Movie Review

Last Vegas Review

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I went to see this film expecting The Hangover in their twilight years. I thought it would have some good laughs and I thought it would be a good way to spend an evening. I was really surprised at how good it was. This is not a typical comedy although it does have plenty of laughs. At some parts it may seem more like a coming of age story which is ironic as all of the main cast are in their 60s or 70s.

Something that may attract audiences is the cast. Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline star. Getting together a great ensemble cast like this with screen legends is amazing. It is also easy to think that the project just brought the big names together to attract audiences but they work together really well and compliment each other to the point that they give great performances in an entertaining movie. None of the performances are ground breaking but I think the nature of the story does not require them to be.

The story follows the childhood friends Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam. It opens with them as childhood friends in the 50s and they run in with a store owners son and end up stealing a bottle of alcohol. Paddy and Billy are fighting over the affections of the same girl and Paddy goes on to marry her. When we cut to the modern day Billy is getting married to a woman half his age and invites the old gang out for a party in Vegas. The gang learn to be young again and love life and what they have and what they could have.

A lot of the comedy is provided by Kline with some funny one liners. The rest of the cast have there moments of being funny but the comedy is left to Kline. Some people say the film is predictable but even if you think that I feel that anyone at any age can enjoy this film. I feel that this film will be enjoyed by older generations as well as the younger audience of teenagers.

One criticism I have but I understand why they did it was the representation of old people. The actors in question are not that old and there are lots of jokes about them having to take lots of pills and not hearing things properly but I know that people way into their 80s and 90s can still be active. My Great Grandparents are both 92 and they still go out everyday. I think this adds humor to the film and is not misrepresenting old people. If anything this shows older people overcoming the limitations that society holds over them. Billy and Paddy have a tense relationship as Billy did not attend the funeral of Paddy’s wife who was also his close friend. The film leads Sam and Archie tricking Paddy into going to Vegas for the party.

Overall this is a really sweet film and not what I expected at all. I do think it is great to see older actors lead and carry a film so well and I do think that people underestimate older leads. I would love this film to prove that actors in their 60s and beyond can be more than a supporting character and carry the film. The film contains lots of laughs and truly has heart. I really hope you give it a chance.

7.5/10

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The Wolf Of Wall Street Review

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Leonardo DiCaprio despite being very famous and rich often gets so much stick. People often overlook the fact that he is a great actor. He has given loads of great performances over the years and  now he has reunited with director Martin Scorsese to make The Wolf of Wall Street. It may shock many people after watching the movie that this is based on a true story and if you Google Jordan Belfort you can find interesting and shocking interviews about the time he was on wall street.

First of all I will say that this is an odd film for Scorsese to make. Recently he made Hugo which was a children’s film and The Wolf of Wall Street is far more adult but it seems to have a very different tone from his other films. I did question if Scorsese was the best choice of director for this project but he does a great job regardless of what I think. Scorsese is a great director and he has the influence and the fame to do what he wants. A criticism of the film is that it is long running at 179 minutes and Scorsese allegedly had editing issues to cut it down to that. The length is an issue with this film in my opinion, some claim that it flies by but despite the film being entertaining I do think people are very aware of the time passing as they watch it. I do think the film is really well made and I would go as far to say this is an iconic piece of cinema. However the opening of the film which includes Photoshopped images and the visual effects seem very sloppy and unfinished. Some people may think it looks great but during the boat scene I could tell that all of it was visual effects.

