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(R)= I Have reviewed this film and you can find my take on it, in my Reviews.
Live by Night (2016)
There have been a lot of times in my life where, by the end of a film, I have shook my head in dismay, at the thought of wasting my time watching garbage. Yes, this was another one of those occasions. This was one of the worst films I have ever seen; I say that with absolute clarity, without so much of a hint of over-exaggeration. To give you an idea of what the experience of watching this movie is like, I would like you to play out a certain iconic scene in your head. This scene is from the classic "GoodFellas" where Joe Pesci's character Tommy has been sent for. To be "Made". Imagine Tommy's surprise when that isn't the case and instead he has a grave marking his impending doom awaiting him. That (although slightly more intense..) is the feeling your left with by the time the credits roll. The trailer promises action, and car chases and cool deaths. By the end you feel like Tommy, wondering what would've happened if you hadn't been duped.
All i can remember from this film, is Ben Affleck sitting across from someone at a desk or cuddling a female. Action scenes are that of extreme rarity and any "shocking" moments are so recklessly placed, that they lose all impact. 45 minutes, boring the viewer to tears, followed by 1 minute of intensity doesn't cut it. It's simply not good enough. The countless trailers leading up to the release, the positive reviews, the cast and this is what we get? Walking out, I felt really bad for anyone who paid around £10 to see it. In a script that includes the Irish and Italian mob and the KKK all intertwined, I find it unacceptable that this is the best they could come up with. At some points I felt this whole film was made, just so Affleck could do his Boston accent again. It is drab, and I can't help but feel extremely disappointed. Everything about the film screams desperation. Each scene, outfit, the dialogue. Trying its very best to convince you that you're watching a genuine gangsters life. And yes that is the whole point of acting and films, but it supposed to flow, to be natural. This is anything but natural. It's...well...Fugazzi. I can only hope that this is a small bump in the road in relation to Affleck and his work as a director, as a mountain of a project awaits him and this is one he cannot afford to mess up. If Bruce Wayne is suddenly from Boston i'll lose my ....
Bloody knew I should have opted for La La Land instead...
The Comedic Apocalypse is coming.
After witnessing such a horrific film, I can't help but feel that we are barrelling towards a comedic apocalypse. Dramatic as that may sound, it is exactly where we're headed.
To a world where jokes are outlawed and laughing is punishable by death. Where rebels hide away watching true comedies such as "Airplane","Naked Gun"," Stir Crazy"; the list could go on. Hunted down by the dim, those who have had their funny bones broken, whose tears of laughter have been sucked back into their humourless eyes. Too much?
In an ironic twist, you may state that it is my inability to find comedy in this film, therefore my logic of impending doom on the Worlds laughter would be to blame on me and those who agree with me. Here's the thing. If you continue to make films like this and label it as comedy, eventually no-one will want comedies anymore, because what's the point in paying money to see a film, that's main purpose is to make you laugh, make you depressed? I mean, the four lead dweebs in this film are quite possibly the future of comedy films, take a second to let that sink in......the future! The likes of Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, John Candy, Leslie Nielson, Robin Williams (I apologise for stopping here, the list is long) are no longer with us. It really is sad to see what comedy has now become, that people are out there that actually laugh at films like these.
Fortunately I didn't fork out any money to watch this garbage, I witnessed it at home and (naively) put this on in an attempt to brighten my uneventful day. Oh how it failed. There was not one silver lining, not even the credits (like most people may say in a negative way) because then a long list of people's names who contributed to such a disastrous attempt at humour proceeded to make their way up my screen and that depressed me more. Why did I watch the entire film? I did turn it off 20 minutes in, but went back in because you have to give comedy a chance, it's easy to make someone laugh if you know how. None of these nitwits knew how.
Tom Six needs a new career (after a 10 year stint in a psychiatric ward)
Due to the baffling cult following the previous two films had garnered, the completion of a trilogy was inevitable. Of course the first two films where vile and had their fair share of shocking scenes, but this one...well this takes a whole new shape, and makes me question if Mr Six should be put in a straight jacket and thrown in the looney bin.
The first film was all about a disgraced surgeon and his delusional, yet accurate, curiosities about the medical possibilities of a human centipede. The horror that followed was all in relation to that initial idea.
