Category Archives: Film

Chopper Review

Before Bronson came Chopper. Notorious criminals and the fame they garner for themselves as being beyond the level of usually hardened cell fodder is a fascinating avenue that has grown commercial through true crime and true fascination. No wonder the life of Bronson was turned into a Tom Hardy-led biopic. No wonder the life of Chopper was turned into a self-titled biopic helmed by director Andrew Dominik and starring Eric Bana as the caricature presentation of a tough, Australian criminal. Is there any difference between the tough-as-nails brutality found here and the more sophisticated mobsters of the Martin Scorsese-fuelled 1990s? Not too much. What separates them is the style of crime and the class in doing it.

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Cold Souls Review

Who better to portray someone with a soul the size of a chickpea than Paul Giamatti? A man whose obsession with anger, spite and conformity to his own reality has steered some of his finest performances. Cold Souls feels like a continuation of the narcissism of Miles from Sideways. He wasn’t as soulless, but certainly just as driven and running on empty. There are parts of American Splendor chipping away at the isolation and glum colour tones used throughout this Sophie Barthes piece. What an undersung piece it is too, with its commentary on Anton Chekov bleeding through into a piece that looks to rip into Giamatti’s neurosis and talent as he adapts his best character of all, himself.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

In an interview with Polygon, director Sam Raimi said he hopes audiences can “use their imagination” when they step into his first Marvel outing, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That is unheard of for the series of near-30 features so far. Another plunge into the usual formula time and time again, relying more and more on the simple tactics that have conned people into wanting the same thing over and over. More power to those who can trick audiences into trickling cash into an unchanging, unmoving product for the emotionally deficient. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness soon boils down to pop-culture jabs, cameo-stuffed filler roles for the friends of Raimi (a wasted Bruce Campbell role is offered up) and the inevitable crossover of product fighting products looking to destroy some vague entity. Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

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Ambulance Review

To discuss Michael Bay and the talent he has in realising the action Hollywood blockbuster is a fine line between joining those who praise the ground he walks and annoying saner individuals who are still upset with Transformers. The joke is on both parties though, because if anything, Ambulance certainly proves Bay has perfected his own formula. His work has always fit the bill for those looking for popcorn explosions but also those looking for deeper, gratifying sensibilities. Pain & Gain was not that long ago, and it provides a perfect example of how Bay has perfected the budget to meaning ratio. Enough for all audiences. Ambulance is another bold participation in that balance but stretches itself thin in places.

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Uncharted Review

Marky Mark must be desperate to recruit a new wave of the Funky Bunch as he traipses around Uncharted, attempting to appear presentable in a slate of future releases and past films that are questionable at best. Wahlberg has not had the greatest run of form, but nor has starring partner for this Ruben Fleischer-directed feature, Tom Holland. Outside of his meandering and acceptable application of Spider-Man, Holland has churned out dud after dud after dud. Uncharted is another dud, but one that is far beyond that of the horrifically timed Cherry or the entirely redundant Onward. That is progress for both Marky Mark and Holland, who try to champion the video game adaptation genre as best they can.

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Memoria Review

From the premise alone, Memoria screams for those that like a bit of freakish fear underlining their love of very niche prose and digestible drama. Methodical and brooding for much of its running time, Memoria takes hold of attention through its lingering pace and the emptiness that comes from it. An intentional emptiness, mind. Not an accidental problem Tilda Swinton must hurdle but one she can rely on to paint a picture with actions rather than speech. It is neither methodical nor abrasive, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul pools such slow-burning skill out of contemplative and smartly-staged sequences throughout Memoria with a lingering fascination over what it means for the character and how that can reflect onto the audience. 

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Old Henry Review

Thanks to its lengthy boom throughout the days of John Wayne and Lee van Cleef, the legacy of the western genre lingers on in the minds of those too young to be a part of its heyday and too old to let that missed, nostalgic opportunity go. Kurt Russell had a hand in a modern western and it was good. Every few years, performers come together and seem hellbent on appearing in one of their own westerns. Few will match the ground-breaking pace and exploration of those westerns of old, but the Tim Blake Nelson-starring feature, Old Henry, may be up there with them for its intricate style, gritty and dirty characters and consistent iconography.

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The Dark Eyes of London Review

A deluge of horror features was piled higher and higher by Bela Lugosi in his post-Dracula high. He and other contemporaries spent much of their later careers chasing the initial success that had awarded them with the role of a lifetime as a great monster of literature. Boris Karloff at least fared somewhat better than Lugosi, who by the time The Dark Eyes of London was dumped on him had been assigned to the B-Movie merry-go-round after Paramount changed their production focus. It left Lugosi as a man whose name value would swiftly diminish, but could be capitalised on in the few years it had left to bulk up some smaller features that weren’t going to be remembered all that well. Case in point, The Dark Eyes of London, which has aged poorly and been remembered by few.

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Filth Review

Degeneracy has never looked as sorrowful as James McAvoy, screaming, crying and berating his way through a comfortably unnerving hour and a half, adapting the words of Irvine Welsh with director Jon S. Baird. Filth is just that. Utter smut. It is vile and depraved in ways only Welsh could conjure. Trainspotting might be a delve into the heroin scene, but it is the acceptance of decadence there that makes it less shocking. When the long arm of the law is dabbling in the crimes that they are meant to crack down on, all under the guise of catchy and obnoxious taglines, the same rules mentality and the care-free attitude of a proud Scotsman hating his fellow man, it becomes a melting point of vagrancy and a sincere turn of how forgiving an audience can be.

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Mickey Blue Eyes Review

With Hugh Grant and James Caan featuring in this Kelly Makin-directed piece, it is hard to think of Mickey Blue Eyes as anything but a strange capitulation between two very distant genres. With The Godfather in tow behind Caan’s presence and the future of the romantic comedy genre featuring thoroughly well with Grant’s leading role, the status Mickey Blue Eyes takes is one of sincere potential. A real mobster flick was always going to linger underneath, with the inevitable conclusions lending itself to a film that features uncomfortable reminders of the strong genre tropes that are used to heave Grant into the spotlight and out on-screen in a typecast role with sinister intentions.

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