The Old Man & the Gun

the old man and the gun

It’s got style, it’s got substance, I just wanted a little more heist

Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) is the smooth criminal who just can’t get enough, he’s been on the wrong side of the law for most of his life. A bank robber who escaped from prison 18 times and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, The Old Man and the Gun focuses on Tucker’s later life and his relationship with Jewel (Sissy Spacek).

Robert Redford gives us the perfect film before his retirement. It’s very well made, taking a true story and not exaggerating the facts just for the sake of it. Although I found myself wishing for a different film, one that had a bit more focus on Tucker’s earlier life. It’s well made but drags in places, definitely a different take on the heist movies you may be used to. The story lingered too long and would have done better to focus more on Tucker and his heist buddies. That’s what I personally enjoy in a heist movie yet don’t let that discourage you because this is a terrific performance from Redford and honestly we should expect nothing less. Hopefully this isn’t his last acting role but if that’s true it’s a great one to leave us with. Recommended if you want some quality cinema.

★★★★☆

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Sorry to Bother You

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Sorry to Bother You will either have you dying laughing or walking out

Set in an alternate present-day version of Oakland. Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is down on his luck and struggling to get by. He gets a new job as a telemarketer and quickly gets shoved into a world of money and greed. A dark comedy that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

What can I say about Sorry to Bother You, I’m at a loss for words and how often does that happen? You might love it or you might hate it. You might find it hilarious or you’ll walk out about half way through but in the end we should always give kudos to a film which tries something a little different so no matter what your feelings towards Sorry to Bother You, you can’t say it didn’t try something new. In the current climate of sequels, prequels and remakes us regular goers tend to be starved of a little originality so it’s always nice to see something original and unpredictable. Sorry to Bother You isn’t just original, it pushes the boundaries, it will shock you and it’s hard to compare it to anything else. It’s so crazy I’m still trying to decide if I liked it. For me I found the first half to be much more engaging and it introduces some great ideas that honestly could have been used more. Not every joke lands and some go on for a seemingly endless period of time but if your sense of humour is on the weird side then enough of the jokes should work for you. Recommended but don’t come crying to me if didn’t like it, I did warn you, it’s not for everyone.

★★★☆☆

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

the girl in the spiders web

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a trilogy and should have stayed that way. 

I read the book just before seeing the film but I shouldn’t have went to such effort because it doesn’t look like anyone else involved in the making of The Girl in the Spider’s Web bothered to read it. In all fairness to Claire Foy, this isn’t her fault, she shows up and does her best but the Lisbeth Salander portrayed in this sequel barely resembles her character from the original Dragon Tattoo trilogy.

Lisbeth Salander is a pierced, mohawk sporting, leather jacked wearing vigilante not to be messed with, “the righter of wrongs, the girl who hurts men to who hurts women.” She’s hired by the horribly miscast Stephen Merchant (Frans Balder) to steal back firefall. An evil computer programme that in the wrong hands would give the user the power of a god, you know access to nuclear codes and all that other generic Bond villain stuff. Yet as the trailer clearly shows you Lisbeth gets caught up in a whole web of spies and cybercriminals. But just incase you forgot this is called The Girl in the Spider’s Web, lots of little spiders show up at random points in the film to remind you. Throw in the villain humming a very menacing version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider and I’m sorry but I’m done. This film is badly written, badly paced and I’m struggling to find anything I liked about it. The third time we’ve seen Lisbeth Salander onscreen, the unfinished David Fincher remake starring Rooney Mara is barely worth mentioning it’s that forgettable. A shot by shot remake that doesn’t have the atmosphere of the original. It never needed a remake and now we have Claire Foy taking on the role in a sequel. Perhaps so desperate to play a character completely different from her previous roles and although Foy is trying her best and she certainly looks the part, she doesn’t have the same on screen presence that Noomi Rapace has. The changes to Salander’s character are pointless and borderline insulting. It needed to be grittier, with a completely different story, this isn’t a James Bond or a Mission Impossible movie yet that’s what it felt like it was trying to be. Oh sure turn Salander into an action hero and hope to build an even bigger franchise out of it, well sorry lads you’ve even failed at that. A boring predictable crime movie you’ve seen done before only better. All The Girl in the Spider’s Web did was make me want to go back and watch the original trilogy. The book was average at best but the film couldn’t even be bothered to follow it. Skip this film, any major plot point has been spoiled by the trailer and you’ll be able to predict the whole thing from the very start. Not recommended.

★☆☆☆☆

Widows

Widows

The Badass female heist movie you need right now

Set in Chicago, four women are left with the debt left behind by their dead husband’s crimes. Rather than sit back and take it Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take matters into their own hands.

