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Kingsman: The Secret Service – Review

Kingsman

Matthew Vaughn is no stranger to throwing out the moral compass following outings with Kick-Ass and Layer Cake as well as assisting Guy Ritchie on Snatch and Lock Stock. It’s no surprise therefore that his latest instalment, Kingsman: The Secret Service, is just as captivatingly violent and shocking.

Kingsman follows the story of a secret spy organisation (if the title hadn’t given that away). Harry Hart (Colin Firth) plays the Roger Moore Bond-esque Kingsman agent and, much like the traditional 007 franchise, oozes class and swagger. He takes Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), a troubled council homed youngster, under his wing in order to teach him how to become a gentleman and a secret agent.

Meanwhile, Harry is investigating the intentions of Richmond Valentine (Samuel Jackson’s lisping villain) who has his own concept of “saving” the world.

Even the biggest 007 enthusiasts will admit that the modern Bournification of James Bond is missing the charm and cheek, as well as a host of gadgets that once upon a time it was famous for. Well Kingsman more than makes up for that, with the added ingredients of foul language and entertaining violence thanks to Vaughn’s twist.

Kingsman is also backed with a strong, mainly British based cast. Watching Firth, you can’t help but think he’s been itching for this type of role for years and he seems to thrive immensely. His right hand man, Egerton, holds his own alongside some big names and fits perfectly into the Hit-Girl type role with a grace of cheek and charm. Michael Caine plays the head of the spy organisation, while Mark Strong also features.

Kingsman is no world-beater but it’s a seriously fun, typically explosive Vaughn movie. It’s a refreshing and unique take on the spy genre and one that is well worth being shocked by.

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Interstellar – Review

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Interstellar is by far Christopher Nolan’s most ambitious film to date. This bold and risky venture sees him take on the equation of space exploration and the results are typically enthralling both through the awe-inspiring spectacle on screen and the emotional value of the film. By now we are used to Nolan creating magic in front of our eyes whilst tugging on our heartstrings and Interstellar is no different in that respect. Not quite living up to the quality of Inception or the Batman trilogy, Interstellar still mesmerises in the way only Nolan knows how.

Set in the future of the dystopian variety (is there any other?), Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a former test pilot and widower, living with his father-in-law (Jon Lithgow) and looking after his two children Tom and Murph.

The latter, at the age of 10, is a rebel in a school that does not believe in the teachings of space exploration.

After a series of clues lead Coop and Murph to the remaining traces of NASA, they bump into Coop’s old boss Professor Brand (Michael Caine). After much persuasion, it is decided that Coop will be flying a team into space in search of a new home away from Earth, leaving behind his two children – possibly forever.

The Endurance ship consists of Brand’s daughter Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley. Along for the ride are ex-military robots TARS and CASE.

Upon their travels is when the wow factor kicks in for Interstellar. Planets consisting of mountain sized tidal waves and giant ice structures are typical of Nolan and his team’s ambition for grand scenery.

Rules of time and space lead to the introduction of the grown up Tom (Casey Affleck) and Murph (Jessica Chastain), now working under Professor Brand at NASA.

The trio of McConaughey, Chastain and Mackenzie Foy (playing the young Murph) absolutely steal the show alongside the striking set pieces. Nolan follows the family trend that has run through many of his films and both McConaughey and Foy in the opening third of the film create some powerful chemistry as she fights to convince him to stay on Earth. On top of that, Chastain is cast perfectly for the role of the strong and stubborn but smart grown up version of Coop’s daughter.

Nolan does brilliantly to fuse the love and emotion in tandem with the inducing spectacle he has painted before you. In fact, some of the best scenes are of the touching variety, when McConaughey is saying goodbye to Murph in particular. This is no surprise though; Nolan has made a habit of it by now. Take Inception, the final scene of Cobb arriving home is arguably the best of the film. Hans Zimmer should also be credited for again complimenting Nolan’s sights with another powerful score.

Interstellar is not without it’s flaws. At times the storyline is slightly disfigured and the amount of times the crew on board The Endurance discuss an issue or theory that they surely would have discussed before they left Earth is slightly unwarranted. TARS and CASE also pose two frustrating and perhaps unnecessary characters – almost the Jar Jar Binks’ of Interstellar.

For a film of nearly three hours, you can’t help but feel that the some of “the science chat” could be excluded. As an audience, our lack of scientific knowledge and know-how allows Nolan to experiment with Interstellar and it seems that any waffle that the characters say that sounds ‘scienc-ey’ is therefore believable. We don’t understand, but why should we?

Interstellar is certainly not Nolan’s best creation but is without a doubt his most ambitious to date. The risks of such a grand feat don’t always come off for him but he still manages to lay his foundations and Interstellar still proves to be a must-see epic that is literally out of this world.

 

Now You See Me – Review

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Now You See Me sees four magicians with individual skill sets brought together by a mysterious superior who sets them up for three elaborate crimes which involve stealing mass amounts of money from various sources.

The group are labelled as the Four Horsemen and consist of Jesse Eisenburg’s cocky illusionist and his former assistant stuntwoman Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson’s mind reader and Dave Franco’s slide of the hand trickster.

Whilst the magicians are busy tricking their way into bank vaults and accounts, tough guy cop Mark Ruffalo, alongside Melanie Laurent, struggle to bring them to justice despite additional help from a professional magic trick exploiter (Morgan Freeman).

For much of the feature, Now You See Me offers mass entertainment from the tricks being played out in front of your eyes to the thrilling cat and mouse chases. In addition, the highly impressive cast offer a strong comical and engaging dialogue. However, where the film disappoints is the lack of a strong finish, leaving you with a promising twist but also a complicated, flat finale. What’s more is the over elaborate special effects where the film tries too hard to impress on a visual scale. As a result, a promising story line with an impressive cast is somewhat ruined by a very weak ending. Now You See Me certainly has its moments of wonder and entertainment, but lacks a spell binding edge to make it anything more than a good watch.

7/10 #WebbersRatings