Reviews written by registered user
|68 reviews in total|
This film only got a very limited cinema release in UK with absolutely
no marketing and no top critic reviewing despite it being released
nearly a week ago as I write. In fact, even Rottentomatoes has zero
critic reviews on it.
Which is MADNESS. It's a brilliant and highly tense spy thriller, far superior to last year's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and nearly in league with a film like Argo. I would say its one of the best cold war spy thriller in years. Its edge of the seat stuff as well and psychologically exhausting. The film revolves around a top level Polish army officer who is concerned about the apparently destructive plans of his superiors and the repercussions it will have on his homeland. His journey is enthralling, riveting and terrifying. The soundtrack adds to the tension with its superb minimalistic impending doom beats.
It's based on a true story but its so good I am sure there is lot of artistic licence taken. Nevertheless, I am enthused to find out more about the truth. It's as incredible as the Cuban Missile Crisis saga. There was tremendous world wide stakes involved, it's terrifying to think how fragile the world is in the hands of nuclear armed states and how much just one person can tip the scales either way. I fear for our damn future watching films like this.
What you won't get in this film are any bouts of humour or entertaining dialogue, no George Clooney swooning his way with a cigar in a war zone or any comedy relief. This is straight up relentless reality based thriller much in the vein of Argo with tightly edited pacing, taught direction, and solid performances.
If there are any negatives, it would be that some moments WILL remind you of Argo and other known political thrillers in its execution. I did get the feeling of that trick has been done before but at least its executed with maximum impact. Also, the dialogue could have perhaps be injected with some light relief humour in some places, there were opportunities but its no biggie.
This is an intelligent and educational movie worthy of being seen by all. Sure, much of this film is in Polish which probably explains the lack of any marketing but if they are going to release it in UK cinemas then at least tell people about it. Its also partly in English as the film switches to and fro America and Poland. It has an American star too, Patrick Wilson, in a very prominent role.
Because of the lack of marketing, it doesn't look like this film will be seen by many. It's a real shame but if you are reading this and want to see a top cold war thriller that is also a true story, be educated at how close again a nuclear war could have ignited in the early 70s, then see this film, either at the cinema or as a rental. As long as you don't mind reading English subtitles for most of the film, which very understandably is a put off for some people but it's worth the effort.
I'm never bothered about people saying, "Sly and DeNiro gotta eat" or
"why the hell is DeNiro making this type of movie" or "Its sad to see
these hero's sink so low". I ignore that sort of talk. Sly and DeNiro
have made iconic movies by great directors. They also make fun movies
and a lot of them are great fun, both can do comedy well in their own
way even if sometimes they send themselves up, they have the charm and
charisma to do so. So no matter if a film is good, bad or ugly, most of
the time they got the charisma to pull the movie through. And in case
you didn't know, they have been making light-hearted films from day
And once again their charisma shines through in this film. This is an easy going feel good movie with plenty of laughs and an entertaining build up to the climatic showdown but what really works here is the chemistry between Deniro and Sly and so by the time it gets to the ring, you really care about both of them.
The last time I saw a film with Sly and DeNiro together was in Copland and while they didn't share a helluva a lot of screen time together in that movie, when they did they sparked. And they spark here too.
The film storyline is no great shakes and at times it does pull the obvious "too old for this" joke a few too many times but still, there is a fun sincerity to it and Alan Arkin also adds a few chuckles as "damn is he still alive?" trainer.
Kim Basinger plays the grandmother love interest...and she looks lovely at 61, in fact more than lovely! Nice to see her looking "naturally" good on screen. Go granny! Of course there isn't much for her to do...this is the Sly and DeNiro show.
DeNiro is awesome, he's somewhat of a scoundrel, he's likable and funny but you also know he needs a big punch in the face (tiny echoes of Raging bull...very tiny OK, this ain't that sort of film). As for Sly, he's the same old Rocky Balboa personality. A simple man, with no great ambition, just rolls through life as a construction worker and murmur his way in the way that only slurry Sly can do. Its a perfect clash of personalities and that's where all the fun is in this movie.
There are little side plots to pad out the drama which gives the two ageing boxers more incentive to kill each other. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of flat jokes. No escaping that. I don't know who the actor playing the promoter is but he strikes me as someone trying to bring back Chris Tucker style of comedy to the screen...not a good idea. Chris Tucker came and gone for a good reason. Making fun of being black and short is also a little risqué in this day and age but it seems to have brought a chuckle from the audience in my screening (all 6 of them).
As for the training and boxing match itself...for me, it was actually worth the wait. Of course don't expect great things from these pensioners and sure, the film editing cheats more than Lance Armstrong to make them look fast. It is obvious how slow Sly punches are but I tell you, they both looked great fighting each other. Raging Bull and Rocky, old but in decent enough shape to make the fight convincing and painful! DeNiro was fighting in the same style as he did in Raging Bull, that cowering bore into the opponent style...there is a geeky delight to be had in that. As for Sly, well I actually like his body shape more here than in the Expendable movies. He looks more "natural". In the Expendables, he looks like he was pumping some of that Bane juice into his veins. Here he looks natural, you don't see those veins pumping out too much and I like that.
If you are a hardcore Sly or DeNiro fan and hate to see these guys doing light comedy and getting old then stay away and watch your steel book remastered blurays of their classics.
But if you love these guys to enjoy every little ounce of what's left in them to deliver...and they do give it all they got in personality and physicality, then honour their ageing efforts and have a lightweight rumble with them.
Oh and stay for the early part of the credits, there is a hilarious sketch...in fact the funniest bit in the whole film. Totally surprising and well executed.
First of all, I am a big fan of the found footage supernatural/horror
genre and love watching even the lesser acclaimed films. I am the type
of viewer that draws the positives out of a very flawed film and enjoy
it. So I expected to enjoy something out of this at the very least.
My god, what a tediously insufferable film this turned out to be.
There is absolutely no innovation or any attempt to try something new. It is so painfully boring.
The concept idea was very promising which is basically a found footage rendition of The Omen or Rosemary's baby. However, this film is so dire at engaging the audience due to the most irritable protagonist I have ever seen so far in a found footage type movie. For more than half of the movie, we are tortured with the sickly saccharine antics of a doting husband on his newly wed wife. There is no natural humour to ease the torment and worse for a film of this type, there were actually no scares until the last act.
As I said, I am the type of film goer that draws the positives and try enjoy that. So are there any? Well, there is a dog that was amusing for 2 seconds but even he looked bored, thereafter. OK, there is a bit more positives. You do get a predictable climax in an attempt to "reward " us for our eternal patience which was efficiently executed but without any unique vision or flair, just the usual creep around corridors and..."boo" oh it was just the dog sort of thing. The actors do perform well but the material they have to work with is revolting.
At the end of the credits there is a piece of text explaining that this film created 200,000 jobs. Well that was nice to know and the only bit that made me feel good knowing that at least it gave a lot of people work but then I wonder if stating that was an indirect apology and their justification to make this dreadfully boring movie?
TO be fair, the film is as polished as it can be for a found footage genre but its all pointless if it fails to engage us in the narrative.
If you haven't seen many horror films or supernatural films such as Paranormal Activity etc, then perhaps you might enjoy this more as long as you can stomach the vomit inducing newly weds for half of the movie.
I give this a 3/10 rating, mostly for the dog that looked fairly convincing in not wanting to be in the movie. Get a new agent doggy, you deserve better.
I attended a preview screening of this in London.
If you enjoy previous Richard Curtis (writer, director) films such as Four Weddings and a funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually then you will very likely enjoy this sweet time travel comedy drama albeit with an ironic sense of time travel feeling of been having been here before.
But that more of the same feeling is no bad thing, thanks largely to the wonderful performances of the cast and more importantly, the exquisite execution of its new spin, the time travelling plot device. In fact, the time travelling here is really good fun and plentiful as its employed with typical motives but with inventiveness by our main protagonist, a stereotypical "loser" played with utter charm and goofiness by Domhall Gleeson. His use of the power is at times hilarious but very useful without your typical "changing your past will backfire" moral message. In most time travel movies, changing events in the past is usually painted as a negative repercussion but here, for the most part, the movie is certainly promoting its benefits.
The time travel premise have some set rules that nicely serves the narrative, although if you think too carefully in some scenes, you might find some minute flaws in the execution of the cause and effects which could have been made neater if extra attention was paid.
There is a moral message but you have to wait until the end to get what it is because it isn't so obvious as the film rolls. You might suspect things will happen in some ways as you watch the film but they don't and you might wonder, what's the story then but let it roll and the point of it all comes at the end.
However, that waiting for the end leads to my first little bit of criticism. This film clocks in at just over 2hours and it did feel a tad too long. There are quite a few points in the film which I feel could have been trimmed. I think it could have been about at least 10 minutes shorter.
There are familiar stalwart faces from Richard Curtis's previous films making guest appearances with the always awesome Bill Nighy justifiably anchoring a supporting role with his usual high calibre presence. Its also nice to see one of our great British character actors who had recently passed away make a surprise and funny bit part appearance perhaps for the last time...or did the film makers travel back in time to shoot his part? Rachel McAdams is very lovely as the love interest and is believable as a girl worth manipulating time for.
I'm not a great fan of Richard Curtis previous movies but this film swims along with so much charm, English middle class idiosyncrasies, a lovely romance and a gentle pacing that flows with a steady beat from beginning to end. This is not a riotous comedy, its not a thriller, nor an adventure or even a film that draws any suspense towards the last act. Its a journey through a period of our time traveller's life, sometimes funny, charming, poignant with a very clever and enjoyable time travelling premise.
Its certainly a great date movie too.
So we have another coming of age drama, not exactly a starved genre but
this is one of the best I have seen and is a wonderfully nostalgic
throwback to the 80s in the way American Graffiti was to the 60s. The
late 80s was a time when I loved watching teenage angst in movies like
Some Kind of Wonderful or Risky Business followed by a horror movie
where said protagonists are stabbed or slashed in inventive ways on Elm
Street or the likes. Perfect double bills, ah miss those days!
I cannot convince any of you that the underlying formula of this film is significantly different to others in this genre but I promise this is nevertheless not a clichéd run of the mill, trippy road movie (though there is a bit of tripping in this). The main characters have layers which are slowly peeled away as the film progresses. I was very warmed to the earnestness of these characters and their developing stories. The story being told from the point of view from a fresher year student who is an introvert trying to do the best he can to fit in, is as stereotypical of a protagonist you can get but thanks to Logan's sublime performance, his execution was exquisite, humorous and very realistic, not overdone as is the case with many other films in this genre. He is befriended by two slight eccentrics (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller), bringing him into their exclusive circle of "misfits".
What makes this film stand out for me then? I think its a combination of many elements. Immaculate direction by the director who is also the author of the book that this film is based on which is interesting, as the only one other example I can think of is Michael Crichton who also directed his own books into movies. The choice of delightfully eclectic 70s/80s soundtrack perfectly complements the variable moods. The smoothly flowing narrative plays out with a poetic grace, infusing heart and soul, intrigue and wonderful characters that some of us have met in one form or another during our college days.
To top it off, the three main protagonists are beautifully conveyed. Its great to see Emma Watson able to free herself from the shackles further away from the Hermione persona after her small transition role in My Week With Marilyn. She equips herself well with natural aplomb, giving an earnest and heartfelt performance. I hear negatives about her accent which frankly, I find preposterous. First of all, I didn't notice if she has a British or American accent because when you are in a college, students come from different backgrounds and accents are mixed anyway. Secondly, its the performance that enraptures me, not the accent. If we are supposed to criticise accents then we might as well lay it thick on Sean Connery's Oscar winning performance of an Irish cop who sounded very much like a Scotsman, yet he still got an Oscar...maybe it was because of his performance, huh? The stand out performer, however, was the other supporting character, Ezra Miller who oozes charisma and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of this lad in future. I cant say much more about his character though because as I said they have layers which are slowly peeled away.
There is a revelation at the end but to be honest, while its actually a good one and makes the film even more substantial, it didn't need to have it. I would have been completely satisfied with the movie without it. I also think it drives a somewhat misleading message about certain types of people.
Having said that, I had a wonderfully nostalgic time with this film which delivers an emotional journey of ups and downs, building to a both an uplifting and poignant crescendo, so it is for that experience I give this a 9/10.
I especially recommend this for those of you who like American Graffiti, Some Kind of Wonderful, Hugh Walter movies etc.
I saw this at a preview screening in London.
Its thought provoking and certainly intelligent sci fi. For Willis fans, of which I am one, I'm happy to say that he is at his laconic and bad-ass best with a complex emotional drive attached to his character's purpose. Levitt, who plays a younger version of Willis character, is however, doing more of a Robert De Niro impression than a Bruce Willis one but thats not a big deal because he does it damn good. Jeff Daniels also makes a mark as a no nonsense gang boss of the Loopers organisation, not the type of role one sees him do often but he's effective.
I don't relay plot, you got the synopsis for that but don't expect this to be a big sci fi action film because its not. The visual aesthetics of the future setting is unspectacular, very basic and unimaginative. Its the sub standard ghetto look of a lawless society. It has absolute bare minimum of any signs that the film is set in the future with just two or three shots of a hover bike and one shot of holographic computer monitor). Focus is on story here that drives a moralistic catch 22 type narrative. I think the film is meant to be a thriller too but rather than being thrilled for any of the main protagonists I was simply intrigued which was enough to keep me engaged.
There are only a few action scenes, most of which are basic chases on foot and gun fight set pieces. Some do pack a punch especially when Willis is involved but on the whole they are not anything special. The direction is placid but to the point. Dialogue is OK, there's a tiny sprinkle of dark humour but overall it lacks spice.
The time travel element is certainly imaginative, and well thought out to serve a fluctuating storyline that doesn't trap itself in restrictive rules. I do find it has holes though but perhaps with a bit more thought on it and adding a time travel rule here and there, you might be able to fill those holes.
So does it live up to the hype that its currently getting from press critics? No, not really but thats because the hype was too high. Its a very good film, it tells a superb moralistic high concept story and I reckon it is still the best sci-fi film of the year. I just cant help the feeling that its a missed opportunity, given its excellent storyline, it could have had a much bigger impact with a more punchier and exciting execution. Its just not the all round entertaining experience as I perceived it would be from the general consensus.
So lower the expectations and enjoy the great story, some vintage cool Willis moments and an intriguing finale. If you enjoy everything else about it too, then good for you.
I saw this at a preview screening tonight in London. Its a British
supernatural haunted house film set in Yorkshire 1974 and is apparently
based on a true story.
The 70s Britain backdrop is suitably done reflecting the country's financial struggles of its time and if you remember growing up in 70s Britain, there are some fond nostalgic touches to enjoy. The story, however is a typical haunted house affair. A working class family (mother, father and a thirteen year old daughter) moves into a new home in the suburbs. Of course the new home is haunted and aggressively so. The family becomes rather concerned about this little negative point....which unfortunately is the first of this film's many problems.
See, the family's reaction to the haunting is ridiculously flippant. They accept the haunting too easily, despite its obvious aggression. The family are mostly naive and unlikeable which doesn't help me root for them. The performance of the 13 year old is initially quite annoying in her mannerisms but she is deliberately playing a stroppy teenager who lacks self esteem and friends, and she portrays that well. She has just one school friend, who seems to be a much more accomplished little actress and was very charming. In fact, the film had more spark every time she was on the screen. The friendship drama with the children, their isolation and their struggles against bullies was actually far more interesting and captivating than the house haunting itself.
Which brings me to the films's biggest problem of all. If you have seen just a few supernatural films, then this wont likely scare you. Its not completely devoid of "boo" moments but there is absolutely nothing new here and its embarrassingly clichéd. Almost every attempted boo moment is lifted from classics such as Poltergeist, Sixth Sense, and Paranormal Activity but with inferior results and sometimes laughably ridiculous visuals that is too illogical even for a Loony Tunes cartoon. Perhaps the scares would be effective to complete virgins of supernatural films. Its possible that I may have seen too many supernatural films myself being a massive fan of the genre for these scare attempts to be effective on me but the scares here are still poorly executed and devoid of logic. I mean for Pete's sake, even the real ghosts will cringe and come out into the open to declare how mind numbingly silly the hauntings are in this film. I just know they would be saying: "we can shift stuff, make you cold, blow a breeze, play with lights and shadows but we don't do bleeding magic tricks".
It seems to me this film's success will be dependant on its "based on a true story" premise and its Yorkshire setting flavour.
There are some redeeming features about the film, I have already mentioned about the children's drama and nostalgic setting of 70s Britain but the film did also offer a surprising and most welcome period of comic relief towards the end which brought genuine chuckles out of me. I did enjoy that and felt relieved that the film had at least something more to offer. If only it could have given more of that kind of humour earlier to make up for the lack of effective scares.
There is no blood and gore by the way, in case you are concerned about that. And only one f-word is used (to comical effect actually) so, this might earn a rating of PG13. By all means still go see this, if you are very easily scared and are content to be scared for only one or two effective moments.
Being based on a true story might be a pulling factor but I personally think its a cop out.
I rate this 6/10...mainly for the captivating school friendship drama, the sudden burst of humour and for me personally, a retro nostalgia of 70s Britain. Scare factor scale, however, an abysmal zero.
I enjoyed this, it offers just about enough to set it apart from
Raimi's trilogy but I didn't feel there was anything really outstanding
about it. There are no moments in the film which made me go, oh wow. If
it was a decade ago, I might have but not today, now that we are
saturated with CGI effects movies. It simply moves along amicably with
spots of charm, a tiny bit of humour, plenty of teenage angst and a
heavy dose of anger all of which is framed within a washed out dark
toned colour palette as opposed to the vibrancy and rich colours of
There are some decent big action set pieces but they lack invention and none of it has the visceral energy and savviness as say Avengers or Raimi's trilogy...oops, you know I did promise myself not to make comparisons to Raimi. But I cant help it. So much of the this film is a retread of 2002 Spider-Man and Spiderman 2 that I simply cant ignore it. You really have to be patient with going through all the blasted exposition again. And not just that but an all too similar journey of Octavia as well, albeit in the form of a Lizard. Having said that, it IS all done well, there is plenty of heart and the performances are sincere. Andrew Garfield is born for the role, he is a major reason for watching this film. I always felt the wrong actor won the best actor award in Social Network. Should have been Garfield! But anyway, he nails Peter Parker's flippancy, geekiness, and angst perfectly. His awkwardness and playful relationship with Gwen Stacy are some of the highlights of the movie for me. Emma Stone gives Gwen an attractive spark despite ultimately not differing too much to the Mary Jane of Raimi's films but Gwen has more geek in common with Parker and a little more brains too.
One of the areas this film disappoints in is dialogue. Not that its bad, it just lacking some spark. There is a couple of quips from Spiderman but nothing more and if you've seen the trailers, you've heard most of them. Its the only thing I'm actually disappointed with the Spiderman character himself because otherwise I love this version of the web slinger, he is a lot more vulnerable and less all round powerful than Raimi's version. I also see the benefit now of having the separate electronic web slinger narrative wise, as Spidey depends on it, if it fails, our hero is in trouble...I like that extra vulnerability, we feel more anxious for Spiderman here, can he really cope with the mighty dangers ahead? That's all done well.
The Lizard is pretty good but all too similar to Octavious in terms of motive and character and the effects are seamless. But I have to make comparisons again. The Dr Connors/Lizard is a paler version of Octavious in Spiderman 2 who was by far the more superior and complex villain. The Connors/Lizard character is a not given enough depth for us to empathise with or even fear for that matter.
The soundtrack is serviceable, there is no standout theme for Spiderman, well there is but its a bit meh, certainly not James Horners best work.
Storywise this film lacks imagination and seems too frightened to take risks somehow. It introduces a mystery but then completely abandons it and only returns to it midway through the end credits! The rest of the story is simply old themes already covered in previous films. The Untold story? More like The Retold Story. Whatever we get of this untold story, is absolutely minimal and I get the feeling its meant to be a story arc which might be spread over perhaps a trilogy of these movies.
I know I've emphasised the film's negative points but I did still enjoy what it had to offer and to be honest, most of you might prefer this to Raimi. If Raimi's spider-man is milk chocolate then this is the dark chocolate version.
I'd still look forward to a sequel but I'll say this, I don't have an urge to see this again. With films such as Avengers, X-Men:FC, Spiderman 1, 2 and yeah even 3, I have an urge to see them again or at least anticipate watching it again on Blu Ray. Unfortunately I have no such urge with this film.
These are my personal comparison ratings for all the Spiderman films in this millennium:
Spider-man 9/10 Spider-man 2: 9/10 Spider-man 3: 7.5/10 (yeah I had blast with this one, to hell with the haters ) The Amazing Spiderman: 7/10
I saw a preview screening of this in London.
As expected from Sacha's previous outings and trailers, this film is in extremely bad taste with plenty of filth, blatant offence (disguised as naivety) of every race, gender, age, animal, disability, sexual orientations, terrorism and politics. Sacha gets away with it because no one is left out. No one, including white folks and straight men. Actually, I lie. I don't know how the hell he gets away with it. The important question is, though, is it funny? Yeah...mostly.
There are enough roll in the isle moments to make this worth the ticket but there are also plenty of misfired jokes too, some of which really makes you groan but that's to be expected for a relentless joke firing machine which incidentally has (perhaps mercifully) a short run time of 84mins.
Another burning question I ask myself, while watching this is do I feel guilty laughing at some of the offencive jokes? Yes I do, my guilty conscience raises its ugly head but then I realise (or perhaps I'm just making excuses) that I am laughing at the Dictator's naivety and hilarious sense of misplaced morality while others around him frown at his demeanours.
This is a departure from the Borat, Ali G, and Bruno stable. With those previous films, real people are sought after and ridiculed by scrutinising their reactions and moral bases. This film, however is purely fictitious, Naked Gun style comedy very much similar to Eddie Murphy's Coming to America with obviously a lot lot less subtlety. However, Sacha's Dictator has pretty much the same political correctness that Borat has but with more hilarious Dictatorship cravings such as executing anyone that annoys him.
A good supporting cast thankfully gives this zany film a little bit more variety, particularly Anna Francis, comically playing off the Dictator's character who frankly dominates almost every frame (as I guess a dictator would). John C Reilly also gives a short but hilarious turn. And then there are a few special cameo celebrity guest appearances (or victims, rather) sprinkled around.
There are a couple of moments political satire that stands out in hilarity and I wish there was more of it. Alas, it seems vulgarity is more favoured.
So if you have no guilty conscience, welcome vulgarity and all things "un-pc" with open arms, do not despise Sacha Cohen Baron and are willing to kiss his armpits (last one is optional), then I reckon you will enjoy this film. For me, filthy films are not my normal cup of tea, nevertheless I did enjoy this but I need a long shower after watching it.
I went to a preview screening of this in London last night night.
Its one hell of a fun and radical ride. Notice IMDb has only a two sentence synopsis for this film? Its for good reason. The least you know about the plot the better. In fact don't even read reviews...wait, you can read my one though! Just know that this is a horror movie that is scary, funny (in tone with Evil Dead 2, Zombieland and Scream) and very gory with an outrageously inventive script that makes this a refreshing and rejuvenating take on films with suggestive mundane titles such as...well, The Cabin in the Woods.
Its not necessarily unique as all of its parts have been done before in past films but what is unique is how ingeniously it fuses those genres together. Even naming the different films its inspired from would be spoiling the fun.
The performances by the 5 stereotypical friends are very enjoyable. The comic relief hippie , the sex driven couple, the shy dude and the shy girl. What raises my eyebrow a bit is that the actors look older than the ages they are meant to play but these are experienced and mature actors and so they probably deliver better performances as 19/20-ish year old than most 20 year old actors would. Chris Hemsworth, for instance, is 29 and though he doesn't look like a 20 year old, he acts it and his charisma more than makes up for that optical failure.
There are a few surprises along the way including a nice cameo. Horror enthusiasts might also delight in picking up several horror references. You may or may not predict the ending, if you don't, good for you. To be honest the ending wasn't such a big revelation to me as it was intended to be but the roller-coaster journey ride made it all worthwhile.
Its the perfect film to see with a lively Friday/Saturday night audience from which you'll hear both laughter and girlie screams aplenty (at least that's what I got from my audience). But just go and have a real fun time with this however you choose to see it.
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