What I’m Watching – May 2014

This list only includes films I watched for the first time this month. My most recent viewing is the top entry.

The Armstrong Lie (Dir: Alex Gibney, 2013) ****

The Green Hornet (Dir: Michel Gondry, 2011) **

Tower Heist (Dir: Brett Ratner, 2011) ***

Maleficent (Dir: Robert Stromberg, 2014) ***

Godzilla (Dir: Gareth Edwards, 2014) **

Lone Survivor (Dir: Peter Berg, 2013) ****

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (Dir: Bryan Singer, 2014) ****

Pitch Perfect (Dir: Jason Moore, 2012) ****

Much Ado About Nothing (Dir: Joss Whedon, 2012) ***

RoboCop (Dir: José Padilha, 2014) **

Chef (Dir: Jon Favreau, 2014) ****

Don Jon (Dir: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 2013) ****

Grudge Match (Dir: Peter Segal, 2013) *

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Sonnet Review

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Oh Spider that doth fall from out the sky,
Your death-defying leaps make Gwen go faint.
I really loved this film, I’ll tell you why,
It’s mainly because Cap 2 this film ain’t.
Forgive me while I change to sonnet form,
But Marc Webb’s sequel takes things to new heights.
He guarantees to Parker you will warm,
And fear for him when Foxx turns out the lights.
There may be lots of villains but relax,
Harry is the man, DeHaan’s a wonder.
The gang don’t overcrowd to dubstep tracks,
Webb did well to steer from that big blunder.
With Matrix action and the humour nailed,
Part 2 defies the fact it could have failed.

Verdict: 5/5

Not Quite A Haiku Review: The Raid 2 (2014)

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In life outside the block,
Everything is bigger but just as intense.
We’re back in Jakarta, bitches.

Fists, hammers, guns, glass, baseballs.
Nicolas Winding Refn wishes he made this.
Try keeping your mouth shut…

Choreographed beyond actual human comprehension,
‘Are you not entertained?!’ Gareth Evans cries?
Punch walls – they don’t retaliate.

‘Berandal’ means ‘badass’ or ‘scoundrel’.
Suck it up, don’t fuck it up.
Indonesian police corruption really blows.

My favourite film of 2014,
Soz McQueen, this is my new jam.
GO ON RAMA, MY SON!

VERDICT: 5/5

Theatre Review: Let The Right One In

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***THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED OVER AT HEYUGUYS ON 8TH APRIL, HERE***

When the Apollo Theatre’s roof partially collapsed last December, the Olivier Award-winning Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time had to up sticks and chase its tail elsewhere. Fast-forward four months and that same roof is very much at the forefront of your mind, but for completely different reasons. For if you gaze up to the Gods in Shaftesbury Avenue, you will be greeted by the moon and night sky; an ingenious and eerie mantle for this haunting production from the National Theatre Of Scotland.

After a sold-out run at The Royal Court, Let The Right One In reopens the Apollo with the kind of underplayed emotion that hits you right in the gut. Based on the Swedish novel and film of the same name, those familiar with the source material may constantly feel a step ahead of proceedings, but this is never an issue when taking place in a parallel world to its cinematic cousin. Seamlessly swapping Sweden for Scotland, the Scandinavian monikers remain, but central figures Eli and Oskar find their journeys fleshed out to great effect in Jack Thorne’s superb stage adaptation. Continue reading

Review: Calvary (2014)

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***THIS REVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED OVER AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON 10TH APRIL, HERE***

Director: John Michael McDonagh.

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly, Chris O’Dowd, Dylan Moran, Aidan Gillen, David Wilmot, Orla O’Rourke, Killian Scott, Isaach De Bankole, M. Emmet Walsh, Marie-Josée Croze, Owen Sharpe, Domhnall Gleeson.

Running Time: 100 minutes.

Certificate: 15.

Synopsis: A normal day in the parish turns into a week of second-guessing and paranoia as a kind, genuine priest’s life is threatened by an unknown member of his congregation.

Sea, sand and serial killers. You’ve got to love the Irish coast. John Michael McDonagh returns after a three-year hiatus, once again penning and directing an Irish-set black comedy starring Brendan Gleeson. Considerably darker than previous effort, THE GUARD, McDonagh has written an allegoric, hard-hitting piece that isn’t afraid to point fingers at the place in which its lead character finds sanctuary – the Church.

Opening to the claustrophobic refuge of confession, we meet Father James Lavelle, the local priest. It may seem an unremarkable location for Gleeson’s character to start his cinematic journey, but the revelations soon turn sour as the person bearing his soul and atoning for his sins tells the man of the cloth that he’s going to kill him. In seven days. Better start making your peace, then, Father. Continue reading

What I’m Watching – April 2014

This list only includes films I watched for the first time this month. My most recent viewing is the top entry.

Point Break (Dir: Kathryn Bigelow, 1991) *****

Plastic (Dir: Julian Gilbey, 2014) **

Short Term 12 (Dir: Destin Cretton, 2013) *****

The One I Love (Dir: Charlie McDowell, 2014) ****

Blue Ruin (Dir: Jeremy Saulnier, 2013) ****

The Case Against 8 (Dir: Ben Cotner, Ryan White, 2014) ***

Obvious Child (Dir: Gillian Robespierre, 2014) ***

Dinosaur 13 (Dir: Todd Douglas Miller, 2014) ***

Finding Fela! (Dir: Alex Gibney, 2014) ****

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (Dir: David Zellner, 2014) ***

EDC 2013: Under The Electric Sky (Dir: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, 2014) **

Frank (Dir: Lenny Abrahamson, 2014) ****

The Voices (Dir: Marjane Satrapi, 2014) ****

Fruitvale Station (Dir: Ryan Coogler, 2013) ****

Little Accidents (Dir: Sara Colangelo, 2014) ***

Hamlet 2 (Dir: Andrew Fleming, 2008) **

The Boat That Rocked (Dir: Richard Curtis, 2009) ***

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Dir: Marc Webb, 2014) *****

Your Sister’s Sister (Dir: Lynn Shelton, 2011) ****

Mr. Nobody (Dir: Jaco Van Dormael, 2009) ****

Cracks (Dir: Jordan Scott, 2009) ***

The Double (Dir: Richard Ayoade, 2013) *****

After The Night (Até Ver A Luz) (Dir: Basil Da Cunha, 2013) ***

Review: Divergent (2014)

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***THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OVER AT THE HOLLYWOOD NEWS ON APRIL 3RD, HERE***

Director: Neil Burger.

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Christian Madsen, Ansel Elgort, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Tony Goldwyn, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson.

Running Time: 139 minutes.

Certificate: 12A.

SynopsisBeatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives in a dystopian Chicago where society is divided into factions dependent on personality. When she turns sixteen, she must choose whether to stay within Abnegation for the rest of her life, or live with another faction she believes is right for her. But Beatrice is keeping a secret that puts her life – and that of her family – in serious danger.

It’s incredibly unfair to compare DIVERGENT to the YA (that’s ‘Young Adult’, to those not in the literary loop) adaptations that have come before it. But it’s almost impossible not to. Boasting a central love story, action scenes and a futuristic setting, it is considerably less saccharine than TWILIGHT, less violent than THE HUNGER GAMES and less futuristic than ENDER’S GAME. But, perhaps the most easily accessible when feeling far more of this world, it finds itself sitting rather comfortably amongst the bunch.

Opening to Beatrice’s narration (apparently a necessary YA trope), we are swiftly introduced to each of the five factions – Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave) and Erudite (intelligent). Born into Abnegation, her family lead a modest life focused on helping the Factionless – homeless wanderers who didn’t make the grade elsewhere – and surviving on a low-calorie diet most Hollywood stars would be proud of. Continue reading