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9/10
Edge Of Tomorrow Review
4 June 2014
For some reason, during the marketing of 'Edge Of Tomorrow' this film seemed to have a lot of scepticism surrounding it, but I was excited for this movie from the moment I first heard about it. You know why? Because I really like Tom Cruise. I couldn't care less about his personal beliefs; he's a good actor so I can separate who he is from the roles he plays. Unfortunately, there are some people who can't do that and will refuse to see this movie just because of Tom Cruise. Those people don't know what they're missing out on, because 'Edge Of Tomorrow' is one of the best original sci-fi movies I have ever seen.

It's abundantly clear that Tom Cruise is passionate about sci-fi movies, and he definitely gives some great performances in them. Last year we saw him in 'Oblivion', and now we have him playing Major William Cage, a solider fighting in a war against aliens. Cage soon realises that he's stuck in a time loop of his last day in battle, and whenever he dies he wakes up at the beginning of the day again. This immediately draws comparisons to 'Groundhog Day', but there are also several other movies that 'Edge Of Tomorrow' seems to take inspiration from, with 'Aliens' being one that felt like a huge influence. This film even has Pvt. Hudson himself, Bill Paxton, who gives a very entertaining performance as Master Sergeant Farell. Another reason I was excited for this movie is because of Emily Blunt, and she did not disappoint. I'm always happy to see strong female characters in film, so it's great to see that Emily Blunt has her fair share of badass moments in this movie.

Even though 'Edge Of Tomorrow' obviously draws inspiration from many other movies, it never feels like a rip-off. Although its highly generic title may suggest otherwise, 'Edge Of Tomorrow' is actually a very original movie. It's incredibly unpredictable, and unlike other movies within the genre I wasn't picking out plot holes as I was watching. Even though a lot of the movie involves the story going back on itself and repeating events, it never feels boring and is constantly engaging.

Doug Liman gives excellent direction, creating a world that feels alive and interesting. The action scenes are especially well directed, they don't rely on shaky cam and the mech-like suits that characters wear create interesting new dynamics in the battlefield and they're a lot of fun to watch. The VFX are stunning as well, there were no moments where there was any noticeable bad CGI.

This year had already been a great year for big summer blockbusters, but 'Edge Of Tomorrow' just supports that statement even further. It's an incredibly memorable sci-fi experience that I would strongly recommend.
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Godzilla (2014)
9/10
A Near-Perfect Blockbuster...
28 May 2014
'Godzilla' is directed by Gareth Edwards, who directed the 2010 independent movie 'Monsters'. I think that 'Monsters' is a masterpiece, and one of the best directorial debuts that I've ever seen. Because of 'Monsters', I had very high expectations for 'Godzilla', but I always knew that it would be a very different type of movie than 'Monsters', so I accepted that it would be different along with the fact that I probably wouldn't like it as much either. I was correct in my assumptions, because while 'Godzilla' may not be a masterpiece like I think 'Monsters' is, it's still an incredibly entertaining movie that's more intelligent than most other major blockbusters.

I'll get the main negative out of the way first, and that's that the characters are pretty weak. Most of them don't have much to them, but this didn't bother me that much because let's face it, you don't go and see 'Godzilla' for the character development, do you? The characters aren't distractingly bad anyway, they're just passable. The main character, Ford Brody, is a perfectly competent lead, played very well by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but it's his father, Joe Brody, who I would argue is the best written character in the film and is put to great use by the always phenomenal Bryan Cranston. Elizabeth Olsen and Sally Hawkins are good as well, but I was slightly let down by Ken Watanabe, simply because his character really didn't allow him to show much of his great acting ability.

Many people may be disappointed by the fact that Godzilla isn't actually in the movie a whole lot, and that this film focuses more on the human drama. I definitely appreciated that aspect, as I always like a good story over excess action, but this movie still had the amazing action sequences to compliment the excellent writing. I actually found Godzilla not being in the movie that often was very effective, as when he does appear on screen it's all the more impressive.

This is a movie that is made to be seen on the big screen. Don't shrug it off and wait until it comes out on DVD, go and see it in the cinema because that's the best way it can be viewed. There's one particular moment in this film that's so incredible and awe-inspiring that I would name it one of the best cinematic moments I have ever experienced, and there are various other moments where my jaw just dropped, which is something that very rarely happens in a movie. The VFX are flawless, all of the action feels like it has actual impact and isn't just mass unnecessary genocide like in 'Man Of Steel'. The sound design is impeccable as well, there are many points where I had goosebumps because the creature noises are so perfect. Gareth Edwards is obviously a very talented director when it comes to monster movies, as 'Godzilla' maintains the excellent cinematography and intense tone that his previous movie had. The score by Alexandre Desplat is great as well, I'm not always a big fan of Desplat's work but his music perfectly accompanies the movie.

Gareth Edwards hit the nail on the head with this film. It manages to create a grounded version of Godzilla without being so dark and gritty that it's not enjoyable. It's a movie that both fans of Godzilla and people who aren't familiar with Godzilla should enjoy, because it's a near perfect blockbuster.
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10/10
Not only is it the best X-Men movie, it's one of the best comic book movies ever made....
28 May 2014
X-Men: Days Of Future Past' serves as a sequel to both 'X-Men: First Class' (which is excellent) and 'X-Men: The Last Stand' (which is pretty bad). Now, I used to be a pretty big X-Men fan a few years ago, but after the disappointments of 'X-Men: The Last Stand' and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', I kind of just stopped caring about the franchise, even though the subsequent two movies were actually very good (the aforementioned 'X-Men: First Class' and then 'The Wolverine'). That being said, I was still looking forward to 'Days Of Future Past', what with it being the return of the old 'X-Men' crew, and I was also moderately familiar with the 'Days Of Future Past' comic. I was just expecting it to be good though, but it turns out not only is 'Days Of Future Past' the best X-Men movie yet, it's also one of the best comic-book movies ever made.

In 'Days Of Future Past', the X-Men of the future are facing extinction due to the sentinels which threaten to wipe them all out. They send Wolverine back in time to 1973 where he must recruit Professor X, Magneto and Mystique in order to change the course of history so that the X-Men may survive.

First things first, this is a time travel movie, and time travel movies normally either go very well or very badly. 'Days Of Future Past' marks an occasion where it goes very well, as the time travel logic in this movie is very well thought out and makes perfect sense, I can't pick any holes in it. This movie even manages to validate 'X-Men: The Last Stand' and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', which is something that I thought could never be done. It even feels weird just saying that, because righting the wrongs that those movies made is a huge, monumental task, yet this movie pulls it off perfectly.

For a movie that's crowded with so many characters, it's surprising that all of the characters included feel meaningful and aren't shoehorned in. We have Hugh Jackman returning as Wolverine, and there's not much to say about him that hasn't already been said. He is Wolverine, the role is made for him and he absolutely owns it. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are incredible as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr respectively, their characters have an amazing relationship and the two of them are just phenomenal at pulling it off. We also have the future X-Men cast with the like of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan and Ellen Page, and while they have a lot less screen time they're still great. I was surprised at how prominent a role Jennifer Lawrence had as Mystique, over the past few months I've had a growing dislike towards Jennifer Lawrence but I can't deny that she is great in this role. Then we have all of the new characters, like Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), Bishop (Omar Sy) and Blink (Bingbing Fan), all of whom are great. But there is one new character who is greater than all, and that character is Quicksilver.

