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Iron Man Three (2013)
Excellent comic action film; watch it!
It took me ages to watch this because of all of the conflicting reviews. I thought this was going to be as bad/boring as Terminator Salvation or The Dark Knight Rises.
This film was fantastic! Easily the best of the Iron Mans (although the first will always be 'the best', this one is repeat-watch-worthy).
Now that I know how awesome this film is, I think the negative reviews make more sense: they seem to focus on things like 'but the bad guy isn't the same as the comic' or 'that's not believable' etc. so let's ignore those because that's just irrelevant. The film can still be good without sticking 100% to the comics! I can't believe some people complain about the realism when we're dealing with magic and flying iron man suits but okay, let's mark down the film because the hero didn't break his back quite enough in that scene?! I've given this a ten because the story progresses brilliantly, there are so many extra scenes included that you would normally expect to be edited out to keep the running time down but the fact that they're left in means the film has a well-rounded feel to it. Contrary to some opinions, I like that the woman has the chance to save the day instead of 'just' being eye-candy (most amazing suit ever, congrats to the designer), it is a bit patronising to just have one scene of power but it's better than nothing, one of the bad guys (Guy Pearce) is building a great profile for himself as being someone to watch out for as he might just steal the show! This film had it all, yes there's a cute kid, but this is Iron Man so it never gets cheesy and actually there are some hilarious scenes between Robert Downey Jr and the kid. There's loads of humour and the action is great.
Everyone gets just the right amount of screen time in my opinion and I'm actually going to watch this again which is rare for me.
10/10 as it's an excellent film - not perfect but excellent.
The Purge (2013)
Typical but really good home invasion thriller
If you like home invasion films (Panic Room, The Collector, Hostage) then I don't see any reason why people wouldn't like this.
From what I can understand, the over-the-top negative reviews (1 star?!) are from people who felt misled by the hype so I suppose this is a reason to avoid watching trailers and reading too many reviews as your expectations will greatly affect your enjoyment of a film. For example, I loved 'Pain and Gain' (Mark Wahlberg) and it really is funny but I talked about it so much at work that my friend didn't enjoy it as much.
So I'll try to be concise about why this film is good without going overboard with my review:
- It's a home invasion film. Nothing more, nothing less
- As with all heavily 'genre-ed' films such as rom-coms, there has to be a unique premise for the film and with home invasions, the reason the home is being invaded is the unique factor
- There is genuine tension in the film
- I liked the family but there could have been more character development in the beginning... but do we really care? Well, yes because the more you know and care about the family, the more tense it will be but it doesn't let the film down
- There was maybe one moment where I groaned out loud at a dumb thing a character did, for the rest of the film the characters were allowed to make realistic decisions and not be idiots like in other films (you know, where someone does something no-one would ever do in real life just to set up the next scene)
- Not all elements of the ending were predictable
This was a fun and entertaining way to spend less than an hour and half, just go in with the knowledge that it's home invasion with a new, interesting premise. That's all.
My vote, 8/10
One of those really good indie films you're glad you watched...
I can't remember why I decided to give this a go, I think it was a review on IMDb so I'll return the favour:
I feel that the description of the film on IMDb is off-putting: "A man caught in the middle of two simultaneous robberies at the same bank desperately tries to protect the teller with whom he's secretly in love."
That makes it sound like this is a film about a guy trying to save a girl when it's not. To describe the plot any other way would reveal an important twist though so I can understand why the description is a bit vague.
What I liked about the film is that the script was really good with realistic dialogue between the characters, it was very frequently funny and often laugh-out-loud funny (especially the security guard) and all of the actors fully committed to every scene.
Whilst it's an indie film, they have done the clever thing of keeping costs down by having one location but enough action, humour and occasional explosions to keep you interested as well as a mystery element to the story which you are genuinely interested in.
If you liked "Foolproof" (2003) with Ryan Reynolds then you will likely really enjoy this.
There are slapstick elements, creepy humour and clever moments and although I did have to ask myself a few times 'why hasn't he killed this person/these people yet' it didn't bother me too much because by then the film had already established that it wasn't going for realism but just really fun entertainment.
