Mary Queen of Scots: Film Review

The subject matter of Mary Queen of Scots isn’t exactly my bag but I had to see it because I love Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie – and boy did they deliver.

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Brimstone: Film Review

Brimstone is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re after a pleasant watch this is not the film for you. In fact it’s the opposite – it’s heavy, brutal and intense, but a good film nonetheless.

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Brimstone: LFF Film Review 

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Brimstone is not for the faint hearted. If you’re after a pleasant watch this is not the film for you. In fact it’s the opposite – it’s heavy, brutal and intense, but a good film nonetheless.

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Top Films for August

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The Inbetweeners 2

How could I not include this? I am such a fan of the TV series and I thought the first film was brilliant. I wasn’t overjoyed when this was announced to be honest, purely because I don’t know how it could possibly top the Malia trip but here we are, and the four boys are back, but this time in Australia. I have managed to keep my expectations low but I desperately want it to be good. Released: 6th August

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Iron Man 3: Review

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The reason I loved this movie was because it was funny, it had heart and it wasn’t just your standard action movie. There wasn’t constant fighting and it was very dialogue driven. It was clever, witty and hilarious as well as subverting genre expectations for comic effect.

Robert Downey Jr returns as Tony Stark in the third (if not final) instalment in the Iron Man trilogy. He is having nightmares after what happened in the Avengers and is having difficulty coping, so he has put all his energies into refining the iron suit. As you saw in Avengers, he is now with his assistant (now CEO of Stark Industries), Pepper Potts, played by the lovely Gwyneth Paltrow. The military now use an iron suit which is manned by Rhodes (Don Cheadle), called the Iron Patriot.

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Things seem to be going smoothly for Stark until a terrorist starts threatening the US with bomb attacks. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) seems like his most powerful opponent yet but everything is not as it seems. The reveal is hilarious because the villains in action movies are usually so one-dimensional.

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It is different to the usual action formula, which I love. It seems to be more focused on making Stark look cool (easy job!), having witty dialogue and being incredibly funny. I laughed more at this than I do intentional comedies these days. Stark is a fallible hero and this is evident from the movie- his suit doesn’t always work,  or it is a prototype not fit for fight/flight or it just listens to JARVIS rather than him. There isn’t really a single fight sequence where Stark gets to kick butt with an all singing and dancing suit. Something seems to go wrong every time and while I liked how refreshing that was, proper action nuts would have been craved a serious battle.  

Guy Pearce plays baddie Aldrich Killian

Guy Pearce plays baddie Aldrich Killian

I actually preferred all the down-time moments when we just listen to Tony talk and be all charismatic rather than all the action scenes. I didn’t really like the “evil” Tony faced and while Guy Pearce plays the baddie perfectly, I did think the whole “Extremis” concept was rather crazy. The action scenes got boring after a while, especially as an iron suit versus a red-hot super soldier battle can go on forever.

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I loved that Gwyneth got to don the suit and kick some butt, she definitely has more to do than in the previous films and I think that’s great. Before, Tony used to treat her like crap whereas in this movie, he realises how much she means to him and that’s where the film gets its heart. The best part for me is when Tony is in Tennessee and meets a young boy named Harley. He becomes his sidekick briefly and helps him fix the suit. The dialogue between them is hilarious. Kingsley’s Mandarin character had a brilliant twist which he plays perfectly and Rebecca Hall was frankly underused and poorly defined.

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This is far better than two and I would whole-heartedly recommend it. It is less action focused than the others and focuses more on Tony as a person but I still really enjoyed it. The plot is as sketchy as any action movie but the dialogue, humour and amazing cast make up for it. As a side note, stay until after the credits to see a hilarious scene with the Hulk!

Lawless: Review

There really aren’t many negative comments I can make about this film because it is absolute genius. I love the script, the cast, the setting, the era and just the whole damn thing really. I will probably end up gushing, BEWARE.

The film (based on a true story) follows the Bondurant brothers who run a moonshine business in the Prohibition era. Obviously, this practice is illegal but the police also want some of the produce so they turn a blind eye. They are loads of other groups in Franklin County, Virginia, but that soon becomes problematic when Special Detective Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) comes onto the scene from Chicago. Rakes doesn’t intend to stop the bootlegging business-he wants a cut of their profits instead. Forrest, the head Bondurant brother (played by Tom Hardy) refuses and the boys soon fall foul of Rakes’ dirty and evil ways of intimidation and torture. He will do anything in his power to get his cut or to shut them down entirely and he is one nasty bastard.

There is a bit more to it than that but that is the main overarching plot. There is a power struggle between the brothers as Jack (Shia LaBeouf), the youngest and most timid Bondurant, isn’t given any responsibility because he isn’t tough enough to deal with rough customers. The business is very violent and the older boys do not trust him with their liquor. He starts to become frustrated and gets a bit reckless.

The violence plays a big part in the movie as it is the main way the men keep each other in line. It gets much worse once Rakes is on the scene because he is absolutely ruthless and the way he treats people is disgusting. There is a lot of blood and some parts will make you cringe but it isn’t as bad as I was expecting.

Pearce is brilliant in this film and he plays the corrupt cop perfectly. In fact, nobody was bad. I think that’s the main thing that makes this movie excellent- the cast are just so good. Shia was amazing as Jack as his character progresses so much throughout from a timid boy to a strong-willed man. Hardy is awesome as usual as a stoic, man-of-few-words type who rules his business with ease.

The script is great- there are some quality comedic moments too which just lighten the tone. I love the accents, the dress sense, the cars, the guns, the era- the setting is so good! The action was equally balanced by dialogue I felt, the violence was necessary and the characterisation is superb. The only bad thing I can say is that I had trouble catching every sentence due to the accent and the actors’ low mumbled speech.

The supporting cast helped a lot too. I would have loved to see more Gary Oldman as mobster Floyd Banner as he isn’t given as much screen time as you would expect. Jessica Chastian is perfect as always as barmaid Maggie and love interest to Forrest. Mia Wasikowska joins the cast as Jack’s love interest but nothing really happens there as she is from a strict religious family.

This is an amazing film and I would highly recommend it.