Posts Tagged ‘ Films ’

The Book of Life

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The Book of Life is a quirky animation film by director Jorge R Gutiérrez, celebrating Mexican folklore and the Day of the Dead.

The story begins outside a dusty old museum with a rag-tag bunch of temperamental children showing up for a tour and delightful guide, with long hair and a sexy smile showing them a hidden doorway.

With the help of wooden puppets she begins telling the old Mexican folktale of Manolo (Diego Luna), Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and Maria (Zoe Saldana). Continue reading

Film Review: Serena

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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: The Maze Runner

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A mix between Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games, the latest YA book to receive a Hollywood makeover is The Maze Runner. Like so often the story is set in a post-apocalyptic world and author James Dashner refrains from any vampire fangs or werewolf bites and centres his trilogy around a group of young boys.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up to find himself in a vacant filed surrounded by a group of modern day lost boys. He tries to make a run for it but soon discovers that the field is surrounded by towering stone walls with only a tantalizing gap into the unknown as a way out. But before Thomas can escape the boys catch up with him and he discovers a whole new problem, his memory has been wiped. Continue reading

Get-On-Up

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

The Equalizer: An Ageing Action Hero And Not Enough ‘Sizzle’

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A remake of a 80’s TV series The Equalizer is familiar ground for Denzel Washington. The ageing action hero has been saving the world from bad guys since the beginning of his career, and his latest collaboration with director Antoine Fuqua is no different.

Robert McCall (Washington) works at a hardware store by day and sits amongst the crowds of a Hopperesque diner at night. Sticking to a routine is obviously a character trait and some sort of coping mechanism but when McCall meets prostitute Lena (Chloë Grace Moretz) his tightly wound world begins to unwind, and all it takes is 28 seconds. Continue reading

Think Like A Man Too: Over The Top, Predictable And Nothing New

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After the mess the film Think Like a Man was two years ago it comes as somewhat as a surprise that there is now a sequel: Think Like a Man Too .

The last film used Steven Harvey’s best-selling relationship book to create a loose story around the battle of the sexes, this time around there isn’t even such an excuse.

Set in Las Vegas, the five couples find their relationships tested, in the most unlikely of situations. Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) want to get married but his overly domineering mother (Angela Elayne Gibbs) keeps getting in the way. Continue reading

Film Review – A Walk Among The Tombstones

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Since the late seventies private eye Matthew Scudder has been a big star of the crime novel scene, now, finally, Lawrence Block’s creation has been brought to life by writer/director Scott Frank.

Based on the Block’s tenth novel A Walk Among The Tombstones has a classic film noir feel to it, a distinct touch of retro and good old-fashioned story telling.

The opening scene, set in the early nineties, gives us the back-story: Matthew Scudder (Liam Neeson) is an alcoholic NYC cop who drunkenly stumbles into a shootout that goes terribly awry. Cut to 1999 and Scudder is now an unlicensed private eye who goes to AA meetings and does ‘favours’ in exchange for ‘gifts’. Continue reading

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

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Another crazy night in Basin City, as a gambler beats the wrong man, an old lover returns to Dwight’s life with a hidden agenda and Nancy craves revenge for the death of her hero Hartigan.

A Dame to Kill For is broken into these clearly identifiable segments, with the continuing story of Nancy and the introduction of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Johnny being the book-ends to the main attraction. The inner narrative taking the bulk of the film, starring Josh Brolin as Dwight, previous to his new face that Clive Owen portrayed in the first film. Eva Green is perfectly cast as manipulative Ava Lord and her stunning confidence brings the comic book femme fatale fully to life in magnificent fashion. The “A Dame to Kill For Segment” is almost panel for frame from the page. Its mesmerising visual similarities are a delight for comic book fans starved for faithful adaptations of their beloved stories. For cinema goers who are unfamiliar with the source material the entire film offers a pulp noir that thoroughly entertains. Continue reading

Film Review: Before I Go To Sleep

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Based on S.J Watson’s bestselling novel, Before I Go To Sleep is a Hitchcockian thriller with Nicole Kidman staring as the usual blond heroin and Colin Firth as her tall dark counterpart.

Christine Lucas (Kidman) is a forty-year old housewife who suffers from amnesia, over night her brain resets to her mid twenties and each morning she is faced with confusion, anxiety and an overwhelming amount of information. Her somewhat unforthcoming husband Ben (Firth) explains the situation every morning, wearily but patiently.

Then, as soon as Ben leaves for work, the phone rings and a man calling himself Dr Nash (Mark Strong) explains to Christine that he has been helping her to remember. He instructs her to find a camera that she herself has hidden and on which she has recorded a video diary.

Soon Christine discovers that Ben has been keeping secrets, the biggest being that she wasn’t involved in an accident, as he claimed, but that she was the victim of a brutal assault. And that she has a child, a boy who he says has died. Continue reading

Is Piracy Responsible For The Failings Of Expendables 3?

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Prior to its cinematic release, The Expendables 3 was discovered to have been leaked online. The high quality screener copy of the film was quickly snapped up by hungry pirates all over the world, ready for their fix of blood, violence and quippy one-liners. Lionsgate, the distribution company, immediately reacted by demanding sites be taken down and the torrent removed. But, as with all things on the internet, once it is online it is staying there and the screener is still available to many internationally.

Huge torrent sites, such as Kick Ass, have removed the film entirely from their sites fearing more vigorous attacks from Lionsgate through the courts. The company has seen the film underachieve at the box office, and the current consensus is that this is due to piracy. The matter of financial gain versus quality art is more apparent than ever in the modern industry, and regardless of personal feelings towards the act of piracy it is becoming a more and more heavily debated social topic. Are the pirates ruining the film industry? Or is the greed of the Hollywood system destroying film? All films require profit to be a success in the eyes of the production company, and many of the lower budget films released do not have the financial backing to stand up to the economic consequences of piracy. The Expendables 3 may be a big budget, Hollywood picture filled to the rafters with A-Listers, but that does not mean piracy will not negatively effect the future of the much loved action franchise. Further, if Lionsgate, who have the financial means to attack the sites, and are able to do so, then legally they are within their right. More so, being more powerful in terms of financial backing they have a responsibility to do so to protect themselves and smaller budget films and companies. But is piracy to blame for a fall in the film’s box office success? Or is piracy merely a scapegoat for the failings of a bad movie? Our critics review is available to read here. Continue reading