Reviews

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The Love Punch

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

Emma Thompson recently slated the current cycle of 'Grey Pound' films, suggesting that there's a wider audience for films focusing on older characters. That's mostly true of her new film The Love Punch, but whether audiences of any age will bother to come along is another matter. The Love Punch focuses on a quartet of fiftysomethings and sixtysomethings - Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and ex-wife Kate (Emma Thompson) and their friends Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Penelope (Celia Imrie). When Richard's company is abruptly closed by a smarmy French businessman who runs away with their retirement fund, he and Kate head to the South of France to reclaim what's rightfully theirs. The solution: steal a precious diamond from the businessman's flighty bride-to-be and make off with it pronto. The Love Punch aims to please in an undemanding way, keeping it light, frothy and fun - but nothing more than that. Writer/director Joel Hopkins previously worked with Thompson on Last Chance Harvey, but that was a much more interesting film than this one. There's a clumsiness to the script, particularly when the quartet try to pass themselves off as a group of Texan investors: all sideburns, moustaches, big hair and bigger hats as if their only image of Texans comes from the Dallas TV series circa 1980. Attempts at adult humour appear to have been muted by the distributor, with a very noticeable edit made to get a 12A certificate. Note to distributor: the infamous substitute phrase 'melon farmer' is laughable and just draws attention to itself. Brosnan and Thompson are always watchable and they certainly spark off each very well, but one imagines they'll barely even remember this film towards the end of their careers. Audiences will most likely react in the same manner. The Love Punch is a passable timewaster, but given that there are some great films out there right now (Calvary, Locke, The Lunchbox), audiences can do better than this.

The Raid 2

Reviewed by cjudge109

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Having loved the first film, this was always going to be a must see for me. And on the big screen too. I went with a friend who hadn't seen The Raid and just as the film started, I warned him the fight scenes can be intense. From the amount of time he raised his hand to his mouth and went 'Jesus' perhaps intense was an understatement.In the same way I loved Die Hard as one man against 'the bad guys' I loved the Raid, however this was always going to be a different kind of film. I knew there was more plot and characters before I saw it and I knew some people thought it lulled in the middle. But after intense fighting scenes anything more than ten minutes without a fight scene might seem like a lull. Again as in the first film, fight scenes were beautifully shot and only afterwards I realised I had been holding my breath for some. The film takes place straight after the first film and gives a quick briefing of what went down for those who hadn't seen the predecessor. To protect his family from the fallout of the first film Rama must go uncover in prison to befriend a dangerous crime bosses son. The prison mudfest fight scene was terrific but after that there are character introductions and scenes where Rama must prove his loyalty and worth. As everyone has their own agenda, Rama get's caught up in a criminal underground power struggle where he doesn't know who to trust. It all leads to a terrfic car scene chase before a very brutal conclusion. Shades of Tarantino are evident in introductions to characters such as Hammer Girl and Baseball guy. It doesn't shy away from the graphic so if you haven't seen the first one and your screamish this mightn't be for you.It's full on. my friend was a little confused with the who's who at the end and who's gang attacked who but maybe that's because he wasn't used to subtitles. Overall entertained and I enjoyed even if I still prefer the first film. A fine film in it's own right.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Reviewed by gavinjc

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

The Family

Reviewed by gavinjc

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

Calvary

Reviewed by clivebb

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

I was really looking forward in seeing this. The problem for me with so well known comedian actors is I just could not get to grips with their straight acting roles and the accents that many of them put on again did not sit well with me . Brendan Gleeson again stole the show such a great actor. Do check it out but go in with low expectations for best results.

