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Diana *

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Run Time: 113 mins Cert: 12A

Synopsis: Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, the biopic covers the final two years of Princess Diana’s life and her relationships with Hasnat Khan and Dodi Fayed.

 

The film begins with Diana’s (Naomi Watts) divorce from her husband Prince Charles in 1995. The film mainly focuses on Diana’s two-year relationship with cardiac surgeon Hasnat Khan and the issues that led to its failure before touching briefly on her final relationship with Dodi Fayed.

 

The script is poorly written and the dialogue is forced and sugary. Naomi Watts gives a good performance but is limited by the script. While her appearance and mannerisms are similar to those of Diana, her lines consist of weak attempts at humour, regular self pity and dramatic declarations of love that wouldn’t be out of place in a soap opera.

 

Naveen Andrews is also pleasant enough to watch but his character seems flat and underdeveloped while the supporting cast are bland and easily forgotten.

 

The film is very safe in its depiction of events. Charles is never seen and her relationship with her sons is ignored apart from a few lines about their lack of contact. Her relationships with Khan and Fayed are also portrayed in a simplistic, cut and dried way. The former feels like a badly written romance novel while the latter is portrayed as nothing more than a media stunt to make Khan jealous.

 

The ending is rather cheesy and feels more like a soap opera than a biopic. Overall, “Diana” is one of the worst movies of 2013.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

The Call ****

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Run Time: 94 mins                             Cert: 15

 

Synopsis: When 911 dispatcher Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) makes a mistake with tragic consequences, she vows she will never take a call again. However when teenager Casey (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped she gets back on the line to fight for the caller’s life.

 

The film begins in a 911 call centre in which Jordan (Halle Berry) is working. After a careless mistake resulting in a caller’s death, she stops working on the phones. Six months later, teenager Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped by a man named Michael Anderson (Michael Eklund) in a shopping centre car park. She calls 911 from the boot of his car and Jordan takes over the call.

 

The story is well written and has a number of twists. The majority of the movie takes place in real time and follows the lengthy phone call that takes place between the lead characters and while events do occur, the main thing that keeps the viewer’s attention is the anticipation and suspense.

 

Halle Berry’s performance is by far her best in recent years. Her character seems very human. She makes mistakes and suffers emotionally but is also determined to make things right. This makes Jordan a character the audience can relate to and adds depth to the movie.

 

Abigail Breslin also gives a great performance. Despite being young and inexperienced, Casey has strong survival instincts and fights even when death seems certain. She and Berry work well together and the trust established between them is a key element in the story.

 

Michael Eklund is both scary and convincing as deranged kidnapper Michael. His motivation for kidnapping the teenager is unclear and keeps the viewer guessing until the end.

 

Despite a promising start and middle, “The Call” loses its way in the third act. While there are some good twists, the last 20 minutes seem all over the place and the ending is disappointing.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

Newsreel (W/e 22nd September 2013)

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Billy Connolly has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

 

Terminator reboot set to be released July 1, 2015, where it’s now set to face Independence Day 2.

 
The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden is set to play the villain in the Farrelly’s comedy sequel, Dumb and Dumber To.

 
Rumour has it Arnold Schwarzenegger is to team up with James Cameron for Avatar 2 as the villain.
 

The Good Dinosaur & Finding Dory have been moved to November 2015 & 2016.

 
The Walt Disney Studios & Jerry Bruckheimer announce that they have decided not to renew their first-look deal when it expires next year.
 

RoboCop will open in regular and IMAX cinemas on February 7, 2014.
 

Neil Marshall is to direct the remake of Troll Hunter.

 
Prisoners takes none, when it hits the top of the U.S. Box-office.

R.I.P.D. ***

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Run Time: 96 mins                     Cert: 12A
Synopsis: Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds), a hotshot detective is killed in the line of duty & joins a supernatural police force that protects the living from the devious souls who have escaped judgment. Nick is partnered with Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges) a veteran sheriff with a knack for spotting a fugitive soul. They must learn to work together in order to face a threat to the human race as lost souls have found a way to stay on Earth. 

 

Based on the Dark Horse comic book of the same name, ‘R.I.P.D’ is a mixed bag of recycled ideas from other movies.

 

The initial plot of two mismatched partners fighting creatures has already been done in the ‘Men in Black’ trilogy. Even the two lead characters seem similar in that the younger apprentice if you will is a cocky, overconfident hothead, while the old pro is a cool, calm, straight by the book cop. Not only is that film copied but there are elements of ‘Ghost’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ thrown into the mix.

