Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa … Rude, crude, but not far enough [REVIEW]

Bad Grandpa is the latest project from the Jackass team, and follows the already known characters of Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville in old man make-up) and his grandson Billy. The two are travelling across America, to drop Billy off with his father after his mother is sent to jail, causing trouble wherever they go.

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Although this film is centred around hidden cameras and real life reactions, the relationship between grandpa and grandson, or getting rid of Zisman’s wife’s body, does put a narrative structure in place, to bring this together as a story. This is a difficult thing to do, but has been mastered by Sacha Baron Cohen with Borat and Bruno. However, Bad Grandpa doesn’t hit the mark like Cohen’s efforts.Sacha-Baron-Cohen-borat-django-unchained-tarantino

Bad Grandpa is pretty funny, and although the laughs aren’t always out loud, for the most part will provide you with a chuckle. As expected the film is crude and littered with fart jokes, swearing and ball jokes, that Jackass has become famous for, and is still funny when they do it. There are sections of the film which are absolutely hilarious, which happens most often when the film is most daring. I think this film would do better for having less of a narrative and focus more on the pranks. It is the pranks that the audience have gone to see (or at least what I went to see) and as I have said, when these push the limit that is when the film really shines.

Hidden camera efforts do best when they push the limits of sanity, as this generates the greatest reactions – however this film doesn’t seem quite willing to push it far enough for long enough, and it is slightly disappointing that most of the films funniest sections have already been seen in the trailer, and not many gems are left hidden in there.

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There isn’t a lot that I can say about the film, without ruining the pranks for those who haven’t seen it yet, but Bad Grandpa is a nice effort, and a good laugh – perhaps one to sit down and watch with your mates, so you can goof around yourselfs when the less interesting parts of the film are playing out. The characters are very funny, they are a perfect duo for short snippets of pranks embedded in a TV show or a movie – although dedicating an hour and a half narrative to the two seems a push too far for them.

I think I will enjoy this film more next year when it is released on Netflix and I can watch it in a student house with a bunch of mates, rather than sat in a cinema with strangers. This film is one you want to talk through parts of, and that isn’t really doable in the cinema. Although the two lasses sat behind me seemed to think it was acceptable to do so. It is pretty annoying to have to sit and listen to other peoples conversations and a running commentary of everything that is happening on screen – thank you, but I am watching it, there is no need to describe what is happening, I have eyes!

A funny enough 6/10

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Filth … What’s all the fuss about? [REVIEW]

I don’t really know what to say for this movie.

I didn’t enjoy it- that’s probably the best place to start. Very disappointed, considering the hype.

Based on the book by the same name (which I haven’t read), this film is billed as a Comedy/Crime/Drama – but I didn’t feel like there was much of any of these elements. Taking a dive into the life of bipolar, Scottish cop, Bruce Robertson, played by James McAvoy, we watch as he torments himself and everyone around him, with endless mind games and trickery to turn others against each other, as he bids for promotion to Inspector. After all, “nobody plays the game like Bruce”.

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The film’s main aim is to explore the psychosis of Robertson, but I didn’t feel this was done in a very clever way. Or that interesting for the matter. Lasting only 1 hour and 37 minutes, it felt a hell of a lot longer. The film spends sections of time with McAvoy’s character or his wife talking directly to the audience, or giving sly looks and winks to the audience. A movie that takes the attitude of “I know this is a movie, you know this is a movie, so let’s not pretend that it isn’t a movie” is something I don’t enjoy. I want to go and escape for a while, not be in some kind of inside joke with the filmmakers. To me it reeks of “Oh aren’t we clever, wink wink audience, look at what we’re doing wink wink.” This is a technique I don’t like, unless it is used more tongue in cheek. I like to form my own relationship with a character, not have the film presume one and force me into a conversation with them that I don’t want to be in.

A narrative structure is fine, but real time interactions between the characters and the audience … no thanks.

Robertson isn’t at all likeable, but this film has no interest in creating a character for you to root for. Which actually is a nice change from the norm. From stealing a child’s balloon, to forcing an under age girl to perform oral sex on him, Robertson is a monster and a character to despise. With a few shreds of humanity thrown in to tease the audience that there is some good in there, there really isn’t.

