Reviews of this monthâ€™s film....
On DVD this month...
A list of DVD releases for this September
In cinema next month...
A list of films set to be released in October
Charlie Derry @charliederry http://www.charliederry.com email@example.com
Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD Editor of Movie Marker http://moviemarker.co.uk/
Ben Harris @benh4rris http://mrreviewblog.blogspot.co.uk/
What a month of films this month! A couple of these have certainly changed my Top Films of 2012 list around.
Reviews of this monthâ€™s film...
Based on a true story and the 2008 novel The Wettest County in the World, Lawless is set in Franklin County, Virginia, during the Prohibition era, where three brothers, Jack (Shia LaBeouf), Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke), along with their friend Cricket (Dane DeHaan), run a successful moonshine business. They are visited by Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce), a sinister detective, who demands a cut of their profits. Threats are made and soon a war is waged between the brothers and Rakes. Lawless is finely crafted, a strong visual style from John Hillcoat can’t go unnoticed and the actors are all on fine form, but a stale opening manages to completely disengage your attention, it’s only when Guy Pearce appears on the scene that the narrative drive kicks in and Lawless picks up momentum.
However, there are even more bumps along the way. Underdeveloped romances formulate a sluggish pace, it’s mediocre approach turns out to be a total misfire. LaBeouf’s love interest Mia Wasikowska is extremely underused, but at least Jessica Chastain (Hardy’s significant other) has a decent character to grasp onto. Once these distractions step aside, the blood spill and increasing tension is enough to draw you back in. Also, it helps that Hardy and LaBeouf make a powerful duo. Hardy’s continues with his macho persona and LaBeouf shows he’s capable of delivering a quality performance. And all that can be said about Guy Pearce is that he is one evil son of a bitch. Lawless may look good from the outside but once you start to peel away the layers it’s far from perfect.
Written by Ben Harris @benh4rris Release Date:
7th September 2012
Director: John Hillcoat
Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Gary Oldman, and Guy Pearce
28th September 2012
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt
Just what would you do if you were faced with the prospect of having to kill ‘your future self’? Not the most pleasant of dilemmas, but most certainly a intriguing and playful concept for a cinematic piece. Cue director Rian Johnson collaborating once again with Brick star and ‘man of the moment’ Joseph Gordon Levitt, as they springboard us into the near future for sci-fi actioner Looper. It is the year 2044. Levitt plays Joe, who has grown tiresome of his day job as a ‘looper’. Armed with a Blunderbus, his sole objective is to assassinate hooded victims who’ve been sent to their death 30 years from the future once their contract expires. With time travel not yet invented and deemed illegal once an option, an organised crime ring led by Jeff Daniel’s Abe reap the benefits. Eager to ‘close his own loop’ and receive a hefty payoff, Joe psyches himself up to carry out the hit of his future self. With matters complicated by the more generously aged version of Joe (played by Bruce Willis) going on the run after escaping from his own youthful clutches, it soon becomes a game of cat and mouse between the two. Levitt’s Joe eager to finish the
job and retain the luxuries that come with such a lifestyle, whilst Willis’ Joe attempts a desperate bid to alter his tragic past which has brought great strain to his psyche. The target? A mysterious figure called The Rainmaker.. With such intricacies in it’s narrative structure, Looper could have easily got bogged down in relentless exposition. So it’s credit to Johnson that he keeps proceedings plugging away at the efficient rate he achieves. Aesthetically, the director has crafted a thoroughly believable world which easily bears a few striking resemblances to today’s society. The morally corrupt living the high life... whilst the everyman is at the mercy of a poor economy sound familiar? His preference to overflow with smarts instead of blockbuster level bombast pays dividends, with the inspired use of narration and gripping bouts of verbal sparring (in particular a lengthy cafe scene involving Willis/Levitt) hitting the mark. Not showing complete disregard to the more ‘thrilling’ side of science fiction, Looper delivers its fair share of inventive action sequences. Incorporating elements such as futuristic hover bikes and the occasional dose of telekinesis, their lasting impact gradually grows in stature, none
more so than its exhilarating farmland finale. At first glance, Levitt eventually morphing into Willis would seem ludicrous. With top notch prosthetics applied he somehow pull its off with another terrific and sympathetic turn, culminating in a remarkable year (TDKR to name one) for the actor. Willis’ fractured version of Joe allows him to do what he does best, command the screen by being a total bad-ass. Complete with a convincing Southern accent, Emily Blunt’s feisty female Sara provides the emotional layer, as herself and her ‘son’ Cid (Pierce Cagnon) are soon immersed into their plot. There may be obvious nods to bygone genre entries (The Matrix/Inception) and the film’s minimalist final moments are likely to polarise, as audiences possibly crave a more emphatic resolution. However, Looper is an outstanding slice of slick science fiction that mainstream Hollywood doesn’t commit to creating enough of.
