Thursday, 30 October 2014

John Wick

An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. 


John Wick is a new action movie starring Keanu Reeves, directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. Since a little while I'm a huge fan of Keanu Reeves and I watched many of his interviews; he really seems to be a very cool and down to earth gentleman. I've heard and read many positive things about John Wick. It's one of the best action movie of the year and possibly Keanu Reeves' best performance since a long time. It doesn't arcane back to the 80's action movies ,actually it's an excellent 2014 action movie, no nostalgia required. Firstly, this film blew my mind and Keanu Reeves gives a lot of himself which is such a great thing to see. He is the perfect actor for the lead role. Everything he does is cool: driving, fighting, shooting and even speaking. All those things in general are what an action hero has to do in a good action movie. He is bad ass but also as he's retired for a certain time it makes him rusty enough to produce an interesting and tensional movie. Plus, John Wick is a slick looking movie, with fantastic action scenes and most importantly and surprisingly great dialogue scenes as well. The main villain of the movie starring Michael Nyqvist (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and Millenium) is absolutely terrific, Russians seems to always be the bad guys. In fact all the acting on this film is really good. 


I think it's actually Keanu Reeves' best film since The Matrix. Mainly because this film requires a lot of an actor, it's fantastic to see him properly doing the action scenes. He knows how to sell action; but I'm not only talking about physical work, he also has some very emotional scenes which involved a lot of anger and despair; he does a very great job with all of them. The screenplay is good, it's not only a revenge/ killing movie. There been a lot of action world creation, you learn a lot about these underworld war criminal. I completely understand why the hero goes on this bloody path. I have a dog. If anyone hurts my dog for any reason I'll do John Wick on them. Plus, the Club scene is the best scene of the whole movie, it reminds me of a club scene in Collateral which is crazy good action. However, the only flaw I could see in this film is the end; as my mum would say: the end seems a little bit forced up and a little bit put together really fast. That's it. Finally, John Wick also sets up ideas of sequel (not being forced like in The Maze Runner). You are able to see the character's evolution and the potential for a franchise along the movie. John Wick's the nicest guy ever just don't screw with him. 


Overall John Wick has incredible shoot out sequences, it's anon-stop action movie that actually has a clever script, a really awesome hero, a great villain (a few great villains actually). It does everything an action movie is supposed to do, it understands what its doing and does it extremely well. Go see this film!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Fury

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.  


Fury is written and directed by David Heyre, stars Brad Pitt as the team leader, Logan Lerman, Shia Laboeuf, Michael Pena and Jen Bernthal. David Heyre is a very good director and writer but he has made some not so great movies in the past, I’m especially talking about Sabotage. This film displays another great Nazis killing performances by Brad Pitt, there’s this uncompromising composure about him. Logan Lerman is fantastic; he delivers his best performance yet, far from Percy Jackson and way better than Perks of Being a Wallflower. Shia Laboeuf is great as well. You see, I don’t really care about the press he had but as an actor he does a really good job in this film. He succeeds to prove that he is a good actor. Keep yourself out of the tabloids and I think you’re on your path. Plus the director has been able to create a sort of camaraderie that make you want to root for these guys, they feel like family. Fury is a well-shot standard WWII movie with locked down, fluid pictures, an interesting story and very good action sequences. In fact the action the action is extremely realistic, it does not seem fake at all, this thanks to amazing sound effects.  Plus tanks scenes are intense, you really feel like you’re actually part of the crew inside it with them. This film grasps the concept that war is ugly, there’s nothing heroic about it, there’s no medals. This is war, it’s all dirty and mainly no one wants to be there. Apparently sometimes to fight monsters you need ass holes. However, the movie doesn’t have enough substance around his characters though and is a little bit overstepping his boundaries with religious messages sometimes. 



Overall Fury is very well directed and entertaining movie, with very good performances all around and most importantly that displays his point very well: war is ugly and violent. This is an effective war movie.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Magic in the Moonlight

A romantic comedy about an Englishman brought in to the help unmask a possible swindle. Personal and professional complications ensue. 