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Although a few big names play a supporting role, this really is the James McAvoy show. And, although I didn’t like the film, I do think James McAvoy actually is really good in this movie! A more full faced McAvoy then we have previously seen, he is almost unrecognisable in this role. He plays this troubled psycho/sociopath very well, and there is some depth in the character, although a little bit weak, this can’t be blamed on McAvoy, he can only do so much with the script he is given. This role certainly opens him up to a newer audience and will likely open the door for more roles in this genre.  Jim Broadbent is in this film, although I feel this role doesn’t do him justice, more a sidelined character that we see occasionally, and in a rather warped view, his talents aren’t utilised. Eddie Marsan is okay in his role as Bladesey, a gullible pawn in Robertsons games, but the only character to really take any interest in is McAvoy’s, Robertson.

The film does take an twist towards the end, that for someone like me who hasn’t read the book, I didn’t see coming, although doesn’t provide the shock value that seems to be being claimed by a few reviews. Personally to me I felt more like, “oh, so that was what was happening, okay.”, not a “WOW! I didn’t see that coming, how clever!”. There are things that in the film that may shock viewers, but again it isn’t ground breaking stuff and is just difficult to watch. I respect a film that can make me feel uncomfortable and still compelled and interested in the story, much like Only God Forgives (which is one of my top films of 2013 so far), but Filth just doesn’t do it for me.

Not quite sure why this film is being touted as a master piece for British cinema, frankly I felt it was underwhelming, trying too hard and missing the mark. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, so please let me know why you think I am wrong. Maybe I just don’t get this one?

Doubtful I will ever watch this film again, a low 3 out of 10.

Runner Runner … Not quite right, but close enough [REVIEW]

Runner Runner was a film I actually intended to see a few weeks ago, when it first came into the cinema. However, circumstances changed and I didn’t find the time to see it until now. Although, now having seen it, I’m not overly disappointed that I waited. Whilst enjoyable enough this isn’t a film you will leave feeling blown away by.

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Runner Runner features Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst, a student at Princeton studying his masters in Finance after losing his high flying job on Wall Street due to the economic crash. Richie is paying his way through school by working as an affiliate to an online casino. Told to stop doing this or get out of the school he risks it all and bets all of his savings on an online poker game. Losing the game, he suspects he’s been cheated, proves he has and decides to fly to Costa Rica to inform Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), owner of the online gambling site. Things transpire and Richie ends up working for Block. That’s a very quick summary without much detail …

The issue with this film, is that it there isn’t much detail, and it all happens very fast. Everything just happens all too easily without a great deal of explanation. Richie just hops on a plane, lands in Costa Rica, conveniently runs into some guys he works for and ends up at a party. At said party, he conveniently runs into Rebecca Shafran (Gemma Arterton) who works for Block and gets him into another party, where he then finds it incredibly easy to get in front of Block. This all happens in about 5-10 minutes. It moves the story along nicely, but possibly a little too quickly. This film is only an hour and half, and usually the cry is for a film to cut out scenes, but with Runner Runner I feel like maybe an extra 15 minutes could have been put into the film to make it feel a bit more real and give me something to get my brain going. Especially as at least 5 minutes throughout the film is spent panning over locations, such as beaches or casinos, when that time could have been spent on developing the story.

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The acting in the film is good for the most part. Justin Timberlake has proven that he can act and is not just a singer who is trying to act, with a good performance in The Social Network and now this. Ben Affleck plays Ivan Block very well, and nicely works the slippery personality of a shady crook who lives the high life, laying on the sleazy charm and almost sarcastic friendliness before angrily snatching it away. As I have said in a previous post, Ben Affleck gets given a hard time, but I actually quite like him, and think he’s pretty good (discounting Daredevil of course!). Gemma Arterton is okay, but doesn’t seem to be naturally compatible with either Affleck or Timberlake’s characters, and at times feels like the lines are being forced.

As the title of the review says, this film just doesn’t feel quite right. The reason being, that I think it actually underestimates itself. I feel that the film had potential to be a lot more engaging, by maybe being a little more intellectual. Now I don’t mean that this is a dumb film, what I mean is that there are elements of the plot that could have been investigated further and added more detail to it, rather than just having things happen and moving onto the next plot point. I think the film just needed to have a but more confidence in itself to express this and little more confidence in the audience that they would respond to it. I went in expecting to have to think a little bit, or try and work a few things out, but that isn’t the case.

