Captain America: Winter Soldier

Posted in Review by - Apr 05, 2014

A major improvement on the first film, the new Marvel Studios release benefits from an investment in a story that’s surprisingly intelligent.  Edward Snowden (whistleblower) would approve as the screenwriters Markus, McFeely and Brubaker critically detail (slight exaggeration) the use of technology to insidiously penetrate the lives of ordinary citizens.  Inspired by the paranoia thrillers of the seventies most notably. Three Days of the Condor the Russo brothers use the Marvel universe to explore key themes of the right to privacy in a world where the Government and its intelligence agencies want to know what you are doing every second …

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NOAH

Posted in Review by - Mar 31, 2014
NOAH

A thirty year long journey for the creator Darren Aronofsky, from a thirteen year old boy who won a poetry prize at the United Nations to a 150 million plus Hollywood blockbuster.  The poem was about Noah just to confirm the link.  Aronovsky has described Noah as “the first environmentalist”.  At times the film is so overtly political in its message it recalls the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The inspiration derives from The Book of Genesis, where God was displeased with the wickedness of man so decided to wipe the slate clean.  The story of Noah is a fable …

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Non-Stop

Posted in Review by - Feb 27, 2014

Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson team up again for a tense thriller set inside a plane.  Unfortunately the visual flair of the Spanish director cannot hide the plot holes of the films final act.  Those prepared to suspend a massive amount of disbelief will leave the multiplex reasonably satisfied, for the rest of us a feeling of annoyance, disdain and frustration will trigger a less positive response to the proceedings.

The film begins promisingly; Neeson effortlessly inhabits the role of Bill Marks a flawed man with a drinking problem who just happens to be an air marshall.  Aboard a flight  he starts …

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The Monument’s Men

Posted in Review by - Feb 27, 2014

A mixed bag George Clooney’s love song to the more subversive war films of the sixties is refreshingly old fashioned but compromised at times by the director’s and co-writers Heslov’s awkward dialogue. “Who will make sure the statue of David is still standing? or the Mona Lisa is still smiling?” Clooney asks the President at around the five minute mark.  My question: why is Clooney’s character lecturing President Roosevelt and showing him a map of Europe with a Nazi symbol as an education piece.

The story details the recovery of great pieces of art by a team of mismatched art scholars, …

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Blue is the Warmest Color

Posted in Review by - Feb 16, 2014
Blue is the Warmest Color

Less a film about lesbians than an absorbing look at first love and how it impacts a young girl named Adele.   Adèle is a high-school student played superbly by Adèle Exarchopoulos, who falls in love with Léa Seydoux’s Emma, an art student older and worldly. At three hours running time it’s too long, I understand the directors desire to fully explore the life of Adele yet Kechiche seems content to explore everything in her life, from the spaghetti stains on Adele’s face during dinner with her parents to her daily attempts to catch the bus to school. The repetition of …

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Dallas Buyers Club

Posted in Review by - Feb 16, 2014
Dallas Buyers Club

“Did you hear Rock Hudson was a cocksucker? It’s a shame all that fine Hollywood pussy just being wasted.”  So begins the based on true story of Ron Woodroof a typically homophobic Texan cowboy who in 1985 was diagnosed with HIV Aids.  He’s handsome in a Texas hick white trash sort of way. He lives in a trailer, drinks to excess, snorts cocaine and has unprotected sex with loose women.  When he is diagnosed with the deadly disease, he angrily exclaims, “There’s nothing out there that can kill Ron Woodroof in thirty days.”

Jean-Marc Vallee and writers Borten and Walleck frame …

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Robocop

Posted in Review by - Feb 07, 2014
Robocop

Shaky camera moves are back in full force in Jose Padhila’s uninspired remake of the Paul Verhoevan classic.  Padilha renowned for the kinetic Brazilian crime actioners Elite Squad 1&2 plus the riveting documentary Bus 174 fails to nail the tone of the film, and borrows from other better films, including Batman and The Hunger Games.

The films opening sequence appears inspired by The Hunger Games franchise as Pat Novak (Samuel L Jackson), a right wing television personality receives a live broadcast from a field reporter in Tehran.  Fascism reigns as Operation Freedom Tehran (sound familiar) is in full deployment with robots …

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Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Posted in Review by - Feb 05, 2014
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

“My father had given me the name troublemaker. I didn’t want to make trouble I wanted to make my family proud of me.”

Director Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) and screenwriter William Nicholson (Gladiator) have produced a noble attempt at cramming the life of Nelson Mandela into a two hour and twenty minute film.  As a result the film feels rushed at times and at its worst perfunctory but for those who no little of the icons early life Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has much to offer.

At the centre is Idris Elba’s strong performance that grows as the man …

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Last Vegas

Posted in Review by - Feb 05, 2014
Last Vegas

Here’s the pitch a bachelor party in Vegas with a bunch of old fogies.  With the written note by one of the fogies wife’s  “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, he is dropped off at the airport with a condom and a couple of Viagra to celebrate the first bachelor party that could be covered by medicare.  The film achieves its low point as the four octogenarians get the task of judging a bathing suit contest whilst redfoo puts his balls in the face of captain sunshine aka Paddy (Robert De Niro).  Kline yells to the crowd “I’m available …

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Grudge Match

Posted in Review by - Feb 05, 2014
Grudge Match

Here’s the pitch Rocky and Jake La Motta have a rematch to find out who is the better fighter.  They hate each other due to Billy “the kid” McDonnen (De Niro) sleeping with Henry “Razor” Sharp’s (Stallone) wife now played by Kim Basinger (60 and looking 40) 30 years ago.  Sharp now works in a Pittsburgh factory whilst Billy owns bars and a car dealership.  Money seems the motivation to get the two old pros back in the ring.  You could say the same for the pairing of Stallone and De Niro, in what is a forgettable occasionally funny trip …

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