Magic in the Moonlight is a film directed by Woody Allen and stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth. It is obviously a romance. I'm not entirely convinced by woody Allen since there are years he'll hit you with movies like Match Point or Midnight in Paris and then, years when you'll get You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger or Scoop. Nonetheless, this movie throw two very talented actors, in the middle of a quite boring story. In fact there is no tension until ten minutes left of the movie. As usual there are moments where the writing is very clever and seems fresh but they don't overcome the cliché moments though. this film fits perfectly the build of standard romantic comedy structure: guy meets girl, they do not get along very well at first as they're opposing, then they start to like each other and suddenly problems happen. In this case nothing really happens, I mean nothing really unpredictable. Colin Firth is very good as this very rude, very mean and hard to live with character. Plus, Emma Stone is really charming, lovely and beautiful; she is also very good. 


Overall Magic in the Moonlight as whole is watchable but very conventional; that I could see where the film was headed from the beginning. I am a little bit disappointed because everybody know that Woody Allen is a really talented writer.

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Judge

Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town's judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family. 



The Judge is directed by David Dobkin and stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. It's cool to see Robert Downey Jr. in a role that doesn't involves him putting an iron suit on. This man has talent, he actually is an excellent actor, I recommend to check out some of his movies from the 90's to early 2000. Of course Robert Duvall was in To Kill a Mockingbird, he's a fantastic and iconic actor since for ever. This movie is exciting. Firstly I'm impressed; not only this film is funny but it's also very interesting, an almost two and a half hours movie and you are never bored. That's what I called Cinema. Though, there is nothing original about the story but it does focus a lot on hi characters. Plus, Robert Downey Jr. is excellent in this film; he steels every scene he's in and that's pretty the whole movie. As I said before, it's good to see him again playing an adult male character other than Iron Man, he's great as Iron Man but this actor can do serious adult drama movies and killed it as well. It reminds me of Zodiac. It's also great to have Robert Duvall  back because for the past few years he was just a cool supporting actor showing up for few scenes and that's pretty much it; but here he's GOOD! Vincent D'Onofrio is terrific in the movie as well as Billy Bob Thornton who is the "bad" guy but he's just doing his job, he's underused. However, on the one hand there are some intense and powerful scenes between the two protagonists but in the other hand some are a bit cheesy and unrealistic. Everything involving the girl and her daughter in the movie could have been erased. It's evolving around this father and son emotion, you don't really need her. Vera Farmiga is a good actress but it won't miss something if they skip it,  I would even say that this is a little irrelevant to the overall plot. Finally, I feel like there weren't enough of the court room scenes, that are my favorite ones; they keep showing those a bit boring and useless family drama dynamic argument when the main plot take place around this super interesting case. 


Overall The Judge is an effective and well directed movie with performances that all are very good, the story is very interesting, showing family bonding and doing something good for the world as when you walk out of this movie, the only thing you want to do is call your father.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

When a kingpin threatens New York City, a news reporter find a quad of mutants which makes an alliance to unravel Shredder's plan as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 


I've been hoping for a new live action Ninja Turtles movie since I've seen 1993 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie when I was younger. This new movie is directed by Michael Bay... Oh no sorry Jonathan Liebesman. If you grew up in the 90's you've heard of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before, you probably play one of the game, watched the films or saw the cartoons; a slice of nostalgia from my childhood. If I'm honest I'd tell you that I didn't want to go see this movie at first, but I did it anyway and as I was expecting: it's not really that good. They turned TMNT into a Michael Bay movie! Children are going to love it! this film look like a Bay movie so bad that I wouldn't have been surprised to see Optimus Prime rolling around and fighting. Plus, this movie's storytelling is very bad and it relies too much on the fact that you watched Ninja Turtles before like Raphael's monologue in which he explains how he's a dick sometimes. Moreover, the iconic villain: Shredder is a total fail, he doesn't have a shrink of personality. Megan Fox is functional, at least more functional I thought she will be. Finally, the turtles were the only thing that quite works for me. They did embody the Ninja Turtles pretty well with their singular personalities. A lot of skills is put in the turtle's ninja moves, regards to this it's vivid and super fluid; but as per usual it's this way because they are entirely digitally created shots. Whenever there's not an action scene that does not involve 100% digital effects: it's BAD. The ending is the exact same ending as The Amazing Spider Man 2 , if you've seen that film... I'm not going to spoil. 


