Prisoners

30Sep13

Prisoners is a very good thriller.

Set in the American state of Pennsylvania, Prisoners follows the story of Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) whose life derails when his daughter goes missing with her best friend.

Jake Gyllenhall turns up as the investigating detective, and we’re taken on a tension filled exploration as Jackman, in an act of desperation, kidnaps the lead suspect in the case (Paul Dano), in hope that he can find his daughter and her friend before it’s too late.

The film’s two and a half hours long, but at no point does it feel it, as the ample run time is used wisely to really explore all of the characters. On top of that the acting is fantastic, with the ensemble cast really bringing home the pain and desperation of the characters.

Particular praise I feel should be made for Terence Howard, as Franklin, Keller’s best friend and the father of the other missing girl. Paul Dano, as the suspect who is kidnapped and forced to become a prisoner by Jackman, and Melissa Leo, who is so good I didn’t actually realize she was in the film until the end credits rolled.

Prisoners is a great crime thriller which will disturb the audience and keep them on the edge of their seats until the final credits role. For this, I give it a solid FOUR FIST PUMPS.


Runner Runner

29Sep13

Loosely based around the world of online gambling, Runner Runner is a massive cheese fest.

Justin Timberlake stars as mature student and financial expert Richie Furst, who discovers that Ben Affleck’s online gambling kingpin Ivan Block is a bad guy.

Richie, incensed by the discovery, travels to Costa Rica to confront Ivan, only to be convinced that being bad is an attractive way of life, and a thriller of sorts begins from there.

Gemma Arterton all turns up to look incredibly beautiful and be kissed by Justin Timberlake (her character genuinely does nothing else, and she’s the female lead).

Runner Runner is a strange film, the actors all do pretty well with the pithy amount of depth their characters have been given – none of the characters seem to struggle emotionally with any of the occurrences in the film.

For me, it felt as though the directors and writers were stuck between making a crime thriller and a in-depth character exploration surrounding online gambling – what we’ve been given as a viewer though, is a film which runs out of ideas incredibly quickly, so pulls our fight scenes and crocodiles to try and ramp up the tension and interest for the remainder of the film’s 91 minute run time.

All in all, if Runner Runner was a poker hand, it would be a 10 High.

TWO FIST PUMPS


Rush

15Sep13

Rush is a brilliant movie.

Based on the real life rivalry for the 1976 Formula One title between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, director Ron Howard has made one of the most gripping sports dramas of the year.

In the lead roles of the driving greats, Chris Hemsworth steps out of the superhero shadow that Thor casts as British superstar Hunt, while as Niki Lauda, Daniel Bruhl proves that he will be a major European star by the end of 2013.

Although Rush is based around the real life tale of a Formula One season, writer Peter Morgan has constructed a script which is far more about the race between the drivers, with the scenes of sport and action taking a firm second place to the emotional journeys of the characters.

Everything about the film felt perfectly constructed to me, the sound mixing particularly stands out, as Hans Zimmer’s score is bought through to add to the picture and create a film that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats throughout its entire 123 minute run time.

It’s rare that I think a film is worthy of the full FIVE FIST PUMPS, but Rush is truly fantastic and well worth watching, as I feel we’ll see a lot more of this film come award season.

FIVE FIST PUMPS


[youtube.com=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldFg0M9aX8I]

The Way Way Back is a truly lovely film.

It’s the directorial debut of actors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, whose last film was the beautiful George Clooney picture The Descendants.

The Way Way Back tells the story of Duncan, a shy 14- year- old played by Liam James, who travels to a beach house for the summer with his mum Toni Collette and his mum’s dickhead boyfriend, played by Steve Carell.

While hating his existence (which is truly horrible), Duncan meets Owen (Sam Rockwell) who owns the local water park and is all kinds of awesome. Seeing how much Duncan is struggling inspires Owen to give the youngster something to smile about, and we watch as this shy, miserable child grows into a strong young man.

If I were to choose only two things to explain why I feel The Way Way Back is a brilliant film, I’d choose the writing and the acting.

The ensemble cast are simply incredible, with the audience given everything they need by the directors to truly hate half of the characters in the film. Steve Carell in particular really stands out in his role as a truly horrific individual – a role hugely different from any I’ve seen him in before.

On the flip side to Carell’s misery making character, the audience are smiling at almost every single point that Sam Rockwell is on the screen – with his character Owen bringing a huge amount of warmth to the picture, allowing the audience to experience the happiness that Duncan feels throughout the film.

To help these two sides gel perfectly, the ensemble cast are led by Liam James, who, in the role of Duncan gives us a character we can both empathise and root for throughout.