I would recommend watching this and give it 8/10.
The Hunger Games (2012)
Good but not great
I put off watching this for ages and couldn't decide because reviews were either "it's amazing" or "it's the worst film ever".
It's not the worst film ever.
If you're a fan of the books (I haven't read any) then you'll love this no doubt. If, like me, you had never heard of this before then you will likely think the film was good but too clichéd.
I think if the next film has a much bigger budget and they make it more 'Transformer-ish' in terms of slickness in the production then it might be a lot more exciting.
I watched it when bored and I didn't turn it off. I have seen a LOT of films though so I'm quite cynical of films that repeat what has gone before.
Well worth watching but you won't rave about it if you haven't read the books.
Actually a decent B-movie
I have reviewed this film as a B-movie because it clearly had a much lower budget than standard disaster flicks.
This was one of those films I wanted to watch because of a favourite actor but then put off watching for months because... it looked like a B-movie! It's easy to ignore the bad CGI and there are a few painfully bad script moments (like they were sometimes asked to improvise but weren't very good at it) but overall, the professionalism of how it was filmed really lifted it for me.
The camera angles, the progression of the story, the genuine tension they managed to build sometimes, the thought that went into developing some of the characters... all led to me enjoying this film much more than I expected to.
Definitely one for when you're bored and just want to watch something whilst snacking but when you are bored, this might actually surprise you.
I'd say it's about as good as the first piranha movie (almost).
Compared with A-list disaster movies, I'd have given it a 6/10 but rated as a B-movie where some downfalls are more forgivable I'd rate it a 7/10.
Les Misérables (2012)
Not as good as it should and could have been
I'm going to start by saying that I'm reviewing this film as someone who knew nothing about this story before the film was released. I haven't seen the play / read the book etc. so I am only reviewing the film.
I've read some comments that "you have to know the background to understand" etc. and this really annoys me. By that logic, all films are fantastic because we should be able to fill in the plot holes ourselves and we should expect to have to continue a storyline in our own minds to make sure the film makes sense...
The main reason for giving the film 6 out of 10 is that anything I don't switch off i.e. anything I watch all the way through, gets an automatic 5 and then if there are any good points on top of that, I will increase my rating.
The film gets a 6 from me because (as you'd expect with this type of Oscar-bait film) all of the actors give their best and we get to see some fantastic performances from everybody involved.
My problem with the film is that it just wasn't a very good story.
Again; I'm sure the novel went into so much more detail but that's not what I'm criticising here. The story as depicted in the film is extremely bare and jumps from one "monologue" to another with some grand scenes and often random musical numbers in between. A lot of the time the singing is annoying because the songs are not particularly memorable (a few are very good)- sometimes people just start singing their lines without there being a real song. I'm not sure how to explain that but it's annoying!
It feels like in order to give every actor their "15 minutes" they don't have time to really develop each plot. Some things happen that just make absolutely no sense and are not explained - I don't care if it's explained in the book - if you want to make a film then try to make a good film; don't make a bad film and tell people who criticise you that they should read the book!
There are many great elements in this film as mentioned already; the acting but also some of the musical numbers really are great and clearly a lot of effort went into this but given that they had two and a half hours to develop the plot, I don't think there's really an excuse for the lack of plot and character development.
Congrats to them for finding a young girl to play Cosette who looks almost identical to the portrait on the original novel (or so says my limited Wikipedia-research). The poster for this film is really eye-catching. Now, when you have higher praise for the marketing team and casting than the film makers, you know there may be a problem.
Worth watching but not the epic it's made out to be and whilst the actors and set designers etc. deserve awards, the film itself does not I'm afraid.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
What a let down.
I have no idea how this film has gotten such high ratings as it was such a let down.
I would have given this a 6 but I was just waiting for it to end about half way through and that's never a good sign. It wasn't very entertaining. Someone has already mentioned on the message boards that the film was really shallow with bad acting and nonsense scenes. Well, I can't say that there was anything wrong with the acting but the story was a mess, most of it didn't make sense or wasn't clear enough.
