 15 rating held by H&G:WH & AL:VH. This difference comes from H&G and AL having many bloody moments of the main hero(es) violently taking down their foes. Whereas JTGS doesnâ(TM)t have much giant slaying and all those moments are either comical or have no blood whatsoever. I would have preferred JTGS to be a bit more mature and hold the 15 rating because one giantâ(TM)s death was too childish and immature to entertain an older audience; specifically those who liked the other retellings.
The cast of JTGS contains such A listers like Ian McShane, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor & Bill Nighy. Some of these performances were great, like Ewan McGregor who I had absolutely no problem with, whereas Stanley Tucci was too pantomime and cheesy to keep the film at the same tone. Nighy was really good as the voice of the two headed giant leader. Nicolas Hoult who plays Jack did ok, he was nothing special but he had charisma and likability going for him.
The CGI of the giants was close to awful. In a world where Avatar looks as good as it is and is pretty much completely CGI, I wonder why Warner Bros & Bryan Singer could tolerate such flimsy and fake looking effects. From forests trampled by giants to beanstalks jumped on by giants, it all looks very shoddy. The only GREAT effect was the beanstalk, watching it fall the second time was one the greatest set pieces of the film for sure. There were some amazing shots that included the beanstalk, from the great shot of them climbing the beanstalk with the glimmering moon in the background, to the spectacle of the beanstalk falling on the ground; laying waste to everything it falls on.
JTGS is around the 2 hour mark in length and I believe that to be 20 minutes too long. There was a lot of unnecessary time filler in the film. It focused on the king and his men for no reason sometimes, it had too much build up and it had a few pacing issues now and again.
Overall JTGS is entertaining, silly, brainless and both visually impressive and unimpressive. Itâ(TM)s a good time but not worth the price of admission. But there are a lot worse fairytale reboots to watch, this just ranks above the mediocre standard.
As one of the few who didnâ(TM)t really like the Evil Dead trilogy, I was very surprised to love the look of Evil Dead's trailer. It is good to go back to old fashioned horror that uses practical effects, does away with flimsy twists and trying to flesh out a villain. So when I saw the film, I was pretty excited even though it pretty much is identical to the original; just rebooted.
Evil Dead follows a group of young adults who go to a cabin in the woods in order to detox one of the group. During this stay, they unleash an ancient evil that possesses and murders them one by one.
If you are expecting a no-holds barred, gory, scary and freaky horror film. You are greatly in luck. Evil Dead is full of gore and horror. It does away with jump scares and CGI. That makes it even more impressive that it was a great film. This nod to the original days of horror was refreshing and fun. Knowing no CGI was used makes it even more special when you see arms and hands being cut off and chainsaw dismemberment.
Many horror films nowadays are full of jump scares, bland characters, poor acting & writing and a crappy B or C grade Jason Vorhees. Evil Dead had none of these things (bar around 3 jump scares and somewhat forgettable characters) and was just a great back-to-basics horror film.
The acting, writing & characters are exactly how you expect them to be = pretty mediocre. There is nothing special in that department although I would say it is above the standard set nowadays that every character is cannon fodder. And like mentioned throughout, where other departments lack, Evil Dead makes up for it with gore.
The length of this movie is the standard 90 minutes as normal with modern horror films, and that feels just long enough; leaving time to know the characters and story. It doesnâ(TM)t feel rushed near the end and it satisfies with pacing; leaving a good gap between deaths and disturbances.
I found out before the movie that there was a post-credits scene which I thankfully remembered to stay for. In the trailer I assumed it would end awfully with the final girl dragged into the cellar and then it would show a brief aftermath. But amazingly, this was not the case and instead the patient viewers were treated with a 5 second clip of Bruce Campbell saying âGroovyâ?. I loved this nod but for my friends (who hadnâ(TM)t seen the originals) it was stupid and made no sense.
Like said before, this film is full of gore and horror that should satisfy fans and non-fans of the originals alike but after The Cabin In The Woods, itâ(TM)s hard to take these kind of films seriously. But Evil Dead truly delivers with amazing practical effects, gore to match the late Saw films and acting less stale than most horror films these days.
