Man, oh man, this was a disappointing movie. I mean, I didn't uncontrollably laugh once. I pity laughed a couple of times but for the most part I was cringing and trying to shake the niggling voice in the back of my head that was saying "this is a shit script". The script is flat and poorly written. There's not one memorable one-liner or witticism, unlike the other highly quotable installments in the 'Cornetto Trilogy'. In the end, the movie has to rely upon its ensemble cast and their on-screen chemistry to get through the sluggish run-time. It didn't help that I HATED Pegg's narcissistic character. He infuriated me to no end. And the 'climax' is a humourless farce. It literally feels like Wright and co ran out of money. They should've stuck to just two flakes in the Cornetto instead of adding a stale third one.
|Director: Refn Starring: Gosling, Scott Thomas, Pansringarm Run-time: 90 mins|
Credit to Nicholas Winding Refn - he's an original film-maker with his own unique style. Subversive is this guy's middle name but whilst his highly-visual form is admirable, I can't say it's enjoyable. When Refn uses a canted angle, or shoots a whole 10-minute scene with zero dialogue, it doesn't feel natural to me. Instead it feels like he's purposefully showing off, he's using these techniques for the sake of inflating his own ego. He's like that annoying kid in school who comes back from summer break with rare Japanese Pokemon cards but never actually battles with them. There are plenty of things I liked about Only God Forgives, like Cliff Martinez's super eerie score and Kristin Scott Thomas' ferocious performance as Gosling's spiteful mother. But having your protagonist (Gosling) sleepwalk through 90 minutes, communicating only through stares and inaudible whispers, is hugely frustrating. That's actually the perfect word for this movie - frustrating.
I like musicals, happy ones with smiling greasers and amateur acappela groups. Les Miserables, however, is pretty much everything I can't stomach about a musical. It's overblown, ridiculously sombre and depressing beyond belief. I also can't stand Tom Hooper's directorial style. His framing techniques are nauseous - faces cut off at the forehead, people framed in the very right corner of the shot with acres of blank space on the left and a horrible over-use of deep focus. But with all that said, Les Miserables is an epic movie. The set design, costumes, music, it's all highly emotive and gorgeously presented. And I thoroughly enjoyed Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter's little ditties as they provided much-needed humour. But although I can see Les Miserables' qualities, it's a perfect example of my One Time Watch rating as it's a 158 minute experience I never want to repeat again!
Now You See Me is a fine example of your average 2013 movie. It has a 'cool' look to it with its flashy (mostly CGI) tricks and glossy cinematography. And the all-star cast deliver effective performances. But the film is entirely superficial with a paper-thin plot and the most ridiculous twist I've seen in quite some time. Your enjoyment of Now You See Me will hinge directly upon your reaction to its twist. For me, it came out of nowhere, Shyamalan-esque in its suckerpunch delivery. Up until the befuddling finale, Leterrier's movie is an exciting and intriguing crime thriller but the reveal totally undermines the rest of the movie, opening up gigantic plot-holes. You also realise that some characters are only in the movie as red herrings, which goes some way to explaining why they're so one-dimensional. Overall, Now You See Me is an enjoyable but forgettable experience. It's certainly no Prestige or Illusionist!
From David Lynch's daughter, Jennifer Chambers, comes a very dark, brutally bleak horror; Chained. Chained follows Bob (Vincent D'Onofrio), a sadistic serial killer taxi driver. One day, after killing a young mother, Bob is reluctantly left to care for her son. Years go by as the little boy, who is chained to a bed, grows up to be a protege of Bob's. Although technically a horror movie with its gory displays of violence, Chained is more of a psychological experience, a disturbingly-plotted analysis of 'stockholm syndrome'. Because of its meagre budget, Chained does feel a little half-finished in parts, not least because of the fragmented ending that feels like an entirely different movie. However, I'd certainly recommend it to interested horror fans as the performances are chilling and the general idea is an interesting one that has you thinking far past the films short run-time.
Forget Pain & Gain, forget Fast 6, Snitch is the best Dwayne Johnson movie of 2013. In Snitch, Johnson is a desperate father who is forced to go undercover as a drug smuggler in order to get his teenage son (who was set up in a drug operation) a reduced sentence. Despite being a Johnson vehicle, Snitch isn't an airheaded, breezy action flick. The movie is written and directed with intelligence and purpose. Director/writer, Ric Roman Waugh, clearly has something to say about America's stringent and contradictory laws in regards to drugs. Johnson and supporting actor, Jon Bernthal (you may remember him from The Walking Dead) produce emotionally resonant performances that often had me choked up. On a technical level, Snitch is no frills, standard stuff but in terms of drama and tension, Snitch is one of the strongest movies of the year. I'd certainly recommend this to people who still look down upon Dwayne Johnson as an actor. I think it's pretty inspiring how this man has evolved from performing in cheesy WWE storylines to politically-motivated indie gems like Snitch.