Written by Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD
Prem ium Rush 8
Suffering from cancer and being hounded by Seth Rogen planting ideas into other people’s minds with Leonardo Dicaprio, and being bogged down with the responsibility of fighting off the scum of Gotham City - Joseph Gordon Levitt has certainly had the proverbial shackles placed upon him judging by his recent track record. So it’s only fitting that his latest film sees him ‘cutting loose’ in a metaphorical and quite literal sense. Directed by David Koepp, Premium Rush revolves around adrenaline junkie Wilee (Levitt). Sickened by the idea of being confined to a smart suit at such a young age, he plays his trade by being a bicycle messenger in the always moving NYC. If he’s not pursuing his ideal squeeze Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), he’s risking life and limb delivering packages on a regular basis. Unfortunately for Wilee, one urgent delivery of a package left in his ‘capable’ hands provides the setup for a wild dash around the city. The antagonist in such a situation? Michael Shannon’s corrupt cop Bobby Monday, who is eager to have the contents of such a package in his possession. In similar fashion to the likes of the Fast and Furious franchise, Premium Rush travels light with its real time narrative ‘baggage’ and relies heavily on its vehicular led choreography. In less capable hands, it could
easily have been a tedious 90 minute slog. However, Koepp proves a dab hand in this regard, with the nifty visual touches of sat nav maps and flash forwards adding a welcome dose of invention to the frenetic chases. Whilst admirable of Koepp to not show complete disregard for the plot and fill in the blanks via flashbacks, the reveal itself is too lukewarm to truly engage. As a result, the film struggles to keep up the pace in its latter stages as the logic holes rear their unattractive heads with the payoff somewhat underwhelming. However, the game performances make up for the deficiencies elsewhere. Levitt once again proves to be a charismatic and ultimately likeable lead protagonist, whilst Shannon’s villainous albeit OTT performance as Monday will provide sufficient hope to comic book fans anticipating his turn in Zach Snyder’s Man Of Steel next year. Smother films of such a nature with seriousness... the fun factor diminishes. Thankfully, Premium Rush never applies the stabilisers in an attempt to be ‘deep’ and ‘insightful’. Occasionally sloppy but consistently entertaining, Premium Rush is a fast paced slice of Hollywood escapism that gets the blood pumping but leaves your brain in first gear.
14th September 2012
Director: David Koepp
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, and Dania Ramirez
Written by Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD
House At T Written by Ben Harris @benh4rris
21st September 2012
Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, and Max Thieriot
The End Of The Street A young, popular and talented actress can’t go without a second-rate horror/thriller on their résumé; it’s got to happen at some point in their career. Unfortunately for Jennifer Lawrence, that time is now. Following on from her success in the highly triumphant The Hunger Games, Lawrence stars as Elissa, a teenage girl who moves into a new house with her mother (Elisabeth Shue). They find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. Elissa soon finds herself befriending the surviving son, Ryan (Max Thieriot), who still lives in the house, but Elissa’s curiosity eventually
leads her to dangerous territory and she learns there’s more to the story than it seems. House at the End of the Street (HATES) doesn’t challenge itself in any way, it tries to be ambitious with it’s plot twists but they are far from original. Instead we are left with a story riddled with clichés and a conclusion that is confusing and far-fetched. A majority of HATES centres on a forbidden friendship, building up false judgment of specific characters. The film is set on misleading its audience until the third act, where intended scares fail to fulfil their purpose and silly revolutions are made. It’s far from the horror it’s
made out to be, the tameness of the story and messy direction wastes the talent of it’s cast. Lawrence is a likeable presence, her good-natured character is plus, and Shue can do no wrong as Lawrence’s mother, although their backstory and growing friction is slightly underdeveloped. And Thieriot has just the right amount of vulnerability and mysteriousness needed for such a confused character. This must be a misjudgment on Lawrence’s behalf, she deserves better. HATES is overly generic, uneventful and just plain dull.
