Grosse Point Geek delivers his latest selection of quick reviews. -(!), The Family and more.
Gone Girl (Cinema)
Director: David Fincher
Actors: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike
Adapted from the book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, this is cinema at its best. Affleck is perfectly cast as the wayward husband accused of murdering his seemingly perfect wife – brilliantly played by Blighty’s own Rosamund Pike. Fincher’s direction is faultless (can this guy ever make a bad movie????) and the story is simply gripping beyond belief. An absolute must see – however a word of warning – see the film before you read the book. Highly recommended
Dracula Untold (Cinema)
Director: Gary Shore
Actors: Luke Evans, Charles Dance, Dominic Cooper.
Universal plough their back catalogue once again to bring us the origin story of how Vlad The Impaler became Dracula the Vampire. Evans is good value as ever, Charles Dance is clearly having a ball – however Cooper is utterly wasted, the script is very average and for a film about vampires and a bloke who impales people on wooden stakes its unforgivably bloodless. Not only that but the direction by Gary Shore (no me neither) is at times inventive but on the whole uninspired, with dull action scenes that completely fail to excite. Incredibly this is supposed to kick off a whole new franchise of monster movies for Universal in the same vein as Marvels Avengers series and DC’s expanded universe. On the strength of this effort id say they want to try a bit harder.
The Family (Netflix/DVD/BR)
Director: Luc Besson
Actors: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones.
Another god-awful effort from the hideously overrated Luc Besson (yes Hobden i said it again!). De Niro’s former mobster, his wife (Pfeiffer) and their 2 obnoxious kids are relocated from New York to France as part of the FBI’s witness protection programme. Therein they proceed to ingratiate themselves on the locals, annoy their FBI handler (Jones) and find new meaning to their existence as a family. To say the least this is one of those films that has absolutely no idea what it wants to be – one minute its a comedy, then its a drama, then its a thriller, then its all three – and fails miserably every time. The 4 main characters are totally dislikeable, the direction average, the story completely unoriginal (and morally bankrupt), plus DeNiro and Jones seem to there just for the money (again!). Only Pfeiffer emerges with any dignity intact – but even she cant save this debacle from being exactly what it is – which is a totally and utterly pants film.
Director: Steven Knight
Actors: Tom Hardy
Hardy is Ivan Locke, a construction foreman who, during the course of one frantic journey to London, experiences what can only described as the worst night of his life. To reveal any more would spoil it for you, but safe to say that i cannot recommend this film highly enough.
Putting it mildly, Hardy’s performance is mesmerising – and gives further proof (if any was needed) that he is one of the best British actors working today. Superbly written and directed by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) this is a film that simply has to be seen as soon as possible.
Director: Oliver Hirschbigel
Actors: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews.
Bear with me here ok. Now i was fully aware of the critical and commercial drubbing this got upon its release and i knew that it featured a performance from Naomi Watts that was apparently so bad that it got her a worst actress nomination at this years Golden Razzie awards in Hollywood. So – much like my erstwhile friend and fellow geek – Mr Phil Hobden – you are probably asking yourself why in the hell i even bothered?
Well for a start anything that was as badly received as this was is always somewhat of a curio to me, as i usually like to see if they really are that bad – most of the time they are, but just occasionally they turn out to be never as crap as is made out – and Diana is one of those occasions.
Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a very good film, but its certainly not the abomination the critics made it out to be. Yes i admit the script is utterly woeful and appears to be written by a committeeof people who have used the script for Pearl Harbour as a benchmark with a smattering of the works of Edward D Wood Jr for good measure. Not only that but it seems to have been hacked to pieces in the editing suite and frustratingly cant seem to decide how to portray its central character. Indeed at no point to do we get any clear indication from the filmmakers as to whether or not Diana was either an unstable attention seeker with alot of personal issues or just a sad and very lonely lady with a burning desire to do only good.
However on the other hand – it is fairly well directed by Oliver Hirschbigiel, and while Watts isnt particularly good as Diana, she certainly looks the part and does seem to have made the effort to give a performance that is certainly a lot better than i expected. Additionally Naveen Andrews (Lost) is superb as Diana’s lover Dr Hasnat Khan, giving just the right amount of gravitas and sensitivity to a role that must have been very difficult to play in the first place.
So overall not the disaster i expected, however as a supporter of the more immediate members of our Royal Family (William and Harry in particular) i certainly think its high time that Diana’s story should finally be left alone – saying that after the reception this film got, its a safe bet she wont be portrayed on screen again for a good long while anyway!
Author: Will Strong