Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Expendables 3

I have always found it difficult to offer a summary of any kind on the Expendables series. What should I say, if you’re considering watching this then what do you expect from it? It’s a film made up of your favourite stars from the 80s and 90s. It’s all wrapped up by a screenplay from Sylvester Stallone and with one gunfight and explosion after another. What do you think a film like this is going to be like? If you want to watch this film then you want to see an action film that should be coming out of the 1980s but is enhanced with various CGI elements. If that is what you want then this is what you get.
Two is regarded as the highpoint of the franchise for one simple reason, it’s fun. Yes it can be cringe worthy at times but still, I can’t be the only one who chuckled at the ‘I’ll be back’ conversation between Willis and Schwarzenegger. However, this one is not only more depressing than the second film, it’s more depressing than the first as well. The one that promised an ensemble of iconic action heroes and gave us nearly two hours of Stallone and Statham and nearly two minutes for Willis and Schwarzenegger.
This one suffers a similar problem, too many iconic actors are given too little screen-time. I wouldn’t mind if they only had a few lines of dialogue but were visible in the background as if they were actually part of a team. But no, it doesn’t. The reformation of these agents that were apparently gathering for a ‘final mission’ in the first film means that this instalment does not feel climatic or tense in any remote way. Instead it just feels more like a random sequence of explosions and shooting. The plot is as weak as you can get in an action film, so the entire film is a rather messy blend of action and uninteresting dialogue.
There are a few highpoints of the film. One of them is Mel Gibson, whatever you think of him as a person and his political views he is undoubtedly amazing and captivating when on screen. His no nonsense approach to playing the villain is certainly a more magnetic performance than Stallone’s no nonsense approach to the hero. There are a few thrills on offer but the toned down violence means that you can’t take the film seriously at all. But at the same time it tries to act like a serious film which means it can’t be fun when it needs to be, and it can’t be serious when it needs to be. Simply put, it tries to kill two birds with one stone, but misses completely.
Even the action and chase sequences become repetitive, not just left over from the first two films, but by the end it’s almost a de-ja-vu-like experience of the start of the film. They really appear to have used all of their tricks here, and all they can do to try and prevent the film becoming, god-forbid, sensible for a minute or two. It’s been fun and wild with a few laughs along the way but this group of retired mercenaries really have overstayed their welcome here.
A few cheap thrills and a star studded cast certainly cannot compensate us for the faults littered throughout this film. The problem comes from the weak plot, watered down rating, and not enough screen time to go around. However, as I said before what else do you expect from this film. On the basis of what you see if what you get, you can’t get much better.
Result: 5/10

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The F Word/What If

Daniel Radcliffe is proving to be quite an accomplished young actor just three short years since the end of Harry Potter. Some will argue that his success is hinged, and will always be, on his role as the boy wizard. But I have to disagree, and this film offers a good argument for that. Based on the play Cigars and Toothpaste this romantic comedy follows Wallace (Radcliffe) and Chantry (Zoe Kazan) as they struggle to not become friends with benefits and something further, as Zoe is already in a happy relationship and Wallace does not want to force a hurtful break up.
Some of you may be thinking though, surely a slight change in plot will struggle to make this film stand out. So many rom-coms have become utterly forgettable and very formulaic, in some ways this one isn’t an exception. We certainly aren’t straying from our familiar comfort zones. Take a look at the first fifteen minutes of this film, what do you think will happen. You’re probably right. The traditional American girl meets British boy characterisation is here, apart from the fact that she’s Canadian.
But there are plenty of redeeming features to make up for the rather formulaic narrative. There is a genuine and believable chemistry between the two main stars. Radcliffe and Kazan both bounce off of each other very well whilst clashing when they need to. The characters are given quite a rough time of it, emotionally at least. This means that we’re always interested in what happens and unsure what we really want for them. Although the ending may be predictable, you’ll have to keep guessing whether it will be portrayed as a happy or depressing fate for these people.
It also appeals very well to the mid-twenties target audience. The fast paced humour mixed with traditional yet still very entertaining style of humour creates a witty and smart as well as being unusually self-conscious for a film in this genre. It reminds me of two things, firstly this entire romantic comedy style is associated mainly with Richard Curtis, director of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and About Time. He does this genre better than most and can always put a nice spin on it.
As well as the similar humour this observation leads me onto another point. It’s also quite reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer. While I may mock the plot slightly, like I said before while the narrative may be predictable, the emotional impact of the film is unusually difficult to predict. It’s feel good most of the time, as a film like this needs to be, but it also becomes hard-hitting at the right moments. The fact that these characters actually want to be friends purely to maintain the status quo, and that they get along so well as friends makes you wonder if they might have dodged a bullet. After all, as films have repeatedly taught us, Love can hurt.
It’s a welcome change of acting style for Radcliffe, proving he is far more than a one trick pony. And with the Curtis style humour and slightly, but not by much, original plot, The F Word/What If has proven to be a sweet and charming flick for those lazy nights out.
Result: 7/10

Normally that would be the end, but I would also like to briefly offer my condolences to family, friends and fans of actor and director Richard Attenborough who passed away this week. Among an incredible career are roles in the 1996 version of Hamlet named by many, including this site, as the finest adaptation of Shakespeare in cinema. He also starred in The Great Escape and Steven Spielberg’s stunning Jurassic Park. As well as this Attenborough directed a number of successful films such as Chaplin, A Bridge too far and Ghandi, winner of eight Academy Awards. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Inbetweeners 2

It’s the biggest opening of the year so far. Blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have been knocked off the top spot of the UK charts as audiences favour our equivalent of American Pie. The series of the Inbetweeners has become quite a cultural phenomenon in Britain, it’s popular among the teenage audience, and this is set to be the last instalment of the series.
Well I should start by saying that this film is fantastically funny. It manages to succeed in the first area that a comedy film should, it makes you laugh. The main question I should be asking though is, is it better than the first one. Well, that’s a very good question indeed. The sequel has the same brand of comedy but manages to avoid falling into a mess of predictable scenes. Nearly everything is unexpected and hilarious as a result.
If you enjoyed the series then you will enjoy this, it’s paced quite nicely as well. It manages to keep the plot and humour running simultaneously with no let down in either at any point. Too many comedy films sacrifice one of these in the process of creating a credible film. But instead it maintains a good balance of both. It is a real contender as 2014’s funniest film.
However, there are flaws. The pacing is moderately good, but the film still feels a bit like a feature length episode of the series. The Inbetweeners will always remain a great series, but as a film it risks falling into the average category. The entire film lacks a certain ambitiousness that would separate it from a normal episode. It’s impressive how they travel further and experience the world on a greater scale, even in the last few minutes. But the effect is in the details. Apart from being in Australia a lot of the antics are similar to those in Britain, they take advantage of the larger landscape as much as they can, but apart from that it feels like the budget has been stretched. I don’t want to be thinking that with any film.
It can also be said that the emotional ark crafted in the first film was better thought out. The character development effected every character and time was taken to include all of them in the story. In the sequel however, one character’s story holds the main focus of the plot, with another smaller one circling around it. Another that takes just ten minutes to complete and there’s no time at all left for the fourth. For the first film a good amount of time was devoted to all of the characters, equally taking the burden of the plot.
But don’t me mistaken. This is very funny and very entertaining. Who cares if there’s no underlying narrative, you will get exactly what you want to see when you see this film. The series is embodied very well, admittedly too well at times. But nevertheless, these four bumbling teenagers all captured our attention on the small screen, and what better way to bow out on the big screen in the land down under.

Result: 7/10 

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Rover

It’s a common misconception that debut films are always going to be second best. Tarantino proved us wrong with creating Reservoir Dogs, as did George Lucas with American Graffiti. They also have a good knack of leading on to much greater things, in both of those examples the directors went on to create some of the greatest films of all time (Tarantino directing Pulp Fiction and Lucas directing Star Wars). So I always look forward to debuts and second films, especially the possibilities that they open, and I found myself in such a situation with Animal Kingdom. It was a theatrically layered and unexpectedly good, and the debut film of David Michod.
His next film The Rover follows a man tracking down a group of thieves in an apocalyptic Australia. This is dangerous territory, the second film can lead to great things, but also spell disaster. This thriller has a very minimalistic writing style to it, but this can work brilliantly if carried out correctly. There is quite a lack of psychological and character complexity, the plot means that there isn’t much room to expand on the initial scenario that we see at the start of the film.
However, it manages to make up for this with some impressive performances. The production design is very admirable as well, creating an apocalyptic wasteland effectively and simplistically. Guy Pearce uses his usual silent but strong persona to create a rather menacing protagonist. Admittedly he’s not much of a relatable character, it’s understandable what this character does but we don’t share or connect with his emotional turmoil. Robert Pattinson offers an enjoyable performance, especially when compared to some of his previous projects, he successfully portrays a once innocent character who is forced to take desperate measures to ensure his survival in an every-man-for-himself-world.
Combined with Pearce’s hard as nails character they form quite an interesting duo. In many ways the setting of this film is more interesting than the actual plot or characters. The economic collapse that has virtually destroyed the world seems like an interesting idea. In many ways though, this can be seen as a problem. All great films of this genre have had a more interesting factor than the setup. Can anyone actually remember the cause of the carnage in Mad Max, not really. But who cares about that? We’re treated to some spectacular action sequences, design, characters and of course Max, who’s mad. Sadly The Rover can’t quite match any of those elements, it’s good, but not memorable.
However, for now the film has a very appealing nature to it. Everything feels real and detailed, like I said before Michod has had a challenge with this film, but he has directed it very well. The cinematography is striking and the production of this wasteland is very effective, making good use of the Australian landscape. I would also highly recommend the original soundtrack, it works very well with the desolate scenes. However it lacks the emotional depth and spectacular action (maybe it’s not meant to be an action film but it would need to be much smarter in terms of story to pull off no action) to make it stand out.

Result: 6/10

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Congress

Taking a leaf out of the book of Japan, it seems that making big budget, emotionally draining, artistic animated epics is really starting to seep into western film culture. Now we find a futuristic animation science fiction drama mixed with some live action as well. Robin Wright is getting too old and has too little talent to sustain her career as a classical actress. No this isn’t some random attack on an acclaimed actress, in the Congress she plays herself with a son who has a degenerate mental condition. She agrees to be virtually purchased so her career may continue as an ageless avatar.
Well firstly the film achieves the no-easy takes of blending the surreal and serious very well. This is the big advantage of animation, the way to manipulate the images to make the bizarre yet beautiful creations flourish with life and achieve and underlying dark note. However the Congress seems to use it the opposite way. The whole concept remains as the main absurdity whilst tha actual animation is grey and bland. It creates a good effect, if not slightly surprising to start with. It’s grounded momentarily with live action sequences, but once we leap into the future we see the animation take control, just as the synthetic world does in the plot.
The film is an obvious satirical parody. The plot allows a few caricatures of famous celebrities to pop up, including Tom Cruise, who claims to be handing out supplies to kids in Africa. It is very unusual in the way it becomes a satirical commentator though. It verges on being dark comedy but also comments in a way that makes it just, confusing. The surreal element tries to overpower the commentary and the two end up in some kind of battle that makes it difficult to know whether it’s an actual sequence essential to the plot or a random detailed critique of society. It’s quite strange and you feel lost within the mess of surreal sequences and already rather complicated story.
This has been caused by a lack of narrative throughout the film. I have to praise the actors as they all make a great performance as both physical characters and voiced talent. But unfortunately it’s blended together in absurdity and dramatic depth. Despite a colourfully bland style of animation that makes the synthetic themes the film perfectly match the visuals, there’s no defining plot to match this.
The theme supplies a lot of the potential for a colourful film here. It raises some good questions concerning the image of an actor rather than their own talent. Mentioning Mr Cruise again, it’s safe to say that his face can often prove to be worth more money than any new film he may star in. Earlier this year Edge of Tomorrow was known as ‘that one like Groundhog Day, but with Tom Cruise’. These questions are confronted, and certainly there is an element of ambiguity to allow the viewer to decide.
Surreal science fiction satire was what we were expecting to find with this film. It should have been an animated version of Brazil. But instead it tries to keep a hard hitting plot between the absurdity and the result is a rather confusing scenario. Though you can admire the animation and acting, it fails when it comes to plot and a sense of direction.
Result: 5/10

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Welcome to New York

The true story of a New York entrepreneur whose sexual appetite eventually leads to his downfall, wait a minute… no, it’s not directed by Martin Scorsese and it’s not the Wolf of Wall Street. You do feel sorry for this film, coming up against something so similar and with so much more credit. I’m not saying this is automatically bad, but it’s main competitor had Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and at the helm was one of the greatest directors of the last fifty years, in fact possibly of all time.
Anyway, as similar as it is this is not the Wolf of Wall Street. So we can’t spend this revue simply stating how brilliant Martin Scorsese is. Also because there is a considerable gap between the two film, and the Wolf of Wall street is no longer in cinemas, I won’t compare the two films against each other as if they’re actually competing because that just isn’t fair.
Like I said before, the film is based on a true story. It follows the scandal involving Monetary Fund President Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his arrest for sexual assault. Obviously the names have been changed, the lead character is now called Devereaux but the film is already facing self-censorship by the French Government, lawsuits from those portrayed in the film, and reviews express complete disgust. Also, I don’t mean to spoil anything but in this adaptation he is guilty. There’s no hint of ambiguity or difference of opinion, it’s 100% fact that he committed the crimes that he is charged with.
Also it certainly draws your attention to the fact that sex is a large part of this film early on with quite an… interesting shall we say, montage. Let me say then, although I previously promised not to compare this to the Wolf of Wall Street, if you thought that was outrageous the prepare for something in a completely different league with this. It’s main man Gerard Depardieu gives a larger than life performance. It definitely is the jewel of this otherwise chaotic film.
The plot doesn’t feel as clear and there doesn’t appear to be any intelligent thought in it really. I mean, this is an issue that people will have varied feelings about, whether it’s specifically about the case on which the film is based on or the bigger picture behind this. Instead though it decides not to trust the viewer’s intelligence and instead tells them exactly what to think. I’m not saying that there’s nothing to condemn when it comes to sexual assault (I could get some very angry comments if I did). But I am going to go back to Martin Scorsese to prove my point, Goodfellas and Wolf of Wall Street were based on proven crimes but they still allow the viewer to decide if the ending is good. These people are now living average and normal but morally right lives, is that a good thing. You decide. Welcome to New York portrays a crime that was never proven, and also tells us what to think anyway.
Another thing, this film really feels like it wanted to cause controversy. It went into cinemas looking for a fight, and now it’s found it in the form of lawsuits and censorship. I really don’t know what to make of it, I am completely stumped as to what to do. It’s rowdy and raunchy with no real sense of direction or proven historical accuracy. I need help, if anyone has seen this film and can think of a verdict of some sort please comment, and the best argument will be our verdict.

Result: Um, do you know, we don’t/10 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Remembering Robin Williams

Robin Williams 2011a (2).jpg
Today the world of film has lost a legend. Robin Williams brought youthful energy, wild improvisation combined with a unique dramatic tenderness to make all of his performances stand out. Grabbing the attention of the public on television he rose to become one of the best comedy actors of our generation. Below are my five favourite performances from an incredible career.
The Genie, Aladdin (1992): Williams and cartoons are a match made in heaven. It seems that Williams was in his element as a voice actor, his rapid improvisation and constant stream of comedy made this character appealing to both children and adults. The shape-shifting mystical being allows Williams to switch between impersonations, stand-up routines and improvised dialogue. The animators found it difficult to keep up, and his performance earned him a special Golden Globe in his honour.
Parry, The Fisher King (1991): Quite possibly one of the best character/actor matches in film history. This performance as a slightly insane, yet kind-hearted homeless man with a tragic backstory gave him his third Oscar nomination and third Golden Globe award. Showing how eccentric and mad he could be whilst still retaining all the necessary dramatic elements make him shine in this heart-breaking tale of redemption.
John Keating, Dead Poets Society (1989): Playing an unconventional and idealistic boarding school professor Williams was able to bring the classics to life in fine style. It also earned him a nod from the Academy Awards for his work. It’s undoubtedly a highpoint in an already amazing career that cemented his status as a dramatic actor. This simple and controlled performance proves that he can be at best out of his usual comfort zone.
Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam (1987): This performance balanced all the elements that made Williams a great actor. As an army DJ during the Vietnam war he successfully balanced eccentric performing on the air addressing the soldiers to keep morale up, but he also succeeds where many others would have failed in treating the issue of war seriously and with enough dignity to make it believable. His energy is put to great use and earned him his first Oscar nod.
Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting (1997): He finally took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor with this portrayal of a councillor for a trouble Matt Damon. It has none of the manic comedy that we’ve come to associate with Williams, instead we see a sincere, gentle and highly human performance. However it still includes some improvisation from Williams, including one scene where the cameraman starts visibly shaking, unable to contain himself.
With so many amazing films under his belt, we’re sure we’ve missed a few great performances from an actor who has left us too soon. Leave a comment below if your favourite Robin Williams performance wasn’t on there. As well as this though, take some time over the next few days to reflect on the life and legacy of a great acting icon.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Mood Indigo

Two lovers who are destined for tragedy and, wait a minute…  no this isn’t the Fault In Our Stars. Although now that it’s been brought up, I can certainly say that the teenage drama is far superior to Michael Gondry’s latest film which shares similar themes and messages, just not as well. Anyway to go into greater detail on the plot, Colin seems to have everything in life apart from a woman to share it with. When he meets Chloe it seems that now he really does have everything he has ever wanted, but once again he is wrong when they are struck with something that neither of them want or need.
Like many of Gondry’s films it’s visually pleasing in its simplicity. The set pieces are signed to be small and meaningful to focus on the emotional depth of the characters. If done correctly this can result in great things, but in this case it just falls rather flat. It feels as if too much attention has been put into certain areas of the film and normally that could work very well. But here there is nothing to support these glimpses of imagination.
The biggest problem comes from the main characters. They are likable enough to make their relationship work but not to make it feel believable or emotionally attached to them. The inevitable misfortunes that affect this couple don’t affect the audience at all. The initial likability wears off as the film drags on and we fail to care about them at all.
There are some elements of creativity and moments of goodness in this film. It’s hard not to admire the care that goes into crafting every single frame and the imagination behind it. There are so many great ideas strung together here that Mood Indigo would appear to be destined for greatness. However while the film has the right ingredients there is nothing to soften the edges. As we’ve seen in The Fault In Our Stars tragic romances can have some comedic moments without losing any of its poignancy. But Mood Indigo manages to avoid both, resulting in a generally empty film.
One of the most annoying things is that there is an obvious potential here, but it all feels wasted with the story going down a much less entertaining and route which makes it feel almost lazy. An example of this is the fact that the earliest stage of Colin and Chloe’s relationship, the formation for some potentially great material, is just skipped with an irritating ‘six months later’. This means that we’re not connected to the couple, so we’re just witnessing their sadness from a distance.
The emotional lack just turns this into quite a peculiar piece as well, with no sense of direction or true meaning. Even the visuals begin to lose their affect eventually, unable to compensate for the lack of everything else. The acting is well done but again there is a great waste of talent as these competent actors who look like they could handle complicated characters are just left with blank copies of themselves that are saying things that should mean something. Most importantly the film lacks a central moral with which the events and characters can circle around. Instead it just ends up as a mess. You have to really admire the visual and peculiar nature of this film to like it.

Result: 3/10          

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Hard Day's Night: A Short Look Back 50 Years Later

It’s been 50 years since they released their very first film. They are at the centre of pop culture and some will argue they are pop culture. They are of course the boys from Liverpool, the reason that nearly every single scouser is called either John, Paul or George. The Beatles themselves, several days of their lives depicted in this iconic film. It’s resounding and influential beyond all other music based films.
Released at the height of Beatlemania it was predictably a massive commercial success, but it’s also managed to remain one of the most critically acclaimed musicals of all time as well. It’s smooth fresh and incredibly up-beat, honestly you would have to have a heart of stone not to smile all the way through this film. More than ever that is true today, when too many of the leads are no longer here today.
Nothing captures the brilliance and effect of the Beatles like this film. You can watch all of the documentary’s and listen to all of the songs. But you won’t find the full effect of the Beatles in fact, you’ll find it with this fictionalised black and white film. Their sweet boyish personalities are all captured beautifully reminding you that behind the fame and swinging (metaphorically, not physically or sexually) are these four friends that are living the dream of every aspiring musician and teenager of the era.

Not only did it capture the characters, but this film captured the age in which it was made. If you want to understand what it was like to live in the sixties watch this film. Amazingly the film remains ageless to this day, despite being the embodiment of the sixties A Hard Day’s Night is just as intelligent, humorous and joyful as its release half a century ago. Maybe it’s the nostalgia that we all experience when a certain era gets a little too far away, but whatever the reason, we would all jump at the chance to enjoy this film again. If you are lucky enough to see the fiftieth anniversary addition DVD and Blu-ray version in stores then do not hesitate to buy it and relive the essence of nostalgia.    


We now find ourselves in a rather awkward situation where two copycat films are released. Earlier this year we were punished with the not-so-legendary Legend of Hercules, and now we see this simply title Hercules hitting theatres. This is incredibly unusual, normally this situation consists of two films with similar subject matters or setting like Antz and A Bug’s Life, or Armageddon and Deep Impact. But now we see two identical stories released within just a few months of each other. It’s not as if you can find massively different ways to interpret this tale without drastically straying from your source material.
With one studio failing to tell the story how can this one do any better? Well this is a question we were all asking so we might as well start now as it is already chewing its way through both the US and UK charts. Hercules is exactly what you would expect it to be, especially given that it’s a film directed by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson. But I can safely say that this is almost certainly Ratner’s best film to date, perhaps even better than Rush Hour. Admittedly this doesn’t have the pop cultured status and also lacks Jackie Chan. But nevertheless this is a rather nice blend of action and quick paced storytelling.
It’s the surprise more than anything that makes this a good film. The action is original if not a little simple, similarly to the story itself. The same can be said for the acting, I am still struggling to think of why Johnson was picked over a selection of more talented actors for the lead role. But the Rock gives a satisfying performance as this tortured hero desperate for redemption.
As well as this the direction of the film is also well-choreographed. Ratner’s style of directing suits this kind of film, quite humorous, action packed and entertaining overall. The big budget is used very well, it’s easy to see where and how it was spent and unlike too many action films all of the effects and stunts seem necessary both to the plot and entertainment value. Speaking of which, the effects are amazing and the 3D technology is utilized really well, we would really go as far to say that almost in a negative way as Hercules loses a lot of its effect as a 2D film.
There are a few problems of course, this is a very easy-going film. It’s far from edge of your seat stuff as it may have been advertised as. It also seems overly frantic and doesn’t properly display the character development that is potentially there. And the biggest issue by a mile is the constant change between campy over-the-top style and the gritty serious attempts to toughen this story up. It makes for a slightly shambolic style in which not only the acting but the entire tone of the film changes every couple of minutes.
The script is also rather predictable, honestly the lines begin to feel like de ja vu because you’ve subconsciously formulated a response to the last piece of dialogue in your head before it’s been said on the screen. With so many films that do what Hercules has attempted to do within the same target audience (only much better) this summer such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Guardians of the Galaxy we can’t really imagine why anyone would pay to see this in the cinema.
But anyway, this is certainly a pleasant surprise that offers you a light hearted action packed trip into the sword and sandals genre. Maybe if you hate all forms of science fiction… or you have already seen the bigger summer blockbusters and still haven’t successfully scratched that action itch. I promise you, even if you’re expectations are hideously low you will be pleasantly surprised.

Result: 6/10          

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


I’m not going to brush around the facts here. Let’s just get straight to the point, Melissa McCarthy has often had to carry her comedy films. Some of them may follow a good story and have a string of popular supporting characters, but at the end of the day she is completely the heart and soul of both Bridesmaids and The Heat.
In this one however, not even her usual clumsy antics can save Tammy from falling very short indeed. Ironically this could have one of the finest supporting casts of any of her previous films, but it still isn’t enough. Starting with the plot, after Tammy is fired from her job and finds her husband cheating on her she decides to hit the road and as you can expect various incidents follow. These comedy sequences have lost a lot of originality by now though. There are a few laughs throughout but many of them come from the fact that it reminds us of similar yet funnier scenes in her previous films.
Also the main characters lack any sympathy or emotional attachment at all. This may sound like a humorous version of Thelma and Louise, but instead it just feels like a series of random events that are emotionally and comically empty. This time it relies far too much on McCarthy’s performance to be comedic. But her character just isn’t up to scratch, and we don’t care about any of the twists and turns in the film because there’s no tension in them, nor is there any connection with even the main character. This could be the problem with making McCarthy’s character the central one, in Bridesmaids and The Heat she was important to the plot, but not the most important. Whilst she may have been a fan favourite and the most comedic, she allowed other characters to take the emotional weight and then you could have a successful story.
The problem is that they don’t try to stray towards any particular brand of comedy either. Is it sentimental, is it gross-out, or is it just random? It tries to be all of them and fails rather pitifully. The direction is slightly off as well, a good enough director could have salvaged something from this poor script. I feel rather guilty for criticising this as well because it’s McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, so now I’m just criticising their entire family, sorry. But I have to say it, a good script and sensible directing are sorely missed and obviously absent.
There are some plus points about this film. As I said before there is an impressive supporting cast and most of them give some good performances. However Susan Sarandon looks very out of place as a senior citizen. Once again McCarthy gives the same up to shape performance that we have come to expect from previous outings.
But as I also said before, none of this can make up for how little emotional depth and comedy this film contains. As well as this, even at 97 minutes it feels overly-long, the short paced comedy falls flat fairly quickly and for the last half an hour we’re left with this weak story and wishing that the credits start rolling. In summary it misses nearly every target and falls short of so many others.
Result: 3/10

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


Looking back 20 years it's clear that 1994 was an incredible year for cinema. Five great films that are still remembered fondly today were all released during those twelve months.
Pulp Fiction: Still the best film to come from Quentin Tarantino, three crimes for the price of one presented in a film noir style, as well as being charged with enough energy to make it halfway around the world and all set to a fantastic soundtrack.
Forrest Gump: The role we still associate with Tom Hanks more than any other, an inexplicable life story garnished with humor and heartfelt moments that could have you crying one minute and laughing in the next and relies just as much on secondary characters as the title one.
The Shawhank Redemption: The stunning adaptation of Stephen King's novel was the perfect combination of classic storytelling a modern sensibilities with one of the greatest friendships of cinema history and surprises littered throughout that somehow remain shocking even if you know them prematurely.
Four Weddings and a Funeral: A hidden British gem from Richard Curtis and Hugh Grant displays the best elements of comedy and romance mixed up with no small amount of tragedy, it's offered as a chocolate box of delights and surprises with great amounts of charm.
The Lion King: Disney's most recognizable and emotionally hard hitting animation, accompanied by some of its best visuals and music (even Elton John steps in) the mature themes set to a child friendly enviroment has proved to be a formidable combination.
So which is your favorite, you can vote in the poll at the side of the screen and by the end of the year we will have some kind of result (hopefully). Unless there's a film from the same year you think has been left out, leave a comment if you think so. Let the poll begin.