Saturday, 19 October 2013

Film Review: MACHETE (2010)

Machete - poster Directors: Ethan Maniquis, Robert Rodriguez
Writers: Robert Rodriguez, Álvaro Rodríguez
Running time: 105 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
UK Release date: 26th November 2010

Watched on Freeview PVR Saturday 19th October 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This one has been on my list for some time and I’ve had it on my PVR disc for a while now. Finally an opportune time-slot came up and I got the chance to give it a viewing. I have to say it was everything I had expected and more. A lot more humour in it than anticipated which was very welcome, with one particular set of scenes featuring our hero and the bodyguards of one of the bad guys that I found very amusing. I find that sometimes these films take themselves far too seriously and that is usually to their detriment; not the case here. Although not as polished as I would have expected, I still liked it despite the rough hewn edges to the production.

Machete - 1 Decent performances all round with Danny Trejo doing a very decent job as the lead, Machete Cortez. Also on the good-guys side we had Jessica Alba as Satrana and Michelle Rodriguez as Luz, nice eye candy but without too much substance. Chief among the bad guys were; Robert De Niro as Senator John McLaughlin, Steven Seagal as Rogelio Torrez and Jeff Fahey as Michael Booth; the pick of these being Fahey, mainly because he had a lot more screen time. Over all I found it a very entertaining film that didn’t tax the little grey cells too much. It’s pretty gory so definitely not one for the squeamish; just remember to check your brain in at the door and I’m certain you’ll enjoy Machete.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.6/10.

IMDb Score: 6.7/10 (at the time of going to press).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0985694/

MetaScore: 60/100: (at the time of going to press).

Machete - 4 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 73/100: (at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 63/100: (at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/machete/

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Machete - 3 LINKS:
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Trailer:

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Film Review: PREMIUM RUSH (2012)

Premium Rush - poster Director: David Koepp
Writers: David Koepp, John Kamps
Running time: 90 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller
UK Release date: 14th September 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 6th October 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have to admit I knew very little about this one going in; it’s one of those I liked the look of from a brief clip and the two paragraph write-up on the TV guide. It wasn’t perfect, but it did enough to entertain me, even with one or two laughs along the way. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Premium Rush - 1 The story centres on a group of bicycle couriers in New York City. Principle among them is Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who has a rivalry with Manny (Wolé Parks), who is chasing Wilee’s girlfriend, Vanessa (Dania Ramirez). Now, Wilee picks up a package from Vanessa’s room mate, Nima (Jamie Chung) which he has to deliver by 7PM. He sets off but soon finds he is being pursued by a cop, Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon), who has his own reasons for wanting to get his hands on that package. We are told, in flashback, what the significance of the package is and just why Monday is so desperate to get his hands on it. There are many twists and turns before the end and more than one of them could get hurt, after all, it’s dangerous out there!

928290 - Premium Rush Very well made with a nice pacey start that really grabs your attention. Sadly, it cannot maintain that rate, but it soon settles down as we get to know the various characters. I did find all the to-and-fro with flashbacks a little confusing at times, but it soon sorted itself out. On the performance front, everyone did an excellent job but the stand-out by some margin (for me) was Michael Shannon. He really does play the slightly psychotic cop so very well. I felt the final pay-off didn’t quite live up to its initial promise, but I found it entertaining enough. Well worth a look; but don’t put a stopwatch on it.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10.

IMDb Score: 6.5/10 (based on 62,604 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1547234/

MetaScore: 66/100: (Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Premium Rush - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 76/100: (based on 154 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 61/100: (based on 128,395 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/premium_rush/

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Premium Rush - 7 LINKS:
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Official Site: http://www.premiumrush.com/
Trailer:

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Film Review: FLIGHT (2012)

Flight - poster Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: John Gatins
Running time: 138 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 1st February 2013

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 5th October 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I heard quite a lot about this one on release; it made quite a splash, even gaining two Oscar nominations. Of course it never played at my local and so I’ve had to wait until now when it aired on TV. Was it worth the wait? Yes, although it’s not one I would have paid full price for on DVD. It does have one or two issues, which I’ll discuss later, but over all, it’s a pretty good watch. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Flight - 8 When pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) saves a commercial aircraft from certain disaster he becomes a hero. But it is not as straightforward as it seems. He has a drink problem and this is going to make life very difficult for quite a few people before the crash investigation is over. His union rep, Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood) and the lawyer for the airline, High Lang (Don Cheadle) do their best to suppress certain condemning evidence against him but at the end of the day it’s Whip who’ll have to testify. The film takes us through his personal journey from the day of the crash onwards. In the hospital he meets a recovering addict, Nicole (Kelly Reilly), who he helps out and the pair of them live together for a while. Eventually though she cannot be around him because of his drinking and she leaves. He is taken to an AA meeting but nothing seems to work. His testimony is coming up and extreme measures are needed to keep him sober, but will it work?

Flight - 4 Although I liked this film I did find it a little too long; in fact I have to admit that I watched it in two halves. From a totally stunning sequence at the start I felt it lost momentum for a while, that was until I became embroiled in the drama of Whip Whitaker’s story. It’s quite a tale and an excellent performance from Denzel Washington holds it all together quite brilliantly. I also thought Kelly Reilly did a pretty good job as well. But back to the opening sequence for a moment, for me it ranks as one of the best special effects driven sequences I’ve seen in a very long time and hats off to all involved. Taken as a whole, the film does take the audience on quite a journey and I know for some it couldn’t quite live up to that crash sequence. For me I thought it held together pretty well, mainly thanks to the acting skills of Mr Washington. Over all, definitely worth a watch but don’t get blown away by the crash sequence, there’s a lot more depth to it than that.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.8/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 150,410 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1907668/

MetaScore: 76/100: (Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Flight - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 78/100: (based on 217 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 75/100: (based on 140,800 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/flight_2012/

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Flight - 10 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.paramount.com/flight/
Trailer:

Film Review: ABOUT TIME (2013)

About Time - poster Writer/Director: Richard Curtis
Running time: 123 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance/Sci-Fi
USA Release date: 4th September 2013

Watched at the cinema Friday 4th October 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Well this one came up because it just happened to be on when it was a very good friend of mine’s birthday. We had arranged that we were going to the cinema and I gave her a free choice (to be fair there were only two to choose from at the time we wanted to go, but I’m glad she opted for this). I like Richard Curtis, his work has varied over the years but it never fails to hit a note with me; so I have to say to Rosie, “Good Choice!”. There were plenty of laughs but this was balanced with some quite heart rending stuff towards the end. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

About Time - 2 When Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) reaches the age of 21, his father (Bill Nighy) tells him that all the men in their family can travel backwards in time. Of course Tim doesn’t believe him until he tries it for himself. But now the question is; what to do with this ability. There are rules, but it soon become apparent that these are a tad flexible (I’ll explain what I mean by that later). So Tim decides he’s going to use it to get himself a girlfriend and who should be right around the corner but Mary (Rachel McAdams). He falls for her big time and contrives various ways to make sure she will be his; sometimes with hilarious consequences. But there is more than one cloud on the horizon and there are events to come that even Tim’s ability cannot solve. I think that’s enough of a teaser for now.

About Time - 1 I have to admit I enjoyed this one; yes, they do make certain rules about time travel and then immediately break them, but that’s not what the story is about. And yes, it is about well off white people, but again, if I wanted a film that was politically correct and socially aware I don’t think I’d have Richard Curtis write it. No, this was pure escapism for me and I happily went along for the ride. Great performances all round, but the stand-out for me was Bill Nighy; he really nailed the part of the dad for me. I have to say I liked the soundtrack as well with many contemporary tunes littered along the way. So it made me laugh and I even shed a tear towards the end and there’s not many films can do that. I admit I’m a bit of a sucker for the occasional Rom-Com and this one had just the right ingredients for me.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 4,081 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2194499/

MetaScore: 54/100: (Based on 7 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

About Time - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 62/100: (based on 37 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 82/100: (based on 12,528 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/about_time/

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About Time - 4 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abouttimethemovie
Official Site: http://www.abouttimeintl.com/uk/
Trailer:

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Film Review: RE-ANIMATOR (1985)

Re-Animator - poster Director: Stuart Gordon
Writers: H.P. Lovecraft (story “Herbert West, Re-Animator”), Dennis Paoli, William Norris, Stuart Gordon (screenplay)
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Horror/Sci-Fi
USA Release date: 18th October 1985

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Sunday 29th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

This is one of those films that, on release was talked about a lot in schoolyards up and down the country. One that gained more than its fair share of notoriety, mainly due to the exaggeration of the youth. Of course it couldn’t possibly be that gory; could it? Well I finally found out today, and yes, it is all that gory folks! Very much a B-Movie, but one with a certain something that I’m struggling to define right now. The acting is not bad, but equally not that good; the effects are a tad dated, but still do the job surprisingly well; I can only conclude that it must be the script. It’s one of those that creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re enjoying this crazy tale! But to re-cap for a moment; the story surrounds a new student at a medical school; Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). He has some theories about death that are contrary to the head of research, Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale). Add to the mix a young personable student, Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott), his girlfriend, the beautiful Megan Halsey (Barbara Crampton) and her father, Dean Halsey (Robert Sampson); and you’ve got all the ingredients for an 80’s horror. When West begins to experiment and drags Dan into it, you know it’s going to end up messy.

Re-Animator - 3 A film very much in the style of the 1930’s classic horrors, it never pauses for a laugh and never misses a beat. I admire that it’s all taken so seriously and that the actors play it so straight. This gives it a bit of an edge over more modern takes on the genre (for me). Although none of the performances could be called great, I thought both Jeffrey Combs and David Gale come out on top. I really liked the musical score by Richard Band, almost a homage to the great horrors of the past. Over all, an intriguing film that I ended up enjoying despite a totally ludicrous story line; definitely worth a look for any horror fan. Be warned though, it’s definitely NOT for the squeamish.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 26,184 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089885/

MetaScore: No Data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Re-Animator - 5 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 95/100: (based on 42 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 61/100 “Want to See”: (based on 35,051 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/reanimator/

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Re-Animator - 1 LINKS:
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Official Site: http://www.re-animatorfilms.com/Re-Animator.cast.html
Trailer:

Film Review: THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012)

The Man with the Iron Fists Director: RZA
Writers: Eli Roth (screenplay), RZA (screenplay/story)
Running time: 95 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Action/Martial Arts
UK Release date: 7th December 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 29th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I remember when this one came out there appeared to be a certain amount of anticipation; probably due to the (tenuous) involvement of one Quentin Tarantino; he ‘Presented’ this one (whatever that means). Looking on how well it’s done since, it appears all that anticipation was misplaced. But I digress; the film is set in feudal China where a Blacksmith (RZA) is forced to make weapons in order to protect his village from feuding gangs and government forces looking for a lost shipment of gold. To add spice to this there’s also an English Officer in the village, Jack Knife (Russell Crowe), a son looking for revenge on his murdered father, Zen Yi, The X-Blade (Rick Yune) and a brothel madam who knows more than she lets on, Madam Blossom (Lucy Liu). On the bad guys side we have; Silver Lion (Byron Mann), Poison Dagger (Daniel Wu), Bronze Lion (Cung Le) and Brass Body (Dave Bautista). Finally there’s the Blacksmith’s sweetheart, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung).

