Thursday, March 5, 2015

Film Review - Focus (2015)

Focus stars Will Smith as Nikki and Margot Robbie as Jess who are a pair of con artists who plot to pull off a con on businessmen as well as regular folk but when they begin to get involved things could go horribly wrong.

Focus is not a good film I'm afraid but before I delve into that I want to talk about the fantastic cinematography here by Xavier Grobet I mean this is really terrific work here and he makes the skyboxes, the pubs and clubs really feel like real places and it really makes you believe in what you are watching on the screen and hopefully he'll be able to strut his stuff some more in this field in the future.

But sadly the film as a whole is a real bore to sit through for these reasons:

- The first is that the script is not that interesting here as it tries so hard to be a new Ocean's Eleven and it doesn't have the fun or the charm or the narrative thrust of that film and as the film went on I began to get very bored with it all.

- The second is that the central chemistry didn't really click for me, Smith just scoured throughout the entire film and just said his lines in this very angry voice which I found to be off putting while Robbie who impressed me very much in About Time and The Wolf of Wall Street was very disappointing, the voice she did made her sound like a terrible actress and when the film ended and her name came up I just thought to myself "You Failed Me" in my impression of Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget, I really really hope she steps it up as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad next year but given David Ayer's track record with female characters in his films I fear a repeat of her work in this film.

But the supporting performances however I thought were pretty good especially BD Wong, Gerald McRaney and Adrian Martinez, all 3 of those men are very good and do a lot to hold your interest throughout the film.

And so that was Focus, great cinematography could not make up for a dull script and boring central performances, 1 out of 5.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On the Air Series 2 Episode 2 - The Secret Spider

Here is the audio from my 2nd Radio Show for the year where I talked about:

- Kingsman the Secret Service
- 50 Shades of Grey (Selina chimes in with her thoughts on this one as well)
- The Spider-Man news

As always you can click on the streaming option in your browser or right click to save it to your computer.

Link is here: http://blogs.abc.net.au/sa/2015/03/friday-flicks-kingsman-and-50-shades-of-grey.html

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Film Review - The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015)

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel continues the tale of the British retirees (Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith among others) as the Hotel they stay in has become full and Sonny (Dev Patel) is looking to expand to a new outlet but Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) may prove to be one bump on that road.

I was very very excited to see this movie going into it mainly because I really liked the first film and this 2nd one added Gere to the cast which pushed it into "Here take my money" territory so could the film deliver the goods or was it a victim of my own hype to see it?

Well it gives me great pleasure to say that I had a great time here watching this film, a lot of the same creative team from that film return here and their presence is felt as you really feel right at home revisiting these characters in their new life in India, Nighy, Patel, Dench and Smith are particularly good here and there were numerous times where I had a good laugh.

But I have to talk about Gere some more as I was just beaming from ear to ear whenever he was on screen and I also couldn't help but think of the song "Up Where we Belong" from Gere's breakout film An Officer and a Gentleman at times so I hope that the success of this film will let us see him in more films in the future.

Sadly the film does have a flaw to it and its the length, the film does feel 15-20 minutes too long and towards the end of the film I did check my watch on some occasions but despite that I did enjoy myself.

And so the 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a most valuable second entry with these characters and I had a great time despite the length, 3 and a half out of 5.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Film Review - Jupiter Ascending (2015)

Jupiter Ascending is the newest film from Andy and Lana Wachowski and this tells the tale of Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) a lowly house cleaner from a Russian family who is later saved by an alien creature named Caine (Channing Tatum) who also tells her she may hold the key to saving the Earth.

Going into this film I was very optimistic primarily because of my love of Sci-Fi films but also the Wachowski's have rarely impressed me since their 2 Matrix sequels in 2003 were badly handled misfires, could this film right their ship once more or is it another case of hitting the creative iceberg.

Sadly this is another misfire and there are a number of reasons for this but before I delve into those I will talk about what I did like and that is the music score by Michael Giacchino, the Production Design and the Visual Effects all of these make this a good big screen experience.

But as I said this was a misfire for me for these reasons:

- The first reason is that the script here is very muddled and at times I thought I was watching a bad Game of Thrones knockoff with all of its talk of duelling family members and deadly weddings and various other goings on plus there is the whole thing with the industry which didn't really make much sense and I felt had to go as all it did was muddy the storytelling river.

- The second is the casting, Kunis is a real bore to watch as most of the time she's either falling from great heights or screaming at the top of her lungs and I just got sick of her after a while, Tatum shows off his physical prowess but is pretty dull here (hopefully this won't be the case when he becomes Gambit) while Sean Bean does the jaded mentor role and Eddie Redmayne turns everything up to 18 on the OTT scale first by whispering his dialogue THEN SHOUTING SOME OF HIS LINES LIKE THIS!!!! and unlike Joel Edgerton's I AM THE GOD!!! from Exodus last year it isn't even worth a bad laugh.

- And lastly the climax is very cliched with the ticking clock and the exploding place and the race to freedom at the last minute and that as well as a fair chunk of the film just left me bored somewhat and checking my watch.

And so that was Jupiter Ascending sadly a Sci-Fi misfire from a creative team who really need to stop being given blank cheques at this point as they have increasingly failed to deliver and also sadly that with the exception of Neill Blomkamp's upcoming Chappie there may not be much Sci-Fi coming out before we all feel the force again with the new Star Wars film in December, 1 out of 5.

Film Review - Still Alice (2015)

Still Alice is the story of Alice (Julianne Moore) a Linguistics Professor at Columbia University with a Husband (Alec Baldwin) and 3 grown children (Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish) but Alice finds herself diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and her life slowly falling apart.

Still Alice for me was not a bad film but it just really felt like a TV Disease movie of the week, it just had that feel to it and now that I think about it part of me wonders why this is in a cinema as it doesn't really look that cinematic and for me I didn't really feel any strong emotional impact with this story, now I know that Alzheimer's is a horrible disease but here I just didn't really care all that much about it and when it was over I wasn't all that sad.

That being said however Moore is very good here as is Baldwin who I loved seeing again (Paramount made a FATAL FATAL! mistake letting him go as Jack Ryan after the Hunt for Red October) and Stewart was surprisingly effective if a little on the bland side, Bosworth doesn't really get a lot to do apart from drift in and out of the film and Parrish has only a few scenes here or there.

So Still Alice was not a bad film at all thanks to the performances but I didn't feel a lot of emotional impact nor did it feel cinematic, 2 out of 5.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Film Review - Sin City A Dame to Kill For (2014)

The long delayed sequel for 2005's Sin City finally comes to screens and sees a range of stories brought to life, one concerns a Femme Fatale (Eva Green), the other a powerful US Senator (Powers Boothe) which also coincides with a young man good at cards (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and good old Marv (Mickey Rourke) being the glue that holds the town together.

Boy oh boy was this a disaster of a film at almost every level, how so you ask allow me to explain:

- First is the look of the film itself, the whole thing looks like a really cheap computer game with the black and white photography just has the feeling of being added later onto the colour footage of which you see splashes off during the film.

- The Second is that the performances are horrible, Green who is a beautiful woman and a wonderful actress is given nothing to do here save for a horrible American accent and walking around in the nude for most of her screen time, Jessica Alba's night club routine doesn't work this time as it looks desperate, Josh Brolin and Rourke just mumble and gruff their way through the film as does Bruce Willis and Boothe and Levitt are just wasted.

But I have another objection which the way the women are treated in this film, now I am reluctant for the most part to point this out in most films as I normally tend to let it slide if I'm enjoying the film but seeing virtually every single female character dressed in leather as well as half naked with their boobs showing in their outfits was very uncomfortable after a while.

- And lastly Frank Miller's script is terrible with most of the dialogue just sounding ridicolous when paired with the mumbling and grumbling and silly accents that are peppered throughout this film and the cameo with him and co-director Robert Rodriguez just made me cringe in a bad way.

So all in all the film looks cheap, the acting is terrible and the script is ridiculous, I wanted to like this I really did but I just cannot, 1 out of 5.

Film Review - Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

Before I go to Sleep tells the tale of Christine (Nicole Kidman) a woman who has suffered a terrible accident that causes her memory to reset every morning she wakes up next to her husband Ben (Colin Firth) but with the help of Dr Nasch (Mark Strong) there could be much more buried under the surface.

Thinking about this film it was very hard for me to escape the memory of 1991's Shattered which was made by Wolfgang Petersen and starred Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins, Greta Scacchi and Joanne Walley and did this subject matter a whole lot better but before I delve more into that I will talk about what I did like and that was the principal three actors, all of them (even Kidman) were pretty good I thought especially Firth and Strong though it was hard not to think of Kingsman the Secret Service while watching them here.

But despite that I found this to be a pretty silly thriller as well as a fairly predictable one right down to the other person who promises to fill in the gaps as well as the one moment where everything comes together but all I could think of was "see I knew this would happen, regular as clockwork" and as a result I didn't really care about how the whole thing came together in the end.

So all in all Before I Go to Sleep can stay in Bed and Shattered was a far better film, 1.5 out of 5.