It’s the same every year. Early in January, with awards season looming, Hollywood’s leading Oscar contenders arrive on British shores fresh from their domestic success, galvanised by their extensive awards promotion to draw yet more financial gain. This year’s big three, The Wolf of Wall Street, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, were deliberately released across the UK in the space of a fortnight to draw a large audience. While the awards season marketing campaign ensured that each of these American films hustled their way to the top of the UK box-office charts it also gave them immense expectations; expectations that David O. Russell’s follow up to his thoroughly rewarding Silver Linings Playbook fails to live up to. Continue reading American Hustle Review
With a bright colour palette, brazen extravagance and lively soundtrack you’d be forgiven for expecting one of the most un-Scorsese-like films yet. While it’s certainly one of his most daring inventions, beneath the surface lays the familiar crime epic the great director made his name with. Continue reading The Wolf of Wall Street Review
A captivating and devastatingly real piece of fiction
Hot on the trail of his Oscar-nominated Incendies, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve furthers his rapidly growing acclaim with Prisoners, a captivating and deeply affecting mystery thriller that doesn’t relinquish its hold until long after the credits roll.
After beginning his career with two polarizing comedies, the entertaining Zombieland and shameful 30 Minutes or Less, American director Ruben Fleischer departs from familiar ground and delves into the underground mob scene for his third feature. However, in tackling the crime genre the emerging filmmaker shows his naivety and inexperience with a derivative crowd-pleaser that is so focussed on borrowing ideas from previous classics that it fails to establish its own identity.
After reaching the pinnacle of his career in the late eighties/ early nineties, Oliver Stone, the illustrious director of Platoon, Natural Born Killers and Wall Street, attempts to recover from a succession of disappointments. Though his latest film teases audiences with restoring the unflinching bite and controversy that made his previous films so successful, this ill-conceived and empty tale of drugs, sex and criminality is worlds away from what Stone is capable of.
“Standing in public in other people’s clothes, pretending to be someone else. It’s a strange way for a grown man to make a living.”
James Gandolfini was always defined by, and will forever be remembered for, his iconic role as Tony Soprano in David Chase’s critically acclaimed HBO series that changed the face of television as we see it today. The late, three-time Emmy award winning actor, with those tremendously sad eyes, painted an authentic, moving and at times chilling portrait of the murderous, yet tortured mob boss in what remains the single greatest and most important performance in modern television history.
A bad day for Die Hard.
Six years ago Len Wiseman found relative success with his attempt at reviving the Die Hard franchise from its twelve year cinema absence. While an ambitious combination of old-school heroics and new-age sensibilities never quite works in Die Hard 4.0, there are at least the familiar high-octane action set pieces to appease the fans and make it a watchable, yet inferior addition to the franchise. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the fifth, erroneously titled venture, A Good Day to Die Hard.
A story so bizarre, its hard to believe its true.
British director Bart Layton makes an astonishing entrance into cinema with his feature debut, The Imposter, a ninety-minute documentary that tells the remarkable story of French conman Frédéric Bourdin. Three years after thirteen-year old Nicholas Barclay disappeared from the Texas suburbs in 1994, his family receive a phone call from Spanish officials claiming that they have found the missing child. However, the child is in fact twenty-three year old Bourdin who hopes to deceive Nicholas’ family, US embassy officials and FBI agents and gain entry to the United States – but that’s only the tip of the iceberg for this bizarre tale.
Once upon a time in South Central…
Having spent a large period of his teenage years on the troubling streets he’s so often returned to within film, American filmmaker David Ayer’s personal connection to Los Angeles is a proven inspiration for many of his productions. While the setting is a direct influence from his past, Ayer’s films are not entirely autobiographical and follow an LAPD officer in South Central, Los Angeles.
Honesty is the best policy
The film begins at a blistering pace and, despite unconventionally revealing the conclusion within the first moments, it remains entirely engrossing throughout. After a brisk start, the pace slows to a comfortable steadiness typical of the director and commonplace for a biographical film. Continue reading Serpico Review