Thursday, 28 January 2016

Regarding Buzzfeeds Oscar-Nominated video

So recently BuzzFeed made a video showing what it would be like if  white actors were removed from the posters of the films and weren't in them. It is quite amazing at how many of these films do not feature many different ethnicities. The films that were shown in the video were The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Carol, The Danish Girl, Ex-Machina, The Hateful Eight, Steve Jobs, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Spotlight and finally Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But this then got me thinking about the films and what they are about and maybe to why this has happened. You know other than this thought of Hollywood being a super racist chain.

Now I have to be very careful when talking about this. In absolutely no way am I saying that it is ok for not enough movies to be starring non white actors. I feel it is a lot more complex than some are believing though.

This is the link to the video here to see what I am talking about.

Something that this video really did not think about was just how many of these films were based on true stories. The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, The Danish Girl, Steve Jobs and Spotlight were all based on actual events that happened. All of the characters based in these films were based on actual characters. Yes all of these characters are white. But you can't change history. Could anyone really say that it would make sense casting a black or Asian actor to play Steve Jobs or the supporting characters Steve Wozniak and John Scully? No it wouldn't. For an accurate depiction, you're going to make them the same race at least to try make it believable.

Excellent photo of the Best Picture nominees by Olly Gibbs

Another thing with some of these films is the time periods that they were set in. This is obviously featured in the true stories so we won't go on about them. However  The Hateful Eight and The Revenant are both set at certain time periods when it wasn't exactly the greatest time for a lot of ethnicities. The Hateful Eight did feature many black actors including Samuel L Jackson and also Median Bichir because you know, it's not only black people who create diversity. Apparently BuzzFeed don't think this though as they removed him from it as well. Very odd. The Revenant was set in 1823's America. Are you really surprised that this film lacked much diversity in it's main characters? They represented Native Americans whom would of been around at that specific time. You can't just go throwing random people into situations they would never of been in. You wouldn't make a film about the great Genghis Kahn and have it featuring white actors. So how can you complain about this? The film Carol also is a story based on an Irish woman and is played by Irish actress Saorise Ronan. There's no one better than her to play this role. She's exactly what you'd be looking for in this role.

Star Wars and Mad Max are both sequels. Now Star Wars has been more diverse and features a woman as the lead which there has been a clamouring for and also with John Boyega, a main character who is black. There is clear diversity in the new characters in the film. And you can't change the past and completely change the look of old characters. It doesn't work that way. Imagine the outrage that people would have at that? Mad Max also looked to change things by having Furiosa played by Charlize Theron being the main character in an action film, This is already taking on a problem in Hollywood. The other main character, Max, has been a character and is being continued. Obviously it isn't Mel Gibson isn't there to reprise his role but again you can't change the style of the character if you want to continue the same character. 

The Martian is the only movie of these that has yet to have been mentioned. So go ahead moan about that all you want I guess. There isn't really a reason to why this film has the actors it has. Maybe that's just who the director wanted. Maybe that's who fit his vision. It's not as if Matt Damon is some terrible actor either.

I 100% agree that there should be more films featuring black actors. There's absolutely no problem with that whatsoever. But if a lot of directors have a vision for their story set in certain times or about the past what can you do? There isn't really a way to filter this out. How would you decide who gets to make their films and who doesn't? I don't think that's a possible thing to do.

The main point of this BuzzFeed video is the lack of black people. Is it only black people who are lacking in these films? What about other ethnicities? There was no mention of Asians in this video at all. Why aren't they making a point out of this too? In the video they are removing all the white people in the films. So this is saying that these actors shouldn't be in these movies because they are white. But isn't that itself racist? Is that the point they are trying to make? I certainly hope not.

I also feel that a lot of people aren't even watching the movies some of these actors are in. They are just seeing that they are white and labelling it as racist. They aren't even caring about the performances at all. In this campaign about the Oscars, many people have forgot what it's about, Who had the best in each category. Most of the arguments I've seen have had nothing to actually do with the performances. I certainly do feel that Michael B Jordan and Tessa Thompson should of been nominated for Oscars in Creed but I also understand that there were many great performances from other candidates. Many are most definitely forgetting this.

At the time of writing this the video is currently sitting at 11,268 likes and a whopping 29,900 dislikes. The comments are filled to the brim with negative comments about the video from all races. I'm very glad to see that most people see how truly ridiculous and stupid this video is. Also shows that it's not just white people being against it which maybe they were not expecting. 