Now Is Good After penning the script for this year’s surprise British hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which was packed to the brim with national treasures, it’s perhaps inevitable that Ol Parker turns back to perfecting the art of directing. Retitled for the cinematic massive, he tackles here a sensitive subject matter using Jenny Downham’s acclaimed novel Before I Die as inspiration. Dakota Fanning graces UK shores, complete with a convincing accent as she undertakes the role of Tessa. Average 17 year olds should have the world at their feet. Unfortunately for her, she’s coming to terms with being diagnosed with terminal leukaemia. Opting against further treatment to the dismay of her concerned and overprotective dad (Paddy Considine) and distant mother (Olivia Williams), she refuses to play the stereotypical ‘sick victim’ and aims to live life to the full. Privately assembling a bucket list together, her partner in crime Zoey (Kaya Scodelario) offers assistance in completing such a colourful range of wishes. What Tessa certainly doesn’t bargain for, is falling head over heels for the youthful guy living next door. Played by War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine, Adam proves to be the ideal support as their love blossoms despite the
difficult scenario. Refusing to associate itself with the Hollywood like schmaltz that is normally sprinkled on such stories, Now Is Good is all the more involving for it. Whilst initially unsure in its footing early on, director Parker opts for melancholia with an uplift and overall succeeds. The potentially edgy ’bucket list’ premise is dialled down a touch to compensate for its 12A rating, but is still able to provide some genuinely uplifting moments to balance out the inevitable emotional wallop. Keeping it refreshingly low-key, Fanning once again impresses with a nuanced performance and her charming albeit short lived romance with eye candy Irvine thoroughly engages. Although the younger contingent of the cast are terrific, Paddy Considine’s star shines brightest here. Perfectly encapsulating the fears and stresses of losing his beloved daughter, he proves once again why he’s one of Britain’s most respected actors. Sure, it’s a few visual flourishes away from being better suited as a BBC feature length drama than the big screen and certain plot lines are rather underdeveloped. But such imperfections aside, Now Is Good is a well acted film that’s bound to push your emotional buttons.
Written by Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD
19th September 2012
Director: Ol Parker
Dakota Fanning, Kaya Scodelario, Jeremy Irvine, and Olivia Williams
Anna Karenina Adapted from the 1877 novel of the same name, Anna Karenina is set in late-19thcentury Russia and tells the story of a love affair between Karenina (Keira Knightley), a high-society aristocrat, and Count Vronsky (Aaron TaylorJohnson). The affair may bring her happiness, romantically, but Karenina actions also carry consequences, changing the life she once knew. Anna Karenina marks the third collaboration between Knightley and director Joe Wright, and this beautiful vision is their most ambitious
yet. Set as a stage production, this retelling borders on manic at times but you soon become in awe of its lavish sets and classy costumes. It’s a smart move from Wright; his imagination overpowers a far too familiar story, without such bold direction Anna Karenina would have ended up your standard period piece. Whilst the affair takes centre stage, secondary story lines of adultery and love come from the supporting cast. At certain points these become far more interesting and convincing,
Written by Ben Harris @benh4rris
even though Keira Knightley’s Anna is an engaging watch. Knightley continues to impress in dramatic roles but her love interest Aaron TaylorJohnson is rather forgettable. It’s Jude Law who makes an impression alongside the charming additions of Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Macdonald and Matthew Macfadyen. The complex production is a refreshing choice, it certainly succeeds in standing out, but it’s a pity the screenplay doesn’t have the same impact.
