Posted in film, Reviews

The Girl on The Train – Film Review

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Commuter Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) catches daily glimpses of a seemingly perfect couple, Scott and Megan, from the window of her train. One day, Watson witnesses something shocking unfold in the backyard of the strangers’ home. Rachel tells the authorities what she thinks she saw after learning that Megan is now missing and feared dead. Unable to trust her own memory, the troubled woman begins her own investigation, while police suspect that Rachel may have crossed a dangerous line.

Dubbed as the new “Gone Girl”, The Girl on The Train is a suspenseful thriller that I’m sure will pack cinemas this Autumn. After watching the trailer several months ago, I knew this was my type of film. I went to see it on Saturday and overall I really enjoyed it; there were a few things that could have been improved but I think it will be an audience pleaser.

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PROS

Emily Blunt’s Performance – Despite the plot which some might not like, Blunt’s performance as the alcoholic Rachel is probably her best performance to date. She plays a drunk well, Phil Mitchell style drunk (British soap reference). She gives different dimensions to the character of Rachel, who drinks her sorrows away after finding out she can’t have children and her husband leaving her for his pregnant mistress. Some scenes are very uncomfortable to watch to the point where it comes off as disturbing.

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Overall Visuals – The cinematography is outstanding, from the visuals we see on the train as it depicts Rachel’s state of mind (whether she is blindingly drunk or stone cold sober), the city visuals, to the suburban setting with the tunnel and woods depicting a dark mystery surrounding a young woman’s disappearance.

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Haley Bennet’s Performance – Bennet’s performance as Megan, the young woman Rachel watches on her commute who dissapears one evening, is a breakout moment. She gives a vulnerable performance of a woman who seems to have the picturesque life but is deeply unhappy. Bennet seems miles away from her role as International pop star Cora Corman in “Music and Lyrics”.

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Danny Elfman’s Score – Like many of his previous scores for films and shows such as “Edward Scissorhands”, and “Desperate Housewives”, Elfman provides the perfect score to highlight suburban living with dark and sinister undertones that give the film more depth.

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CONS

Little character development for Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) – I Liked that they gave the three women (Rachel, Megan, and Anna) a backstory and highlight how they are ver much alike, but I was a little disappointed that they gave so much character development with Rachel and Megan yet there wasn’t much to tell with Anna. We see flashbacks and development with Rachel and Megan and we get to see what they are like and why “they are the way they are”, but very little with Anna apart from a flashback scene back to when Tom was having an affair with her. I would have liked to see more of her story, how she felt about the affair, and more of an in-depth look at Anna’s feelings towards Rachel before and after Tom’s divorce.

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SPOILER POINT (DON’T READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FILM)

Lack of an in-depth look of Rachel and Tom’s marriage – Although they showed various flashbacks between Tom and Rachel, there wasn’t much depth to them. I would have liked to have seen the breakdown of their marriage, and gone more in depth with how Tom manipulated and abused Rachel while she was heavily intoxicated.

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Plot Twist – To be honest I guessed Tom was the guy Megan was having an affair with and eventually murdered about 40 minutes into the movie. I think the only thing I was surprised about was Tom manipulating Rachel’s memories while she was drunk to make him seem like he’s a good guy. I would have liked it if it had the viewers questioning themselves a bit more thinking it was Megan’s husband or even making it look more and more like Rachel (who may have thought it was Anna). I wanted the twist to get under the viewers skin and for me it failed a bit.

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Overall despite the disappointing ending and the writer, director, producers etc. not properly utilising the material the film was based on, it was really enjoyable. It is certainly no “Gone Girl” but it had very strong performances from the cast, outstanding visuals and a eerie yet hypnotic score.

Final Rating – 3.5/5

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Posted in film, Reviews

Bridget Jones’s Baby – Film Review

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Breaking up with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) leaves Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) over 40 and single again. Feeling that she has everything under control, Jones decides to focus on her career as a top news producer. Suddenly, her love life comes back from the dead when she meets a dashing and handsome American named Jack (Patrick Dempsey). Things couldn’t be better, until Bridget discovers that she is pregnant. Now, the befuddled mom-to-be must figure out if the proud papa is Mark or Jack.

I love Bridget Jones, the first film was fantastic, the second not so much but still had many charming and funny moments. When they announced the third film last year I was a bit skeptical and then the sequel to “Zoolander” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” came out and I was completely unsure if I wanted to see it at all. That said after the trailers and reviews came out for the film I thought why not. In the end I was really impressed with this delightful instalment.