Rocket Science is a quirky gem packed with brilliant indie charm carried along by a great narrative and an amazing soundtrack. Rocket Science follows the story of a timid high school boy with a speech impediment who decides to join his high school debate team to chase love. First of all anyone who doesn't like Indie films (specifically quirky romantic indie films) may not like the movie due to the pacing, storyline etc but it was perfect for me. When I saw this film I only expected a good performance from Anna Kendrick and that's it but after watching it I was speechless with my mouth wide. It really left me speechless because it ends on such a great note leaving the viewer with an amazing message and moral. The acting was brilliant from Reece Daniel Thompson doing a great speech impediment and he played his role very well and was thoroughly believable. Anna Kendrick was amazing but often her character can be hard to keep up with. And like films including Drive, the soundtrack is EXCELLENT and one of the best parts as all the songs fit the right tone bang on. Sometimes we hear a Narrator monologuing and his dialogue was so good as he WAS the true voice of Hal. The characters are brilliant and you get more than mere high school stereotypes and instead you get a main character some could relate to and empathise with while being highly engrossing at the same time. And side characters who never really felt unnecessary. Maybe this is because it is loosely based on the director of the film's childhood (Jeffrey Blitz). Like previously mentioned the ending is fantastic and like endings reminiscent of The Mist, it will not be for everyone and at first most will feel robbed but once you truly understand the deeper meaning and what has truly happened; you appreciate it and can't believe it's excellence. This does have that kind of cliched quirky indie formula but it feels original, always heartfelt and natural. I hate to wrap it up so soon because I don't know if I have done it enough justice but overall Rocket Science is an amazing, relatable, touching, moving and breathtaking indie romantic coming of age story that comes full circle with an amazing lesson at the end that will definitely leave you speechless.
V/H/S is a very frightening movie full of tense and unexpected (jump) scares that are sure to take you by surprise. My expectations of a mediocre horror movie were far from my feeling for the film. A nostalgia trip for some, but I found it to be very entertaining and freaky.
V/H/S follows a group of very unlikable amateur criminals who are assigned to burglarize a house in search of a single videotape. When they can't tell which videotape is the right one they start watching through them and find some very shocking stories. This storyline may not sound very original and that's because when it comes to POV horror, there isn't much left that can be covered. There are some great side storylines though and without them the main one would fall hard. I found every single videotape story was great and thought none were bad but I have preferred ones. There are many shocker moments and it constantly keeps you on edge but if you are burnt out on handheld horror films this may not be for you.
The biggest problem I had with this movie was the characters and how every one of them is extremely unlikable and unrelateable. This sometimes took me out of the film and I therefore didn't really care if they lived or died; the key examples being in the main storyline with the VERY unlikable criminals and the teenagers in the woods.
In the last few years there have been many handheld horror films, some have been great (Cloverfield, REC) while others have been dreadful (The Devil Inside, Apollo 18). Some, in fact probably the majority will not like this movie because it cashed in on this sub-genre far too late to make a difference. I believe that if it came a few years earlier, it may grow a cult status like The Blair Witch Project. You may see that last statement as pretentious or naïve but I truly did like this film and thought it was clever than most other POV movies.
I am not sure what I can say about the cast apart from that they all play douchebags well. The effects were pretty good, I had no problem with them and they worked very effectively. I was especially impressed with the Vampire motel effects, the face crack and big eyes were a sight indeed.
The house robbers searching for the tapes were the downfall because of how completely unlikable they were. Adam W should have at least made them like Arkin from The Collector where we kind of root for the low life even though they are not the most likable character(s).
The Vampire motel story was one of my favourites, it had a few great moments and a few naff ones.
The Haunted House was refreshing and unique. It was creepy, jumpy and very effective. Great ending also.
The forest Slender Man story was a bit silly and over the top but it had a few good moments but overall one of the weaker ones.
The honeymoon murder story was probably my least favourite because of how bland it was and how it just started, went nowhere and ended with a silly twist. It was the M for Miscarriage for V/H/S.