The second was that of a fanatic and his urge to duplicate and elongate.
This however, boasts racism, sexism, barbarism. It is full of torture, gushing with grotesque analogies (those i could understand)and just a film full of hatred that has clearly been clogging Mr Six's disturbed mind. Yes, many of these topics have been highlighted in countless films, but in most, they have purpose or are handled with decency. There are scenes in this film that are quite simply horrific: Rape, Castration, kidney intrusion.It's perverted and verges on being inhuman. The prisoners are stereotyped in the most blatant way, in what people will describe as an attempt at humor is just an insight into how this directors mind works.
But worse than all of that, is the acting. Yes the most important part of a film. Dwight Butler (Played by "Human Centipede II"'s very own fanatic Laurence R Harvey) is horrific. His Texan accent is atrocious and he is made to look like a bald, bloated Hitler. He was slightly effective in the 2nd film because they played to his "strengths"; he was creepy and... well ....that's about it. Dieter Laser also comes back to the "franchise", now playing Bill Boss, the wicked warden. It is his acting that is the worst, i say again...the WORST acting i have ever seen. No exaggeration, this is abysmal. All he does is scream nonsensical, indescribable, psychobabble throughout. Be prepared to turn on the subtitles, because you'd have more chance breaking the enigma code than understanding what he is saying. I have to wonder if in the midst of twirling about acting like a complete imbecile, if he thought he was creating an acting masterpiece. Well folks, i can assure you he wasn't.
As for Tom Six, well i can only hope he is committed.
San Andreas (2015)
Dwayne Johnson CAN'T act...I repeat... Dwayne Johnson CAN'T act.
Does he have an incredible presence on screen? Yes; his build and stature are almost herculean(which is THE reason he was cast in "Hercules") and his drive? Well that can, and never will be questioned, the man is a machine, his discipline is astonishing. Those remarkable qualities aside, he CANNOT act.
Everything is generic. His emotions, reactions, timing; they all lack genuine conviction. In this film (and in the majority of his other roles) It's impossible, as a viewer, to invest in his character because as soon as he opens his mouth, and delivers a cringe-worthy line or flashes one of his unnecessary, trademark smiles, you just can't help but begin a daunting journey, from optimism to despair. In my opinion an actors job is to make you believe they are the person they are portraying and i'm sorry but when it comes to showing emotion, Dwayne Johnson is currently incapable of doing that. Following in Ray's (Dwayne Johnson) unconvincing footsteps is Carla Gugino who plays his wife/ex- wife/love interest. Again, her delivery is dismal. Now, there may be people who would throw the blame to the writers, or the director for delivery or material. But i'll give you a perfectly appropriate example of how that doesn't sit well with me. Paul Giamitti. The whole film, for me, is garbage, but a great actor will take whatever nonsense is handed to him and make it work. That is exactly what he did. Why? Because he CAN act.
The film really does try its best to overpower the mundane acting, by bombarding the viewer with good, but highly repetitive disaster sequences. It's basically rinse and repeat throughout the whole film. Although (due to the film's nature) it is wise to forgive any foolish moments in the film, it really does take the biscuit.
Let's face it, disaster films have floundered in recent years and unless they are regrettably based on true events, they come across lethargic and show themselves in their true light. As moneymakers. Simple moneymakers. Oh here's a worldwide name, here's some CGI, take a cool cover version of a song for the trailer, that'll make up for the abysmal script, lack of actual acting talent (i mean what the hell was Kylie Minogue doing there? Seriously?)and the baffling lack of depth. It'll do its job, no doubt about that, but that doesn't stop it from being a disaster of a film.
WWE Hell in a Cell (2014)
Hell doesn't seem so bad.
At one point, the Hell in a Cell match was gruesome. It was guaranteed that whoever stepped inside would be victim to punishment. And the competitors put their bodies on the line in an almost sadistic way to thrill the viewers. Nowadays it is mostly just a basic No Disqualification match with a huge cell around it.