Here are my Pros and Cons:

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PROS

Original jokes – Unlike other sequels to films (that have come out more than ten years ago) that have come out recently, Bridget Jones’s baby have done an awesome job of writing original jokes. I noticed a trend this year with sequels like Zoolander and My Big Fat Greek Wedding where they relied too heavily on old gags that they knew new worked the first time and over-used them in the sequel. If anything I found that quite insulting, the audience is not stupid and won’t pay money to see a film which is basically the same as the original only worse. Bridget Jones could of relied on the old jokes but chose not to, and in the end it payed off. New gags but the original charm that made us love the first film.

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Patrick Dempsey – It was sad when Hugh Grant announced we would not be returning for the third instalment but when Patrick Dempsey was announced as his replacement, I knew it would be a great fit. Dempsey has done his fair share of Rom Coms so he knows the drill. In the end his character was what gave the film a fresh look and made it so great. If Hugh Grant’s Daniel Cleaver took his place, I think audiences and critics would of been bored as him and Mr Darcy have already battled for Bridget’s affections….in two films.

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Great Storytelling – The overall story was a delight, it was consistent, humorous, and was not boring whatsoever. I think there were two important points that made the story so great. First was they stayed away from Helen Fielding’s third Bridget Jones novel “Mad About The Boy”. Fans were very disappointed with the third novel, therefore when the time came to make the third movie, Fielding opted to change the story and give the fans something to love. Secondly they brought Emma Thompson in to co-write the script with Fielding. Thompson has had success with script writing in the past (Sense and Sensibility) so it felt natural for her to be involved and she brought out a great story with Fielding.

CONS

Too Americanised – Don’t get me wrong I understand the need to appeal to international markets, But when theres a story that people love and know so well, its not necessary. I felt that some aspects didn’t reflect the style of the original film, not the acting or story but the way it was edited really. For example there was less narration from Bridget and the end scene with Ellie Goulding’s “Still Falling For You” playing, it felt like an American rom com fairytale ending.

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No Hugh Grant – Like I said previously I think Patrick Dempsey was a great fit to the film and gave the film series a fresh take, but apart of me wished Hugh Grant popped into the movie for a scene and put on the Daniel Cleaver charm with Bridget, insult Mark, then pop right out. Maybe there is hope if they do another film.

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Final Rating – 4/5

Posted in film, Reviews

Suicide Squad – Film Review

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A U.S. intelligence officer decides to assemble a team of dangerous, incarcerated super-villains for a top-secret mission. Now armed with government weapons, Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc and other despicable inmates must learn to work together.

*Before I get into this review I will say there are a couple of spoilers but I have done my best not to give away the plot.

I went to see Suicide Squad last night and my overall opinion is mixed. I try to not pay attention to critic reviews as I saw Batman vs Superman and I actually enjoyed most of it, but after last night I don’t really know how I feel about the film. Were most of the critics wrong? Yes, I believe the critics were very harsh with this film. Was it spectacular? No, its could have been a lot better. Here are several points to consider:

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PROS

Fantastic Characters – The characters chosen for this adaptation was a great variety as a lot of them had yet to make their live-action film debut. Most of the actors did great performances (read further down for bad performances), Stand outs were definitely Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn (I think a lot of Harley fans will enjoy her performance), Will Smith as Deadshot (who usually demands the spotlight in most of his films so it was great to see him as part of an ensemble rather than his usual attention seeking ways), and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang (surprisingly was not bad considering his performance in previous films (Terminator anyone?)) .

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Injection of Humour – I think the main problem a lot of people had with Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was that they were a bit depressing which brought the films down a lot. Suicide Squad is a fun ride with a lot of funny moments; it shows that DC can be just as fun as the guys over at Marvel without it overtaking the film.

Great Action Sequences – Unlike a lot films such as the Transformers franchise and a few of the Marvel Cinematic universe films, Suicide Squad do a great job of not over bloating the film with lots of action sequences. A particular highlight is the final showdown between El Diablo and Incubus.

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Awesome Soundtrack – Not going to lie its a pretty cool selection of songs. It has a mix of rock, hip-hop and R&B tunes. Highlights include songs by Grace, Panic! at the Disco, Eminem and original songs from twenty one pilots and Imagine Dragons with Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa and a bunch of other rappers.

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CONS

Choppy Editing – This really only applies to the first half of the film (mainly due to the amount of flashback scenes) It just felt a bit messy, like they just pasted a bunch of scenes together without even thinking about how it would look in the overall film. It does get a bit better in the second half but thats only because they’re not cutting to so many different non-linear scenes.

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Misuse of Soundtrack in The Film:  Don’t get me wrong like I said previously the soundtrack is amazing, it was just how they used it in the film, it just didn’t make sense in a lot of the scenes and they bloated the film out with too many songs in just a single scene. For instance when they introduced the squad in their prison cells, each character had their own song and it just felt too “cut and shut” (this is another example of their choppy editing).

