Sunday, 27 September 2015



Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kata Mara, Jeff Daniels, Chitwetel Ejiofor, Kirsten Wiig, Sean Bean and Michael Pena. Written by Drew Goddard and directed by Ridley Scott. 141 minutes long.

30 days into a mission to Mars, poor old astronaut and botanist, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is accidentally marooned and left for dead following a violent Martian storm, while his crew mates piss off home. What follows is Mark's battle to survive for four years with just enough food for 50 odd days, while NASA fight to bring him home any way they can. And that's the story in a nutshell, or should that be space helmet?

And what a fantastic story this is, by god, the time just flew by, seriously I had no idea this film ran for 2 hours and twenty minutes, I was so engrossed that I would have been just as happy if it had been on for another 2 hours. It's beautiful to look at, gripping, enthralling and uplifting. I have to say that despite enjoying Gravity greatly, I was left a little flat by it, not so with The Martian. This is just fantastic from beginning to end and I utterly loved every single second!

Also, huge kudos to Ridley Scott who just directs the shit out of this film! No one does science fiction like him, it looks so real it's staggering!

Go and see it and enjoy.




Starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrel, Abbie Cornish, Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Written by Peter Morgan and Sean Bailey, directed by Afonso Pyart. 101 minutes long 

Tone and Col are a pair of super psychics, both able to read the future and past of anyone they touch. Tone is still grieving the death of his 21-year old daughter through Leukemia and the collapse of his marriage and Col is the serial killer, who only targets the terminally ill, who leaves no traces and whom the FBI are chasing but with no success, so Jeffers and Cornie bring in Tone to help them catch the killer. But Tone soon twigs that he's up against a psychic even better than him and it quickly becomes a cat and mouse game as Tone and Col chase each other and chat right up to the ending they both have seen coming since the film began.

This starts quite well but the sheer silliness of it all soon makes it more of a joke than an intense thriller. Hopkins acts the whole thing like he's bored out of his gourd and brings some of the funniest moments to a film that's not supposed to be remotely funny and the whole thing soon becomes bogged down by it's own ridiculousness. Indeed at one point he tells a proper joke, with a set up, gag, punchline, which gets a huge laugh but that feels totally out of place. The other trouble is that this film is so cliched you might find yourself psychic too as you guess what's going to happen next and what the big secret, Tone is hiding. A clue, it's not really that big, you sort of know it right from the off if you're paying attention.

Not a great deal to recommend this, certainly not worth a cinema visit, perhaps a rental or on demand but it's mildly entertaining and offers a couple of nice moments and some naked boobs.




Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Kaluuya. Written by Taylor Sheridan, directed by Denis Villeneuve. 121 minutes long.

The Hollywood pitch probably went like this - "It's Zero Dark Thirty but about drugs." And in no way is that to be considered a negative comment, for this is anything other than a superb, intense and thoroughly gripping thriller.

Emily Blunt, the thinking man's action heroine, is crack FBI agent, Kate Macer
encouraged to volunteer for a mission to wreck chaos on a Mexican drug cartel and thereby bring down a drug lord by secretive CIA agent, Josh Brolin and his even more sinister 'friend', Alejandro – the Sicario of the title. But when by-the-book Kate realises that the mission is anything but 'strictly legal' she begins to balk at the actions and savage brutality she encounters and witnesses but realises, too late, that the further she goes the harder it is for her to get out.

This is a slow burn, powerful, intense and savage film that's also staggeringly stunning and beautiful thanks in no small part to cinematographer Roger Deakins who creates a beautiful vista of strange other-worldliness.

The only frustrating aspect of the film is Emily Blunt's character, Kate Macer who stubbornly refuses to join in the party, despite the fact she's seen just how awful and downright evil the drug cartels are, and as such she spends the whole film whinging and complaining when all you want her to do is to get with the program and help the committed Josh Brolin and Del Toro get the bad guy.

Just superb. 


Sunday, 20 September 2015



Starring Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie and Kathryn Hahn. Written by M. Night Shyamalan. 94 minutes.

Two kids, Rebecca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are sent off by their single mom, Loreta (Kathryn Hahn) to spend a week with her estranged parents, whom she's not seen in 15 years. Both children are disgustingly precocious, Becca is a 14 year-old documentary film maker with the vocabulary of a 26 year film graduate and Tyler is an 11 year-old lisping white rapper obsessed with bitches and his height and an obsessive OCD obsession with cleanliness. The grandparents who now spend their time running a counseling service at the local mental hospital that is, initially seem fine, loving and attentive, although come night-time, when both kids are banished to their bedroom and warned not to leave, Nana and Pop-pop begin to exhibit ridiculously bizarre antics that alarm the kids, although not enough for them to ever alert their mum until it's far too late...

Filmed as P.O.V and chronicling the week in daily chapters this is the 10th film of M. Night Shamalama-ding dong and with each film it gets increasingly hard to remember the wonder of his second film, Sixth Sense.

First the good news. This isn't as terrible as The Happening, The Last Air Bender, Signs, The Village, After Earth, Lady in the Lake or any of his other films that aren't The Sixth Sense. Now the bad, it's not particularly good.

Because Night can't make an original film without a twist in the tale, you sit there waiting for this one to rear its ugly head and the way it's telegraphed is genuinely laughable. After that you're just waiting for the kids to twig. Until then you gasp and giggle at each stupid thing they do and the bizarre antics their grandparents get up to, until the reveal-all final act and the shocking revelations are at last revealed.

