The Butler

16Nov13

The Butler, also known as Lee Daniel’s The Butler, is a rather good film.

It’s inspired by the story of Eugene Allen, who worked as a butler at the White House for 34 years, during which time he worked for every administration from President Eisenhower to President Reagan.

Set parallel to the American Civil Rights movement, The Butler highlights quite how much America changed in the second half of the twentieth century. For this reason, it’s often an uncomfortable film to watch, as the audience are frequently reminded of the horrors that took place before racial equality arrived.

Starring Forest Whittaker as Cecil Gaines, the butler of the picture, the audience are kept rooted to their seats thanks to a leading role that’s almost certain to garner a number of award nominations.

But it’s not just Whittaker who’s great in the film, as the ensemble cast also help to elevate the overall picture.

Although it’s a tough film to watch, the the worst thing about The Butler is knowing that some of the historical scenes depicted aren’t fictitious, for this reason, I’d recommend viewing this film.

FOUR FIST PUMPS


Gravity

10Nov13

Gravity is an alright movie.

I went into this cinema expecting to have my mind blown, to see a film so incredible that my opinion of cinema would be changed forever.

I think I was probably expecting too much.

From a technical point of view, Gravity truly is breathtaking, you genuinely believe  that you’re in space with these characters and the events in the movie are really happening, as George Clooney says in the trailer, it’s beautiful.

On top of that the sound, special effects, directing and, of course, the acting, are all brilliant too.

But, for me, Gravity misses something, and that’s in the writing, the story didn’t grip me, it actually made me think, if this film was set in any other scenario, it would be a bit dull.

Throughout the tight 91 minute run time I was hoping for something to really wrack up the tension, or at least be truly daring in Hollywood cinema, but in the end I felt like Gravity was very good, but not the mind- blowing experience I was sold.

I fully expect Gravity to win a host of awards at the Oscars, it’ll make a deserved Best Picture winner and Sandra Bullock, who’s effectively on her own for three quarters of the film will most certainly get nominated, and may very well win her second Oscar too. But for me, Gravity was nearly perfect.

FOUR FIST PUMPS


Bad Grandpa

27Oct13

Jackass presents: Bad Grandpa is a very funny movie. I have to use the word movie in a very loose sense though, as it’s not really a film at all, essentially, Bad Grandpa is a feature length special of the infamous Jackass character.

Featuring a series of sketches pulled together by an incredibly ropey excuse for a plot, the film is arguably one that viewers will either love or hate – and the reaction of the audience purely depends on whether or not you find the sketches funny.

As part of the generation that was in their mid-teens when Jackass first hit TV screens, I was pleasantly surprised at how funny I found Bad Grandpa to be.

There’s not much to the film at all, but I did find it very, very funny.

THREE FIST PUMPS


One Chance

27Oct13

One Chance is a lovely little film.

Based on the true story of former Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts, One Chance is a biographical comedy drama, it contains no plot surprises and very little tension, but it still manages to be a lovely little film.

The reason for this? It’s your standard rags to riches story  focusing on a character that the audience can easily root for, one who’s given a high amount of depth thanks to the performances of James Corden as Potts and Alexandra Roach as his long suffering wife.

These two bring a great deal of colour to two very ordinary people, albeit two who went on an interesting journey.

While I’d be very surprised if One Chance wins any awards, it’s a harmless film and I left the auditorium feeling that I had seen an enjoyable story which is very well acted, possesses a fun and snappy script and some very good music.

THREE FIST PUMPS


It’s rare that an acting performance simply takes your breath away, but Tom Hanks did exactly that in his lead role in Captain Phillips.

Based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips, a freight boat captain who is kidnapped by pirates in international waters. Hanks re-defines the phrase powerhouse performance.

He is simply incredible in the film, so much so that I’m not really sure what else I can say about his performance, other than if you like acting, you really should see this film.

Hanks isn’t the only brilliant thing about Captain Phillips though, the script by Billy Ray develops perfectly from first beat to last, and in the directing hands of the always impeccable Paul Greengrass, you have a film which will most certainly be nominated for Best Picture at next year’s Academy Awards, and it’ll take a really special piece of cinema (looking at you Gravity) to stop it from winning everything.

In short, Captain Phillips is a true, must see film.

FIVE FIST PUMPS


The story of Wikileaks is one of the most interesting of the internet’s generation, much like the launch of Facebook, the use of information, and the internet as a source of information changed dramatically with the creation of a simple website.

As a film however, The Fifth Estate is just a bit dull really. Starring Daniel Bruhl as former Wikileaks member Daniel Berg and Benedict Cumberbatch as the now infamous Julian Assange, this tale of online espionage/ journalism/ revolution/ whatever you want to call it, is merely uninteresting.

Supposedly telling the true story of how Wikileaks came to be the household name it is today, I didn’t feel as though I could care for any of the characters or their cause. Combine this with a script that plods along rather than trying to take the audience on a ride of any sort, and you’re left with a film which has one saving grace – the performances of the actors.

The ensemble cast do all they can with what felt like quite a weak script and Cumberbatch tears through the middle of the film with yet another truly mesmerising performance that should win him plaudits left, right and centre.

This autumn sees several films based on true stories released, Daniel Bruhl was in the previous major release, the excellent Rush, and Tom Hanks returns to cinema screens next weekend in Captain Phillips, which I cannot wait to see.

While I’m glad I saw The Fifth Estate, on the whole I was disappointed with the film, as I felt it could have been an awful lot stronger, I just hope Captain Phillips lives up to expectations.

TWO AND A HALF FIST PUMPS


Filth

07Oct13

Filth is a disturbing, yet brilliant film.

Based on the Irvine Welsh novel of the same name, Filth tells the story of Detective Sergeant Bruce Robinson (James McAvoy), a bi-polar alcoholic junkie who manipulates his way through the festive season in attempt to gain a promotion at work.

Supported by an ensemble cast including Eddie Marsan, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots and Jim Broadbent amongst a host of others, Filth is slightly like American Psycho in terms of watching a character go through a psychotic breakdown of sorts, however, Filth makes American Psycho look like a light hearted romp in comparison.

Throughout the film the audience are made to jump out of their seats thanks to deft direction from Jon S. Baird and a commanding lead performance from McAvoy, who is able to make the audience genuinely feel for a character who is simply horrific.

Filth is a very, very tough watch, but, regardless of its incredibly bleak outlook on life, it is a fantastic piece of cinema, and one I would highly recommend (although you will need a strong stomach and its also not one for the easily offended).

FOUR FIST PUMPS