But, as the title of the review also says, it was close enough. The film is enjoyable and the story is interesting, if not a little over simplified. And I did enjoy it … which is the main thing. There are better films in the cinema to see, and this isn’t a classic. But would I watch it again? Probably. If rolls around onto Netflix next year and I’m at a loose end, yes I probably will. At the end of the day, if I would consider re-watching a film, it hasn’t done too bad a job.

This had the potential to be little closer to “21”, another gambling film which starred Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess, released back in 2008, (which is very good) but  Runner Runner chose to aim a little lower. Still, not a bad effort and a pretty good film.

A respectable 6.5/10

Movie 43 … Is it REALLY as bad as it was made out? [REVIEW]

When Movie 43 came out in cinema I avoided it because it got an absolute slaying from the critics. But when I signed onto Netflix tonight to see it sitting there in the recently added, I thought, why not give it a go …

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The short answer to the title of this review is a firm YES!

But the long(er), I won’t go on for too long!) answer is, no this isn’t as bad as it is made out, but not far off – it isn’t fantastic to say the least. That’s not to say it isn’t funny. At times I was literally laughing out loud, but other times it was very flat and just not funny.

This won’t be for everyone, as I think you need a pretty childish sense of humour to enjoy this film for what it is – a totally stupid, gross out, fart joke, utterly ridiculous combination of scenes. In fairness, it is a rubbish film.

The film revolves around a down on his luck Dennis Quaid pitching this movie as a bunch of shorts to movie producer Griffin, and stars a blockbuster cast of some of the biggest names in Hollywood, with the likes of Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Richard Gere and Halle Berry, alongside some of comedies best known faces, such as Anna Farris, Chris Pratt, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikiss, Emma Stone, and the list goes on and on.

Movie 43 starts out (in my opinion) hilariously, with Hugh Jackman as a successful business man on a blind date with Kate Winslet. That’s not very funny I hear you say … but wait, Hugh Jackman has testicles attached to his neck … that still isn’t funny you say? Well, I unfortunately did find it funny, and with 3 too many ball jokes, I did still laugh at them all. Shame on me.

Some other highlights include Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts high school experience for their home schooled son. This had me in tears, I was crying with laughter for the whole scene. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is also very funny for a few minutes in a hit and miss scene with Chloe Moretz and Patrick Warburton.

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A few scenes start of slow but save themselves well. I was losing interest fast in Jason Sudeikis and Justin Long’s Batman and Robin duo, however it does save itself and grab a few laughs.

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Absolute no-nos include Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone’s grocery store short which contained no laughs, and Elizabeth Bank’s scene with the animated cat, Beezle, was just awful.

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Movie 43

This film isn’t very good at all, although does it deserve a 4% (yes, as low as that) rating on rotten tomatoes? Probably not. The film knows it isn’t any good, and goes out of its way to be as crap as possible, which is what provides most of the laughs that it does get. Maybe a 10% is a little fairer.

Yes it is juvenile, yes it is stupid. But if you’re tired, bored and in the right mood, this might just make you laugh enough to pass an hour and 30 minutes. But most likely you should avoid it. I quite enjoyed parts of it, but appreciate this won’t be for most people.

Please, whatever you do, don’t pay to watch this film! If you see it on TV or have a Netflix account, maybe try it. I am certainly glad I didn’t put any money into it!

I think a lot of the cast will look back and wonder why they signed on for this …  a black mark on most of their résumés. This must have lost the studio so much money considering the high profile cast and the terrible ratings!

A stinky 3 out 10 – enough laughs to to just about get by, not a good film and not highly recommended. Although if you can find Liev Schreiber’s scene on youtube, that IS worth a watch!

The film is very hit and miss, and I can see why it didn’t fair too well – it takes a strange sense of humour and the right mood to find this funny.

Escape Plan … Don’t judge a book by it’s cover [REVIEW]

Now, when I reviewed The Fifth Estate, I said that I couldn’t bring myself to go and see Escape Plan. But after I had written that, I started thinking that I may have been prematurely harsh in not even giving the film a chance.

So in the art of fairness, today I went to see Escape Plan.

escape_plan_movie_still-1920x1440Escape Plan follows Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) a man whose job it is to break out of high security prisons to test if they are escape proof. My mind initially went to GOB Bluth and his prison escape plan (or should I say illusion) in Arrested Development, but I pulled that back. Breslin is hired by a CIA agent to test a maximum security prison, however the location is not to be known by anyone (already alarm bells should be ringing). Breslin agrees and is picked up in New Orleans under the guise of a criminal named Portos. Immediately the plan goes awry (who’d have thunk it!) and it becomes painstakingly obvious that this isn’t the job that was signed up for.