DiCaprio really throws himself into the role of Jordan Belfort and the fact that he was able to use Belfort’s book as well as the person himself for research the role is really genuine. Despite some really crude and extreme scenes this may be one if not the best performance DiCaprio has ever given. I know DiCaprio is a really good actor but I am suprised at how much of this role he embodied. Belfort does break the fourth wall in the film and narrates a great deal of it which I don’t think was the best thing to do. It works out at the end as it appears

The supporting cast is also great, Jonah Hill has really changed as an actor and really delivers in this film. Hill started off in comedies and despite this being a dark comedy it is a more serious film than people think. Like the Golden Globes class this film as a comedy. Jon Bernthal also gives a great performance but I felt he was underused a great deal. Jean Dujardin also has a small role in the film and it is good to see him in bigger films after having done nothing that noteworthy after winning an oscar for The Artist. Rob Reiner also has a small role as Belfort’s father. Margot Robbie who plays Belfort’s wife in this in my opinion is a weak point. I did not think she ruined the film but I felt she was nothing special. That may be jsut because she is not really the focus of the movie but as I said Jon Bernthal and Jean Dujardin have small roles but they are more rememberable than her.  I am sure that this film will allow Robbie to have a greater career and well done to her.

Overall this is a solid film with a great director, a great story, a great ensemble and a great leading man. DiCaprio also picked up a Golden Globe for this role and may even go on to get an Oscar nomination and maybe even a win. However it seems that the academy awards hate him for some reason but we just need to wait and see. I do think that the length of the film will put people off and cause many people to wait for it to be released on DVD and Blu Ray. If you don’t mind sitting in the cinema for over 3 hours as there will be adverts check out this film.

8/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

American Hustle Review

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American Hustle has already received a great deal of attention from the big awards and I predict that it will pick up a fair amount of awards. The film rightly receives attention for being a great film. This does have the elements of an art house film but at times it is highly entertaining at parts. The film follows Irving Rosefeld (Christian Bale) a con artist and his partner in crime Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) who are swooped up by the FBI agent Richie DiMasso (Bradley Cooper) and asked to aid the government in bringing down corrupt politicians. The story starts with an attempt to catch Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) to capture him taking a bribe. When the opportunity presents itself DiMasso wants to go after higher up officials.

This film does have a great cast and they all work really well together. Bale and Adams had previously worked together on The Fighter and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence previously worked together on Silver Linings Playbook which were both directed by David O.Russell. It seems that O. Russell has a good relationship with his actors that he can collaborate with them on many different movies. O.Russell is known for having a temper on set but it seems that in his recent films the actors and crew he works with work with him well and he has no need to lose his temper. From a directing point of view O.Russell seems very skilled in his craft and his other films have really brought him into a new light as a filmmaker. I do very much look forward to what he will do next.

The film also features a cameo from Robert De Niro who plays a mob boss named Victor Tellegio and Louis C.K gives a decent performance as Richie DiMasso’s supervisor. Despite these two having small roles in the film their performances are really great and they did really stick out to me. I do think that Bale, Cooper, Adams and Renner really deliver in this film and I am glad to see that they all except Renner have received nominations. Lawrence have received nominations for awards for her role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld, however I did not think her role in this was anything special. I know she is loved by many people and I do like her other work as well but I felt her performance really lacked when compared to the other actors in the film.

One criticism I do have with the film is that it is not consistently entertaining. For me entertainment is really important when watching a film. Art can be fun despite what some people say. The film is interesting when it is not entertaining though but I would rather it consistently delivered. The first part of the film is a lot less entertaining than the second half of the film but that does not mean any of the film is bad. With the mix of great performances, great story and great film making this film is well crafted and is a must see film.

Overall this film is a solid piece of cinema and may even be considered a modern classic. The film has so many good moments and with a great cast and crew there is no surprise that this film was successful. I am sure this will pick up a few awards when the time comes and with such an excellent cast this will continue to have financial success. Although some moments are duller and less interesting than others the film is defiantly worth checking out. As always I fear that the film will be lost on the larger audience but with a cast of A list actors I am sure people will check this out and will struggle to hate this.

8/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

Iron Man 3 Review

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe started with Iron Man back in 2008 and led the The Avengers which is the highest grossing film of all time. Robert Downey Jr has brought Tony Stark to life and there is no doubt that people love this character so much. Robert Downey Jr has portrayed Tony Stark 5 times including a brief cameo in The Incredible Hulk and will reprise the role in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Something has surprised me about the standalone Iron Man films. People love the character of Tony Stark but find the films a bit rubbish. I did think Iron Man was good and I think the series is decent but they are not without its flaws. Iron Man 3 for me has a great many flaws which  I will discuss.

