Saturday, April 19, 2014

Film Review - Metal Skin (1995)

Metal Skin is written and directed by Geoffrey Wright who also made Romper Stomper and stars Aden Young as Joe, a young man who starts a night job at a local supermarket and meets Daisy (Ben Mendelsohn) and like Joe he shares an interest in high speed cars, an interest that could prove deadly.

This film I have to say is very problematic and when it was over I had to say that I didn't care for it but before I go into those reasons I do want to talk about the things I did like about the movie:

- The first of these is the car racing scenes themselves, they're excellently filmed and the sound of the engines is fantastic, in a way it reminds you of Mad Max but that film has much more imagination behind it than this film does.

- The second was seeing a young Ben Mendelsohn and he does look very young here and of the 4 main actors comes across as the best one of the lot, it's easy to see why he's had some great success in recent years plus there is a very cool apperance by the man in the Go Go Mobile Yellow Pages ad from many years ago.

- And lastly it was seeing some of the old Australian brands that don't exist anymore ranging from Ampol the Australian Petrol Company (A great Australian friend) to Snappy Tom Cat Food (Remember that) and even Black and Gold products.

But alas all of those positives fail to make up for the fact that the story and characters here are just silly, I mean one is into Black Magic, the other lives with a Mentally Ill Dad and is a grunt who turns to violence to get his way and two of them fight it out in a relationship and their interactions get more and more silly as the film goes on and after a while I just thought to myself "I just don't care about anyone here anymore" and whilst the final chase was going on that was all I could think about.

So all in all Metal Skin has some positive moments but I don't care about any of its characters or the story that was told, avoid this one, 1.5 out of 5.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Film Review - The Lego Movie (2014)

The Lego Movie is directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and stars the voice of Chris Pratt as Emmet, a lowly construction worker who is said to be the great master builder who will save the land from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) but can Emmet find the courage within himself to fulfil his destiny?

I have to admit that I was not looking forward to the Lego Movie before going to see it primarily because I was not much of a Lego kid growing up and the film just made me think of Peter Berg's Battleship from a couple of years ago which just felt like a backroom deal as a film, could the film rise above its low expectations.

Well I'll just say HELL. YES. Boys and Girls, this is a terrific animated movie, one of the strongest in recent years and is great fun all ages (the session I went to was PACKED and everyone even the young kids were quiet during the film), the success of it is down to Lord and Miller's script and direction, they keep a very tight hold on the reins and their style of humour reminded me very much of the golden years of the Simpsons which were packed with great jokes that also had time to divert into a funny self contained joke (Candy and Soda's for all.)

The film also has some great comic performances from Will Arnett as Batman (his song is VERY funny) to Liam Neeson as Good Cop, Bad Cop which just made me laugh like a madman with his mood changes and even Morgan Freeman was good fun as well and the animation here by Australian studio Animal Logic is impressive, Most impressive, so much so in fact that I thought I was watching stop motion animation rather than Digimation.

Sadly however part of me didn't really care all that much for Emmet primarily because his character arc was the traditional "Outsider" arc that is very common in these films and after a while I didn't really care about that but hey that is a minor niggle when compared to the terrific fun on display here.

So all in all, the Lego Movie is a rare animated film for all ages to enjoy and it's not too frightening or adult for young kids and you'll most likely come out of it singing "Everything is Awesome" afterwards (and it is very catchy), 4 out of 5.

Film Review - Noah (2014)

Noah stars Russell Crowe as the Biblical Hero Noah who is told by God that a great flood is coming to destroy the world so he vows to build an Ark to protect the innocent in the hope that they will start things over again but King Cain (Ray Winstone) has other ideas.

Noah is sadly a film of two distinct halves, the first half of which is interesting in terms of Noah's quest to build his Ark believing that nothing will save them for the violent storm that bears upon them and Crowe is very convincing here as is Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Winstone and Jennifer Connelly who has aged very well I must admit though SIR ANTHONY HOPKINS!!!! pretty much chews the scenery in his limited role and has pretty much become a parody of himself now.

But once that finishes and the rain comes tumbling down the film loses a lot of its momentum and starts to drag on and on about internal squabbles and changes to some of the character arcs that I didn't really care much for, the film also starts to drag a little in terms of its length and as a result, I began to lose interest in the film.

So all in all, Noah has a strong start but ends very anti climatically and some of the character motivations become questionable, skip this one I'm afraid, 1.5 out of 5.

Film Review - Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Who's Strong and Brave Here to Save the American Way,
Who Vows to Fight like a Man for What's Right Night and Day,
Who will Campaign Door to Door for America,
Carry the Flag Shore to Shore for America,
From Washington to the French Sea,
The Star Spangled Man with a Plan.

