Film Review: Killing Them Softly, directed by Andrew Dominik

I found this film extremely interesting to watch and critically analyse with there being a lot more to it than the seemingly basic narrative. The film stars Brad Pitt who plays ‘Jackie Cogan’, an enforcer who has been hired to restore order after a mob protected card game has been robbed. This causes the collapse of the mobsters economy, as it is not the first time the game has been hit, with many members pointing the finger at Markie Trattman (Ray Liotta), a fellow member. It turns out that three local petty criminals undertook the robbery as a way of fixing their own economic woes and Brad Pitt goes about trying to settle the matter and deal with them. The undercurrent to the main storyline is the collapse of the American economy as a whole, showing clips of presidential speeches and radio snippets with the film reflecting the downturn of the American society, as the economy falls people become desperate for money and are willing to go to drastic measures for a quick way to become rich. The films shows the juxtaposition between what president Obama is saying and what the reality is through the characters stories, with them referencing and explaining this. Set in an unspecified poor Boston neighbourhood, where dreams and hopes are all but gone, the cinematography is very good with the actors being equally, if not, better playing there roles superbly. It is an intriguing film and if you scratch beneath the surface it can leave you with a lasting impression, something I feel all good films should do. A very good watch.


First published: March 15, 2013


Film Review: Argo, directed by Ben Affleck

Finally got round to watching this last night and despite having extremely high expectations I was pretty impressed. The film is really well shot and visually looks very clean and pristine with superb acting coinciding with this. Ben Affleck directs and acts brilliantly playing the role of Tony Mendez, an exfiltration expert who has the job of rescuing six Americans from the volatile revolutionary Iran. They have managed to escape after the embassy was attacked and ram-sacked by revolutionaries, holding out in the Canadian embassy. It won’t be too long before the Iranians discover that six Americans are still out there though and the CIA needs to act swiftly and carefully with Tony Mendez devising a cunning and daring plan to get them out. The film is a gripping tale and is based on a true story, which will leave you on the edge of your seat. Ben Affleck builds up the tension extremely well and if you haven’t seen it yet I would strongly recommend it. Despite all the superlatives that I have used to describe the film I don’t think it deserved best picture at the Oscars. It was a good film, yes, but I feel that it will go down in history as an Oscar winner that just ticked all the right boxes and that no-one disliked. Still very much worth a watch though.


First published: March 2, 2013


Film Review: Skyfall, directed by Sam Mendes

Well, its official, Bond is back and better than ever before. After recent flop ‘Quantum Of Solace’ many, myself included, felt like the Bond franchise was slowly dwindling out to an end, but in true Bond fashion the iconic character returns with a vengeance. A lot of credit has to be given to the director Sam Mendes who manages to en-capture everything that we love about the Bond movies whilst keeping to the expectations of a 21st century action thriller. Daniel Craig, who plays James Bond, is proving to be the perfect front man performing exquisitively with equally impressive performances from Judi Dench (M) and Javier Bardem (Silva), the latter being the sinister revengeful baddy. The film centres around a failed assignment by Bond where a hard drive containing a list of secret agent operatives is stolen and MI6 becomes exposed. MI6 is now compromised with the threats not only coming from the terrorists themselves, but the media as well. It’s now up to Bond and his accomplice Eve (Naomi Harris) to discover who is behind the attacks, leading them to the mysterious Silva, whose hidden motives and powerful demeanour causes terrifying consequences, vowing to stop at nothing until his debt has been repaid in blood. The film had much hype around it before its release and it well and truly lives up to this, proving to many to be one of the, if not, the best Bond film ever made.


First published: February 22, 2013


Film Review: Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino

I went to the cinema last night with high expectations and excitement after hearing a lot of good things about this film. Usually with such expectations I’m sometimes left disappointed, but with this film they were duly met and more. Quentin Tarantino manages to adapt his style to the 21st century big screen whilst keeping to his well known blood thirsty and special effects techniques. The film tells the story of two bounty hunters, Django (Jamie Foxx) a freed slave, and Dr. Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who plans to train up Django to make him his deputy. Instead, they are led on a pursuit to free Django’s wife from a slavery plantation from ruthless owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio.) The film is extremely humerus at times and in a juxtaposition also very violent with some shocking scenes. All of the main actors are on top form playing there roles exquisitely and the cinematography is quite breathtaking, which all-in-all makes this film a modern day epic.


First published: February 12, 2013


Film Review: Dredd, directed by Pete Travis

Set in a futuristic post apocalyptic world the film is an all out action thriller. This world is riddled by drugs and violence with the majority of people living in slums. The only people keeping order are a specially selected few called ‘Judges’ who lay down the law as they see fit. We follow ‘Judge Dredd’ (Karl Urban) with his trainee (Olivia Thirlby) as they respond to a routine triple homicide in one of the most feared neighbourhoods, a 200 foot storey tower block. What seems to be a routine case soon turns to all out bedlam as a high profile drug gang run by leader ‘Ma-Ma’ turn on the Judges. Locked in the compound with no way out and with hundreds of criminals baying for their blood, surely theres no way out for them? A weak narrative that is made up for by pure action the film is a bit hit and miss. ‘Judge Dredd’ doesn’t exactly send shivers down my spine and some moments are very corny. Despite this, the film does have some really cool shots mostly the slow mo ones, which go a bit psychedelic (obviously linking into the films narrative). The film ends in a way which means we could be seeing ‘Judge Dredd’ on our screens again in a follow up, and if I was you I would wait for that.


First published: February 3, 2013


Film Review: American History X, directed by Tony Kaye

This film will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, with sublime acting and a gripping narrative it’s without doubt one the best films I have ever seen. Set in LA it follows the leader of a white supremacist gang (Edward Norton), who commits racially motivated crimes throughout the city. After Edward Norton, who plays Derek Vineyard, is sentenced to three years in prison for killing two robbers his viewpoint however changes. His time in prison has drastically changed his outlook, but soon realises that getting out of the gang is not so easy and that his younger brother has been greatly influenced by him. Derek becomes determined to keep Danny (Edward Furlong) from going down the same violent path that he went down, but with what consequences will their past actions have. This film will leave you stunned, a must watch.


First published: February 1, 2013


Film Review: The Sweeney, directed by Nick Love

Based on the 70’s UK TV show ‘The Sweeney’ tells the story of a division of detectives in the Metropolitan Police Force. This team, which features Ray Winston and Ben Drew (Plan B), tackles the problem of heists and robberies across the city of London. The film follows them in the pursuit of a major player in this world, who they feel has come back after a long absence. Whilst trying to resolve this situation they are also under attack from above who want to shut them down, feeling their rough tactics and alleged abusing of the law is tarnishing the police’s reputation. The film is an all in action thriller including numerous car chases, gun battles and obviously Ray Winston’s ‘charm.’ Despite all the action, the film really lacks a strong narrative and you are sometimes left laughing at some of the comical and corny scenes. Ray Winston lives up to the stereotypical bad cop and plays the role well with much admiration of how Ben Drew (Plan B) took on his part in the film. Overall it lacks in storyline and struggles to keep your full attention throughout, if you’re a fan of Jason Statham or ‘The Expendables’ then this might be the film for you, but for me it’s not one that’s going to live long in the memory.


First published: January 27, 2013


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