 

Reynolds is as usual the weak element. His blank emotionless stare, brings a cold and in passionate performance to a character that is weighed down by guilt. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Bridges ramps it up to 90 with a showboating scenery chewing role. However the character feels like the bastard child of Rooster Cogburn & Jeffrey Lebowski with voice to match. Mary Louise Parker is really the scene stealer with a funny and quirky turn as the two cops superior.

 

The tone of the film is more lighthearted than what would normally be expected of a movie of this type. If the filmmakers had gone for a darker theme, then it may have been more of an interesting take on the proceedings.

 

Director Robert Schwentke who previously directed ‘Red’, packs each scene appears to be extremely detailed and the camera is constantly moving but never distracting. The effects are very hit and miss, with some of them looking very unfinished as if the studio had run out of time for a release date.

 

Even though ‘R.I.P.D’ is flawed and unoriginal, it is never the less fun, enjoyable and at times quite humorous.

 

Reviewed by Paul Logan

Rush ****

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Run Time: 122 mins Cert: 15

Synopsis: Directed by Ron Howard (Backdraft, Apollo 13), “Rush” tells the true story of the rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda with a strong emphasis on the events of the 1976 season.

 

The movie begins in 1970 when young racing drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) first meet at a minor league race. From the beginning there is a strong element of competition between the two men who openly express their dislike for each other and regularly make snide comments. Over the next few years both drivers progress to Formula One and are determined to win.

 

The film is full of action packed scenes that will leave the audience hanging onto their seats. At times the camera angle makes the viewer feel as if they are in the car whizzing round the track. There are also some graphic accident scenes highlighting the danger the drivers are putting themselves in, particularly the horrific crash that involves one of the main players.

 

There is also an element of comedy in the movie which provides some memorable scenes while giving the viewer an insight into the situations Hunt and Lauda experienced during their careers. The moments of laughter that occur during serious scenes add depth and realism while keeping the audience entertained.
 

Chris Hemsworth gives an impressive performance as James Hunt with his flawless accent and strong resemblance. Daniel Bruhl also gives an excellent portrayal of rival Niki Lauda and Olivia Wilde is great as Hunt’s first wife Suzy.

 

The soundtrack is great and features original music by Hans Zimmer as well as tracks by artists such as including Thin Lizzy, David Bowie and the Spencer Davis Group. This adds to the film’s 1970s feel and provides a good accompaniment to the action scenes.

 

Overall the movie is slightly long however a well written story, great acting and thrilling scenes make “Rush” one of the best movies of 2013.

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

Newsreel (W/e 15th September 2013)

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Disney delays Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales till 2016.

 

Robert Zemeckis is considering directing the Charlie Kaufman scripted Chaos Walking.

 

Lionsgate Television and FX are developing a TV sequel to American Psycho.

 

Dreamworks Animation confirms The Croods 2 is in development.

 

Universal Pictures announce that Jurassic Park 4 has been retitled Jurassic World and will be released in 3D on June 12, 2015.

 

Mark Wahlberg & Rupert Wyatt set to remake The Gambler.

 

Warner Bros. & J.K. Rowling set for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie series.

 

Jerry Bruckheimer is in talks to reprise his role as producer on Beverly Hills Cop 4.

 

Insidious 2 haunts the top of the U.S. box-office.

About Time **

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Run Time: 119 mins Cert: 15

 

Synopsis: In Richard Curtis’s latest romantic comedy, Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) discovers he can travel through time and decides to use his abilities to make his life better.

 

At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to Tim (Domnhall Gleeson), a young man from Cornwall who lacks confidence. Following a New Year party, the 21-year-old is told by his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in his family have a special ability: time travel. While he can’t go beyond the start of his own life, he can change things that have happened to him so Tim decides this could help him get a girlfriend. Initially his attempts fail as the girl he likes doesn’t share his feelings, but on moving to London he meets Mary (Rachel McAdams) and travels back and forth in time to try and win her heart.

 

The addition of time travel to a romantic comedy gave “About Time” a lot of potential, however this aspect is dealt with badly. The writer applies no rules whatsoever and there are a lot of inconsistencies in the story.

 

Throughout the movie there is no conflict whatsoever. Once the two main characters are together, they never fight once. Every event during their life together seems to go smoothly and there are no disagreements about parents, wedding plans or even day to day issues. This makes the characters feel somewhat one dimensional.

 

The film features some good acting, particularly from Bill Nighy and Tom Hollander. However a weak script and lack of depth mean they have less scope to perform well. Gleeson is very bland in his role as Tim and while McAdams is pleasant enough to watch, her character is quite flat.

 

Overall, “About Time” was disappointing. While the idea was good, its weak humour and idealistic story let it down.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan

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*Originally reviewed at EIFF

Newsreel (W/e 8th September 2013)

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Transformers: Age of Extinction has been revealed as the title for the new movie.

 

Guy Ritchie reunites with Jared Harris for The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

 

Bill Murray set to star in Barry Levinson’s new comedy Rock The Casbah, which is scripted by Scrooged screenwriter Mitch Glazer.

 

Dwayne Johnson & McG are teaming up for a movie remake of the TV series The Fall Guy.

 

Ice Cube is set to reprise his role as Captain Dickson in 22 Jump Street.

 

“Game of Thrones” and Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor is in talks to direct Terminator V.

 

Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens & Patrick Fugit have joined the cast of David Fincher’s Gone Girl.

 

Roland Emmerich plans to reboot the Stargate franchise as a new movie trilogy.

 

Dane DeHaan will play James Dean alongside Robert Pattinson in the Dean movie biopic Life, to be directed by Control’s Anton Corbijn.

 

Riddick returns to claim the top of the U.S. box-office.

Elysium ***

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Run Time: 109 mins                     Cert: 15

Synopsis: In 2154, those with money and social status live on a space station bathed in luxury known as ‘Elysium’ while everyone else lives on the now poor and disaster ridden earth. Knowing there is health care and a safer life for them, those on earth regularly attempt to find a way to Elysium. 

 

Max De Costa (Matt Damon) is a former car thief who lives in Los Angeles and works in a factory that makes robots. On breaking his arm on the way to work, he meets up with his childhood friend Frey (Alice Braga) who works as a nurse while trying to look after her ill daughter. When Max becomes ill and Frey finds out her daughter is dying, they attempt to get to Elysium in order to get treatment. Most of the film focuses on Max,  his friend Julio (Diego Luna) and hacker Spider (Wagner Moura)’s attempts to override the space station’s computer system and gain access against the will of its defense secretary Jessica Delacourt (Jodie Foster).

 

The film is entertaining and fun to watch. The effects are also good and there are plenty of futuristic devices such as robots, spaceships and automatic treatment machines known as “med bays”.  While the story is interesting, it loses its way in the final act. Although the audience would expect sci fi movie to push the boundaries of reality, the last 20 minutes are a bit too far fetched.

 

Matt Damon gives a good performance as Max, a young man who has grown up as an orphan and dreams of a better life. While Max initially appears to travel to Elysium for his benefit, there is a twist at the end of the movie that shows he cares about others. This adds some depth to both the character and the movie.

 

 

Jodie Foster is also entertaining to watch although her character is one the viewers are likely to detest. While the character tries to make people believe she cares about Elysium, she only cares about her own personal gain and the audience is likely to spend the movie awaiting her comeuppance.

 

Overall the movie is enjoyable and does the futuristic theme well, however the final act is a bit of a let down. There are some good twists in the story but the ending seems unrealistic and somewhat too ideal.

 

Reviewed by Lesley Logan


Newsreel (W/e 1st September 2013)

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Russell Crowe plans to direct The Water Diviner.

 

Aaron Paul, John Turturro & Sigourney Weaver join the cast of Ridley Scott’s Exodus.

 

James Spader is Ultron in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’.

 

Universal Pictures is set to release the James Brown biopic Get On Up, on October 17, 2014.

 

Matt Damon has joined the cast of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie Interstellar.

 

Up Oscar winner Bob Peterson has been removed as director of Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur.

 

Kurt Russell in talks to join the cast of Fast & Furious 7.

 

Kathleen Turner joins Dumb and Dumber To.

 

Bradley Cooper is Rocket Raccoon in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

Spirited Away Director Hayao Miyazaki set to retire.

 

The Social Network’s Dakota Johnson will star as Anastasia Steele, while Pacific Rim’s Charlie Hunnam is Christian Grey in Universal Pictures’ adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

The Dinobots have been confirmed for Transformers 4.

 

R.I.P. David Frost

 

The Butler did it! As One Direction fall off the top spot over Labor Day Weekend.