Saturday, October 18, 2014

Film Review Round Up 18th October 2014

There’s a solid Australian film opening this week, Son of a Gun starring Ewan McGregor, filmed here in Perth. I hope the Aussies reading this will consider giving it a viewing. It’s very good, and we need to support our country’s film industry. My son has visions of working in this industry in the future, so I’m hoping in a decade there will be a vibrant one for him and the other budding filmmakers to enter.

The other two films are average thrillers, but if you haven’t seen Gone Girl or The Equalizer, then see those first. They are much better films. These two would be just as enjoyable as Friday night streams or DVDs. Don’t pirate them, okay! Pirating is naughty.

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(My movie Pick of the week)
Son of a Gun ✪✪✪✪
Opens in Australia:               16th October 2014
USA: No release as yet         UK: 16th January 2015 
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                     Luna Palace Cinemas

We’ve had a few films recently released that were filmed in our little old town of Perth, but Son of A Gun is the first one that really nails it. Starring Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites (The Giver) it comes with a smart script and well-orchestrated action scenes. McGregor displays his versatility playing a hardened criminal, and Thwaites the newcomer matches him as the innocent kid drawn into his web in order to survive his stay in prison.

I liked the twists and turns; the script by Julian Avery, also directing in his feature film debut, proves that you can follow tried and true tropes, and yet still deliver good entertainment. My hope is that Australians will support this film. It’s a 100 percent better than a lot of the big studio produced rubbish thrown at us these days with big name actors and big budgets, which just don’t deliver on story or character. Really worth seeing on the big screen.

Locked up, 19-year-old JR (Brenton Thwaites) finds himself under the protection of Australia's public enemy No.1, Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor)... but protection comes at a price. Lynche's crew have plans for their young protégé and very soon the debt is called in.

Before I Go To Sleep  ✪✪✪
Opens in Australia:               16th October 2014
USA: 31st October 2014 UK: 5th September 2014
Other Countries:                   Release Information
Perth:                                   Luna Palace Cinemas

Nicole Kidman has not enjoyed a  good run of films at the box office. Most have tanked, and after the woeful Grace of Monaco, you start wondering if it isn’t her. Sometimes her acting feels distant from the character, as if you can see the mechanics of the process in her eyes. However in Before I Go To Sleep that distance works very well indeed.
It’s a Hitchockian Memento type thriller, Kidman playing Christine Lucas who, due to head injuries from a violent assault, wakes up every morning having forgotten everything from the day before. Her husband (Colin Firth) is supportive and loving, albeit it is clearly emotionally taxing and difficult to have to recount their years of marriage to her each morning.
Her doctor (Mark Strong) calls her every morning after her husband leaves for work to remind her that she is keeping a video diary on a camera hidden in the back of the cupboard. It is via the video that the mystery begins, with Christine telling future herself not to trust her husband.  Each day we learn a little more about her, as she searches for what really happened and who she can trust.

The first half of the film is intriguing and strong, however toward the end it devolves into less than it could have been had a little more thought gone into the conclusion and setting up of the red herrings. However if you like your thrillers a guessing game, you will enjoy this. It’s no Gone Girl, but the cast do a great job, and director Rowan Joffe (Brighton Rock, 28 Weeks Later) is certainly the master of creating a dark and claustrophobic mood on screen.
A taut thriller based on the worldwide best-selling novel by S.J. Watson, BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP is the story of a woman (Nicole Kidman) who wakes up every day with no memory as the result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, terrifying new truths begin to emerge that make her question everything she thinks she knows about her life - as well as everyone in it, including her doctor (Mark Strong) and even her husband (Colin Firth). (c) Clarius


Opens in Australia:               16th October 2014
USA: 19th September 2014    UK: 19th September 2014
Other Countries:                     Release Information
Perth:                                      Luna Palace Cinemas

This film is based on Lawrence Block's bestselling series of mystery novels. It certainly would be a good book, but it's not so good as a film.  It’s a tad tired and clichéd and is only elevated above a DVD watch by Liam Neeson. Although, there is a joke in our household of film aficionados, about the typecasting of Liam Neeson.  When we came home from the movie, our youngest, snarliest film reviewer asks: Did Liam Neeson play an ex-cop? Yes!  Is he a recovering alcoholic? Yes!  Is he divorced? Yes! Does he walk around looking as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders? Yes! Does he kill a lot of people violently, barely raising a sweat? Yes!

So if my twelve-year-old understands it's a clichéd plot, I am struggling lately to comprehend how these scriptwriters can’t see it. Perhaps they simply don’t see enough films to realize that it’s been done before, and done many times.

If you're looking for something new, this isn’t it. If you love Liam Neeson in Taken, then you will enjoy. However, if you haven’t seen The Equalizer or Gone Girl, see those two first. They are superior films by a long shot and fall into the same genre as this.  I will say that it has a fabulous opening sequence that hints of so much more than the film delivers.

Based on Lawrence Block's bestselling series of mystery novels, A Walk among the Tombstones stars Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, an ex-NYPD cop who now works as an unlicensed private investigator operating just outside the law. When Scudder reluctantly agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped and then brutally murdered his wife, the PI learns that this is not the first time these men have committed this sort of twisted crime...nor will it be the last. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, Scudder races to track the deviants through the backstreets of New York City before they kill again. (C) Universal

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