Riders of Justice: Film Review

Riders of Justice

Credit: ROLF KONOW

Mads Mikkelsen is on a phenomenal streak this year – first off, we had the incredible Another Round and now he’s followed it up with the terrific Riders of Justice.

In this Danish crime drama, written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen, Mikkelsen plays Markus, a soldier who is called home after his wife is killed in a train accident. Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) – a probability expert who is developing an algorithm to determine the likelihood of any event – was also on the train and becomes convinced that it was no accident as there were too many coincidences – a suspicious man onboard, a defected gang member being among the victims. He brings this theory to Markus (whose daughter survived the crash) and he decides to get revenge on the people responsible for his wife’s death.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill revenge thriller, oh no. This is smart, funny and has a lot of heart, and the character dynamics make it special. When Markus makes his revenge plot, he asks Otto and his hacker friends – Lennart (Lars Brygmann) and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro) – to gather intelligence on the gang members he’s planning to kill and they use Markus’ home as a base and basically become like a family, having dinners and breakfast together, with Markus’ daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeburg) not knowing the real reason why they’re there.

Mikkelsen gives a fantastic performance (no surprises there). Markus is stoic, insular and fearsome and throws himself into the revenge plot to avoid confronting his grief. He doesn’t speak much but says so much with his eyes – you can tell he is simmering with rage beneath the surface. He is the complete opposite of the other men, who are nerdy, chatty and non-violent. Lennart and Emmenthaler are hilarious and cracked me up the most, while Gadeburg really grounds the whole piece.

The screenplay is very well written, the characters are clearly defined and each bring something different to the table. It successfully combines violent and thrilling action, hilarious moments of dialogue and line delivery, and some sad, heartfelt elements. I enjoyed it from start to finish and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

In cinemas from Friday 23rd July

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

July in film: My recommendations

Black Widow

©Marvel Studios 2021

It’s the start of July so that means it’s time to take a look at what’s coming out this month!

Freaky
I have been excited to see this film for more than a year and I’m thrilled it’s finally coming out in the UK. It’s a gender-bending body-swap comedy starring Kathryn Newton and Vince Vaughn as a high school girl and serial killer who swap bodies. It’s very funny and really gory and seeing Vaughn playing a teenage girl brought me so much joy. In cinemas from Friday 2nd July.

Another Round
This Danish movie rightly won the Best International Feature Film Oscar earlier this year. Mads Mikkelsen is fantastic in this comedy-drama, about a group of friends and teachers who experiment with varying blood alcohol levels throughout their workday. This film has one of the best endings in recent memory. Read my review here. In cinemas from 2nd July.

Black Widow
It’s been a while since we’ve had a Marvel movie to watch on the big screen! I’m very excited by the fact cinema has recovered enough for it to happen! This standalone movie is led by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and explores what she got up to between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. In cinemas from 7th July and on Disney+ from 9th July.

Gunpowder Milkshake
To be honest, I don’t know exactly what Gunpowder Milkshake is about because I avoided the trailer but all I need to know is that it’s an action-thriller starring Lena Headey and Karen Gillan as hitwomen. Sign me up! They are supported by more kickass assassins played by Angela Bassett, Carla Gugino and Michelle Yeoh. Hell yeah! In cinemas from 14th July.

Old
M. Night Shymalan‘s latest thriller looks wild. A family go for a day out at a secluded beach which somehow causes them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day. I can’t wait to find out the explanation for this. The film stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Alex Wolff, Thomasin McKenzie and more. Shymalan’s recent work hasn’t blown me away but this looks so intriguing. In cinemas from 23rd July.

Jungle Cruise
Another movie based on a Disney theme park ride, this action-adventure stars Dwayne Johnson as a steamboat captain who agrees to guide a British scientist and her reluctant brother – Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall – on their mission into the jungle to find the Tree of Life. This looks like great fun. In cinemas and Disney+ from 30th July.

The Suicide Squad

I’m excited to see Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn again tbh! This sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad follows a group of imprisoned convicts – some familiar, some new – who are sent to destroy a Nazi-era prison and lab. The trailer for this movie, directed by James Gunn, is awesome so I have high hopes. Robbie is joined by the likes of Idris Elba, Joel Kinnaman and John Cena. In cinemas 30th July.

Another Round: Film Review

Another Round

Courtesy of Studiocanal

I am so glad Another Round won the Best International Feature Film Oscar earlier this year because it’s a terrific movie.

Thomas Vinterberg‘s latest film follows four friends – Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), and Peter (Lars Ranthe) – who work at the same high school and are thoroughly fed up of their lives in both a professional and personal sense. Martin, for example, teaches history with such dull monotony the students are genuinely concerned about their grades and he and his wife Anika (Maria Bonnevie) are like passing ships in the night and have lost the ability to communicate with each other. The four pals decide to test the theory that their lives with improve if they maintain a constant level of alcohol in their blood.

For starters, what a unique and terrific concept. I was so into this idea and couldn’t wait to see how the experiment panned out. They start small and take reasonable amounts of alcohol during their workday but as to be expected, once they’ve had a taste of the confidence, enthusiasm and lust for life the alcohol gives them, they want more and more and it slowly slips out of control, with devastating consequences.

Vinterberg has created a film which strikes the perfect balance between being fun and entertaining to watch, with plenty of humour, to being poignant and sad. It’s really enjoyable watching these men find joy in their lives again but when they start to regress to irresponsible children, you feel tense because it’s going too far and the direction it’s heading in doesn’t feel good.

Mikkelsen is fantastic here as a man trying to fix his marriage, keep his family together and get out of his mid-life crisis. His transformation from this quiet, introverted, monosyllabic man to one with filled with confidence, vigour, and vitality was a joy to behold. And his dance sequence put the biggest smile on my face. His co-stars are equally strong, although my particular favourite was Nikolaj, who truly spearheads the experiment to escape from his demanding wife and young children.

Another Round, originally titled Druk in Denmark, is a brilliant film and I can’t recommend a watch highly enough.

In cinemas from Friday 2nd July

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Chaos Walking: Film Review

Chaos Walking

The response to Chaos Walking has been overwhelming negative and the Rotten Tomatoes score isn’t great, so I went in with super low expectations and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, it definitely doesn’t live up to its potential, but it’s not as terrible as I’d been led to believe.

This dystopian adventure, based on The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, is set in 2257 on New World, an alien planet which has been colonised by humans. The main action takes place in Prentisstown, which is only inhabited by men – the women got killed by the natives – and they all have ‘the Noise’, meaning their thoughts are broadcast for all to hear, so they can have no secrets, although some can control or hide their Noise better than others. One day, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) comes across Viola (Daisy Ridley) – the first female he’s ever seen in real life – after her spaceship crashes down on New World. He helps her escape Prentisstown, run by the cunning mayor David Prentiss (Mads Mikkelsen), and find a way to contact another ship.

I loved the concept – it is such a terrific idea ripe with potential – and enjoyed discovering this new world and watching them venturing into new terrain and getting to know each other and become friends. There are plenty of great ideas in here – particularly about how the indigenous people are perceived – but they are poorly executed, and the characters are generic and aren’t well developed so it was hard to care about them (I genuinely cared more about the dog Manchee). The action sequences were a bit confusing to watch sometimes, they felt rushed and not properly thought through. I also thought the screenplay by Ness and Christopher Ford also needed work. I felt like Todd’s Noise at the beginning was used for a lot of exposition which didn’t feel realistic – would somebody really think those things? – and some of the emotional beats didn’t always work.

I really like Holland, I think he’s a talented actor who has this cute nerdy charm and that works perfectly well here. He has a captivating onscreen presence as the naive and sheltered Todd who is finally having his eyes opened to the lies he’s been told. Ridley didn’t offer up much more than we saw in Star Wars but they play off each other nicely and I liked the team they form, with Manchee (who is adorable) completing the trio. I didn’t like the clothes she wore either, those trousers looked super uncomfortable!

Mikkelsen was perfectly cast as the sly mayor, complete with an excellent fur coat, and I liked Cynthia Erivo as his opposite – the kind and considerate mayor of Farbranch – although she wasn’t in it as much as I would’ve liked. I can’t really comment on David Oyelowo‘s performance as the radical preacher Aaron because I didn’t understand the character at all, although he was convincing as a crazed madman. And I’m surprised Nick Jonas took the part of Prentiss’ son because it was so small and inconsequential.

Chaos Walking had so much potential. The ideas, the characters, and the setting are all ingredients for a solid action-packed adventure so it’s such a shame Doug Liman squandered it and didn’t deliver the goods. There’s still plenty to enjoy in here though so don’t write it off completely.

Available for premium rental at home on all digital platforms from Friday 2nd April

Rating: 3 out of 5.

At Eternity’s Gate: Film Review

During awards season, I was really annoyed that At Eternity’s Gate was the only gap in my film knowledge, the only film in a major category that I hadn’t seen, and now I’ve finally seen it I can say it wasn’t worth the wait.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Film Review

star-wars

I was unbelievably psyched for Star Wars: The Force Awakens but I never once felt that level of excitement for Rogue One and I couldn’t really put my finger on why. My initial gut reaction was pretty accurate though because while Rogue One is good, it is nowhere near as fantastic as Awakens.

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Doctor Strange: Film Review 

strange

I am usually ridiculously hyped for Marvel movies but I never was for Doctor Strange and I don’t know why. Maybe cos it’s so different to the others. I was hoping the movie itself would surpass my expectations but it didn’t. It was good, I liked it but I didn’t come out thinking ‘this is awesome’ like the others.

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Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money video is the greatest

ri

All hail queen Ri! Rihanna had been known for making awesome videos for a while but since coming back from her long break earlier this year, she hasn’t really been talked about or created much buzz. Her songs were good, but not holy crap amazing, and the videos were pretty dull. So the Bitch Better Have My Money (BBHMM) music video proves SHE IS BACK, and she is the boss and not someone to be messed with.

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