The video chat story was one of the better ones even though at first it felt like a Paranormal Activity copy but to be honest that was completely inevitable for a film like this. It had a nice twist at the end that made me appreciate it more and I would say for me, it ranked just under the motel story.
Overall, V/H/S could either be seen as a run of the mill handheld horror movie or a future cult hit that stands out as a diamond in a dozen; even though it doesn't beat Cloverfield. V/H/S is jumpy, creepy, nostalgic, unique, unpredictable and great entertainment.
This dark drama would be good if it wasn't just an updated translation of the original. Pusher follows the typical storyline of a drug dealer who is in a sticky situation and has to get X amount of money to a ruthless drug dealer or else death is most likely on the cards. So to sum up the plot it is really nothing new, maybe back in 1996 it held weight in that department and the remake may just be the template for some of the modern day films like this. When watching the original after seeing the remake you come to realise that Luis Prieto pretty much just re shot the original shot for shot, line for line. But what really is the worst factor with this movie and the same for the original is that the ending is too sudden and it felt like it needed a good 10-15 more minutes just so the viewer sees what happens next. I have not seen the sequels so I have no idea if they show what happens next or just reference it. Or maybe even never hint anything... which would suck. I did like Richard & Bronson 's performances and I believe Richard was better than his counterpart but I preferred Le Chiffre (Bond reference) to Bronson; and I thought Agyness was better but really the differences in performances are very minimal. But every time I think of this film I just realise it comes out with zilch originality and just takes the original and do it all again with no change. Don't expect a different ending, new scenes, unexpected twists or anything like that. The only big differences I can think of is someone that dies gets killed a different way to the original, Bronson is actually seen after the bat scene when Mads wasn't. Overall Pusher is a cool, dark & bleak look at a week in the life of a drug pusher. Containing a cool almost Drive like soundtrack (but no way near as good bar the Beat & the pulse remix), ok acting & it is a by the book, shot for shot; carbon copy remake of the original.
Back in July 2012 I watched a YouTube review of TPBTP from someone who went to TIFF. In this review, the user said that this movie would be best enjoyed not knowing any of the plot details and not watch any trailers for it. I took his advice very literally and after waiting nearly a year, I went to see this film only knowing the cast, director & that Ryan G was a stunt driver by day and a bank robber by night in order to provide. And after watching the film, I appreciate his advice so much due to the amount of twists and turns this movie took and all of them came completely unexpectedly. 50 minutes in, you know that this will be a very unpredictable movie.
Like previously mentioned TPBTP follows a stunt driver forced to rob banks in order to provide for his baby and along the way he begins a rivalry with a beat cop that ripples across generations. TPBTP jumps across time gaps (not to the length of Cloud Atlas) and follows how one event changes lives but not in the way of films like Crash & Margaret. It is hard to describe the plot of TPBTP because you are treading on egg shells because of how unpredictable it is.
The actors include Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta & Dane DeHaan. All of this actors are great in this movie and some I would say are brilliant: mainly Bradley Cooper & Ryan Gosling. The films length may be over the 2 hour mark but it is well worth it when you realise the stretch this movie is taking and how much it actually has to cram into this time. You may look at your watch a few times across the movie but when it picks up in it's pacing; time flies.
One of the main issues with the film is the pacing which is sometimes all over the place. You appreciate why though because of how it sometimes needs to stop and appreciate the outcome of certain set pieces.
After a masterpiece like Blue Valentine, you didn't need to see a trailer to know that this film was going to be great. But I did watch the trailer after watching the movie and while it may give you the wrong impression about the movie, it still paints the style and tone perfectly but ultimately if you pay too close attention to it, you may decipher the twists just by the trailer.
Drive was the best film I saw for a few years and the soundtrack blew me away (I still listen to Kavinsky-Nightcall & College ft Electric Youth-A Real Hero to this day!) and with that, I hoped that this movie would almost live up in both those aspects. And while it does not rank near Drive on both, it is still a fantastic film and the soundtrack was very satisfying ('Snow Angel' gives me a shudder because of how good it is).
Overall, The Place Beyond The Pines is a fantastic movie that crosses genres and time lengths. It contains Oscar worthy performances and a story worth experiencing and if you like these kind of films or such films as Blue Valentine, Drive & a toned down Cloud Atlas then you should certainly adore this movie for what it is; I know I did.