Lack of Character Development – I know its only a two hour film and there is a lot of characters but its not an excuse to pay so little attention to certain characters and rushing a lot of flashback scenes. For example there was a lot of development with Harley Quinn, we get to see a more vulnerable side to her beyond the craziness, but then they didn’t really explore Rick Flag and Dr. Moon’s relationship (which is a major plot point to the film) so when the film progressed the film wants you to care about them as a couple but in my head all I think is “Why do I need to care about them? Why am I routing for them?”. This leads to…

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Cara Delevingne’s Performance – I think this was a complete miscast. I felt her performance as Dr. Moon was really wooden and there was no chemistry whatsoever with Joel Kinnaman’s Rick Flag. I also think she was too young for the role, they needed someone at least 5-10 years older, Delevingne just seems a bit too immature for the role especially considering she’s playing an archeologist. Her performance as Enchantress brought her performance up a little but overall she just didn’t quite nail it as the film’s big villain.

Jared Leto as The Joker – I know its going to be hard to live up to Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker but for me Jared Leto tried way too hard. I’m glad he wasn’t used too much in the film as he was only a supporting role anchoring Harley Quinn’s storyline. I really liked his chemistry with Margot Robbie however that’s all I liked about his performance. I felt like I was watching him trying to imitate Ledger’s Joker and not make it his own.

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Misuse of Great Characters – This refers back to the lack of character development. They did a great job with Deadshot and Harley Quinn but then they didn’t do a great job using characters like Katana and Captain Boomerang. Captain Boomerang provided a lot of comic relief but they didn’t really make me want to care about him. In his flashback they only showed that he robbed a lot of banks. As for Katana, she didn’t show up until right before they flew into the city  an they only showed her killing a bunch of people in her flashback and didn’t really explain her mystical blade or how she started working for Amanda Waller. In addition they had the random character Slipknot who had no introduction whatsoever, he was just there and his only purpose was to see how that head exploding device works if you try to run. Considering he was a fully fledged member of Suicide Squad in the comic books you’d think they’d utilize him properly.

Overall i’m a bit 50/50 with the film which is a shame because it had so much potential to be a great film. I think the main issue is they chose David Ayer (who’s past work has been a bit of a hit or miss) to write and direct it with no assistance from anyone else and that was their downfall with this film.

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Final Rating – 2.5/5

(the .5 is me trying to be nice as I don’t think it deserves 3/5 but it doesn’t deserve a 2/5 either)

Posted in film, Reviews

Deadpool – Film Review

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Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humour, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

Hands down one of the best comic book film adaptations ever!

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I’ve never been a fan of comic books itself but I’ve loved watching film and tv adaptations of them. X-Men is my favourite out of all the superheroes franchises, I grew up watching the 90s animated series and the original X-Men films so anything to do with them I’m very critical of. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a complete let down for me mainly because of the use of Gambit (Completely wasted in that film, it’s been 16 years since the first x-men film and still no good Gambit appearance. I’m hoping Bryan Singer will swoop in and save the day!) but also the use of the Deadpool character. They heavily promoted his appearance in that film and in the end Ryan Reynolds was in the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes (but we’re not counting  those last minutes). But in those minutes Reynolds appeared as the merc with the mouth he was amazing, in fact his performance was the only thing good I can say about that car crash of a film.

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After almost 7 years, we have finally been blessed with a Deadpool solo movie and it was worth the wait. It is pretty much everything I imagined it would be, it had plenty of action sequences without it being too bloated and just enough humour without it coming across as desperate. Ryan Reynolds was spectacular in this performance, he was just meant to play that part. He definitely makes up for his performance in the Green Lantern….. and Blade Trinity. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m eager to see how they will further develop his character in the sequel.

Final Rating – 5/5

Posted in film, Reviews

Inside Out – Film Review

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith).

This is probably my most anticipated film of 2015. I have been a fan of Pixar since Toy Story so when I heard the concept for Inside Out I thought it was brilliant and original. I know on tv shows such as The Simpsons and Sabrina The Teenage Witch have had small inserts of what goes on in the characters mind, but to have a whole based on this idea is genius.

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Like any other Pixar film (excluding Cars 2 and Cars in general) the character are very well-developed and unique which is why I think anyone who sees this film will connect and relate to the characters as I think we all have these emotions that run through our head. Without giving too much away the character of Bing Bong (Riley’s imaginary friend when she was three) was probably a highlight of the film he’s a very happy character but there is a sad core to him that will pull on many people’s heart-strings. Sadness is also a favourite and in some aspect many people can relate to.

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Overall this film was very heartwarming and endearing. It has proven that Pixar haven’t lost their mojo when it comes to releasing original content and it is probably the most interesting Pixar film since 2009’s Up.

Final Rating – 5/5