Who'll Give the Winter Soldier the Sack and is Smart as a Fox,
Who's Making Bad Guys Afraid to step out of their Box,
Who'll stop the Snake that Sleeps in America,
We know it's no one but Captain America,
The Star Spangled Man WITHHH A PLANNNNNNNNN.

As you might have guessed, I was very much looking forward to this film going in, it along with Jack Ryan from earlier this year have been my most anticipated films of the year and despite a rocky Start for Marvel's 2nd Phase with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2, I was confident the Captain could inspire the troops to get out onto cinema screens and rejuvenate the team, did he do so?

Hell fucking yes he did boys and girls, I really loved this film and afterwards I thought to myself "This is the Marvel movie I've waited for since the Avengers" in that like the last Hobbit movie the Desolation of Smaug it was much more of that rousing adventure we want from this franchise, Chris Evans does well third time around as Cap though it's more of a case of less sermonising and more shield throwing, Anthony Mackie does well in his role and I liked Robert Redford in a key role that I won't say much more about.

This is also true of the rest of the film as the story takes a few twists and turns that will be genuinely surprising to those who don't know a lot about it before they buy their ticket but all I will say from here is that it nicely sets up the Age of Ultron which is due next year.

So all in all, The Winter Soldier is great fun and the best of the Phase 2 Marvel films so far, definitely go to a 2D session when you get the chance, 4 out of 5.

Film Review - Cuban Fury (2014)

Cuban Fury stars Nick Frost as Brian Garrett, a once gifted Salsa dancer who is beaten up by Bullies one night and afterwards gives it up, now he is a grown man working in an Office and he falls for his new boss (Rashida Jones) but his co-worker (Chris O'Dowd) also fancies her too, could reviving his dancing prove the key to winning her over?

I was looking forward to Cuban Fury going into seeing it primarily because of Nick Frost being in the lead and both him and Simon Pegg I've been great fans of now for the last few years so I was keen to give this film a look, could it deliver?

Yep, it did deliver the goods, I had good fun with this film and that is primarily down to the fun casting, Frost is very likeable in the lead role and holds his own very well, Olivia Coleman and Rory Kinnear (Tanner from Skyfall) are also good in their roles as was Ian McShane in his small role and Rashida Jones was very appealing as the love interest, in fact watching her reminded me very much of an old friend who I still miss today.

However the film is not perfect and that comes down to some of the humour not working very well at all, primarily it comes down to the Gay friend Brian meets who comes across as very stereotypical and O'Dowd's character I really hated as all he could think about was bedding his boss, O'Dowd is a funny man but he is much better than this terrible character he's been handed to play.

So all in all I liked Cuban Fury and it's well worth checking out when it's released on DVD, 3 out of 5.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Film Review - Tracks (2014)

Tracks is the true story of Robyn Davidson, an Australian woman who journeyed from inland Western Australia to the Indian Ocean, a journey of some 2000 miles with only 4 camels and her pet dog for company but there's always a way across the desert and this is one woman who is determined to find it.

I really enjoyed Tracks, the film has an interesting story to it despite its fairly simple premise but I was drawn into Robyn's story primarily because part of me finds those "loner" stories exploring a wasteland rather appealing, part of me also thought of Mad Max 2 in some very silly way but that film whilst heavily action packed but at the heart of that film as well as this one was a lone person wandering through a wasteland in search of a deeper meaning.

As for the performances well Adam Driver is perfectly fine though he doesn't an awfully large part in the story but the main one that matters is that of Mia Wasikowska who plays Robyn and she is just wonderful, never failing to hold your attention the entire time on screen, there aren't very many actresses that I find myself swooning over but she would definitely have to be one of them and I hope that she continues her good work for years to come.

So all in all, Tracks is well made and well performed but if some have reservations about it I can understand as it's a tough ask and a hard sell but it's well worth a watch when the DVD is released, 3 out of 5.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Film Review - Non Stop (2014)

Non Stop stars Liam Neeson as Bill Marks, a Federal Air Marshal who goes aboard a flight to London but whilst there receives messages that someone on the plane will die every 20 minutes unless they're paid 150 million dollars so it's now up to Marks to save the day.

Non Stop is surprisingly good fun, especially as the last few Neeson action films have underwhelmed in a big way but here I think he's back on form playing a not so very nice character than can kick ass when he needs to, Julianne Moore is also good in her role and the two of them play off each other very nicely, I also liked Michelle Dockery in her role as well.

But what I found most surprising was how it went in directions I didn't think it would, I won't say too much more than that but if you've seen the previews for the film which I have then it might have looked more like the traditional Liam Neeson action fare but the final film had some very nice turns to it that I didn't expect and it really made me think this was a solid film.

And so to wrap it up, I really liked Non Stop for its surprising story and solid performances, definitely worth a look, 3 and a half out of 5.