Results for category "Film Reviews"

Hall Pass **

Running time: 105 mins  Certificate: 15

Synopsis: Rick (Wilson) and Fred (Sudeikis) are granted a week’s hall pass from marriage by their wives. With the pass they set out to live out their sexual dreams.But will their marriages arrange this strange arrangement?

 

After delivering comedic gold with the movies Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin and There’s Something About Mary, the Farrelly Brothers were looking like the new Zucker brothers. Then came the misfires of Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal and The Heartbreak Kid. Films which had a few good ideas, but outstayed their welcome. 

Unfortunately the Farrelly Brothers return to the big screen is just more of the same half baked ideas. The actual premise initially sounded quite promising and original. The problem is not really the idea, but more the actual script which seems to loose interest in the supporting characters which are almost forgotten about. Especially the wife characters feel very underdeveloped, when they should be essential to the plot.

The other problem is that the lead characters are not sympathetic or likeable enough. Jason Sudeikis is mildly amusing, while Owen Wilson is just plain annoying with his one tone delivery of the dialogue. Even Stephen Merchant role is treated as a mere cameo with no real purpose to the story.

With any Farrelly movie comes the gross out humour, which on the whole is quite funny. But there are not enough jokes adequate enough to stretch to the films over welcome running time. 

Sadly this was not the return to form, that audiences were all hoping for. Hopefully with the Farrelly’s version of The Three Stooges they can return to their former glories.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

The Adjustment Bureau ****

Running time: 106 mins  Certificate: 12A

Synopsis: Politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets dancer Elise (Emily Blunt) on election night. Months later, he encounters her again, but mysterious men in hats appear to want to keep them apart.

 

Yet another attempt into making a Philip K Dick short story into a movie. But for every Blade Runner or Total Recall, cinema audiences have had to endure the terrible adaptations of Impostor and Paycheck. It is a relief that this is one of the best since Minority Report to make it to the big screen.

The film is generally a romantic tale with a science fiction subplot. The story is quite slow too start off until it kicks into the second act in which the film becomes something entirely different and similar to last year’s Inception. Although unlike that film there are some gaping plot holes into the rules of The Adjustment Bureau’s world. It brings up more questions than answers.

The action is compelling and exciting. The chase scenes using doors as gateways to different locations in particular are very cleverly engineered. Almost like a real world version of Monsters Inc. The overall look of the film is very stylised and slick noir feel to the movie.

Both Damon and Blunt have excellent chemistry together and It is easy to believe that they are head over heels in love with each other. The dialogue is sharp and witty and drives the story. While John Slattery, Anthony Mackie and Terrance Stamp roles as the mysterious men of The Adjustment Bureau are intriguing. As each member of the Bureau has a different personality, which makes it easier to remember them by.

While there may be some issues with narrative, it is a fun, surreal and sci-fi flick. The reason why the film works is due to the relationship between the central characters which is engaging and charming. 

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Paul ***

Running time: 103 mins  Certificate: 15

Synopsis: Graeme (Pegg) & Clive (Frost) are two sci-fi geeks on a road trip of the US. They pick up an unexpected companion – an alien called Paul (Rogen), who asks the friends to help him on his way back home. But Government agents are soon on their trail.

 

After Edgar Wright showed the world he could make a brilliant if not financially successful film in America, it is now the turn of his old mates Frost and Pegg.

While Scott Pilgrim feels like a creative movie without studio interference, this has the opposite effect in that it appears to be very safe and audience friendly. There are no creative camera moves or obscure actors making cameos. This film has static shots and a who’s who of old and new American comedy stars making appearances.

The effects are good, especially the CGI of the main character, which could have gone horribly wrong. The choice of Rogen as Paul seems an inspired choice and fits well with the character 

The plot while fun and amusing feels very formulaic. It is in essence basically another movie where an alien is trying to get back home before the authorities capture them. Except with a few more crude jokes. Although, The jokes never seem to hit the highs that we have become accustomed to in the duo’s previous films.

Frost and Pegg have basically made a wet dream to Spielberg with a road movie that is heavily influenced by the great Beard’s earlier works. But, at the end of the day this movie could have been so much more. Instead of being something hysterically funny with an original plot, it has sadly ended up being an entertaining amusing comedy.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Rango ****


Running time: 107 mins  Certificate: PG

Synopsis: A pet lizard (Johnny Depp) falls out of a car in the desert, and becomes a sheriff in the town of Dirt. Dirt’s water-supply is controlled by a turtle mayor (Ned Beatty) and his gang. Rango must uncover the conspiracy, before the community will be destroyed forever.

 

Gore Verbinski has re-teamed with his old Pirate pal to make a CGI animated movie like no other. But unlike previous efforts this is definitely more aimed at an adult audience. In fact it could easily be described as Pixar on acid.

The animation developed and brought to life by effects house ILM is absolutely breathtaking. They have even managed to bring on veteran cinematographer Roger Deakins as a consultant for the lighting. 

The composition is made up from motion capture performances by the actors. It is quite ironic that after years of Depp giving chameleon like turns, he actually gets to become one. This may also be his best performance in years giving lots of emotion and expression to a rather odd looking character.

The story appears to have been lifted from the classic movie Chinatown. Even the mayor character is a deliberate reference to John Huston’s character in the same picture.

The film is full of film references mainly old Western movies. The Spirt of the West is clearly Clint Eastwood in The Man With N Name role, while Bill Nighy’s villain Rattlesnake Jake is based on a mixture of Lee Van Cleef and Jack Palance.  Even Raoul Duke and Dr Gonzo make an appearance are the start. 