That is until Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose came along...but before i get to that:
WWE Intercontinental Title - 2 out of 3 falls match: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs Cesaro
The event kicked off with arguably the best match of the night in terms of technical brilliance. A quite exceptional match, with one particular spot which leaves you in awe. Ziggler and Cesaro are amongst the best talents on the roster and hopefully one day they are in main event positions where they belong.
Nikki Bella vs Brie Bella
The stipulation to this match was that the loser must become the winner's personal assistant for 30 days. Who cares really. This feud lost steam the moment it began. They are both horrible actresses. They are both incredibly annoying. Yet i have to admit they are OK in the ring. This match flowed well and there where some good moments, but i couldn't have cared less what the outcome was.
WWE Tag Team Titles: Gold and Stardust (c) vs The Usos
Both very talented teams, but they have had much better matches in the past. It was almost as if they had watched Ziggler and Cesaro and then went out there deflated that their title match would never exceed it.
Hell in a Cell Match - No.1 Contender for WWE World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs Randy Orton
These two have faced each other over one million times. Well it certainly feels like that. The so called "feud" is so monotonous that every time they come together you can feel the whole "WWE Universe" collectively sigh in disappointment. It doesn't matter what the winner gets, no-one cares and this was not a hell in a cell match. I think there was a chair and a table. The rest was basic wrestling. Michael Cole can nonsensically announce it to be "one of the greatest cell matches ever" all he wants. It was lackluster and your run of the mill Cena/Orton match.
U.s Title: Sheamus (c) vs The Miz w/Damien Mizdow
The run up to the match was far superior to the match itself. MIzdow is quickly becoming a fan favorite which is great to see. An average match.
Rusev w/Lana vs Big Show
Again, the run up overshadowed the match. I am a big fan of Rusev. I don't think we have seen the best of him. I think WWE are saving his abilities for something much greater. The crowd was electric at points and they added to the match.
WWE Divas Title: AJ Lee (c) vs Paige w/Alicia Fox
This feud is marred in disappointment. The two most polarizing divas on the roster, in what should have been a classic. Unfortunately this was the 4th consecutive event where they faced off. This could have been so much more but ended up being a mess of a feud. The match reflected that.
Hell in a Cell Match: Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
And so we reach the culmination of an event and also the end of what has been the best, most natural feud in recent years. Rollins and Ambrose have been outclassing most of the "top guys" on the roster for over 2 years now. First as the Shield, now as individual competitors. The story was built on betrayal and revenge and it worked perfectly. The match was certainly a testament to what a Hell in a Cell match should represent and present. It was violent, it was personal, it had everything. Even a controversial ending. The deserving main event, and showed Cena and Orton what a Hell in a Cell match is all about.
The rating is because of how much i enjoyed the opening match and the main event. Every match borough something to the table and made for a great event. It could have been a lot better of course, but considering WWE's track record it could have been a lot worse.
Mr. Turner (2014)
Is that you Chris Griffin?
I like art, but i am in no way an art enthusiast. I am familiar with the artist J.M.W Turner, but I have no clue what kind of person he was and haven't ever had any intention in the past of educating myself on him.
It is maybe those reasons which left me sitting there in a heap by the end of the film. It was so boring. So incredibly boring. As i said, i would completely understand if someone who was fascinated by the subject found the film enjoyable. But if you're like me, if you have sat down, with your mind a blank canvas and ready to let the film paint knowledge of Mr Tuner; then you are in for a long 2 1/2 hours. It takes forever. Apart from some stunning locations a few moments of laughter (very few) there is nothing. It is lackluster, and instead of witnessing the story of a genius and feeling inspired. I was left watching the movie equivalent of paint drying.
Did i fall asleep? No of course not, how could I? With a loud grunt, or a feverish cough, or even the worst crying scene of all time. There was no chance of drifting off because grunting and coughing and mumbling is the dialogue for this film. I get he was miserable, but the grunting was so excruciating. If i shut my eyes, it was like Beavis and Butthead where there. If i opened them it was Chris Griffin....i wish it was Chris Griffin, he would have at least made me laugh.
The thing is, you can make a film about anything. Anything. But it has to have a point, it has to leave you feeling something. But Mr Turner doesn't. I have never been so bored in all my life. Maybe i should've left, yes. But i thought something would happen. That his character would evolve, or the film would inject some life, but it didn't; it was the same brush stroke throughout. I doesn't matter if you are making a film about a artistic genius, it doesn't matter if he inspired millions. If the man was a boring, miserable old sod and his life followed in his footsteps, then it will not be a very good film....unless of course you are interested in the man.