Locke

Reviewed by Starbuckie

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

I was not expecting much from a hour and a half of some guy chatting away in a car so it was total surprise on how quickly I became engrossed in the life of Ivan Locke. Tom Hardy is nothing short of extraordinary and this film is truly unique.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Reviewed by Starbuckie

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

I love Andrew Garfield as Spiderman but I was not overawed by this film. There are too many villains jammed into it and none of them are in anyway interesting.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Reviewed by emer

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Two years ago, the Amazing Spiderman successfully rebooted and resuited the most iconic Marvel superhero of them all. Marc Webb's 2014 spring blockbuster is the sequel to this reboot and his efforts have paid off. The tone is engaging, quirky, punchy and fresh – we are treated to an intricate plot of action, effects, character development and quippy dialogue. The Amazing Spiderman 2 continues the battle for Peter Parker between his ordinary obligations and the extraordinary responsibilities of Spider-Man. New York City is battered in the face of an upsurge in crime and increasingly reliant on the yet-to-be-unmasked Spiderman to save them from the villains that threaten their lives. His relationship with brainy, Oxford-bound Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is on and off, burdened by the promise he made to her late father (Denis Leary) to leave her alone and keep her out of danger. Try as he might, he can't stay away and she won't let him go, albeit reluctant to share him with his costumed alter-ego. But forces much greater than Gwen's chance to embark on a new life in England threaten to pull them apart. He finds himself confronted with a multitude of super-villains. The most immediate threat arrives in the unlikely form of Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), a downtrodden, psychologically unstable minor lackey in the Osborn Corporation who, following a lab accident involving a loose fuse and a gigantic tank of electric eels, transforms into the iridescent, spark-wielding monster Electro. After a high-voltage Times Square faceoff, it transpires that he’s little more than preparation for the true nemesis - the putative Green Goblin - Dane DeHaan as Oscorp heir (and Parker’s childhood pal) Harry Osborn. We also continue the compelling investigation of his origins - the transformation of a shy, awkward teenager to a powerful superhero with inhuman, multi-tasking skills, his mysterious family history and his parents’ enigmatic death. Andrew Garfield is a perfect fit for Spiderman and perfectly cast. He is the rare combination of slick, witty and awkwardly charming. He moves, fights, swings, crawls and comes to life on screen like the ultimate comic book hero. He has definitely nailed Spiderman and from the physicality to the attitude, nobody else could play him with such credibility. The chemistry between the two principal leads is sparky and credible. They are a delightful and playful couple and I think that is one of the most appealing aspects of this film. Both characters have clearly settled into their on screen roles and are individually interesting. Their time together as a couple is real, genuine and they are perfectly connected. The villains deliver too - Paul Giamatti is suitably maniacal and disturbing as Rhino. With his angular, androgynous beauty and piercing eyes, DeHaan is well cast as Harry Osborn. For me, Jamie Foxx was the most surprisingly impressive. Starting out as an unhinged engineer and evolving into a freak with ego issues, Electro is the most powerful and intriguing version of the character yet. However, I felt that the presence of multiple villains complicated the plot somewhat and the result was a web got rather too tangled for me! This is the most advanced and visually accomplished Spiderman to date and the 3D is both worthwhile and effective (for a change!). Technically and cinematically each of the comic book sequences are impressive, brash and creative. The film looks stunning and Spiderman himself looks incredible. For me, it was more satisfying than its predecessor. It is bigger, more vibrant, more grounded and more spectacular. I loved watching the most inventive use of Spiderman’s webs, his shooting abilities go way beyond what previous films have shown. I also liked the frequent shift in tone to light hearted humour – most of it coming from Spidey’s quick witted quips and sharp jokes. German composer Hans Zimm delights with a stunning soundtrack featuring a range of modern tracks ranging from The Smiths to the ubiquitious Pharrell Williams, it’s original, unorthodox and clever, adding character to the film. This movie has a sense of adventure, excellent performances and a bold, interesting plot. Provided you switch off, sit back and don’t think too deeply, you are guaranteed an enjoyable night out. I have no doubt that The Amazing Spiderman 2 will swing effortlessly through cinemas world wide and capture mass audiences in its exiting web of intrigue!

Haunter

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Nice little slow burning horror all head together brilliantly by a good leading perforamce by Abigail Breslin. Never resorts to jump scares, but instead allows the plot to move along to a nicely satisfying conclusion.

