Reviews

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Wild Tales

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Recently nominated for an Oscar, but losing out to the inferior Ida, Wild Tales is a riot of a film. It could also be the most entertaining foreign language film for some time. It's essentially an anthology film, based around six short stories of people going a bit wild and losing it. Things get off to a bumpy start (literally), when a number of passengers on a plane find out that they have something in common. The next story focuses on a waitress who decides to gain revenge on an old family acquaintance. On a dusty desert road, two drivers come to blows over a verbal insult. Then we have a family man who decides to strike back against exorbitant traffic fines. In another family story, a father tries to cover up the crime of his son by bribing everyone involved in the case. Finally, a jilted bride goes off the rails and turns her wedding into something entirely different... The timing on Wild Tales is a curious one. Given that the first story has eerie parallels with tragic, very recent events in the French Alps involving a Germanwings plane, it may make audiences shift uncomfortably in their seats. The first story is over fairly quickly though, but it sets the tone for what's coming ahead. The delight of this film is in not knowing what's coming ahead. All we know is that a number of characters are going to go a bit wild and behave irrationally, all out of proportion to their circumstances. Co-produced by Pedro Almodovar and written and directed by Damian Szifron, Wild Tales revels in the everyday turning into the absurd and outlandish. The problem with anthology films is that inevitably there are some weak links. There aren't any here - each story has its own beat and character observations, each working perfectly within their own particular story bubbles. The six stories could also function as feature-length films in their own right, as they're all so entertaining. Darkly funny at times and very involving, Wild Tales is simply a must-see film.

The Voices

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Black comedy is always a very difficult art to pull off and while this film never really manages to pull it off, the whole thing is just so dark and strange (especially for a mainstream film), that there is still a lot to recommend here. Ryan Reynolds is fantastic in the leading role, as the man hearing voices. Is perhaps a bit too nasty for its own good at times, one scene halfway through goes a bit beyond, but maybe that was the point where comedy moves to nightmare. And the end needs to be seen to be believed. So a flawed film, but a brave and challenging film at the same time.

John Wick

Reviewed by vu1999uk

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Well after all the hype, this action film with Keanu Reeves finally arrives and it was well worth the wait. The film has several action scenes, and they keep getting better throughout. There is also a wonderful sense of humour to the whole thing, without ever getting camp or too self aware. Just a great action shoot em up.

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Coming from the highly respected Japanese outfit Studio Ghibli, there's a sense of bittersweetness about the Oscar-nominated The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya. Given that it's their last production for the time being (they've 'paused' production), it makes this film even more of a treasure. Based on a Japanese folktale, it starts with a humble bamboo cutter discovering a tiny princess in a bamboo stalk. An apparent woodland fairy, she then transforms into a life-size baby. He takes the baby home to his wife and they raise her together. A curious child who likes to imitate frogs and run free in the wild, she grows up fast into the teenage Kaguya (Aki Asakura). She befriends local boy Sutemaru (Kengo Kora), but then has to leave her humble life in the woods to take up her rightful position as a Princess in the local Lord's house. Many suitors try to win her over, including the Emperor of Japan. But her time on this world may have a limit... 8 years in the making, Isao Takahata's lyrical, gentle and captivating film is a delight to watch. It has the unmistakeable mark of a Studio Ghibli film, but it also has a unique look of its own. No clean lines and precise digital animation here. It's all done in charcoals and watercolours, rendering the whole film like a moving painting. It may seem a little crude, but once you get used to it, you have to admire the audacity and imagination of Takahata. One startling sequence sees Kaguya run out of the Lord's house and out into the wilderness. Lines and shapes merge into an impressionistic rush of fury. The fact that it took so long to make the film is reflected in the lengthy running time, which moves along at an unhurried pace that would have Harvey Weinstein reaching for the scissors (thankfully, he didn't get his hands on this one). The wonderful thing about Studio Ghibli is that, like their American counter-parts Pixar, they never lose the heart of the story. A delight. Domo arigato, Sensei Takahata.

Seventh Son

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

The search for the next The Lord Of The Rings / Game Of Thrones continues with Seventh Son. But it's more likely to go the way of Eragon and Dungeons And Dragons. In a fantasy world inhabited by witches, knights and dragons, Tom (Ben Barnes) is the seventh son of a seventh son. This has special significance, as he's destined to save his world from the tyranny of evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore). He's recruited by Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), a knight of the old order and sworn enemy of witches and spooks everywhere. Together, they set out to stop Mother Malkin from unleashing evil on the world. But is Mother Malkin's niece Alice (Alicia Vikander) a friend or a foe? Based on the book The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, Seventh Son is an expensive-looking film. The visual effects, by Star Wars maestro John Dykstra, bring the world of Seventh Son to life in vivid colours. The fantastical creatures on display wouldn't be out of place in a Ray Harryhausen epic. But it quickly becomes apparent that this is a deeply flawed film. There's a strong whiff of indifference about the whole affair, which rushes along far too quickly (though that may be a blessing). Having just won an Oscar, it's unlikely that Moore will look back fondly on this film (maybe she did it for her kids). Bridges valiantly struggles through his dodgy accent, which could be best described as a Texan cowboy by way of London. Hmm... Director Sergey Bodrov goes through the motions with the plot, but there's only so many fight scenes and witch-to-dragon transformations an audience can take. It's a shame to see Bodrov drop so low as this, given that he made a superb little film called Mongol: The Rise Of Genghis Khan back in 2007. Apparently, Delaney had little to do with the film itself so he'd be wise to distance himself from it. Seventh Son is watchable nonsense, but at the end of the day it's just nonsense. Mediocre.

