Tracks is the incredible true story of Australian, Robyn Davidson who had a goal of walking 2000-ish miles across Western Australia to just be alone. She ignored all the comments and judgements of her being crazy, acquired three camels and begun her journey through the deserts along with the company of her dog. Along the way she is aided by a photographer for National Geographic as well as various other people she stumbles across.
The performances in the film were incredible. The film is a very Mia Wasikowska driven film as after the first twenty or so minutes she is the only actress we primarily see, aside from the few people she meets along the way. If she was bad then the whole film would essentially flop, but she managed to give a great performance which I had no doubt about. She was in Stoker last year, a film that I really enjoyed, and she was excellent there, but she was even better in this film. I did enjoy Stoker just a bit more, but her performance in Tracks is the best performance in her career.
There was one scene that really broke my heart. I won't spoil what happens, but there was a scene in the film that had my eyes tearing up. I was so invested in these character's story and I cared for them all, the camels included, and so when this scene came along I was actually fairly upset. It was semi-predictable that that would happen because of the trailer, but I just wasn't ready for it to happen yet. As well as this the editing in the scene made it even more upsetting. This, of course, just made the film even better as it showed how much they allowed me to care about it.
The cinematography in the film was captivating. There were so many brilliant dolly shots as well as birds eye view shots that panned across the desert which allowed me, as an audience member, to soak in all the beauty that my home country has to offer. There was also several instances with female nudity in the film, but none of it was in a very sexual way and the cinematography helped to establish this and hide most of it. The cinematography was just an overall improvement to the movie.
The film becomes a little too long at times. While the film takes its time to start this didn't actually bother me as it was incredibly interesting to watch, but once she was about half way through her walk through the desert then some moments begun to drag on a little too long and it would occasionally get a tad repetitive. This was infrequent, but still a negative aspect to the film.
To sum up Track was an incredible true story with brilliant performances, especially from Mis Wasikowska, one heart breaking and emotional scene and captivating cinematography. The film was just a tad too long at times.
3 1/2 Stars
Nebraska is the story of Woody Grant, an elderly booze loving man who's mostly oblivious to his surroundings. One day he receives a letter in the mail that says he's won a million dollars and that he needs to go to Nebraska to got pick it up. It's an obvious scam, but like most things in life he doesn't realise this so his two sons let him go on with the fantasy as they are unsure how much time he has left in the world.
Nebraska was a delightful movie to watch. Right from the opening company logos I knew this was going to be a brilliant movie and I never doubted it the whole way through. The opening company logos aren't done in the modern version, but instead the older version of each company to pay homage to classic black and white films. Nebraska is just a delightful, happy movie that will go down as one of the best movies of the year. There is literally no major flaws that I can think of about this film and, despite only being in the end of February, it is my second favourite film this year. Wolf of Wall Street being my favourite as I saw it a second time and loved it even more than the first.
There's not a single performance that's consistently bad. Every actor in this film shines in their role, but there was the odd moment where I wasn't particularly fond of Will Forte's performance, but he'd soon make up for it. Bruce Dern steals every scene that he's in. He was literally the best part of this movie although the outstanding June Squibb comes in a close second.
The screenplay for the film is so creative and original. The Oscars are less than a week away and currently the most likely winner for best original screenplay is Her although I really want Nebraska to win. The screenplay is just fun, creative and very simple. Everybody has got one of those scam "congratulations you've won" messages and it's a surprise that it's never been the basis of a film before. It truly was a creative movie.
The ending of the film was absolutely perfect for me. I don't wish to spoil the ending of the movie, but it is my favourite few moments of the entire film. The credits for the film actually begin to roll over the final, closing shot and a lot of my cinema audience left, but I had to stay. It was too perfect for me to want to leave. The film was already brilliant, but for me the ending added a whole new definition of brilliant.
To sum up Nebraska is an absolutely delightful and original film with a fantastic screenplay and sensational performances from everyone, Bruce Dern and June Squibb being the standouts. Plus the film wraps up with a perfect ending!