The Oscars should 100% be performance based. Nothing more than that. 

I hope you can see the points I was trying to make with this post. I just feel that this video is utterly ridiculous and hope you can see why through my points. What do you think of this whole situation? Once again thank you for reading, it means a lot.

By Angus McGregor

Monday, 25 January 2016

Creed Movie Review

Oscar season rolls on with what was my sixth most anticipated movie for the whole of 2016, Creed. A new chapter in the Rocky franchise, this time Rocky not being the main focus. Oscar nominated Sylvester Stallone unwillingly at first trains his late friend Apollo Creed's son Adonis to become a great in boxing. With six films already in the franchise, would Creed be able to stand proudly next to its predecessors or would it be a bad step in what has been a very credible franchise?

Creed stars Michael B Jordan as Adonis "Donnie" Creed, the son of deceased legendary boxer Apollo Creed- a character in the previous Rocky movies. A tough up bringing caused Creed to be fighting for most of his life. Fast forward to seeing Creed as a young man, he grows tired of working in his office job and packs up his bags to move to Philadelphia to pursue a boxing career. He seeks out the help of the legend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) a past opponent and friend of his fathers. Creed looks to break through without the name of his father hovering over him and wants to prove that he is the real deal. 

Going into this I had very high expectations. I am a big fan of the Rocky films and as soon as this was announced, I was so excited for it. The first Rocky is an absolute excellent film where Sylvester Stallone was very unlucky to not scoop the Oscar for it in 1977 although it did win Best Picture. The rest of the franchise became more of an entertainment film but do incredibly well at that with Rocky IV being one of my favourite movies of all time. The Rocky movies are full of great enjoyment for all types of movie fans. There is great drama. There are laughs. There are many emotional moments. There is so much inspiration within these movies. So for a movie to become the seventh in a franchise, it may be hard for it to continue this at such a high standard made by the previous films. I am very glad to say that Creed most definitely reached those very high expectations.
The return of Rocky Balboa as he trains Adonis Creed

For a film that is the seventh in a franchise and also another Boxing film that have been done a million times, Creed has still managed to bring new ideas to the table. The idea of having Adonis Creed starting having everything he could want apart from the career is a good take on this film. Showing that he is willing to give up a good well paid job, fancy home and cars to chase his dream is a fairly fresh take on the genre. Also by having to deal with having such a legendary figure being his father is also a great take as it reflects a lot in sport as sons with famous fathers are always compared to them. Very good to see this brought onto the big screen and done so incredibly well. In a genre like this, obviously there is a formula that will most likely be followed. This is why it is important to bring fresher ideas to be able to stand out from the rest and I feel like Creed did this.
Adonis Creed(left) looking to come out of the shadow of his father Apollo(right)

Michael B Jordan is the star of this film as Adonis Creed and this is a truly great performance. This is a definite Oscar snub as it was truly deserving of being up for the Best Actor award. Not only the physical aspects that he had to go through including actually having to be hit many times, he performs the drama very well. Like most actors in boxing films, they do have to transform there bodies to get in shape and look the real deal. Also with it being reported that Jordan was actually hit many a time for real in this is impressive. When you consider that the actor he was paired up against in the final bout was a real legitimate boxer, it makes it even more impressive. I don't feel that the physical aspects that you go through alone should guarantee you an Oscar nomination. It's just an added bonus for Jordan as he was great in all the dramatic scenes, showing great range throughout the whole movie. When he needs to show the struggle that he goes through either sad or happy, he nails it. With this performance Michael B Jordan has only confirmed more to why he is one of Hollywood's brightest new stars. 

Unlike Jordan, Sylvester Stallone was nominated for an Oscar, this time being for Best Supporting Actor. Stallone was returning as his most famous character Rocky Balboa but this was the first time he was appearing as a completely finished boxer. In other franchises, continuing with a character when they have aged on hasn't worked and has just damaged the character- see Die Hard or The Terminator franchises. However in Creed, Stallone builds on the character of Rocky Balboa and produces another excellent performance. We see the character like never before as he is now alone and has lost his passion for the craft he mastered and made his living out of. A well deserved Oscar nomination for Stallone in which is a performance that is one of his best. Stick to this Sly instead of Expendables sequels please!

