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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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Movie Review

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Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

I love the Hunger Games books, and I’ve read each of them several times, and Catching Fire is by far my favourite. So safe to say expectations were high…

Let me start of by saying that this is a huge step up from the first one. Which makes sense, because the whole story has just far more to it. The original concept was cool, but it wasn’t fleshed out enough. In Catching Fire, they bring it out of its shell so much more than before and a lot of times, it’s hard to tell its a sequel. The back story of the districts and difference to the capital is just far better.

You can feel the rebellion as the movie goes on, the slight tremors here and there. Which is down to director Francis Lawrence, who has made the film very smooth. Also, it’s very smart and slickly edited, like the first, but like I said earlier, just a step up.

Similarly to the first one, the actual games isn’t the main stage of the film. Which is good, because it almost comes out of nowhere and fills you with excitement thank to the catchy action segments. However, most of it is pretty generic and boring; and the highlight is everything before the games. Not to say it isn’t exhilarating for a while.

The screenplay for me was very hit and miss. For the most part, it was solid and built with enough meaning that it made sense. However there’s writing that just falls flat and comes across very out of place. Also, I think that the writers don’t like Josh Hutcherson and deal him with the worst lines known to man, and make him so un-like-able.

As far as acting goes; Jennifer Lawrence is excellent of course and has so much strength in the lead role. Like I said, I don’t like Josh Hutcherson in this movie, he’s just so empty and un-like-able. Who I did love was Philip Seymour Hoffman, as a great character Plutarch Heavensbee, as he’s the most interesting and coolest guy on earth. Everyone else from the original cast is also very solid and Stanley Tucci is his small role is just good fun to watch. Oh, and Finnick is my favourite character in a book from like anything, so Sam Claflin could do no wrong in the role.

If you put away the inconsistent writing, this movie is very entertaining. And will drive fans crazy (in a good way) which I think is the whole point. Be entertaining for the majority and bring the source material to light for the fans. That happens in the final act, as if you haven’t read the books, you’ll be like ‘What the flying cats is going on?!’.

Despite the odd writing error and games boredom, this is more interesting and expansive than the first, whilst still staying entertaining. – 4/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1951264/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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Her – Film Review

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A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased operating system that’s designed to meet his every need.

Let’s all remember Spike Jonze made ‘Being John Malkovich’; which was mental. And so is Her.

An interesting and original plot-line to say the least. A man who falls in love with his computer? Lovely. This is really good though, because it’s a nice change of pace from what we usually see, and it actually is really really interesting. The whole idea of the wide scope of modern relationships is really cool and delivered well.

It’s just, for a long time, it’s kinda dull. For a lot of the film, I found my mind wandering to other places, which defies the whole point of the film. I don’t really like the pacing, its awfully slow at times and just seems to repeat itself. This is all purposeful of course, but I can’t let Spike of on this one, as much as I love him.

However, this was the most beautiful film of 2014. It really is wonderfully shot, and the colours and lighting are excellent. Spike Jonze has managed to create a superb and subtle future world, that is every bit realistic. Jonze has also managed to craft together a solid screenplay that is at times quite thought provoking.

The director is the star here, but I think Joaquin Phoenix does a sterling job, and is very sweet and like-able; but he’s good in everything. I think Amy Adams was underused here; though still very good. And Scarlett Johansson’s voice is also very good and she does well in the key role of the film.

Even though dull at times; Spike Jonze does an excellent job of making this both interesting and beautiful. – 4/5

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1798709/

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American Hustle – Film Review

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A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild FBI agent, Richie DiMaso. DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.

I was really looking forward to this one; ever since I saw the trailer. However I think I was expecting something completely different…

The film is pretty slow for most of the time. In fact in the first hour, not a lot happens. It feels very much like a dazed romance most of the time, which wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s not boring or anything, it just doesn’t take off until when into the run; and even when that does happen, its not much off a take off. Luckily, it’s the introduction of a surprise character that keeps you interested and the movie doesn’t completely lose you.

The cast here is impeccable. Every single member of the cast is on the top of their game. There all showing a wide range, especially Christian Bale who has transformed into a different guy again. I was particularly impressed with Jennifer Lawrence who is hilarious in this film and by far the highlight for me.

Talking of hilarious, that’s what this film is. It surprised me, but unlike the slow pace, it was a good surprise. Writer’s Eric Singer and David O’ Russel do a great job of creating easily mocked characters; that are just naturally funny.

O’ Russel’s direction is irresistible in this film, and without it, I might have fell asleep. He does more than enough to save the often flat plot line with some genius moments behind the camera. And, don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t bad – it’s actually really good. It’s just, apart from a few moments, it lacks any finesse.

