Thursday, 27 August 2015

Week 33 Escobar: Paradise Lost

Director: Andrea Di Stefano
Writer:  Andrea Di Stefano
Seen:  21st of August 2015
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: M&Ms
Mood: Confusion

This is one of the strangest films I have seen all year, my mind was well and truly boggled after it. I didn’t hear much about Escobar: Paradise Lost before I went to see it and I am now realising why.
The script was awful, the direction was misguided and loose, although to be fair it is Andrea Di Stefano’s first feature. Nevertheless, I could not invest any time or energy into any of the characters with the exemption of Pablo Escobar exceptionally played by Benicio Del Toro. I wanted to see more of Del Toro as “El Patron” on the screen, he commanded every scene he was in, exerting the presence that surely Escobar had in real life.
Escobar, who was equally a hero and villain to most Colombians, he is also one of the most infamous characters of the 20th century, and while Benicio Del Toro did that character justice, the film did not!
If the director concentrated on the story of Escobar, and utilised the great actor he had playing him, rather than focusing on Nick played by Josh Hutcherson then it would have been a much better film.

So if it comes to a cinema near you DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY.

Week 32: 52 Tuesdays

Director: Sophie Hyde
Writer:    Matthew Cormac
Seen:     16th August
Snacks:  Berries
Mood:     Moved
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52 Tuesdays is a very modern tale and also one which is very much in the media eye at the moment. The story follows a year in the life of Billie played with dollops of maturity by Tilda Cobham-Hervey. Billie starts a video diary of sorts to track the year her mum Jane (Del Herbert-Jane) decides to gender transition, at the same time Jane also begins a video diary to track his own story. They decide to meet every Tuesday to spend time together whilst Jane becomes James.
Del Herbert Jane was originally the advisor on the film on gender transition and became the obvious choice to play James, a great choice in my opinion as her acting is never over stated and as the film progress’ you begin to really feel her struggle.
52 Tuesdays is a film about identity not just sexual identity but all the identity we all create for ourselves and whether that identity is ‘authentic’ or not.
Billie begins to struggle with her own sense of self and burgeoning sexual awareness and creates a space which is just hers to undergo her own transformation which mirrors James’ own transformation.
The road is a rocky one for Billie whose experiments on film verge on the orgiastic whilst James’ own path is also fraught with troubles. The audience watches both videos made every Tuesday and this ‘film within a film’ scenario is very engaging.
Director Sophie Hyde is definitely one to watch going forward as 52 Tuesdays is very well made, poignant and deals with the subject matter in a respectful and delicate way, team this with some superb performances and you are on to a winner.
If its on in a cinema near you I highly recommend.

Week 31: Southpaw

Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer:    Kurt Sutter
Seen:     Sunday 9th August
Snacks:  Fizzy water :O
Mood:     No guts no glory!

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Ok, here’s the thing, I LOVE boxing films. I own all the Rocky films (yes even Rocky Balboa), I loved The Wrestler and The Fighter but my boxing film hero definitely lies with the dulcet tones of Sylvester! Therefore, I was pretty excited about seeing this film, add the bonus of having Jake Gyllenhaal (who I think is a great actor - see Nightcrawler) as the erstwhile Billy Hope and I’M IN (as people say).
I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The trailer gave away way too much about the film, what could have been a nice twist with his wife played by Rachel McAdams was laid out bare in the trailer leaving Southpaw to just follow the ‘formula’ for all boxing films, an inevitable slump before a triumphant return. I guess what I am trying to say is that it didn’t offer anything original or that hadn’t been done before.
The role of Billy Hope was originally offered to Eminem who turned it down and I am afraid I couldn’t shake the feeling that Gyllenhaal was just trying to act like Eminem, there was a bit too much mumbling and tough guy-ness that I don't think really worked for him. I in no way think this is Gyllenhaal's fault, he did the best with what he was given and the physical transformation he went through is very impressive…..but I don’t think this role was really for him. Rachel McAdams is also slightly miscast as a street kid done good. The stand out performance would go to Oona Laurence as Billy’s daughter Leila (great name spelt the wrong way though :) ) who is a very believable and competent young actress.

Southpaw then is in no way a masterpiece, its pretty predictable and a bit schmaltzy BUT

on the plus side the music is very good with Eminem contributing a few songs instead of starring and the actual boxing scenes are very realistic and gritty. Even though I know this film isn’t the best boxing film there is (ROCKY!!!) I still watched the end fight and felt a surge of energy to go join a grimy gym and throw a few jabs at a frozen carcass or pull a sledge in russia through the snow……….oh wait that’s Rocky again :).

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Week 30: Trainwreck

Director: Judd Apatow
Writer:  Amy Schumer
Seen:  Sunday 2nd August 2015
Venue: IMC Galway
Snacks: Milka chocolate
Mood: Lots of laughs!
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This week we were lucky to get into a special preview of ‘Trainwreck’ which is due for general release on 14th August - all proceeds were to go to the Marie Keating foundation and it was obvious a few people may not have seen the warnings re ‘graphic sexual content’ as we witnessed a few grandparents fleeing with their grandchildren in tow within the first 15 minutes… OBVIOUSLY this film is worthy of its 16 age cert so bare that in mind parents and grandparents. If you are a fully grown adult who likes a few laughs you should go see this film and enjoy.
Amy Schumer wrote and stars in the film as Amy a commitment phobe young woman who is living life to the full in every sense believing that romance is something that only happens in the movies until she has to write an article for her shrill boss (played brilliantly by an almost unrecognisable Tilda Swanton) on sports doctor Aaron Connors (Bill Hader).
I read a few reviews on this film and it was a very mixed bag with a lot of people commenting on the predictability of the plot which, yes is predictable but I would argue that a lot of boy meets girl films are but as I have said in the past this film is not trying to go down in the history books it is just trying to get people to laugh….well I laughed, Daithi laughed and the rest of the full cinema seemed to enjoy it also!

The performances are good and I think Amy Schumer is definitely one to watch as an upcoming writer and comic. There are a few cameos to watch out for also including wrestler turned actor John Cena and Daniel Radcliffe.