Review: Lawless (2012)

lawless poster

“It is not the violence that sets men apart, alright, it is the distance that he is prepared to go.”
– Forrest Bondurant

SYNOPSIS: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a trio of bootlegging brothers are threatened by a new special deputy and other authorities angling for a cut of their profits. – via IMDB

GRADE 9The movie was absolutely great. Truly brilliant. I know that a lot of people take issue with certain things in it, but I cannot tell you how I get when I sit down to watch Lawless. I am like a giddy child that got to pick out anything I wanted to watch. I can’t count anymore how many times I have seen this since the first time, but it gets better and better.

lawless did you pull a gun

The cast is absolutely phenomenal, and carried this story, and each and every one of the actors and actresses in this is excellent. Tom Hardy is amazing. We all know that I adore the man, and Lawless is no exception. The man is a master and well worth watching – always. His portrayal of Forrest Bondurant is impressive. Guy Pearce is beyond reprehensible and Rakes truly gets under your skin. I have always admired Jason Clarke, but this is where I fell in love with him – Howard is insane, loyal, jaded, cuckoo crazy. Shia LaBeouf should be commended for his role of the youngest Bondurant brother, Jack. Why? Because, as cooked as he may be in real life, he is a solid and consistent actor. I thought he and Mia Wasikowska had lovely chemistry, and they played off of each other nicely. Bertha is just too damned sweet for words. Then I have got to talk about Dane DeHaan. I am a junkie, we all know this, and his portrayal of Cricket is wonderful. He is a character we all fell in love with, whom we adore because you cannot help but like Cricket, and it is easy to understand why he is favouried. Lastly, but certainly not least, there is Jessica Chastain. Beautiful, regal, Red. The moment she stepped onto the scene the Bondurants had no idea what was going on anymore, and I love how awkward the brothers could get around her.

I love the way the film was shot, it is beautiful and engaging, and the plot progression could not have been done better – not too long, not skipped over, every part is given sufficient time to make itself comfortable and relay the epic story of the bootlegging brothers. The score is perfectly suited, and I had such a blast with the humour in the film too. There is some heavy violence, but no violence just to be nasty. It all serves a purpose. I think by this write up you can tell that I am a huge fan of this and think that this film has a lot going for it, and I would highly recommend checking it out!

Review: Prometheus (2012)

prometheus poster

“How far would you go to get your answers?”
– David

SYNOPSIS: Following clues to the origin of mankind a team journey across the universe and find a structure on a distant planet containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and stone cylinders of alien blood but they soon find they are not alone. – via IMDB

prometheus david

The first time that I watched Prometheus I was exceptionally underwhelmed. Like, to the nth degree. There are plot holes and super flaws and so many subplots that are introduced and never wrapped up, there is just too much wrong with this film to make it great. It did have a stellar cast, and they worked with what they had and did a pretty good job.

I thoroughly enjoy Idris Elba, so to see him as Captain Janek was awesome. Theron grated (har har, imagine this) on my last nerve, again, though I expected no less. Guy Pearce could certainly have been used better, I wish we had seen more of Benedict Wong’s Ravel, and Noomi Rapace did just fine as the ill-fated Shaw. I think the one actor that truly think shone from the off in this film was Michael Fassbender. His David was charming, freaky, strange, something you couldn’t quite understand, more layered than any of the other characters and his performance was excellent and consistent. I had a blast watching him.

Let’s talk about something that really bugged me in this movie: nobody bats an eye for any of the messed up stuff going on. Heck, Vickers uses a flamethrower on Holloway, killing him in front of his lover, Elizabeth Shaw, and nobody bats an eye. Then there is the whole David betrayal, again, not a word, and what about the fact that Shaw is limping around later, abdomen gashed open and all that? Nobody bats an eye or says anything. I cannot buy into it. Someone will have to ask something sooner or later, no matter what.

Pity this was one of those films that had a trailer that was infinitely better than the final product – and before people get iffy about it, it is the truth. The trailer was intense, there was so much happening, there was urgency and fear and a real dangerous problem, by the looks of it. In fact, it pretty much gave away anything and everything of interest in the movie. Now, as for the film itself? It was languishing, there were holes in the script, there were things that just did not make sense, there was nothing so completely awesome in there to blow your mind, it was slow and trundled along, never really creating serious tension or delivering anything… it was just another movie. Simple as that. No more, no less. It explored big themes, or tried to, but delivered nothing.

I didn’t hate the movie like I did the first time around (because hell, I despised it), probably because I knew what to expect this time around, but it remains extremely flawed and doesn’t really offer anything. There are places the story can be taken from here and some exceptionally interesting premises that were granted and concepts that could be a thing of beauty, but what we got from Prometheus, on its own? Nothing, nothing at all, because nothing was ultimately realised. Aside from all that, the movie was shot well and looked pretty good, and the Engineers were interesting though incredibly underutilised, though I suppose this will help set up for a sequel. Uhm… I don’t really have much else to say, so I will just end it here.

Review: Memento (2000)


“I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can’t remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world’s still there. Do I believe the world’s still there?”
– Leonard Shelby

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) has a problem. He has anterograde amnesia. He cannot create new short term memories, which serves to be an issue seeing as he is on an important mission. He is researching something, he is working something out, something big and important, and is being helped along by his friend (as far as he knows) named Teddy (Joe Pantoliano). Leonard’s condition is due to an attack he and his wife suffered, and that he was unsuccessful in preventing – his home was broken into and his wife (Jorja Fox) was raped and murdered by a man he believes to be called John G.

memento leonard shelby
“You don’t want the truth. You make up your own truth.” – Teddy

Teddy is helping Leonard track down John G, to exact justice for the atrocities that his wife suffered. Leonard has a system to keep on top of things. Notes are jotted down, his body is tattooed with clues and facts he knows to be vital to the case. He has Polaroid photographs of all the people around him as well as notes to himself about them as well as where he stays and what not. The most important story he tells himself to remind him about what is wrong with him is the story of Sammy Jankis (Stephen Tobolowsky), a man who suffered from the same type of amnesia, and a claim that Leonard was supposed to look into when he was still an insurance investigator. Leonard was unsure as to whether Sammy’s condition was true or not, though his wife (Harriet Sansom Harris) tested the theory and had her husband overdose her on her insulin.

memento still
“Memory can change the shape of a room; it can change the color of a car. And memories can be distorted. They’re just an interpretation, they’re not a record, and they’re irrelevant if you have the facts.” – Leonard Shelby

Another woman assisting Leonard in his vengeance plan is Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss), who will help him out of pity because she, too, lost someone. She also happens to be his lover, though he does not always remember this. Leonard is staying at a motel, and every day he has reminders for himself as well as little bits of a mission he is working on. Teddy is assisting Leonard as much as he can, retracing Leonard’s footsteps as well as helping to work through the case files that were originally involved with the attach on Leonard and his wife. Something is not right, but Leonard cannot put his finger on it, and is likely to forget it when he does if he does not document it.

Leonard believes that Teddy is the one that raped and murdered his wife, and is set on killing the man for what he did. His investigation and notes lead him to suspect this. Teddy’s real name is John Edward Gammell, and his car’s licence plate matches up with the one that Leonard knows to belong to John G. But is Teddy truly guilty? Why is Natalie so intent on helping Leonard out? Can they ever have a regular relationship due to his condition? Is Leonard’s condition a physical one or a mental one? Will he be able to overcome it? What exactly happened with his wife in the attack, however long ago that was?

memento carrie anne moss
“But even if you get revenge you’re not gonna remember it. You’re not even going to know that it happened.” – Natalie

GRADE 9I really enjoyed this movie. Once again, Christopher Nolan demonstrates his prowess with another solid film that progresses in such a way that you are hooked but never lost, though forever asking questions. Memento also had a really unique way of presenting the story, and it was fresh and new, unlike most films. The performances from the cast were great, and Guy Pearce shone in his role of Leonard, giving the character far more credibility than you could think. There was some humour throughout the film, but it was not overbearing or anything to take away from the subject of the film. A lot of it stems from Leonard’s condition, and how it can put him in a lot of danger, but also let a lot of people take advantage of him. The way the story was told was completely compelling, and doesn’t have a single boring moment to it. The score worked for it, too, and it was just overall a really good film that was highly enjoyable. A fine film to find yourself watching, kitted out with a fantastic cast and an exceptionally interesting plot, Memento offers a unique presentation that will keep you on your toes for the duration of it.