Quicksilver in this movie is perfect. In fact, it's worth seeing this movie just for him. He doesn't have a huge amount of screen time and it comes fairly early on in the movie, but he is the best part of this film by far. There is one particular sequence with him in a kitchen, and it is jaw-droppingly beautiful. The visuals in the scene are gorgeous, the music is perfect, and it's both hilarious and stunning. The way that Quicksilver's super speed effect has been done is amazing. Some people thought the costume looked goofy, but I think it works perfectly well considering the time period and the personality of the character. I've been a big fan of Evan Peters for a while, and he is great in the role, he is very entertaining and has a great screen presence. I never thought I'd be saying this, but I doubt Marvel will be able to produce a better Quicksilver in 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' than the one that's on display here.

But you know what I think all this great quality comes down to? Bryan Singer. I'm pretty sure Bryan Singer is just the perfect X-Men director. Even though up until now I thought 'X-Men: First Class' was the best of the X-Men franchise, it didn't really feel like the X-Men in the way that 'X-Men' and 'X2′ did. 'Days Of Future Past' nails that X-Men dynamic while still being an exceptionally good movie. Part of that X-Men dynamic comes from John Ottman's amazing score, as it's so good to finally hear his X-Men theme again.The action scenes are incredible, especially the opening one which uses some of the new mutant powers phenomenally, especially Blink's. The movie is very well paced, I never grew bored and I didn't want it to end.

'Days Of Future Past' also surprisingly has a lot of very funny humour in it, but it's not humour that's just forced in for the sake of it, it all feel natural and within the confines of these characters. This film nails the comic book movie aspect; it has a plot which is clearly very serious yet it is still silly enough to remain a comic book film, unlike movies like 'Man Of Steel' and 'The Dark Knight' which go so dark that they just completely ditch the comic book aspect. There are also a few nice references that fans of the comics will get, which is just a small example of the great fan service this movie does for readers of the 'X-Men' comics.

'Days Of Future Past' made me remember why I was such a big X-Men fan. It rekindled my love for the characters and story lines, and like I said above, it's one of the best comic book movies ever made.
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Neighbors (I) (2014)
9/10
Neighbors Review
8 May 2014
There are very few actors who I am guaranteed to be excited for and see any movie that they are in, no matter what that movie may be. Seth Rogen is one of those actors. He consistently stars in comedy movies that I consider to be among the best ever made, with the likes of 'Superbad', 'Pineapple Express' and last year's 'This Is The End' to name just a few. Upon hearing about 'Neighbors', I was immediately sold due to the great concept and the excellent cast that also includes the likes of Zac Efron, Dave Franco and Rose Byrne. I'm happy to say that 'Bad Neighbours' doesn't disappoint in the slightest, as it's a contender for funniest film of the year.

'Neighbors' tells the story of Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) who have a newborn baby and encounter trouble when a college fraternity moves into the house next door, led by Teddy (Zac Efron). As soon as I heard of this premise, I knew it had the potential to be very funny, and it is. The movie doesn't just rely on laughs though, at various points there wasn't any comedy but I was still engaged because the story is interesting and I wanted to see where it went next. I was also surprised that the movie had some pretty good thematic elements about growing old and the effect that it has on people.

The acting is phenomenal, which is as expected from such a great cast. Seth Rogen has impeccable comedic timing as always, and I suppose you could say that he's playing the same type of character that he usually does but he does a good job doing it, so who the hell cares? Rose Byrne is also great, this was a very different role for her than what I've seen her in before (the 'Insidious' movies and 'X-Men: First Class') but she proves she can do comedy really well. Zac Efron is excellent as he always is; if you're someone who still thinks he's a bad actor because of the 'High School Musical' movies then get over yourself and accept the fact that he's one of this generation's finest young talents. For me, it was Efron and Dave Franco who stole the show, with Efron providing a lot of the laughs and Franco giving the movie some much needed humanity.

Although this movie may not be as funny as, for example, last year's 'This Is The End', there are still some moments that are absolute comedic gold, including a fight scene towards the end of the movie that's absolutely incredible. Nicholas Stoller gives great direction, I was particularly impressed by the party sequences, which included amazing colour schemes and some very stylised cinematography and direction. While 'Neighbors' may not be an instant comedic classic like many other Rogen movies are, it's still incredibly funny and is a must see.
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9/10
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review
23 April 2014
Spider-Man has always been my favourite superhero. Ever since a young age I've loved the comics and the Raimi movies were a big part of my childhood. Although I was a big fan of 2012′s 'The Amazing Spider-Man', I'm not afraid to admit it had some serious problems, but for the most part I thought it did a better job with the origin than 2002′s 'Spider-Man' did. This sequel was where director Marc Webb had to really hit the nail on the head though, because Sam Raimi's 'Spider-Man 2′ is one of the best comic book movies ever made. After all of Sony's awful marketing for this movie, I was sceptical, but still very excited. I'm incredible happy to say that my scepticism wasn't necessary, because 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ is truly amazing.

The script of this movie is arguably its weakest component, but it's still far from bad. My favourite part of 'The Amazing Spider-Man' was the character development and relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, and this sequel pulls it off perfectly as well. The dialogue between the two feels so incredibly natural, it's like we're seeing an actual relationship folding out on screen. In terms of the story itself, I found it engaging but certain elements often feel fairly contrived and roughly scripted. I found this forgivable however because everything else is so damn good. The movie doesn't suffer from having too many villains (which I feel proves that 'Spider-Man 3′ didn't suffer from too many villains, it suffered from an awful script), as the character of Electro is really good; he's not just a psychopath who wants to destroy the world but instead has believable motives. Harry Osborn is also a well written character, and it's hard to judge the Rhino character because he's in the movie so little. One worry I had was how desperately Sony seemed to want to expand the Spider-Man universe by casting so many well known characters (like Black Cat, Vulture/Menken and Alistair Smythe) for this movie. It turns out it works pretty well, because they aren't any overly obvious references to who these characters will become if you weren't already aware.

The cast do a phenomenal job with their material as well. Andrew Garfield absolutely kills it as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, he's far better than Tobey Maguire and does an excellent job carrying the film. Emma Stone is incredible as well, she and Andrew Garfield have amazing chemistry (probably due to them actually being in a relationship in real life) and seeing the two of them on screen together is an absolute joy. Dane DeHaan is great as he always is, I had worries about him after seeing the trailers but he does really well with the character. Jamie Foxx is a lot of fun to watch, his Electro character is just so amusing to see on screen and he does a good job of making the character a sympathetic villain. Paul Giamatti is also a lot of fun to watch for the few minutes he's on screen, and the rest of the supporting cast was good as well, there were no notable bad performances.

