Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews Jan 2015

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – Rapid Fire Reviews Jan 2015

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Happy New Year fellow film fans! Welcome to Grosse Pointe Geeks Jan 2015 Rapid Fire Review!



Exodus: Gods and Kings

Director: Ridley Scott

Actors: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul, John Turturro, Sigourney Weaver.

Scott has another stab at the historical epic with this so-so retelling of the story of Moses. On the plus side its beautifully photographed, very well directed and the set designs are amazing. However, its too long, fairly dull in places and there isn’t nearly enough action. Also Weaver and Aaron Paul barely get a look in -making one wonder why they were cast in the first place, not only that but to be honest the whole thing had a distinct whiff of Ridley Scott tapping Gladiator all over again.

At Cinemas now



The Expendables 3

Director: Patrick Hughes

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Jet Li, etc etc.

Recently released on Blu Ray, which includes an extended more violent version than the one released in cinemas. Now i know i did a quick review of it last year, but if I’ve said it once I’ll say it again – for the love of God and Mammon – if you haven’t done it already  -please please watch this film!

Yes its silly, no it isn’t Shakespeare but if you love an action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, is well made and extremely entertaining – then this is definitely for you.

(On Blu Ray and DVD now  – however i would recommend getting it on Blu Ray)



The Heat

Director: Paul Fieg

Actors: Sandra Bullock, Mellissa McCarthy

The mismatched cop genre is mined once more in this fairly good action comedy. Bullock is the straight laced FBI agent who reluctantly teams up with McCarthy’s slobbish Boston detective. Skips along at a rare old pace, very profane and actually quite funny in parts – especially McCarthy who gets all the quality one liners.

However we have seen this kind of film many times before in the 1980’s and one hopes that its success wont necessarily inspire Hollywood to go down that route all over again.

Available on DVD/Blu Ray and Netflix




The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies

Director: Peter Jackson

Actors: Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Ian McKellan, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom.

The Middle Earth saga comes to a close with this epic final chapter that sees all and sundry close in on the Lonely Mountain to try and claim the gold from Thorin and Dwarves.. Freeman, Evans, Armitage and McKellan give faultless performances once again, plus Jackson effortlessly crafts a film that not only looks fantastic but is incredibly enjoyable as well. I will say this though – as good as it is, it cant touch the Return Of The King and one did get the feeling that a lot of footage was held back for the yet to be released 2015 extended edition DVD.

At Cinemas now



The Imitation Game

Director: Morten Tyldum

Actors: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightly, Mark Strong, Charle Dance, Matthew Goode.

Based on the true story of Alan Turing – a brilliant mathematician who single handedly built a machine that could decipher the Nazi Enigma Code and as a result turned the tide of World War 2, saving millions of lives in the process. A totally outstanding film, with a mesmerising performance from Cumberbatch that, if there is any justice, will bag him a much deserved Oscar nomination. One of the best films of 2014 – highly recommended.

At cinemas now



The Pyramid

Director: Gregory Levasseur

Actors: James Buckley, Ashley Hinshaw

Found footage film featuring a team of archaeologists who unearth a lost pyramid then get trapped inside, whilst being pursued by evil supernatural forces and all manner of flesh eating beasties. Descends into CGI madness at the end but to be fair the story is quite interesting, there are some pretty scary bits and its certainly worth a look for anyone who enjoyed last years As Above So Below.

Possibly still at cinemas now




Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

Director: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Actors: Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon levitt, Powers Booth.

Not bad sequel to the 2005 original. Well made, fairly enjoyable with some good performances  – especially Brolin, Levitt, Booth and Green, however the narrative and story aren’t as well structured as the first film and overall it all feels like a case of been there done that with no need to do it again  – which seems to be all Robert Rodriguez does these days anyway.

Available on DVD/Blu ray



The Wicker Tree

Director: Robin Hardy

Actors: Graham McTavish, Christopher Lee

Adaptation of the novel ‘Cowboys for Christ’ and a sort of sequel/companion piece to Hardy’s original film – The Wicker Man.

Suffice to say that once in a while there comes a film that is so bad that it automatically gets into my top ten worst of all time list………and this is that film. Awful in just about every way you can imagine – cheap looking, amateurish direction, terrible acting, appalling script,  and overall a complete and utter insult to anyone who enjoyed the first film.


