Mad Max Fury Road

Posted in Review by - May 14, 2015

The fourth instalment in the franchise is a balls to the wall adrenalin fuelled crash bang of a blockbuster entertainment.  Recalling the second film in tone and execution it’s essentially a two hour chase, expertly executed and edited to within an inch of its life.  It starts fully charged and doesn’t let go.   Directed as if he’s taken a hit of speed, mad George Miller (70), delivers a film directors half his age would aspire to shoot.  The sound editing alone offers an immersion into a thunderous universe rarely seen in toned down politically correct Hollywood cinema.

If you rejoiced …

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Clouds of Sils Maria

Posted in Review by - May 08, 2015
Clouds of Sils Maria

Musings on celebrity, ageing and the evolution of egocentric creativity play out in this intriguing work from one of the greats of modern cinema. Olivier Assayas is arguably one of the most original filmmakers working in cinema today.

In a crowd of male centric narratives it’s refreshing to watch a film that features complex female characters.  Valentine (Stewart) is a protector, secretary, confidante, and combatant to her employer Maria Enders (Binoche) a 40ish movie star.  As the film opens Maria is on a train travelling to Sils Maria in Switzerland to accept an award on behalf of her mentor Wilhelm, who …

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Ex Machina

Posted in Review by - May 07, 2015
Ex Machina

Alex Garland has an impressive CV of screenwriting achievements including his collaboration with Danny Boyle, these include 28 Days Later, The Beach and Sunshine.  Ex Machina is his debut as a director and signals he has a bright future.  A film very much of its time, like last years Her it explores our connection to technology and how with the right programming and design we could easily fall for an artificial intelligence.

Ex Machina is both intimate and grand in its scope.  Essentially a three hander, the spectacular yet minimal exteriors are shot in Norway and the interiors I presume on …

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Pitch Perfect 2

Posted in Review by - May 06, 2015

The original Pitch Perfect was a surprise package back in 2012, cashing in on the Glee phenomena it presented a group of ethnically diverse misfits coming together to win the National archapella prize.  The sequel arrives three years later, Glee is now about to be cancelled from American TV and this tired, retread offers some new musical numbers to appeal to its young female audience but little else.

The film opens as the Bellas perform for the Obama’s.  All is going well until Fat Amy swings onto the stage singing Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball, she lacks the grace of Pink and …

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Avengers: Age of Ultron

Posted in Review by - Apr 24, 2015

Late in Avengers: The Age of Ultron, a character cries out “none of this make sense” which is a knowing off the cuff remark designed for laughs.  Thankfully the film, like all Joss Whedon productions remains cohesive and multi layered.   Whedon adeptly juggles the large scale action and the small scale moments between his ensemble of superheroes.  Working with several character arcs he brings it all together.   Including Tony Stark in his attempts to end the path he started on, who falls prey to the law of unintended consequences, and inturn becomes complicit in the development of the …

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It Follows

Posted in Review by - Apr 22, 2015
It Follows

In 1979 John Carpenter directed a low budget horror classic called Halloween, Carpenter in the years before steadicam and mobile cameras, created fear and menace by placing the camera as a POV mechanism for psychopath Michael Myers.  It was a simply made film, full of long slow tracking shots that tapped into the audiences fear of a maniac on the loose.  David Robert Mitchell’s follow-up to The Myth of The American Sleepover echoes Carpenter, in taking a simple premise and exploiting it to the max.  His technique is old fashioned in the best sense, preferring a slow pan and tracking shots …

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While We’re Young

Posted in Review by - Apr 19, 2015
While We’re Young

A film for adults, Baumbach creates another acerbic, finely written comedy/drama set in New York.  Targeted directly at the forty and over demographic, it speaks to the generation that suddenly find youth has passed them by without them realising it.  I can relate.  While We’re Young shows Baumbach in a kindler, gentler mode than his previous collaboration with Stiller, 2010s Greenberg.

Stiller and Watts showing great chemistry together play a childless couple in their forties realising their youthful spark has recently abandoned them.  It doesn’t help that Josh (Stiller) has spent the past eight years working on a documentary with serious …

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The Gunman

Posted in Review by - Apr 19, 2015
The Gunman

“For someone who doesn’t want to do this shit anymore your kill ratio is pretty fuckin high.”

The combination of the efficient action director Pierre Morel (Taken) and the acting talent led by Penn produces a richly enjoyable genre pic.   Penn hasn’t played a major role since 2011s This Must be the Place, deciding to use his talents for helping the displaced and dispossessed in places like Haiti and New Orleans.  Clealry his experience in these environments ravaged by poverty, internal corruption and exploitation from multinational companies has framed the narrative of The Gunman.  Penn also writes and produces the …

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The Age of Adaline

Posted in Review by - Apr 18, 2015
The Age of Adaline

Early in The Age of Adaline, there is a hope of greatness, Lee Toland Krieger whose previous credits include the original Celeste & Jesse Forever has a great eye for the construction of shots.  Visually The Age of Adaline is a feast for the eyes, particularly in the films early scenes, San Francisco in the early 20th century is impressively mounted.  However the central premise of the film requiring the audience to accept fantasy is hard to sustain over two hours.

The story tells the tale of Adaline born in the early 20th century who through a car crash, some lightning …

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The Longest Ride

Posted in Review by - Apr 10, 2015
The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride is a well made, gorgeously photographed adaptation of a Nicolas Sparks novel.  It features four attractive up and coming actors, including an Eastwood, a Huston and a Chaplin.  The plot revolves around a rodeo bull rider who needs to last 8 seconds against the most fearsome bull in America and a sorority girl who looks sexy and pure wearing cowboy boots. An old man appears played by Alan Alda, James Garner played this role in The Notebook but he’s dead now.  Jack Huston plays Alda as a young man who is Jewish in small town America.  However …

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