One Word Review recap – February 2015

In case you’ve missed any, here’s a list of the films I reviewed in February. If you click on any of the titles, it’ll take you straight to that particular review.

Big Hero 6 poster v01

Big Hero 6Touching

Interview poster

The InterviewPuerile

Jupiter Ascending poster v01

Jupiter AscendingBoring

Focus poster v01

FocusTransparent

Shaun the Sheep poster v01

Shaun the SheepAppealing

Cake poster v01

CakeWorthy

Blackhat poster

blackhatTripe

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Jupiter Ascending – Boring

Jupiter Ascending banner

I wanted to like Jupiter Ascending, I really did! The initial trailer was interestingMila Kunis is pleasant on the eye and Channing Tatum‘s star is in the ascendancy, so to speak. Ok, so it’s made by “The Wachowskis” (can’t call them brothers any more), but they did make The Matrix right? There must be some semblance of talent still lurking inside them? Right?

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Everything looks gorgeous

 

There’s no mistaking that these particular siblings have an eye for production design – all their films look fantastic. The originality of The Matrix revived the Sci-Fi genre and was an intelligent piece of filmmaking. The next two were utter cash-ins and paled into the abyss when compared to the original. And please don’t tell me they were meant to be a trilogy; I’m not buying it. Never have I been so disappointed at the conclusion of a story than when watching the denouement of Revolutions. I’d invested over 400 minutes of my life and got nothing back! Nothing!

Sorry…I digress. So, The Matrix and Cloud Atlas (once again, interesting if slightly flawed) aside, we’re back to type I’m afraid. There are many things wrong with Jupiter Ascending but it is, undeniably, a good looking film. Unfortunately we’re all gloss and no substance. Clunking exposition to make sure the viewer is keeping up with proceedings is never a good thing. The vacuum of space is equally matched by the vacuum of the narrative. The problem I have with The Wachowskis is their ability to use the writing as an attempt to show how intelligent they are – I refer you to the multi-syllabic diatribe given by The Architect in Reloaded as a prime example. Here we have unintelligence masquerading as intelligence. “We’ll bamboozle you with a “complex” universe we’ve created to show you how brilliant we are!

There’s no getting away from the disinterest in Channing Tatum’s eyes as he dials in a performance as the protector of our protagonist. And that’s to take nothing away from his acting abilities – he just seems bored with the whole proceedings. I don’t blame him. As the narrative plods along, interspersed with so-called “exciting” moments of action, I found myself getting slightly heavy-lidded by the viewing experience. Even the Oscar-darling-in-waiting Eddie Redmayne pulls his performance from the standard handbook of English-accented villains – Type C I believe. We’ve seen it all before and nothing’s going to provide any form of “Wow” factor.

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Eddie Redmayne strikes a villainous pose as Balem Abrasax

All-in-all Jupiter Ascending is 127 minutes of cinematic viewing I’m never getting back. Chalk this one up to another misstep by The Wachowskis and move on swiftly. I’d rather sit through The Interview again…and that’s saying something!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Something for the ladies…now with grind!

It’s Tatum time people! I don’t know about you, but I really liked Magic Mike. A very interesting film directed by Steven Soderbergh and yet another example of some great work from Channing Tatum. Forget about the “male stripper thing”, it’s much more than that. Anyway, there’s a follow-up to be released on July 31st – imaginatively entitled Magic Mike XXL – and here’s a look at Mr. Tatum in the one-sheet leaving not-very-much to the imagination.

Magic Mike XXL poster v01

I’m hoping for good things here. Mr. Soderbergh will always bring something interesting to the table and although he isn’t directing this one his DNA is all over it. Credited as Exec. Producer, Director of Photography and Editor he’s clearly invested in the project, while stepping up to the plate this time is Gregory Jacobs. “Who-he?” Well, his association with Mr. Soderbergh dates way back to 1993 with King of the Hill and he’s been his First Assistant Director in a further 21 films to date, so not a bad pedigree at all.

*UPDATE*

Now there’s a trailer. He’s got the moves people! Enjoy!