Get Hard

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 2/5 Stars.

Kevin Hart seems to be the go-to guy when people need help. In The Wedding Ringer, he played a guy who helped another guy get through his wedding. In Get Hard, he plays a guy who helps another guy get through jail. Hart plays Darnell, a decent, law-abiding dude who runs a car-washing service. He frequently looks after the car belonging to James (Will Ferrell), a hedge fund manager who has it all and is set to marry his boss' daughter Alissa (Alison Brie). But when James is convicted of fraud, he has 30 days to get his affairs in order. Believing Darnell to be the stereotypical African-American male who gets arrested and incarcerated, he asks him for help. Darnell goes along with it, training James up for life on the inside - which is unlike anything else he's experienced so far... Get Hard is another of those high-concept crude comedies whose plot could be written on the back of a postage stamp. There's nothing too original here and it seems rather ridiculous that four writers have been credited for what is essentially a run-of-the-mill screenplay. That said though, Ferrell has fun with his character, who is essentially a wimp born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Hart is the real star though. He's still relatively unknown in Europe, but it shouldn't be long before he's tagged as the next Eddie Murphy. He's got the charisma and comic delivery of Murphy, so he's certainly going places. Debut director Etan Cohen comes up with some silly set-pieces involving painfully awkward toilet encounters, playground scraps and a last-minute rush to retrieve a computer. The ending is particularly bad, lazily tacked on to give it some sort of resolution and let James come out squeaky clean. That just doesn't ring true. There are some good laughs to be had here, but it's still pretty weak stuff.

Cinderella

Reviewed by ArrggghhhhJOHN

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

A nice take on an old tale but lacked that something special

John Wick

Reviewed by ArrggghhhhJOHN

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

Terrible acting, Terrible Dialogues but terribly entertaining. Not knowing anything going into the movie I started to expect the worst during the first 10 minutes but then it opened up into a incredibly fun action packed movie that doesn't take itself serious.. A must see for any action fans and anyone in the mode for some mindless (although clever in its own right) fun.

Cinderella

Reviewed by iscvar

  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Everybody knows the story but still lovely. This is a good option for children. Loved the effects and the actors.

John Wick

Reviewed by iscvar

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

This movie is a guarantee of entertaining: a lot of action, with comedy moments, and fantastic actors.

John Wick

Reviewed by abartley

  • Currently 5/5 Stars.

Brilliant!!!!! Keanu Reeves is great.this movie has everything, Loved it,plenty of action. Pity poor Daisy had to go. Hope John Wick will return

John Wick

Reviewed by filmbuff2011

  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

You may not know the name John Wick yet, but you certainly won't forget it after seeing this solid, thrilling action film. It also proves that you can still make a great, original film with that most common of movie themes - revenge. John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is a quiet, unassuming man who recently lost his wife. Grieving over her loss, he receives a parting gift from her in the form of a puppy. But just four days after burying her, his mourning is rudely interrupted by Iosef (Alfie Allen) and his thugs, who break into his house, beat him up, steal his vintage car and kill his dog. Iosef has messed with the wrong man, something which his father Viggo (Michael Nyqvist) has to tell him with blunt force. That man is John Wick, a deadly former hitman who hung up his holster... but now he's back. He's on a roaring rampage of revenge against his former employer and his son. Wick will do whatever it takes to settle the score... John Wick is a furious blast of a film, revving along at 120km per hour without the slightest trace of fat in Derek Kolstad's screenplay. This is a lean, mean action film that means business. There's just no stopping Wick, who favours close-range headshots over talky scenes that aren't going to add anything to the story. He's a man of few words, but when he speaks it's with gravitas. Reeves is compelling here, reminding us how good he can be with the right role. Looking very sprightly for a 50-year-old, he executes the action scenes with careful precision (apparently he did 90% of his own stunts). Making his directorial debut, Chad Stahelski obviously paid attention on the set of The Matrix trilogy, as he was Reeves' stunt double (he's a familiar name for anyone who worked their way through the hours of DVD extras). He injects a kinetic sense of fun and danger into the action scenes, while also ensuring that they seem realistic and not Matrix-like. He also builds a mysterious cult-like world around that of assassins for hire - one with rules that can be bent or broken depending on who is involved. While it may not seem necessary, a sequel has already been greenlit. Let's hope that the sequel maintains the delicate balance between emotion, humour and barnstorming action that this first film has achieved so well. Go see. Now.

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