I appreciate the acting, you could tell Timothy Spall really threw himself into the role. Probably had a sore throat for weeks. But it is quite simply monotonous.
Dracula Untold (2014)
Some stories are best left Untold.
With the spooky, captivating cover version of "Everybody wants to rule the World" blaring out in the trailers, it would be very easy (as it was for me)to succumb to some sort of anticipation. It is Dracula after all, one of the - if not THE- greatest, most iconic monsters ever.
However...when the credits rolled and the aforementioned optimism had been completely drained from my body, I couldn't help but feel like i had been duped. This is a clear case of integrating a legendary creation into a soul-less storyline.
Ten minutes in, it has lost a mass of distinction. Although the vampire issue was there, it was basically like every other film with swords and shields. There's a battle, Then, of course there has to be some topless action showing scars and battle wounds,(my heart bleeds, it truly does)a cheesy, romantic gesture, (although if i dragged my girlfriend into a bath, i would get pulverized) then there's my favorite. Everyone merrily feasting, only to be disrupted by an angry group of men, who are clearly outraged that they where each given change of a 20 (all coins) and forced to jingle their way around the dining area. It is the same old clichés. And apart from a couple of bats, there's not much to differentiate it from films from that genre.
In 1992, Gary Oldman pretty much did all there was you could do with Dracula. It wasn't a masterpiece of a film, but it was great and it did the job. There just seems to be a drought of originality these days. Dipping their greedy fingers into the past, just to make money; not to make a classic film. Frankenstein fell victim, and now so has Dracula.
Antiquated and Asinine.
I....well I....I truly don't know where to begin. I mean, after all the hype, month after month of promotion, Hercules this and Hercules that....this.... this is what we get?
As I sat there in the cinema, letting this film rape my eyes, I began to question myself and really give myself an internal telling off. I have this irritating inability to just walk out of the screening during a film. No matter how horrific the film is, my backside just appears to be glued to the seat. Not only was i upset with my lack of assertiveness, but I also lost faith in my fellow man. Whilst I was gradually chewing my face off, I couldn't help but notice a few people who where clearly enjoying the film. Laughing at material that was no funnier than a violent case of diarrhea (yes i know, ironic, because this film is just that). I mean it was bad.....really bad, not funny whatsoever. It was painfully predictable. And these people where...laughing. Why? Was it a case of "if you don't laugh, you'll cry"? I sure hope so, for the sake of humanity.
Every single character in this film, was diabolical. And collectively they create a time wasting tragedy. The direction was paralytic. Even the action is criminal . In the trailer, they show Hercules battle mythological beasts and I in no way want to spoil anything, but be prepared to see 90% of those "battles" in the first 5 minutes...i do not jest. It is false advertising at its finest. And as those 5 minutes disappear into obscurity, all you are left with is "The Great One".... Dwayne Johnson try his damnedest to stop his strong American accent from taking over...which he fails to do...every 2nd or 3rd line. But hey, casting wouldn't be about finding someone who can actually do the accent, or someone who can act, or someone who isn't cocooned in cheese. It's all about those muscles. Plain and Simple. Dwayne Johnson is an average actor, he was great in "Pain and Gain", but for this role? This was a case of biting off more than you can chew. And ironically enough "The Rock" acted like stone.
I must also add that if I where as shallow as this film, i could have easily used this as a way to terminate my long term relationship with my girlfriend. As prior to going to see it, our options where "Guardians of the Galaxy" or "Hercules", and my girlfriend chose this. Looking back that choice was like either having a 5 star meal or eating my own feces. So there you go, this film has the capability of possibly ruining lives.
If you want to see a film about the legend of Hercules, there is a perfectly good Disney film that caters to the legend and doesn't try to re-write or re-analyze it. And I can't believe these words are being typed by my fingers.....but...there is also a Hercules film that was recently made called..."Legend of Hercules" starring future Oscar winner Kellan Lutz.... and in a previous review, I trampled all over it and actually typed Dwayne must be shaking in his boots, well in hindsight he should have been, because yes people, Kellan Lutz played Hercules better than Dwayne Johnson and that....that is probably the BIGGEST insult I could ever give anyone...