Great performances from Jordan and Stallone

There was also a strong performance from Tessa Thompson who plays Creed's eventual love interest and singer Bianca. She plays a very strong character who grows very close to both Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa as they progress with their training. Thompson can probably feel hard done by to have missed out on a Best Supporting Actress nomination as she plays a very supportive and strong individual character.

The action and story will compel you so much that there were actually people in my screening cheering and clapping at what was happening on the screen. You will certainly be feeling something inside your gut during this film that will make you psyched and pumped up. From the training to the final fight there are a lot of moments that will get you at the edge of your seat and make you forget you are really just watching a movie. I really feel that Creed is a very special movie. On a few occasions the film was able to make the hair on my arms stand up showing how this film gripped me. For a film to do this once makes it special never mind doing so more than once. For me, this separates a good sports film to a great sports film. If there's a moment that grabs you and makes you feel like you are right there, feeling the emotion in that specific scene it can really lift the whole movie up. 
One of my favourite moments from the film

Once again the footage of the actual boxing in this is absolutely phenomenal. The fights look so brutal and realistic which it needs to be or it doesn't look good at all. The first boxing match that we see is filmed beautifully. There is a long continuous shot to show the whole fight in one take and it follows the action incredibly. Such a beautiful shot even though what is going on inside the ring isn't beautiful for the competitors.
The great action filmed in Creed

Like any franchise of course there is going to be some nostalgia appearing in the film. From the classic stars and stripes shorts to chasing the chickens, there are many things reappearing from the past. I would say that most of the blasts from the pasts are done right. There are many things that make sense to why they are brought up as they have something to do with the film. They aren't just thrown in for the sake of it. It would of been so easily for them to just ride off the past and completely overfill everything with nostalgia but I feel they did a great job handling it. 

Final verdict: Creed = A+ 

I don't really have any complaints for the film. I feel like I'd be really nitpicking by saying I didn't really like anything from this film. Maybe the villains Scouse accent was the worst thing about it. I'm not saying it is perfect but I absolutely loved this film. For fans of the franchise and for newbies, I'm sure yous will all thoroughly enjoy it. I highly recommend this film to everyone.

So if you have seen Creed, what did you think? Where does it rank up there amongst the Rocky films? I hope you got as much enjoyment out of this film as I did. Once again thank you for reading my review, it really means a lot!

By Angus McGregor

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Daddy's Home Movie Review

Daddy's Home is the number 1 comedy in the UK right now as the adverts would tell you. It is also not the first time that Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg will be teaming up for a comedy. With two talented actors leading the helm, surely only good things could come, right?  

Will Ferrell stars as Brad, a man looking to finally gain the love of his step kids after marrying their mother Sarah played by Linda Cardellini. The tide looks to be turning until they receive a phone call from the father of the children, Dusty played by Mark Wahlberg. At first Brad tries to be civil and welcoming to Dusty until it becomes clear that Dusty has an intention to get rid of him. This then turns into a battle between the two as they fight for the love of the children. Lots of shenanigans ensue and a whole lot of chaos happens as there are highs and lows for both contenders. 

Will Ferrell as Brad with his new family

When going to see a comedy, the main reason you go to see it is to get a good laugh out of it. If a comedy does not do this it should be considered as a failure. This could be said about Daddy's Home as to be honest, it is not really that funny. Unfortunately for Ferrell and Wahlberg, they were unable to create a comedy at the same success as "The Other Guys"- the pairs previous endeavour. Two actors that I have liked in previous comedies but the same feeling just did not seem to be there.

A lot of this may be down to the kind of humour that was in this film. It seems like this film was a lot more family orientated than my favourites from these two actors. My favourite work coming from Will Ferrell has been from "Anchorman" and also really enjoyed his work in "Zoolander", where he plays quite ridiculous characters. I feel that most times he really excels at that and possibly due to this, I may of not liked Ferrell as this more serious, normal character only being pressured into ridiculous situatons.

With a lot of Will Ferrell's previous comedies, there are a lot of lines that can be quoted from. From it being from Step Brothers with "There's so much more room for activities" or "You sit on a throne of lies" from Elf. Or even from what I find to be one of the most quotable movies ever made, Anchorman. The point that I am trying to make with this is that there isn't really anything comedically that is memorable. Coming out of this movie, I won't remember any great moments by next week. Most of it is pretty forgettable.