Heading into this film, I wasn’t expecting much plot, just a lot of crazy action scenes with Sly and Arnie tearing sh*t up. However, the film is a lot better thought out than I would have given it credit for. I mean, it’s not Inception, but some thought went into the story. It certainly wasn’t the film I was expecting, so I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge!

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Every escape requires three things: Knowing the layout, knowing the routine, and help from inside or out. Breslin’s help for this job comes in the form of a fellow inmate, Rottmayer … Enter Arnie!

This is the first film that Sly and Arnie have been the leading men in together, and the chemistry isn’t too bad. They bounce off each other (sometimes literally) quite well for the most part, however there are times when it becomes cheesy, and a few times feels a bit wooden.

Together they need to hatch a plan to escape, coming up against protagonists, Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel), and the lead guard, Drake (Vinnie Jones). This at times feels slows, however never quite lost my attention. Bringing in a third inmate, Javed (Faran Tahir), to help with the plan, the film does start to circle a bit. With numerous scenes of intentionally causing trouble to be moved into areas of the prison they need to be, and repeatedly distracting the guards, which they keep falling for, the film does start to become a tad predictable.

However, along the way, there are some twists and turns that did surprise me and ultimately the film did the job of keeping me suitably entertained for just short of two hours. Although this probably could have been cut down to an hour and half, or hour 45 and still got the job done.

I did enjoy the film, and I was pleasantly surprised to witness (for the most part) a pretty compelling plot and not just 2 hours of insane action. The story does add some depth to the Breslin character briefly touching on the back story of his family and how he got into the business, but this isn’t fully explored. I have no complaints about this however, as with the nature of the film it didn’t need any more detail than is provided – it was nice to have and wasn’t dwelled on too long.

This film isn’t without it’s flaws though. At times the story feel a little sluggish, and it did take about 20 minutes for the film to properly hit it’s stride. As the film plays out it does lose momentum in places, although does pick back up again eventually. I have said that the story was quite compelling, and thought did go into the plot, however the script wasn’t fantastic. You expect cheesiness in a film like this, however it is a little too cheesy in places that make it slightly too cringing. It is also down to the script for some of the woodenness that is present, a few of the conversations don’t feel natural and look forced.

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The supporting characters are a little bit drab, with Amy Ryan and  Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson as Breslin’s support team. These two don’t seem to gel with each other, or with Stallone. Some sort of relationship is hinted at between Ryan and Stallone’s characters, but it just feels awkward and fake, and the dialogue between the two is some of the worst and cheesiest in the film.

All in all however, this film is enjoyable, perhaps not in the way you might expect looking at the two leading men, but enjoyable nonetheless. I did leave the cinema smiling!

So, although this isn’t a classic, I do want to apologise for prematurely writing this film off. It is entertaining and most likely re-watchable. Plus it was fun to watch Arnie and Sly working together. I previously said tongue in cheek that I should have given this a try instead of The Fifth Estate. I can now say in full seriousness … Go and see Escape Plan, and not The Fifth Estate!

A film with flaws, but does it’s job suitably well … a respectable 6/10.

The Shawshank Redemption … Get busy living, or get busy dying. [REVIEW]

The Shawshank Redemption. Rated #1 on IMDB with a 9.3 rating. A 90% rating from critics on rotten tomatoes, accompanied by at 98% rating by the audience. And what one of my best mates describes as:

“The best film I have ever seen.”

Possibly the only film ever made that my Dad has seen but I haven’t.

Until tonight.

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Having just spent the last 2 hours and 22 minutes watching The Shawshank Redemption, I am finding it hard to believe that it has taken me this long to see it. A self proclaimed film fanatic, and I hadn’t seen the number 1 film on IMDB! I know, what have I been doing?!

What can I say about Shawshank? What a film! This is an absolute masterpiece, and I can now see why it is held in such high esteem. I cannot think of a single thing that this film does wrong. I am struggling to put into words  just how fantastic this film is!

Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongly convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Sent to Shawshank prison Andy faces a double life sentence and a whole new life.

There are parts that are difficult to watch, as the film doesn’t shy away from the reality of a life in prison in the 1940’s. Brutally tortured by the “Sisters” where nothing can be done but take it, or beaten by the guards all the while knowing that he is an innocent man. There is so much in this story that it would be impossible to talk about everything that happens in the film. So here are my highlights.