Wolf Creek 2 is the sequel to the hit 2005 horror film, Wolf Creek. The film continues the story of outback Australian serial killer Mick Taylor who finds two foreign tourists camping in the outback. He manages to kill one, but the other escapes and crosses paths with British tourist, Paul Hammersmith. Now Mick Taylor is out to hunt both Paul and his previous target because he hates when someone gets in the way of 'his meal!'
Wolf Creek 2 is five times as messed up, violent and gory than the first film. I didn't watch the trailer for this film and I'm so glad that I didn't because I had no idea what to expect this time around. It's a real wonder how this film received an MA15+ classification yet the first film received an R18+ classification as this film is so much worse. The film features many more graphic and disturbing scenes such as a few particular scenes in the second half. In fact the whole second half is incredibly gruesome and disturbing although this time around so is the first half.
The film has a much faster pace than the first film. I'm sorry for all the comparisons to the first film, but I can't help it. The first film was slow and managed to build up tension, but here we open with Mick Taylor's first and rather gory kill. The film just never seems to slow once we are re-introduced to him around fifteen minutes on. He always seems to pop up in the most relentless of ways and this makes the sequel feel like a much shorter film than the first. This time we know who he is and what he's capable of so it's more about learning more about him. Oh and to watch him murder people because that's the main reason people go to these movies.
The acting in the film was actually very decent. John Jarratt is the only actor to reprise his role from the first film and here he does just a good a job. In fact he may give a better performance here then he did in the previous film. He was definitely more petrifying than in the first film. The other standout performance in the film was from the main victim played by Ryan Corr who's previous focus was in Australian TV shows. He gives a sensation performance that even manages to meet the levels of Jarratt.
There's plenty of suspense and scares to go around in Wolf Creek 2. The film manages to up both the tension in the film and the scares while still being able to show some good old fashioned gore. I was actually disappointed with how the first film never had enough suspense or scares, but this time around we get plenty. There's one particular scare that happens near the end that had me jumping out of my seat.
Like the first film it's hard to decide on the protagonist for most of the time. The film begins and I was actually thinking that this time around Mick Taylor would be both the protagonist and the antagonist, but I was mistaken as two foreign tourists (pictured in the poster) appeared and they seemed like the main characters. Yet again I was wrong and British tourist Paul Hammersmith came onto the scene and now he was the protagonist. Until this moment it was unclear on who's story we were actually following.
To sum up Wolf Creek 2 is a massive step up from the first film as it delivers more gore, suspense, scares, a faster pace and most importantly it features more Mick Taylor. The only negative is that it's hard to find the protagonist to begin with.
Lone Survivor is the true story of the failed 2005 Navy Seal's mission, Operation Red Wing. The film follows the story of four Navy Seals who were sent into Afghanistan to find and kill a Taliban leader. When they run into a compromise they are forced to make a decision which will change their lives. This decision leads onto an ambush where the four brave men experience hell as they try to survive.
Lone Survivor was a very intense film to watch. I've seen a fair few intense films and I'd rank Lone Survivor as one of the most intense films of recent times. The film is just relentless at times and it's upsetting to watch the amounts of courage these men have and what they were forced to go through. There are two scenes where the characters are forced to jump down a cliff if they wish to live and these scenes were just absolutely brutal and had me on the edge of covering my eyes. There are a few other relentless scenes, but I won't spoil them.
Most people are going on about how 12 Years a Slave is hard to watch, but I found this harder to watch. I do agree with how 12 Years a Slave was hard to watch and I enjoyed that film just a bit more than I did this, but I certainly found this harder to watch. There are so many gruesome and disturbing moments as well as various intense moments that I mentioned in the previous paragraph. From when the ambush begins there's hardly any time to catch your breath and allow your heart to slow down. When you think that you've come across an opportunity for this to happen something shocking and out of the blue comes along and you're heart begins to race again.
The makeup in the film was very disturbing at times. The blood and the occasional grotesque moments were shot in such a realistic manner which helps to add to the realism of the makeup. Lone Survivor got snubbed in so many Oscar categories this year, makeup especially. Some of the imagery in the film just didn't hold back. The film can get really disturbing at many moments, but you never want to stop watching as it's such a brilliant film.
The performances in the film were surprisingly great. Mark Whalberg gives a great performance as per usual. It's rare to see him give a bad performance so this wasn't really a surprising factor. The performance that actually surprised me the most was from Taylor Kitsch. I've seen a few of his films and he didn't really have a good start with films such as Battleship and John Carter being the ones he's know for. He actually was really good in this film to my delighted surprise.
I didn't really get to know the character's names until around half way through the film. Up until this half way point I could really only tell you one of the character's names. There names were mentioned about once in the whole film and I did care for these men and were heartbroken when terrible things happened, but I wasn't entirely sure what there names were for most of the time. By the end of the movie I had it down pat, but it did take a while.
To sum up Lone Survivor was an intense, relentless film that's much harder to watch than 12 Years a Slave. The makeup was realistically disturbing and the performances were great, I just struggled to name characters.
Last Vegas is the story of four childhood friends, Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam, who are now in their sixties. Billy announces that he's getting married in Vegas to a girl who's half his age so his friends decide to have a bachelor party beforehand. To have a good time the four must settle their differences and reunite, but this just creates even more problems. The film's 4 old people parting in Vegas... surely that will make for a funny movie. Surely.
Last Vegas actually isn't that funny. The film is old people partying, drinking, gambling and picking up hot girls in Vegas! How does that not sound like fun? But more importantly, how did that fail to be funny? There were a couple of decent jokes in the film that made me chuckle, but I'd seen them all in the trailer so they really weren't as funny. There were various moments in the film that were fun to watch, but I was never really laughing out loud at any of the jokes. All the jokes are either not funny or occasionally bring a smile to me face. It's nothing more than that.
Every bit of the film is predictable. I'm not just talking about how the storyline turns out and what happens to all the characters, no all the jokes are predictable. "Oh hey I bet she's actually not a woman!" yep I was right there. "Hey I bet I know who appears in this scene!" Yep another thing I saw coming. Every moment in the film is predictable and that's not even an exaggeration. Some of the jokes can still bring a smile, but you could see them coming a mile away. I literally picked the ending twenty minutes in the film. Maybe even less. The film's just too cliché and predictable.
The film feels way too long. This is one of the few movies that I actually went into and when the ads started I forgot how long it went for and what time it ended. When the time the film ended I checked my watch and was surprised to see that it had only been an hour and forty minutes. The film feels like it went way past the two hour mark and I was getting restless in my seat. My jaw dropped when I saw how long it had actually been going for.
To sum up Last Vegas is a cliché, predictable mess that feels much longer than an hour and forty minutes and has a few jokes that brought a smile to my face, but even less that made me laugh a little.
Dallas Buyers Club is the true story of Ron Woodruff, a homophobic, alcoholic, drug addicted, woman loving, gambling bull rider from Dallas, Texas. In 1985 he is diagnosed with HIV, but refuses to take the products they give out in the hospitals. He makes it his mission to import non-approved medicine into the country so he can sell it to other people with AIDs and HIV and give them a fighting chance of survival.
Dallas Buyers Club features astonishing performances from every single cast member. The best performance in this entire movie is without a doubt Jarred Leto. He gives one of the greatest performances of the year and so far 2014 has been full of great performances so there's been a lot of competition. He will without a doubt get the Oscar for best supporting actor in which he is nominated for this year. It's not just Leto that was amazing though, everyone was. Mathew McConaughey gives what I think is the greatest performance in his career. I said this last year about his performances in Mud, but this film features one that's literally a thousand times better.
The film got me both frustrated and upset at many times, sometimes at the same time. Some of the characters in this film just got under my skin because of the treatments they were giving out. It's not because they were bad people, most weren't anyway, it's because of the lack of knowledge which caused the death of many innocent lives and some of these scenes were very upsetting. I was on the verge of tears in scenes where I was frustrated, but also scenes that are just damn emotional.