First of all Tony Stark is an eccentric billionaire, playboy. philanthropist and is a narcissist and overly arrogant. Iron Man 3 went for a much darker tone similar to what Christopher Nolan did with his Batman trilogy. I do think this was a mistake to make Tony Stark a darker and weary character. I think Marvel have lighter tones to their films and have a great deal of comic relief. Seeing someone we love suddenly become weary may be interesting for some but not for all. I think Tony is this film was too depressing and even though the film had its lighter moments it was aiming for a darker tone.

The plot for me is nothing special and seems to be not much more than a simple revenge movie. The plot does deviate quite a lot and the film is full of plot holes. I do not like discussing plot holes as frankly we are not watching real life and nothing is perfect so I can let most plot holes go. Part of the film sees Tony Stark turn up in Tennessee and the world presumes that he is dead. I feel that these scenes had no relevance whatsoever and were forced upon the audience.

One of the major issues with the film is the Mandarin plot twist. Now this is a SPOILER so if you have not seen the film or are aware of the twist then I suggest you stop reading. However I assume most people have seen this by now or at least heard about the outrage of the plot twist. Anyway, the trailers showed us that Ben Kingsley is portraying The Mandarin but after Tony and Rhodes raid his compound they discover that he is a fake and is a British actor who is working for the real villain Alrdich Killian played by Guy Pearce. I guess it was an interesting plot choice but I was really upset that they changed the Mandarin. Killian also later claims to be the real Mandarin and sports a dragon tattoo. However there is a rumor going around that Ben Kingley is working on a short marvel film in which he plays the real Mandarin. That would be cool if it turns out to be true.

The action sequences in the film are cool and I was surprised to see them done so well with Shane Black directing as he has not directed a film of this scale before. However because of what Iron Man is some of the fight sequences seem a bit too faced paced and I feel that audiences will not get to savor how good the fights are. However I am sure fans were happy to see fight scenes in such a large scale.

I do give some credit to the film as although the other Avengers are not in the film we do not miss them. I feel that Tony Stark is interesting on his own to carry a movie and to be honest he is the main character of The Avengers films. I do think that this film gives Rhodes a lot more to do and I feel that his character was underused in both the previous Iron Man films. Don Cheadle does not steal the show but he plays an interesting contrast to Tony which I think audiences did enjoy.

Overall I do think that this film did a decent job and is no doubt entertaining. I know that die hard fans do not like it as they feel that it betrayed the original content of the comic. This is more like a sequel to The Avengers than Iron Man 2 and I suspect the  action taken by Tony at the end of the movie will lead to the events of Age Of Ultron. Until I see that I cannot really say much but I do think this film has a great deal of relevance to the next Avengers film.

6.5/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

Les Miserables Review

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Director Tom Hooper gave us The King’s Speech as well as the miniseries John Adams which were both fantastic. You would think that as he has directed on a large scale with historical context you would think he would be able to make a great film with Les Miserables. This is a musical film and I knew that going in but the cast and the director gave me hope watching it. I don’t think all musicals are bad but it is something that I don’t really watch because it just doesn’t appeal to me.

This is the first time a musical did live recordings of the performances. Usually they would record the soundtrack in the studio and then lip syncing on the set of the film. I did think live seeing added something but that hardly saves the film. I am glad that Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter feature and provide the much needed comic relief to the film. I think it would be too dull without something to break up the drama. I don’t think any of the cast are bad singers at all but I feel that they deliver forgettable performances. I expected a lot more from a cast of such talented actors.

