Movie Review – Mechanic: Resurrection

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Director :   Dennis Gansel
Year Of Release :  2016
Principal Cast :  Jason Statham, Jessica Alba, Michelle Yeoh, Sam Hazeldine, Nathalie Burn, Tommy Lee Jones.
Approx Running Time :   98 Minutes
Synopsis:   Arthur Bishop thought he had put his murderous past behind him when his most formidable foe kidnaps the love of his life. Now he is forced to travel the globe to complete three impossible assassinations, and do what he does best, make them look like accidents.

******

This third-rate Statham action flick never gets out of first gear, rendering much of Dennis Gansel’s admittedly beautifully exotic locations all but useless. Against the backdrops of Rio, Vietnam, Cambodia , Sydney and what I think is some Euro stand-in for Bulgaria, Mechanic: Resurrection is less the second coming as it is the final death-rattle of a franchise that never ever really took off. It boasts one of the most asinine script in recent memory, some utterly atrocious acting performances, and hideous green-screen work; there’s little to redeem this film other than the hilarity of The Stath™ taking on and defeating hundreds of faceless henchmen and thugs with patented Infinity-Bullet Guns©, which never ever seem to need reloading.

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Movie Review – Nerve (2016)

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Director :   Henry Joost + Ariel Schulman
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :    Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer, Kimiko Glenn, Samira Wiley, Ed Squires.
Approx Running Time :   96 Minutes
Synopsis:  A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.”

*******

We’ve reached an age now in which cinema has moved beyond the Gen X and Gen Y audiences, and is now aimed directly at Millennials. Think David Fincher’s The Game, only in the world of live video feeds, Periscope and real-time interactivity. Nerve’s high-octane energy taps into the vaguely Danny Boyle-esque sense of visual kinetics, with both Emma Roberts and Dave Franco cantilevering between pixelated pleasure seekers and, inevitably, retributive heroes of a post-millennial age. Masquerading as a hedonistic adventure and part coming-of-age story, the film’s conceit of online gaming (mobile as that is) resonates today with the ubiquity of screens in people’s hands and access to the internet at the touch of a single button, something inconceivable barely twenty years ago.

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Movie Review – Hell Or High Water

Director :   David Mackenzie
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges, Gil Birmingham, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Melanie Papalia.
Approx Running Time :   112 Minutes
Synopsis:   A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.

******

Despite its elegiac tone and downbeat philosophy, Hell or High Water’s modernised Western narrative and colourful, developed characters is an absolute blast to watch. Of course, watching calibre actors like Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges chewing the West Texan accents and driving their beat-up vehicles like run-down cowboys through the dusty hued landscapes was never going to be a chore, and while I’m probably not as au fait with the problems of America’s old west ghosts as I should be, the film’s strong, unbridled direction and incisive performances make this a hell of a great movie.

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Movie Review – Kubo & The Two Strings

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Director :  Travis Knight
Year Of Release :   2016
Principal Cast :  Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes, Rooney Mara, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro. 
Approx Running Time :   101 Minutes
Synopsis:   A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

********

With only four feature films to their name, Oregon-based animation studio Laika, owned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, have crafted a reputation for exceptionally visual, melancholy projects that eschew the Disney mould in favour of dynamic, Academy Award-nominated flirtation. The studio’s stop-motion output varies considerably from UK-based Aardman’s more rotund aesthetic, with Coraline, ParaNorman and more recently The Boxtrolls finding niche audiences in spite of relatively low box-office returns. Kubo And The Two Strings, directed by Knight’s son Travis in his feature debut, is yet another highlight in the showreel of Laika’s exceptionalism, boasting a complex story and superlative animation mixed into a “kids film” that will stand the test of time for adults as well.

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Movie Review – Sliver

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Director :  Phillip Noyce
Year Of Release :  1993
Principal Cast : Sharon Stone, William Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Polly Walker, Colleen Camp, Amanda Foreman, CCH Pounder, Martin Landau, Nicholas Pryor, Nina Foch, Keene Curtis.
Approx Running Time :   107 Minutes
Synopsis:   A New York book editor moves into an apartment block with a sordid, tragic history, only to find herself involved with a handsome younger man.

******

Sliver is the kind of trashy, awfully horrifying movie you need to watch when your cinema palette needs a damn good douche. Starring Sharon Stone in the white-hot post-Basic Instinct period, when she was Hollywood’s “It” girl for a while (at least before that shower scene with Stallone in The Specialist, blech), Sliver also features a Lesser Baldwin, Billy (or, ahem, William), as well as Tom Berenger, in this sexual, salacious take on downtown New York psycho living. Scripted by Basic Instinct’s trash maestro, Joe Eszterhas, and directed by Aussie helmer Phillip Noyce, Sliver lacks both any kind of narrative tension worth committing to or justified reasoning to its sex sequences, and boasts some of the worst acting in a big-budget release this side of an Adam Sandler movie. Sliver, while trashy, is also awful.

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Trailer Trash! – Alien: Covenant

There’s always a sense of excitement whenever Ridley Scott drops a new trailer, and the excitement increases exponentially when it’s an Alien film; the 8th feature film to star the eponymous killing machines (following Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection, Alien V Predator, Alien V Predator: Requiem, and Prometheus), Alien: Covenant sees the franchise once again under the guiding hand of its creator, with Scott, alongside an all-star cast including returning Prometheus star Michael Fassbender, taking to the reaches of space for another thriller. This Redband trailer is decidedly NSFW! Check it out after the jump. Turn up the volume!

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Movie Review – Artist, The

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Director :  Michel Hazanavicius
Year Of Release :   2011
Principal Cast :   Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, Uggie, John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller, James Cromwell, Missi Pyle, Malcolm McDowell, Bitsie Tulloch, Beth Grant, Ed Lauter.
Approx Running Time :   100 Minutes
Synopsis:  A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions.

******

It’s hard to fathom just how monumental a change to the cinematic landscape the introduction of “talkies” must have been. Since the introduction of motion pictures, just before the turn of the century, the medium had been silent, accompanied live by a piano or in some cases an orchestra, and it was all anybody knew. Then along came technology, microphones and the ability to record synchronised sound to the film stock, allowing actors to actually talk to an audience rather than forcing them to read title cards to understand elements of the plot. It effectively tipped an entire industry on its head. A little bit like the introduction of touch-screen phones, I imagine. In the period following the first sound films, many an actor and actress of the old period suddenly found themselves being left behind for, as The Artist so indelicately puts it, “new meat”. Those who embraced the new technology leapt ahead, while those who refused to move with the times (Charlie Chaplin was a famous resistor to the advent of talkies) were consigned to the popular scrap-heap.

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