Haunter

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

The further that Vincenzo Natali becomes removed from his highly original debut Cube, the more predictable his recent films become. Such is the case with Haunter, a disposable ghost story whose only saving grace is Abigail Breslin, building on her performances in The Call and Ender's Game. Lisa (Breslin) is a teenager living with her brother and parents in a house with many dark secrets. She receives messages from the beyond, suggesting that she and her family may never leave the house. The spirit of another teenage girl is trying to warn her about an evil spirit known as The Pale Man (Stephen McHattie) who has killed a number of girls. Lisa may be heading towards a similar fate... Haunter does have some good moments up its sleeve: projecting Lisa from her 1980s home into the 21st Century is an interesting idea, as it suggests a pattern of similar fates for the victims of The Pale Man - past, present and future. Unfortunately, there aren't enough good ideas in the script to keep it afloat. Confining the characters to one location becomes claustrophobic when the film so badly needs some fresh air and fresh ideas. It all becomes rather stale and ineffective as it hurtles towards an obvious conclusion. A dull misfire from Natali - he's capable of better things than this. Let's hope his next film is more interesting.

The Sea

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

The Sea is an adaptation of John Banville's novel, with Banville himself writing the screenplay. But what sounds like a pleasant swim through a flooded memory lane soon flounders in deep waters. After his wife Anna (Sinead Cusack) is declared terminally ill and subsequently dies, Max (Ciaran Hinds) heads back to the house that changed his life as a boy. Now a boarding house run by Miss Vavasour (Charlotte Rampling), he relives old childhood memories of a summer by the beach. In his youth, he befriended an English family there including father Carlo (Rufus Sewell) and mother Connie (Natascha McElhone). But something tragic happened there and it haunts Max to this day with a vice-like grip... The trailer quotes a line from Max in the novel, 'the past beats inside me like a second heart', but it isn't used in the film. That's a shame, as one very much gets that concept about the second heart. He's a man literally soaked in memories, both happy and unhappy. The past is where it belongs though - in the past, but yet Max can't let go. It's part of who he is. That makes for a fascinating character study to watch, but sadly The Sea is a leaden, mostly lifeless affair. It only really comes to life in the last few minutes, but by then it's too late. The film has already sunk under the weight of its own ambitions. One could rarely fault Hinds or Rampling in their performances, but there's a sense that they're not really being given the chance to really shine as they so often do. The Sea just isn't all that engaging to watch and is a long slog for just 86 minutes. Given that it was part-funded by RTE, TV seems a more natural home for a slow-moving film like this. Give it a miss and catch it on TV instead.

Magic Magic

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Magic Magic has no magic in it, but one could say that the magic is offscreen as Sebastian Silva casts a spell over his audience and keeps them rooted to their seats. Curious but naïve Alicia (Juno Temple) arrives in Chile for a holiday with friend Sara (Emily Browning). Sara has to leave for Santiago for a brief period, leaving Alicia with three of Sara's friends: seemingly normal couple Barbara (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Agustin (Augustin Silva) and oddball Brink (Michael Cera). Alicia feels increasingly uneasy in their presence and a series of awkward situations occur. Brink makes a moves on her which is mis-interpreted. Alicia's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and is only exacerbated by Sara's return... Magic Magic is getting a very limited release before a speedy debut on DVD, but the cinema seems a more natural home for this story. What seems like a traditional horror set-up - a group of friends in a cabin - instead becomes one of psychological menace and latent fear. In one scene, Alicia is hypnotised and Brink tells her to put her hand in the fire. She's not hypnotised though - she's reacting to drugs which are effecting underlying issues with Alicia herself. Silva keeps us guessing throughout the film as to who is more crazy: Alicia or Brink. The performances are really good here, with the fragile Temple again showing why she's such a talented actor and Cera being suitably creepy and funny at the same time. Silva keeps the situation in the cabin tense and fraught with imminent danger, yet he also keeps it subtle. Magic Magic is a real curio just waiting for discovery by open-minded audiences looking for something both familiar and different. Highly recommended.

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