Overall, children will have fun watching TMNT but if you require a good villain, good characterisation and good supporting characters: it's not this movie. OR if you enjoyed The Transformers films you'll probably like this movie which include a shred of clever film making and a whole bunch of special effects throwing to your face.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Private investigator Matthew Scudder is hired by a drug kingpin to find out who kidnapped and murdered his wife. 


A Walk Among the Tombstones is directed by Scott Franck and is starring Dan Stevens and Liam Neeson. First sight I thought this movie would be as badass as Taken and The Equalizer but it's not, this movie is more of an investigative movie; in which Liam Neeson's character is this private investigator and he is connecting the dots. This movie takes it time that's why sometime you feel like the film is two and a half hour long but it's not. It's nice to see Liam Neeson actually playing an other role than this orderly badass we used to, here he's the main guy in an investigative role, properly acting. He's good. Even if the action is not here. Villains are creepy dick heads, but not in a right way. In fact in a movie like this you have to make your villain character functional, someone you feel really uncomfortable with on screen. 

Overall A Walk Among the Tombstones might not be what you thought if you're expecting an other The Equalizer movie or something like that: it's not. It doesn't move quickly, sometimes it's even slow but there are some interesting investigation scenes where you are able to see the actual investigation and those dots pieces together.

The Maze Runner

Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape. 

 

Since all of us were hoping for yet another young adult novel to be adapted to the big screen, we have The Maze Runner. Apparently this is the new trend in Hollywood since Harry Potter and Twilight have exploded. This film film is directed by Wes Ball and stars Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf), Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter and Thomas Brodie-Sangster among others. It's a pretty well directed movie with a very good lead performance by Dylan O'Brien, who is excellent. Will Poulter (We're the Millers) is also particularly good and his adversary relationship with O'brien's character ad something to the movie. The Maze sequences are very impressive and suspenseful. The creatures are good even if the cgi is not the best we've seen this year and a little obvious from time to time. I liked the tone of the movie as wherever you look 360° is just a big wall, a confine feeling is settling very quickly, a feeling that these guys are really cut off from the outside world. We don't know where they are. Who put them in this maze? Was it human? Was it Alien? Why? All you see is this field in the middle of the maze that's where I feel really isolated and I loved that because that's what you are supposed to feel like. As I said before there are few intense chase scene and in a movie called like this: I want to see that kind of things. That's what the movie delivers. However very quickly you kind of know where the movie is going though, it doesn't keep the intrigue alive too long and "it's in the book!" as friends said to me is not an excuse. Because certain aspects are not working on the screen, keep in mind it's an adaptation. Plus the ending is once again a disappointment. I think I'm doomed to bad endings in young adult novels adaptation. It's one of those endings the more you are thinking about it on the way home the worst it gets. It completely deconstructed the whole movie and make it irrelevant in some way. It does not make sense because the movie does such a good job isolating you, it was all about the environment. This lead me, finally, to the obvious sequel announcement. It's so obvious that when a character said his line I actually laughed. There's going to be another one guys *winky face*. 


Overall The Maze Runner I liked the movie, it does look good, there are some really good running/chasing sequences, the main actors were very good but the end is a little bit disappointing.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Annabelle

A couple begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.  



Annabelle is produced by James Wang and directed by his preferred cinematographer of choice R.R Leonetti. This movie is kind of a sequel to The Conjuring and I absolutely loved The Conjuring. Actually Leonetti was director of the photography on Insidious 1, Insidious 2 and The Conjuring; which all three movies happen to be one of my favorites horror movies of all time. Annabelle is the creepiest looking doll I've ever seen in my life, who ever thought to bring it into their house? Really... Who on earth would put that thing in their baby's room? No one sain for sure. This movie is based on jump scare after jump scare. The horror is obvious, you know something is going to happen. There were not that much of suspense building over the film though and the construction of the scary scenes. In fact, the film making doesn't properly fit the tones of sound effects that are supposed to make you feel something very scary is happening. My favorite scene is the elevator/staircase sequence which is really cool. For the first hour of the movie nothing really scary happen, it's just some pretty creepy close up of the doll. And then, that's when all the real scary things properly start to happen, we can actually see the demon: that's cool. Finally in this film mostly all the characters were not that great. They are all flat and lifeless; narrating the story of a perfect couple with a cute baby on the way and money which comes from god knows where. Unsurprising. 