Marc Webb gives wonderful direction in this movie just as he did in the first one. He gives perfect direction on the previously mentioned character scenes in particular, but I also found he seems to have become a much better action director with this sequel as well. Some of the action in this film is truly incredible, a lot of the scenes are very heart pounding and are all wholly entertaining. There is also a phenomenal score to accompany the the action. The VFX in this movie are absolutely beautiful, one of 'The Amazing Spider Man"s biggest problems was its mediocre CGI, but there's no worry of that in this movie because it looks great. This movie feels like a comic book movie. It doesn't go dark and gritty like other superhero movies feel the need to do, and I respect it so much more for that. The colours are bright and gorgeous, and I'm so happy to finally see some good Spidey swinging around the city scenes that are exhilarating and incredible to experience. I'm just so happy after seeing this movie. Is it better than 'Spider-Man 2′? I'm not sure I can decide yet. Having seen 'Spider-Man 2′ countless times I think it would be unfair to compare it to this just yet. 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2′ isn't a perfect movie, but it sure is a hell of a lot of fun.
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Transcendence (I) (2014)
7/10
Transcendence: Not nearly as bad as it's been made out to be...
23 April 2014
The only reason I wanted to see this movie was because it has a good cast. I didn't really care that it was directed by Wally Pfister (Christopher Nolan's go-to cinematographer) and after viewing trailers I wasn't all that interested in the general storyline. My expectations were especially low after seeing the awful reviews it was receiving, but I have to say now that I've seen the movie, I disagree with the negative reviews because I really enjoyed 'Transcendence'.

However, 'Transcendence' is far from a perfect movie. The movie is quite poorly written at many points, it doesn't explain things properly and it's wildly unrealistic. I often found myself thinking that the movie seemed to be using lots of long, complicated scientific words to try and make its explanations sound more substantial, when in reality there isn't really any explanation to have substance given to. The characters aren't fully realized, there's never any real drama between them and there isn't any clear protagonist which makes it hard to relate with anyone in the movie. There are a few large time jumps, which I dislike in most movies and here they are no exception. The concept of this movie is great and somewhat thought-provoking, but much like the characters is never fully realized. 'Transcendence' also feels like it's desperately trying to have an 'Inception' style ending, but it actually completely fails at doing so.

Even though a lot of the writing is awful, the story was still engaging enough for me to enjoy watching it, and the concept is great, but it would have worked much better had it not been restricted to a two hour movie. If this were a ten hour mini-series it could have been incredible. There are so many strands left hanging and concepts not developed upon that it's frustrating that the filmmakers didn't try and explore and expand on this movie some more. Because there is no clear protagonist, that means that a lot of the actors get less screen time than I would have liked them to have. For example, Kate Mara is one of my favourite actresses and she was one of the main reasons I decided to see this movie, but she has nothing of any real importance to do in the film. She doesn't give a bad performance, but there was nothing for her to really showcase her excellent acting ability. I feel the same way about Cillian Murphy, who was drastically underused, and even Morgan Freeman didn't have much to do. Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany are both excellent though, they easily give the best performances in the movie and dominate the screen whenever they appear, they were the only two performers to genuinely impress me. Johnny Depp doesn't give a bad performance, but he wasn't impressive at all because it felt like his role could have been done by anyone, and they just used Johnny Depp to ensure more people would see the movie.

Although it may sound like I'm being overwhelmingly negative, I want to stress again that I do actually like this movie. It starts off really well, but begins to just become a mess towards the end, albeit an enjoyable mess. It's just important to highlight that there were so many things within 'Transcendence' that could have been put to far better use. This is more than likely due to Wally Pfister's lack of directing experience, but 'Transcendence' is still a decent first effort. The movie is nice to look at with good cinematography, but that was expected with a movie from the guy who shot many of Nolan's movies. The CGI is passable, at times it looks weird and clunky but isn't too distracting. 'Transcendence' has no real soul or uniqueness to it, it feels quite bland and should have had some heart. Nothing about this movie is amazing and even though it really could have been, I'm happy with settling for it being just okay. It's a great example of missed potential, but what we did get with 'Transcendence' was still pretty enjoyable anyway.
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Enemy (2013)
8/10
An intense, thought provoking thriller...
23 April 2014
It's been over a week since I've seen this movie yet I still don't feel like I'm qualified enough to write this review, because I still haven't managed to wrap my head around exactly what I saw. I haven't read many online theories, and have been trying to decide for myself exactly what this movie is but I can't do it. It's very rare that a movie will manage to confuse me, I usually understand movies that are traditionally considered confusing like 'Inception' and 'Donnie Darko', but with this I still honestly have no idea.

The movie is actually straightforward for the most part, it's just the ending that is completely mind-boggling. The story is very engaging and tense, and I never found myself becoming bored. The characters are excellently written and the whole plot is very, very unpredictable. This movie has made me think about it a lot, I can't stop coming back to it because it's such a fascinating piece of cinema. 'Enemy' managed to do another thing that most other movies fail to do as well, and that is scare me. It was the ending again to cause this, because what happens is so sudden, shocking and bizarre that it scared the hell out of me and made me jump out of my skin.

The acting in this movie is great as well. Jake Gyllenhaal is phenomenal in the lead two roles, he carries the whole movie and has great screen presence. There are only two other noteworthy performances and they are from Mélanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon, but the real star on show here is Jake Gyllenhaal.

I went into 'Enemy' knowing as little about it as possible, and I think that's the best way to do it. I didn't even know the movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve, who directed one of last years best movies, 'Prisoners'. Had I known he was the director I probably would have had different expectations, but I'm glad I didn't see the movie hoping for anything too much because if I had then I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much as I did. Villeneuve is a master at building tension, there's a constant sense of impending doom throughout the movie just as there was in 'Prisoners', so he clearly knows how to give a movie a good tone. I will definitely watch 'Enemy' many more times in the future. It's the type of movie where it's to impossible to understand everything on the first watch, and I applaud it for being such an intelligent thriller.
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The Raid 2 (2014)
10/10
An incredible achievement in action cinema....
23 April 2014
Rarely is there an occasion where a movie leaves me completely speechless. So rarely in fact, that I can't even remember the last time it happened. But when The Raid 2 ended and the credits started to roll, I just sat there staring at the screen in absolute awe. I'm even hesitant to write this review, because I'm not sure anything I can say could adequately describe just how incredible this movie is.

I was a fan of the first 'The Raid', but it took me a couple of watches to fully appreciate and love it. That's certainly not the case with The Raid 2, because I fell in love with it instantly.There are notable changes between this sequel and its predecessor, most noticeably being the story. 'The Raid' lacked any real writing, it had a story, but one so simple it was really used just to showcase the fighting. The Raid 2 features a story that, although it's treading on familiar territory, is engaging and believable, and contributes to making this sequel better than the first movie.

The acting is great as well. Iko Uwais continues to do a great job, and I was particularly impressed by newcomer Afrin Putra. Julie Estelle and Very Tri Yulisman also deserve a special mention as they have very few lines of dialogue between them but are two hugely intimidating characters who are pretty ridiculous yet still hugely fun to watch. I always appreciate the actors in these movies a huge amount because of all the choreography they have to learn, which must be a very difficult task because the fighting scenes (like in the first Raid) are absolutely stunning.

