Saturday, 18 March 2017
Starring Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Babou Ceesay, Enzo Cilenti, Sam Riley, Michael Smiley and Noah Taylor. Written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley. Directed by Ben Wheatley. Running time 90 minutes. Budget $10 million. Certificate 15.
A group of IRA men, lead by Cillian Murphy's Chris meet up with a shady South African gun runner, Sharlto Copley in a disused warehouse for a gun deal organised by Brie Larson's Justine and Armie Hammer's Ord. But the deal goes south after an unrelated altercation and then mayhem ensues and the bullets start flying in all directions. Allegiances are made, crosses are doubled and everyone takes a bullet or two. Or three, if not more.
This is a very black, very funny, very chaotic movie directed with real aplomb by Ben Wheatley who keeps showing movie, after movie that he has a genuine and distinct voice. Set in the 1970s, gives this a movie a glorious soundtrack and some nice plot points, like a distant ringing telephone to the outside world. The characters are all very distinct and each brings something different to the proceedings.
However, this isn't perfect, the main failing being that once a human being gets shot they tend to lie down, meaning that for most of its running time, the talented cast are crawling around on their bellies or lying down and the continuous gun battle can get a little confusing, plus there's a distinct lack of bloody flying around. But these are minor quibbles. Cos the humour is gloriously black and the cast is excellent. The film is filled with an almost endless supply of quotable lines including my favourite line of the whole film, and one I wish I'd written, "As a child he was mistakenly diagnosed as a child genius."
A funny, violent romp. 8/10
Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reily, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann and Terry Notary. Written by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly. Story by John Gatins and Dan Gilroy. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Budget $185 million. Running time 118 minutes. Certificate 12A.
It's 1973, the Vietnam War is over and the Monarch company, lead by William Randa (John Goodman), set up to investigate 'giant monsters' sets out to investigate a legendary island known as Skull Island, rumoured to be the home of some (to coin a phrase) bad hombres. Recruiting a ragbag team of ex-S.A.S-trackers (Tom Hiddleton), scientists, a photographer (Brie Larson) and a squadron of Army assault helicopters, lead by Samuel L. Jackson, they set off to pierce the storm cloud that endless circles Skull Island and kick ass! Unfortunately for them, but not us, there's somebody there who's more than capable of kicking back and that's the titular superstar of this movie, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the 8th wonder of the world, KING, MOTHER-FUCKING, KONG!!! THE SECOND BEST MOVIE MONSTER, EE-VER!!!
Right, hands up, hand on heart, full disclosure and scout's honour. I'm a committed movie monster fan, I've got all the Japanese Godzilla films on disc, I've watched and rewatched all the Kong movies, except for the Peter Jackson version, endlessly. Christ, I've even watched King Kong Lives starring Linda Hamilton, Gorgo and Rodan. So, it's safe to say that I watched this without any form of critical facility and as a result, very much like going to the Panto eager to shout out, "he's behind you!", I fucking loved it. Oh god yes!!!!
Now I say I went in with no critical facility, that's not strictly true, if this had been a bad film I would have hated it with so much passion I probably would have suffered an embolism, but the truth is that this was an utterly glorious, utterly exhilerating, wonderful romp. This film doesn't waste time teasing us with its star, it's almost like the film makers went, "Fuck it, everyone knows what Kong looks like, let's just get to it." And get to it they do! After the quick set up, the multi character introductions and the pre-credit sequence set during the 2nd World War, we're into the action and its breath-taking. Kong is a staggering presence, his sense of scale is astonishing. From his first clash with Samuel Jackson's helicopter squadron to his multiple fights with a rising scale of fantastic monsters this is an absolute hoot of a film and i BLOODY LOVED IT!!
Like its stablemate, Godzilla, its not perfect but it just doesn't matter, there's too much good with this to worry about the loss of momentum in the second act, a failing of most modern action films, but it does have the following. Near-perfect CGI effects, a glorious brutal savagery and some excellent action sequences, plus a camera that doesn't spasm all over the place. This film is a sheer delight.
The cast, a surprisingly capable bunch of damn fine actors give it there all, treating it all with a degree of respect that it probably doesn't deserve and not mugging it up despite its star to whom they all play second fiddle to. By gathering a cast of very good actors to deliver the hookum lines, you end up buying the bunkum. Perhaps Hiddleston comes out the worst, since beyond pouting earnestly and flexing his chiseled muscles doesn't really have a great deal to do. On the opposite scale is John C. Reilly playing Hank Marlow, the eccentric, marooned WWII fighter pilot who's been surviving on on the island for 30 years. He brings a much needed humour and humanity to the proceedings and its him we stay with in the epilogue.
In a word, Kong rocks!
This was so much fun! Just gloriously good fun. Loved it again, just as satisfying. Well worth a second viewing.
Sunday, 5 March 2017
Starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jilian Bell, Christina Hendricks and Kumail Nanjiani. Written by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser. Directed by Richie Keen. Budget $25 million. Running time 91 minutes. Certificate 15.
The plot is pretty elaborate for a film like this and it's impressive they managed to cram so much into its 91 minute running time, and remember that includes the credits. In a failing school, on the last day of the year, wimp English teacher, Andy Campbell, Charlie Day gets challenged to a fist fight after school from fellow history teacher and psycho Ron Strickland after Day gets Strickland sacked.
Yep that's the plot, however realising that that was pretty thin, the writers have also shoehorned in three subplots for Andy to deal with all on the same day, as well as the forementioned fist fight he has to: 1. Deal with his wife about to go into labour. 2. Perform a duet with his daughter in a talent show at her school. 3. Re-interview for his own job with the school board.
