Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Peanuts Movie

Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

BBFC Certificate: U

'The Peanuts Movie' is CG animated film based on the classic Charles M. Schulz comic strip 'Peanuts'. The film is directed by Steve Martino.

Using a mix of 2D and 3D animation 'The Peanuts Movie' is film targeted for fans of who grew up with the comic strips and television specials and is also geared towards the new generation of children. This film truly feels original to the source material, but also has the variety of the new technology not only to keep the younger viewers invested, but to also further emphasis the cinematic value of this type of animation. The film uses a very basic story, and for the most part it is well executed. The comedic timing was golden, the film successfully shifts from each tone without becoming too forced and over bearing. The film has a few flaws, the smplicaty of the story can at times feel repetitive for older audiences, and the film does often shy away from being striking. However, the peanuts movie is a charming and entertaining family film, that does not feature a single fart joke, and that's good enough for me.

Rating: 7/10

Friday, 18 December 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is the latest entry into the sci-fi saga 'Star Wars'. The film features a large assemble cast and is directed by JJ Abrams.

The latest film in the 'Star Wars' franchise is likely to please most audiences. With references to the original trilogy without being nostalgic and having too much fan service to drown the narrative. Seasoned director JJ Abrams gives us a marvelous looking movie, his direction perfectly fits the materiel. The special effects in this film are incredible, a perfect blend of visual and practical effects, which is refreshing for a major blockbuster film. John Williams awe-inspiring score is absolutely beautiful, hearing the score brings the whole audience back to childhood.

 I myself have never been a huge Star Wars fan, I haven't been invested enough in the characters in previous installments to be in love with the franchise, however after watching The Force Awakens things started to click for me why people love this franchise, and after this film I for one like this franchise a whole lot more. The villain in this film is one of the better ones in the franchise, not quite Darth Vader, but certainly interesting enough to keep you invested into the story.  The two main protagonists are likable however it's Harrison Ford who steals the show. The film has some flaws though, for example; the film is quite tongue and cheek with it's humor, which does work for the majority, but can sometimes lead to a fault. There is also a romance in the film which feels a bit forced and rushed together.

Overall 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is a return to form for the long living franchise, The film may not be a masterpiece, or a fan-boy's ultimate dream, but it is sure to entertain young and old alike and does more than enough to serve it's purpose. Good job Mr Abrams.

Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Carol

Carol

BBFC: Certificate: 15

'Carol' is a period romantic drama film starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. The film is directed by Todd Haynes.

'Carol' might not the first film you would think to watch during this festive season, but Edward Lachman's cinematography gives the most warm and nostalgic feeling for the audience, which does a great job of grabbing the audience into the curious romance of the two leads. Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara have a wonderful chemistry; you could believe every moment of their relationship. Both of the leads play their roles down, which is a relief because the trailers for the film have an unquestionable "Oscar touch" to them. Todd Hanyes prominent direction lifts the story from some genre pitfalls.

However, the surface is not the hole layer. 'carol' is for the most part a two act film, the first act is the romance, the second act is the split up. While 'Carol' is not as cliche to leave it there, the film doesn't do enough to fully separate itself from other films, the second act of the film felt quite cluttered and anti-climatic.

Rating: 6/10 

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Black Mass

Black Mass

BBFC Certificate: 15

'Black Mass' is a crime drama film which is based of the FBI and the south Boston Irish mafia's alliance. The film stars Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton and Benedict Cumberbatch and is directed by Scott Cooper.

'Black Mass' may not be the first or most original gangster film, but it is entertaining and insightful enough to be recommendable to fans of the gangster genre. Johnny Depp brings a return to form with a intense and terrific performance as James "whitey" Bulger. The supporting cast give good performances, however the story tries to balance plates too hard between the characters and the story and eventually both of the story and the characters sometimes seem to overshadow each other. Scott Cooper's direction is a breath of fresh air. Instead of over stylish shots and flashy editing, he directs his film like a play which gives a further opening for the drama to unfold, which helps separate the film from the genre uniform.

Overall 'Black Mass' is an entertaining and well acted gangster film. The film may seem a bit too familiar at times, but thanks to Johnny Depp's performance and Scott Cooper's directing it doesn't become a bland, run-of-the-mill movie.

Rating: 8/10


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'Bridge Of Spies' is a historical drama film starring Tom Hanks and directed by Steven Spielberg.