Stupid, silly and daft, treat it like a comedy and you might enjoy it.


Sunday, 13 September 2015



Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Nathalie Emmanuel, Giancarlo Esposito, Alexander Flores, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Jacob Lofland, Barry Pepper, Rosa Salazar, Lili Taylor, Alan Tudyk and Patricia Clarkson.

Written by T.S. Nowlin and directed by Wes Ball. 131 minutes long.

Hooray! It's time for another dose of teenagers getting brutalised, beaten up and murdered in the name of entertainment, just to bid our time until the final Hunger Games later this year. So, this starts off from where the first film ended, like one second after it finished.

I'm almost tempted to just cut and paste my review for Maze Runner here and save me some time since so little is different second time round. We get the same bunch of kids running, but outside in a desert rather than in a maze and instead of strange mutant bio-mechanical spider robots as a threat we have rage-infected zombies. Some characters die, some don't, lessons are taught and secrets are revealed, but once again it's one of those films where characters don't tell the others what's going on, they're told instead. Indeed, you just want Thomas to stop and tell the other what's going on it would so help the situation.

The kids stumble from one event to the next up along the food chain till the end, setting the table for the next installment. The action sequences are fun, the shattered city is fantastic but this is a jarring film, and despite being only a 12 certificate i still felt it was unnecessarily unpleasant and scary for 12 year-olds, certainly my young lad was a tad stressed by events. There's quite a bit of swearing too and the sight of kids using guns to kill is a little unsettling as is the stated desire by one of the youths that he wants to kill someone for revenge. Strength is shown to be by the use of a gun and killing is all done with impunity.  The baddies are shown to be nothing more than contemptuous adults who want to abuse and exploit the kids for a cure to the disease that has ravaged the planet.

With plot holes you could drive trucks through, stupid character motivations, a bizarre and utterly unnecessary teenage drug and sex club sequence, a savage torture scene, and filled with generic, by-the-numbers dialogue, this is an average film that thinks it's okay to tease but never give its viewers the happy ending they so richly deserve.

The action becomes repetitive as does the language as does the fact that everyone except for the kids knows what's going on, this isn't terrible, the production values are excellent as is the hmmm, you'll find out.




Starring Tom Hardy, Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, David Thewlis and Taron Egerton. Written and directed by Brian Helgeland. 131 minutes long.

Gore blimey what a luvable bunch a old rogues those Krays were! There was the loveable Reggie (Tom Hardy) the handsome, ladies man who dreams of running a successful chain of nightclub and settling down with 'is girlfriend, Frannie (Emily Browning) and then there was good ole, Ronnie (Tom Hardy) the psychotic homosexual one who dreams of invisible worms eating away his brain. Aah, which one do you root for? Well, you could choose the one who loves to take a hammer to the kneecaps, faces and chests of his rivals, when he's not shooting them point blank in the face that is, or you could go for the one who likes to rape his wife, beat her senseless and then stab a man to death in the middle of a party, blimey talk about party pooper.

Welcome to the fun world of the Krays circa the swinging 1960s and welcome to the glorious streets of East London, or Roupell and Whittlesey Street (Southbank) if you're keen to track down the locations. Here's where our two 'heroes' live and work, controlling extortion rackets, lone-sharking and whatever else can make them as minted asap and using savage violence as their weapon of choice, but don't worry, these boys love each other and their dear old mom, so they can't be all bad, can they?

Told from the point of view of Frannie, Reggie's wife, this is a greatest hits tour of the adult life of the Krays, which gives us little titbits that leave us wanting more, more information more detail, you want a sense of how their mother was able to mold them, perhaps a sense of how they rose to become so powerful, what were they like as kids? And you yearn for a glimpse into the bond that makes these boys the psychic-siamese twins they so obviously were. Instead we get the disembodied voice of a Frannie, Freddie's real-life wife who committed suicide, leaving you wondering how she is still able to offer an opinion about what happens. But like Henry Hill's Karen Hill she seems like the classic innocent abroad, swept along by a handsome, smooth talking hunk in a stylish suit into a world of savage brutality and crime.

This film is carried by two performances alone, everyone else is just along for the ride, Reggie and Ronnie as played by Tom Hardy who, apart from the dreadful 'This Means War' doesn't seem to have made a shit film yet (excluding Star Trek Nemesis, and not mentioning Batman The Dark Knight Rises). He is simply staggering here in his portrayal of the twins, giving each an utterly distinct personality and the film wisely chooses to focus on Reggie, who of the two is by far the more sympathetic, mainly because he's clearly not so staggeringly bat-shit insane as his brother and this sort of gangster bio pic needs a villain we can at least like a little, Henry Hill from Goodfellas, springs to mind as an example. That said, a quick background check on the Krays' real life activities makes you realise that Brian Helgland exercised the genuinely terrible things they got up to, in a way homoganising them as well as simpifying them too, in reality Ronnie claimed to be a bisexual not homosexual, but for this film he's just a psycho homosexual criminal and they might have killed a couple of guys but come on, they were just crimbos, so it's cool.

This is a well directed, superbly acted, well art-directed crime drama that leaves you wanting more info as well as a bad taste in the mouth. No one is nice in this film and Eccleston, the only decent man in the entire film, still looks like as if he's holding in the world's stinkest poo. His investigation into the Krays is at best perfunctory and you get no sense of what was being done to bring the boys down.

A fascinating tale, but one that ultimately feels a little empty, made superb by Tom Hardy.