  • Morgan Freeman is sensational as Red – “I hear you’re the guy who can get things”.  This character is instantly likeable, and his friendship with Andy is the heart of this film. Being the narrator of the film you really get to know the character, and is perfect to root for. The-Shawshank-Redemption-featured-image
  • Brooks. A man inside for 50 years, the only life he knows. I struggled at first with the thought of a man who didn’t want to leave prison. Institutionalised, as Red puts it. But I started to understand it. I really loved this character, and the way it all plays out is literally heartbreaking. The letter written back to the prison will pull your heartstrings to the limit.500full
  • The determination. A man wrongly imprisoned. The shit that is thrown his way, and he just takes it. There is no denying Andy Dufresne is one of the most determined characters that has ever been created. A letter a week for six years, followed by 2 letter a week for a following 5 to get his library project completed. Quietly playing the game and following orders, all the while determined to seek Redemption. Tim Robbins is sensational in this film, and his performance as Andy is nyon perfect.Screen-Shot-2013-04-03-at-8.44.23-PM
  • This film is so satisfying. It punishes you as it goes along, but is ultimately rewarding. The ending of this film is one of the most satisfying that you will see. I am still smiling thinking about it.

Now I could go on and on and on about everything I loved about Shawshank, but that would take far too long to write, and to read. So I will leave it at that. If you haven’t seen this film, you should. If you haven’t watched it in a while, watch it again. And if you don’t like it, why not? I really would like to know how so, because I don’t think it would be possible not to enjoy it!

So, compared to yesterday when I watched one of the worst films I have ever seen, today I have watched one of the best films I have ever seen. That is quite the turn around, and one I am glad of!

Shawshank made me feel angry. It made me feel sad. It made me feel happy. This film blew me away and I just can’t believe it took me so long to see it!

All I can say is. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

9.9/10

The Fifth Estate … Go try Escape Plan instead! [REVIEW]

The Fifth Estate. Courage is contagious. One thing is for sure, people enjoying this film won’t be contagious ….

Slow. Boring. Uninteresting.

A few words that came to mind as I left the cinema this evening (and whilst watching the film).

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I came home to a power cut, so thought what better excuse to run off to the cinema. Having no way of checking the times I took pot luck. A few other choices such as Runner Runner or Filth or Enough Said were there, but I couldn’t be bothered to wait 2 and a half hours for them to start. So I was down to Escape Plan or The Fifth Estate. I had intended to go see The Fifth Estate at some point, and couldn’t bring myself to go into Escape Plan … although I now wish I could have. Watching Sly and Arnie break out of prison would have been far more entertaining!

The Fifth Estate tells the story of Wikileaks and its creator Julian Assange. Although, I’m not entirely sure what the story was trying to achieve? Which isn’t great after sitting and watching it for 2 hours! Now, I didn’t have a huge knowledge of Wikileak’s story heading in, but knew enough to be interested. I now know very little more having seen this film.

It seems to briefly touch on points, but never giving the audience much to take hold of. I was expecting to go in feel some excitement, but there is absolutely no tension in this film at all. Even when the film tries to build it, it fails miserably. The music is mis-timed and misjudged, in fact adding very little, if anything whenever it is used.

What perhaps is most disappointing is that there is no chemistry at all with the cast. Benedict Cumberbatch, who everyone seems to be raving about recently was meh at best, and Daniel Bruhl who I praised for his performance recently in Rush also was uninspiring. I just didn’t care about these characters.  The acting was very wooden, and maybe some of that can be blamed on the poor script, but the performances were very lacklustre and the relationships between characters was almost non existent, and ultimately forgettable in my opinion. In fact, I can’t even remember any other character’s name! Two, or maybe it was three others join the Wikileaks team, but it just sort of happens, not much depth is put into this arc in the story, and there is focus on two government officials, whose names I never picked up on, and still am unsure how they actually progressed the story – don’t even ask me about the source the female government official was interested in, who he was, what he did – there was a little back story about some sort of party … I don’t know?

Sorry, who are you guys again?

Sorry, who are you guys again?