A heartwarming animation full of retro gamer glee. Wreck It Ralph follows an arcade game villain who is tired of being bad and decides to 'game jump' in order to be seen as a hero. This film is an animated gem and while it is not groundbreaking in it's structure it is still great as you connect with Ralph and follow him on his journey. This film contains a lot of old retro video game references from Metal Gear Solid to Sonic The Hedgehog and therefore appeals to a wider audience than just sticking to creating it's own video game universe. These nods allow the viewer to settle into the atmosphere better as they understand the universe much better than having to take in new stuff. Before seeing this I expected to hate Sarah Silverman's character because 1) I find her quite annoying and 2) in the trailer she was presented as very bratty and annoying. But instead her character is humanised very much throughout especially when she is an outcast among the other racers. There is one really human scene where SPOILER ALERT Ralph destroys her new racer SPOILER ALERT OVER. We constantly see shots and expressions where Ralph knows his hands can only destroy and it really hits you hard. There is a very good twist near the end that comes out of nowhere. Not to say it was unnecessary but it was very unexpected. I also really enjoyed the constant referring to 'going turbo' which made for a brilliant backstory. John C Reilly really fits the role of Ralph, Jane Lynch does well as the hard as nails commando (who turns out to have a great backstory also). Overall it's a very heartfelt story and while it may not be groundbreaking it still offers some new tricks and thoroughly entertains throughout. If you love old arcade games then you will really appreciate this film for what it is and not only that; it really invokes many emotions.
Oliver Stone is back and he seems very comfortable in making a modern set film. Savages follows 2 of the best drug dealers in California and when they refuse to form a partnership with a Mexican cartel their joint girlfriend is kidnapped until their deal becomes cemented by a year's contract. Instead of playing by the rules the 2 very different drug dealers decide to take revenge and cause chaos in their attempt to save their girlfriend. Now this film is a pretty good action film with a good story, interesting characters (specifically Benecio Del Toro & John Travolta) & a solid running time. But on the other side Blake Lively fails to be a good storyteller and her narrating dialogue is pretty bad. The red herring ending was truly awful and could only be enjoyed at the time as a sign of relief & it was pretty formulaic and unoriginal. This film was a good time and tips far above mediocre but this is no Platoon. Taylor Kitsch & Aaron Johnson were pretty good & well suited to the roles of two opposite in personality drug dealers and the film presented this Ying Yang relationship brilliantly with Taylor as a hardened soldier not afraid to get his hand's dirty & Aaron as the Buddhist always seeking the peaceful solution. Overall Savages is a good time and is worthy of your time if you like a good action movie but this certainly isn't for everyone.
A cult classic film noir with a multi-strand layout that fits perfectly. The story for this film may sometimes feel very basic it captivates and absorbs you into several stories of completely different characters and how their lives intwine. The acting is pretty much perfect from the stunning born to play the role Guy Pearce to the very fitting and realistic James Cromwell; it just never falters in that area. The setting is magnificent creating a very realistic and creative Hollywood 1940's environment. It turns a simple multiple homicide investigation into a tale of different people who join up in an alliance to expose the truth and even put everything (including their lives) on the line. There is a twist in the film which unfolds in the same scene to be severely iconic for me: "Rolo...Tomassi." Overall it is known to be one of the greatest films and you really can understand why, If you like LA Noire then you will love this; even though LA Noire feels like a carbon copy game adaptation of this sometimes.
