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Let's Be Cops (2014)
Let's be something we are not, how about that?
Two friends, utterly fed up with their underachieving lives, have an epiphany where during a costume party they dress as cops and the reactions of strangers who are unaware that they are phonies give them a sense of authority and gravity, not to mention a much needed sense of actually being needed for something.
It is all well and good but it is a lie, a total charade. At least the rational of the duo points out early on whilst the light-hearted other half is not prepared to relinquish the sense of authority his new outfit has given him and is prepared to go all the way in order to convince himself and everyone else around him that he can be a cop.
Little did they know about what being a policeman entails and when they encounter a gang of dangerous criminals they realise they have bitten much more than they could chew.
This is a light hearted comedy through and through. It is agreeable from start to finish without ever reaching any highs. The story trends from the hardly believable to the outright unbelievable which is made up by the originality of the two main characters who were driven by an urgent need for change.
What If (2013)
A romantic comedy with substance
Can men and women really be friends? Whilst history and experience tells for most people that it is possible it is not however always the case.
This tale, like most such has very ordinary beginnings. A guy meets a girl at a party whom he is attracted to, however she lives with her long term boyfriend. He initially throws away her number, their paths cross again and they stay in touch this time.
He decides to play along the 'friends' part and even seems to be working...somehow.
With the passing of time however their feelings grow and it becomes harder to conceal them yet they try to convince themselves and their common friends that they are just buddies. This cannot go on forever as important life choices ought to be made and if these choices are made on the assumption that they are nothing but friends, it is one thing nonetheless if they are to be more than friends it is quite another.
My favourite bit of this film is the slow built up of the acquaintance, attraction, infatuation. The usual "we fancy one another, jump to bed and then try to figure it out" did not apply to this story and all the better for it.
A rom-com with a heart, and whilst the predictable story elements of such genre were well present its quirky wit and slow development make it a stand out of recent romantic comedies.
One of man's perennial questions is 'what if we could use 100% of our brain capabilities' and this is the main thrust of this film.
Since it is based on a scientific assumption, this is a science fiction movie that treads on a rather thin line. The truth is we don't know, empirically, how much of our brain we use and neither can we tell what it would be like if we reached 100% so the makers of this movie took a huge creative leap with rather mixed results.
Don't get me wrong on the whole, it is a decent experience, well made, and at times rather intense. Nonetheless its story has holes on several levels.
It doesn't get off on a promising start due to a prolonged incoherent dialogue between a guy and a girl where somehow the girl is forced to make a delivery unaware of the significance of the importance of the content she delivered. Now, you get a gang that invests a lot of money to develop a unique mind enhancing drug, so how come they decided to test it on a random girl rather than in a controlled environment?
From the moment Lucy is caught up, the story flies off from there with several gaps which rather grow that get covered culminating in a very bizarre climax.
Concluding, this is a theme with plenty of potential but goes nowhere near reaching it. The sci-fi aspect, largely conceals the action and thriller elements of this movie and in a detrimental fashion too.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
A great sequel (yes, they do exist)
Sin city is back and what a delight it was.
Trending on a rather familiar path that of good versus the bad, in this instalment it seems is the turn of the romantics. Men of this city who are prepared to go all the way for the girls they like, even if it means death. On the exterior they might appear as rough and tough but they undoubtedly possess a tender side.
However, in sin city there's more than romantic, kind hearted men. The other side is filthy rich, decadent people whose greed and pride has blinded then to the point where murder is routine if it means aims are achieved.
The meeting point of good and evil is a strip joint where the girls are seen as angels by some and a piece of meat for others.
With a look and feel very similar to the original, with its moody conversations, the seeking of pleasure, the highly artistic cinematography dealing with the filth of sin city in a game of life and death, this movie is a trip and a joy to watch.
Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
A very decent horror movie
Real life crime chasers, encounter supernatural forces.
During a routine call, an officer responds to a domestic violence call and quickly enough he realises that this case is linked with other violent offences all of whom appear to have one thing in common: an element of inexplicability about them. Whether the injuries were horrific, or a display of superhuman strength from the part of the perpetrators, an unusual link develops.
With the said policeman trying to best assist those affected and solve those crimes, following standard protocol the story proceeds on his initial assumption that any notion of a supernatural is plain nonsense despite the occurrence of curious incidents.
As a horror film, it does rather well. There is a lot of tension building up from the start which will keep the audience well engaged. The action is more than enough to keep it going and the humorist adrenaline junkie aka one half of the police duo is a welcome insertion into the story.