The impeccable cast and a superb O’ Russel direction style save this movie from nothingness. – 4/5.

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1800241/

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – Movie Review

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With the 70s behind him, San Diego’s top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy, returns to take New York’s first 24-hour news channel by storm.

I thought the original Anchorman was funny, not the funniest film ever, but funny. I’ve only ever seen it once, so I’m not one of these huge die hard fans. Also, the Will Ferrell crowd isn’t my favourite click of comedy actors; I was still excited for this movie though.

Don’t go into this film looking for a dynamic plot. It’s mostly formulaic and obvious and often takes dips which don’t make sense. You will be laughing non stop for the first 45 minutes or so, then you’ll stop for half an hour. before laughing until the end. This movie is hilarious and in my opinion funny than the first, but there’s segment in this film when a lot of the jokes fall flat and the cinema was silent a lot of the time. Honestly, the movie is slightly too long and you could could out 30 minutes or so, and if you’ve seen the film, it’s probably not the bit your thinking of. I like the dive and twist to the story and even though it seemed to be written just for one joke, that’s what made it funnier. The end is also absolutely mental.

Will Ferrell is great in this movie and obviously the star behind the writing and the main direction of the movie, which you can tell, because it’s bizarre. Everyone else is good enough and most importantly hilariously funny. A stand out is Steve Carrell as Brick; he has some of the best lines in the whole movie and you will laugh every-time he’s speaking.

This movie is just an extremely funny film and such an enjoyable one. And that’s all it needs to be. Some of the memorable moments is the shark song or anything Brick says or does. There’s plenty of surprises in there and towards the end you will think this is one of the most crazy films of the year. The only faults I can give it is that there’s a bit too much content and they try to hard sometimes.

A very self-aware film that will having you laughing like crazy, just not from start to end – 4/5

WATCH.

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229340/

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Gravity – Movie Review

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A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.

Alfonso Cuaron is one of my favourite directors, and has been since he directed my favourite Potter film (Prisoner of Askaban). He takes risks as a filmmaker and isn’t scared to try something new, Gravity is pretty much that.

For most of the movie, it revolves around one character – Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) who is developed well enough, and developed in a subtle way; which makes a nice change. She’s a good character to root for, but it was a shame to not to see some other characters throughout. I feel like a tale like this is best told with some friendly back up. And those are the best parts of the movie, when there’s someone else around. I loved George Clooney in this movie and his humor and like-ability shine through in the greater moments of this film.

And that’s my problem with this picture, I find it gets a little dull after Clooney leaves. It becomes more of character examination rather than a thrilling ride. Don’t get me wrong I like the ending but after the beginning, the film just didn’t amaze me anymore. This movie would have been perfect for me, if all it was was Clooney making a joke and then Bullock spinning around on some sort of pole for 90 minutes. Maybe that’s me being an idiot.

Acting, of course here is great. Like I said Clooney is wonderful and Bullock is good too, having a realistic and emotional portrayal here. Cuaron for me, is the star though, he manages to create a sense of fear and suspense that we probably haven’t see since Alien. He has easily created the most intense but real space movie with some of the best visuals I have ever seen. Gravity is a film that will quite honestly scare the shit out of you without throwing a big evil monster in there.

Gravity has a tired narrative, but you just can’t take your eyes of it. – 4/5

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The Way Way Back – Film Review

Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park…

I love this type of film. Not the whole cliched ‘Coming of Age’ thing, just a good simple film. And this is just that. The story is not all that original but is definite star with its execution. The film is brilliantly written, being both sharp and witty. Also, the camera work here is actually pretty flashy considering the theme and there is a surprising amount of solid shots and edits.

What makes this film what it is, however, is the characters and how they’re played. Steve Carell as the douche-bag ‘moms boyfriend’ is great and something we rarely see from him. The rest of the supporting adult cast are fine and Allison Janney really is quite funny towards the start of the film. The younger people in this picture are also really good and play there stereotypes perfectly; with a strong chemistry between Liam James (Duncan) and AnnaSophia Robb (Susanna). The guy who steals the show of course, is Sam Rockwell as Owen, and this is yet another movie that he makes. Backed up by good writing, Rockwell is humorous, physical and able to switch into more dramatic emotion in a heartbeat.

This film has a lovely soft romantic feel brushed over it, which is often my favourite part in any film. It’s heartwarming, engaging and laugh out loud funny on the odd occasion. It flies by, and apart from the obvious the plot lines and the cringe moments every now and again, you won’t want the film to end.

The Way Way Back is beautifully written and acted – 4/5

WATCH.