Everybody's favorite actor and director are back with this engaging drama. It's very pleasing when you watch a film that you have high expectations for and it hits the mark. Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance both give brilliant performances; the chemistry between the two is very charming to watch. Steven Spielberg shows us all how it's done with a magnificent direction. Without any doubt he will be nominated for best director at the award ceremonies and deservedly so. Matt chairman and the Coen brothers have written an excellent script filled with wit and character. Thomas Newman's exceptional score gives plenty of warmth to the story.

The only very minor problem I have with the film is that I think the film's ending slightly outstays it's welcome and a minor nitpick I have is that the film is not very re-watchable,

Rating: 9/10

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2' is the final installment to the popular Hunger Games franchise. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence and is directed by Francis Lawrence.

Sombre is the word I would use to describe 'The Hunger Games' and this final film is as dark and sombre as ever. Francis Lawrance is back for a third time to direct, and his visuals do often fit and go beyond the source material without being too flashy. Jennifer Lawrence naturally shines as the lead, but no surprise there. The supporting cast are serviceable despite a constant battle for screen time. The films pacing is a mixed bag. The action and thriller elements of the film felt genuinely tense and fairly woeful. However the scenes in-between felt sluggish, especially the first hour of the film. Unfortunately you do feel the length of the film, this maybe due to the film being split into two parts. Overall the conclusion to this franchise will not "wow", but will entertain it's many fans and will be likely satisfy the critics and the general audiences alike.

Rating: 6/10

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

BBFC Certificate: 15

'Steve Jobs' is a biographical drama film based on the life of apple founder Steve Jobs. The film stars Michael Fassbender in the lead role. The film is directed by Danny Boyle.

After the somewhat laughable 'Jobs' staring Ashton Kutcher It it's with a sigh of relief that someone in Hollywood got it right with the latest adaptation of the businessman's life. This time Danny Boyle takes the directors chair, with a subtle yet suitable direction and Arron Sorkin has been wisely chosen as screenwriter, most likely because of his work on 2010's 'The Social Network', Sorkin has a high reputation and his latest screenplay doesn't disappoint, with it's quick whips and complex drama, although the screenplay may not be as razer sharp as the social network, it's still praiseworthy. Micheal Fassbender, of course is great in the lead role, which will be another performance to his already impressive cannon of work. The supporting cast all turn in impressive performances which help stimulate the story further.

Despite the strong qualities of Steve Jobs I found the film to be a little flawed here and there. The second act of the film was feeling a little sluggish because of the repetitive nature of the story and the ending of the film felt too emotionally manipulative and quite far fetched.

Rating; 7/10

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Spectre

Spectre

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'Spectre' is the latest film in the 007 James Bond franchise which stars Daniel Craig and is directed by Sam Mendes.

After the critical and commercial success of Skyfall expectations were high for Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes' latest outing. Unfortunately I was left disappointed with a bland and very confusing entry into the bond franchise. The bright side of 'Spectre' is that Medes' direction keeps the action looking good, however I found the set pieces not as memorable as the action sequences in 'Casino Royale' and 'Skyfall'. Christoph Waltz does his best with the questionably written villain. The majority of the writing in this film is quite poor in comparison to other bond films. The main problem is that 'Spectre' doesn't really know what is wants to be. One minute it's dark and brooding the next it's camp cheese. Overall the film is not terrible, but I found it to be disappointing nevertheless.

Rating: 4/10

Friday, 6 November 2015

Beasts Of No Nation

Beasts Of No Nation

BBFC Certificate: 15

Beasts Of No Nation is a drama film which is set in a unnamed African country during a civil war. The film is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. 'Beasts Of No Nation' is also the first film to be distributed exclusively by Netflix.

'Beasts Of No Nation' has split opinion about it's distribution, however for Netflix this has been a great success. Abraham Attah is outstanding in the title role of Agu, giving the audience a relatable vulnerability. Idris Elba gives another great performance as the frightening but strangely likable Commandant. The film does not hold back on it's themes and subject matter, but also avoids being exploitive with it's violence. Overall the film is a powerful and thought provoking drama. The only complaint I have about this film is during the second act the film had some pacing issues.

Rating: 8/10

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Suffragette

Suffragette:

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'Suffragette' is a period drama film which stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep and is directed by Sarah Gavron.