A lot from the previous films in the franchise was re-done here like repeated one-liners, actors and past events which made it feel less original.
There was no character development and the film was nowhere near as funny as the other films. I didn't laugh once, I didn't care about this film at all and it was all just very unoriginal and uninspired.
The fighting scenes were boring and poorly choreographed.
It took itself far too seriously and I hope they make one more which mirrors how fantastic the first one was with a clearer villain and storyline, funny moments and cooler fight scenes, maybe Bourne-style!
But this one was just a mess and extremely boring.
I did like the introduction of two "Batman" characters and I hope this is developed more in the next film, if there is one.
I waited far too long to review this one and I don't know why.
This may be a "story-driven" film but do not let that put you off.
Repeat; DO NOT let that put you off!
This is understated, hilarious, dramatic, violent, slow, edgy and everything else a character driven film is supposed to be.
Even the ending starts off cheesy and predictable and then says "just kidding, we're better than that" and proceeds to make me laugh so hard I have to pause the film to finish laughing.
Hesher is just cool. He's cool and hilarious and it's not weird that he ends up at this kid's house. He obviously did need a place to stay (for a while) and developed a bond with those people. I can't quite remember because I watched it a fair while ago but I think he was blackmailing the kid in some way and this was why the kid pretended he was friends with Hesher hence why his dad (who was beyond the point of caring about anything anyway) let Hesher stay.
That's not a spoiler as the real story kicks in from there, just some reviewers here didn't seem to get why the dad wasn't kicking this guy out in the beginning and have complained that it wasn't realistic; there was a reason for it!
An absolute must-see. Levitt is fast becoming one of those actors whose films you watch just because they're in them. Try to watch some of his earlier films too, they are all pretty amazing.
Excellent film, easily 10/10.
End of Watch (2012)
Engaging and entertaining as hell
I disagree with some reviews on here. You don't have to be from the U.S.A. to "get" this film and I certainly didn't forget it after watching it.
In fact, I have taken the time to come on IMDb to rate it a few days after having watched it (mostly because I'm already here reviewing "Looper" !).
The opening speech is a bit "U.S.A. earnest" to be polite and will likely make all British viewers visibly cringe (I had to cover my face with a blanket it was so embarrassing) but other than the usual over-the-top sentiment from the U.S., I was deeply engaged by the leads and didn't watch it as though there was some political message (which I'm sure there was), I watched a film about two random partners doing their job.
Sometimes they were out of line, they weren't squeaky clean but their hearts were in the right place. The leading ladies were funny and added to the character development really well too as did the other funny police officers in the film.
The hand-held camera thing was totally unnecessary and why on earth the gangsters had a hand-held camera for their criminal activity, well...ähm...nope...drawing a total blank !! It was funny, interesting and I will likely watch it again which is rare these days.
--I have removed the last line as it may indicate the type of ending--
Excellent film ergo 10/10
I'm sure there are plot holes and I'm sure there are weaknesses but it is rare that a film like this comes along.
Pretty much anything with Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to be great (see; "Hesher") and I love Bruce Willis so I was really excited about this film.
It has everything; action, story, love-stuff, scary bad-ass kid, great acting, shocks, guns, witty dialogue...
I can't even be bothered trying to remember any critiques. I usually put a few in so people know I'm not a fan-girl or anything but too many mint scenes keep coming back to me.
The violence sometimes was a bit shocking right from the opening scene but it wasn't gratuitous. If you shot someone in real life, I'm sure the person wouldn't daintily fall to the ground with glitter pouring out of the bullet hole so no complaints from me there.
There were times when the script became more serious then slapstick then comedic then violent and this occasionally jarred a bit but I decided I ultimately liked this because some films get stale part way through because it's the same thing over and over but with "Looper", I never got bored and each scene offered something different.
Sometimes we have funny moments in life and sometimes we get serious so this is more true to real-life than films that stay deadly serious all the way through to attain the "serious film" tag.
I don't often give films 10/10 (think I've done it once, not sure) but this deserves it. It wasn't perfect but IMDb rates a 10 as "excellent" and that it definitely was.