Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pain and Gain




The budget of Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain is roughly 10% of the budget he was given for the latest Transformers film Dark of Moon. Perhaps it marks a change from Bay as it a step away from the franchise he has been directing since 2007. Anyway, ‘based’ on a true story Pain and Gain stars Mark Wahlberg as Daniel Lugo, a fitness freak who works as a personal trainer for Sun Gym. Lugo wants to get rich (the American dream, ya know) and decides the best way to do that is to rob his massively rich client Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub).

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Elysium




In the year 2154 the planet is overpopulated and in terrible condition, those who dwell on the planet live in mostly in poverty whilst those privileged and lucky enough live on Elysium. Elysium is a utopia in which only the rich live, they hold strict immigration laws that deny access to the utopia to those who belong on Earth. After a health and safety disaster Max di Costa (Matt Damon) is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation that only gives him five days to live. His only means of survival is a Med-Bay, but these are only found on Elysium and access to Elysium isn’t easy. 

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug





The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug starts off where An Unexpected Journey bid farewell one year ago with the fellowship of thirteen dwarfs, a hobbit (Martin Freeman) and a wizard (Ian Mckellen) being tracked by a group of blood thirsty orcs. Attempting to avoid a number of vicious animals that roam the forests, mountains and grasslands of Middle Earth the company’s main quest is to reach the Lonely Mountain, retrieve the Arkenstone and restore Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to the throne. One rather problematic issue once they get there is the stone is protected by a fire breathing dragon (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) that destroyed the Dwarf city of Dale some time ago.

We're the Millers


David Clark (Jason Sudeikis) is a low level marijuana dealer who is robbed of his stash and money that he owes to his supplier. In order to repay his supplier, Brad Gurdlinger (Ed Helms), David agrees to traffic a small batch of marijuana over the border from Mexico. To avoid arousing suspicion David creates a fake family (Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts and Will Poulter) to ease access across the border from Mexico. Upon arrival at the meeting point the volume of drugs David has to smuggle is a lot larger than anticipated.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Catching Fire





Around the time Catching Fire was released news broke that the film based on the final book of the series, by Suzanne Collins, Mocking Jay will be split into two films. Not entirely surprising as the idea worked well (financially at least) for the Harry Potter and the Twilight franchises. It has become the norm for Hollywood to do this because of the immensely packed nature of each of the final books. Splitting the films into two 2-hour segments rather than a three hour + trek is far easier on the audience’s bladders and their supposed inpatient minds. It also boosts revenues considerably (but with Hollywood being an institution that is all about original ideas and not containing a greedy bone between them money was an afterthought). 

Monday, 9 December 2013

2 Guns


Criminals Robert Trench (Denzel Washington) and Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) are caught crossing the border after they met with Mexican drug lord Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos). It turns out that Trench is an undercover DEA agent and he reports back to his superior that he does not have substantial evidence in order to convict Papi Greco. In an attempt to convict the drug lord, Robert Trench and Stigman rob a bank and steal $3,000,000 allowing an opportunity to convict the drug lord for money laundering (bit like how they got Al Capone for tax evasion).

Kick Ass 2


Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor- Johnson) inspired a vast number of people to don their own costumes and fight the injustices of this world, being regarded as the world’s first superhero Kick Ass is attributed to being the main influence in the wave of costume wearing vigilantes roaming the streets of New York. Kick Ass wants to continue to fight crime, but he can’t do it alone. When Hit Girl, Mindy Macready (Chloe Grace Moretz), hangs up the cape, Kickass joins a group of costume wearing crime fighters. They are soon put to the test upon the arrival of the Motherfucker, formally Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), who creates the first league of supervillians intent on mass destruction.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Nebraska





Moving on from the Oscar baiting The Descendants (by no means a bad film) Alexander Payne returns to his roots in his latest film Nebraska. Born and raised in Nebraska Payne’s film about the state he grew up in and small town, mid west America is a melancholic and poignant one.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Lone Ranger





The Lone Ranger became Disney’s second high scale failure in two years after failing to make more than its $375,000,000 budget ($225,000,000 production budget) making it greater failure than John Carter the previous year. The warning signs for a potential failure were there from the get go with budgetary and production issues leading to the film’s cancelation, but after cuts in wages, production soon was back on track.

Man of Steel





Recently actor Willem Defoe slammed Hollywood for its “cynical approach to making money” chastising them for rebooting the Spiderman franchise for second time in less than a decade. Defoe, more critical than others as he starred as the Green Goblin in the twenty-first centuries’ first reboot of the superhero, probably won’t be joining any queue to see the latest Superman reboot. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Gravity


Alfonso Cuaron is a highly talented filmmaker and one of the most visionary filmmakers working today, Gravity is further proof that Cuaron is a filmmaker of the highest quality.  Having looked at the wizarding world (Prisoner of Azkaban) and a dystopian world (Children of Men), Cuaron takes on the final frontier – space. Gravity basis its story on two astronauts whose mission goes horribly wrong after the Russians destroy their own defunct satellite. The debris from the resulting explosion hurtles round the planet eventually hitting the Space Shuttle The Explorer. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) are the only two survivors, with dwindling oxygen levels they must reach safety without any communication with Earth.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

For some it is about the price tag





Sofia Coppola grew up in a highly privileged background; this is clearly evident in films such as Somewhere in which her family’s Hollywood background is a main theme of the film. The Bling Ring is again set in a highly privileged background, Southern California, and it concerns a group of teenagers (dubbed The Bling Ring) who tour around Hollywood hills looking for celebrities’ home to rob whilst their occupants are away on a film shoot or partying. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Now you see me