Available on Netflix (if you can be bothered)




That’s it for now.  I’ll be back soon…

Author: Will Strong 


Blog: Sin City A Dame To Kill for – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Sin City A Dame To Kill for wasn’t a film I as looking forward to.  Whilst I liked and positively reviewed the original I have ZERO interest in rewatching it and Millers follow up The Spirit was horrid. Oh and Rodriguez has forgotten how to make a good film. So It’s with surprise that I say SC: ADTKF is actually quite good fun.  It’s still style over substance for sure, but damn it looks pretty and for once it’s nice to see a film so strikingly different from the norm.  It still suffers from some odd pacing issues and Jessica Alba offers little in the realms of actual acting (pouting being her go to mode) but overall it’s a film I enjoyed.

Best Bit: The Look. 

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Rent

If You Liked this Try:  Sin City, 300, The Spirit


Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: All Things Film – 300 Rise Of An Empire Reviewed

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

As Leonidas and the rock hard 300  take on ‘God King’ Xerxes’ million strong army at  Thermopylae,  heroic Athenian General  Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) receives news that a huge Persian navy led by  Xerxes scheming  general Artemisia (Eva Greene) is sailing on Greece with the full intention of wiping it from the face of the Earth. Deciding he’d rather go down fighting than live under the yolk  of his sworn enemies,  he assembles a fleet of ships, fills it with as many grown men he can muster and sails off to face the Persians  in a do or die battle on the high seas.

Taking place before, during and after the events of 300,  Rise of An Empire acts as a prequel, ‘sidequel’ and sequel to Zack Snyder’s blood drenched 2007 original.

For those not up to speed, 300 was an adaptation of Frank Miller’s classic graphic novel of the same name. A massive box office hit on its release, it went on to make a star of Gerard Butler (as Leonidas) and featured strongperformances  from the likes of Michael Fassbender, Lena Heady and Rodrigo Santoro (as Xerxes). Extremely good fun and very action packed, it served as the inspiration for the Starz produced Spartacus: Blood and Sand series, plus numerous other sword and armour epics such as Ironclad and Black Death. On the other hand its also one of the butchest, most masculine and downright mental films ever made. Featuring buckets  blood, flying limbs and  enough ripped male flesh to put a Chippendales convention to shame  – subtle it is not. Not only that, its seriously loud  – Butler famously roaring  “this is SPARTA!” , plus various other cast members following suit by  hamming it up and  shouting themselves hoarse.

So what of the sequel? (prequel/sidequel -what have you)

On the plus side, its very entertaining with new director Noam Murrow (replacing Snyder who writes and produces) bringing an impressive visual style  and handling the action very well. His early depiction of the battle of Marathon is superb, plus the first naval engagement between the Athenians and the Persians proves extremely exciting and  is frankly jaw dropping in scale.

Its also (mostly) well acted – Eva Greene  is fantastic as Artemisia –totally ruthless, deadly with a sword and more than a match for Stapleton’s somewhat bland Themistocles. Lena Heady makes a welcome return as the Spartan Queen Gorgo and despite not appearing that much, Rodrigo Santoro successfully manages to bring more to Xerxes this time round than he did in the original film.

There are a few complaints  -the talented Lena Heady simply  isn’t in it enough and  the rather clichéd script could have done with some work – hideously operatic in places and mostly  requiring the cast to shout a lot and make overly worthy speeches about crushing enemies and seizing glory.

In addition, there is simply way too much CGI blood and slo mo –  traits that were inventive and new in 300, but here become a bit tiresome after a while – once you’ve  seen  five or six elegantly slowed down money shots of Stapleton and the lads running, leaping and hacking – you’ve seen them all.  Overall however, it simply isn’t as good at Snyder’s 2007 epic, with the absence of Butler keenly felt throughout. Whilst Sullivan Stapleton does his best, his Themistocles is no Leonidas and as an actor he simply doesn’t have the same levels of charisma and range that Butler brought so successfully to the first film

Yet despite these criticisms – Rise Of An Empire isn’t a bad effort at all  -its never less than entertaining and has masses of action  – especially the huge final showdown which is very exciting and interestingly sets up the potential for another sequel –which on the face of it is quite an appealing prospect.


