Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Week 25: San Andreas

Director: Brad Peyton
Writer: Allan Loeb, Chad Hayes, Carlton Cuse, Carey Hayes
Seen: Sunday 21st June
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Ice Cream
Mood: Shaken not stirred
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You’ve got to hand it to Dwayne Johnson he has successfully transitioned from world famous wrestler to Hollywood blockbuster actor. However, without belittling what Johnson has done and without denying the huge charisma that he has, it arguably isn’t much of transition, especially when he is in films like San Andreas. San Andreas, like wrestling is totally over the top, unrealistic and predictable.
There are good things about this film, for example some of the CGI is impressive, but this is heavily outweighed by bad things especially the clichéd story line. Why can’t we have a disaster film that there isn’t a happy ending to? A disaster film where the world does actually end, now there’s a novel idea, not that I am sadist but it would be refreshing.
Look, San Andreas does what it says on the tin, it’s a popcorn, clichéd, action filled film that you don’t have to think too hard about and much like in a wrestling match, while the bad guy (bad guy in this case is an Earthquake) might win for a while the good guy always wins out in the end.
PS please let there be some good new releases next week *criesintohankie*

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Week 24: Jurassic World

Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writer: Too many to name, on IMBD there are 7 accredited writers
Seen: Sunday 14th June
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Kinder Chocolate mmmmm
Mood: Nostalgic


Over the last week or so I feel like I have been transported back to my youth, let me explain. At the weekend I watched an episode of TFI Friday as familiar host Chris Evans came back to our screens and introduced guests such as Blur and Liam Gallagher. Then during the week Jeb Bush announced he was running for POTUS, as will another familiar name Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Bush v Clinton for President. Then to top my time travelling exploits off I went to the cinema to watch Jurassic World.

It is 22 years since Jurassic Park first came to the big screens and I would like to say I remember it well but at 14 my interests in dinosaurs had dwindled. I was hitting my rebellious teenage years and was far more interested in watching films like Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994) so I could have something cool to talk about while I smoked a cigarette at the back of the bike sheds at school.

Jurassic World is set 20 years after the original and the theme park that John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) wanted to create in the first outing is now a reality. Jurassic World is located in Costa Rica where thousands of visitors travel to every day to see the many different species of dinosaurs. The sun is always shining the grass is bright green and the punters are as joyfully happy as the dinosaurs they are visiting. What could possibly go wrong? Indominus Rex that’s what.

Indominus Rex is the new genetically modified super dinosaur that is about to wreak havoc on the idyllic Jurassic World. Enter Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to save the day, you can fill in the rest. Jurassic World kept us entertained for 100 minutes or so and if you have young kids, nieces or nephews it would definitely be a nice treat.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Week 23: Spy

Writer/Director: Paul Feig
Seen: Sunday 31st May 2015
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Biscuits
Mood: Giggly

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Comedy film is a hard genre for me. I love a good laugh but it takes a pretty funny film to access my funny bone and actually have me laughing out loud. For example, I laughed A LOT at director  Paul Feig’s previous film  ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011) but I did not laugh much during ‘The Heat’ (2013) so we went along not really expecting too much from his latest offering ‘Spy

The film follows Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) who trained as a fully operative CIA agent but now finds herself desk bound and an aid to her partner Bradley Fine (Jude Law), she works as his eyes and ears behind the scenes. When Fine and his rival in the field  Rick Ford (Jason Statham) are compromised Susan offers to go undercover to prevent a nuclear missile falling into the wrong hands. Cue a whole heap of double agents and high speed car chases as you would expect.
One of the highlights of this film for me was, to my surprise Jason Statham aka Rick Ford he plays the tough (but rather incompetent) CIA agent with brilliant deadpan aplomb. The one liners delivered with regard to how tough he is are just brilliantly ‘OTT’ ‘I once had my arm ripped off and then had to sew it back on with my other arm’. Statham is perfectly cast in this role and obviously is not afraid to poke fun at his own previous roles. The chemistry between himself and McCarthy is perfect and the scenes when they are together are some of the best in the film.

I have read a lot of reviews about this film complaining about ‘cheesy acting’ and ‘predictable plotlines’ but I dont think this film was ever out to win oscars for its incredible storyline or unbelievable portrayals. This film is what it is, it’s a light hearted comedy that makes you laugh for a few hours and then you forget it. It actually made me laugh a lot more than I thought it would and for once not all the laughs are in the trailer.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Week 22: Danny Collins

Director: Dan Fogelman
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Seen: Saturday 30th May
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Peaches
Mood: Easy 

Danny Collins is the familiar tale of an aging famous/rich individual, in this case a rock star, who realises that the lifestyle he has been leading is missing purpose. There is usually an episode or an epiphany to make them want to change, in The Bucket List (2007) Jack Nicholson gets terminally ill, and in Danny Collins he receives a post-dated letter from John Lennon. Strange as the premise might seem it is actually loosely based on a true event.

The letter which was initially sent to him at the beginning of Collins’ career in the 1970’s (basically when he had not ‘sold out’ yet) but it never got to him and he lived the stereotypical rock star lifestyle (drugs, alcohol, wife’s, divorces, cheesy songs - you get the picture) for over 30 years without knowing it existed. Fortuitously his manager Frank Grubman, played by the always decent Christopher Plummer, discovers it and gives it to Collins as a birthday gift in 2014. The letter spurs the aging Collins, who is somewhat disillusioned by his lifestyle anyway, to make a few changes. So he begins on a reflective journey to rediscover his family and possibly rediscover who he once was himself.

There is a worthy cast in this film, Bobby Cannavale plays Collins estranged son with confidence and subtly, Annette Bening plays a possible love interest for Collins with charm and real presence. The lead of course is Mr. Al Pacino, so many have claimed that Pacino has taken an artistic nose dive in the last couple of decades and although there might be some merit to those claims with films such as Righteous Kill (2008) and Jack and Jill (2011). For me though it always pleasurable to watch the great man in action and I am glad to say this is a strong performance. Pacino plays the title character with a calmness that reflects both the character he plays and arguably also the actor. Danny Collins might not be the most memorable film but it is a nice easy film to watch, due mainly to the acting/casting. Oh, and the John Lennon songs throughout is a really nice touch.