Since its early beginnings the cinema is regarded as an elaborate stage for magic tricks. In the days of silent cinema characters used to vanish in a puff of smoke (for example a Voyage to the Moon), obviously this was taken from magic shows performed on stage. Directors such as George Melies were seen as magicians and leading pioneers in practical effects in cinema’s early years. In today’s world magic tricks performed on screen have the ability to convince a viewer that a monster or dinosaur is really there as a magic trick is essentially an illusory feat. The monster isn’t really there, but digital trickery can convince us that it is.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The East





The East is the second combination between Britt Marling and Zal Batmanglij, the two previously worked on the thriller The Sound of my Voice which concerned a pair on investigative journalists infiltrating a cult (lead by Marling). Similarities between the two films are obvious on paper, in The East Britt Marling plays Jane Owen (aka Sarah Moss) a former FBI agent now working for a private detective firm headed by Patricia Clarkson. Jane Owen is assigned to infiltrate an organization know as The East, however the longer she stays with the group the more their activities appeal to her.

Monday, 21 October 2013

World War Z





It matters very little whether zombies are slow or fast because either way they cause extensive damage, kill many millions and rise to become a gigantic army of undead intent on devouring everyone’s brains. The slow and lumbering zombies bring to mind the films of George A. Romero whose zombies were mostly used for social commentary regarding human and social behaviour. For example in Dawn of the Dead the scenes in which the zombies invade and stumble through the shopping centre are images we see every day in shopping centres across the globe as humans buy crap they really do not need, following each other like sheep as they lap up the latest craze or trend. Films such as 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks later are films that spring to when one mentions fast zombies (though the term zombies is debatable).

Saturday, 19 October 2013

DVD reviews





M. Night Shyamalan has made more stinkers than the new born baby next door and has, of course, attacked the very people who put him in the position that has allowed him to have so many chances because of poor reception of his last films. His last three films The Lady in the Water, The Happening and The Last Airbender show a man who has not been able to match the potential he once showed.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Only God Forgives




Much has been said about Nicolas Winding Refn’s most recent film Only God Forgives; critics’ opinions have been vastly polarising to say the least, ranging from a rave five star review from Peter Bradshaw to claims that the film is a perfect example of style over substance. The film divided critics in Cannes prompting walkouts and booing as well as standing ovations. I, however, feel that Only God Forgives is one of the best films of the year. 

Welcome to the Punch




When criminal Jacob Sternwood’s (Mark Strong) son is shot during a heist gone wrong, Sternwood is forced into returning to London where policeman Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is determined to catch him at any lengths necessary. However, there is more that meets the eye as Max stumbles upon a possible conspiracy.  

Monday, 5 August 2013

Conjure the cliches





The Conjuring made a big impact on the US box office grossing over $100,000,000 making The Conjuring’s as successful as James Wan’s previous project Insidious (whose sequel comes out later this year). James Wan has made his name in the horror genre directing the first Saw movie and producing the rest of the franchise as well as directing films such as Dead Silence and the already mentioned Insidious.

Trance


Fresh from his work at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, which made him a national treasure (if he wasn’t already regarded as one), Danny Boyle’s next project is an Inception like mind twister that is actually a remake of very little known TV movie (of the same name), directed by Trance’s very own scriptwriter Joe Ahearne.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Pacific Rim




Guillermo Del Toro works on a one for me, one for you basis switching from art house masterpieces (such as Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone) to the more mainstream fare such as the Hellboy movies. In the case of Pacific Rim it is a movie both for Del Toro himself and for the paying audience as Pacific Rim is a film made to express his own love of the genre whilst giving the paying audience a staggering summer spectacle. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Identity Thief





Melissa Mccarthy seems to be the next big thing in American mainstream comedy as she has starred in a number of mainstream American comedies such as This is Forty, The Hangover Part 3 and Identity Thief; however it seems Identity Thief will not be one that many will remember Mccarthy for. Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman as Sandy Bigelow Patterson, an uptight accountant who soon finds out that his identity has been stolen by someone (that someone is Mccarthy) in California who uses Patterson’s identity to buy a jet ski as well as getting herself arrested (which greatly affects Patterson’s job security). Patterson must travel to California and bring the fake Patterson to Denver to confess her crimes to the real Patterson’s new boss. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful






I’ve been busy for six months (and a little lazy), hence why I have not written anything on this blog, but now I am back. It has been an interesting six months, I went to Berlin where I got lost three times, went to the most dodgy nightclub I’ve ever been too and threw up on a night out, and of course continued drinking which must have came off as very attractive to the girl I fancied. I’ll humiliated myself after drinking for Dutch Courage, only problem is I drank too much and became a Dutch dickhead and then had a little cry after the humiliation (this of course was further humiliation). Anyway whilst I was making an utter cock of myself by being completely inept (I also insulted her taste in films by mentioning how I despise romantic comedies), a drunk and frankly boarder line paraniod psychotic, I was writing up my dissertation on Film Propaganda during the Second World War. It turned out to be not quite as good as I expected it to be (so I won’t put it up on here), but 2:1 overall is perfectly acceptable. Anyway, the story doesn’t end there…but it will for now because I want it to. Anyway on to the review, please note that I may be a little rusty. Six months is a looooooong time.