Every punch feels like it has an impact and cause actual pain. The violence is bloody, brutal and often hilarious. All the action moves so quickly yet I still feel as though I'm seeing everything that's going on and I'm not missing anything. I have no idea how director Gareth Evans does it, he's clearly the best action director working today because no other action movie comes even close to matching the monumental quality of The Raid 2.
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Noah (2014)
8/10
Beautiful visuals let down by some weak writing...
23 April 2014
The main reason I was looking forward to Noah was because of its director, Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky has directed two movies which I consider to be among the best ever made, and those two movies are 'Black Swan' and 'Requiem For A Dream'. When you look at the rest of his excellent filmography with the likes of 'The Fountain' and 'Pi', it's easy to see why he's considered one of the best directors in the world today. After all, he's never made a bad movie. However, I definitely had my reservations with 'Noah', it's the first time Aronofsky has been given a big budget and with a biblical story, things could turn very bad and controversial very easily. Thankfully, Noah isn't a bad movie, although it is probably Aronofsky's weakest.

First things first; this is not a straight up bible adaptation. It never promised it would be, and it doesn't need to be. If you're one of the people who won't see this movie or will immediately disregard it due to it's inaccuracy (to an already fictional story) then you should pull that giant stick out of your a** and stop being so goddamn pretentious. This movie is somewhat well written, and the changes it makes to the story all feel merited and necessary to Aronofsky's vision. Some of the stuff is pretty strange, but it adds to the visceral experience and makes it all the more enjoyable . A lot of the dialogue is pretty bad, and the characters aren't particularly well written, as even though they all get some good emotional scenes, we never really learn who the characters are. We learn nothing outside of Noah's mission to help God, we are given a vision of him that shows he is devoted to God and is often tormented over it, but other than that we learn very little about the character's personality.

Although the characters are fairly weak, the actors do an excellent job with the material. Russell Crowe is excellent in the title role, he surprisingly brings a great feel of menace to the role. Ray Winstone is good, but at points it feels like his acting is too over the top. Jennifer Connelly doesn't really have much to do in the first half of the movie other than a few good scenes with Noah, but she really shines in the movie's second half. I was surprised to find that Emma Watson steals the show, as her character was the one I cared the most for and she had some great emotional moments that really showcased her excellent acting. I've never liked Logan Lerman, and he's tolerable in the movie but I really didn't like the character, and felt like it was a role that many characters could have also done and done it better as well.

But Noah's shining quality is it's directing and cinematography, which is absolutely phenomenal. There are a few shots in the movie that involve stopmotion-like time lapse sequences, and these sequences are mindblowingly good. The film uses lots of silhouettes which are beautiful, and there are some incredible juxtaposed shots as well. I was surprised at how good the VFX are, as after seeing them in the trailer I thought they looked quite cartoony but in the movie they look great. The set and costume designs are excellent as well, and I wasn't expecting this movie (being PG-13) to feature some of the more mature themes which it does. The first half definitely isn't as interesting as the second half, but when the movie picks up it really does pick up. The film does bring up a lot of interesting points, but I feel like there was probably a lot more moralistic and philosophical content that the studios made Aronofsky cut.

Noah isn't the best movie ever, but visually; it's absolutely incredible. The cinematography is amazing and everything in this film looks beautiful. It's worth seeing for the visuals alone, as it's a visceral and fascinating experience.
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8/10
The Winter Soldier Review
27 March 2014
Of all the Marvel phase two films, The Winter Soldier was the one I was least excited for. Captain America should really be the strongest of the Avengers characters, yet he had been pushed to the back by the superior Iron Man due to his character never really being fully realised in his movies. The Winter Solider was Marvel's opportunity to rectify Captain America's pretty weak career, and they definitely succeed, producing a movie that's second only to The Avengers.

This movie is made so good because of how well written it is. It's not a silly action fest with a weak story like other superhero movies are, it instead boasts a very strong screenplay that's completely unpredictable and hugely engrossing. The Winter Soldier has a conspiracy ridden plot that's constantly twisting and turning with some great character introductions and developments, some of which open huge opportunities for the future of the Marvel universe. Unlike the past two Marvel movies, ('Irons Man 3′ and 'Thor: The Dark World'), The Winter Soldier isn't held back by very silly, childish humour. It has genuinely funny moments with some great pop culture references, and it overall feels like a much more mature movie than any of Marvel's other work.

The Captain America character is at last beginning to become a much more interesting character, showing he has the leadership capabilities to control The Avengers. Chris Evans shines in the role, he does a perfect job and it's hard to picture anyone else in the role. We also finally get some great character moments for Black Widow, and her role in this film has made me certain that I want to see a Black Widow movie in the upcoming phase 3. Scarlett Johansson does an excellent job with her material, she seems to be really getting into the Black Widow character now and fully understands it. I knew Anthony Mackie would be great as Falcon because he's Anthony Mackie, and he indeed does a great job. Although the Falcon character is different to the traditional comics one, this new version still works very well and provides a lot of comic relief.

Samuel L Jackson is excellent as always, and Robert Redford is very good as well, although his character role is incredibly predictable, so predictable in fact that I already knew what his purpose would be just from watching the trailer. I was slightly disappointed by Emily Van Camp's Agent 13, as she's introduced quite early on yet is given nothing of any real substance substance to do. However, we do get to see a lot more of Cobie Smulder's character Maria Hill, which is always nice. Last but not least, Sebastian Stan does a phenomenal job as The Winter Soldier, a character who is easily a good enough villain to rival Marvel's beloved Loki. The character is very intimidating and genuinely intimidating at points, he has a great feel of menace and power to him which is elevated by Stan's incredible work.

Although I said that The Winter Soldier doesn't focus on the action, the action sequences that are featured in the film are perfect. They're brilliantly choreographed and are easily the best action sequences we've seen so far in the Marvel universe, so kudos to directors Anthony and Joe Russo for that. Like said above, The Winter Soldier feels much more mature than other Marvel movies, as the main crisis feels very real and catastrophic, whereas in past Marvel movies (other than 'The Avengers') there was no sense of massive danger like there is here. The film doesn't employ a dark tone that's so moody it's on the same level as the likes of 'The Dark Knight' and 'Man of Steel', but instead melds the dark tones with the traditional comic book style that Marvel always employ to create an end product that has a great impending sense of danger whilst still feeling like a Marvel movie.

The Winter Soldier is pretty close to perfect. It's easily the best written Marvel movie, and even though it's not as good as 'The Avengers', that's hardly a bad movie to be second to, is it? Let's hope this quality carries on into future Marvel adventures, because if it does then Marvel will never have to give up the crown as king of the comic book movies.
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Veronica Mars (2014)
9/10
Veronica Mars Review
19 March 2014
I'm a big fan of the Veronica Mars TV show. I didn't back the project on Kickstarter but I am devoted enough to have travelled ninety minutes away to the closest cinema that was playing this movie. I'm happy to say that it was certainly worth the journey as Veronica Mars is a perfect piece of fan service.

This movie feels exactly like an episode of Veronica Mars, which is perfect. As much as I love the show, it's undeniable that the finale was very unsatisfying. The movie fixes that by finally giving some closure, with plenty of references back to the show that will make fans very happy. The characters have changed as we would expect them to in the nine years that have passed since the show ended, but they still maintain parts of their old personalities that we came to love in the show. The writing is sharp, hilarious and the plot is like that of a classic Veronica Mars episode.

Kristen Bell is one of my favourite actresses because of her Veronica Mars portrayal, and she continues to perfectly embody the character in the movie. Jason Dohring is great as usual, and Ryan Hansen is very funny as he always is. It's great to finally see so many actors from the show return as these beloved characters, with cast members like Chris Lowell, Percy Daggs III, Tina Majorini, Francis Capra and Enrico Colantoni all giving excellent performances. There are also some surprise cameos, one of which was completely unexpected but was very funny.