Thank you for reading 🙂

One Word Review recap + stuff!

Phew! And there was I, worried I may not be able to catch 5 films in the space of a couple of weeks. In fairness, I still haven’t seen Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Enemy, but that seems to be on a limited release and it hasn’t reached the homeland of Hertfordshire. 9 movies in 15 days isn’t bad though and I’m still enthusiastic to see more and write more. That’s got to be good. It’s also nice to write a post that isn’t a review, which is maybe why I’m waffling a little bit. Just trying to keep things fresh. It can’t all be a list of reviews and nothing else.

So, for your delight and delectation this morning – in addition to my Whiplash review – I thought I’d have a recap and post a trailer or two. Here goes…

One Word Review recap

Birdman poster v01

BirdmanPerceptive

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Exodus: Gods and KingsVapid

Imitation Game poster v01

The Imitation GameAffecting

Tak3n poster v01

Tak3nCrass

Wild poster

WildPresumptuous

Foxcatcher poster v04

FoxcatcherAbsorbing

Theory of Everything poster v02

The Theory of EverythingMoving

Selma poster v01

SelmaRighteous

Whiplash poster v02

WhiplashResonant

American Sniper poster v02

American SniperPatriotic

Ex Machina poster v03

Ex MachinaIntriguing

Gambler poster v01

The GamblerConfrontational

Kingsman: The Secret ServiceAstute

A Most Violent Year poster v02

A Most Violent YearEngrossing

Paddington poster v01

PaddingtonCharming

And now, here’s a trailer and poster for Sean Penn‘s latest The Gunman.

Gunman poster v01

Ho-hum! Now, don’t get me wrong. This thing’s got a great cast, but a wholly uninspiring poster (they just LOVE Photoshop!) and…

  • Proudly announcing “FROM THE DIRECTOR OF TAKEN” mid-way through the trailer is not a good thing!
  • The trailer has got almost the same running time as the film! I feel like I’ve already seen it and don’t need to go to the flix to see what happens!

So, my interest was piqued but quickly quashed. Of course, I’ll still go and see it, but not because of these promotional pieces.

As for something that did pique my interest and continues to do so, here’s Jennifer Aniston‘s latest Cake. No, it’s not a hot-looking middle-aged woman in a “light” comedy getting down to her undies at every possible opportunity. Although, in fairness, it is kind-of a comedy…well comedy/ drama thing…just watch.

Cake poster v01

This too has a great cast and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. It’s got a James L. Brooks vibe to it and I like that Ms. Aniston is “playing against type“. A somewhat brave move and one which I hope works out. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing it.

And that’s all for today, dear readers. It’s nice to get a piece out there that’s a bit different.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Foxcatcher – Absorbing

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Steve Carell‘s performance in Foxcatcher is transformative – both literally and figuratively. The general consensus among the reviewing community is that he excels in this role. You get the feeling there’s something of a surprised tone attached to these comments, but we shouldn’t be surprised at all. Mr. Carell’s career is steeped in comedy; and what harder form of acting is there? I find him highly watchable, whether in The Office, Date Night (yes I liked it) or Crazy, Stupid, Love and he has grasped this dramatic role with fervour.

F Carell

Steve Carell as John du Pont

Telling the story of super-rich John du Pont and his relationship with Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling champion Mark Shultz, Foxcatcher had me utterly transfixed. But let’s not kid ourselves, the epithet “Based on a true story” – which appears at the start of a seemingly increasing number of movies these days – is not a pointer towards the subsequent film being “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” I think Maxwell Scott in The Man That Shot Liberty Valance summed it up best; “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” Much has been said regarding the validity of the “truths” told in Foxcatcher and I’m not going to bring them up again. As a viewer we must ascribe a soupçon of salt to these retellings; it is entertainment after all. The central facts regarding actual documented events cannot be refuted – everything else is frosting.