The Man with the Iron Fists - 4 There is plenty of action with a fight scene every five minutes (or so it seems); the pacing is kept pretty high throughout also. There are many impressive set-pieces with many tricks we’ve seen before being re-used. For me, this wasn’t a problem; I wanted to be entertained and that’s just what I got. There is quite a high gore-factor though, so it’s definitely not one for the squeamish. All the performances were very good with Russell Crowe, despite a very Aussie sounding English accent, standing out for me. I was impressed with RZA; I thought he did a very decent job taking on the dual role of actor and director. Lucy Liu was as reliable as ever and I also liked the performances of Rick Yune and Byron Mann. It’s quite a simple tale told with a very highly paced action orientated script. It’s well made and did just what it said on the tin. This is one of those where I’m going to disagree with popular opinion and give it more credit than most because I didn’t think it was that bad.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.6/10.

IMDb Score: 5.4/10 (based on 37,468 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1258972/

MetaScore: 51/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

The Man with the Iron Fists - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 49/100: (based on 83 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 41/100: (based on 44,945 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_man_with_the_iron_fists/

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Man With The Iron Fist LINKS:
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Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ironfistsmovie
Official Site: http://www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/man-with-the-iron-fists-the/
Trailer:

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Film Review: LONE STAR (1996)

Lone Star - poster Writer/Director: John Sayles
Running time: 135 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Mystery/Romance
UK Release date: 11th October 1996

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 28th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I knew very little about this one on the way in and so it was a bit of a revelation to me. I’m not awfully big on Westerns but this modern take on the genre with a huge dose of noir was a nice surprise. Some great performances with the likes of Chris Cooper as Sam, Elizabeth Peña as Pilar and Kris Kristofferson as Charlie Wade all putting in some great work. The story revolves around the recently returned Sherriff, Sam who becomes embroiled in investigating the conduct of his father (the previous Sherriff) when a body is found in the desert outside the town. Set in southern Texas, there are many threads that are woven in this complex tale of corruption and intrigue. There are many flashbacks that help the audience to understand the characters and the various motivations of those being investigated.

Lone Star - 5 If anything I found this one a little too complex; there were several threads that seemed totally unrelated to the main thrust of the story. It’s also, I felt, a little too long; the filmmakers are asking quite a lot for an audience to concentrate for two hours and fifteen minutes. It is slow paced, but I didn’t particularly mind that; I’m used to the noir style and it is usually quite a slow burner. Some great performances with Chris Cooper coping well with the leading role and Kris Kristofferson playing the villain of the peace with gusto. Also we have Elizabeth Peña, who did an excellent job as the female lead and a small part for Matthew McConaughey as Buddy Deeds. Although it does have its problems I still found it an excellent watch; definitely one to look out for for all you noir fans out there.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.5/10.

Lone Star - 1 IMDb Score: 7.5/10 (based on 18,083 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116905/

MetaScore: 78/100: (Based on 22 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Lone Star - 3 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 93/100: (based on 41 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 44/100 “Want to see”: (based on 8,927 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1074022-lone_star/

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Lone Star - 4 LINKS:
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Trailer:

Friday, 27 September 2013

Film Review: PONYO (2008)

Ponyo - poster Writer/Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Running time: 101 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): U

Genre: Animation/Adventure/Family
UK Release date: 12th February 2010

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Friday 27th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Time being of the essence, I’m going to keep this short today. I heard many good things about Ponyo when it came out and have tried to see it a couple of times before, but always seemed to miss the boat (pardon the pun). Finally managed to pin it down about a month ago though and have been waiting for it to bubble to the top of the pile on my Freeview PVR ever since. Well the day finally arrived and it was definitely worth the wait. I’m a fan of the work of Studio Ghibli and of Miyazaki in particular and so that’s no huge surprise. No summary this time, I’m going straight into my thoughts.

Ponyo - 3 Beautifully animated with all the style and grace of Miyazaki’s work. It is distinctively his own and I hope nobody ever tries to copy it. I saw it in the ‘Americanised’ Disney version with some well known names in the cast. For me though, I feel it always loses something; I would have rather seen it with its original Japanese soundtrack. For some reason, that gives it a little more authenticity and also makes it a little more mystical. But the English language version was ok too with the likes of Cate Blanchett as Granmamere, Liam Neeson as Fujimoto, Tina Fey as Lisa, Matt Damon as Kôichi, Frankie Jonas as Sôsuke and (of course) Noah Lindsey Cyrus as Ponyo. They all did a pretty good job. I very much liked to music by Joe Hisaishi as well, it has a great feel to it and fits the visuals really well. Over all, although I’m far from the target audience, I have to say I really enjoyed this engaging mystical tale. Maybe one for a very young audience, which proves I must be young at heart, but certainly a worthy watch.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.7/10 (based on 50,831 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0876563/

MetaScore: 86/100: (Based on 29 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Ponyo - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100: (based on 158 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100: (based on 93,134 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/ponyo/

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Ponyo - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site (Disney): http://movies.disney.com/ponyo
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PONYO
Trailer:

Monday, 23 September 2013

Film Review: WILD AT HEART (1990)

Wild at Heart - poster Director: David Lynch
Writers: Barry Gifford (novel “Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lula”), David Lynch (screenplay)
Running time: 125 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18

Genre: Crime/Romance
UK Release date: 24th August 1990

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Monday 23rd September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I have to admit I knew very little about this one before viewing. I have seen copies of the DVD in many a bargain bin but never paid it much heed. On discovering it was directed by David Lynch I decided to give it a go when it appeared in the TV listings recently. So what did I think; well, it’s got Lynch all over it with many of his tropes well to the fore and I did like it, although it did have its problems. I’ll tell you more after this very brief summary.

Wild at Heart - 1 After a spell in prison for manslaughter, Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage) gets out and is met by his girl, Lula Fortune (Laura Dern). The pair decides to drive across country from Cape Fear to California but Lula’s domineering mother, Marietta (Diane Ladd) has other ideas. She sends a series of hit men after the couple as they travel to New Orleans and then on to a small town in Texas. This is where they run into Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe), could he be the one to cash in?

Wild at Heart - 4 Filled with some crazy characters, this one certainly catches your attention and refuses to let go. Nicolas Cage is at his best playing the larger than life Sailor Ripley and Laura Dern does a great job as Lula. I thought Diane Ladd as Marietta was truly excellent and Willem Defoe was also great as the sleazy Bobby Peru. You cannot fail to notice the many references to ‘The Wizard of Oz’; a theme that runs throughout. Unfortunately I found the film ran too long, there’s only so long you can put up with all the craziness. It reaches a point where we lose one of the main threads that have been running through the first two thirds of the film and I found that quite distracting. Still, it’s worth a look for a decent Cage performance and the, almost comic-book, like characterisations from Lynch (well at least for the first two thirds).

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 6.9/10.

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 44,027 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100935/

MetaScore: 52/100: (Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Wild at Heart - 6 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 65/100: (based on 43 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 80/100: (based on 42,112 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/wild_at_heart/

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Wild at Heart - 2 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Trailer:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Film Review: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)

Silver Linings Playbook - poster Director: David O. Russell
Writers: David O. Russell (screenplay), Matthew Quick (novel “The Silver Linings Playbook”)
Running time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
UK Release date: 21st November 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 22nd September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I wasn’t sure about this one before watching it. I’m quite wary of popular American comedies; I have fallen foul of their evil (and terribly unfunny) ways before. Even as I began to watch I was afraid it was going to be a big mistake, but as it transpired, there was little to worry about. The film actually does have a heart and I found I finally could connect with the characters by the end. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Silver Linings Playbook - 2 When Pat (Bradley Cooper) is released from a mental institution he has made several decisions about his life. Not least of which was to do everything he could to patch things up with his wife, Nikki (Brea Bee). But she’s not all that an important character right now, as will be revealed. His parents, Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver) are supportive but have their own troubles. Pat Sr. has lost his pension and has begun taking bets in order to make ends meet. He’s obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles and sees Pat as some kind of lucky omen. But while out for a meal with friends Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who is widowed and also has emotional problems. She can get a message to Nikki, who has a restraining order out on Pat, but she wants something in return. And I think I’ll leave it there; that should be enough to give you a flavour.