The film gets fairly humorous at a few moments throughout. The film itself tries to plant a couple of jokes here and there, but these aren't even the funniest moments in the film. Mathew McConaughey's character Ron is just reluctant to die and the things he does, helped by the sensational editing, can bring a smile to anybody's face. There's also a few scenes involving smuggling, one with the Dallas Cowboys being the funniest, that were more enjoyable than the other humorous scenes.
To sum up Dallas Buyers Club features astonishing performances from both McConaughey and Leto, both of which are strong Oscar contenders. The film is occasionally humorous and even brought a tear or two to my eyes.
4 1/2 Stars
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is the true story of leader Nelson Mandela. The film follows his life story from when he begun to stand up for the rights of dark skinned people to when he spent half his life in jail and to just a few years ago. The film is a chronicle of his life and it's very hard to say that it's a bad movie, but it's certainly not a great one.
The story of the film and Nelson Mandela himself is too respectable for this to be a bad movie. Nelson Mandela's life story is harsh, but it certainly is incredible. The things he did and his family did for what was right were charged as crimes and his story is just heartbreaking. This only just makes up for the sloppiness of the movie. I respect the storyline too much for me to dislike this movie and so I will not be giving it a bad rating.
There are so many outstanding performances in this movie. Idris Elba gives the greatest and most realistic performance he's given in his career. Although he has stared in various films I enjoyed more than this one, none of his performances will ever match the quality he gives in this film. Nelson Mandela's second wife, Winnie is played by the fabulous Naomie Harris who also gives the best performance of her career. There was never a moment when I thought 'Well this character's acting lets the film down!'
The shaky cam is unnecessary and irritating. There are a few films such as the Bourne films and Captain Phillips (coincidentally both done by the same director) that use shaky cam to it's advantage. In Mandela there is hardly any logical reason as to why we need to see it like this. Most of the shaky scenes don't have any action in them, but instead just talking or working or doing things in court yet it's being filmed like an annoying action movie where you have no idea what's going on.
The screenplay cuts through most of the important aspects of his life and focusses on his life in prison. I do understand that Nelson Mandela spent a fair amount of his life in prison and it's not fair at all, but I really didn't want to see half a movie of him in there. The film spends just a few minutes on what he did to be caught then spends 15-20 minutes of the court case which we already know the outcome to then it cuts forward yet again to him in prison. Plus it skims through most of his life before and after prison. If you had no idea he because president, which most of you probably would, then you still wouldn't know. It shows him, but there's nothing that says 'Look now he's the president!'
The film tries to hard to make you feel bad about yourself. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom continuously cuts between a conversation or an argument to realistic scenes of violence so you can feel sorry for all these people and yes we should be feeling bad for them, but when a film tries to do this over and over it gets really annoying and we begin to loose that remorse that we once had.
To sum up Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom features a story that's impossible not to like as well as many amazing performances, but it also has irritating shaky cam, skims through important scenes and tries too hard to make you feel bad.
RoboCop is the remake of the 1987 action film which I love. This remake follows the story of Alex Murphy who, soon after his partner is hospitalised, is the target of a bomb attack. Billionaire Raymond Sellars has a dream that robots will be the future of law enforcement, but this cannot happen unless the robots have human emotions so he decides to put the critically injured and paralysed Alex into a robot.
RoboCop is absolutely nothing compared to the much loved original film. I don't have a review up for the original RoboCop, but it's a classic action flick! It's full of over the top blood and gore that makes for an awesome film to watch as well as faces some serious messages about humans. This new remake looses all of that and tries to appeal to audiences that wish to turn off their brains for two dull and boring hours. There is literally two scenes in this film that I actually had fun with, the rest of it nearly put me to sleep. This film actually reminds me of the crappy Total Recall remake from 2012! Hollywood just won't learn will they?