Rob Thomas gives perfect direction, as, like said above, the movie feels exactly like an episode of the show, just with higher production values. I have huge respect for the way in which this movie was made by Kickstarter, as it opened up a new world of possibilities for cinema that many other filmmakers are now exploring. This movie is 107 minutes long, yet time flew by. I was praying that the movie wouldn't end because I was enjoying it so much. In fact, that's where my main problem with this movie comes in, which is that there wasn't more of it. Although this certainly gave more closure than the season three finale, I was still left wanting more. I doubt that will ever change as Veronica Mars is my third favourite TV show, but here's hoping we see another movie or even something along the lines of a Netflix series in the future.

Although Veronica Mars is perfect for fans of the show, I'm not sure as to how accessible it will be to non-fans. If you've never watched the show you will probably still be able to enjoy the movie,but you won't understand it as much as those who are familiar with the show will. The only reason I'm not giving this movie a perfect score is because of that, as this movie gave me absolutely everything I wanted from a Veronica Mars movie. Call me biased, but I completely adored Veronica Mars.
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7/10
Need for Speed Review
14 March 2014
Let's face it; Need For Speed isn't really a video game adaptation, or at least I never saw it as one. A Need For Speed movie could take any direction it wanted to, it just needs to feature fancy cars and some cool races. It's not comparable to the games, so I don't consider it a video game adaptation, as all it does is take the name of the series. This name obviously gives the movie the boost it needs to help it compete against the 'Fast & Furious' movies, so how does it compare with them? Although better than 'Fast & Furious' 1 – 4, Need For Speed suffers from some serious script problems, and is only elevated by its excellent car sequences and great cast.

Do you want to see a movie with some character development? Don't watch this movie. The characters in Need For Speed are pretty pathetic, they're not very interesting and are very bland, boring and generic. The only motive of the main character seems to be revenge, and we really learn nothing about him as a person and he only receives a small bit of back story at the very beginning of the film. Other characters are uninteresting as well, most of them only serve to either help the main character or stop him. The plot, although not terrible, is fairly disbelievable, and there was much more build up to the final race than what I expected.

Although the characters in Need For Speed suck, the actors clearly do the best they can with their material. This was Aaron Paul's first big movie after 'Breaking Bad', so this is his opportunity to prove he has movie star capabilities. He certainly does, as he absolutely dominates the screen, managing to make a bad character enjoyable to watch. Imogen Poots is also excellent, and so is Michael Keaton. Surprisingly, Scott Mescudi (also known as Kid Cudi) is actually pretty good in his first major role. Granted, his character isn't exactly complex at all, but he does a good job with his material. Dominic Cooper, Rami Malek and Ramon Rodriguez are all good as well.

Need For Speed's strongest suit is obviously its excellent driving sequences. They're thrilling and heart pounding, and the lack of CGI really does the film justice as it makes all of the stunts much more impressive. The film could probably be slightly shorter, but I still had fun throughout it all so it doesn't really matter. Scott Waugh does a great job with directing, the cinematography is outstanding as well. It's just a shame that the writing isn't as good as the action is. I would still recommend Need For Speed, but like many other releases this month it's just silly action with no real substance.
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9/10
Wes Anderson's Best?
14 March 2014
I would consider myself a Wes Anderson fan, however in saying that, I have only seen a handful of his movies. I was very excited for The Grand Budapest Hotel, because of its excellent cast, the fact it's directed by Wes Anderson and just by how unique it looked. After watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, I can confidently say that it's my new favourite Wes Anderson film, and probably his best.

As I was hoping, the story to The Grand Budapest Hotel is very original and unique, some may even say strange. And as the movie goes on, the story only gets wilder and wilder. The film is often very hilarious, with some seriously funny dark humour thrown in there as well. Characters are extremely well written, with the bond between Gustave and Zero being the backbone of the whole movie as it's so well written. The Grand Budapest Hotel features an odd narrative structure that works very well for the film, again adding to the uniqueness and freshness of it. I wasn't exactly sure how the story would play out, as I purposely avoided all promotional materiel so I would know as little as possible before watching. This was a great benefit to my viewing experience as I loved everything I saw, and felt as though nothing was spoiled from watching too many trailers.

I haven't been a huge fan of most of Ralph Fiennes' work since his phenomenal performance in 1993′s "Schindler's List", but this is easily his best performance since then. He proves he can do comedy just as well as he can do drama, providing a perfect balance of both. Newcomer Tony Revolori is excellent as well. I won't get into the whole supporting cast because there's so many who were all so great, but I was particularly impressed by Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law and Saoirse Ronan.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely a Wes Anderson film, down to its very core. If you know his style, then you known what to expect, as this movie is full of it. Thankfully though, it's not a case of style over substance, with a great story to accompany the gorgeous visuals. The colour palette is beautiful; it's nice to see lot's of bright colours when so many other films are so dark and dreary. The set design and costumes are perfect, and there's so much attention to detail within the sets. The cinematography is phenomenal, and I really like how the film was presented in different aspect ratios.

You really can't go wrong with this film. It's probably Wes Anderson's best film, it has gorgeous visuals, excellent acting and a wonderful story. If you're a fan of Wes Anderson's previous work, you cannot miss this, and even if you're not a fan you should go and see it anyway.
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10/10
The LEGO Movie Review
12 February 2014
LEGO was a big part of my childhood as it was for many others, but that wasn't the main reason I was interested in seeing this film. I wanted to see it because of the excellent cast and because of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who directed my second favourite movie of 2012, "21 Jump Street"). I had little to no expectations, which was perhaps for the best because I really enjoyed The LEGO Movie.

One of the most enjoyable things about The LEGO Movie is it's bizarreness and just how strange a lot of the plot is. It's very over the top, silly and often hilarious. Some of the jokes fall flat, and the humour becomes tiresome at a few points but the rest of the movie is so damn good that it's forgivable. Characters are very well developed, with more depth and emotion given to minifigures than I ever thought would be possible. This is a movie about LEGO that actually manages to illicit an emotional response. As unbelievable as this may sound, it's true, and the filmmakers deserve some serious applause for it. The film is very fast paced and rarely slows down, which may be a problem for some viewers but I didn't mind it. The movie manages to showcase lots of different branches of LEGO without feeling like an advert or promotion, which is a major problem that the movie could have easily fell subject to. There was a point where I became worried the film was turning into something not dissimilar to the Spongbob Squarepants movie (which I hate) but there was no need to worry, as the movie took this reason for worry and turned it into possibly the best thing about the movie.