It may seem that I wasn’t paying enough attention, maybe I wasn’t. I tried, but there is nothing of interest happening that warrants attention to be held. Which is strange as this should be such an interesting story, based on the real events. This was just a very poor effort from everyone involved. Now, I know I said I didn’t have much prior knowledge, but I am sure this isn’t a fair reflection of what happened … it must have been more interesting than this portrayal.

The films tagline isn’t really relevant. ‘You can’t expose the world’s secrets … without exposing your own’. This hardly even plays into the narrative. It is given maybe a 2 minute nod in the last 20 or so minutes of the film. I can’t decide if the film was so boring and they knew it, that they thought this might jazz it up a bit and entice people in … or the tagline was thought of first and then right at the end of shooting they suddenly thought “Sh*t, we forgot to mention that!” so just threw in a few extra lines of dialogue.

The film tries to be clever, or maybe deep (I’m not sure which), by having the flashes to the empty room full of desks and dropping the characters into it every now and then to show the emotions they are having. I can see what they are trying to do, but it doesn’t really work. This along with the quick cut transitions throughout the film and jazzy location name screens seems like the kind of crappy ideas you get in a sixth form Media Studies class that you think will look amazing. They don’t. I was in that that sixth form Media Studies class. They just look crap. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not bad mouthing Media Studies, it is actually a lot more work and effort than most people care to think … but I digress.

At 2 hours 4 minutes, this film outstays its welcome by about that same amount of time. I won’t be watching this film again and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

A measly 2 out 10 (1 point for each hour of my time this film wasted)

Maybe you should go and chance Escape Plan instead!

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New: American Hustle trailer… and 5 reasons I cannot wait for this movie

I have been very quiet on here recently due to a stream of cliché excuses such as: work has been crazy and I have been away for a few days and my car needs work on so haven’t made it to the cinema etc etc etc. However, I plan on becoming a lot more active on here starting next week.

But until then, I have just seen the second trailer released for American Hustle, so I thought I would list my top 5 reasons as to why I am so eager to see this film … here goes:

  1. The cast is fantastic … Christian Bale has been phenomenal in everything I have seen him in. From The Dark Knight Trilogy, to The Machinist, to The Prestige, to The Fighter, to Public Enemies, to American Psycho (I could go on and on) he changes roles so well, and I cannot wait to see his next performance. Amy Adams again is terrific, having played a host of serious roles and proved she can be funny in films like The Muppets Movie and Talledega Nights. Despite being around a lot longer than I think most people (myself included) actually realise, I think she is now hitting her stride and we can expect big things in the next few years. Bradley Cooper, also funny and serious roles with a decent track record of leading roles including one of the best films of 2012, The Place Beyond The Pines. american_hustle_cast.jpg.CROP.article568-large
  2. I am a sucker for track records. If I see a film that I like, I will then begin searching for other films from the actors/resses and directors to indulge in. For example, after seeing Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman I became a huge fan of his and proceeded to watch every film he has directed (and enjoyed them all!). So, with the aforementioned cast I am a fan off, this film wins the double in this category as I was also a huge fan of The Fighter (which incidentally starred Bale and Adams), which was directed by David O. Russell, who also happens to be directing American Hustle. Who knows, if this film is as good as expected, I may spend the first few months of 2014 working my way through his back catalog.
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  3. Jennifer Lawrence. Yes I have covered the cast already. But I think Jennifer deserves a reason of her own. Quickly becoming Hollywood’s golden girl, who can question why? She has got her hand in a number of large franchises including X-Men and The Hunger Games, won an Oscar for best actress at only 22 years old, tackled comedy, drama and horror with success. She is a talented actress, capable of playing convincingly above her age, and actually appears to be a normal, down to earth person … oh and she is drop dead gorgeous. And hey, only being 3 years older than myself, who knows, I may even have a shot … a guy can dream.Jennifer-Lawrence2
  4. The Story.  A period crime drama about a reckless FBI agent who recruits a con man and his alluring British partner into a scheme to gain the upper hand over other talented swindlers. A. I enjoy the crime genre. B. Period pieces if done properly can look fantastic on the big screen. C. The synopsis suggests great potential for edge of your seat thrills as well as some well placed comedy. It’s usually a good sign if a film can hook you in with one sentence without seeing a trailer, and this is what American Hustle has done for me. Also, the trailers look great, which reaffirms the synopsis. americanhustletrailer
  5. The trailers don’t give too much away. The problem with a lot of films now is, that the trailer gives away far too much of the plot, which can take a lot of enjoyment out of the film. Especially with this genre. Comedy films can often rely on deleted scenes or promo clips for the trailer, whereas crime and thrillers don’t have that luxury. Luckily, American Hustle hasn’t blown it with it’s trailers. It has shown me enough to maintain my interest following the brief synopsis without telling me exactly what is going to happen. Also, any trailer that uses ELO gets a point from me! If another trailer is released, whether I voluntarily watch it has not yet been decided – the more trailers you see, the more of the film you see.