That said, I do not wish to take anything away from this production. I was extremely excited to see Foxcatcher and it certainly lived up to my expectations. This is by no means a one-man-show either. Both Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo shine in their roles as the wrestling siblings Mark and David Shultz. If you’ve seen the trailers for Foxcatcher, the sense of “oddness” to Mr. du Pont’s demeanor and his relationships with others within his life is clear to see. This uneasiness is palpable throughout the 129 minute running time and makes for a fascinating treatise on the machinations of those privileged few who believe money can buy anything, including friendships.

FOXCATCHER

Canning Tatum (L) as Mark Schultz & Mark Ruffalo (R) as David Schultz

This is Bennett Miller‘s third directorial feature and it would not be out of place sitting next other great sports films such as Seabiscuit, Any Given Sunday or The Wrestler. Mr. Miller is certainly building a catalogue of top quality films, having previously directed Capote and Moneyball. I for one am looking forward to his next offering. Foxcatcher is an utter success, cinematically and for those involved in its production. I’m glad I saw it and urge you, dear reader, to try to catch it at your local cinema.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Three out of five ain’t bad

Chappie banner

So today, dear reader, I thought I’d have a little catch up on my previous post. Of the 5 films I wished to see, I’ve already managed to see 3 of them, plus another I thought I’d missed on the big screen, namely The Imitation Game. I’m pretty pleased with that! I’m looking forward to seeing Foxcatcher this week as well as The Theory of Everything and Wild. I don’t think Enemy is going to be coming to my local multiplex, but it is available online through Curzon Home Cinema.

As for future releases, here’s a poster and trailer for Neill Blomkamp‘s next release, Chappie.

Chappie poster v01

The wonderful Sharlto Copley is on motion-capture duties to bring the title character to life and is joined by Huge Action (always entertaining & easy on the eye), Sigourney Weaver (probably getting more screentime than Exodus) and Dev Patel (if you haven’t seen how goood he is in The Newsroom you’ve missed a real treat). From the look of the trailer I’m hoping we’re in for something special and we haven’t got that long to wait as Chappie hits the UK on March 6th this year. Enjoy the trailer.

Thank you for your continued readership. I hope you’re enjoying reading this blog as much as I’m enjoying writing it 🙂

Things to see, things to consider…

So, the festive period is over and I’m back on it. Too much turkey, too much turkey dripping on toast (Google it), too much chocolate…still, it was FUN! I never get a chance to enjoy the flix at this time of year – but I’m not complaining – so there’s a bit of catching up to do. What I thought I’d do is give you a little rundown of what I’d like to see and at the same time share some posters with you. Here goes…

Exodus: Gods and Kings – middling reviews and a totally uninspiring ad campaign can’t quash my desire to see Mr. Scott’s latest offering. Here’s some posters to back up my views on big budget posters.

Taken 3 or Tak3n – depending on what poster/ banner you see. Begs the question “Why?” but I’m sure Mr. Neeson knows what he’s doing; or it’s just the wads of cash he was offered that persuaded him. Mind you, Forest Whitaker is in it as well, so perhaps they blew the budget on their fees or… Anyway, it’s actually this poster that I saw on twitter which got me to thinking about this post, so there you go. It’s not groundbreaking but I like the way it’s formatted.

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That’s the “dull” ones out of the way. Now onto the more interesting stuff. Why is it most small budget, sometimes independent features have the most interesting posters? No, I don’t know either. In fact, now I think about it, perhaps it’s the “under the radar” aspect of these kinds of films that warrant the additional effort afforded to the poster campaign. Lay your mince pies (see what I did there?) on these.

Birdman – I’ve been looking forward to this for ages. And the posters are great too. Here’s just one I found on the web. Once I’ve seen it I’ll give you a few more to enjoy. Enjoy.

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Enemy – I’m hoping that Mr. Gyllenhaal is on a roll after the wonderful Nighcrawler. It’s certainly got an interesting premise; I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough whether this one confirms Mr. Gyllenhaal’s ascension to the “A List”.

Foxcatcher – my excitement levels for this one are up there alongside Birdman’s. Here’s hoping. At the very least this poster is wonderful and probably my favourite in this post.

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Phew. It’s a tough ask to see all these in the next couple of weeks, but watching at least 3 from 5 would make me happy. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for reading 🙂