Monday, 21 November 2016

Room - Phil's Five Words for Films

Room Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank,2014) and based on the screenplay & 2010 book by Emma Donoghue, Room centres on a young boy, Jack, who has known nothing of the world other than the room in which he has been held captive. Together with his 'Ma', his world has to change quickly as they bid to escape from their captor, 'Old Nick'. The first half of the film is claustrophobic and personal and the second half is tragic yet hopeful. The na├»ve, first person tone of the book has been perfectly captured in the low level camera work and the focus on faces and simple relationships. Brie Larson won an Oscar in 2016 for her performance but, for me, it is the young wonder of Jack ( Jacob Tremblay ) that really steals the show. A wonderful film about parenthood, learning from life and growing through experience. Emma Donoghue was rightly nominated for an adapted screenplay Oscar.

8 out of 10
Cert 15 (UK)
118mins 2016

Bad Moms - Phil's Five Words for Films.

Bad Moms Utter, utter bilge. Offensive, sexist, unrealistic, completely devoid of anything that vaguely resembles comedy, this film is a complete waste of everyone's time. 'BadMoms' is full of characters that nobody could relate to and it has a plot that is as stupid as it is thin. A whinging 'Mom' ( who somehow lives in a massive house with 2 massive cars and 2 massively over-effected kids ) takes time out from her consumeristic lifestyle to have a 'breakdown' and run for the local PTA job. Loud montages replace plot development and crass, thinly veiled 'phobic' statements are supposed to pass as humour. The bar is set from the first few seconds of the film and it never manages to scrape itself off the floor. A poor attempt to cash in on and invert 'The Hangover' franchise, it is lacking in every department. With a wealth of talent on screen, (Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn amongst others) it is a disgraceful waste to produce such a nothing film. If you are the sort of person that finds this stuff entertaining, you really need to take a look at your life. Sorry. Save your time and don't encourage this sort of vacuous nonsense. 'BadMoms', bad people, bad idea, bad film.

1 out of 10.
Cert 15 (UK) 2016.
100mins

Monday, 20 June 2016

Knock Knock - Phil's Five Words for Films

Knock Knock It is very rare for a film to make me so angry. Disappointed often but rarely angry. It is not enough that this film robbed me of two hours that I won't get back but to find that some people actually rate it as a serious film astounds me. The acting throughout, from everyone involved, including the dog, was appalling - plenty of energy but still appalling. The script, plot and sexual motives all shared a common score of Zero and the idea that I'm supposed to think 'he got what he deserved' is offensive. Directed by Eli Roth ( Hostel / Cabin Fever ) and starring his real life wife, Lorenza Izzo along with Keanu and Ana de Armas, it really feels like a re-make project that got out of hand and spiralled away from them all. The ending left me pleading for it all to have been a bad dream, a psychotic meltdown or even a metaphor for something lame - a cop-out plot twist that would have, at least, been worthy of my time and effort.  An utter waste of time, energy and talent. I cannot find any reason to recommend 'Knock Knock' to anyone - unless you are studying film and need an example of how to not do just about everything. It was such a shame to come to this film via Keanu's much better action thriller 'John Wick'. Watch that instead.
2 out of 10.
Cert 18 (UK). 2015.
139mins

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Dad's Army - Phil's Five Words for Films

Dad's Army Nostalgia is not often a good enough reason to make a film of, or bring back, a much-loved classic. Re-inventing the 1970s TV series for the big screen was never going to be received well enough to work for older fans. Mess that up and you're doomed. For the younger audiences however, the nostalgia of the original characters holds absolutely no weight. So, stick to the tried and tested formula of the television comedy and hope for the best. This new version is basically a series of well-intentioned impressions of the beloved predecessors. Effort and attention being lovingly spent there, rather than developing new characters or a convincing plot line. Even though the cast seem to be loving their involvement, it all seems a little unnecessary. There is loads of British talent on show throughout, Toby Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bill Nighy taking centre stage. New characters are also a-plenty but mostly underdeveloped. 'Dad's Army' lovers will probably enjoy the film if they can get past the new versions of the previous cast - if not, they could find it too distracting. It is likeable enough but lightweight. There are some chuckles to be had but for me, there isn't enough laughter or emotion mixed in to the nostalgia. Younger and new audiences will struggle to find enough plot, humour or character to make it a lasting or worthwhile piece. The Home Guard bumble through with a stiff upper lip but there's not much fighting spirit here.

5 out of 10
Cert PG (UK)
1hr 40mins. 2016.

American Hustle - Phil's Five Words for Films

American Hustle There's loads of great performances in this con artist, FBI shakedown but it looks and feels like a drug-fuelled party held in a 1970s costume department. There's just too much 'Wig' going on. Like Christian Bale's character, Irving Rosenfeld, it is hard working, entertaining but a little bit bloated. The colour and energy of the film distracts from the main characters and plot, meaning I was left not really caring for any of the main players. Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and especially Jennifer Laurence all shine and they play off each other with hyperactive intensity. For all their effort and that of the props department, it is a movie that doesn't quite match the sum of its considerable parts. The main problem with that being that it seems quite a long film to leave you feeling so empty. Enjoyable, high energy, fluffy and a distraction from anything there to get your teeth in to. Like candyfloss.

7.5 out of 10
Cert 15 (UK)
135mins. 2013.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Oscar 2016 - My Final predictions.

OK, so here are my thoughts on which films I think will walk away with the statues at the Oscars 2016. I think 'The Revenant' will take the bulk of the 'big' awards but there are plenty of deserving films that will be fighting for the others. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' will do well in the technical & production catagories. I'm hoping 'Ex Machina' gets something.

Best Picture - The Revenant 
Best Director - Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
Best Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant
Best Actress - Brie Larson, Room
Best Supporting Actor - Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Supporting Actress - Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Best Original Screenplay - Ex Machina
Best Adapted Screenplay - The Martian
Best Cinematography - The Revenant
Best Film Editing  - Mad Max:Fury Road
Best Production Design - Bridge of Spies
Best Costume Design - Mad Max:Fury Road
Best Visual Effects - Ex Machina
Best Makeup and Hairstyling - Mad Max:Fury Road
Best Sound Editing - The Martian
Best Sound Mixing - Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Best Original Score - Bridge of Spies
Best Original Song - Spectre
Best Animated Feature - Inside Out