Author: Will Strong


Blog: All Things Film – Sin City A Dame To Kill For Reviewed

Blog: All Things Film – Sin City A Dame To Kill For Reviewed

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Cinema, 2014) – I have to be really careful when awarding scores out of ten, because if you – like most of the other readers – have already scrolled down to the end of this review to clock my score before reading this text, you’ll think I’m off my trolley. Worse still, you could think that I’ve lightened my temperament for movie criticism.

Then again, what were we actually expecting from a sequel that’s at least five year’s past its due date? I consider the original Sin City from 2005 to be the best film of that year; a true original, noir-soaked orgy of bullets, white blood and mostly-monochrome – a true return to the heady days of Bogart and Cagney, but sumptuously brought forth for today’s more sophisticated market. Indeed, the reason Sin City remains one of the best films of that decade is because I saw it at the cinema, once. I bought the DVD and then the Blu Ray but – like many, I suspect – never dared sully the experience by watching it again. The sequel from director(s) Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller gives me a chance to relive it. It does not disappoint.

Well, let me rethink that that last sentence. It will disappoint. It’ll disappoint those among us who don’t watch black and white movies, offer no regard for pure narrative force (even though it’s shrouded in an overabundance of gore and mayhem). It’s their loss.

And so, back to Basin City once again, to revisit Marv, Nancy and Dwight – and friends. This time we have a slew of new characters in Eva Green’s Ava Lord, Powers Booth’s corrupted political antagonist and – now – Josh Brolin plays Dwight. Okay, count me in. With talent this strong, how could it possibly go wrong?

There are three stories intertwined in Dame, and the first concerns Dwight embroiled with Ava Lord; a scheming harlot out to get men to do the dirty to her, and then for her. It’s a strong little story which has made me re-evaluate my thoughts on Eva Green; hollow and adolescent in Casino Royale – and, here, sultry, impeccable and desperately engaging as Lord. She spends most of her time in the nude, craftily silhouetted by Miller’s cast iron shadows. She exudes charm and grace, and ferocity. The story itself is formulaic but, stone me, is she ever worth killing for (as the title suggests). Replacing the since departed Michael Clark Duncan as Manute is Dennis Haysbert who manages to ramp up the rambunctious and meat-headed character, making him even scarier and a true force to be reckoned with.

There’s also the return to form with Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba and Mickey Rourke which sees the Hartigans a number of years hence – she, still swing T&A in the nightclub – and he, still dead after blowing his own brains out. It’s the weakest of the stories, but by far among the most violent.
The real curious note here is Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Johnny; a cool, lucky gambler who confronts Roarke, played to absolute perfection by Powers Boothe, at the poker table – not once, but twice. This story is the best told and most intriguing and, sadly, the one devoted to the least amount of screen time. Some truly enigmatic visuals arise from this segment, and I wish it had lasted longer. Indeed, and who knew it, it is Roarke that actually glues the strands together – and in scenery-swallowing form, Powers Boothe packs the movie up in a tidy suitcase and makes off with it. It’s among the best performance of the year.

The narrative switch-to-and-fro is the weak point in the whole movie. It feels very segmented – and coming fresh off the heels of far superior ‘blending’ of such, comes across as slightly patchwork-y. And then there’s Juno temple and Ray Liotta. They collectively have about three minutes of screen time and are quickly out of the movie. Now that is a disappointment; sweetened only by Temple’s fantastic and shapely posing on the double bed , before ruining it all by having to watch Liotta’s heffalump go and have some missionary position. It’s very easy to forget that they were ever in the film, and their high billing is something of a misnomer.

That said – A Dam to Kill For is immense, intense fun. I may be getting long in the tooth, but this *feels* more violent, more urgent, more dank and gloomy. But then again, this is Basin City after all. I write this review shortly after learning that the movie is dying a death at the box office. It’s easy to see why; this style of movie got old real fast – and perhaps a lot of the nuance and homage to movies of days past are long off the agenda for today’s audiences. You’d have thought Rodriguez would have learned all this from Grindhouse. But, there you go.

Those choosing to avoid the movie will miss a wondrous little violent romp full to the brim with character and passion. A Dame to Kill For is almost certainly destined to be resigned to the bargain basement, with a part three never to become a reality. I think I’ve found my own personal guilty pleasure of the year, with an audience of one.


Author: Andrew Mackay