Pretty much nothing of any relevance happens in the first hour of this film. To summaries the first half of this film would be easy: a cop is blown up and put into a robotic suit. That's literally all that happens. The film spends around 40 minutes showing RoboCop in China getting ready for the life of a cop and hardly any of it is remotely interesting. The first 15 minutes are mildly fun, but then the film just plummets downhill and never reaches the heights it begun at. Although the heights it reached at the start weren't that high either.
The film cuts most of the conflict between man and machine that the original did so well. In the original film there is a lot of conflict between the law and getting machines onto the streets and when these machines are put to the test they malfunction and it's traumatising. In this new one all the machines are already on the streets in foreign countries and they're just trying to be put in America. It's no where near as entertaining. As well as this the new film cuts most of the conflicting moments between Alex and RoboCop. In the original Alex had no idea if he was alive and had to be convinced by others that it was really him. In the remake he is told as soon as he wakes up. It's not the same in any way.
RoboCop feels as if you're watching someone else playing a video game. If you've ever watched someone else play a video game you'll know it's not the most exciting thing in the world, but it's not the worst. There are a few sequences in this film that feel just like that. It's as if I'm watching a complete stranger play a video game and they're not letting me play and while watching it is still mildly entertaining, it's very boring.
There's no real antagonist in the movie. The original movie has a few antagonists, the criminal group and the machine. The remake tries to have both of these, but neither of them can be classified as an antagonist because they pose no real threat for most of the movie. I couldn't point out the main antagonist, just a bunch of people with guns and terrible aim.
To sum up the new RoboCop remake fails to reach the standards of the much loved original. There are just a few mildly enjoyable scenes, but the rest of the film cuts all conflict, has no antagonist, is too slow and feels like a video game.
1 1/2 Stars
12 Years a Slave is the unfortunate true story of Solomon Northup in pre-civil war America. He was a free man with a wife and two kids until he was tricked into getting drunk and abducted. From here he is sold to a man who isn't as bad as he should be given the circumstances, but after a few years Solomon is sold off to a man with no kindness in his heart and is known for breaking through to his slaves.
12 Years a Slave is a brutal and realistic look on salvery in the 1800s. There are various scenes in the film that are very brutal and unsettling to watch, one in particular that features a graphic whipping and aftermath. The upsetting and frustrating thing about it is that it's a realistic take on slavery. It makes me very angry to see that this is how humans used to treat other humans all because of the colour of their skin. I didn't find the film to be as hard to watch as people were making it out to be, but it's still a very brutal and upsetting movie.
Every single performance in the film was outstanding. There are so many big names in this film such as Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and many more and all of them do a terrific job. It's not just the already famous cast that were terrific either, everyone in this film was amazing. The main actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor nearly brought me to tears at so many times and to honest I'm surprised I wasn't in tears at many moments in this film. He just did an outstanding and unforgettable performance.
Steve McQueen does an amazing job at directing this masterpiece of a movie. McQueen wasn't really overly well known before this film, but I can assure you he will be in no time. His direction and cinematography was just incredible. He was able to show all the brutal and bloody beatings while rarely showing a whole lot of the lashes or a large amount of blood. Yes there was one scene where he did and it was, in my opinion, the most disturbing moments of the whole film.
Michael Fassbender's character is just this brutal slime of a person. I feel that I must comment on him rather than the vicious Paul Dano or the slightly giving yet still harsh Benedict Cumberbatch because it was Fassbender's character that was the most unlikeable of the lot. Fassbender gives such an incredible performance in this film as this despicable character that doesn't have an ounce of humanity. He beats, whips and rapes his slaves and literally sees them as property as he says so many times. He doesn't care who he hurts or upsets so long as he gets out of them what he wants. He was without a doubt the most cruel and unfair of all the characters.
To sum up 12 Years a Slave is a brutal, realistic, upsetting and unfortunate true story full of amazing performances, great cinematography, superb direction and a slime of an antagonist. It's an incredible, must see film.