Suffragette is one of the first films to be released in the Oscar/Bafta race of historical drama movies. As expected the performances are great. Carey Mulligan shines in the lead role giving us a strong but also vulnerable character. Helena Bonham Cater delivers another good performance to her very impressive resume. Meryl Steep is, of course good, but don't expect much from her as she only makes a very short appearance in the film, more of a cameo than a supporting performance. Aside from the performances, the film from a technical stand point has some impressive features such as the costume design and make up which stripped down the glossy look of most period dramas.

For me, the film does has it's flaws, I feel the film is a bit cliche at times and does often take the 'safe' route, nevertheless 'Suffragette' will please the audience it's catered for and will be a good example of a film to watch in history class.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, 12 October 2015

Sicario

Sicario

BBFC Certificate: 15

'Sicario' is a crime thriller film which stars Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin and is directed by Denis Villeneuve.

'Sicario' features another well constructed film from Denis Villeneuve, his direction keeps the audience in a deep suspense during the most climatic of scenes. Roger Deakins cinematography is a beauty to behold, all the scenes in this film look naturally lit, even the scenes which take place during the dusk, I would not be to surprised if he was nominated an Oscar for his work. The performances in this film are excellent especially Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt who's acting and character reminded me of Jodie Foster in 'The Silence of the Lambs'. However, I felt like the story wasn't anything spectacular or groundbreaking and the pacing for me felt a bit off during the second act, however the talent involved behind the film push it beyond it's narrative trappings.

Rating: 8/10 

Monday, 5 October 2015

Macbeth

Macbeth

BBFC Certificate: 15

'Macbeth' is a drama film based on the Shakespeare play 'The Tragedy of Macbeth'. The stars Micheal Fassbender and Marion Cotillard and is directed by Justin Kurzel.

The latest film adaptation of Macbeth has been described as a war film. The films plot is almost entirely set on a battle ground. What I enjoyed most about the film was the recurring theme of conflict, which reflects between the battles and the characters. The performances from Fassbender, Cotillard and Paddy Considine are terrific and perhaps may stand up for a possible Oscar nod. Justin Kurzel direction really lifts up the story into a cinematic one and Adam Arkapaw cinematography is stunning.

However, I felt the films Shakespearean dialect threw me off slightly during the second and third act of the film, but if you are a fan of Shakespeare this adaptation will surely not disappoint.

Rating: 7/10

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Martian

The Martian

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'The Martian' is a science fiction film which is directed by Ridley Scott and stars Matt Damon.

Ridley scott's last few films have been less than great, his latest work feels like a game of cinematic Russian roulette. Which is why I am glad to say that 'The Martian' is a return to form for the director. To much surprise 'The Martian' has a strong comedic presence, which is a change of pace for the typical survival story movie. All of the performances are exceptional which translate well with Scott's excellent visionary direction. The song choices used in the film make it very fun and even more entertaining to watch ( my favorite scene features an ABBA song) My only flaw is that the humor can, in some instances, can very slightly interfere with the films narrative. Overall the film is a fun and very entertaining popcorn flick with bags full of intelligence and enthusiasm.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, 26 September 2015

99 Homes

99 Homes

BBFC Certificate: 15

'99 Homes' is an independent drama film which is directed by Ramin Bahrani and stars Andrew Garfield and Micheal Shannon.

Many reviewers have labeled this film as a thriller, however I disagree. Because of the talent involved and the way the screenplay is written it plays out much more as a thought provoking drama. '99 Homes' keeps you tightly locked in due to excellent performances from Garfield and Shannon and the reflective dialogue about how the economy only saves the elite. Setting the film in Orlando, Florida is the perfect location for the story because of the extreme differences between the poor and the rich. The film really makes you care about the lead character by reason of Bahrani's direction. The use of shots create intimacy between the character and the audience, without the writing becoming too sentimental.
The film may have a little too much exposition, but the films overall quality makes up for it.

Rating: 9/10

Monday, 21 September 2015

Everest

Everest:

BBFC Certificate: 12A

'Everest' is a bio-topic disaster drama which is based on the 1996 ,Mount Everest disaster and is directed by Baltaser Kormakur.

'Everest' creates the scope and spectacle of the worlds largest mountain, thanks to it's use of IMAX cameras and good performances from it's large assemble cast. However the film falls short on character development and an even story. The problem with 'Everest' is it's source trappings, where some narrative films can fall because of too tidy endings, this film instead leaves you with some loose ends.

"Exposition-Everest" is worth watching for it's visual impact, impressive cast and cinematography, but because of it's slow moving and uneven narrative it is only really worth renting.