While the film’s mainly about three main characters – the plot has a great depth to it, meaning that the sub- plots and support characters help to make the picture that little bit more complete, particular praise should be reserved for AnnaSophia Robb, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph and the ever wonderful Toni Collette.

Overall, I can see The Way Way Back appearing frequently in next year’s awards season, as it’s a truly lovely film and one that I highly recommend watching.

FIVE FIST PUMPS


Elysium

25Aug13

Elysium is not bad at all, visually, it’s stunning and the performances do enough to keep the audience interested throughout the film.

Set in the year 2154, Elysium sees an existence where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth.

The plot follows minor criminal Matt Damon take on a mission that could finally bring equality to the polarised worlds.

To succeed in his mission however, Damon has to battle against an angry Jodie Foster, and an even angrier Sharlto Copley.

In criticism of the film, Elysium is riddled with plot holes which become even more painfully clear once you look back on the film, and it’s a bit of an odd plot to begin with.

Apart from that however, as I mentioned earlier, it’s visually stunning and the lead actors are directed well by Neill Blomkamp who gives us a film which follows a slightly different format from the other sci- fi blockbusters that have been released this year.

While it’s not mind blowingly brilliant, Elysium isn’t bad at all.

THREE AND A HALF FIST PUMPS.


Kick- Ass 2

14Aug13
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Kick- Ass 2 is a very entertaining film.

Picking up a few years after the events of the first film, Kick- Ass 2 sees our heroes suit up once more as the hero formerly known as Red Mist decides to take revenge on Kick Ass and friends as the world’s first super villain.

The film flies by with action scenes galore nicely counter acting the humour, meaning that we as an audience simply need to sit back and enjoy.

With an ensemble cast led by the excellent Aaron Taylor- Johnson and Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick- Ass 2 stands out favorably amongst fellow major releases of 2013’s summer.

Some scenes felt more extreme when compared to the 2010 original – however, with a 15 rating the film is almost guaranteed to be a big hit.

Kick- Ass 2 is pretty good, it’s not the greatest film I’ve seen this year, but it’s one that I’d be happy to see again in the cinema.

FOUR FIST PUMPS


The Lone Ranger

11Aug13
[youtube.com=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zv9fgSrP-0]

The Lone Ranger is a disappointing movie.

I’ve read many interviews with the cast of the film, stating that those who criticized it, did so before they even saw it. So, I figure I’ll lay a few facts on my review before I explain why I thought The Lone Ranger was poor.

I saw the film last night, I went into the screening with an open mind.

I have never been a fan of Gore Verbinski’s work, the first Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t bad, but I stopped watching the Mexican because I thought it was awful and I didn’t enjoy Rango at all. That said, no film should be judged on a director’s previous work, each film should be taken on its own merits.

With this in mind, I took the advice of reviewers such as Den Of Geek  and went to see the film for myself before I passed judgement.

Unfortunately, as I’ve already said, the film is disappointing.

The Lone Ranger tells the story of John Reid, a District Attorney who becomes the legendary Lone Ranger. The film is an origin story, and to say more about the plot would give away rather important spoilers, which, I don’t like doing.

So, what is wrong with The Lone Ranger?

Firstly, with a running time of a monstrous 149 minutes, The Lone Ranger is easily 45 minutes too long.

These 45 minutes could, I feel, have been easily cut too, as throughout the film we’re taken to an aged Tonto regaling the story to a young boy at a circus – the scenes of which add nothing to the film, unless you like staring at Johnny Depp fanny-ing about.

Secondly, it’s just a bit dull. Throughout the marathon run time we’re subjected to scenes which simply don’t add anything to overall picture (this is on top of the previously mentioned old Tonto scenes) part of me feels as though the film makers have tried to make an epic western adventure, but have got epic and really, really long confused somewhere along the way.

Annoyingly though, when The Lone Ranger is good, it’s actually pretty good.

In the lead role, Armie Hammer leads the picture strongly enough that you really notice when his character is missing, while the wonderful Ruth Wilson pops up in a woefully underwritten role, although she still managed to make more out of her cameo than many actors would.

The cinematography is pretty stunning and, in the final 15 minutes, where we get to see the Lone Ranger in action, it’s brilliant.

Recent mega- blockbuster origin stories hold the format of introduction for the first hour, then hero being hero for the rest of the film.

The Lone Ranger would have been a much stronger film had it stuck to the above format.

All in all, the film was pretty disappointing, not because it was bad, but because it could have easily been brilliant, but found itself entangled in needless scenes.

TWO AND A HALF FIST PUMPS