Month: May 2014

What to Watch – Summer 2014

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Summer is well underway and along with it comes a host of promising movies. Here is my list of what to look out for on the big screen in the next few months:

Edge of Tomorrow – 30th May

Yes, it’s Tom Cruise in another sci-fi action movie, which will inevitably pass us by without making too much noise. But dare I say this one looks rather exciting. Groundhog Day style, Edge of Tomorrow is about a soldier in the middle of a war fighting aliens, who finds himself in a time loop, repeating his last day of battle. Emily Blunt also features.

22 Jump Street – 6th June

Everyone’s favourite cop duo is back for another chaotic outing. Like most comedy sequels, the story line is exactly the same only this time, instead of going undercover as high school students; they’re going to college. Laughs a plenty guaranteed with Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill returning in the 80s television show remake.

Fruitvale Station – 6th June

Michael B Jordan, best known for his role in That Awkward Moment stars in the true story of Oscar Grant III. When a 22 year old decides upon his resolutions on New Years Eve of 2008, he discovers that may be trickier than he originally anticipated. Ryan Coogler directs this touching drama.

3 Days to Kill – 20th June

In his recent resurgence, Kevin Costner stars as a dying CIA agent, offered a drug, which could potentially save his life, provided he completes one last assignment. Charlie’s Angels’ director McG could do with a decent action movie on his CV.

The Art of the Steal – 20th June

Another crime caper is on the way with Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon and Jay Baruchel all starring in The Art of the Steal. A former art thief decides to pull off one last heist, reassembling his old team, but conflict with his brother takes their plans in opposite directions.

Jersey Boys – 20th June

Jersey Boys is the musical biography of 1960s rock group, The Four Seasons. Four young men born and bred into difficult situations team up, and this film looks at their rise, their troubles, their conflicts and ultimately their musical success. Directed by Clint Eastwood.

Chef – 25th June

Jon Favreau directs, writes and stars in this comedy about a chef who loses his restaurant job and decides to open his own food truck in order to show his talents. Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jnr and Scarlett Johansson complete an all-star cast for this tasteful comedy.

Transformers: Age of Extinction – 10th July

Love him or hate him, Michael Bay returns to his unending Transformers series without fall out Shia LeBeouf. This time Mark Wahlberg is the one to initiate robot war on earth when the automobile engineer discovers a Transformer of his own. Nicola Peltz stars as Wahlberg’s daughter and the hot female lead Bay just can’t help but exploit in his movies. Nevertheless, his Transformers films are easy action watches and this should be no different.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 18th July

I only recently watched the prequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and I was pleasantly surprised. That, and the trailer are the reasons why I’m excited to see some apes on the big screen. This evolving race of apes struggle to come to peace with the humans, always hanging on the brink of a war that could determine Earth’s dominant race. Gary Oldman stars with Andy Serkis portraying Caesar, leader of the Apes.

The Inbetweeners 2 – 8th August

The boys are back! This time reuniting for another lads holiday in Australia. Little information has been released, but the teaser trailer has, reminding us all of why we love Will, Jay, Simon and Neil. Fire Wankers!

Let’s Be Cops – 27th August

New Girl’s Jake Johnson and Happy Endings’ Damon Wayans Jnr star in this 21/22 Jump Street wannabe. Two friends dress up as cops for a costume party and slowly get lost in their uniforms, getting involved in real life criminal situations and ultimately big trouble. Luke Greenfield, the man behind The Animal and The Girl Next Door directs in this caper.

Sex Tape – 3rd September

This may look like another from Cameron Diaz to get her kit off and show us she looks half her age, but Sex Tape should prove to be an easy, fun watch. Herself and her partner, played by Jason Segal are a couple who one morning wake up, frantically looking for the lost recording of their passions in the bedroom from the night before. Don’t expect fireworks or any morale high ground, but just some punchy wit from the director of Bad Teacher, Jake Kasdan.

Wish I Was Here – 19th September

Ten years since directing Garden State, Scrubs star Zach Braff returns with Wish I Was Here. The story is of a 35-year-old failure, desperately seeking a purpose to his life. When he can no longer afford to pay for the schooling of his children, he is forced to home school them, teaching them about life from his perspective where he slowly begins to discover himself.

The Equalizer – 26th September

Antoine Fuqua has an incredibly inconsistent CV, with praise from Training Day and Shooter balanced out by, in particular, last year’s flop, Olympus Has Fallen. Nevertheless, with Denzel Washington at the head of the cast list, alongside Chloe Grace-Moretz, The Equalizer seems an exciting project. Washington plays a former black ops commando forced to come out of retirement in order to save the life of a young girl, and ultimately coming face to face with Russian gangsters.

 

 

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Godzilla – Review

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The world has struggled to recreate the masterpiece that was Ishiro Honda’s original Godzilla since its release in 1954. Perhaps the most notable (for the wrong reasons) of all was Roland Emmerich’s 1998 flop interpretation of the most famous fictional monster.

British director Gareth Edwards is the latest to take on the huge task of a huge creature with his first and only previous directing experience coming in the 2010 critically acclaimed, Monsters. Appropriately, his next project is to take on the biggest monster of them all.

Edwards decides upon a slightly tweaked back-story. In 1999, Fukushima nuclear plant in Tokyo suffers an unexplained earthquake in which scientist Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) loses his wife. For the next 15 years we learn that he has been seeking an official explanation for the disaster, trespassing into quarantined areas to find clues.

His son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is a bomb disposal marine, living in San Francisco with his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and their child. After hearing that his father has again been arrested for his curiosity, Ford travels to Tokyo to put a stop to his Dad’s incessant actions. Upon his visit, he is convinced to help his father, resulting in them both getting caught. However, this time they get answers as they are taken to a top-secret plant where they discover a MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), kept there as it feeds on the atomic energy of the disaster from 15 years ago.

After attempting shutting it down, the MUTO awakens and escapes, destroying everything in its path, searching for a second MUTO, a female for which to mate with, residing in Nevada. With the might of the US army attempting and failing to down the MUTOs, only one thing can save them now according to scientist Ken Watanabe and side kick Sally Hawkins. Cue Godzilla, backing up the best line of the movie delivered by Watanabe, “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around.” Humans merely step aside in the final act of the film as these three giants do battle in the heart of San Francisco.

The toughest task of a film in which the main character is a monster, is trying to evade complete demolition, bypassing any human element, expertly demonstrated by Emmerich in 1998. Instead, Edwards’ uses both Brody’s as the centre of attention. It’s a shame therefore that Cranston is so wasted, as his moments in the opening half hour are by far the most powerful and touching in the entire movie. Perhaps this was a case of moving the film’s attention to the monster of the hour.

The film looks incredible. CGI can often be misused but in Godzilla, the beast looks magnificent in its appearance and motion, escaping its recent dinosaur esque image and returning to the original 1954 routes, another feature suggesting Edwards’ love for the beast. Even more impressive and exhilarating is the noise – the roar of Godzilla in particular is spine tingling. It is epic in every sense of the word and a remake well worthy of its legend.

DVD Review – That Awkward Moment

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That Awkward Moment is one of those typically unbelievable rom-coms involving pretty people, unrealistic lifestyles and incredibly vile and crass sexual morals. Nevertheless, its witty script from debut director/writer Tom Gormican makes it a watchable feel-good comedy.

Zac Efron heads a trio of friends who all decide to refrain from dating when one of them faces a divorce. Unfortunately, this comes at a time when all three suddenly find themselves on the brink of a relationship and facing the inevitable question “so…where is this going?”

Efron plays Jason with Michael B Jordan and Miles Teller playing pals Mikey and Daniel. Imogen Poots plays Ellie – Jason’s love interest and completes a charming cast full of talent and potential.

This type of film therefore may act as a black mark on their careers because That Awkward Moment’s attitude towards relationships is incredibly shallow. Efron suggested that the movie was a rare case of the male perspective of sex and relationships yet unfortunately, it doesn’t do the male species any favours given the attitudes presented.

The film lacks any emotional value when things turn bleak for the lads and concentrates more of making crude sexual jokes and making girls fall in love with guys who accuse them of being a hooker. A male version of Sex and the City would be a fair and accurate valuation of this film and that is by no means a compliment.

Luckily, what That Awkward Moment does possess is a well-written script full of quick wit ready for a cast capable of delivering them perfectly on camera. Gormican can certainly take pride in that fact and the banter between the three friends can easily be related to by much of the audience.

That Awkward Moment is absolutely nothing special. It’s a poor reflection of real life scenarios, but it is an easy watch and provides plenty of lightweight laughs, never taking itself too seriously.

6/10

Out on DVD 2nd June

Bad Neighbours – Review

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This is one of those films where you can imagine the script meeting being just as funny as the end product. Seth Rogen and Zac Efron deliver a cascade of laughs in Bad Neighbours or Bad Neighbors or as it is titled across the pond, simply Neighbors. Despite sharing a name with an Australian soap opera, Bad Neighbours is grotesque, vile and smutty in typical Rogen fashion.

Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) are a young married couple accompanied with a newly born baby. We first meet the couple during a sexual encounter, which has become a rare occurrence since the newborn arrived. Their social life has also taken a hit and we understand the difficult adjustments the couple have to make since they were greeted with their baby.

Lo and behold, new neighbours arrive. But it’s not the friendly typical American family that are moving in. No, instead a fraternity pull up in removal trucks and immediately begin to mark their territory. Naturally as concerned parents, the couple greet lead frat brothers Teddy (Efron) and Pete (Dave Franco) by asking them to keep the noise down. Instead, Mac and Kelly join in the magic mushroom fuelled party antics and begin bonding with their new neighbours.

One night however, things turn sour. The fraternity aren’t turning down the noise, and despite promising Teddy he would never call the police, Mac does just that, sparking war with the frat brothers. What proceeds is all out comedy chaos with Home Alone-esque pranks between the two parties.

Each character has plenty of comedy to offer with Rogen at the helm. But Efron is smartly casted as the lead frat brother, proving his comical versatility following this year’s early offering, That Awkward Moment. Alongside Franco, the pair fit the contemporary brotherhood role perfectly. Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Lisa Kudrow also offer a number of chuckles during their cameos whilst Byrne too produces a number of gross-out, yet laugh out loud moments. Director Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) certainly fits Bad Neighbours into the same category as his previously outrageous products.

The script generates some brilliant lines throughout, consistently keeping the audience, which has a huge age range, chuckling and engrossed. Rogen in particular has some typically funny, yet seemingly improvised jokes to crack, which is why he is currently classed as one of the wittiest movie stars in the business at present.

The Monuments Men – Review

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The Monuments Men is rather a tough film to understand. Not because of the storyline but because it struggles to decide what kind of movie it wants to be. This Second World War caper maintains a comedic element throughout which makes it difficult to take its subject matter seriously enough.

George Clooney stars in and directs the true story of a group of old timing misfits, brought together due to their love of art. This unique band of brothers are sent into the heart of battle in order to prevent the Nazis from stealing and ultimately destroying some of the world’s most famous pieces of art. This all towards the end of the war, which means the Nazis have almost admitted defeat, adding more incentive to demolish culture’s finest products.

Clooney has already proved himself in the director’s chair with successful outings in The Ides of March and Good Night, and Good Luck. However, where these films both had a true thought provoking backbone behind them, The Monuments Men struggles to pick apart its audience’s brains. This may partly be down to the film’s mighty cast including Clooney himself, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban and Jean Dujardin. Add in recent Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Brit Hugh Bonneville, this is a cast with a wealth of experience and talent. Yet the film struggles to get the best out of any of them and this therefore makes it difficult to fully engage with any of the characters and ultimately the story.

The Monuments Men will make you laugh and it will also sadden you. And right here is it’s primary downfall. The film fails to set a tone and passes you by without making any real impact, which is a shame, as the storyline of such an epic tale is really not done justice.

In it’s defence, the film is clever and quirky and the vast array of World War II scene locations are beautiful and extremely detailed.

The Monuments Men had all the ingredients to produce a great piece of film, but in an attempt to stretch to a more mainstream audience, it backfires and is anything but monumental. It’s attempts to balance the comedy and drama fail and the audience are left unattached and unengaged.

6/10