 I am not as big a fan of Mark Wahlberg but I didn't mind him "Ted". I don't feel that he was nearly as good in "Daddy's Home" as previous performances. For me it may of been due to his character. I didn't really find Wahlberg's character likeable at all. I didn't really find him cool or whatever they were trying to make him. To me, he just seemed like a douche. I think one of the main problems was due to it not being entirely funny, it just came off as harsh. Most of the stuff he was doing didn't land with me which didn't help his cause.

Mark Wahlberg as Dusty

One person who I do feel brought a good performance was Hannibal Burress as Griff. Mainly every scene that he was in, he brought the comedy that the film was lacking throughout most of the film. He stole all of the scenes that he was in and would like to see more of him in the future Quite a lot of the moments that were funny seemed to be a lot of shock moments rather than the actual jokes being good. Burress was probably the only exception to this at most times. I also feel that the young daughter in this film had a few good moments as well mainly due to the shock of what she was saying. Also the cameo late on with John Cena provided some entertainment for myself as well.

Final Verdict: Daddy's Home = C-
An entertaining film at times but not a whole lot of laughter. When it is a comedy that is vital. I wouldn't really recommend going to see this in the cinema, it's not really worth it. Not one of the better films from two talented actors.

So if you have seen Daddy's Home, what did you think of it? I hope you got a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did. Once again thank you for reading. Be sure to check out my previous reviews such as "The Revenant" and "Joy", it really means a lot!

Click here for the review of "The Revenant"

Click here for the review of "Joy"

By Angus McGregor

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Joy Movie Review

We all love Jennifer Lawrence don't we? Lately she can't seem to do no wrong. Would that be the case for her in "Joy" as she chases a second Oscar win after being nominated for the third time at only the age of 25? Very impressive from the lead of the Hunger Games as she continues to grow more and more as an actress. Would Joy continue her ever growing reputation or would it be one to forget?

Joy certainly isn't what you will be feeling for most of this movie.

Now that may sound pretty malicious but it is all due to the story that this film is based on. The film follows the life of Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) as she tries to break through with one of her inventions. Many obstacles are in her way whether it be production problems or even dealing with troubles within her own household. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence alongside supporting characters played by Robert De Niro, Diane Ladd and Virginia Madsen. It is also the third collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence, director David O Russell and also fellow actor Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle being the others. A very successful combo in the past so all should be good, right?

The main talking points of this film have been about Jennifer Lawrence's performance due to the recent news that she will be up for the Oscar for Best Actress. I cannot argue with this as she did produce a great performance in this film. Lawrence did a great job on showing the character of Joy as she struggles with a lot in this film. Whether it is dealing with the great difficulties caused at home by her family or just the many obstacles thrown in her way as she tries to get her idea created and sold. She is great at showing her character struggling to keep it together at times and also how she powers through to try and reach her goals and ambitions. Another great performance from the young actress. I am not certain if she will win an Oscar this year but I'm pretty sure there will be more to see of her in this category in many years to come.

Jennifer Lawrence was great once again

I wouldn't say this movie is filled with great performances to be honest. The second best performance in my book was from Elisabeth Rohm who plays Joy's younger sister. The character is such a brat and very unlikeable and isn't meant to be so I feel Rohm did a great job at this. I feel that the whole family in this were particularly unlikeable. The whole family seemed to be incredibly selfish and a constant pain in the arse. They are always looking to Joy to fix everything and make everything work whilst they do nothing. Bradley Cooper was also good but he really wasn't in the film an awful lot. In what he had to do he was good but didn't have as big a role as normal. The rest of the cast is fine. Nobody else really stands out but I wouldn't say that anybody in the film was terrible. Maybe a bit disappointing from Robert De Niro due to what he usually is like but he wasn't bad, just fine.

The third collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper

I definitely feel that the same could be said about the movie as a whole. I don't really feel that there was anything exactly amazing about the film. It was a good movie but that's about it. I can't say it was anything more really as I don't think it was anything more than that. There wasn't anything in this film that really struck me or is really a stand out moment. Maybe this is due to the fact that a lot of this film is based on a lot of struggle. There are short moments of triumph throughout "Joy" but they are almost always then stopped instantly as we face yet another obstacle. Joy definitely isn't what you are feeling most of the time. This was evident to me as there were groans of disbelief from fellow members of the audience when Joy was knocked back a few steps. This does show the true courage of Joy though as we see how tough everything has been for her as she looks to break through, but for most parts it isn't fun to watch.