The voice cast is excellent as well. Chris Pratt is continuously climbing the ladder into Hollywood stardom and The LEGO Movie will only help push him up further. He proves he has a great voice for animation and does an excellent job leading the movie. Supporting cast members including Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Charlie Day, Will Ferrel, Allison Brie and Nick Offerman are also great. Will Arnett deserves a special mention for delivering one of the most memorable Batman performances ever, and Jonah Hill does a better job as Green Lantern in a minor role than Ryan Reynolds did in a full movie.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of The LEGO Movie is it's animation style. A someone who has made a lot of LEGO stop motion videos in the past, I found some of the visuals in the movie absolutely mind blowing. I know that the movie is CGI mixed with stop motion, but there aren't any obvious CGI sections, it all blends together flawlessly. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller do an incredible job directing and deserve all of the praise they will inevitably receive, I wouldn't be surprised to see them receiving some huge projects in the near future. The soundtrack is excellent, and at it's core The LEGO Movie has a wonderful message, which I won't spoil but I will say this; while watching The LEGO Movie, all your worries disappear and you're taken back to your childhood, a time when everything was simpler, and everything was awesome. If that's not a good enough reason to see The LEGO Movie, then I don't know what is.
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9/10
Inside Llewyn Davis Review
17 January 2014
I was looking forward to Inside Llewyn Davis, but I can't really call myself a Coen Brothers fan having only seen a handful of their movies. After watching the trailers I was greatly intrigued by the visual style and story, and Inside Llewyn Davis not only gave me that but much more as well.

The movie is incredibly well written. I never know what would happen next and found myself incredibly invested in the characters. The movie is very gripping, which is a great feat considering we are just watching a week of a man's life and struggles. There is some amazing symbolism and hidden meanings, some of which I'm sure I will keep thinking about for days after watching.

The acting is phenomenal as well. Oscar Isaac is excellent in the title role, he carries the whole movie and does a brilliant job of doing so. There are a lot of supporting cast members as well, including Carey Mulligan and John Goodman who are both great. Justin Timberlake is in this movie as well, and he actually plays a different type of role to the usual college computer nerd he normally plays.

Of all the Coen brothers movies I've seen, Inside Llewyn Davis is by far the best directed. The cinematography is incredible and just as I was hoping for, has a very unique and beautiful visual style. Although the film is set in the sixties, it has a timeless feel to it so that it could fit into any decade. The pacing is impeccable, when the movie was over I was surprised at how quickly it seemed it had gone, I don't want it to end. I'm not normally a huge fan of the type of music that this movie showcases, however I thought that the soundtrack was excellent. Inside Llewyn Davis is a movie that I certainly plan on watching time and time again, and I strongly recommend that you watch it too.
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Her (2013)
9/10
The definitive love story of the digital age...
11 January 2014
Ever since I heard the concept of Her, I was greatly intrigued. Choosing to make a serious, non-comedic movie about a relationship between a man and an artificial intelligence is something that could have easily turned out terribly, what with the general idea of falling in love with a computer being looked down upon in society. In fact, there was one point during a sex scene that's so bizarre yet serious, where I stopped and thought; why am I not laughing at this? Because in the hands of any other director, Her could have turned out to be unbelievable and laughable at how ridiculous it is, but under the careful guidance of Spike Jonze, Her is a 100% believable, grounded tale of love that's one of the most unique ever made.

The screenplay for Her is absolutely stunning. The writing is incredible and probably the best original screenplay of 2013. The situation is fairly absurd yet it feels very believable, with excellently shaped characters and a vision of the future that looks as though it could actually happen within the next few years. The script has everything you would want from a movie like this; comedy, drama, romance and a small bit of sci-fi.

Joaquin Phoenix is phenomenal in the lead role, he suits the character perfectly and deserves some awards recognition for his performance. Scarlett Johansson is also outstanding, she pulls off such a memorable performance considering that we never actually see her in the movie, only hear her voice. Amy Adams is excellent, she gives a performance that's easily one of the best of her whole career, and the whole supporting cast, including Chris Pratt and Rooney Mara, are also great.

Spike Jonze does a brilliant job directing, capturing a lot of emotion on screen. The cinematography is incredible and the movie has a very nice bright colour scheme. The soundtrack is great and so are the props and sets, which are futuristic yet grounded. Her is a unique and moving love story that will stay with you for a long time after watching.
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10/10
Scorsese delivers yet another masterpiece.....
11 January 2014
The Wolf Of Wall Street was my most anticipated movie of 2013. I was very familiar with its story, having read Jordan Belfort's book multiple times, reading two drafts of the movie script and watching countless interviews with Belfort himself. Martin Scorsese is my favourite director (his movie 'Goodfellas' is my favourite movie of all time) and Leonardo DiCaprio is my favourite actor. Add to that a supporting cast with the likes of Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey, and you get the idea of how excited I was for this movie. I'm very happy to say that it did not disappoint in the slightest.

Jordan Belfort's book has been adapted for the screen by Terrence Winter, and he does an excellent job of doing so. Having read the book, I noticed that there are quite a few differences in plot, specifically with things that happen towards the end of the movie. There were also some scenes in the book that were very hilarious, and I really wish had been put into the movie but sadly have not. This is my only minor gripe with the movie, but the content that has been included is so damn good that it pretty much cancels that negative out. Unlike other Scorsese films, The Wolf Of Wall Street is incredibly funny, there are some real hard laugh out loud moments. Not all of the comedy is dialogue between characters either, there's one particular piece of physical comedy that's easily one of the funniest I've ever seen. However, the story of The Wolf Of Wall Street isn't all fun and games, and there are some very dark and serious moments. Scorsese manages to perfectly shape a film that can meld the silly and the serious together flawlessly, with the silly being incessantly funny and the serious being incredibly heart- pounding.

The acting is absolutely phenomenal, everyone is performing to the top of their game. Now, I certainly don't think that the Oscars are the end all be all of movie recognition, but if DiCaprio doesn't get a nomination this year, then it's just proof of the Academy's grudge against him. He delivers yet another career topping performance after last year's 'Django Unchained', he just consistently gets better and better, never to failing to completely blow me away. Matthew McConaughey has a remarkably short amount of screen time considering he's fourth billing in the credits, but for every minute he's on screen he's utterly captivating, delivering one of the most memorable performances of the film. Jonah Hill is incredibly funny, say what you will about him but the guy can really act and here he just proves that yet again. There are very few female characters in the movie, and Margot Robbie plays the main one. After hearing about her casting I was sceptical as if to whether she would be able to pull off the character, but she does it perfectly. Some may complain about how little character development the females have, but bear in mind the story is told by Belfort, and he probably didn't see the women in his life as much more than objects of desire so he won't show them as any more than that. Supporting cast members like Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner and especially Jon Bernthal all give outstanding performances as well.

Scorsese does a wonderful job directing, as he always does. Many people are saying that The Wolf Of Wall Street glamorises the criminal activities that Belfort gets up to, but if you think that then I seriously suggest you watch the movie again and take a long hard think about it. The film is three hours long, but Scorsese does the pacing so perfectly that it doesn't feel like it's that long, in fact I didn't want it to end. The cinematography and editing is great, and unlike many other Scorsese movies there is a very bright and vibrant colour scheme in contrast to the dark colours he very often uses, which was a very nice change. The soundtrack is flawless as Scorsese's soundtracks always are, and most things in this movie are flawless as well. It can easily be placed side by side with other Scorsese movies like 'Goodfellas', Casino', 'Taxi Driver' and 'The Departed'. Not only will The Wolf Of Wall Street go down as the best movie of 2013, it will be remembered as one of my favourites of all time.
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Lone Survivor (2013)
7/10
Gripping action with messy morals....
11 January 2014
Lone Survivor claims it's based on a true story, though to what extent I'm not sure. I doubt that these four Navy SEALS engaged in combat like you would in a CoD game, in that they only need to rest in cover for a few seconds after being shot then they're fine. Lone Survivor is also rather messy moralistically as well, as it doesn't seem to have a clear message on war. One of my favourite scenes in the movie was one where soldiers debate what to do with some Afghan kids they've captured. I thought this scene would serve as a basis for more complex developments on the morality of war, but alas no, as Lone Survivor feels like a movie that doesn't know what it's trying to say.

