Honey Boy: LFF Film Review

You think you know Shia LaBeouf – given that he’s been in the spotlight since he was a child and has been in the headlines for his run-ins with the police in recent years – but when you watch his biographical film Honey Boy you’ll realise you had no idea.

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Man Down: Film Review

Man Down has been pretty savaged by critics but I’m baffled because I actually liked it. Like, it’s not amazing but it’s certainly not as bad as reviews lead me to believe.

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My top ten London Film Festival recommendations

I saw a bucketload of films at this year’s London Film Festival. Seeing films in this fashion is very tiring but it also helps you sort out the good from the bad, the outstanding to the mediocre very easily so here are the top ten films that stood out at LFF this year (click on the titles to read the full review):

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American Honey: LFF Film Review

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American Honey has been receiving critical acclaim since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival so obviously I was excited to watch it and I can now say I fully understand the hype.

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Top Films for October

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It’s that time of the month – movie preview time! This October isn’t a massive month for releases to be honest, but that certainly makes my job of picking my recommendations much easier. Here we go:

American Honey

This is just a wonderful character study starring newcomer Sasha Lane, who is definitely one to watch. We follow her as she joins a ‘mag crew’ who travel the country selling magazines, she gets involved in their heavy drugs and drink lifestyle and has a sort-of relationship with Shia LaBeouf, who gives his strongest performance in years. It’s a tad too long but seriously life-affirming. Review on its way. Released: 14th October

War on Everyone 

Michael Pena and Alexander Skarsgard star in this brilliantly un-PC comedy about two crooked cops, who basically use their badges to steal drugs, money, etc and get away with it. The dialogue is hilarious; it is sharp, witty, and so, so wrong. Theo James also stars as their main villain. Released: Friday 7th October

 

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The Girl on the Train 

Okay, so this hasn’t received the stellar reviews we had all been expecting but I would still recommend you check it out. It is still good (just not amazing) – it is gripping, shocking and features an impressive performance from Emily Blunt, who plays an alcoholic who becomes involved in a missing person’s investigation. It also stars Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, with brilliant small appearances from Laura Prepon and Lisa Kudrow. Released today – you can read my review here.

Trolls

I do love a good children’s animation and I’m hoping this new musical featuring the voices of Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick is just the ticket. They play Branch and Poppy, who go on an adventure to save their town from the troll-eating bergens. I want this to be so much fun. Released: 21st October

 

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Doctor Strange 

Marvel is back WOOHOO! This time we are meeting Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a top surgeon who is put out of a job following a car accident. He encounters the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who become his mentor in the mystic arts. It looks like an Inception-style superhero movie from the trailer and I’m very intrigued, though definitely not as excited as other MCU offerings. Released: 28th October

Keeping Up with the Joneses

The trailer for this action comedy really made me laugh so I’m hoping the rest of the movie will do the same. Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis star as the Gaffneys, a regular married couple, who end up involved in an espionage mission after discovering their neighbours The Joneses (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) are secret agents. This better be hilarious! Released: 28th October

Fury: Film Review

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War movies are not usually my thing – and it is rare for me to find one that I actually enjoy. This film is great. It is no Saving Private Ryan nor does it reinvent the genre but it offers a fresh perspective and was superbly cast.

Brad Pitt is ‘Wardaddy”, a sergeant who leads a five-man tank team sweeping through German towns during the tail end of World War II in 1945. The film opens the crew heading back to camp as one of their men has died and they need a replacement. They are given Norman (Logan Lerman), who is young, naive and afraid. The roughened team – consisting of ‘Bible’ (Shia LaBeouf), ‘Gordo’ (Michael Pena) and ‘Coon Ass’ (Jon Bernthal) – give him a tough time to harden him to the brutal reality of war.

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Fury: Film Festival Press Conference

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So on Sunday, I was lucky enough to attend the London Film Festival press conference for the closing film Fury. It stars Brad Pitt (in the middle of the panel) as Wardaddy, the leader of a five men manning a tank during World War II. All in attendance (from L-R) were: director David Ayer, Michael Pena, Brad, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf and Jon Bernthal.

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Alec Baldwin bitches about Shia LaBeouf

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Alec Baldwin wrote a massive article for New York Magazine, detailing his problems in recent months including accusations of homophobic slurs, being fired from his MSNBC talk show and also financial repercussions. He also used it as a tool to bitch about plenty of people, namely the media for making up stuff about him and the paparazzi for harassing his family, but also certain famous people – including Shia LaBeouf, who has also fallen out of the public’s graces recently.

Shia and Alec were cast in the Broadway production of Orphans alongside Tom Sturridge but Shia was famously fired from the role  and replaced by Ben Foster. Alec has shed some light on what really went down. Here’s an extract from his article:

 

“Getting back onstage seemed like a good idea. I loved Lyle Kessler’s play and was anxious to work with director Dan Sullivan. Then Shia LaBeouf showed up. I’d heard from other people that he was potentially very difficult to work with, but I always ignore that because people say the same thing about me. When he showed up, he seemed like a lot of young actors today—scattered, as he was coming from making six movies in a row or whatever.

There was friction between us from the beginning. LaBeouf seems to carry with him, to put it mildly, a jailhouse mentality wherever he goes. When he came to rehearsal, he was told it was important to memorize his lines. He took that to heart and learned all his lines in advance, even emailing me videos in which he read aloud his lines from the entire play. To prove he had put in the time. (What else do you do in jail?) I, however, do not learn my lines in advance. So he began to sulk because he felt we were slowing him down. You could tell right away he loves to argue. And one day he attacked me in front of everyone. He said, “You’re slowing me down, and you don’t know your lines. And if you don’t say your lines, I’m just going to keep saying my lines.”

We all sat, frozen. I snorted a bit, and, turning to him in front of the whole cast, I asked, “If I don’t say my words fast enough, you’re going to just say your next line?” I said. “You realize the lines are written in a certain order?” He just glared at me.

So I asked the company to break. And I took the stage manager, with Sullivan, to another room, and I said one of us is going to go. I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll go.” I said don’t fire the kid, I’ll quit. They said no, no, no, no, and they fired him. And I think he was shocked. He had that card, that card you get when you make films that make a lot of money that gives you a certain kind of entitlement. I think he was surprised that it didn’t work in the theater.”

 

Getting rid of Shia did not help the play and following that incident, the director was no longer friendly with Alec and the play closed early.

Really interesting insight there, although I’m not sure how reliable Alec is as he seems pretty bitter in this article.

To read the full thing, see here.

Mark Walhberg confirmed for Transformers 4

I think we all groaned when Michael Bay announced there would be a Transformer 4 ESPECIALLY when Shia LaBeouf had already said he would not play Sam Whitwicky anymore.

However, Mark Wahlberg has signed on to be the lead role of the next instalment which does intrigue me. I would still see it because I want to know how the story is going to work. Is he playing older Sam? Will any other characters return?

I just feel like this is such a cash cow. Bay knows they make a lot of money so wants to do more even though it was only intended to be a trilogy. Let’s be honest, the third one wasn’t that great (although better than two) so you know the fourth is going to be rubbish. I’m amazed someone like Mark agreed to this.

Bay said, “Mark is awesome. We had a blast working on  Pain and Gain  and I’m so fired up to be back working with him. An actor of his calibre is the perfect guy to re-invigorate the franchise and carry on the  Transformers’ legacy.”

The movie will begin shooting next year and has an estimated release date on June 2014.

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.