Yet again William Friedkin creates a greatly uncomfortable movie. This film follows a 22 year old drug dealer who resorts to hiring a cop to kill his mother for her life insurance in order to pay back someone threatening to take his life. Now I feel bad in saying I enjoyed Killer Joe because it is a very twisted and often hard to watch gritty drama due to some scenes bound to become infamous. Anyone who has seen it should suddenly have recalled those scenes. And each uncomfortable scene does not let up and the camera never looks away, these are very long and very hard to watch. The story overall is not too new or refreshing but offers some twists to keep you entertained especially the last third which was EXTREMELY gripping. The acting is great everyone was very good from Emile Hirsch's worried drug dealer to Gina Gershon's unrecognisable look as a trailer trash mom and especially Matthew McConaughey's brilliant performance as the titular cop Joe Cooper. This film explores alot of dark places and situations escalate (especially in violence) and become very hard to watch but you can't help but not look away. I probably make it sound more distressing than it is but the film is raw, dark and very engrossing. Throughout you may notice things that point to it being great as a play and funnily enough the film is based on a stage production. The ending sticks with you, it doesn't really end the story but infact it leaves a massive cliffhanger but in a good way. The mystery intrigues you and you feel it's best not to know what would happen next. Overall Killer Joe is a great film but is not for the light hearted and will not appeal to everyone but it is a great cinematic experience offering good storytelling and unexpected plot twists. They don't give the NC-17 rating lightly.
The Hunger Games is a funny subject for me. I loved the books, hated the first film, don't like much it borrows from other movies (mainly Battle Royale) and I quite liked this one.
The premise for the films is great, it's a unique spin on the 'fight to the death' movies and I like how the books developed the story and its focus on love, consequences and carried a social commentary. The second film carried these themes and I really liked how it portrayed the consequence of Katniss' choice at the end of the first Hunger Games' the whole film felt like a 2 and a half hour consequence for her actions (and that's a compliment!).
In terms of how faithful it was to the source material, it was more faithful than the first and definitely didn't avoid any major plot points or add anything too huge that wasn't in the book. I think overall that this film is much stronger than the first in every way. It had more action and lost the stupid shaky-cam style, the environments looked great and helped convey the lifestyle of its inhabitants. It also strayed away from silly romantic stereotypes and tried a lot less to be like Twilight. This film has really allowed the franchise to come into its own and establish itself instead of being just another Twilight rip-off.
As I said earlier, this film is a lot better than the first film in every way and it channels the book perfectly. It kept some of the most memorable lines from the book without putting an unnecessary spin on them and it ends exactly the same way. Doing this direct adaptation helps to keep fans of the source material happy and it also proves that they realise that there is no need to alter what would already make a cohesive and more than entertaining movie.
Overall, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a very satisfying sequel to a movie that I found disappointing. Therefore, I think if you liked the first film, you will love this one. It offers great performances (specifically from the consistently great Jennifer Lawrence), a great and subversive narrative, entertainment for most ages and a great expansion on the Hunger Games franchise.
A thriller that is too overdramatic & tense for it's own good. Red Lights follows a pair of paranormal debunkers who face their greatest challenge in proving a blind psychic to be a fraud. Often this film suddenly builds up tense music for no reason and there are attempted jump scares that are stupid and too sudden. Before seeing this I expected a killer ending twist, all movies like this have one, some are good while others fail dramatically. Thankfully this one had quite a good one even though it's pretty silly and comes out of nowhere. I LOVED the ending face off between Cillian & Robert. It felt like this is what the film was building up to even though there were quite a few open ties by this time. These being - SPOILER ALERT Roberts & Olsen find out how DeNiro cheated the card test and don't tell anyone. This was a key mistake because by this time Toby Jones announced DeNiro authentic and Cillian started the standoff. SPOILER ALERT OVER. I would in no way call this thriller and the 'tense' scenes came across way too forced. Everything is too over dramatic, throughout you are thinking 'why does this even matter?' Particularly why Cillian wants to prove DeNiro wrong so badly, fortunately at least that one gets answered by the end. When the end twist is revealed there is only a 3 odd minute letter speech and then it ends, I felt there needed to be more of a conclusion seen as these characters would never feature anywhere else, their stories need to end properly yet this one ends about half an hour short. Not to say it didn't drag on because it did, I just feel it should have time jumped to what happened a year or two later but to be honest it isn't that hard to guess. I found the performances pretty good, DeNiro did well as a blind psychic, Cillian was good as the obsessive debunker & Sigourney was very good as the ageing veteran. Overall Red Lights is an enjoyable 'thriller' that may bore you or you may hate the twists and turns but if you know what you are getting into you may like it.