However, the movie is still well made. The action is very well directed and incredibly tense, there's one scene where the soldiers are falling down a mountain and I have no idea whatsoever how they filmed it, it was incredibly well done. The acting is excellent as well, with Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch all giving excellent performances, however I found myself not caring so much about anyone other than Mark Wahlberg because I knew what their fate would be due to the title of the movie and the posters which all have Mark Wahlberg front and centre, so it's not exactly hard to guess who will be the lone survivor.

I was glad the movie didn't show the belief that all Afghans are Taliban members that will try to kill you instantly. For a good portion of the movie I thought it was going down this road but was glad to see that towards the end it turned around. However, message wise that's the one of the only things I thought was done well. Is it worth watching? I would still say so because it's enjoyable enough, but don't expect a complex social commentary on war.
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8/10
The Spectacular Now review...
11 January 2014
I really like coming of age films. There's something with them that clicks with me, in fact a little coming of age movie known as The Way Way Back is currently my favourite film of the year. The Spectacular Now is a coming of age story, but in a different vein to many others. I can't quite describe it, but it's so unique, very real yet feels so different to other movies of it's genre. Does The Spectacular Now beat The Way Way Back? No, but I didn't expect it too as I could relate to The Way Way Back in countless ways, and while I don't necessarily relate to the characters of The Spectacular Now, I can relate to their morals and messages, which help mould The Spectacular Now into the beautiful piece of cinema that it is.

The Spectacular Now is perfectly written. Everything feels natural and flows together incredibly well. Characters are written and executed outstandingly, these are very complex characters that the actors pull off brilliantly. Miles Teller is phenomenal in the lead role, I can image that his character would be very challenging to portray but he does it excellently. Shailene Woodely is equally incredible, her and Teller steal the show. All of the supporting cast is excellent is well, including Kyle Chandler, Bob Odenkirk and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Also, I just wanted to say how damn good Brie Larson is. She steals every scene she's in, not just in this movie but in many others. I'm really looking forward to seeing her in Short Term 12, so I recommend you watch some of her movies as she's easily one of the best actresses currently in the business.

James Pondsolt does a wonderful job directing. There's some beautiful cinematography, a good soundtrack and his direction fits everything together perfectly. I do have some minor niggles with the film, such as the main character's alcohol subplot. At times this would make me really dislike the character, which may have been intentional but I would rather have not had it happen. The biggest problem I have with the movie though is that I wanted to see more. The Spectacular Now is only 90 minutes long, and although I think it ended at the most absolutely perfect point it could have, I wish there could have been more before it. The characters are so compelling and their relationships so engaging that it seems like a waste to not use as much of it as you could have. But other than that, The Spectacular Now is an excellent film that I implore you watch.
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Don Jon (2013)
9/10
An excellent social commentary on today's relationships....
11 January 2014
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has already proved he's one of the most talented actors in Hollywood right now. With Don Jon, he's setting out to prove he's just as good at writing and directing, with this being his directorial debut. By choosing to make a movie about porn addiction, he picked a pretty risky subject to centre his first film on but he pulls it off perfectly, giving us a vision of what will hopefully be an outstanding directorial career for JGL.

Don Jon features an incredibly original story written by JGL, that has a lot more to it than is alluded to in the trailers. It's more than your average rom-com; it's intelligently written and has some great social commentary on relationships in today's society. The characters are extremely well developed, and a lot of them took unexpected turns. In fact, the whole last third of the movie took a very unexpected turn, because although the trailers show a lot of the major events of the first part of the movie, none of this last third is shown so it completely comes up out of nowhere. I'm sure there are many people who won't like this surprise but I thought it was great, and something that many movies today wouldn't dare to do. Even though the trailers show a lot, it still feels fresh and unique whilst watching, which is really a testament to JGL's great skill. If I had to pick a negative, it would be that the film seems to end very abruptly. I was really enjoying it, wondering where it would go next but then it was suddenly over. I don't think it was necessarily a bad place to end, it was just very unexpected.

The acting is outstanding, it's a shame that this years Oscar race is already so crowded because there are some award-worthy performances here that probably won't get recognition. JGL hits it out of the park as he always does, never failing to impress. I was very surprised by Scarlett Johansson, in the past I've always thought she was just good, but in Don Jon she's excellent. Another noteworthy mention is Brie Larson, who has about three lines of dialogue in the whole film but still impressed me, she does a great job just using facial expressions and is often very funny.

I've already said how JGL does an excellent job writing and acting, but that would mean nothing if he wasn't able to get the directing right. That's not the case though, as he does a phenomenal job directing. The soundtrack is great, the editing is incredibly sharp and there's some great cinematography. If JGL continues to direct like this (and let's hope he does) then we're in for a treat.
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10/10
The Best Slavery Movie of All Time?
8 January 2014
Steve McQueen's last movie,'Shame', was one of the best films of 2011. It was very hard-hitting and difficult to watch at times, serving as a brilliant depiction of how sex can affect and manipulate relationships and lifestyles. When it was announced McQueen was making a movie about slavery, I prepared myself for it to be much the same but about slavery instead of sex. It turns out I wasn't prepared, as 12 Years A Slave is one of the most emotionally devastating movies I've ever seen.

I at first thought that I perhaps wouldn't be as engaged with 12 Years because I knew the outcome, after all it's not very hard to work out, just look at the title and you'll get a good idea. It turns out I was wrong, as when watching 12 Years I couldn't take my eyes off of the screen. Even when there are disgusting acts being shown that are very difficult to watch, I kept looking because there's so much tension. As usual McQueen doesn't use short, snappy constant cuts, he includes lots of long shots which greatly add to the tension of the movie.

The acting is phenomenal. Chiwetel Ejiofor is incredible as Solomon Northup, bringing a level of depth and emotion to the character that few actors could. I wouldn't be surprised if Ejiofor took a leading actor Oscar, and I think Michael Fassbender stands a good chance of getting a supporting actor win. He's outstanding in his role as a slaver, making the character completely despicable and also showing the severe mental and psychological problems that this person clearly had. The supporting cast all do excellent jobs as well, including Lupita Nyong'o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti and Brad Pitt.

12 Years features a beautiful score from Hans Zimmer, and Steve McQueen does a perfect job directing. There have been lots of films about slavery recently, but none are as jarring and harrowing as 12 Years. This is the first time in any slave movie I've ever felt true disgust towards slave owners and traders. Perhaps that's because I know 12 Years is based on a true story, so while other movies show fictional slavers, the ones in this movie were real. McQueen doesn't stray from showing the agony and suffering these people were put through, and I think that's for the better. There's no point in showing muted violence to try and cover up the past, let us see the true horrors we inflicted upon ourselves many years ago so it may never happen again. It's reasons like this that make 12 Years A Slave such an important movie; it's the 'Schindlers List' of slavery movies and it's essential you watch it as it will live on for decades to come.
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Short Term 12 (2013)
10/10
Short Term 12 Review
8 January 2014
Being a huge fan of Brie Larson, I was incredibly excited for Short Term 12. I have to say, not only did it meet my expectations but it completely surpassed them.