Mix all these ingredients with a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Los Lobos and the end result is one of the best CGI animated films ever made. While the story may not be original, the look of the characters and the overall visual images make this something very special.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

True Grit *****

Running time: 110 mins  Certificate: 15

Synopsis: After a hired hand Tom Chaney (Brolin) kills her father and flees, 14 year-old Mattie Ross (Steinfeld) hires a one-eyed, tough, heavy-drinking U.S. Marshall, Reuben J. ˜Rooster” Cogburn (Bridges). They are joined by La Boeuf (Damon), a Texas Ranger on their manhunt.

 

When the Coen Bros. announced that they would be tackling another remake, there was a fear that the end result would turn out to be another Ladykillers. By attempting something that is widely regarded, it was a big gamble. But thankfully it has paid off in many ways.

John Wayne’s memorable performance of Rooster was always going to be intimidating for any actor to try to live up to. But Bridges has made the role his own, even giving more expression to what was let’s be honest a one dimensional performance from the Duke himself. 

Damon also excels, but this would not be hard given his role was last performed by the wooden Country singer, Glen Campbell. While Hailey Steinfeld is just astonishing, it is hard to think not only that it is her movie debut, but that she is only fourteen years old. The supporting roles from the fantastic Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper should also be mentioned as the main villains of the film.

The scenery is breathtakingly shot by Roger Deakins who blends the landscapes with a mixture of blacks, browns and greens, very little colour is presented. While Carter Burwell’s gospel influenced soundtrack will keep audiences tapping their feet throughout.

The script is witty, dramatic, powerful and oozes with delicious dialogue that only the auteurs can write. 

The Coens’ have done it again with another masterpiece. In fact they may have outdone themselves this time. By sticking with Charles Portis’, they have made a remake that is far superior to the original in every way. This is as close any cinemagoer can wish for in terms of perfection.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Neds ****

Running time: 124 mins  Certificate: 18

Synopsis: A clever Glaswegian teenager John (Conor McCarron) has to grows up in the shadow of his thug of an older brother and an alcoholic father. It is not long before he swaps the classroom for violent streets of the city.

It has been a long time since Peter Mullan made the gripping Magdalene Sisters and his latest effort does not disappoint.

The Scottish director turned star has made a gripping, tense dramatic piece, that is far more violent than his previous film or Orphans. It captures the setting of the 70’s perfectly, with bright colours, bold fashions and Glam Rock. But it is in the acting the film really excels.

Everyone in the film is exceptional, impressive since most of the actors are amateurs and have never even been in front of a camera. It is raw naturalistic acting at it’s finest. Everyone plays their part and is equally memorable. McCarron’s powerful portrayal of a teenager who has lost his way is one of the best debut performances in recent years.

The suffers a little due to it’s length, the ending especially feels like a last minute decision made by the director even although it is an intriguing way to finish a film.

In a perfect world, it would be this British effort that would be sweeping the award ceremonies instead of a damp Royal effort. Hopefully in time, this will become more praised. 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Black Swan *****

Running time: 100 mins  Certificate: 15

Synopsis: A fragile ballet dancer Nina (Portman) is promoted to central role in Swan Lake. Her director Thomas (Cassel), urges her to explore her dark side so that she can better embody the dual role of the Swan Queen and the Black Swan. This along with a new arrival appearing at the company, Lily (Kunis), pushes Nina towards breaking point.

 

Darren Aronofsky over the years has been making films all about the human psyche. Whether it has been in the dull Pi, the intriguing Requiem for a Drea, the over-bloated The Fountain or the overrated The Wrestler. But now the auteur has made his masterpiece. But a word of warning this movie is not for the faint hearted.

He has been clearly influenced by the works of DePalma, Cronenberg and Polanski. In fact the best way to describe the movie is if Dario Argento were to remake The Red Shoes this would possibly be would audiences would encounter. A mixture of body horror, suspenseful scares and artistic dancing.

The story revolves very much like the film’s palette, which is kept to blacks and whites with very little colour shown throughout. The plot goes through the familiar structures of black versus white or good versus evil.

The cast is extraordinary with Portman in particular in true form. She not only makes a believable dancer ( in both ballet and looks), but also gives a multi layer performance which hinders from vulnerability to dominance with the viewer never knowing which version of Nina is going to appear next. Barbara Hershey’s mother is absolutely terrifying, while Cassel and Kunis are given light hearted moments within the story.

The only piece of the puzzle that slightly lets down the whole drama is Winona Ryder who seems to be overacting like a pantomime dame in her role as the jilted  retired dancer.

While the film is absurd, over the top and lacks originality, it is incredibly enjoyable. The movie is also one that will attack every one of the viewer’s senses. In some essence it is an indescribable cinematic experience.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

The King’s Speech ***

Running time: 118 mins  Certificate: 12A

Synopsis: Prince George (Firth), known as Bertie trust overcome his stammer, when his brother abdicates the throne and war looms. He reluctantly turns to Aussie speech therapist Lionel Logue (Rush), whose methods are unconventional.

 

After much hype and glowing reviews the biggest question is, does it live up to the hype. Unfortunately the answer is a resounding no. While there is some things that work very well within the piece. THe film suffers from the same problems that made The Queen a dull run of the mill biopic.

The performances are good, but not outstanding, Colin Firth who seems to be a shoe in for the Best Actor Oscar gives a sympathetic performance, although he appears to have copied Michael Palin’s role in A Fish Called Wanda. Bonham Carter tries her best with what has been given to her. While Geoffrey Rush is the best thing in this film. He is given the best funny lines and makes more of a screen impact than Firth. If there were any justice he would be the one winning the Oscar.

The script is comprised of two way conversations and mini scenes that are linked together. If the film were thirty minutes shorter this may have been a powerful drama. But it feels like something that would have worked better on stage rather than in the cinema.

If it were not for Rush this would be an average TV movie of the week, instead of a good TV movie of the week.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan