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Jake Gyllenhaal is simply outstanding as Davis, recently widowed after his wife is killed in a car crash, who is finding it increasingly difficult to grieve. Chris Cooper gives a great performance as Phil, Davis's father in law, who cannot understand why Davis is going off the rails, instead of respecting his daughter's memory. I must admit, I was not expecting this movie to be as good as it was. It was moving and thought provoking, a bit madcap at times, but that just added to the beauty of the piece. The dark comedy keeps the movie interesting but it's the fantastic performance of Gyllenhaal that makes this movie the great watch that it is.
Louder Than Bombs (2015)
Saturday night and only 12 people in the theatre to see this movie. Half way through 5 had walked out. Personally I thought it was a good watch, but it won't be to everybody's liking.
A thought provoking, moving story about the effects on a husband and two sons after their wife/mother is killed in a car crash. Good performances by Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg as the husband and older son, but it's Devin Druid that steals the show as Conrad, the younger son, who gives an outstanding performance as a young man filled with grief. Conrad finds it difficult to communicate with his father Gene, but finds some comfort in his writings, while his older brother Jonah is not as nice as he first appears.
Isabelle Huppert plays the mother, who does not feature in the movie very much, but plays a vital part nonetheless.
It's a movie you need to watch and concentrate on, but it's worth the effort.
Bastille Day (2016)
Descent action movie.
Idris Elba is well cast as Sean Briar, a CIA agent on the trail of a Paris bomber. He is a bit of a 'one tough guy against the world' type character who he plays very well. It's a bit of a job application for the James Bond roll, but is an enjoyable thriller nonetheless.
Richard Madden plays, Michael Mason, a cheeky pickpocket, who steals a handbag that, unbeknown to him, contains a bomb. When the bomb explodes Mason becomes Paris's most wanted and is hunted by Briar. There is a great chemistry between the two leads and although the story is a little predictable it bubbles along nicely with some good action scenes and stunts.
The movie is nothing special, but throw in the wit of Mason and you have a descent movie with a few laughs for good measure.
Miles Ahead (2015)
I didn't really learn a lot about Miles Davis from this movie, apart from the fact that he was a drug taking musician who was not particularly nice to the people close to him. Don Cheadle plays the part very well, the same cannot be said for Ewan McGregor, who is miscast as the Rolling Stone reported who wants Davis's comeback story. Emayatzy Corinealdi plays Frances, Miles's suffering wife, a talented dancer who is forced to quit her profession by Davis so she can 'be with him'. I was quite enjoying the movie but it all turned a bit slapstick and stupid when the tape went missing. It's not really a biopic and you are not even treated to that much music, so all in all it's just an average watch for me.
Friend Request (2016)
Run of the mill horror.
I was quite looking forward to this movie, having seen the trailer, I thought it looked promising. It started well enough, with Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) meeting Marina (Liesl Ahlers), who is new at the school, feeling a bit sorry for her and seeing that Marina has no Facebook friends, Laura accepts her friend request. It is quickly apparent that Marina is a bit strange and is practically stalking Laura. Laura decides to unfriend Marina and that's when thing's take a turn for the worse. It's here that the movie turns a bit flat and is pretty much like any other run of the mill horror. A few predictable jumps here and there and thats about it. Liesl Ahlers is perfectly cast as 'the creepy girl' but we have all seen this movie before and it offers nothing fresh at all.
Min lilla syster (2015)
Katja is a champion ice skater, she has proud parents and a younger sister, who is somewhat jealous and envious that her older sibling receives so much attention. Stella, very well played by Rebecka Josephson, discovers that Katja has an eating disorder. She wants to tell her parents, but is blackmailed into secrecy by her sister.
This movie is touching and moving, tackling a difficult subject and showing what effect such illnesses have on the immediate family as well as the sufferer herself. The two sisters gel perfectly together and the scenes where they are laughing are so believable you could think they are actually sisters in real life. It's a great watch, so give it a look, I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
Elsa & Fred (2014)
Maybe parts for older actors are a bit more difficult to come by, but why two great performers like Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer agreed to appear in such dross is beyond me. Clearly, given this currently has a rating of 6.5 on IMDb, not everyone agrees with me, now I am not the biggest rom-com fan around, so this starts at a bit of a disadvantage, but give me a descent one and I am more than happy to watch it and give a higher rating if merited.
For a start it's listed as a comedy, one little snigger is all I found throughout. The music is just awful, the story is very predictable, it's pretty bad all round.
The stars do, at least, try to give it a go but even the true romantics out there may find it hard to find anything to shout about here.
9. april (2015)
Interesting, nothing more.
The true story of the German army invading Denmark on April 9th 1940. The first line of defence is the South Jutland Bicycle Company, their orders are to hold back the might of the German army until reinforcements arrive.
It's a little strange seeing them cycling around with a light machine gun strapped to their crossbar and being ordered to change a bicycle tyre in under 1.5 minutes!
There is no connection between any of the soldiers, most of them don't seem to care one way or another weather they are defeated or not. The acting is quite forced but as a historical account of young men sent to do an impossible job it is quite interesting, although they were badly let down when the Danish government surrendered a few hours in.
The true story of Dr Mengele, AKA The Angel Of Death, who, back in 1960, moves in with an Argentinian family, under a pseudonym. It quickly becomes apparent that he is not as clean as he makes out and starts doing experiments on the young daughter Lileth, very well played by Florencia Bado.
Àlex Brendemühl is superb as Mengele, really chilling and frightening and gives an insight into what a seriously deranged person Mengele really was. His desire for an Aryan race continuing long after the war, when he 'invests' some money into a doll factory, which makes doll's that all have to be identical.
There are also some great performances from Natalia Oreiro and Diego Peretti as the parents of Lileth. A fascinating movie, well worth a look.
Eye in the Sky (2015)
Helen Mirren steals the show as a hard nosed Colonel in the British army who finally gets the chance to apprehend a couple of terrorists that she has been tracking for years. It soon becomes apparent that a suicide bombing plot is being planned and things escalate to a drone kill situation, it's then that things start to go wrong and an international dispute going all the way up to the prime minister takes place. I thought the suspense in the movie was full on, it was literally gripping all the way through. I was actually surprised that the rating on here was as low as it is, I rarely give a 9 (and never give 10's) but this was thoroughly deserved. Highly recommended.
Kevin Costner is well cast as a dispensable criminal used in an experiment to take the thoughts of a dead CIA agent, Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), in order to relay his thoughts to the authorities. All does not go to plan however, and it's a chase for the CIA to get the information before the crime lord Xavier Heimdahl (Jordi Mollà) does.
Tommy Lee Jones makes a good job of playing Dr Franks and it's nice to see Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) as Pope's widow.
The movie takes a little while to really get going but stick with it, although a bit clichéd, there is plenty of action and it's a descent watch.
The Jungle Book (2016)
A fantastic remake of the Disney classic Jungle Book. Neel Sethi is perfectly cast as the young 'man cub' Mowgli who has too reassess his life after threats from the tiger Shere Khan, menacingly voiced by Idris Elba. It's Baloo, played by Bill Murray, however, that steals the show, with his funny actions and comments. Also look out for the great section featuring King Louie, voiced by Christopher Walken. Although Sethi worked the entire movie on his own, it is testament to his talent as he pulls off the task admirably. Fans of the original are still treated to a couple of songs as both 'The Bare Necessities' and I wanna be like you' make an appearance. The film itself is darker than the original but is a fantastic movie, well worth a watch. If you can see it in Imax, even better.
Claustrophobic little thriller about a little girl who witnesses a hit-man carrying out a hit at a funeral. The girl then bumps into Thomas Jane, an ex veteran, who takes the opportunity to seek redemption because of his troubled past, by protecting her.
The hit-man is well played by Laurence Fishburne, well suited to the mean character. The little girl, played by Ella Ballentine, is also very good.
There are plenty of flaws in the plot but it does keep some suspense until the end.
It's not going to win any Oscars and is rather on the short side, although any longer and I think it would have dragged. Overall it's an OK watch.
Return to Sender (2015)
Rosamund Pike stars as a lonely nurse who agrees to go on a blind date with a co worker of a friends husband. When he arrives at her home earlier than planned it's quick to see that he is not the intended guy and her rapes her, leaving her badly scarred.
The movie then slowly drags by until it livens up a bit towards the end. I thought Plke was very good in 'Gone Girl' but her acting performance in this is simply sub standard. Nick Nolte is great as Pike's father, his gruff voice fitting the roll perfectly.
There are parts of the movie where the dialogue is very difficult to understand, which is frustrating.
An opportunity was missed here, with the stars involved and more content it could of been so much better.
The Loft (2014)
Five friends share the use of a loft, where they entertain girlfriends and mistresses out of the prying eyes of their wives.
The movie starts with the finding of a woman's body cuffed to the bed. The story is then told through flashbacks as well as present time. As the five try to figure out what happened secrets are revealed that tests their friendship and loyalty to the full. How can they sort out the mess without their wives hearing about their loft?
Some of the characters do not seem very 'real' and I found the end rather disappointing but it's an average watch and a few twists kept me guessing until near the end.
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken (2015)
Heineken, certainly not Carlsberg!
Certainly not the 'best movie in the world', 5 out of 10 is probably too generous for this film.
The true story of the kidnapping of Freddie Heineken by an 'inexperienced' gang of criminals, falls short in every department, even the great actor Anthony Hopkins cannot lift this any higher than average fair.
The kidnappers are as unrealistic as they come, they spend most of the movie shouting at each other, with no charisma, they simply cannot be believed. It's a pity, a good movie could of been made of this subject but this certainly is not it.
Interesting movie about a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1939. The lead character Elser, well played by Christian Friedel, is a young carpenter who see's trouble coming in the form of Hitler and decides to do something about it. We start with the assassination, which fails by 13 minutes, hence the title, because Hitler leaves early. The rest of the story is told using flashbacks while Elser is being interrogated. Some of the interrogation methods used are quite brutal and show what it must have been like if you crossed the Nazi party back in the thirties and forties.
This true story is well told and makes interesting viewing.
Time Out of Mind (2014)
Bit of a snooze
We follow George, a homeless, alcoholic man, from doorway to gutter. We wait for the entire movie for something to happen, but, sadly, it never really does. A lot of the movie is shot through windows, from inside a building at George on the outside, and visa versa, which I didn't really see the point of. There were time's I actually struggled to keep my eyes open.
We do get a bit of an insight into the plight of a homeless person, called cartoons by themselves because they are 'invisible' to most people, which, I guess was the idea of the movie but it just does not keep you interested.
I like Gere as an actor but really do not get why he chose to star in this movie, don't waste your time like he did!
The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
Where is the storyline in this movie? Uninteresting characters, poor dialogue, it tries to be humorous but fails, the dwarfs look ridiculous, literally put a man on a horse and shrink them! It just does not work at all.
I like Chris Hemsworth, especially as Thor, but this performance is poor, his character is simply dull. A few special effects lift this movie on occasion and Blunt and Theron do their best to be mean, apart from that the movie provides nothing new or interesting.
We did not really need this, sort of, prequel/sequel to the first movie, it provides nothing extra from the original. Reading my review back, I think 5 out of 10 is actually generous for this movie, all round a bit of a waste of time.
Midnight Special (2016)
Don't get it.
Reading other reviews I was really looking forward to this movie, but ultimately I came away disappointed, wondering if I had watched the same movie.
It starts promisingly enough, with a really good opening scene but does not really progress from there. It has some great special effects and the photography is excellent but the story leaves a bit to be desired and I just did not really get it. I mean how do two mere mortal human beings give birth to a 'special' son? Many more unanswered questions remain which just made it frustrating rather than interesting.
I am a fan of Michael Shannon and Adam Driver but even they could not lift this movie from it's moderate mark, so Special it is not, more average really.
Steve Jobs (2015)
I was not too sure if I would like this movie, given the subject matter, not too into tech stuff, but it was surprisingly good.
Michael Fassbender is simply superb as Jobs, equally so is Kate Winslet as his long suffering sidekick Joanna Hoffman.
The story, basically, revolves around the launch of various products by Job's and his team. His passion to bring the world the next best thing in computing ultimately affected his family life and his health, he comes across as an arrogant, selfish person, but that's what made him the man he was.
I would not of thought they could of made such an interesting movie about such a boring (in my opinion!) subject. The performances by the leads really makes this movie, I was riveted all the way through, a great watch.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
This outstanding movie is about a little known Indian mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan who leaves his hometown in Madras to work in Cambridge University. Such a different world for the young Ramanujan who gets excited by a pile of blank papers on his desk, a commodity hard to come by in Madras. Shunned by many of his peers, he sets out to prove his 'theories' with the help of G.H.Hardy.
Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons are fantastic in the two lead roles, and Toby Jones does a great job as Littlewood.
There are some great shots by Matt Brown, when Ramanujan's wife Janaki walks into the temple through an 'array of sunbeams' stands out in my mind, but the main thing is, the story has now been told and is well worth watching.
Unrealistic at best
Neeson's performance is the only thing that saved this movie from an even lower score. It is so far fetched that it is a joke. Neesons daughter takes a trip to Europe, and despite being warned by her Dad is kidnapped within hours of landing. Enter Neeson to save the day, armed with nothing more than a gun and a phone, he travels to Europe, locates the criminals and saves his daughter, all within a couple of days. Taking on a large, violent crime organisation single handedly he shoots everyone and everything in site. The so called criminals have obviously never had anything to shoot at, because in hundreds of attempts, some at an open target and at close range, not one manages to hit the target. Neeson, on the other hand is an expert, never misses and kills them all! This could have been so much better, but is so over the top it is ridiculous. If all you want from a movie is lots of action, then you may enjoy this, but if you want something more avoid it like the plague.