Jesus Christ, here we go again. Get Hard follows the story of successful businessman, James (Will Ferrell). He's about to get married to the love of his life (Alison Brie), he's got all the money in the world and he's just been upgraded to a higher position at work. Then he gets arrested and is sentenced to 10 years in a maximum security prison. Having no idea what to do, James asks his car washer, Darnell (Kevin Hart), if he could teach him what it's like in prison and how to survive. And so for the next hour and a half we're treated to Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart making racist comments and rape jokes. If that's your thing then I presume you have no interest in reading my review, let-alone anyone's review for this film.
Get Hard, if you couldn't tell by the trailer, is a racist, trashy movie that will surely be forgotten come the end of the year, after I've released my worst of 2015 list of course. The jokes rarely work, but I do give them credit for consistency. They're consistent in content, filling up their entire runtime with racist jokes that are never funny. The only times I did chuckle, and trust me when I say this wasn't at all often, were the brief moments when they'd discuss something else, such as Will Ferrell sitting in a car with a knife in his head discussing how Kevin Hart is his father, which he obviously isn't. It's the only scene in the whole film that manages to stand out, and it's one of the only moments I remember giving off a slight chuckle to.
I like Will Ferrell. I think he's a hysterical comedian and his films, for the most part, are extremely entertaining. Then he did this, and I would most certainly put it up there with some of his worst films. But he's not even the problem with this movie. He's not hilarious, sure, but he supplies the only chuckles that I managed to get from this film. It's Kevin Hart who brings this film down. I can stand Hart when he's doing stand up or when he's making cameos, such as in This Is The End or Top Five, but I don't feel he's able to hold a film together on his own. He's not leading man material. He's got the energy, but he doesn't have the talent, and he's the main reason why films like this and Ride Along just aren't funny.
What also manages to bring this film even further down is the screenplay, if there was even one present when they were filming. It's not the jokes, it's not the cast (well, it's technically both of those, but that's not what I'm talking about right here). It's the lack of story and predictability of the outcome. Not a lot happens story wise. Most of the characters are the same as they are at the start of the film, the plot goes exactly where you expect it to go and 85% of this movie is simply preparing for rape, and that sure as hell isn't funny to watch. Will, I don't care how inconsistent some of your movies are, just go back to doing things as hilarious as Anchorman. Please let this be a one-off.
To sum up, Get Hard may feature the always likeable Will Ferrell and he may have the only chuckle-worthy scene in the entire film, but don't let that fool you into watching this racist, predictable and unfunny comedy.
Cinderella is the live action retelling of the 1950s animated movie of the same title. We all know the tale, but in case you need a bit of a refresher I'll let you know anyway. We follow the story of a young woman named Cinderella (Lily James), in case you were unable to read the title. She was close with her mother and father, but after both of their deaths, she's left with her step-mother (Cate Blanchett) and her two step-sisters (Sophie McShera and Holiday Grainger), who aren't the nicest people around. But opportunity arises when a ball is placed, although the odds of Cinderella being able to go are low. Unless, of course, one has a fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter).
I was not looking forward to this film. After Alice in Wonderland and, more recently, Maleficent, a live action adaptation of Cinderella seemed like the worst thing in the world, and the trailers certainly didn't help either. Then I saw the film and my god was I wrong. The new adaptation of Cinderella is everything a Cinderella movie should be. It doesn't go down the darker paths of previous live action adaptations, instead remaining bright and hopeful, and a tad emotional too. I will admit, this film had me on the brink of tears during the first act, resulting in several 6-year-old-like panic attacks in which I continuously reassured myself that everything was going to be alright eventually and that my worries should be put at ease. This is what Disney does to me, people.
Cinderella plays out exactly how you'd expect it to. The film plays it safe and this is both a good and a bad thing. It doesn't take a lot of risks, not mentioning the film's twenty minute opening in which we actually get to see Cinderella's backstory and it's arguably one of the best moments in the film, although my favourite moment remains the ball sequence. Playing it safe results in Cinderella being very familiar, although it's also just as charming as the original animated movie, which is what last year's Maleficent needed to learn how to do.
It features everything we love about the original Cinderella and translates it for a modern audience, but it does so without loosing any of the magic. I was just watching the original film again last night and while this isn't a shot for shot remake, *cough Psycho cough* it does feel very similar. Sure, there's less of the mice vs cat, and that dog is completely out of the picture, but that's hardly a bad thing, for the original spends WAY too much time focusing on them and not enough time with Cinderella. This version fixes that and turns it into a more human focussed story, and for that, I applaud them.
Direct Kenneth Branagh, fresh off of last year's Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit, dials his directing skills up to 11, crafting a film that both looks and feels whimsical. He clearly has a love for this timeless story and this translates on screen. He's got the classic pumpkin carriage, glass slipper, blue dress and so much more, and all of it is visually amazing, even if the human-lizard can occasionally be slightly off-putting. But as well as that, his cinematography is stupendous, especially the scenes in which Cinderella dashes through the ball or the scene wheres she gallops through the woods on horseback.
Speaking of Cinderella, Lily James is brilliant in the role. She could not have been cast better. Not only does she look the part, but she can act it too. She has a sort of likability about her, and as we all know, likability and kindness are, well, Cinderella's most noticeable traits. Her scenes with Richard Madden burst off of the screen, the two constantly bouncing off of each other. They're a marvellous pairing and they're quite a treat to watch, although the whole film could be described that way.
To sum up, Cinderella may not add too much to the timeless story, but it's still a magical, charming, emotional and delightful viewing with some whimsical visuals, acting and directing. Now, let's all watch as Tim Burton completely ruins Dumbo.
3 1/2 Stars
Insurgent was originally meant to be called The Divergent Series: Insurgent and boy am I glad they changed that. Just plain Insurgent continues the story of Tris (Shailene Woodley), the Katniss of the Divergent world. She's, uh, escaped the clutches of, uh, her home and, uh, is now planning to, uh, return back to, uh, take revenge because who knows why? But then on the other end of the spectrum is Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the leader of Panem, oh uh I mean all the factions. She's found some sort of, uh, box and in it is, uh, something she wants and the only way to open it is to, uh, get a divergent to, uh, do some things. And yeah, uh, that's about it.
I liked the first Divergent film. I know that it's nothing spectacular and I'm aware of how unbelievably tedious and stupid it can be and how long the runtime was, but I had fun with it. The trailers for Insurgent didn't sell me though. They were confusing and dumb and didn't intrigue me in the least. But here I am, coming back with my thoughts on the movie... because I actually sat through this rubbish. What was set up at the end of the first movie is now completely disregarded, although that's far from the only thing this movie ignores. It literally ignores everything about the first. All logic, all character development, all motives. Why? I'm still trying to figure that out.
Before I drown you all in negativity, I must first point out this film's two redeeming factors. It's not much, but it does indeed bump the film up from a 1 star rating, and it definitely does put it miles ahead of Tak3n AKA the film we do not speak of. Shailene Woodley gives it her all. She's just as adorable and just as badass the first time around, if not a little more badass. Her performance is great. It's not Spectacular Now great, but it's pretty great. She looks like she wants to be here, even if the rest of the cast don't. Then there's the cinematography, and to my surprise, it's actually filmed quite well. The action is watchable and the dialogue cinematic. It's fine. And that's all, folks. That's all the positives in this god-awful piece of trash.
While Tris is slightly more badass, the action has gone decreased in both quantity and quality. I wouldn't necessarily describe the first film as being action-heavy, but there were more than a few decent, heart racing moments, particularly towards the third act. It was exciting and fun, and that's all I ask for in movies like this. With Insurgent, there's nearly no action. It's boring, melodramatic politics, family drama and also, surprisingly enough, it's part mystery movie too, although the odds of that being unintentional are very high.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realise that this film isn't trying to be a mystery/thriller movie. It's not trying to hold back information from its audience. All of that happens on its own. This film should've been simple. It shouldn't have been nearly as hard to follow, and not in an Inherent Vice sort of way, which was an interestingly muddled movie. This is just muddled. It's a mess. It changes plots every few minutes, introduces characters who are seemingly important, only to disregard them minutes later, is full of plot holes and is so unbelievably dumb that it almost hurt to watch, although again, not literal pain like in Tak3n.
The main plot of this film, or at least what is suggested to be the main plot by the trailer, revolves around this box that Kate Winslet's character finds. Why does she want this box? Who knows. What's inside it? Who cares. Why can only divergent's open it? Well, actually they do explain that in the final few minutes, but it's the stupidest, most irritating explanation possible. It's the dumb ending of The Maze Runner on steroids, except even more illogical. This film doesn't let the audience in on anything and by the time the film ends, I was on the verge of becoming a mass-murdering maniac hellbent on destroying everyone who worked on the film. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I think you get the point.
Speaking of Kate Winslet, let's discuss her "character" in this movie, or at least I hear it's a character. Her motives are completely unclear, her dialogue literally had me laughing and her performance is just as lazy. She's in the movie for god-knows-what-reason and then she's given a one-dimensional character to work with. And she's not the only one. Octavia Spencer, clearly not watching Neil Patrick Harris' box anymore, manages to squeeze in a few minutes of screen time in a role so unimportant that Liam Neeson is laughing all the way from the set of A Million Ways To Die in the West.
To sum up, Insurgent manages to disregard everything from the first film to bring us a poorly written, convoluted, unbelievably stupid sequel with paper thin characters who are occasionally saved by decent performances. Occasionally.
1 1/2 Stars
A most late review for A Most Violent Year, a film I wish I saw back on opening weekend so I had the time to go see it again. But anyway, the film is set in 1981 and follows the story of Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), the head of an oil company. His company has been robbed of hundreds of thousands of dollars of oil, causing his wife (Jessica Chastain) and his children into financial strife. To get back what belongs to him, Abel sets out to not only protect his workers from further robberies, but to try and get all of the money that was stolen.
A Most Violent Year is the third film from writer/director J.C. Chandor and it may just be his best film yet. Chandor has interested me ever since I fist saw Margin Call. It was a solid character-driven movie that was just a tease of what Chandor had in stall. Then he made All Is Lost, another character-driven movie, except this time around, there was literally only one character... at sea... with a 30 page long script... and almost no dialogue. It was utterly brilliant. Now he brings us A Most Violent Year, and this time he returns to the world of multiple characters for a film that can only be described as glorious.
His screenplay, yet again, is highly character driven. There's very little action and a lot of dialogue, although if you think I'm complaining about that then it's probably best you just go out and see any decent movie ever. Right from the first shot, Chandor brings us into these character's lives. He manages to draw us into this Godfather-like world of crime and violence, and everything after that is history.
But at the core of the film is the relationship between Oscar Isaac and his wife, Jessica Chastain. They're not the focus story-wise, but they're where the film thrives. Their story is exciting and their actions are unpredictable. Isaac does his best to hold everything together, but he knows that when he slips, his wife is going to get her hands dirty, and that's something we know we don't want to see. She manages to show power in their relationship, subtly getting involved with everything he does, and in doing so she becomes one of the strongest female characters of 2014.
However, what's better than the characters are the actors that play them. More specifically, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. I've been a fan of these two for quite some time, and every time I see them on screen, no matter what the movie is, they always manage to amaze. A Most Violent Year is Oscar Isaac in his prime. He's never been better and this only gets me more excited to see him in Star Wars. As for Jessica Chastain, I still think her best performance is Zero Dark Thirty, but hey, she's almost as great here, if not slightly underused late into the second act.
It's been a day since I saw this movie and what continues to puzzle me is how stunning this film looks. There was something about just sitting and watching A Most Violent Year on the big screen that occasionally put a smile on my face. It's big, it's sleek and, for lack of a better word, it's quite mesmerising to look at. Whether this is simply the look and feel of the film or if it was the wonderful cinematography, I don't know, but either way, I'm pleased.
To sum up, A Most Violent Year is J.C. Chandor's best film to date. It's sleek, it's exciting, it's incredibly well acted, the screenplay is all sorts of brilliant and the cinematography is absolutely beautiful.
4 1/2 Stars
Big Eyes is the true story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), a single mum living in the 50s. Her job is barely giving her enough money to support her child, let-alone herself. When trying to sell paintings one morning, she's approached by a painter named Walter (Christoph Waltz), who sympathises with her lack of sales. The two hang out and bestow and behold, they get married. When selling his wife's paintings, Walter is mistaken for the artist. This inspires him to take credit for Margaret's paintings, claiming that nobody buys art painted by a woman. This fraud leads to 10 years of frustration and emotional distress for Margaret, who is being threatened into keeping this a secret.
Big Eyes is directed by Tim Burton, and we're all aware of his recent run of films. Not a lot of his recent films have been that well received, to say the least. They made billions at the box-office, but the reactions were nearly entirely negative. I, myself, don't hate all of his recent films; I think Dark Shadows is a lot of fun, but I can understand the negativity. Then Big Eyes came along, and it seemed that Tim Burton was finally making a good film again. A film that could proudly stand alongside Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. I wouldn't go that far. I would, however, describe it as being a pleasant refreshment to the world of talking caterpillars and pale, CGI Johnny Depp.
Let's start by discussing Tim Burton, since I'm already on the topic. The story presented here in Big Eyes is the last thing I would imagine Tim Burton doing, but hey, he did it so what do I know? But how is he? For a man who said he wouldn't know a good script if it hit him in the face, he does a good job. He doesn't take any risks in his approach to telling the story, unless not casting Johnny Depp counts as a risk, and he still manages to put in some Burton-esque sequences, but given the material, he does a solid job.
Then there's the cast, and they truly carry this movie. The two stars, Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams, are phenomenal. While neither of them give a career defining performance or anything along those lines, this is far from their worst film. The two are excellent. You can really feel Adams' vulnerability as she attempts to rationalise why she's letting her husband take credit for all she has in life, all while Waltz does his thing as a manipulative, yet occasionally charming douchebag.
But the supporting cast surely can't go without a mention, can they? I mean, there's the always loveable Jason Schwartzman, Danny Huston and Krysten Ritter, all of whom get forgotten at one point or another in the film. Oh, alright. I guess one of them was worth a mention. That would be Jason Scwartzman by the way. Yeah, he's good. Yeah. That's all. Alright. I guess that's all on that then. Now, the problems I had with the film.
Well, the biggest problem with Big Eyes lies in the script. Not with the characters or the dialogue or the fact that it spans over 10 years (because the film does actually manage to do a decent job at all 3 of those things). No. Big Eyes is simply a formulaic, predictable, by the numbers biopic that follows almost every convention a biopic could follow. It doesn't take any big leaps or try to do something new. They take a basic approach to this story and while the final product is actually pretty damn good, there's always a sense of 'hey, haven't I seen this somewhere before?'
To sum up, Big Eyes is a visually delightful and wonderfully acted biopic that truly lets Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams shine, even if the film itself doesn't take too many bold risks and follows down a conventional path.
3 1/2 Stars
I am incredibly thankful that Liam Neeson decided to release more than one action film this year. It's almost as if he's trying to make us forget Tak3n. Or Taken 3. Or whatever the hell you want to call that atrocious piece of nothingness. Run All Night follows the story of Jimmy (Liam Neeson). He's out of luck, friends and money. He's confronted with a situation that forces him to murder the son of an old friend of his, Shawn (Ed Harris). After Shawn hears the news, he decides to come after Jimmy's son, forcing Jimmy to take action and fight back to help save his son's life.
Liam Neeson's recent run of action films can go either way with me. None of them are extremely groundbreaking or original, but they're fun. Then there's the Taken sequels and I'd rather not waste too much more of your time talking about those monstrosities. I love Liam Neeson. Who doesn't? His films don't require much thought process, but I'm okay with that. I went into Run All Night not really sure what to expect. Sure, I'd seen the trailer and it was a fine trailer, but it was also very generic. Run All Night starts out less generic than it has you believing. The only problem here is that as the film goes on, it just begins to become more and more familiar, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't fun.
While the dialogue proves itself to be rather interesting, the plot follows an all too familiar path. Like I said, this film starts out in a way I did not expect. Sure, it's slow, but it's so unlike Liam Neeson. His character is a slob, but when shown in a sympathetic light, I was able to care for him and be intrigued with where his story was going. Then the film continues to go on, the action increases in quality and this "slob" we saw at the start turns into a badass. I have no problem with a badass Liam Neeson. I've seen him play that character in plenty of films, but it just seems different to the character we're shown to begin with.
But when we do get the same old Liam Neeson character we've seen a hundred times before, the film actually turns things up a notch. The action is sleeker, the violence brutal and my enjoyment went through the roof. You could probably question the logic and coherence here and there, but whatever. After Non-Stop, I've learnt my lesson to just go along with films like this, no matter how stupid they do become.
On top of action, Run All Night also brings with it a sold family element and storyline. There are action films out there where a family backstory or relationship problem is crammed in there for the sake of having more than just giant explosions on screen, look at A Good Day to Die Hard for example. Run All Night, thankfully, manages to make it's family element work well. There's a rich backstory between all of the characters, the most dominant ones being between Jimmy and his son, and Jimmy and Shawn. They're not detailed, but you can always sense its presence. This is something that puts Run All Night well above recent action flops such as Tak3n, A Good Day To Die Hard and other rubbish cash grabs like those.
To sum up, Run All Night follows a predictable path and can occasionally delve into idiotic territory, but with a solid backstory and family element, plenty of engaging action and another great performance from Liam Neeson, the film is a lot of fun.
It's films like these that make me contemplate giving films a 3/4 rating. I know I won't, but I do contemplate it. Top Five follows the story of washed up comedian, Andre (Chris Rock). Ever since becoming sober, he's stopped doing stand up. Instead, he's making movies, his most famous ones being a series of films about a talking bear. In his latest film, Andre decided to make a drama about the biggest slave uprising in history. As he tries to promote the film, Andre is followed around by a journalist named Chelsea (Rosario Dawson), who's interviewing him for a news article. And, uh, that's about it. Sweet and simple.
I knew next to nothing about this film going in. I knew Chris Rock was in it and that he also wrote and directed the film. Hearing that, one would presume this film was a straight up, typical comedy. A comedy? Yes, and a hilarious one too. A straight up, typical comedy? Not quite. Sure, the character arcs end up in the exact spot I predicted they would, but the journey there is somewhat less predictable, and a heck of a lot funnier than I expected going in. I should go into comedies blind more often. It always tends to work better than having seen the trailer.
As it turns out, Chris Rock can really direct. Having not seen his previous two films, I wasn't entirely sure how he'd go behind the camera. Why I ever worried is beyond me. Rock is brilliant, both on and off screen. His performance is alive and full of charm, and his writing/directing is even better. The screenplay pokes and prods at the ins and outs of Hollywood, and then decides to bring Whoopi Goldberg in because why the hell not? But the best part about it is how much heart and soul it's got as well.
Starring alongside Chris Rock is Rosario Dawson, who gives one of the better performances of her career. Not only is she hilarious, but her character was surprisingly well developed and full of layers. She's believable, she's funny and helps to make this movie as good as it is, even if certain scenes are put in the film just so Chris Rock can cameo his friends, but hey, I'm not one to complain about cameos. Cameos are awesome, except when you're Muppets Most Wanted and that's all the film is.*
To sum up, Top Five is a hilarious new comedy from Chris Rock that doesn't only further show that he's a good actor and comedian, but also proves that he has a knack at being behind the camera too.
3 1/2 Stars
*on a side note, I enjoyed Muppets Most Wanted very much.
Chappie is the third film from director Neill Blomkamp, who's last two films were District 9 and Elysium, the first of which was universally adored. The second of which, surprisingly, received more of a mixed reaction, although me personally, really enjoyed it. With Chappie, Blomkamp takes us back to the not-so-distant future, a future where a robotic police force have been put into full effect. Their designer, Deon (Dev Patel), has secretly been working on a robot that can think by itself. A robot that can come up with its own decisions, live its own life and have opinions on things. This robot is Chappie (Sharlto Coopley), But after a car hijacking, Chappie is taken in by a group of thugs who try to train Chappie to pull off a heist for them.
I was one of the few people looking forward to Chappie, and this came as an even bigger surprise than the fact that a lot of people weren't fans of Elysium. The film is based on a 1 minute short film Blomkamp made back in 2004. It's a very basic short film, but it's an enjoyable one, if you could even call it a short film. It's more like a concept he came up with, portrayed as a fake advertisement. Then the reviews started to come out, and once again, there was a lot more negativity than I thought, but like I do with every movie, I went in open minded. I went in hoping for the best. And what did I get? A very underrated movie.
I'll begin by discussing the actual character of Chappie. He's loveable. Chappie, essentially, is a child, and he's described as such multiple times in the first half an hour. When he's created, it is to him, what it is to a baby. They're new to the world. They don't know anything, but they're curious. We then follow Chappie as he attempts to interact with other people, learn new things and unfortunately, get hunted down by Hugh Jackman's character, who's mullet is seriously the star of the show.
Watching Chappie grow and evolve is sure to put a smile of your face, or at least it did mine. He's a funny, relatable and endearing character to follow, and when things get really bad for him, or he's looked down upon by the world around him, it's really upsetting to watch. He's got the design of a police robot, but the mind of a child, and so when confronted with uncomfortable situations, his reaction is almost too realistic. It's unsettling to watch. You want Chappie to do good and turn out okay, but you doubt it, especially with the over-looming presence of his low battery life.
Neill Blomkamp has really made a name for himself when it comes to sci-fi, not just because of his heart pounding action sequences and breathtaking visual effects, but because of the messages about society that he's constantly evoking in his films. Chappie is no exception, except here, it makes its presence more obvious, whereas Elysium and District 9 were rather subtle and made you think more. Chappie's messages are really hammered in. They're in your face and they're obvious, but they're effective nonetheless.
That isn't the only problem with the script either. Co-written by Terri Tatchell and Blomkamp himself, who's last collaboration was on District 9, the script works really well, for the most part anyway. It's intriguing, eye opening and ambitious. Then they put in lines like "a frog in a sock" that made me pull back and leave the scene for a moment. However, it's Chappie's lines that soar, not just because of the lovableness of everything he says, but because you can really tell that the writers care about the character they're creating. And when they're happy with him, we're happy with him.
The biggest complaint I keep hearing about this movie is the character of Ninja (played by a guy who's name is actually Ninja. Or, at least, his current name is.), a character who Chappie looks up to as a father. I hear so many complaints about how he's a dick and he's unlikeable and so on, but to all those people complaining, I think you missed the point of this movie, which I find very surprising seeings as how hard they hammered the message in. He's meant to be a dick, he's meant to be unlikeable. He's a character we're not supposed to be in love with and because of that, I think the movie did a fine job with his character.
My only other complaint with this film is the ending. The first 100 minutes of Chappie were great. They're nothing mind-blowing, but they're fun and they're entertaining. Then we get to the last twenty minutes and not only do things get a bit unbelievable, but they go overboard. There's sci-fi and then there's too much sci-fi, and as a big sci-fi fan, I'm surprised to say that they overdid the sci-fi in the finale. It's a stupid ending to what could have been a great movie.
To sum up, Chappie doesn't quite live up to the standards of District 9 or Elysium, but as a film of its own, Chappie works well. It's engaging, eye opening, loveable and exciting, even with the let down of an ending and occasionally lacklustre writing.
3 1/2 Stars
Focus follows the story of con artist, Nicky (Will Smith). He's good at what he does. In fact, he's the best, even with all his daddy issues. Enter Jess (Margot Robbie), a wannabe theft who wants to join up with Nicky. After a bit of convincing, Nicky gives Jess a chance in his world of conning, only to find out that she's probably just as good as him. And that's when the twists start... and then don't stop... and then keep going.... and going... and going... and just when you think they've put in enough twists, another one comes out and bites you in the butt.
Despite it's flaws, and I will get into these very soon, Focus is actually a lot of fun. It's not a film that breaks new ground, nor is it a film that's all that smart. But what it is, is entertaining. It's a short, fast and enjoyable flick that doesn't really require much effort to watch. While filmed graciously and directed even better, Focus, unfortunately, isn't a film I see myself coming back to.
The two leads, Margot Robbie and Will Smith, are brilliant. Their chemistry is great and their performances even better. Sure, it's fairly easy to pick apart if they're playing each other or not, but what matters is the performances, and these actors deliver. It's refreshing to see Will Smith actually in a good movie for once, especially one that isn't After Earth. Margot Robbie on the other hand, well, it seems Wolf of Wall Street wasn't really a fluke. She's an actress with a big career ahead of you, mark my words.
The film's performances are the least of its worries. It's the predictability of it all that this film should've been concerned with. Focus sets out to be the next great con film, and like all great con films, it's got a few tricks up its sleeve. Very predictable tricks. As the scenes are played out and the cards are put on the table, it's not all that difficult to work out what's a con and what's real, but by the time the third act comes out, I didn't really care either. I just had fun with the film, predictability and all.
It's also rather choppy too, either taking too long to set up or not following through with that original plot. Which one of those I'd rather have been changed, I'm not sure. Focus starts out as an enjoyable, unrealistic mess. It's not necessarily slow, but it doesn't really go anywhere either. Then, about halfway through, we change directions entirely. It's somewhat more enjoyable and to the point, but it looses a lot of its charm and mischief.
Neither one of these halves are bad. In fact, they're both very entertaining, but neither one is fleshed out enough to last. It's almost like a lazy two part tv pilot, the first dedicated the setting up the plot and then the second disregarding the first episode's plot entirely, but like I said, at least the filmmakers made it entertaining, and for that, I'd say this film is worth a watch. Or at least a rent.
To sum up, Focus may be rather choppy, predictable and it feels like two separate tv pilots, but with Will Smith bringing his career around and Margot Robbie further proving she can act, I can't say I wasn't entertained by it.
Seventh Son was originally intended to be released in February 2013, and I believe that principal photography had finished way before then. The film was then pushed back to October that year, and then it was pushed back a few more times and then finally, the film came out here today. And is it worth the wait? Absolutely not. The film follows the story of Tom (Ben Barnes), who is the seventh son of the seventh son. Because of this, Gregory (Jeff Bridges) approaches him and his family, requesting that he comes and works for him in his hunt to kill witches, in particular, Malkin (Julianne Moore), who poses a threat to them all.
Screw this movie. There, I'm going to get that out of the way right off the bat. Despite several delays, a change of studio and plenty of time to do reshoots (if they even did any. I am not sure), this is a film that was unable to be saved. It's a woefully unforgivable mess that makes very little sense, but doesn't seem to really care either. The film, thank God, doesn't really appear to think highly of itself. Sure, it doesn't think it's a bad film, but it knows it's nothing amazing and tries to play off that. Unfortunately, this doesn't work and the final result is somehow worse than it was looking like it was going to be.
I am convinced that nearly all of this film's budget was wasted on this one giant monster that appears about halfway through the movie, and I'm not even trying to be funny when I say this. This film is nearly two hours of utterly ridiculous CGI, none of which is remotely realistic or believable. That is with the exception of this one, ginormous monster that suddenly comes out of nowhere. To my surprise, and this doesn't at all represent the quality of the actual scene, the monster looked impressive. It looked worked on, and I guess that's the biggest compliment I can give this film.
The rest of it, unsurprisingly, is about just as good as the green screen, which is more noticeable than Julianne Moore's makeup. It's formulaic, predictable, poorly paced, even more poorly acted and utterly stupid. Seriously, nothing in this movie bears any resemblance of this strange thing we call 'logic.' It's over the top, cheesy as hell and excruciating to sit through. Much like two other films to come out so far this year, I have no doubt that Seventh Son will be appearing on my worst of 2015 list come December.
To sum up, Seventh Son is a long delayed film that maybe shouldn't have been released at all. It's a formulaic, poorly acted, predictable, stupid and utterly ridiculous movie that's derivative of any sense and lacks decent CGI.