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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Catch Me If You Can – Movie Review

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A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars’ worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.

This is the sort of film that’s always on British TV on a Sunday afternoon; and I have to put it on. Then i’ll end up watching the full 2 hours plus and not regret a thing.

Steven Spielberg has crafted a stylish film here, that just breezes along. It’s so easy to watch, making it the most lovable of films. Its not particularly fast paced, but it moves from scene to scene with no struggle and such ease.

The story itself is really quite captivating. It has this caper quality, without really being a caper. Its just a plot line that is made by a like-able character. Frank Abagnale Jr is really charming and interesting to say the least.

There’s not much more I can say apart from that Di Caprio is fantastic. He is feeble at the start then turns more and more inside out as the film goes on. Tom Hanks is of course really good as well; being excellently useless. The rest of the cast is solid, Christopher Walken has some great lines, and Amy Adams is very very cute.

This film is really hard to review because honestly its just a gentle but brilliant watch. Its thrilling, funny, interesting and well acted. Its just as simple as that.

Spielberg has done well to make a breezy and sweet movie, with a great lead from Di Caprio. – 4.5/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0264464/

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

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Dallas Buyers Club – Movie Review

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In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

Like I said in my review of ‘Mud’, the resurgence of Matthew McConaughey has been the best part of 2013 cinema, and he’s probably best part of this movie.

McConaughey made a huge transformation for this movie. And it’s not just ‘he’s lost a lot of weight so he must be good’, he really is awesome in this film. Without being too pretentious, he has a deep compassion and fearlessness that we rarely see from Hollywood actors. He also has this wonderful chemistry with Jared Leto, who is scary good in this movie. Honestly, Leto must be the most talented guy on the planet.

The plot is solid, here, and the background noise is the most important. It’s not really about a man dying of aids, but more of the discovery that in the 80’s stuff wasn’t really right. That’s whats most interesting, but it’s also what harms this film. There isn’t close to enough power moments, or things that make you excited about this movie. Yes, it’s heartwarming and heartbreaking, but there needs to be more Ron Woodroof speeches and quick witted writing.

It’s a film backed by the performances and layered story rather than its ‘oomph’. And it really does have great performances, even Jennifer Garner is good, and has one of the best moments in the film. The story is also filled up with empathy and thought, which is a nice change.

Lacking that power factor, this film has wonderful performances and a deep narrative. – 4.5/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0790636/

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Snatch – Film Review

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Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

Guy Ritchie is the sort of filmmaker that manages to frustrate me and amaze me in the same vein. Snatch is a bit like that; but it mostly amazes.

On the surface, the film has a really basic narrative, though if you’ve seen it you now how intense this film gets. It’s not convoluted or confusing either, it just has lots of layers. Each time you see a new character or returned to an earlier one, you are captivated. The characters are by far the best part in the movie as each one is completely different to the previous whilst keeping to vague stereotypes. You have to give credit to Ritchie who uses his typical sharp writing style to make the dialogue as good as the characters he’s created.

The issue I have with this film, is that it takes a while to get going. Even though, that on second viewings you can admire Ritchie’s writing and directing. I can’t put out of my mind that on first viewing, I was intensely bored for the first 30 minutes. Luckily, after that, it’s hard not to say that Snatch is perfect. Like I said, Ritchie’s style behind the camera often frustrates me but his style certainly keeps you locked to the screen.

With wonderful characters, you need wonderful actors. Everyone here is pretty much character acting so everyone is great. The ones that stand out are the ones in deep character. Such as Brad Pitt as Mickey O’Neil who is so unrecognizable and deep into his role its hard to believe – ‘I’ll fight ya for it’. Also Benicio Del Toro as Franky Four Fingers is brilliant, but its Del Toro, so what do you expect? Other honorable mentions are Vinnie Jones who is great as quite literally Vinnie Jones and Alan Ford, who is terrifying in this film.

After about 30 minutes, Snatch will grab you by the throat and not let go. – 4.5/5

WATCH.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Movie Review

The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring.

I really liked the first hobbit. It was exciting, fun and visually outstanding – which is everything I want from this sort of film. I know were not going an epic story like LOTR so I went into Hobbit 2 with a completely different mindset to a lot of people. And I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.