Silver Linings Playbook - 4 I found it a little hard to get into at first with Bradley Cooper over-acting in places, which was beginning to put me off. The introduction of Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) though changed all that and the narrative began to make more sense. All the performances were excellent with (for me) Jennifer Lawrence standing out. Yes, I know De Niro is there but he’s really not a major character although he does play his part very well. Bradley Cooper was good, but no better really than I have seen him before. The action is littered with an awful lot of music, some I was familiar with and some not so much; all of it fitted the visuals well though and it made for a welcome enhancement to the entertainment. Over all I found it a well rounded romantic comedy (with some drama thrown in for good measure) and just a twist of quirkiness. It even touched me on an emotional level (a rare thing these days) so it gets a pretty high recommendation from me.

SteelMonster’s verdict: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.3/10.

IMDb Score: 7.9/10 (based on 266,428 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045658/

MetaScore: 81/100: (Based on 45 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 92/100: (based on 299 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 87/100: (based on 233,762 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/silver_linings_playbook/

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Silver Linings Playbook - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://silverliningsplaybookmovie.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Silver-Linings-Playbook/453807761317648
Trailer:

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Film Review: DOWN TERRACE (2009)

Down Terrace - poster Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Robin Hill, Ben Wheatley
Running time: 89 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama/Comedy
UK Release date: 30th July 2010

Watched on Terrestrial PVR Saturday 20th September 2013.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

I can’t say I’m particularly a fan of Ben Wheatley’s work, but to be fair, I haven’t seen an awful lot of it. I put this partly to rights when one of the film channels here in the UK decided to show a short season of his films to coincide with the release of ‘A Field in England’, (review here). I certainly found this an interesting film with a very interesting style. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Down Terrace - 4 When father and son Bill (Robert Hill) and Karl (Robin Hill) get let off drug trafficking charges in court they return home to their terraced house. There waiting for them is Maggie (Julia Deakin), Bill’s wife, and a lad who works for them, Garvy (Tony Way). They want to get to the bottom of who had set them up and their suspicions initially fall on Garvy. Other characters begin to turn up; Eric (David Schaal) and Pringle (Michael Smiley), both of the criminal fraternity and then there’s Valda (Kerry Peacock), an ex-girlfriend of Karl’s who happens to be pregnant with his kid. As I said, there were suspicious of Garvy, but how far will it go before the week is out?

Down Terrace - 1 This film was billed as a comedy but I found it so darkly comic that I could almost take it as a straight-up drama. All the performances were excellent with both Robert and Robin Hill putting in stellar turns. A cross between a kitchen sink drama and a fly-on-the-wall documentary, I found the filming style made for a compelling watch. Unfortunately there were a couple of niggles. They are supposed to be drug dealers but we see no drug dealing going on. Also, the police were very conspicuous by their absence; not one policeman seen al the way through. You’d have thought the police would definitely be watching someone with their track record. Other than that I found it an interesting and compelling watch. Just a word for the squeamish though, Ben Wheatley does not hold back on the violence. There are a couple of quite graphic scenes in there that might have you wincing.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.1/10.

IMDb Score: 6.1/10 (based on 1,424 votes when this review was written).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1489167/

MetaScore: 68/100: (Based on 14 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Down Terrace - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 85/100: (based on 34 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100: (based on 1,371 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/down-terrace/

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
http://facebook.com/andy.steel3

Down Terrace - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.downterrace.com/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/downterrace
Trailer: