Month: December 2016

Why Him? – Review


Christmas time usually gets me thinking about the best and worst films of the year. The indifferent 2016 has produced some ground-breaking movies, but as with every year, it has come with some casualties. Why Him?, the comedy starring Bryan Cranston and James Franco potentially is the worst of the worst.The story follows the Fleming family who decide to spend the holidays visiting their daughter at college. They’re in for a shock however, when they discover that she has been secretly dating a Silicon Valley billionaire, Laird (James Franco), who has a wild edge – tattoos, distasteful language and sexually charged.

While the family slowly begin to come around to Laird, Ned (Bryan Cranston), the father, is struggling to be convinced and the pair create a calamity fuelled grudge match throughout the majority of the film. This all following the announcement of Laird’s intentions to marry Ned’s daughter, Stephanie (Zoey Deutch).

It’s easy to be overly critical of these movies – the kind of which that don’t take themselves too seriously and only exist for a few laughs. That said, when the film just isn’t funny at all and is forcing laughs out of its audience, then there’s a problem. The concerning issue is that this film was co-written by the usually reliably comical Jonah Hill and the man responsible for both Zoolander movies, John Hamburg (who also directs).

The role just isn’t right for James Franco, who in recent years has been overshadowed by his funnier younger brother Dave. More upsettingly however is the inclusion of the screen legend that is Bryan Cranston. It begs the question as to what convinced him to want to be a part of this movie with such a glowing CV behind him.

It’s difficult to find any positives to come out of this movie. There are perhaps a couple of promising cameos from the likes of Keegan-Michael Key and Adam Devine, but they’re not enough to make up for this epic let down of a movie, which is certain to be forgotten about in double quick time.

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What To Watch In 2017: Jan-Jun

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It’s shaping up to be a bumper year for film in 2017, with some huge new releases. Here is an insight into the most notable movies coming out in the first six months of the coming new year.

There may be some weary heads on 1st January, but the New Year also kicks off with some huge movies to cure any hangovers. From video game to the big screen, Assassin’s Creed sees Michael Fassbender play Callum Lynch, exploring the memories of his ancestor. Martin Scorcese’s latest project based in the seventeeth century, Silence, is also released on New Year’s Day, starring Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. A Monster Calls wraps up the New Years Day releases in which a boy seeks the help of a tree monster to help cope with the news of his single mother’s terminal illness.

13th January, we see Damien Chazelle’s La La Land released, teaming up Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling for this musical number being tipped for major success during awards season. Ben Affleck directs and stars in gangster flick, Live By Night, while Ben’s younger brother Casey stars in award bound, Manchester By The Sea.

Moving heavily into awards season, we see the release of Garth Davis’, Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman with young Sunny Pawar being lauded for his role. James McAvoy stars in the psychotic thriller, Split, directed by M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, Signs).

27th January is set to be a bumper weekend for new releases with Mel Gibson’s war flick, Hacksaw Ridge, musical animation from Sing, and the much anticipated release of Danny Boyle’s sequel, T2 Trainspotting, reuniting all of the characters from the 1996 original.

Once January has wetted the appetite, February kickstarts with Gold on the 3rd, starring Matthew McConaughey and Bryce Dallas Howard. A week later will see many men dragged to the cinema by their other halves to see Fifty Shades Darker, the second in the Fifty Shades series.

Will Arnett returns as Bruce Wayne in The Lego Batman Movie on the the 10th February. The 17th February sees Denzel Washington direct and star in the powerful stage to screen adaptation of Fences. Michael Keaton gets his fast food on in The Founder, while Matt Damon gears up in The Great Wall, and Keanu Reeves returns as the ruthless hitman in John Wick: Chapter 2.

February ends on the 24th with the heavily praised self discovery flick, Moonlight, while the winning combination of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg team up again for Patriots Day, based on the true events of the Boston Marathon bombings.

March opens on the 3rd with comedy Fist Fight, which sees Ice Cube and Charlie Day go head to head. It could be the last time we see Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Logan, while another comedy in Table 19, starring Anna Kendrick, is also released.

The 10th see the release of Kong: Skull Island, the latest adaptation of the ape tale, starring Tom Hiddlestone and Brie Larson and a week later sees a different kind of beast in the latest Disney live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Guy Richie’s latest project sees the feature film version of the classic King Arthur story in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. 90’s kids will rejoice at the release of Power Rangers, while Shia LeBeouf produces a powerful performance in Man Down, set to be released a week later.

The 7th April sees Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Room sensation; Jacob Tremblay star in Wonder, while a week later will see the latest edition of the series with Fast & Furious 8.

April wraps up on the 28th with the hugely anticipated release of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, following the major success of the first Marvel movie.

May 5th sees Orlando Bloom star in CIA thriller, Unlocked, while Jessica Chastain stars in the Nazi Germany drama, The Zookeeper’s Wife. A week later, Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron show off their bods in the film adaptation of the 80s TV show, Baywatch.

Michael Fassbender stars in the much antipiated return to the Alien series with Alien: Convenant, released on the 19th May, while a week later sees the release of horror sequel Annabelle 2, the film adaptation of the children’s book, Captain Underpants, and finally the latest in Disney’s Pirates series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge.

June opens on the 2nd with the latest DC release of Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. A week later sees the reprise of The Mummy, featuring Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe, while World War Z 2 is also set for release.

The 16th sees Chris Evans star in Marc Webb’s drama, Gifted, while Scarlett Johansson and Kat McKinnon feature in comedy drama, Rock That Body.

Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg team up again for the latest in the robot series, Transformers: The Last Knight, released on the 23rd, while a week later, prepare for some laughs with Despicable Me 3 and The House, starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler.

Already 2017 is shaping up to be a stupendous year for film and that’s before we’ve even explored some of the huge movies released in the second half of the year. Pick the ones you’re most looking forward to and let me know.

Please note, all release dates are UK based

My Top Christmas Movies

Christmas is only days away and along with all the food consuming and present opening, there is also lots of movie watching to do. Everyone has their own personal Christmas films that they will indulge in at this stage of the year. Here are the movies that sum up Christmas movie watching for me at this special time of year:

Love Actually

In the grand scheme of things, Love Actually probably doesn’t rank that high on the long list of brilliant Richard Curtis projects. In terms of the romcom genre, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral are way ahead.

That said, its endlessly talented cast, typical Curtis charm and general Christmas theme are just some of the reasons why Love Actually makes it on my list. It’s one of those movies that is shown on TV countless amounts of times over Christmas but it is also one you can’t help but switch on.

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Home Alone

Again, it’s another that will be abused on TV channels all over during the Christmas period but possibly the most iconic Christmas film for a generation is Home Alone. Most people won’t be able to name another movie with Macaulay Caulkin but everyone fell in love with his portrayal of Kevin in the first two Home Alone movies.

The brilliantly put together set pieces and the comedy partnership of both villains, Harry and Marv are just a couple of reasons as to what makes Home Alone such a special movie over Christmas.

Elf

Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf is one of the most popular and loveable characters when it comes to Christmas movies. It’s one of the more modern entries on my list and it is another that will make most people’s top fives.

Before Elf, we only really knew Ferrell as Mugatu from Zoolander and Frank the Tank from Old School, so Elf was a slight change of scenery for the comedy actor. Saying that, he was perfectly cast for the role of the excitable oversized elf and Jon Favreau’s holiday flick is one that will be watched by most this Christmas.

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Bad Santa

Terry Zwigoff’s Bad Santa puts a seriously dark, but humorous spin on your typical Christmas movie. Billy Bob Thornton impeccably portrays Willie, a drunken loser who makes money during the holidays by dressing up as Santa and then stealing from the shopping malls after closing hours.

Another modern entry to the list, and one that is not short of some distasteful language and themes. But perhaps it also acts as a reminder of how difficult it is for some people during the Christmas holidays.

The Night Before

The newest entry on my list comes from 50/50 director, Jonathan Levine. Like 50/50, the movie stars Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who, alongside Anthony Mackie, play three lifelong friends who on Christmas Eve, spend the night in New York City searching for the ultimate party.

It’s a typical Seth Rogan stoner comedy with a Christmas twist to it but like many of his movies, it will leave you in stitches and will certainly get you in the mood for the Christmas antics!

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Die Hard

If anyone tells you Die Hard isn’t a Christmas film, be safe in the knowledge that they are wrong and know nothing about movies…or Christmas for that matter. Not only is it one of the best Christmas films, it’s also one of the best action movies, starring one of the greatest heroes in John McClane as well as one of the greatest villains in Hans Gruber.

In fact, Die Hard is so good that they’re still looking to squeeze every last John McClane drop out of Bruce Willis. Unfortunately, the latest edition in the series is probably the end of the epic franchise but the original Die Hard movie will still be a popular selection by many during the festive period.

So there are my top Christmas films that I will undoubtedly view at some stage over the festive period. What about you? What Christmas movies will you be watching over the holidays? Let me know and of course, have a very Happy Christmas! 🎄

Dunkirk – Trailer 2

Here’s the huge new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s latest project, Dunkirk, set to be released next year.

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II – IMDB

The movie stars Tom Hardy, Cilian Murphy and Kenneth Branaugh amongst many others. It’s got all the ingredients to be another Nolan classic.

Dunkirk is set to be released 21st July 2017

Sully – Review

The story of airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is quite an extraordinary one. It’s a story made for the big screen and with Clint Eastwood directing and Tom Hanks starring as the American hero, the pair conjure up a fitting adaptation of a quite incredible tale.

On 15th January 2009, US Airlines flight 1549 took off from New York’s LaGuardia airport carrying 155 passengers traveling to Charlotte. Soon after take off, multiple bird strikes caused the plane to lose both engines, leaving captain Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) with little choice but to perform an emergency landing in the Hudson River. Miraculously, Sully managed to safely land the plane, saving everyone on board. He was ultimately dubbed a national hero.

However, there is much more to the story than first anticipated with Sully and his first officer, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), facing arduous questioning from the National Transportation Safety Board, who would investigate the emergency landing and came to a number of agreements that Sully could have in actual fact landed the plane at two different airports. All the while, Sully is having to cope with horrific envisages of what could have happened had he chosen not to land in the Hudson as well as all the media attention he was receiving.

The story is well told by Eastwood and it certainly exposes all of the difficulties that Sully was going through despite being handed this hero’s accolade. Some aspects maybe slightly sketchy – the NTSB are portrayed as some form of antagonist who actively seek to lay blame on Sully whereas the board themselves have openly voiced concerns that that was absolutely not the case.

The movie perhaps doesn’t give Hanks the flexibility to bring out his absolute best like we saw in Captain Phillips for example, but that’s more or less down to the storyline itself.

Nevertheless, with his inevitably solid performance and a workmanlike approach from Eastwood, Sully is a fitting portrayal of one of America’s true modern day heroes. One line from the movie by one of the members of the NTSB sums this miraculous story up perfectly: “That is honestly the first time I have listened to a crash recording whilst sitting with the captain and the first officer”.