So there is my list. I am eagerly awaiting this release – however shan’t be viewed on the day of release, unless by some magic I can source an advanced screening ticket to see Anchorman 2, which has the same release date as American Hustle.

Anyway, without further ado. Enjoy the trailer. Feel free to let me know what you are most looking forward to from American Hustle, hitting cinemas December 20th.

Rush … A very interesting 2 hours [REVIEW]

Not being a formula 1 fan – or really a fan of any kind of racing, I’m not quite sure why I was so interesting in seeing this film. I can’t really place my finger on it … who knows? I wanted to see it, I have seen it, and I’m glad I did.

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Rush tells the true story of the 1970’s rivalry between Formula 1 competitors Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Running at just short of the 2 hour mark this film just manages to not out stay it’s welcome. The story is told mainly from Niki Lauda’s view although doesn’t feel biased.

I came into this film not knowing really what to expect –  I didn’t know the story, I don’t know the sport, I was just interesting in hearing the story. Which as it turns out is a very interesting one. To be honest I would have been very disappointed if I had gone in to find an hour 45 of racing and 15 minutes of story- luckily it was the other way around. Rather than watching a literal car race, the story more felt like a race between the characters, which was a clever way to play it from director Ron Howard, and worked very well. And I have been informed by a friend who is a big Formula 1 fan, that the story was pretty spot on.

The film is played very well – the chemistry between Bruhl and Hemsworth was fantastic – they complemented each other very well, the hot headed Hunt to the methodically logical Lauda. I felt a lot of emphasis was placed on Hemsworth in the trailers, so thought this would be the James Hunt story, however, it is Lauda who grabs the attention (or at least my attention) and is the standout performance. Most likely Hemsworth was leaned on in the marketing of the film because he is bigger name in Hollywood than Bruhl.

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Although the film is not biased towards either of the men in particular – I found myself rooting for Lauda. There was nothing inherently bad about Hunt, he was just a playboy who was out to have a good time and experience the thrill of staring death in the face. But it was Lauda who I was more interested in watching. His logical way of working and thinking was very captivating, and it was clear he was mind was always ticking over. One of my favourite parts of the film was when Lauda explains he doesn’t drive for the thrill – if he was better at, or could  make more money doing something else – he would. It rang true with the way the character was portrayed – and perhaps is what makes him so interesting – that his attitude was so different to the majority of the other racers.

What is engaging about the story, is that the two rivals are so different from each other – yet so similar. Both are very confident in their own abilities, both think they are the fastest, both have an arrogance and a large ego. Yet, these identical traits are played so differently. Hemsworth’s Hunt is obnoxious, and someone I struggled to get behind – albeit a few times I did feel sorry for him, and even half supported him for a while whereas Bruhl’s Lauda is quieter in his arrogance, seeking to b respected and feared oppose to Hunt’s “look at me aren’t I fantastic” personality – Lauda was much more content is knowing he was the best rather than shouting it – although he does remind people every now and then as the film progresses. Very content with himself, he at one point asks Hunt if he thinks he is affected by the put downs about his looks, because he is not “yes rats are ugly, yes no-one likes them – but they are very intelligent and have a strong survival instinct”.

Olivia Wilde was particularly underwhelming in her role briefly as Hunt’s wife. I understand the character was needed to add depth to Hunt and help the audience (especially people like me who went in cold) understand the progression of the character – but her own personal impact on the movie was little to none. The role could have been played by a lesser known and had the same effect – although again I believe Wilde was used to help sell the film. Olivia Wilde is definitely an easily forgettable in this film.

rushstillsThere isn’t too much else to say about the film really. I feel as though this review isn’t really summing up how I feel about the film. I did really enjoy it. The story was very interesting, and played out very well – I am glad that I now know the story. I suppose that’s what it is, a great story – there is not as much speed and action as the trailer suggests, which I can’t say I’m too disappointed about. However if you’re after a rip-roaring speed-a-thon this possibly won’t be the film for you. There could have been maybe a little more excitement in the film, but I was too interested in the narrative to be that bothered by it. I wouldn’t describe it as “Tense and Thrilling” like the poster quotes do – but I suppose you wouldn’t sell a film to the masses as just “an interesting 2 hours”. Which is a shame, because for me, that’s what Rush was, and is it’s main selling point.