Being more of a Peter Jackson fan fiction rather than keeping tightly to the book, the plot does seem stretched out a little. It seems they just pile on more and more pointless names and back stories that honestly aren’t at all that interesting. The movie just feels more convoluted because of it and one of the few flaws it has. For the most part though, the narrative, like the first, bustles along at a good pace and despite that they could have maybe cut off 20 minutes or so; the movie keeps you interested from start to finish. Things like the ring and the elf characters come to mind as highlights.

Martin Freeman as Bilbo is once again incredibly good, a man never more perfectly cast. Some of the best moments are Freeman’s genius reactions to situations and we just needed more of it. Other people to note are Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug; as the chemistry between the two Sherlock stars just shines through. Ian Mckellen is of course brilliant and another character who we didn’t see enough off. Everyone one else was fine; a nice touch from old man Orlando Bloom and Evangeline Lily as the love interest really surprised me, because she was sometimes poor in Lost.

What sells this film, like the first one. is just the ability to sit back and just enjoy the action. Peter Jackson is a master of CG; creating some of the best set pieces cinema has ever seen. The section when they’re flowing down the river in barrels is just superb. Visually this movie is perfect. Also, the darker tone and leveled up action is what makes this one better than the first.

Peter Jackson manages to entertain and amaze for another 3 hours – 4.5/5

WATCH.

Grand Theft Auto 5 – Game Review

Potentially being the most anticipated video game of all time, and on on the verge of being the best selling video game of all time, GTA V has a lot to live up to. Let’s break it down.

Starting off with how the game looks should be simple enough. It looks freaking awesome! Ok, so it’s not as visually outstanding as the high powered PC’s dev kit’s that it ran on in the trailer, but on current gen consoles, it’s pretty unbelievable. It actually looks fairly real and detailed, however that’s not the big selling point when it comes to visuals in GTA. It’s the world. The world that Rockstar have created is just mind blowing, as it’s not only huge but incredibly in depth at each part of San Andreas. The world has it’s own government, social network sites, clothing lines etc, it’s a whole new planet Earth whilst keeping in tune with reality. Apart from a few minor bugs and texture issues, the game is really smooth and runs quite lovely, with almost 0 loading screens. The mostly new UI is a bit of a shock to the system; though it’s a definite improvement from the previous titles. Oh, and let’s not forget about the always brilliant radio and soundtrack system.

Aha! The gameplay! I feel like in the past, the gameplay for a GTA game has been quite predictable and often boring, especially in GTA IV. However, I feel like Rockstar have finally nailed it gameplay wise; mixing daft missions with really intense ones. The RPG elements are back and actually work well and make perfect sense. It is quite obvious to me that if my driving is low, i.e Trevor, then I struggle; when it’s high, i.e Franklin, it’s so much easier. Everything from previous games has been improved. The driving feels much more controlled, the shooting is far more balanced and the wanted situation is just moved on to a whole nother’ level. It’s quite crazy to be honest. And going back to the core missions, there all really fun and challenging, your not invincible and will have to try missions again.  You probably won’t get frustrated though, thanks to the new checkpoint system and the fact you can at last skip missions. The heists’ are genius, from picking your guys, to telling fools to get the fuck on the ground! What’s really good about the GTA gameplay though, is once more the world it’s self. You can rob convenience stores, buy property’s and business’, upgrade weapons, modify cars and most of all – play Golf.

To the Story! Each character has their own interesting and diverse plot line, and it’s written really really good. I feel like I know these 3 guys back to front and there all individually impressive. Of course, Trevor is the best. The way the 3 protagonist’s meet up is cool and their main goals are cool as well. Honestly though, it’s not about what they do, it’s what they say. You hang on every word, wait to laugh or be shocked, it really is a masterpiece. A very unique and intriguing story that will get you hooked.

I’ll save the multiplayer for later.

4.5/5 – For me, it’s all about the new and near perfect gameplay mechanics a long side just unreal character writing that get it up to that score. Yes, the game is nice looking and yes the plot is fantastic. However the way the characters are portrayed and the way the game plays is something we have never seen before.

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