Poor old wimpy Andy, I wonder whether all of these plots will come together in the end to save the day?
Moderately and occasionally funny at best. The film finally finds its grove as those subplots all come together leading into the actual fight. In fact the funniest part of the whole film is, without doubt, the duet that Andy performs with his daughter at her school's talent show. That and the out takes and post credit sequence where we get to see, briefly the start of the next school year, when the status quo is restored.
Sadly a case of C– could do better. See me after school.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook and Stephen Merchant. Written by Scott Ffrank, James Mangold and Michael Green from a story from James Mangold. Directed by James Mangold. Budget $97 million. Running time 137 minutes. 15 certificate.
It's the year 2029, mutant kind is almost gone, proven to be nothing more than a genetic aberration, rather than the next stage of human evolution. Hunted to near extinction by homo-sapians like Richard E. Grant's Zander Rice, the few mutants who survive, like Logan (Hugh Jackman) hide in the shadows. Logan, now battered, heavily scarred and slowly dying from Adamantian poisoning and a weakened healing factor fights the pain with alcohol, while he nurses Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who is slowly succumbing to senility with the help of Caliban (Stephen Merchant). Into their world comes an 11-year old, seemingly mute, mutant girl, Laura (Dafne Keen). She's got severe anger management issues, a murderous rage and some oddly familiar claws, plus she's being hunted by a squad of cybernetically enhanced solider called Reavers lead by Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook). Logan is forced to go on the run with Xavier and Laura after he uncovers a sinister plot to create an army of young mutant warriors created by Zander Rice. What follows is a murderous road trip to a place called Eden that might just offer salvation to young mutants like Laura.
After seven movies playing the titular hero, this is, declared Hugh Jackman, his last outing as everyone's favourite claw welding homicidal superhero and if that declaration is true then this is one hell of a movie to bow out in. Sure it might just be his Wolverine's last movie, but there's no way we're never going to see him again, it's just it's going to be someone else wearing his shoes and popping his claws and boy are they going to have a hell of a lot to live up to!
This is, hands down, the best superhero film I've seen in ages, indeed it may very well be the best one of this modern era, and possibly one of the best one I've ever seen! It's certainly the best of the X-Men movies. The performances are exceptional from all the leads, Patrick Stewart is superb, bringing subtly to his fight with senility in one breathe then dropping the F bomb in the next, boy I don't think I've ever heard so much swearing in an action film. But it's not just Jackman and Stewart who've brought their 'A' game, everyone has including Stephen Merchant acting utterly against type as the albino mutant Caliban. But this isn't a long talky drama, this is also a brilliant action film that doesn't skim on action and doesn't skimp on the fact that its hero has three-foot long, razor sharp claws that he ain't afraid to use! The action is constant, breathless and relentless, but never boring. Indeed, if this film has a flaw it's that it's perhaps a tad too long and it does lose some of its momentum as we move into the third act.
However, that said. I bloody loved this film! I was captivated and hooked from beginning to the very end. Touching, emotional and exciting. What a send off. Please, sir can I have some more like this?
This really holds up, just as satisfying second time round. A very intense and satisfying movie.
Starring Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Ingrid Bisu, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Pütter, Hadewych Minis, Lucy Russell, Vlad Ivanov and Victoria Cocias. Written and directed by Maren Ade. Budget $8.3 million. Running time 162 minutes. Certificate 15.
It's the smash-hit German, three-hour, subtitled comedy starring no one you've probably never heard of before and starring no one under 25. Plus it's been getting rave reviews like 'SENSATIONAL', 'ACHINGLY FUNNY', 'HILARIOUS TRIUMPH' and 'SPECTACULAR. A KNOCKOUT'. Yes! It's TONI ERDMANN.
Toni what? I hear you ask. Yes! Toni Erdmann, a film you truly shouldn't judge by the cover, or the poster, cos if you'll do you'll miss the oddest, warmest and most cringe-inducing comedy you'll probably ever see. True it will test your patience to breaking point, true it is bum-numbingly long, true nothing really happens and true the humour comes from dialogue rather than gags and pratfalls.
The story sees Winifried Conradi, a lonely, divorced music teacher, whose beloved dog has just died decide to reconnect with his grownup daughter, Ines, a highly-stressed, unhappy, executive working for a German oil company in Budapest. This he does by turning up unannounced at her place of work disguised with a set of large false teeth, a shaggy wig and an ill-fitting suit and calling himself Toni Erdmann, a self-proclaimed life coach and consultant. Over the course of Winifried's visit, he insinuates himself into his daughter's life whilst disguised as alter-ego in a series of business meetings and events. These meetings, never planned, slowly have an effect on his daughter who begins to play along with her father's outlandish escapades and help her to subtly rethink her life culminating in the most astonishing, and cringe-worthy naked birthday party you've ever seen.
This is the very definition of a slowburn movie, nothing of any drama really happens yet the relationship between father and daughter is beautiful, as is their gentle re-connection. Peter Simonischek is amazing, bringing a reality and sadness to the role of the father and a sense of genunine ridiculousness and silliness to Toni Erdmann, who never becomes a figure of humiliation or mockery. There's a moment where the Father and daughter embrace which brings a real lump to the throat thanks to its rawness and believability.
This is a film I hope to return to in years to come. It left me with a nice warm glow. But don't worry if you miss it at the cinema, it'll work just as well at home, on TV. One word of warning see this in its original form before the rumoured Hollywood remake starring Jack Nickoson.