Story by Gillian Flynn and directed by Steve McQueen. A thriller with brilliant performances that will have you on the edge of your seat. An original and slightly different take on a heist film. And lets face it the heist genre has been done again and again so it’s refreshing to see one that isn’t just a rehash of Oceans 11. The chemistry between the women is what made this for me, along with the character development. Throw in a slimy politician in the form of Colin Farrell and the generic movie psychopath in the form of Daniel Kaluuya and you’ve got yourself a must see crime thriller. It reels you in with it’s sharp script and realistic characters you don’t sit there questioning the logistics of the plan or the heist you’re fully invested. My only criticism is Liam Neeson, he’s completely miscast and clearly just put in the film to get more people to see it. You’re not going to see this for Liam Neeson, everyone else fit into their parts yet he just stood out the whole time for me. Don’t let that put you off, Widows is worth your time. Dark, gritty and highly recommended.

★★★★☆

Bohemian Rhapsody

bohemian rhapsody

Don’t let the fact that I’m a Queen fan sway you in any way. 

Bohemian Rhapsody covers the formation of Queen and the life of Freddie Mercury up until the Live Aid concert in 1985. I don’t care if half of it is fiction I still loved it.

Starring Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor), and Joseph Mazzello (John Deacon). The trailer just gives you a taste of Malek’s transformation into Freddie Mercury, he portrayed the icon with energy, charisma and showmanship to perfection. The casting was perfect it just needed a better script and a better director. It would have made all the difference and elevated the rest of the film to the standard set by the actors. Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t really know if it wanted to be the Freddie Mercury story, or the life of Queen. You end up getting a watered down version of both stories, with time constraints it’s not possible to have it all but I still wanted more. More of how Queen wrote their songs, more of Freddie’s life, I found myself wishing this had been a TV mini-series just so I could see more. You also can’t help but feel that a good portion of it has taken some creative liberties and as for giving us an insight into Freddie’s life it doesn’t really get the depth you want. The 12a rating used to bring in a bigger audience is definitely to blame here. In a way a documentary like Amy or Whitney would have been the better way to go but then we’d miss out on Malek’s performance and we can’t have that. With Sacha Baron Cohen dropping out early on due to creative differences and all the other problems that went on behind the scenes Bohemian Rhapsody could have been a disaster. It is getting some harsh reviews due to the supposed historical inaccuracies and yes maybe you’re thinking this review is biased because I like Queen but I was entertained the whole time, I found the chemistry between the main cast to be believable and genuine. The music is spectacular and not only that but the miming was impeccable. Convincing miming isn’t easy apparently just ask the cast of The Greatest Showman. No the film isn’t a masterpiece and it has got some issues but I still loved it. The music and Malek’s performance keep you in the film and during the Live Aid concert it’s electric. You’ll be singing Queen songs for days after seeing Bohemian Rhapsody. Highly recommended, not to be missed and a must see for the Queen fans.

★★★★☆

Halloween

halloween

I’m just here for Jamie Lee Curtis and the iconic score

The much anticipated sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween, set 40 years later. If like me you never bothered with any of the sequels then good because Halloween 2018 made the wise decision to ignore all of them.

Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) lives a life away from the rest of the world, she has an estranged relationship with her daughter and granddaughter. Still haunted by the events that took place Halloween night 40 years ago. Michael Myers is in a high security mental asylum but is due to be transferred on Halloween night, the 40 year anniversary of his original killing spree. Things play out about as well as you expect and this slasher horror movie starts delivering exactly what it promises. A well made horror that isn’t afraid to take some dark turns and keeps the atmosphere for the most part. This is largely due to the soundtrack, one of the best examples of using a score effectively in a horror movie. Instantly recognisable and enough to send chills down your spine. This sequel is definitely made for the fans, it’s been building up to the Laurie v Michael Myers final confrontation I was just a little disappointed the story kept drifting back to the high school teenagers and their mundane problems. When we meet Laurie Strode in this movie she’s unrecognisable to her character in the original Halloween. She’s not going to be terrorized, she’s the badass ‘ain’t talking no shit’ grandma who’s spent her life preparing for meeting Michael Myers again determined to finish him off and that is all I cared about. No it’s not perfect and it doesn’t quite live up to the original Halloween but it’s entertaining and definitely one to check out. Your perfect choice for the time of year. Recommended.

★★★☆☆

Rosie

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You’ll still be thinking about Rosie long after the credits have ended

Rosie could not have come at a more appropriate time. Dublin’s worsening housing crisis has been the topic of conversation for too long now and if you want to see a film that emulates these feelings then look no further than Rosie.

Rosie (Sarah Greene), her husband (Moe Dunford) and four children have recently become homeless after their landlord sells their rented home. Rosie is struggling to get the kids to school, and find somewhere temporary to stay while they search for their new home. The shortage of rental properties and hotels is having a devastating effect on the family while they live day to day not knowing where they’ll be sleeping at night. By no means a masterpiece, some of the extras and the lack of music gave it a strong soap feeling. Yet Sarah Greene and Moe Dunford’s performances are exceptional, not only that but the chemistry between them and the rest of the family feels real you soon forget you’re watching a film. There are times you come out of this and can really see the acting but Rosie is a heart breaking film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Maybe you want to see a film to escape the realities of life in that case give Rosie a miss for everyone else it’s recommended.

★★★★☆

First Man

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Trust Damien Chazelle to get some jazz into First Man

Based on the book by James R. Hansen, First Man tells the story of NASA’s mission to land on the moon, and the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong.

It was interesting to see how Damien Chazelle would take on the moon landing with his last two films being heavily music based. First Man shows us just how good of a story-teller he is. I normally like my space movies with a few aliens thrown in but I was fully invested in this story. I also wouldn’t exactly know many details about the moon landing which may have helped keep me interested. Gosling seemed like a good choice for Neil Armstrong although I found his performance very cold and distant the emotion comes from the rest of the cast, particularly Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong. The attention to detail for the space crafts allows you to become fully immersed. Creating the sensation of claustrophobia, you really feel like you’re in the space craft next to the astronauts. Justin Hurwitz has composed yet another beautiful score, not that I wouldn’t have expected less, his use of Lunar Rhapsody throughout the film will give you the chills. It’s gripping, emotional and highly recommended.

★★★★★

Venom

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Tom Hardy is not enough of a reason to subject yourself to Venom

A Marvel fan favourite has appeared on the big screen yet again, it didn’t work the first time and unfortunately it doesn’t work now. If you go to see Venom and take it too seriously you’ll leave disappointed, yet if you go in with low expectations and hope for a few laughs you may still leave disappointed. It’s so ridiculously terrible it has found an audience, and if you don’t believe me just take a look at how it did at the box office, nearly four times it’s budget and it’s still going strong. I didn’t enjoy it, and a lot of other people definitely didn’t enjoy it. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. Maybe when it was compared to being “Catwoman levels of bad” you rushed out to the cinema just to see how bad it really was and you ended up laughing your head off. And all I can say to you people is you are the reason we’ll get a sequel.

Starring Academy Award nominated actors Tom Hardy, and Michelle Williams. You can throw around the word Academy award all you like but even the combined acting talent of Hardy and Williams is not enough to save Venom. Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed) has brought back some symbiotes from space and is determined to merge symbiotes and humans to create a perfect being. But uh oh one of the symbiotes escapes and finds his perfect match in the form of Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy). Now Eddie has one hell of a parasite which is becoming harder and harder to control cause Venom has some pretty strong cravings for human meat and doesn’t really like taking orders. Yet another boring and predictable origin story, miscast and at times just silly. The script is hilariously terrible, the only thing I wanted to see was Venom chomping some heads off, and of course you get that but at a 15a rating. Hardy really is the best thing about Venom but it’s not saying much and he does look like he’s having a lot more fun compared to everyone else who pretty much looks like they don’t want to be there. In the right hands this could have been so much better and it’s frustrating to see Venom hasn’t been done justice on the big screen yet again. Not recommended, unless you purposely go out of your way to see bad superhero movies.

★☆☆☆☆

Mandy

mandy

Absolutely insane from start to finish

All you Nicolas Cage fans out there (and I know you exist, don’t be shy) probably remember a film called Drive Angry 2011. Nicolas Cage goes on a murderous revenge driven rampage against a sadistic cult. Now join Nicolas Cage going on another murderous revenge driven rampage against a sadistic cult in Mandy. For those of you who don’t already know, Drive Angry is rubbish and very skippable but Mandy is a film that’s everything Drive Angry should have been and so much more. Nicolas Cage is the only actor who could play this part, to put any other actor in this role would be ridiculous but when Nicolas Cage does it for some reason it works spectacularly. Cage’s career has ranged from the good, the bad and the what the hell is this? Mandy will bring you on an unconventional emotional roller coaster ride varying from should I walk out, am I hallucinating, to this is the greatest trippy horror I’ve ever seen and I can’t stop crying with laughter.

Red (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) live in a wonderfully peaceful house deep in a secluded part of the woods. This is all turned upside down by a bunch of hippy Jesus types, a sadistic cult let by a Charles Manson character, Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). Join Nicolas Cage on his journey of bloody vengeance as only Nicolas Cage can. I feel like the creators of this film were on LSD, the actors were on LSD and I was on LSD. The score by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson and the cinematography by Benjamin Loeb uses everything at its disposal to create a visually stunning film. You’re constantly waiting for the worst to happen in every scene, it’s the most unnerving thing I’ve seen in a long time. Taking manic and crazy to a whole new level, everything from the script to the chainsaw fight is the craziest thing you’ll see all year. And maybe a few years after that too, because we don’t get films like this very often and if you’re into the weird then make sure you take the time to see Mandy, I can’t guarantee all of you will love it but I can guarantee a part of you will enjoy it. It’s on limited release and then it’s straight to DVD so find a way to see it. Recommended.

★★★★☆