7th September 2012
Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson
Metaphorically speaking, Harvey Weinstein sure knows which ‘horse’ to put his money on. It was only February of this year we bared witness to his masterful ability to create a sleeper hit. The awards season success of silent sensation The Artist beating the competition black and white solidified his status. Clearly on good terms with various inhabitants of France, he’s thrown his backing behind this unlikely true story. Already a worldwide hit and smashing box office record on home turf to pieces, can Untouchable justify the hype? Untouchable depicts the forming of a ‘chalk and cheese’ friendship. With the dark cloud of unemployment hanging over him and the fragility of his family life, Driss has succumbed to underhanded criminality to get by. Eager for a signature in order to claim benefits, he casually heads along to an interview that only ends
up accentuating the notion of ‘small fish in a big pond’. Surrounded by pompous rivals, he applies to be a carer for wealthy quadriplegic Phillipe played by Francois Cluzet. Declaring more of an interest in Phillipe’s auburn haired assistant Magalie (Audrey Fleurot) than the position, the physically challenged millionaire sees through Driss’ playful demeanor and makes the left field decision of providing him with a trial month. Before long, the odd couple develop a remarkable bond as they mischievously banter about their tastes of music, the opposite sex whilst shrouded in cigarette smoke. More importantly for both their emotional security, they inject a reality check into each other’s lives instead of the token sympathy they’re drowned in by their nearest and dearest. The central performances from Omar Sy and Cluzet are nothing short of sensational.
With the simplistic story slicing through the sentimentality with precision, they both escape from the confines of their archetypal stereotypes. Sy’s Driss provides the classic ’rags to riches’ element and undeniable charisma. Cluzet’s heartbreaking restraint as Phillipe never feels manipulative or contrived as he battles to seek a life that subverts expectations. Combine the two plights together and they prove near irresistible not to root for. Admittedly, the film’s comic potshots are undoubtedly broad. Driss’ colourful dancing to 1970′s disco classics (Earth Wind And Fire alert!), various references to popular/much revered figures (Obama... Bieber!?) and whilst they are rooted in cliche, the execution never drops any lower than the delightfully funny mark. Cynics have claimed there’s a politically incorrect undercurrent to the film, with its black man serving a rich white guy premise implying
it’s filmmakers are stuck in the dark ages. Missing the point, Untouchable never threatens to be a film firmly based on racial or cultural prejudices. Heartwarming without too much manufactured schmaltz; brimming with optimism and zest for life without the heavy handed preaching Untouchable is a bonafide charmer/weeper that deserves to transcend the foreign language barrier. Merci to the French!
21st September 2012
Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano
François Cluzet, Omar Sy, and Anne Le Ny
Written by Darryl Griffiths @LegallyBOD
On DVD this month...
September DVD Releases: The Hunger Games Date: 3rd September Adapted from Suzanne Collinsâ€™ novels, The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future where 24 young representatives are forced to compete in a televised game where they must to fight to the death until only one remains.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Date: 17th September
Avengers Assemble Date: 17th September
British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless begins to charm in unexpected ways.
Uniting Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Avengers are brought together.
Jeff, Who Lives At Home Date: 17th September From Jay and Mark Duplass, the film looks at the complicated relationship between two brothers, played by Jason Segel and Ed Helms.
American Pie: Reunion Date: 10th September The fourth instalment in the American Pie franchise has been released this week, following the original cast from the class of 1999 who return to East Great Falls for their high school reunion.
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists Date: 10th September Based on Gideon Defoeâ€™s The Pirates! novels, the film follows The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) who is on an adventure to beat his rivals in the Pirate of the Year Award.
In cinemas next month...
October’s Cinema: The Perks of Being a Wallflower Date: 3rd October Following Logan Lerman in the lead role, the film follows his character as an introverted high school freshman who finds acceptance in two senior students, played by Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.
On the Road Date: 12th October
Skyfall Date: 26th October
An adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s highly acclaimed novel, the story is largely autobiographical and is based on the road trips Kerouac took with his friends, Neal Cassady, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg.
The twenty-third James Bond film altogether, Skyfall sees the return of Daniel Craig as Bond, as he must track down and destroy the threat that has attacked MI6, no matter how personal the cost, as his loyalty to M is tested. Hit and Run Date: 12th October Originally titled Outrun, the film follows a former getaway driver Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) who jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity in order to help his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) get to Los Angeles.
Liberal Arts Date: 5th October
Ruby Sparks Date: 12th October
Thirty-something Jesse (Josh Radnor) who returns home for his father’s retirement party and falls for college student Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen).
A novelist struggling with writer’s block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence, starring Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan.