Wildlife: Film Review

I loved Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan‘s previous joint effort Ruby Sparks so I had high hopes for Wildlife, which is Dano’s directorial debut starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. It is an assured debut which looked beautiful and had some great ideas, but it was a bit too slow for my tastes.

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Cannes 2017: Films to get excited about

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival kicked off yesterday, and as always I’m filled with envy that I’m not there, watching the stars hit the red carpet and seeing the premiere of all these potentially amazing films. For the next ten days, there will be plenty of screenings but there are just a handful that I’m really excited about. Here they are:

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Swiss Army Man: Film Review

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I’m sure everyone has read about Swiss Army Man, how Daniel Radcliffe is playing a “farting corpse” and how some of the audience at Sundance Film Festival walked out. So I entered the screening with all these in mind and feared I would sit through a film I really hated, but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. It is probably one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen, sure, but it’s also really charming, funny and heartbreaking.

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V Festival Day 1 Review: Justin Bieber & Sia

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On Saturday I went to V Festival in Essex for the first time to see acts such as Justin Bieber, Sia, Jess Glynne and Bastille. The experience was epic but some of the performances weren’t 100% awesome…

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Youth: Film Review

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Youth competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival this year and received major praise from critics, so I felt confident going to see it. The stellar cast of Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano are impressive but this is very indie and odd and will not please everybody.

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Love & Mercy: Film Review

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I knew nothing about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys except their music so I was going into this with a completely open mind – I had no idea what they were supposed to look like, so that did not cloud my judgment on Paul Dano or John Cusack‘s portrayal of the troubled frontman, so my opinion is based simply on the film and the research I felt compelled to do afterwards.

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Prisoners: Review

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This thriller has done very well at the US box office and I’m not surprised- it is brilliant. The cast, the tone, the setting, everything was perfect. Except the ending. Everything about it was so, so good until the revelations came.

Prisoners focuses on Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and how he deals with his daughter and her friend going missing. The police, headed by Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), conclude that they have been abducted by a man in an RV, yet they have no evidence to hold him. This guy is Alex Jones (Paul Dano) and he has the IQ of a ten-year-old. Once he has been released, Keller becomes convinced that Alex did it and decides to take matters into his own hands, by taking him captive and torturing information out of him. But doesn’t this mean that Keller is just as bad as the abductor? And who actually did it?

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The movie is very bleak and the setting and characters help with this. The film takes place in Pennsylvania where it rains the entire movie (with occasional snow). Keller is a poor, hard-faced, religious man and Loki seems troubled with a weird eye twitch. All the adults are depressed (obviously) and their morals are questioned on a number of occasions. Keller’s dilemma is obvious but how about his friend, Franklin (Terrence Howard) and his wife Nancy (Viola Davis), who know that Keller is torturing Alex but they don’t stop him. They let him continue because they also want their daughter back. Or how about Keller’s wife, Grace (Maria Bello), who chooses to stay in bed on medication rather than search for her daughter.

The acting here is brilliant. Besides Les Mis, this is the best I have ever seen Jackman. He was terrifying at times and emotional the next. This is the best thing I’ve seen Gyllenhaal in for a while. Paul Dano is impressive as Alex, although he doesn’t talk all that much. There is an impressive support cast and they are all brilliant (let’s not forget Melissa Leo) with the limited space they are given.

The pacing was a bit slow at times, spending a lot of time on clues which weren’t actually relevant later on. I felt the ending was rushed despite the running time being two and half hours. I loved the slow scenes where the characterisation is built up but I felt the conclusion suffered. I could have easily had an extra 5-10 minutes just to make things clearer. While the end revelation made sense, it all happened too quickly and you left thinking “whaaaaat?” and then you think about earlier clues and wonder how they all fit into the picture. It wasn’t tied up neatly.

I would still recommend a watch for the amazing acting (particularly Jackman), dialogue and tension. It is thrilling and nail-biting at times. Very good movie.

Looper: Review

The movie was dubbed as “the new Matrix” and I really hoped it wasn’t the case because I’m not a fan of that film. This is quite different and I really enjoyed it. I’m not saying it was absolutely amazing or perfect but it was pretty darn good.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Joe, a looper, an assassin who kills people sent back from the future, where time travel has been invented but is illegal. The people from the future send someone to be killed, Joe does the business and they don’t exist anymore. However, someone from the future called “The Rainmaker” is culling the loopers and sending them back to be killed. When Joe is faced with his future self, played by Bruce Willis, he falters for a moment and Willis manages to escape. He must track and kill his future self and run away from the authorities who want to kill him for his mistake.

It does get a bit dull around the middle once Joe meets Emily Blunt and her son. He chills out on their farm because he knows Willis will get there in his search for the Rainmaker. So there is a lot about feelings, her family and their blossoming relationship at this point- which is nice but at the time, I felt it was detracting from the main plot. I won’t ruin things but I’ll just say that all the little things you think are irrelevant will become important later on.

I thought Joseph was brilliant as a younger Willis. He had prosthetic pieces added onto his face to make him look more like him and he changed his voice as well. Despite these changes, I thought the way he moved and his facial expressions were perfect and it made it believable that they were the same person. It was sad to not see JGL in his usual glory though! Bruce was his usual self. Emily Blunt played a completely different character to what we are used to seeing- she was kick ass and tough-nosed woman and I liked it. Paul Dano was brilliant and I wish he had a bigger role. The stand-out star for me though was Pierce Gagnon, who played Blunt’s son. He is AMAZING and steals the movie.

This is set in the future but it isn’t a completely different world. They don’t use time travel much once Willis arrives and the only real differences are the use of hover motorbikes and that a lot of people have telekinetic powers, which sounds random but it will all make sense later on.

I thought the script was smart, the casting was really good and the action is really entertaining. I would recommend a watch.

Top Films for October

TAKEN 2

Well, I’m sure EVERYONE knows what this is about. It is pretty much the same as the original movie but I loved it and seeing Liam Neeson kick ass again is definitely enough for me. This time around, Neeson and his wife (Famke Janssen) get taken while on holiday in Istanbul and his daughter Maggie is on the run from the people who Neeson messed with in the first film. He must use his epic skills to free them all and sort these guys out once and for all. I have high hopes. Released: 4th

 

LIBERAL ARTS

This is written, directed and starring Josh Radnor, who plays Ted in How I Met Your Mother. I love him and his previous movie, Happythankyoumoreplease, was good and I’m sure this will be far better. This comedy-drama follows a 35-year-old who gets into a relationship with a 19-year-old college student (Elizabeth Olsen). Not much else has been given about the plot but I’m still up for seeing this. Also starring Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Zac Efron. This is on limited release so check out which cinemas are showing it near you. Released-5th

 

ON THE ROAD

I’m not going to lie, I mainly want to see this because Kristen Stewart has some steamy scenes and I want to see her doing grown-up stuff. Plus, it has got a fantastic cast. Young writer Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) has his world turned upside down by the arrival of Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) and his girlfriend, Marylou (Kristen Stewart). They go on a road trip together where they meet different people who impact their journey. I don’t really know what to expect from this but I’m certainly very curious. Also starring Viggo Mortensen, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Steve Buscemi. Released- 12th

 

RUBY SPARKS

This looks like a really sweet movie. Paul Dano stars as a writer who comes up with the character Ruby Sparks and suddenly, she comes to life. I’m not sure how it is going move along that theme because obviously, having a real person in your life that you dreamed up in your mind is really odd. Despite this, Dano falls in love with Sparks. I just hope it has a nice ending! Released- 12th

 

SKYFALL

I didn’t particularly like Quantum of Solace but I have hope that this Bond film will be better. It will be entertaining no matter what with fast-paced action, witty dialogue and great effects and stunts. After an operation ends in disaster, Bond (Daniel Craig) is missing and presumed dead and the identities of every MI6 agent are leaked onto the internet which causes the Government to question M’s leadership. When the service itself is attacked, Bond seeks down a villain which could soon lead him to question his loyalty to M. I’m sure it will be amazing. I look forward to it. Released- 26th.