Overall Annabelle is a bit disappointing as it was so predictable, it's not as close to be as good as The Conjuring. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Gone Girl (50th Review)

With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a  man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.



Gone Girl is directed by David Fincher, adapted by Gillian Flynn from her 2012 novel of the same name. It stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry. I was really excited about this film as David Fincher is on of my favorites director and he's a perfectionist so I knew deep down that it'll be a good one. I was even more excited when I discovered that he hired Ben Affleck to play the husband. This role is perfect for him and he's fantastic in this movie. Rosamund Pike is also excellent; this is probably the best work I've seen from her. I loved it. First I have to say that I read the book before... But for those who did not read the book before, you barely know anything going to this movie. The trailer didn't reveal a lot of things and details, which you don't need to know until you are sitting in the theater experiencing the movie for yourselves. There are so many hidden facts to the story and that I won't spoil to you as so you'll be able to experience them without knowing. I'm glad to see that Fincher cherishes this kind of movie experiences as well. As the film progresses I was continuously surprised, it got darker and darker and meaner. My mouth was dropped. It's really intriguing and you don't know who to root for. You are the detective, watching everything the husband does. Plus, this movie legitimately make you think about the way we perceive the media, the news and factual events. How you just see what the media is showing you. You don't know all the facts. Also how the news and media affect the situation of this man; as a viewer I evolved behind the scenes of how a person's life can crumbled to the ground simply based on a few lies. Technically Fincher is a visionary director and that's what I love about his work. His frames are PERFECT. Secondly I liked the fact that twits and turns of the movie don't came out as showy as I'm use to; just as  "wow..." thanks to this really good screenplay. The cast was really good. Beside Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike who are fantastic, I wasn't sure of Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris... So let me tell you that they are great as well! Finally, for being as long as it is the story keeps you certainly interested till the end with an heavy content. You want to get to the end to find out what really happened? What will happen now? And then? What's next for them? This movie is REAL, every situation is realistic. This is obviously one of the best movie of the year. It's a dark story, even a bit rude but I can see the truth in a lot of things that are portrayed. What is so shocking is that things like this are really happening in nowadays society. 


Overall Gone Girl has some flawless features, a dramatically powerful core, it's wonderfully acted and it's damn sad when you start thinking about it.  

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Equalizer

A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. but when he meets a young prostitute under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by - he has to help her. 



The Equalizer is directed by Antoine Fuqua and stars Denzel Washington. Direction of this movie was discussed for a long time. Indeed it had been told that Nicolas Winding Refn was first approach; which I can perfectly understand as there are some Refn' violent scenes brand throughout the film. I love Denzel Washington, he could make a movie about a man sitting on a toilet for the entire movie ant it would be a good thing to watch. However this film is a little bit more violent than just a man sitting on a toilet (more exciting as well) and Denzel Washington is the one thing that carries this movie along from the beginning to the end; and gives it the credibility it deserves. I really enjoyed the movie on the one hand because Denzel Washington sells every scenes he's in, he makes the over the top violent nature of this movie fun and more acceptable; and on the other hand thanks to Marton Csokas playing a pretty strong villain. Seeing them both interact is one of my favourite part of this movie. My favourite scene is in fact both of them having a pretty deep and serious conversation in a restaurant. This movie is violent, which can turn off some people. I have to admit that some violence may be over the top and unnecessary sometimes, as well as some side plots. For instance, Chloë Grace Moretz' character bring him back into this world and totally disappear for the whole movie. As an older bad ass character Denzel Washington is extremely compelling and endlessly watchable. But I was expecting to learn a little bit more about him though. I like roles like this, played by actors like him or Liam Neeson as well; they are good and smart, nothing about those guys is uncool. Finally, The Equalizer is totally aware of itself, there is no deeper meaning, no Oscars nomination pretending. This movie knows what it is, it knows what it wants to do and does it that's all.


Overall The Equalizer is really entertaining. I loved it. The action is good, Denzel Washington is great, the villain is strong, but the story has some holes in it.