If you want to be taken in by a strong narrative, then give Rush a go – if you’re looking for something more exciting or thrilling, maybe try a different film.

Very interesting – a moderate 6.5/10. Glad I saw the film, and now know the story, but shan’t ‘Rush’ to watch again anytime too soon. (Sorry couldn’t help myself!)

Prisoners – Gripping, Raw and Chilling. A must watch. [REVIEW]

As this is a crime thriller I will avoid any spoilers!

So I’ve been a little quiet on here recently … things have been crazy at work and I just haven’t found the time to get to the cinema, let alone sit down to write a review!

Now, after 2 weeks away I was starting to get strong withdrawal symptoms and headed back to the silver screen.

And Prisoners – wow. Man I am EXHAUSTED!

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Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover – a man whose daughter and her friend are mysteriously abducted on thanksgiving. Keller is obviously torn up, and vows to do anything to find the girls. Jake Gyllenhaal play Detective Loki, the cop tasked with finding the girls, within the parameters of the law. Taking another police role shortly after End of Watch, Gyllenhaal plays this character phenomenally again, although quite differently to Brian Taylor. It is little things that Gyllenhaal does that makes the character his own, from the way he holds himself differently to other roles he has performed, and developing a noticeable twitchy blink – just makes the character seem as though he is real – rather than a role being played by an actor.

Jackman is fabulous as ever –  sheer anger, to depression, to cunningness to utter helplessness, he really delivers an incredibly raw, and completely believable performance.

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However, the praise shouldn’t just sit with the acting. The writing is fantastic, and the story is very deep – and will no doubt have you questioning your own  moral standpoint at numerous points throughout.What is great about this film, that it is a lot of the time difficult to watch, yet I couldn’t look away. It is difficult to judge Jackman’s character as he tirelessly struggles to find his daughter – you may on the surface disagree with the way he is operating, and you probably should – but still, you can understand it. You just don’t know how you would act in a situation like this.  This is a man who has lost everything, and needs to get it back at all costs. A man who feels he has let down his family by not protecting them, needing to take back from those who have taken from him. I can’t support Keller’s methods – but I understand him.

And that is what is great about this film. It is very real. Often all too chillingly real. A scene between Jackman and his wife sums it up well –  she is distraught, he tries to calm her down whilst holding himself together and she says to him “You made us feel so safe – you said you could protect us against anything”. This seems harsh – and it is. But in the heat of the moment, when you’re not thinking straight and looking to shift blame – it is the kind of irrational thing that a person would say in that situation. Of course Keller couldn’t have stopped it, no one could have – but in that moment she feels he should have. And it is believable.

My only complaint is that I had pieced the main part of the puzzle together, way over an hour before the end of the film, if not before (the film is quite long, I cannot remember the exact timing of the scene where it clicked – I won’t say the scene as if you haven’t watched I don’t want you looking out for it!). No I hadn’t worked out every little detail, but I had figured it out. Although that’s just me – my cinema buddy didn’t figure it out until right near the ending – so don’t be put off by that. And even if you do figure it out early – it doesn’t matter, it is still gripping, chilling and incredibly tense right until the credits role.

Running at two and a half hours this movie sent me on a whirlwind of emotion and had me in suspense from the word go.  It has been quite a while since I have been so on on edge in the cinema! A lot of this is down to the score, as well as the acting and directing. Every good thriller needs a top notch score – and Prisoners has just that. The perfect tone and pace is placed into every scene necessary – building and building the tension.

Some light relief was  given when the sound cut out in the cinema – just at a section towards the ending, when plot points were being confirmed – absolutely the worst possible timing! But while it was being restored and set back in the right place, it did allow me to take a much needed breath, after 2 hours and 15 minutes of holding it!, before diving straight back in.

It is no exaggeration when I say that this film has left me exhausted! It is long, and very emotionally draining.

But it is well worth your time, and you will be glad you invested your time in it. A first class crime thriller, that is a must watch for fans of the genre.

A strong 8/10 for Prisoners. A great job all round.