Review: Iron Man 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 poster

“Ladies, children, sheep… Some people call me a terrorist. I consider myself a teacher. Lesson number one: Heroes, there is no such thing.”
– The Mandarin

I am back… at work, that is. I really needed the time off. Boy, was it worth it. I got to watch some amazing and some (really) not so amazing films, some series, I read, I studied (truly… hem hem), watched Iron Man 3 and I got showered with tons of awesome gifts. More films for my personal collection, books that I have been eyeing for a long time among other things, as well as a lifetime supply of candy (I lie… it might last until the end of the week). But back to the issues at hand. Iron Man 3

Billionaire playboy and engineering genius Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is still battling with his emotions from what happened with the Avengers in New York. His girlfriend, Virginia “Pepper” Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is doing her best to run Stark Industries as well as keep Tony satisfied, but there seems to be a shift in their relationship. Restless, anxious and sleep deprived, Tony starts tinkering on a new project – armour that will call to his body from his mind, as well as work and act without his physically needing to be inside of it. The Mark 42 armour seems to be working… shiftily. He is obsessively building more Iron Man suits. Tony has finally realized he is not untouchable, and wants to keep the most important person in his life safe at any and all costs. Pepper meets with an old contact from Tony’s past, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), who offers Stark Industries to invest in his think tank idea Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Pepper politely declines.

Iron Man 3 Pearce and Paltrow
“The whole world’s gonna be watching.” – Aldrich Killian

A new terrorist has taken the reigns and he goes by the name of The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley). He is so undercover and unknown and untraceable, the world is sure that they have met Iron Man’s match, though his best friend, Colonel James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes (Don Cheadle) tells him to stay out of it, being military business and all, Tony is drawn into the fight when another close friend of his, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is caught in a bomb blast – a terrorist attack. Happy was very on edge with Aldrich Killian and the company that he kept, and investigated a little bit more by accident. Tony publicly announces to the press that he is on a revenge mission for the Mandarin, and gives his home address.

Chilling with the prodigal

As much as Tony tries to protect Pepper, his arrogance and anger brings down a world of suffering, and he is forced to run for cover when his home is bombed and demolished and he is presumed dead. Hiding out in Tennessee with a young  boy named Harley Keener (Ty Simkins), Tony starts to fix up his suit as well as prepare to return to Pepper, who has been kidnapped by the Mandarin’s people. Tony discovers that the bomb blasts that have been popping up all over the country due to the Mandarin are caused by soldiers that were a part of the Extremis program, a tissue regenerative program for the human body with strength effects and more, headed up by his old flame Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). The Mandarin group wants Tony to fix the kinks in the Extremis program, and soon.

Iron Patriot

When the Iron Patriot armour is stolen from Rhodey, Tony and Rhodey need to get together to recover the armour, and stop the Mandarin group from continued terror attacks, while simultaneously saving both Pepper and the United States president. Will the team be able to do it, and will Tony be able to settle down and be far less anxious in life, continuing smoothly with Pepper? Will they be able to save the president and the love of Tony’s life, while stopping the Mandarin and the crazy attacks that he exacts with calculated brutality, not stopped or challenged at any turn?

“Things are different now, I have to protect the one thing that I can’t live without. That’s you.” – Tony Stark to Pepper

I reckon Iron Man 3  earns a 6.5/10. I mean I walked in with the knowledge that this would be the closer, and I was very excited to see what would come, and after all the reviews and the anticipation, I was entertained to a degree, but not like I thought I would be.  Iron Man 3 was just vastly different from its predecessors. You can see a distinct change in the direction (missed Jon Favreau). The cinematography was good, the effects were solid, but I felt that the story needed to be tightened up a bit more – especially the whole villain plot. Read around and all and the general consensus seems to be that they jumped into the Extremis plot way too quickly, that is why is seems holey at times. Robert Downey Jr. was great, naturally, and Gwyneth was definitely Pepper, but things were a bit… different with them for this one, which is what the film was going for, I am sure. I really didn’t like how closely this was linked to The Avengers (we all know I am such a fan). Once again, there was some pretty good humour in the film, and Tony and Rhodey together was hilarious, I would expect nothing less from their dynamic, but there was a lot of forced humour and even more that fell flat. There was this distinct feeling of something missing, though, and I am not one hundred percent sure what that was. And the Iron Patriot? Just let him be the War Machine! However, I was glad the patriotic armour was limited to Rhodey, I like the hot rod red and gold for Tony, that is just Iron Man. Also missed the music from the older movies, such as the ACDC, the Black Sabbath, that was really great for me, but removed for this one. Don Cheadle had a much bigger role this time, which was also pretty cool. Guy Pearce was definitely good in his role, he is a very good kooky person, and plays that misunderstood genius very convincingly, though he was criminally underused. Ben Kingsley came as a surprise. Not as an actor, as always he was great, but his character took me slightly aback, I think they completely crippled that story arc. Overall, not a bad watch, just really not in league with its predecessors, and a rather disappointing way to close down the trilogy.