There are a few bits to this film that I certainly found odd. For example at the start of the movie it said that this was the story told from the grandmother. However I feel that at times this was completely forgotten about. There were long periods of time with no voiceover or even an appearance from the grandmother and then she'd suddenly show up and once again disappear for a while. It didn't seem to have been done well and would've been better if they decided not to do it in my opinion. Also the way the story was told at times seemed very odd. There is a moment where Joy tells her ex-husband that he has to leave and that they have to move on with their lives. This would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that in the very next scene, he was accompanying her to an important meeting, clearly not moving on but staying closer together. It baffled me.

With that being said the story can be seen as pretty inspirational. The pride of the hard work that Joy puts in each day is something to look up to. As is her will and determination to get to where she wants to be no matter what has happened to her. A true hardworking woman who didn't let anything get in her way was definitely shown in "Joy" and is a true positive to be taken from this.

Final Verdict: Joy = C
A fine film with a great performance from Jennifer Lawrence. Nothing else really memorable about it and not one to be rushing to the cinema to see.

So another Oscar flick down and a lot more to go. Will you be going to check out Joy? And if you have already seen it, what did you think? Do you agree with the inclusion of Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Actress category? Once again thank you for reading, it means a lot!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The Revenant Movie Review

We now know what films will be contending for this years Academy Awards. No film received more nominations than "The Revenant" with 12 overall. This includes nominations for Best Picture and Cinematography as well as actors Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hardy being nominated respectively for Best Actor and Supporting Actor. But would it all be justified? Does "The Revenant" deserve all the buzz it is getting recently? Will it finally be the Oscar win that Leo has had his sights on for many years?

This is one of these films which makes me glad that I wasn't born during a certain time period!

In 1823, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo Di Caprio) along with his son and fellow members of his hunting team face danger from the wilderness, animals and also other people. Whilst on an expedition, Glass is attacked by a bear and is left beaten to within an inch of his life. After being placed in the wrong hands whilst being taken care of, tragedy happens in front of Glass and he is left for dead by the abrasive and hunter John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Fuelled by revenge, Glass must crawl, swim and hike to track Fitzgerald using only his survival skills as he looks for to get his own back.

Leonardo Di Caprio as Hugh Glass

"The Revenant" is directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu and his second film nominated for an Oscar in the last two years- Birdman being his first. From "The Revenant" you can see some of his traits in full motion. There are many times with very long takes, with very little cuts throughout this film and none other better than the one at the start of the film. The settlement that Leonardo Di Caprios character suddenly is under attack after a hunt by Native Americans. Inarritu does a great take- similar to the one in Birdman where Micahel Keaton makes his way through the street- as the attack begins and it allows us to see in great detail what is going on. It is a truly great scene and also fairly gory too.

There are a lot of very impressive parts of this film. One of the most talked about has been the scene featuring the bear. This is an unbelievable piece of film making. I am so interested to see how they pulled this off. How they were able to get this scene done is beyond me. The scene involving the bear features the beast attacking Glass and it is brutal. One of the best uses of CGI ever used. Credit goes to Leonardo Di Caprio for this as well as his acting is superb, reacting to every movement as if it is actually happening. A truly incredible scene.

Still from the Bear scene

I think we have the winner for Best Cinematography in "The Revenant". The fact that the cinematographer Emmanuel Labezki spent a lot of time in the cold waters whilst shooting shows how much effort went into getting the best possible shots. The conditions wouldn't of made this easy at all and the results were excellent. "The Revenant" may very well win the Oscar for makeup for the talents used to create the wounds on Glass from the attack from the bear. Really disgusting and real looking at the highest standard.

Cinematographer Emmanuel Labezki in action

Also the shots of the landscapes that this film was filmed on are incredible. Some truly breathtaking sights and is phenomenal. As someone who has been choked with the cold lately, the filming of the landscapes in his didn't help as it really conveyed how cold it would of been. The film was also filmed just with natural lighting which is truly incredible. This meant that they would of had to have been very precise and do it very quickly as they would only have a certain amount of time to get the right shots. This may of been a pain for filming but it is great commitment.

One of the great shots in "The Revenant"

A lot of buzz for this film has been about Leonardo Di Caprio and how this may finally be his triumph in the Oscars. Over the years he has been so close and seemed like a certainty to win it but was unsuccessful. So will "The Revenant" break that for Leo? In my opinion.... It shouldn't. I really do admire the work of Di Caprio and you can't take away the gruelling and physical aspects of his acting in this movie. However I feel that there wasn't enough from him to win the Oscar compared to who he is up against.  There wasn't a lot of great dialogue from him and it featured him mainly screaming at times. He was great in this film don't get me wrong but I don't believe that this is the time that he should win the Oscar. There is no doubt that he was good in this and that this would certainly of not been an easy film to be in. He would've went through a lot in this role and can only imagine how cold he must of been shooting most of this in freezing waters and snowy mountains. To make a good performance in these conditions is a credit to the man.

