Goodfellas – Movie Review

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Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

As far back as I could remember, I wanted to be a gangster…

Martin Scorsese is a master of his craft. His craft being making gangster films. Goodfellas is perfect in that respect; it is THE gangster movie. Its hard hitting, fast and stylish. Scorsese’s direction is inventive and upbeat, and never fails to amaze you. Whether its the continuous shots, quick editing, zoom in or the music cut-ins; you will be thrilled from the start.

The writing is sharp and witty, and every other line is quotable. The words that come out of these characters mouths are just simply genius. This matches with the typical Scorsese jumpy narrative. The film bounces along from point to point at a fast rate, but you couldn’t really call it fast paced. Plot wise, the film has its drawbacks because of the reality of it, but it still very enthralling.

What makes this movie special, is its acting. Ray Liotta is so diverse and lost, really becoming something different in this film. Robert De Niro is brilliantly flat in this movie, making him ice cool and so wonderful to watch. Joe Pesci is the highlight in any movie, but especially in this one, where he is hysterically mental. The rest of the cast are also very convincing, not to mention Lorraine Bracco, who is excellent and empathetic here.

There’s not much more I can say apart from that I could watch this movie all day every day. It is one of my favorites, and after watching it, it will be on of yours; probably because of the soundtrack.

Stylish and powerful, Scorsese and his acting team will amaze you with Goodfellas. – 5/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1032176-goodfellas/

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The Butterfly Effect – Movie Review

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A young man blocks out harmful memories of significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life.

This is the film that everyone says ‘No, that’s actually really good movie’, but is it really, though?

Yes, yes it is.

Systematically shallow and pointless is what you would call it. However, god is it interesting. You will be dragged into a dark and wonderful place with this film. The time-travel/memory stuff isn’t original, but the twisted memory thing is; and god do I love it. Skipping many narrative beats, often not  a bad thing, the movie feels at the surface actually quite deep, even though its probably not. In essence, the movie is a really good watch story wise and I doubt you will get bored whilst watching it.

Ashton Kutcher is a shining light as far as the adult acting goes here. He is essentially just being Kutcher, which is perfect, because he adds a certain lightness to the role. The rest of the adult cast is pretty dreary and honestly at times quite woeful, although the poor actors are fed some rather forceful lines. The younger cast for me are the highlight, and the moments with them quickly become the most memorable.

The directing is mostly samey, and there isn’t really a presence of excitement, such as a soundtrack, to satisfy aesthetically. And that’s the issue, the interesting premise is ruined by boring cliches. The plot gets far too convoluted for its own good, and drifts into a world where it doesn’t need to be. Its not really tasteless, just very forced to be odd, and it doesn’t succeed in the slightest.

The Butterfly Effect is the sort of movie that is on very late at night, and you can’t help but watch it, because its so god darn interesting… for a bit.

Great foundations for a story and characters, unfortunately ruined by formulaic nonsense. – 3/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289879/

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/butterfly_effect/

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Cemetery Junction – Film Review

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A 1970s-set comedy centered on three young working class friends in a dreary suburb of Reading.

This is my favourite type of film; a witty romantic tale. However, when it goes wrong, it can be the worst type of film. I think Cemetery Junction falls in-between those categories.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have written this film surprisingly well, its very warm and not covered in nostalgia. Its seen more of a dramatic turnout for the pair, but as expected, the writing is at its best when it is being funny. It really is hilarious at times and thank god for the Office legends for not forgetting how brilliant they are at comedy. Their direction is also first class, being incredibly diverse for a simple movie like this. There is this wonderful scene in a nightclub late on in the film that is just pure brilliance.

What lets this film down, is its backbone narrative. It doesn’t really challenge its formula of its genre, and moves along in a very samey way. It fails to really take off, and just has its moments now and again. Not really being a satire, it tries to make a morale look at things, and it just falls miserably short. Its at its best when it is being fully in its genre, such as the romantic aspects or its comedic ones. However, plenty of silly stuff and blankness ruin it. Thankfully, its like-able and pleasant enough for you to keep your eyes and ears open for some Gervais-Merchant magic.

Christian Cooke as Freddie Taylor is the standout for me in the leading roles; hes far more real and sympathetic than the rest of the cast. He’s is far more superior to Tom Hughes, who plays this cool as ice Bruce Pearson, and just ends up stuck in the conflicts of his character. Ralph Fiennes is of course really good and terrifying, though bitterly underused and cliched. Felicity Jones is really trapped for most of the film, but when allowed to actually do something is good in her role. Everyone else apart from maybe Ricky Gervais, who is hysterical, falls behind their dodgy cliched character fiasco masks.

You’ll be smiling at the end of this movie, and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised by how wonderfully directed it is. Just don’t expect anything especially new.

Cemetery Junction is terribly un-original and frustratingly dull at times, but is saved by a masterclass from Gervais and Merchant. – 3.5/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1196204/

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Rush – Movie Review

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The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

When this movie came out, I was all like ‘Ew, ew ew, do not want to see that’. God, I was a fool.

Interesting and like-able would be an understatement here. It is such a fun and yet so emotionally complex. I have not spoke to a single person that doesn’t like this film. It just has that quality that very few films manage to get, where you just cannot hate it. Its the sort of film that if it was made in the 80’s my dad would say ‘Ahh, that’s a good un’.

