Grosse Pointe Geek’s August Rapid Fire Review – Ant Man, The Gift, Fantastic Four and More!

Grosse Pointe Geek’s August Rapid Fire Review – Ant Man, The Gift, Fantastic Four and More!

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

Will Strong casts his eye over another bundle of movies…

 

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The Gift

Director: Joel Edgerton

Actors: Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall

A rich married couple (Bateman and Hall) move to a fancy new home in the suburbs, however domestic bliss soon takes a turn for the downright strange when an old classmate (Edgerton) enters their lives and turns out to be somewhat of an oddball with designs on Bateman’s rather attractive wife.

Now this was a film i thoroughly enjoyed. What initially looked like run of the mill home invasion thriller (i.e Unlawful Entry) mercifully turns out to be anything but. Featuring a trio of outstanding performances (especially Bateman who is simply brilliant) plus really inventive writing and direction from Edgerton, The Gift is one of this years best. Dont miss it.

8/10

At Cinemas now

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Fantastic Four

Director: Josh Trank

Actors: Miles Teller, Michael B Jordan, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell.

When an teleportation experiment to another dimension goes badly wrong, four young scientists are gifted/cursed with strange powers (invisibility, fire etc) and must use them to stop a powerful enemy from destroying humanity.

If you have been reading the internet, you will probably be aware that this film has now officially become the whipping boy of the 2015 summer blockbuster season and the modern superhero genre in general. Reviews have been appalling, its box office even worse and director Josh Trank has come in for somewhat of a kicking after rumors abound of serious behind the scenes issues and forced re-shoots.

So is it really that bad? Overall I have to say that the answer is definitely no – not by a long shot. Indeed the best comparison i can make is that FF4 is very similar in tone and structure to the first X-Men film  – i.e nothing particularly amazing but certainly enjoyable and seemingly well made.   Yes i’ll admit there are problems  – for a start its probably 15 minutes too short and could have done with at least one more big action scene, in addition there is very little character development meaning one does not really care much about the four principals and their plight.

However – on the positive side it is unequivocally  head and shoulders above the last two FF4 films (which were appalling) its well acted (in particular Kebbell, Bell and Teller are very good) and the story kept me interested throughout. Trank’s direction seemed fine and there was some unusually violent scenes in the last third that were certainly refreshing to see in a summer blockbuster.

So overall – not bad at all and certainly worth a look

5/10

At Cinemas now

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Actors: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris.

Fifth entry in the MI series finds the  Impossible Missions Force disbanded with Ethan (Cruise) and Benji (Pegg) on the run from the US government and a shadowy organisation known only as The Syndicate, headed up by Sean Harris’ uber villain.

Cracking film this, extremely well put together, with skillful direction from McQuarrie, another smooth performance from Cruise, plus great turns from Pegg and Ferguson. However its in the action scenes that it succeeds the most  – in particular an astounding bit where Cruise jumps on the wing of a plane then has to hold on for dear life as it takes off (and yes it IS Cruise and not a stunt double) plus a brilliant motorbike chase that again sees Cruise doing all his own stunts (the insurance company must have had a stroke on this one). If i had one quibble it was that it wasn’t quite as good as the fourth entry (Ghost Protocol), but to be honest it was so much damn good fun it didn’t matter.

Highly Recommended

8/10

At Cinemas now

 

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Ant Man

Director: Peyton Reed

Actors: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily, Corey Stoll

Final entry in Marvels phase 2 set of superhero films, sees reformed cat burglar (Rudd) recruited by a millionaire scientist (Douglas) and his daughter (Lily) to steal a top secret weapon using a suit that shrinks its occupant to – you guessed it – the size of an ant.

This one falls firmly into the category of good but not great. Its mostly enjoyable and is certainly professionally put together, plus Rudd, Douglas and Lily are fine in the three central roles. But after watching this and Avengers: Age Of Ultron, am I the only person on the planet who thinks that the Marvel brand is looking a bit, well, average??????????

6/10

At Cinemas now

 

Will Strong
Grosse Point Geek

 

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!

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Avoid

Available on Netflix (if you can be bothered)

 

 

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

Author: Will Strong