Short Term 12 is based on the 2008 short of the same name, which I have not seen. I knew roughly what to expect after watching the trailer, but I had the worry that perhaps the trailer showed too much of the movie and I wouldn't be as engaged as I possibly could. I needn't have worried at all, Short Term 12 is captivating and excellently written. Even with the short 96 minute run time, we get HUGE amounts of character development, more than many 150 minute movies have. The character building is so good that you feel as though you know these characters and enjoy hanging out with them.

These complex characters would be nothing without good actors to play them, but thankfully the cast of Short Term 12 isn't just good, it's outstanding. There are some incredible supporting roles from very young actors like Keith Stanfield and Katylin Dever, both of whom's story lines are very genuine and well written. In the more major roles we have Rami Malek and John Gallagher Jr, who are both excellent in their roles, But of course, the star of the show is the incredible Brie Larson. Short Term 12 doesn't seem to be receiving much awards attention which is a shame, as Brie Larson deserves so much more recognition and every leading actress award there is. She delivers a stunning performance cementing her as one of the best actresses in the business, she gives a performance that's easily one of, if not the, best of 2013.

Destin Cretton directs Short Term 12 and does a brilliant job of doing so. The cinematography is beautiful and there is so much raw emotion that the movie doesn't need to rely on sad music to make you feel emotional, it manages to do it with the incredible acting, writing and directing. Short Term 12 is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, it will make you feel sad, happy, depressed and uplifted. It's a true tour de force of cinema, and is my favourite movie of 2013.
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You're Next (2011)
9/10
You're Next Review
8 January 2014
You're Next is the second major house invasion movie of 2013, after 'The Purge'. Now, 'The Purge' is an awful, awful, truly horrendous movie, so bad in fact that it's on my worst movies of 2013 list. Not only is You're Next a much better movie than 'The Purge', it's by far the best horror movie of the year.

Certain parallels can be drawn between You're Next and 2012′s 'The Cabin In The Woods'. Both movies start off as fairly generic horror movies specific to the type of movie they are; in the case of You're Next it's a home invasion movie. But they soon turn into something much different and entirely more original than we were initially lead to believe. Even the generic stuff in You're Next is done excellently and to a much higher quality than most other movies do it. The script is very unique and original, with good characters and a satisfying twist at the end.

The acting is good as well. Seeing as there are a lot of characters in a relatively short movie, not all of them get much screen time. Sharni Vinson plays Erin, the character who we spend the most time with and she is excellent in the role. A movie like this doesn't give much opportunity to showcase acting talent but all of the characters are good in their roles.

I didn't find You're Next to be scary at all, however I rarely find horror movies to be scary. In fact, I found You're Next to be a hell of a lot funnier that I expected it to be, I laughed quite hard on a few occasions. Adam Wingard does an excellent job directing, the cinematography is great and there are some really nice shots and cuts. The movie is very unpredictable, I never knew where the plot was headed and the soundtrack is also excellent. I strongly recommend you watch You're Next, it's incredibly entertaining and I wouldn't be surprised to see it become a cult classic in the future.
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6/10
The Desolation Of Smaug Review
8 January 2014
Being someone who didn't like 'An Unexpected Journey', I wasn't looking forward to The Desolation Of Smaug at all. In fact, I didn't just not like 'An Unexpected Journey', I hated it. I think it's an awful movie and easily the most disappointing movie of 2012. The decision to split The Hobbit story into three movies is completely stupid and doesn't work at all. After seeing Desolation, I still think that decision is stupid, as the movie feels more like an action-fantasy epic that's inspired by The Hobbit rather than a straight up adaptation of the book itself.

Desolation is a much better movie than it's 'An Unexpected Journey', but that's not saying much. I enjoyed Desolation for the most part, but I still don't think it's a particularly great movie, albeit far better than it's terrible predecessor. I was always a bigger fan of The Hobbit book than The Lord Of The Rings ones, and it's disappointing that it's not getting the adaptation it deserves.

One element of the book that was done justice in this adaptation is Smaug. I thoroughly enjoyed all of his scenes and they were probably the most entertaining in the movie. However, I didn't think the CGI in this movie was particularly good. It seemed to be a large step down from the Middle-Earth movies that came before it. Also, I want to comment on a particular shot during the barrel scene (which, by the way, was completely unnecessary and could have been left out) where the perspective switched to first person, and this shot is so awful it looks as though it were filmed with a GoPro camera. It was very ugly, off-putting and completely took me out of the experience.

The main problem Desolation suffers from is the same biggest problem that it's predecessor had: it's too damn long. There could easily have been at least half an hour cut out, but it's not. Peter Jackson includes countless scenes that serve no use so he gets his movie as close to three hours as possible, because after all; Jackson is SUCH a master at fantasy storytelling that anything short of 150 minutes is criminal, no? Whereas a long running time was well suited to The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, it's not a good fit to The Hobbit movies at all. However, I still have hope for the next installment, 'There And Back Again'. It should be more like the LOTR movies what with the (hopefully) epic Battle Of The Five Armies. And maybe Peter Jackson will fill the inevitable 160-180 minute run time with things that are actually essential to the plot for once.
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6/10
American Hustle Review
8 January 2014
American Hustle is a very messy movie. It feels like the type of movie that a teenager and his friends would get together to make, to try and pay homage to the likes of Scorsese. The problem here is that American Hustle is a movie from David O'Russell, a director whose past movies I enjoyed a lot, with the likes of 'The Fighter', 'Silver Linings Playbook' and 'Three Kings'. David O'Russell shouldn't have to look to Scorsese for inspiration, because he comes up with good original ideas of his own. American Hustle feels a lot like a rip of Goodfellas. Things such as structure, narration, character arcs; all very reminiscent of Goodfellas. And in my opinion, Goodfellas is the greatest movie of all time, so if you're gonna pay homage to it, you're gonna have to do it right. David O'Russell doesn't do it right, producing a complete mess that, although not a bad film, could have been so much more.

The screenplay for American Hustle is garbage. It's really awful, and I sincerely hope that it doesn't receive a nomination at the Oscars because it's pretty bad. The story is very convoluted, has no satisfying conclusion and the characters are fairly messy and disbelievable. One thing the movie gets right is it's humour, but even so, a lot of that feels improvised and probably isn't even in the screenplay.

Acting is okay, but none of these actors are really performing to the best of their ability. Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper feel like the only ones who really lose themselves in their roles, and whilst Christian Bale is good he's hardly at the quality he was at in the likes of 'American Psycho'. Jennifer Lawrence delivers what's probably her worst performance to date, she has a great screen presence but only because she overacts so much that it's laughable. Louis C.K is really great, his scenes with Bradley Cooper were my favorites in the movie, and Jeremy Renner does a good job as well.

Things like costume design and and set design are great, but that's all aesthetic stuff. American Hustle has the style but not the substance, which is where it really fails. There's no other way around it; American Hustle is a huge disappointment. You could go and see this movie which, although is not bad, is basically a fake Scorsese movie, or you could go and see the real Scorsese with 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'. I think you know what the wiser option is.
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