I don’t like long films and if they are long they need to be interesting. I am sure this film is interesting to some but it wasn’t for me. After and hour I was checking the time. I remember joking to my friend about 20 minutes before the film was due to end that there was another hour and a half to go. He said’ You’re f**king kidding me?’ I think that proves how boring the film is. My friend had lost his sense of time and was annoyed when he thought it was no where near the end.

The film did manage to pick up some Oscar nominations and Anne Hathaway took away best supporting actress Oscar. This really was not deserved at all in my opinion. A lot of people liked her performance and think it was deserved but I felt it was too over the top at times and too subtle at other points. Also the fact that she is hardly in it makes me wonder why she got the Oscar. Even a supporting actress Oscar is too much praise in my opinion.

Hugh Jackman picked up an Oscar nomination for his role of Jean Valjean although he missed out on the win. I felt that this films only good bits had Jackman in them. It is good to see that Jackman can play an intense character other than Wolverine and he demonstrates his performance skills as well and a great deal of emotion. I don’t really know how this film could be improved at all. I know it is easy to criticize the film without giving solutions but I really have no interest in giving solutions for this film. I do appreciate that any motion picture has so much effort put into it and that is something to be proud of. But the film failed to keep me entertained but I don’t want to take away its success. Me not liking it is just my opinion.

Overall, this film does have some impressive sets and a decent cast but that cannot save the film from how dull the plot is. I don’t think fans of musicals would like this film that much either as it is so different. The film may have deeper meaning but it was lost on me because I felt the film was so boring and it was a painful experience to watch. Regretfully I have to give this a low rating. I think I am being generous but I did like Jackman’s performance but a lot more than one decent performance to save this miserable film.

4/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

Django Unchained Review

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Tarantino has a cult following but it almost seems that he has another cult that hates him. Personally I like his films. Some are a lot better than others but I do consider him one of my favorite directors. I think he has a very specific style and trademark. When you watch a film of his you know that he wrote and directed it. Even just watching a few minutes of a random scene you would probably notice that it fits his style. Tarantino has almost made a genre of his own.

The film stars Jamie Foxx as Django and Christoph Waltz and Dr King Schultz. Christoph Waltz is the supporting character but almost steals the show and this role earned him a second Oscar nomination and win. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the villainous Calvin Candy who is considered the main antagonist however does not feature heavily in the film and doesn’t show up until over half way through. Kerry Washington plays Django’s wife Broomhilda who is a slave at Candyland. Samuel L Jackson plays Stephen head slave at Candyland and who is just as evil as Calvin Candy. I do think Christoph Waltz really delivers in this but all the other cast help to make this film something the audience will remember.

The film follows Django a slave who is found by Dr King Schultz. Schultz is a bounty hunter who is looking for a gang called the Brittle brothers and needs Django to identify them. Once they have caught the gang Schultz promises to free Django and help track down his wife. They are lead to a plantation called Candy Land ruled by the cruel owner Calvin Candy and his assistant Stephen. The film does go off on several sub-plots but they do work really well as they help build up the characters.

The film is almost three hours long which I think is a very long time to sit in the cinema for. I don’t tend to like films that go on too long however I felt this film flowed very well. Long films can go off topic and get boring and that is what makes them bad. However Django Unchained keeps the audience interested throughout the entire film. I could have seen some of it being cut out for convenience but at no point when watching this was I bored.

The film is not really a western but something completely different. It does contain lots of elements and iconography of the western genre. Tarantino has described this film as a ‘Southern’ due to its main setting being Mississippi and taking place on plantations. The first half of the film is defiantly iconic to the western genre but then the film deviates. This is good though as I like things to change and I like to see different things. The film contains elements of other genres and it works really well mixing up genres.

The film has been criticized for the levels of racism.  I do think it is justified though. I do think that if you are doing a film about slavery then you need to have racism in it. I think censoring racism would ruin the film. I do think films should inform and highlight issues. Slavery has not really been shown in that many films before and the subject is taboo.