Tom Hardy is also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor. He also gave a good performance in the tough conditions. Again, I am not particularly sure that he will win. This may be due to the great amount of competition that he has to contend with in his category. The film also featured a good performance from Will Poulter- most famous for "We're The Millers" and "The Maze Runner". This is the first time I have seen him in a film like this and I have to say that I was fairly impressed with him. He does great in the film as his character faces difficult decisions whilst accompanying Fitzgerald. Domhnall Gleeson is on a bit of a hot streak right now isn't he? He again had another strong performance after his recent successes in another supporting role.

Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald

I did feel slightly underwhelmed at the ending of this film. I didn't feel that the pay off fitted the film and was slightly disappointed, However in saying this, the final confrontation between Glass and Fitzgerald is great but just the end lacked what I was hoping for. I feel that it kind of took away from the long, hard journey that was taken in this film.  At times I was slightly confused by Glass' injuries. At times I feel that it lacked consistency such as when he wasn't able to walk but as soon as he was in water, he was swimming completely fine, kicking perfectly. The once he's on land, he goes back to really struggling.

Final Verdict: The Revenant = B+
Overall a good film and deserving of many of the Oscars that it has been nominated for. I would definitely recommend seeing "The Revenant", there are a lot of great aspects in this film that you will get enjoyment out of.

So "The Revenant" what did you think of it? What do you think it will pick up at the Oscars? Once again I hope you enjoyed reading my review and also, thank you for reading, it means a lot!

By Angus McGregor

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino's eight film in what has been an incredible career. With hits such as the Kill Bills and Inglorious Bastards in his past as well as heavily Oscar nominated movies like Pulp Fiction and Django, it was safe to say that The Hateful Eight had a lot of weight on it's shoulders to deliver. The film has also faced a lot of controversy and was almost not made at all due to being leaked many years ago which also adds pressure for the film to succeed.  So would it be able to live up to the standard raised by Tarantino's previous movies?

The Hateful Eight is an American murder mystery western which has a star studded cast with the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell and Tim Roth featuring in this movie. A very interesting plot where Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) catches a ride with John Ruth (Russell) whom is on his way to Red Rock to collect a bounty for Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Due to a heavy blizzard, Warren, Ruth, Domergue and stagecoach driver OB and the new Sheriff of Red Rock have to take shelter at Minnie's Habadashery. Little do they know what awaits them at the shelter as someone is in cahoots with Domergue and will do anything to try and free her.

The ensemble cast in The Haetful Eight

I think that a good way to look at this movie is to look at it in two parts. This was the way that I actually seen it in the cinema due to the length of it. For a film over 3 hours long, the cinema put a sensible intermission about half way through the film. The break came at a very good time as well and made a good halfway point where you could see things starting to change.

Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh

The first half of the film was most certainly the slower of the two. The first half heavily featured many scenes with great dialogue, with no action really happening. The building up of the characters was expertly done through the first half. This was mainly due to the great dialogue that we have come to expect in a Tarantino film. In a film this long, if the dialogue and the building of the characters isn't good, the film would fall flat on it's face. Thankfully this was not the case as Tarantino once again showed his talents as not only a director but as a writer as well. I can see how some people could perhaps be bored at some points which was evident to me as one the people I was with became a bit restless through the first half at times. The end of the half though starts to change with lets say quite a disturbing image as it starts to become the more wild side of Tarantino's films. You can see the movie start to move onto the crazy and beloved side as the first half came to a close and the intermission began.

The second half I feel was much more enjoyable. This is where a lot of the action happened and the story really moved on quicker. The well known traits of Tarantino are shown here such as the bloody violence and also the quick quips. The second half was definitely the more entertaining of the two. Also the structure of the film which is often shifted around in Tarantino films is once again shown, showing his talent for directing. It was a lot more fun in this half and was full of laughs and shocking moments. Also I wasn't able to figure out who was the culprit so I felt the movie did a great job at making the climax not obvious at all.

Samuel L Jackson in his sixth Tarantino film
The Hateful Eight is filled with lots of dark comedy. There is an abundance of laughs throughout the whole film which really adds to the film. I feel that the delivery by many of the characters such as Jacksons and also by Walton Goggins- who I will come back to later- made this film really funny as every joke seemed to land perfectly. Even with a lot of the more serious situations, the comedy as ever present but is done very well and correctly. The score of this movie is also excellent through the film. I also feel that from the opening scene did a great job of conveying the feeling of a western with the long opening with the credits. It really took me back to watching westerns as a kid with my dad.

The movie is full of great performances. Samuel L Jackson is great once again in a Tarantino film which seems to be a certainty now. He is once again a very entertaining bad ass that we all love to see. A lot of the comedy is successful due to Jacksons delivery as mentioned before. I also feel that Jennifer Jason Leigh was excellent playing a psychotic and deranged character. Although kept fairly quiet at the start, once the film progresses, the character seems to become more and more crazy. Also just by looking at her in this film, you can tell that she has a few screws loose. My favourite character from the film was Sheriff Chris Mannix played by Walton Goggins. I thought that this character was so great and unbelievably funny. So much of the comedy came from Goggins who I felt had the best performance of the movie and stood out from the rest. Most of the performances were very strong with Russell and Roth also producing great performances in their roles.
Walton Goggins was excellent as The Sheriff 

Although the film was pretty great, it did have some problems. For instance during the first half I did feel it being a little slow but that is maybe to do with the expectations of the carnage in a Tarantino film. Also on a few occasions a use of slow motion was used whilst people were talking and whilst action was going on. I felt that this didn't add anything to the film and was really unnecessary. If it was meant for comedy effect, I didn't even feel it worked that way either. At times I also found the character Bob, "The Mexican" was hard to understand at times due to his thick accent but thats really the only complaints I have.

Final Verdict: The Hateful Eight = A-
In many ways this film definitely lived up to he hype and expectations set for it. A strong showing from Tarantino in his eighth film. Most definitely worth checking out. Don't let the running time put you off seeing this film as it is truly excellent. You did it again Tarantino. Here's hoping it's not too long until his next one.

So if you have seen The Hateful Eight what did you think of it? Does it rank high on your list of favourite Tarantino films? I hope you enjoyed it if you have seen it and hope that this review may of convinced you to go and see The Hateful Eight. Once again thank you for reading.

By Angus McGregor

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Danish Girl Movie Review

Eddie Redmayne faces possibly his toughest challenge yet as he plays Einar Wegener, a woman trapped in a mans body. With the help of his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) he looks to finally escape the confines of being born a man and reach true happiness.

My first trip to the cinema in 2016 was to go and see Matt Hoopers "The Danish Girl". Not really the type of film that would draw me to the cinema - especially with The Force Awakens still screening- but nevertheless The Danish Girl certainly intrigued me. Especially during this time with a lot of coverage and discussion about transgender people. The Danish Girl shows just how hard it is for people who are going through exactly what happened to Einar Wegener.

The movie does well to show the struggle that Redmaynes character has to go through whether it is physically or emotionally. We can see the effect on Einar as he so desperately wants to become a woman known as Lily. He is constantly breaking down and is also been ill due to his struggle. Not only do we see how Einar struggles to handle it but also how society back then make it incredibly difficult for him. The film is set in the mid 1920's where you can imagine the struggle it was to be gay never mind wanting to change gender. Considering many people still have a problem with it today, you can only imagine what could of happened to these people. The film shows this extremely well and you can see very clear how this would not of helped Einars situation at all. With him getting brutally beat up in the street or doctors trying to prescribe him for being crazy and trying to get him locked up in jail all for simply being who she really is. 

Eddie Redmayne is absolutely incredible in this film. He completely dives into being this character and pulls it off to the best of his ability. His performance as Einar is truly incredible and I could also see this as being inspirational to those who may be going through similar things. We really feel for him as he goes through this extremely hard time with many obstacles in the way. A tragic tale showing the life of Einar and Lili which Redmayne excels in. I really don't get the problem with Redmayne playing this character amidst criticism for a cisgender man to portray this character. If that's the problem you have why this film, you should question yourself to why you seen it in the first place. I personally believe that the film is worth seeing just to be able to watch this performance from Redmayne. Surely another Oscar nomination for him and I have to say, a very well deserved one!

Eddie Redmayne was fantastic as Einar and his true self, Lili

Alicia Vikander also deserves a lot of credit for her role in the film as Einars wife Gerde who also has to cope with losing her husband, the man that she truly loves. She also has to not let her own interests get in the way of making her husband truly happy and Vikander does this excellently. We also feel for Gerde as she has to deal with this loss to her and she faces her own struggles throughout the movie. Another great performance which I also feel is worthy of an Oscar nomination. 

Another great performance from Alicia Vikander

At times throughout the film I do feel that some bits were rushed. Times where Gerde seemed to be very upset didn't last long and at times she would go back to perfectly normal pretty quickly. At times it may of been good to see her show more of her feelings for slightly longer as it was very tough for her too. Also at times some of the actions that happen don't carry any consequence in the story which at times seems a little odd.

I found this film to be particularly interesting and really quite eye opening as it shows the terrible circumstances that Einar had to put up with. A very good film which will be very beneficial to all who see it. I feel that due to the subject matter that it would've been very easy to put this film up for Oscars but after seeing it I am on board so far especially with the performances that were on display. 

Final Verdict: The Danish Girl = B
A good start to 2016 in the cinema with "The Danish Girl". A movie certainly worth seeing for the performances and also to enlighten you on the struggles that these kind of people have had to endure.

 If you have seen The Danish Girl what did you think about it? Once again thank you for reading my review, it is very much appreciated. 

By Angus McGregor

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Cobbler Movie Review

Could Adam Sandler finally return to his former greatness in his latest attempt to win back some credibility?

The short is answer is no. When you see this movie in your local DVD shop in the new releases or come across it whilst flicking through Netflix, it is probably not worth your time. This movie is so unbelievably depressing. 

Adam Sandler plays fourth generation shoemaker Max Simkin who seems to be constantly down on his luck and has to take care of his elderly mother. He then discovers that his stitching machine is no ordinary one. Simkin now possesses the power to become the person who owns the shoes that he has worked on using this magical machine. We get a short tid bit showing this machine being used many a year ago but after that there is really no explanation to why this happens.

This idea could be very good if used correctly. This power that Sandlers character has acquired could be used for so much good and also in a very fun way. The Cobbler does not do this. Two times in this film, the power is used for something good. Instead he uses it to transform into a black gentleman so that he can steal someone's shoes for his own selfish gain to use his car. Another example of this is so he can take advantage of a woman who is not aware of what is going on. And we're to like this guy? Really? Sandlers character doesn't really have a sense of any of the wrong doing he does. On numerous occasions he says he has to stop messing around masquerading as other people but then continues to do stuff in other peoples lives. Also there is a scene where Sandler does something which would be very traumatising to most people and for a small amount of time, it effects his character. However within two minutes he is completely fine with it and is not put off with anything that he is doing. It's just plain stupidity.  
Another miss from Sandler

There are also moments that could be very heartfelt. Max goes to see his mother and asks if given the opportunity, would she change to be anyone else. A nice bit is said as she says no due to being his mother. So what does Max do? He continues pretending to be different people. He finally does something to please someone else as he pretends to be his father whom has abandoned both Max and his mother. Now this seems good in theory but they seem to have no queries at all about him not being there for them. Also in every scene when Max is in the shoes of someone else, the people he encounters also find the person to be acting differently but in this scene it just seems to be as if it is the actual character. Tragedy then strikes after this scene so any moments of feel good are gone as this film gets even more depressing which I didn't even think was possible!

The jokes in this fall so flat as well and it's just painful. He then uses cheap ways such as picking on weight or a cross dresser for laughs. There is a lot of talent in this movie and it should do a lot better. Yes Sandler is now known recently for his stinkers but surely there is something left. I at least hope so. Steve Buscemi is also in this and could of been used a lot better. We've seen this pair work well together before but it just wasn't here at all. Dustin Hoffman was alright in this film but he did have a very small role but I guess that's one of the only silver linings for this film. 
Not even Steve Buscemi could make this film much better.

I really did not enjoy this film. It's so disappointing looking back at Sandlers past films and seeing what he is doing now. When he was good, he was fantastic. Now I struggle to find any enjoyment in his movies. If you've seen the film and had fun with it, great I'm glad but I can't say the same for me or recommend it at all. 

Final Verdict: The Cobbler = F
A very depressing film with not much humour at all. Not worth checking out.

If you have seen this film, tell me what you thought about it and once again thank you for reading. 

By Angus McGregor