Reviews

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White God

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Winner of the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes last year, Hungarian-German-Swedish co-production White God is quite unlike anything else you'll see this year. It's certainly ambitious, featuring 274 dogs - the most ever featured in a film. The film starts on the empty streets of Budapest, where teenager Lili (Zsofia Psotta) is riding through on her bicycle. She turns a corner and is pursued by a large pack of dogs. Is it a dream? Perhaps not. Flashing back a few weeks, we find Lili is staying with her estranged father Daniel (Sandor Zsoter). Also along is Lili's street dog Hagen - who cares greatly for her but also doesn't like to be left alone. Frustrated with Hagen's behaviour, Daniel forces Lili to abandon Hagen on the street. While Lili prepares for a musical performance, Hagen runs wild on the streets - evading dog catchers but trying to find a way home. Then something dark happens which turns Hagen from a friendly dog into a freedom fighter... First of all, White God is not a cuddly family film about a dog finding his way home. It's far more Cujo than Benji. It's mature and adult, with a tone that veers into some pretty dark places. If you're in any way averse to scenes of simulated animal cruelty or are squeamish, then this isn't the film for you. But if you're feeling adventurous, White God is gripping stuff. It's like Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, but with a dog leading the revolution against his human captors. There's certainly an intelligence going on there in the character of Hagen, played by twin dogs Luke and Body. The animal wranglers on this film certainly earned their wages. The scenes involving Hagen and his pack running loose on the streets is brilliantly choreographed, to the point where you wonder if any actors were harmed in the making of the film. Director and co-writer Kornel Mundruczo keeps the film running at a consistent, thrilling pace for the full 2 hours, delivering one scene after another with a gut punch. It's certainly not for everyone, but White God is easily one of the year's most striking films.

The Wedding Ringer

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Funny film this, that although very silly at times keeps the laughter going well throughout. Kevin Hart is improving with each film, as his annoyance level has gone down dramatically. And any film with good a Lost In-Joke is doing something right.

It Follows

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Absolutely fantastic little horror film this. The first horror film in ages I really loved. Is near perfect in its use of scares (no tacky jump scares here), the music is all old school John Carpeneteresque, and the whole thing has a wonderfully nightmarish quality to it. The cast are all great too. Highly recommended.

Project Almanac

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

Oh dear, this film is a bit of a mess. It plods along quite badly, makes little to no sense, and is never very interesting. No reason for this to be found footage either, and only ends up hurting the film even more.

Focus

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

I am a bit torn on this, as while there is plenty to like, it just never really moves beyond okay. The leads are good, and the twists are actually good, but something does not really click. But what could have been a two star film, gets a third thanks to an amazing scene at a football game. To say more would be to spoil it, but it is amazingly tense, and shows how good a film this could have been, had the rest of the film been as good.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

With the sequel coming out, I finally got around to watching this film. It is very lightweight, but still enjoyable. There are some nice laughs, and the whole thing breezes along nicely. It really is exactly what you expect. As expected, the cast are all great, and it really is an ensemble piece as everyone gets their moment in the sun, so to speak.

Two Night Stand

Reviewed by clivebb

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

Disappointing film, trailor makes it look good. but it's not great it must be said.

Cake

Reviewed by clivebb

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Great little film Really well acted from start to finish

Jupiter Ascending

Reviewed by Randy

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Regardless of the apparent public consensus, I was really excited about this, and I wasn't disappointed. My excitement came out of the fact that it's an original story for a change, from the minds of siblings who've always made the leap forward, for better or worse. Pretty much the only downside here is the shabby acting from the rich kids who own most of the universe. Mila Kunis, on the other hand, is really likable and has great chemistry with Tatum. Sean Bean delivers, like he always does, and there's even a cameo from Gilliam. Other highlights include the humour, the incredibly detailed design of pretty much anything, in particular space ships etc. The CGI is exciting as most of the stunts were done in real life with CGI added later on. Even the score is fittingly epic. I couldn't recommend it highly enough. Movie can still be fun, and experience - not a chore - another remake or subpar "effort".

Fifty Shades of Grey

Reviewed by Randy

  • Currently 1/5 Stars.

I suppose this is the best of what could've been made out of a terrible book (which I have never and will never read). I did like Dakota Johnson who managed to add a little something to tabula rasa - a shade of personality and humour. Dornan just waltzes through the movie, for a large paycheck. The "sex" is as sexy as watching paint dry. I'd suggest watching Secretary instead or Duke of Burgundy which is out now.

Love Is Strange

Reviewed by Randy

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

There aren't many movies like this around. The story revolves around the real-life struggles of a sweet ageing gay couple and their immediate family. Molina and Lithglow play each other wonderfully and are utterly believable. The supporting cast add to the comedy, insight and the understated moments of the film. Ultimately, love is strange and life is hard.

Focus

Reviewed by emer

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

“Focus” is a slick, suave and smart caper from writing-directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (who also directed the underrated comedy, “Crazy, Stupid, Love”). It’s a dazzling tale about con artists that teases and tantalizes but manages to hold your interest throughout. Veteran conman and sleight-of-hand pickpocket Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) takes the less-skilled but eager Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie) under his wing and trains her in the ways of skillful swindling. The moment he sets eyes on her in a Big Easy night club, he never misses a beat as he quickly sizes up her scam. He plays along, flipping the con by exposing her mistakes. At the same time, he’s impressed with this sexy novice. Jess is desperate to rise above just fleecing rich guys for their spare change, so she tries to work her way onto Nick’s band of high-stake thieves, which has gathered in New Orleans, to skim the crowds gathered for a football championship game. Nicky allows himself to be seduced, recognizing how the arrangement might serve his own ends. Technically he doesn’t need her but she could be a bonus. Jess proves her worth to Nicky and they become lovers. She’s in love and ready to learn the tricks but when he abruptly breaks her heart and leaves her in the back seat of a getaway car, she’s gutted. Three years later, their paths cross again in Buenos Aires, in the middle of a high stakes racecar circuit. The mystery deepens as she appears on the arm of his rich new boss, racing mogul Rafael Garriga (Rodrigo Santoro). Are we to believe her claims that she has been reinvented as a sweet romantic who got out of the game or is she lying in wait as a now accomplished trickster who feels that it’s her turn to con him? For me, chemistry is the key to making this film work and it features charming and charismatic performances from Will Smith and Margot Robbie, who both slip easily into their roles. The real “Focus” in the film is the sparky relationship between the pair. He’s a master of trickery but he may have met his match in this sexy novice who turns out to be a fast and fleet sparring partner. Their characters flirt amicably as he strips her of her valuables — wallet, watch, her ring — one after the other. It’s like a magician pulling out scarves and it’s such fun to watch. Smith revels in the opportunity to play the super-slick Nicky but for me, Margot Robbie was the standout. Her Jess is instantly an accessible and marvelously gutsy character who is both vulnerable and yet brassy. Following on from a great performance in The Wolf Of Wall Street, she works wonderfully here. You’re never 100 percent sure whether she’s being played or doing the playing, whether she’s the cat or the mouse. She is versatile enough to breeze through the lighter scenes and strong enough to carry the more serious emotional and heavy issues when they arise. Focus is great fun, it’s certainly not predictable and with twists and turns at every corner, I found this colourful romp across the criminal world very entertaining. It gives us a pleasant change from the Academy Award seriousness and it’s good to see Smith resurrect his career somewhat after the disastrous “After Earth”. It’s really thanks to two strong lead performances that “Focus” is such a sexy, glossy and satisfying ride – well worth a watch.

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