Posts Tagged ‘ Film review ’

This Is Where I Leave You – Better Left Unwatched


After the abysmal August Osage County, This Is Where I Leave You is another painfully humourless attempt at a family drama.

When Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) walks in on his wife Quinn (Abigail Spencer) having sex with his boss (Dax Shepard) he unravels, unsure of who is and what he wants in life.

In the midst of his depression Judd’s father dies and his grieving mother Hillary (Jane Fonda) orders him back to the family home, to sit Shiva with his siblings. Continue reading

Film Review: Serena


Wrapping in 2012 Serena has sat on a shelf until now, and maybe it was better that way. Director Susanne Bier’s disjointed anti-romance starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper may be highly anticipated but doesn’t seem to capture its audience quite as hoped.

The melodrama is set in America in the 1930s and tells the story of logging baron George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper). When Pemberton’s timber empire begins to crumble he leaves the beauty of the North Carolina Mountains to seek help from big city bankers. While sipping cocktails he spots Serena Shaw (Jennifer Lawrence) riding on the back of a white stallion, the wind in her hair and he instantly falls in love.

After a short and passionate courtship, they marry and George returns home to his trees with his beautiful bride in tow. His colleagues aren’t very welcoming but that doesn’t deter the outdoorsy and very capable Serena to soon take over. Continue reading

Film Review: Gone Girl


This autumn’s most anticipated thriller Gone Girl is finally here and it doesn’t disappoint. Adapted by the author herself, Gillian Flynn has turned her bestseller successfully into a Hollywood blockbuster.

On their fifth year wedding anniversary Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) arrives home to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) has disappeared. He calls the police assuming someone broke in and abducted her, but as the investigation unfolds things just don’t add up.

Detectives Boney (Kim Dickens) and Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) soon change the investigation from abduction to murder and Nick becomes their main suspect. Continue reading


get-on-up-movie-james-brown-storyFunk, swagger and a lot of hair add up to the biopic that is Get-On-Up, a story about the life and music of the legend that is the “Godfather of Soul”: James Brown.

Raised in South Carolina, Brown grew up in poverty, was handed around from relative to relative and at the age of sixteen he ended up in jail. His love for music was rooted in gospels but he found his first success through R&B and later established funk. Continue reading

Earth to Echo review: ‘A potpourri of 80s classics’

Film Title: Earth To EchoDirectors Dave Green’s first feature film Earth to Echo is a Sci-Fi potpourri of 80s classics: A little bit of E.T., some Stand by Me, and a dash of Short Circuit all scrambled up together.

Three best friends Alex (Teo Halm), Astro (Tuck, as Brian ‘Astro’ Bradley) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) are faced with family upheaval as the town they grew up in is facing destruction to make way for a new road.

But while the parents are packing up the bits and bobs of their lives something strange starts to happen, mobile phones are acting up and only the boys seem to figure out that there is a message hidden in the scramble.

Determined to find out what is happening they grab their bikes and, following the signal head out into the Nevada desert. Hear they find a broken alien robot Echo, a cross between EVE (from the 2008 WALL-E) and a mechanical, blue glowing owl.

It soon becomes clear that Echo needs help to be able to self-repair and go home, so the three boys pop him in a bag and cycle wherever he leads, scary men in black vans always in pursuit. Along the way the pick up scrap metal, cogs, appliances and their pretty classmate Emma (Ella Wahlestedt) and the true adventure begins.

The story is an old faithful, a touching tale about true friendship, first love and helping each other. But sadly it isn’t really new. And while Earth to Echo does aim to be tech savvy and very of the now it can’t sake the 80s vibe it is recreating. But the all of that could be overlooked if the video-style filming wasn’t so distracting. The images bounce and wobble across the screen, often making it hard to follow or just focus.

Earth to Echo is a family friendly film with a quirky alien hero, a bunch of fun-loving outsiders and a moral.

2 Guns


Do you know the saying: Never rob a bank across the street from a diner with the best donuts in three counties? Well Bobby Trench (Denzel Washington) and Marcus ‘Stig’ Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) do, so they blow up the diner! With this explosive opening scene 2 Guns sets the tone for an action filled summer blockbuster.

Bobby and Stig are a team, or at least they seem to be one. But when the bank heist goes wrong they soon discover that they are not who they said they were. Both are undercover, Bobby from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and Stig is naval intelligence, and both are investigating a Mexican drug lord called Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos).

This is just the first twist of many throughout the film. However it’s not the plot that makes for good viewing but the relationship between the two main characters.

Like so many other “buddy” films director Valtasar Kormákur has paired an unlikely couple and created enough friction to keep the viewer interested. Combined with well-written quips by screenwriter Blake Masters and Wahlberg’s off–the-cuff remarks 2 Guns is entertaining, funny and, true to its graphic novel roots, a little violent.

However there are several flaws. Why does no one ever notice Bobby and Stig hanging around well-to-do suburbs in a very loud and obvious-looking Dodge? How did Stig’s commanding officer Quince (James Marsden) find out about the bank Tres Cruces? And what happens to the police without their donuts?

A bigger issue is Paula Patton. As Washington’s love interest and handler Deb, she may be very beautiful but she is neither a femme fatal nor damsel in distress and leaves the viewer wondering what she is doing in the film other than getting in the way.

But overall 2 Guns is entertaining and if you like a good ‘buddy’ movie in the vein of Lethal Weapon or Die Hard you’ll properly enjoy 2 Guns.

Film Review: Stories We Tell

Scene from Stories We Tell. Courtesy of 2011 National Film Board of Canada, Ken Woroner.

There’s a moment in Stories We Tell when Michael Polley, the paternal linchpin of the film, talks about the flies that infiltrate his apartment and provide his daily company. “They look for food, they look for a mate; they never ask why.” Michael’s musings are full of wistful warmth, but his admiration for those unselfconscious flies touches the tender spot of this documentary.

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Monsters University

The guys from Oozma Kappa (OK)
The guys from Oozma Kappa (OK)

When we first met Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) in Monsters, Inc. they were professional “Scarers” collecting children’s screams to power Monstropolis.  Rewind a few years and the two loveable monsters meet at University.

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The Man Of Steel


In Hollywood’s latest reboot The Man of Steel the story of Superman is given a facelift and some changes.

With Krypton disintegrating into civil war and environmental meltdown Jor-El (Russell Crowe) decides that the only future for Krypton lies with his only son.  So while his world is crumbling around him Jor-El sends his baby boy into space, fending off General Zod (Michael Shannon) at the same time and sacrificing his life for his beliefs. Continue reading

Behind The Candelabra


The year is 1976 and Liberace is at the peak of his stardom in Las Vegas. He brings in bigger crowds than Elvis and doesn’t want the world to know he is gay. However his love for all that sparkles and buff men makes keeping his true sexual needs a bit of a problem and when he meets the young, blond Scott Thorson, six years of passion begin.

Behind the Candelabra is a very funny and at times heart-warming film based on the same titled autobiographical novel written by Scott Thorson. The ageing Liberace is brilliantly brought to life by Michael Douglas and his young “blond Adonis” Scott is the very buff Matt Damon. Continue reading