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Rating History

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut
10 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Being one of the first handful of films to include young Jake Gyllenhaal in it mittens, if not the first to cast him as the main centralised cast members, Donnie Darko is a key stage in Gyllenhaal's acting career and a key film in the Horror / Science Fiction genre.

Being no defined genre, Donnie Darko successfully appeals to a large amalgamation of audience who will undoubtedly find this a truly spectacular watch - a very smart and gripping one.

Being one of Gyllenhaal's first several acting roles, he successfully proves how strong his acting ability really is. Giving a spin tingling performance at times, one to be sympathetic towards and sheer anger towards all in the same film, Gyllenhaal boasts oozing talent almost being demanded to be recognised.

Not just Jake Gyllenhaal, finds his legs in this film, his sister Maggie, was not just spectacularly cast, as his sister, making their brother-sister relationship ever more believable, but gives a performance, which is much as strong as other more experienced actors such as McDonnell (Gyllenhaal's on screen mother also giving a spectacular performance).

However, despite the rest of the cast including (Jake) Gyllenhaal himself, I felt the best performance came from Gyllenhaal's teacher, Drew Barrymore, providing a all round fantastic performance, humorous comments littered through the film, ending with me wishing Drew Barrymore was one of my high-school teachers.

On top of this star-studied cast, the structure of the whole film was intelligently created, with genius passages (structured as dictionary meanings) flash up on to the scene briefly, when you take the time (outside the cinema) to pause and read the passages they smartly allude to the ending, but still leaving the ending to as much of a shock it deserves to be.

The film felt like a slow-burner pacing wise, despite the fact it isn't, this is not because it take a slow boring start, quite the opposite, with the way it is approached taking a while to get into action, so to speak, but spends time building character depth which is solely vital to the whole film.

In addition a phenomenal script became on of the back bones to the whole film, with no line being unneeded and many of them being extremely smart.

Addressing Frank, Darko's 'Rabbit' costume wearing friend, was spectacularly woven into the film, having little lines, being completely effective in creating a sense of tension which runs as a theme thanks to Frank. On top of this the costume design for Frank was also extremely strong having a visually striking look to it making it all the most memorable.

However, despite these many positives gearing this movie up to be fantastic in all sense of the words, there were a few minor areas where improvement could be added.

The addition of Seth Rogen's character felt unneeded and over done in places, certainly around the middle area to the end of the film where he gets more lines, and was imperative to scenes, it felt unnecessarily over done, and being the one of two bullies, Rogen's felt to be the most unneeded one (however, how Rogen has turned his career into a largely comedy driven one is solely impressive in itself).

On top of this, Darko's father seemed to have very little to do, especially nearing to second half to the movie, certainly compared to Darko's mother whom had a large part towards the ending. With Darko's father, Darko's therapist also felt like a mismatch ending, and it not being half as key as she should've been. These are nothing but minor wasted opportunities though.

Despite two generally minor faults, that could've been altered simply, Donnie Darko serves up a dish best served warm (warm being the director's cut) which screams to be watched, and deserves to be heard.

After watching my rating came to 8.3/10, however, after this thinking about the feature in depth it forced me to up the rating to points higher, falling closer to nine out of ten than eight.

Final verdict - 8.7/10 or A/A+

Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde (2017)
10 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Being called the alleged female Bond, Atomic Blonde, mixes a kick ass action scenes and more charisma that most Bond films, to deliver a surprising flick giving a large percentage of Bond films a run for their money, using only a fraction of the budgets Bond films cost.

Being the film I was looking forward too most this summer, I had high hopes for this low budget spy thriller (mostly because of its spectacular trailers and star studied cast).

Featuring enough kick-ass action and blood to keep a sinking boat afloat, Atomic Blonde successfully mixes a appropriate amount of gore and brutal action sequences to leave you hoping you never meet Charlize Theron down a dark ally.

Theron gives one of her best performance to date as a British agent Lorraine Broughton thrown into Berlin mid Cold War to bring her dead college back to England, but gets more than she bargained for. Theron's naturally intimating body language and charm is a strong driving force throughout, providing several humorous comments, genuinely fear striking performance proving a kick-ass spy does not have to be male.

Having several supporting cast members including John Goodman and Toby Jones, no actor gives a average performance, but neither of the stand out supporting roles come from these two well established actors, it comes from Skarsgård and Boutella.

Boutella provides a performance stronger than her first feature this year 'The Mummy' also playing a role similar to Theron's but has no scene half as near as strong as Theron's, however, scenes with both Boutella and Theron felt so natural and so powerful you wonder why this pairing was never thought of before - hopefully reunited in future films.

Depsite the performance from Boutella, also recently esstablished actor Skarsgård is set to make it big break performance in IT (coming out later this year) but taking anything of his performance here will be a treat. Skarsgård provides a well above average supporting role, despite the limited amount he was in it, the effort put it was noticeable, due to that led to a highly memorable part to the film.

Not just was the cast completely fitting to this, the 80's soundtrack worked enough, to make the action sequences even stronger, in fact most scenes on a whole uplifting the already high quality of the film, to a even higher level. But on the contrary, it was slightly disappointing to find the two tracks used in the trailers did not feature in the film once.

Past the beginning scene and the introduction of Theron's character, the first few acts felt very slow paced, however, this was not in a bad way which a movie being slow paced usually is. The slow pace is what ensure the correct character development (which is very strong throughout). The opening credits feature, with a long short of Theron walking down the street, even though this is so minimal, it's extremely memorable, just due to the sheer attitude brought through in the scene both due to Theron but also due to the aesthetic camera filming.

The way Atomic Blonde is shot, I am a huge fan of, in scenes there is little movement of the camera, and also the dim, vintage look to all shots, they look very strong, even in action sequences, the lighting is very vintage, especially with the continuous use of neon lights, which is very much some of the only use of unnatural lights - lots being natural day light.

There are lots of very strong scenes, one particularly comes to mind, (a scene shown in the trailers), it feature Skarsgård and Theron together and a array of black umbrellas, not just is this scene shot fantastically, the originality put into this is shown and really pays off to becoming the best scene in the entire movie.

On top of all this a surprise twist occurs at the end, which was superb and unpredictable, which left me almost speechless as I didn't see it coming.

Of course, despite the immense amount of positives, one rather main part did let me down.

James McAvoy's character was a tale of two halves, during the first half of the film he was one of the most richest characters, however, coming into the second half I felt he had the same effect as Jamie Foxx in baby driver, the performance was strong but the actions of the character became repetitive and very samey, this didn't prevent his final scene of the movie being extremely strong, but the bit between sadly falls slightly flat.

Delivering a film which brings factors the James Bond franchise lacks, Atomic Blonde leads to a very strong spy-action-thriller with a soundtrack and acting amalgamation to boast.

Final verdict - 8.3/10 or A-/A

Baby Driver
Baby Driver (2017)
10 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Despite having a very much misleading name, there is nothing primitive, like a baby about Baby Driver.

Having a spectacular director such as Edgar Wright (with such hits under his belt such as the Three Flavoured Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim vs the World) it was only a matter of time before Baby Driver became a hit, all that was required was a cast that could match the ability of the director.

Overall the casting for the movie couldn't have been any stronger, with Elgort again proving again how strong of a actor he truly is. James and Spacey each accumulate phenomenal which personally in my belief three potential Oscar nominated performance, in addition Gonzalez and Hamm give strong performances.

However, one actor I did start to get tired of around half way through the movie, Foxx gave a decent performance, but the repetitive actions of his character, and the way its acted, this does not destroy the movie without a doubt, but extra development and range in the character.

With addition to a all but phenomenal cast, the OST to Baby Driver, may not feature original songs, like other music based films (like La La Land), but the combination of songs and the replection of the songs to the story line, one can't help to compare this to much of a strong soundtrack to the one feature in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

With making the Fast and Furious franchise look like a low budget knock off, Baby Driver is a must
see for all, and providing one of Edgar rights strongest movies ever.

Final verdict - 8.4/10 or A

Bridget Jones's Baby
14 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Being the belated sequel to a largely successful franchise which has gained itself a very strong following, with a large amount of fans been waiting for a third addition in the Bridget Jones franchise, and after seeing this it is apparent they won't be dissapointed.

Taking a twist on what was seen in the previous 2 film, on more than one way, introducing new cast members and uniting them with old, altering up the classic 'all by myself' opening montage to a fun, upbeat song bringing the film to a hilarious opening and the clear twist which is given away in the title, Zellweger's character is now pregnant.

Reuniting the old favourites from Firth and Zellweger to Phillips and Callis, proved the franchise hadn't lost its mojo, and the addition of Solemani as Bridget's younger and hip friend and Dempsey, one of Bridget's love interests in the film (and the addition of other characters) bring an amalgamation together which fuels the film and is definitely a strong driving force to the film.

Bringing a spectacularly pieced together script, providing humours comments throughout, with a large percent landing firm on the ground, and a storyline which does that script justice, Bridget Jones's Baby a humorous adventure as well as a gripping on up to the last scene revealing the Baby Daddy.

Equalling up a film which is miles better than the previous film to the franchise 'Bridget Jones Edge of Reason' but still falling short of the original, Bridget Jones Baby cooks up a sequel already requiring me to beg for more.

Final verdict - 7.4/10 or B/B-

Don't Breathe
Don't Breathe (2016)
14 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Don't Breathe was clear to be a film to watch out for even before reviews had been published, and only a few trailers had been released - the sheer originality shown in the trailer made it clear.

Serving up a very strong young cast, including Dylan Minnette (13 reasons why) and his two friends who make their living thieving from others and the more mature Stephen Lang a blind ex-military solider, Don't Breathe excels on the acting front as much as the script, proving humorous wit at points, which felt appropriate, and very smart use of profanity which is quite the contrary for most modern horrors, as well as making you feel sympathetic for both parties at different parts of the film.

Taking used ideas and putting a modern, not yet seen twist on especially one scene where Lang's character turns off the lights forcing the young robber into dark to essentially 'see what he sees' and the way the rest of the story line unfolds is non other than very smart, extremely original and superbly executed.

Nearing the ending 30 minutes of Don't Breathe, you feel as if no more story bending can be moulded into the story line, which leaves you all the more surprised when a twist is introduced which could still be partly predicted but another twist added into the spanner works which is both extremely smart and unexpected.

However, two main parts come to mind if the option to change to film occurred.

The addition of Lang's brutal hound seemed to be weaved into the story line or either lengthen the film or for plot convenience, if not both. Whilst watching the film you fail to notice the fact, the he just appears half way through but when thinking about it after seeing it, comes to mind.

A main character, which had potential also seemed to be ejected from the film too soon leaving their character wasted, with plenty of opportunities for him to be ejected later on.

Much expected the film did not fall sort of expectations, having a modern twist on the seemingly overdone 'home invasion horror' genre, Don't Breathe adds up to be a film that isn't just called Don't Breathe but leave the audience breathless.

Final verdict - 7.7/10 or B+