Ron Howard has crafted some of the best car scenes we have ever scene. They are so brutally exhilarating and fast paced that they will literally speed up your heart rate. Away from the action, the direction is still good, Howard making an extremely slick movie. Mix that with the awesome soundtrack and you have the recipe for popcorn excitement.

The movie is far more than that though. The writing is excellent and the story behind it is also excellent. It tells a great morale about competition, friendship, personality flaws and of course rivalry. One of the few faults that I can give it is that like a lot of true stories, it feels pulled back because of that element. It focuses on some parts of this story that just aren’t as captivating as the rest of it.

Acting here is as good as it gets. Chris Hemsworth is wonderfully sexy and charismatic. Daniel Bruhl is much darker and arrogant when dealing his quite brilliant lines. The two actors are perfect when against each other; never has calling each other names been so good. The rest of the cast are sort of a comedy filler, but succeed in being very funny.

I was contemplating whether to give this film the top score, thinking that it won’t go down as one of the greats. However every element of it is masterfully crafted, and as far as movies go, this is right down my street.

Interesting narrative, genius direction and strong acting make Rush one of the most entertaining films you will ever see. – 5/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1979320/

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Nebraska – Film Review

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An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

Black or white for no reason is often unacceptable, unless it looks good, and then you can accept it… a bit…

To be honest, the only reason this movie is in black or white is because the director is trying to create something a little bit different and memorable. Which is what the black and white doesn’t actually do, it just makes the film look visually stunning. I mean it really does look beautiful, and Alexander Payne has made what is quite drab into something quite enchanting.

Nebraska is a simple tale, and really isn’t all that interesting nor original. I feel like at times its turned into a soap cliches as the picture goes on, which really bored me. Don’t get me wrong I love the basic character interactions, it just didn’t grip me. What it does well, is throw a lot cliches out of the window and rely on hilarious stereotypes; making the film really funny.

Its very pleasantly acted, with nothing over the top nor extreme. Bruce Dern is kinda guy that creeps me out, but the kind of guy that is perfect for this role. He is so angry at life here, but in the most wonderful way. Will Forte as the son feels the same way; very empathetic and lonely. June Squib is also marvelous in her smaller role and comes up with most of the laughs.

I can’t say that I loved this film. I can’t say that I’ll remember this film. And I can’t say that I’ll watch it again anytime soon. What I can say is that its perfectly cast, and a bliss to look at.

Simple and elegant with valiant performances. – 4/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1821549/

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Captain Phillips – Movie Review

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The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

Let me start off by saying that Paul Greengrass is a very talented director, and has been for a while. I think he could make anything intense. He does just that in this movie. You can feel the intensity and are gripped from the start. The use of handheld cameras is strong, and Greengrass is masterful with them here. And yes, it does get a little over-used and jarring at times, but mostly its really successful.

The story it self, is unfortunately pulled back by the realism of it. It loses its pace and grip because its obviously a true story. However, thanks the character driven issues, you never get that bored. The title character is so interesting and desperately upsetting at times. The pirates are also deep as the so called ‘bad guys’, and when that inevitable moment happens, it’ll break your heart.

Tom Hanks is obviously outstanding in the lead; very authentic and relatable. The rest of his team also have this real quality about them, very found footage like. Barkhad Abdi is of course the new comer, and is also very real, whilst being absolutely terrifying.

I loved this film, it’s thoroughly exciting, and also very toughing. Its a real shame it didn’t get a great amount of recognition, as I would put it above a lot of the Oscar winners.

Captain Phillips is intensely gripping and touching; thanks to some top notch directing and some top notch acting. – 4.5/5

iMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1535109/

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Green Street 3: Never Back Down – Movie Review

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An old firm leader returns to Green Street for Revanche after receiving a call that his little brother was killed, but is he able to cope with a new type of hooliganism and can he find his killer?

The original Green Street is probably one of the most overrated British films of all time, and the sequel was just a shambles. Could the 3rd installment save the day? No.

Filmed in the most grim and odd way. I feel bad for saying that this movie actually has style and an interesting look. It just doesn’t make any sense. Yes, the fight scenes look kinda cool and the overbearing gloominess is OK I guess, it’s just not right. The movie just takes itself far too seriously, which is a shame, because one of the good things about the original was the more lighthearted moments.

The lines that these poor actors get doesn’t help either. Every other line is just awful, an example would be when the protagonist literally out of the blue just says ‘I wanna go to Tottenham’, to which the whole pub cheers. It’s just bloody stupid! Like the plot; being also awful.

The core narrative is really uninteresting and like most things,it just doesn’t fit in. Again, this is a shame because apart from the main revenge football hooliganism stuff, it’s really not bad. They could have made a decent fight-martial arts movie, if they had just goofed it up a bit. You take away the Green Street in the title, its not bad, you take away the dull seriousness, its quite good.

Acting, as expected, is mostly wooden; apart from in the fight scenes, when Scott Adkins is rather good. His Kung-Fu chops obviously better than his acting ones. No-one else is worth the mention apart from Jack Doolan who is a British actor who keeps popping up, and I just wish he went away.

This film is not awful, it just doesn’t get it. The whole firm fighting stuff needs to be kept in the 80’s, when it actually existed. Or make a film about firms in the modern day, but actually do some bloody research! However, I would recommend taking this film how it is and just take the piss out of the underground fighting football league, where Jackie Chan like skills dominate.

Uninteresting and bizarre plot, with wooden writing and acting, but certainly not  un-watchable as a fight flik. – 2/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2628316/

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