The film is very violent and this may deter people from seeing it but I think that if you are going to see a Tarantino picture you expect violence. I do not think that is is unjustified though. This time in America it was a violent time. Slavery was so brutal and I don’t think this film would have been as good if it censored the levels of violence. I also think that the characters actions of violence of justified. I don’t want to spoil the film but something Christoph Waltz’s character does towards the end of the film I first felt was out of character but after thinking about it, I think that his action was completely justified and not out of place at all.

Overall this is a great piece of cinema, I think this film is perfectly appeals to both fans of the art house film and those who like blockbusters. There is plenty in the film that will appeal to a lot of people and despite the subject matter being a touchy subject I don’t think that should deter anyone from seeing it.

8.5/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug Review

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After waiting a year for part two, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug has been released in cinemas all over the world. I was really excited about seeing this film as I am a fan of the book and a fan of the films The Lord Of The Rings.

First of I will say something negative about the film. I first read The Hobbit before The Lord Of The Rings films. The middle earth I visited in my head when I was a child. After watching Lord of The Rings it did not match my vision of middle earth but when reading the Lord Of The Rings books I could not help put picture the visuals I had seen from the film. The Hobbit film is Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the book and not mine. I’m not saying it is bad but it is just very different.

Many people are angry with the fact that there is so much extra content in the film. I understand why they have done this beyond the fact to make more money. The Hobbit is a children’s book and at points does not go into great detail. Turning that into an epic would be difficult. We need to have more characterization and we need more gaps to be filled in. As the story has been split into three films each film needs to have a three act structure in order to be coherent. That is why I feel there are sub-plots that are not in the book. They do work well for what they are.

The film has a faster pace and is more action based. There is still plenty of story but I am happy that the film contains many set pieces which are visually stunning for the audience. Jackson has said in interviews that these films could not have been twenty years ago because the technology to create brand new worlds did not exist or at least did not look real. The fight scenes and the scenes in Erebor with mountains of gold and Smaug  looks so amazing.

I really did not know what to expect when seeing the dragon but I liked everything about him. Smaug does look incredible. His look and his voice are brought to life through the voice and motion capture of Benedict Cumberbatch. I do think that Cumberbatch’s voice is so perfect. It is the right tone or evil and it really adds depth to the character. Benedict Cumberbatch also voices the necromancer. There is a variation in his voice but it is still clearly Cumberbatch doing both voices. However The necromancer speaks mainly in black speech and is more like sinister noises and chants rather than audible language. The Necromancer sub plot was really good even though it was brief but I think that we will get to see a lot more in There And Back Again in a years time. I think that The Necromancer fight will be the set piece of the third film even over the battle of the five armies.

The film does contain a few sub plots that do break up the main story. We see character development of Bard the Bowman who in the book is a very minor character. We have the sub plot of the necromancer and this film introduces a love triangle between Tauriel, Legolas and Kili. The film has had no female characters and introducing  a love plot into the film was something that would allow the introduction of a female character and allow the film to appeal to a wider female audience. However the love triangle is very brief and in a film of this length if people are only interested in a female character and her relationship with male characters I would suggest seeing a different film.

The main characters in the film get plenty of development. We see Bilbo becoming corrupted by the ring slightly even though he remains pure. Thorin becomes more weary and angry over reclaiming Erebor. I thought that his change would be too quick but the film laid it out perfectly and believe his suffering and anger. Gandalf has less screen time I felt however when him on screen you are focused on what he is doing. Gandalf is such an interesting character and he has so much presence. You cannot help but be interested in what he is doing. Every action no matter how small feels important.

Overall this film is a major improvement from the first one and its tone and themes are more like The Lord Of The Rings. I do think that this film is good in its own right and that people new to it would enjoy it. I would not recommend seeing this without seeing the first Hobbit film but I would suggest watching The Hobbit series before watching The Lord Of The Rings. I am annoyed now that we need to wait another year for the conclusion and I hope by that time the series has not been turned into four films.

8/10

What did you think of the film? Please comment below and thanks for reading.