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Boys of anarchy.
"The Purge" is one of the most innovative and original concepts that has made its way to cinema in recent years. And i have no doubt that, because of the mass material and potential it carries, it will have a long series of films. It will be like the new "SAW"; one every year until the public become impatient with it and yearn for a culmination.
To say the first film was a let down is a massive understatement and i'm sure the majority of people would agree that it was poor and didn't cash in on its potential. That general consensus aside i actually enjoyed parts of the first film; i thought Ethan Hawke did a fine job and contributed to a film that was a lesion in terms of limitation. The major problem with it was that in the realms of a Purge there is so much more you would like to see. A family in a house trying to protect themselves from being victims to a brutal invasion doesn't quite fill the anarchic appetite of the audience; hence it fails.
So after witnessing the trailer it was clear that Scott Derrickson had set out to address that, by taking the Purge's events to the streets; seeing it through the eyes of many different characters. There are the victims, those participating, those seeking retribution, those using it to help their families. It delves into the politics and all methods of the Purge. And that is great. But by doing all that; trying to incorporate everything, focusing all their energy on satisfying the audience....well it appears they forgot to cast people who can act. And the midst of the frenzied chaos, all you have is one fairly good actor (Frank Grillo) and then a host of horrendous actors/actresses (the rest of the leading cast). And quite honestly they ruined the film for me. I couldn't go 10 minutes without cringing at their delivery of a line or just their disingenuous performances in general. IT puts a massive dampener on the film. I felt in no way attached to any of the characters, not only because of their terrible performances, but because all their stories seem so rushed and chaotic. I get that the film is meant to be hectic, but what was good about the first film was that the focus was clear...a family trying to survive. Simple. This, however has far too many characters; this leads them to become unimportant.
The film also comes across as anti climatic on so many levels. Scenes not following up, or just when you think things are going to get brutal, they dilute it...wonder why? Maybe it is that silly 15 certificate it carries. See a film like this should have no boundaries. The mere idea of having 12 hours, to more or less do as you like, is enough to send shivers down the spine of those with a vivid and fearful imagination, so why not convey that in the movie? Why not go all out? I will never understand the need to cater to teenagers. There a millions of people 18+ who would love to see this film used to its full potential.
Throughout the film there is clear comparisons with films such as "The Warriors", "The Running Man" and "Hostel". Now it might have been done as a tip of the cap, but if not then it is quite simply ripping off certain attributes from these films.
It seems, that despite my criticism, the film has been getting a positive review and i must say the reason for that? Well the first film has to take some of the credit.If it wouldn't have been so secluded then this film would have been a repeat of its predecessor. Which leads me to think...what exactly can they do to better this one? I have an idea.....18 certificate? Actual actors with the ability to act? Just ideas is all.
In my opinion Melissa McCarthy is funny; given the material, given the ball, she can run with it. I believe that improvisation is her strong suit. And in recent films she has even shown that she is also able to immerse herself dramatically and is able to draw empathy from the viewer.
So when one of her films comes out i do go into it with confidence that no matter how stupid the story is, she will at least contribute to making the film watchable. Unfortunately, this time around, not even McCarthy's volatile humor could save this film. Every now and then she is able to pluck a chuckle from the viewer, but it is a failure despite that. You would think that seeing Susan Sarandon as a chaos ensuing alcoholic grandmother would be at least interesting, if not amusing; but it isn't. It most of the time, is very uncomfortable to watch. No matter how hard she might try to convince you that she is capable of playing such a role, it doesn't work. Kathy Bates was solid as always, but when the cameo performance by unknown actors is funnier than the lead roles, then something is wrong.
They embarrassingly try to cash in on situations from previous Melissa McCarthy films; the singing in the car, running from someone to no avail. Although there are some moments of wit and creativity, far too many times it falls back into obvious, uninteresting attempts at comedy.
A poor attempt at comedy and although MCCarthy tries to bring a lifeline to a flatlining comedy, in the end...well it just dies.