Foxcatcher- 15

Foxcatcher

Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo star in a gripping psychological drama based on the shocking true story of an Olympic champion.

Steve Carell in haunting brilliant, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are beautifully ugly to the point that it’s hypnotic. All three are able to suggest the emotional scars without having to dwell upon them.
The hard part I have always found about ‘psychological dramas’ is that it is a term thrown about to excuse the feeling that audiences don’t quite know what’s going on. It also seems to be a little confused about what it is trying to achieve; the first bulk of the movie plays like a Sports film. It was only the last third of the film that revealed itself as anything but a quirky, arty look at the world of wrestling.
I found the film a little overindulgent and lacking any energy or motivation to keep an audience captivated. That said, those who are interested in biopic and sports movies will find some redeeming features.

It is very much an Oscar bait movie: high brow, arty and primarily about the acting while not caring about the comfort of the audience.

cast 10
cinematography 7
plot- 8
pace- 5
music/sound- 5
enjoyability- 4

RANT- Taken 3 (abandoned)

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This is not so much a review of Taken 3 , as a rant about our cinema culture today. With a side swipe to the corrupt classification system.

Saturday afternoon, 3pm showing in a London Odeon. The corridors smell of pee, which instantly puts me on edge. I’m already grumpy because my cheese sauce is served cold and the jalapeños used up one of my ‘sides’ instead of being a complimentary extra. With 10 minutes before the scheduled start time, the tiny screen is empty. Save for a ten year old and his father. I did a double take; I check my ticket, I brave the corridor to check the screen number.

Minutes later four boys, without an adult and of questionable age rock up in front of us. To quote my name sake- I have a bad feeling about this. The film is about to start- the BBFC’s certificate pops up just to remind me that age certifications will ruin everything I love. About a dozen more people have filled the rows behind us- all adults, that shouldn’t be a problem right?

Within 20 minutes, I’d had enough, the four boys were talking; only pausing to shovel enough sweets into their mouths to put them into a diabetic coma. Not only that, but two pairs of adult are providing surround sound conversations. I was out of my seat and expressing my concerns to an employee. They had two people in there within minutes and they spoke to the adults. The boys were sensible enough to quieten down for those few minutes.

Within five minutes, the men had gone and the talking was back. Not only that, but we’d delved into action territory. There was a young disabled girl on the back row, whooping along with every gun shot or loud bang. This, of course, I can tolerate. She’s enjoying the film and after what’s gone before, it’s actually a welcome change. However, what does have my blood boiling is the woman to my left who has, since the film began engaged the person next to her in a loud conversation and repeatedly checked her phone. This woman, this truly inconsiderate excuse of a human being, turns round and gives an accusing stare to the young girl’s family.

Safe to say, my friend and I decided it was time to ask for a refund. The cinema did this without question and apologised profusely. Although, one thing that jarred with me was ‘we can keep going in and telling them, but those sort of people will keep on doing it.’ Really? You wouldn’t think to demand them to leave? I suppose you don’t get paid enough- I know that’s true, but the reputation of your brand (this is now my third visit to Odeon where I have had issues. So 100% of my recent visits have resulted in a tainted viewing experience) is in jeopardy and when you charge so much for cinema tickets- you can’t afford to let this slide. Zero tolerance, much more regular checks of screens and, if you need to get a security guy to be able to do your dirty work.

Now, BBFC; you’re safe for another day, but I do blame you for the hyped up adrenaline junkies (by proxy- hell these kids experience real adrenaline themselves their heads would blow up) invading a film that would have once been targeted for an 18 audience.

American Sniper – 15

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Clint Eastwood directs Bradley Cooper in the visceral true story of the U.S. Military’s most lethal sniper.

An all too real look into the Iraqi battlefield, Bradley Cooper is perfect in the role of Chris Kyle; Navy SEAL and sniper legend. His portrayal is uncompromising and powerful.
Sienna Miller is excellent as Chris’ suffering wife, left at home while he completes four volatile tours. However, the supporting cast feel a little underused and too interchangeable.
The film initially plays with the narrative; flitting back and forth smoothly until Chris’ timeline crashes back to the opening scene. It appears to be a common trick with a number of films recently and it really works here.
Apart from one action laden scene that takes place in a sand storm, this is one of the most engaging and emotive war movies for many years.

Cast- 9/10
Cinematography- 7/10
Plot- 9/10
Pace- 9/10
Music/sound- 7/10
Enjoyability- 8/10

Total-48/60

Theory of Everything- 12a

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“The life-affirming, superbly acted true story of Stephen Hawking’s first marriage’

No fault can be found with the acting, but you will be forgiven for making a comparison between Eddie Redmayne and the BBC forerunner of the role, Benedict Cumberbatch. Two high profile Brits playing the greatest mind- it’s hard not to. Devastatingly, I have to admit that Eddie appears the more committed of the two. Thankfully the film diverts from the same narrative early on, so that distraction is left back in the opening third of the film.

Charlie Cox and David Thewlis are amazing support. I will always welcome the appearance of either in any film, but here they both bring charm and heart to a heartbreaking biopic. However, it is Felicity Jones who really shines. Her personal battle of loyalty, frustration and abandonment is well developed.

There is a good pace to the film that makes its central character the relationship between Hawking and his first wife; Jane Wilde. Time passes for them fluidly and it finds a perfect balance between Hawking’s professional progression and their family life.
However inevitable, the ending is a little too bittersweet to be the film I was expecting it to be. I felt I was intruding on something a little too personal for it to be a comfortable watch.

Cast- 9
Cinematography- 9
Plot- 8
Music- 6
Pace- 9
Enjoyability- 6

I’ve got a theory…

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I went to university with the dream of being the next Jonathan Ross. From the very first echo of ‘shoot her’ in Jurassic Park I always knew my first love would be film.
Whenever I couldn’t sleep, when I was sad, hell when it was Thursday- Jurassic Park was my go to movie. I was determined of one thing, I would work within film or dinosaurs.

I’m now a teacher, of RE. I love it and I try to use film to illustrate my point at every opportunity. It’s still a world away from filling Wossy’s shoes.

Due to a dare from my brother I attempted, with 12 weeks left of 2014, to see 100 films at the cinema in the year. I was at 68 at the time, so it was a challenge (I only got to 85 despite a christmas movie marathon of 6 films in the Prince Charles). I started seeing films on their day of release and a few people were asking me what I thought before making up their mind about whether to see it. I’ve figure- why not compile my opinion into a blog?!

So here it goes; welcome to my world of film and geekdom. I will be reviewing films, theatre and the occasional tv show.