Rating: 5/10

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Visit

The Visit

BBFC Certificate: 15

'The Visit' is a comedy horror film which is written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

M. Night Shyamalan has eventually returned to form with this small and claustrophobic film. The people of the general public who viewed the "Paranormal Activity" like advertising may be disappointed to find that this is not a 'in the dark jump-fest' instead the film is more of a fun adventure coming-of-age film with some horror and thriller elements thrown in. Shyamalan parodies the over serious loud horror movies while being satirical about his previous movies. The film plays with it's found footage settings with success because it revolves of the film's story and characters. The film has great performances from it's small cast and an atmosphere that many low budget horror films fail to provide.

The film does have it's flaws though, such as some of the flat out comedy dialogue which fails to deliver. And the films cinematic visuals can sometimes seem too grand for a found footage film.

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Legend

Legend

BBFC Certificate: 18

'Legend' is a crime bio-topic drama based on the life of the Kray twins. The film stars Tom Hardy along with an assemble of British actors. The film is directed by Brian Helgeland.

Outstanding Performance from Tom Hardy, even in my opinion; Oscar worthy (doubtful that he will be nominated though) Entertaining throughout and sometimes even thought provoking. Stylish direction and gorgeous cinematography from Dick Pope, a sparkling 60s soundtrack and a great cast.

However, the character of Francis feels very underwritten in the first half of the film. The first act of the film felt like a Scorsese imitation, but the second and third act won me over as the film came into it's own.

Rating: 8/10

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Dope

Dope

BBFC Certificate: 15

Dope is a comedy crime film which is written and directed by Rick Famugiwa.

Dope successfully changes typical genre plot lines for an off beat and stylish tale about a teenagers perception and behavior. I believe the story line is best kept a secret so I will not divulge into the plot in this review, however I can tell you that Famugiwa's writing and direction flawlessly manages to execute the dynamic shifts in the film's theme and genre. The performances are all great, but the standout was the newcomer lead, Shameik Moore.

The only minor complaint I have is that one of the characters only appear as a convenience to the plot. Despite this Dope is one of the funniest and most entertaining films of 2015. And is one of my favorites of the year thus far.

Rating: 8/10

Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton

BBFC Certificate: 15

'Straight Outta Compton' is a biographical drama film which is based on the raise and fall of the pioneering gangster rap group N.W.A. The film is directed by F. Gary Gray.

'Straight Outta Compton' manages to raise up against many other mediocre bio-topic movies, thanks to it's great performances and winning chemistry between the cast; all the actors felt natural and realistic when delivering their lines. F. Gary Grey respects the social history and source materiel and treats it like his own: with precision and care, despite not featuring a dark and dramatic well known aspect of a group members past.

The film does eventually fall into it's bio-topic drama trappings though, the films dramatic beats feel over sentimental and forced at times and the 147 minute run time does put off future viewings, however N.W.A's new film is very likely to entertain the fans and first timers alike.

Rating: 7/10

Trainwreck

Trainwreck

BBFC Certificate: 15

'Trainwreck' is a comedy film which is directed by Judd Apatow and stars Amy Schumer.

Schumer is a comedic force to be reckoned with, which is further proven in this raunchy comedy flick. While crass humor usually becomes predicable and unequivocally bland, 'Trainwreck' kept surprising me in the direction the jokes took. The most memorable and praise-worthy feature of this film is that the female lead does not need to be in a long term committed relationship to please the audience over, it parodies the common public projection that women are more emotional about feelings than men.

Unfortunately the film's final act dismisses the quality that made this film stand out to other mainstream romantic comedies and instead goes for a more static and conformist ending.

Rating: 6/10

The Gift

The Gift

BBFC Certificate: 15

'The Gift' is a psychological thriller film which is Joel Edgerton's directorial debut.

Due to the cliche horror trailer (consistent uses of unnecessary loud sound effects) I did not expect much from 'The Gift', however the film was a great surprise. The film features stellar performances from it's three main actors and a brilliant script to match it's "Fincher-like" direction. Not only is this feature enjoyable on an entertainment factor, but it is also relevant to today's culture and society; should we let the past become irreverent? Even my own views on the film's subject were given a new perspective.

They're some very minor problems that appear, such as the third act becoming a tad repetitive, but this film is certainly a successful debut from Edgerton and I look forward to see what he has is store for his next picture.

Rating: 9/10

In This Corner of the World - Review (E.I.F.F)

 'In This Corner of the World' is a anime period drama film which is directed by Sunao Katabuchi. Based on the manga of the same n...