In addition to the very good cinematography, one thing that in a way makes this stand out is the fact that it is based on a true story. Regardless whether one believes or not in the supernatural element, it cannot be denied that such stories do occur and this adds some extra gravitas.
All in all, an effective horror/thriller that will not disappoint.
Into the Storm (2014)
Great effects, weak human element.
A story about a storm and the people caught up in it. As perhaps ought to be expected this takes place in an uneventful town in the lives of some very ordinary people, which is a plus as you do not need the setting of New York or Los Angeles in order to create impact.
The local school is all geared up for the graduation ceremony, the weather report arrives indicating a storm is on the way but the principal decides to go ahead with it. As a parallel to the main story, there is a team of storm chasers who record and document storms for a living.
The background is set and we all are in anticipation mode for the storm, with the said anticipation being conveyed in a rather effective manner.
As far as the main event goes, this film will not disappoint. The effects are impressive, the destruction caused is very widespread and the storm is nasty and mighty. One can observe the sheer scale of catastrophe and how man is utterly unprepared to deal with such a force with the only options being to get away or find a very, very secure location.
Having said that, I will stop short from calling this film amazing due to some elements of the story being rather too predictable. Without giving too much away, when the local boy found himself with his girl crush on an abandoned warehouse just when the storm hit was not exactly an inspiring moment. Equally, when the vehicle of the storm chaser got caught up in the twister he finds himself elevated above the clouds and even gets a moment of admiring for the view. Again, not very stirring.
A good disaster movie, that excels on the disaster side of the story but does not score high on the human element bit.
The Congress (2013)
Great idea, a foiled execution
A formerly famous actress who lost it all through poor choices she made has one more chance. A large studio offers to clone and copy her, make lots of movies and TV series with her whilst pay her very generously at the same time.
There is a catch however; she will have no say in the choices the studio will make on her behalf.
So far, so kind of good. The story is unusual and were genuinely intrigued as to where it will lead.
From the moment she agreed despite her reservations (she was not exactly enthusiastic about being cloned although the lack of other offers forced her hand) the story took a turn from which it never recovered.
Fast forward 20 years, she goes to attend a conference and she suddenly enters an animated world where we remained clueless as to what was real, hallucination, present or past. This remained the case until the end credits.
A creative idea that lost its way and when the audience starts talking to one another or checking out their phones it is clear this film has failed in its aim.
Good visuals, but that's it
In a small town, the local pub is everyone's meeting point and for a young boy the plastic football game is his whole world. As with all boys, he had to deal with bullies and in a heated exchange he defeated the town's bully who swore to avenge this.
With the passing of time, the town's bully became rich and famous but the bitterness never subsided so he plans to take over this little town and destroy the pub in which he as defeated by what he considered a nobody. The boy who defeated him, is not prepared to sit and take it but will fight to the end to protect his home town.
On the whole, the story had cracks and was uninteresting so one ought not expect lots of excitement. The only compensation came from the good animation with a sense of seeing the world through the eyes of a young idealistic person.
For the seekers
A psychiatrist in need of...therapy.
Hector seems to have the perfect life. A good job, an amazing girlfriend, an orderly life. Yet, something seems to be missing. Though a successful psychiatrist, he struggles to advice his clients as to what makes one happy.
So, he decides to travel the world in order to find out what happiness is. His journey takes him to Asia, Africa and the States in a whirlwind of experiences not to mention new found knowledge and wisdom.
On the hole, it is a pleasant and cheerful experience. In a way, Hector speaks for many of us who wish we could just drop everything and get on a plane so that we can find ourselves. He searches for happiness, which is so complex and means different things to different people.
A worthwhile experience for the seekers out there.
The Rover (2014)
Welcome to the human jungle
We find ourselves in a lawless land. Without any explanation as to how it got to be as is, it is quickly established that laws have become lax and every person owns a gun to protect themselves as some kind of human jungle has come to prevail.
The story focuses on one man. His car is stolen by a group of bandits and tries to get it back. During an encounter he makes clear that he is prepared to die to get back his car. The reason remains hidden. After being knocked out the rest of the film is about this man's pursuit of the bandits.
In this wild, gun ho world, he makes an unlikely ally in the form of a half-witted young man. It is a battle for survival with the occasional moments of human interaction, moments that occur under the auspices of basic instincts where death could occur at any given moment.
Appropriately filmed in a desert-like area this is a visceral experience with enough rawness that is engaging and stimulating.
In a world where animal instincts are allowed to prevail, how can one survive, trust and move forward?