Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

THE DROP (2014): It’s Good People. It’s Good

The Drop (2014), Tom Hardy
The Drop (2014), Tom Hardy

Starring two spectacular screen talents in the shape of the late James Gandolfini and British Actor Tom Hardy, The Drop is an expertly executed film.

The Drop (2014), James Gandolfini
The Drop (2014), James Gandolfini

In the dark and grim criminal underworld of Brooklyn New York – where Director Michaël R. Roskam’s movie is set, there’s a brilliant stillness. A certain calm, both within particular characters and what is conveyed atmospherically. Not to say that there isn’t plenty going on here – because there is.

The musical score does a great job of perfectly conveying the many tense and gripping predicaments in which the characters find themselves.

I found myself more than thrilled to be watching Hardy and Gandolfini sharing screen time – perhaps even as thrilled as I imagine both Actors might have been to be working together.

Watch it because true masters are at work and it’s great story. You might even find yourself wondering if it has ever been easier to like the ‘bad guy.’

Happy The Drop 🙂

G

LOVE, ROSIE (2014): In Love, Timing Is Everything

Love, Rosie (2014), Liliy Collins, Sam Claflin
Love, Rosie (2014), Liliy Collins, Sam Claflin

Love, Rosie: a story about two people who’ve been friends for a very long time and share feelings for each other but somehow they never seem to get it together.

It’s the kind of predicament where you find yourself thinking, if only one of them spoke honestly, just once about what was in their heart, things would be very different.

But, sometimes everything is supposed to be just as it is at that time. Of course this is not at all comforting when you’re in the middle of it all and timing is not on your side.

Love, Rosie (2014), Liliy Collins
Love, Rosie (2014), Liliy Collins

This is one of those love stories that isn’t too typical of the romantic comedy genre and the onscreen chemistry between Sam Claflin and Lily Collins, the leads of Director Christian Ditter’s movie is really quite something.

Watch it for the reasons above, and wonder how Lily Collins got that British accent just right. There’s also a a beautiful father/ daughter relationship to enjoy.

Happy Love Rosie 🙂

G

THE INTERNSHIP 2013: Better Than You Might Expect

The Internship (2013): Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson
The Internship (2013): Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson

Starring Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and several other  known comic actors, I found The Internship to be good light-hearted fun – which also happens to highlight the importance of effective team work and being good with people.

The Internship is a movie that’ll speak to anyone who has ever had to start over as well as any underdog.

If all that still hasn’t convinced you, how about the fact that the setting is Google’s US Headquarters? Also the character played by Josh Gad was a pleasant surprise. However unsettling his facial hair.

Happy The Internship 🙂

G

THE GAMBLER (2014): For The Dialogue & Heart Stopping Moments

The Gambler (2014), Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange
The Gambler (2014), Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange

The Gambler, directed by Rupert Wyatt and starring Mark Wahlberg is a film that centre’s on the troubles Jim Bennet.

Bennett, played by Wahlberg is a man whose continued self destructive behaviour, especially at the most unexpected times, makes it clear to the  audience early on, that here is an individual in the midst of a very serious existential crisis.

It’s apparent that Bennet has pain, but you’ll have to use your imagination for a much deeper explanation than the familial issues hinted at more than twice.

The Gambler (2014), Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman
The Gambler (2014), Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman

This isn’t the type of movie that plays easy. Some may even accuse Wyatt’s film of being somewhat uneven. True or not, the audience is definitely never left comfortable.

Either the viewer is quite rightly concerned for Bennett’s safety and the safety of those he cares about or they’re worried as to why he really doesn’t seem to care much about the consequences of his seemingly reckless actions.

The best thing about The Gambler for me, besides the individual performances (John Goodman being a particular highlight), is the dialogue. An element most would have had a taster of in the very well executed promotional trailer a few months earlier.

My exposure to Mark Wahlberg’s work has been largely focused on his comedic roles, so this was an overdue and welcome difference.

Happy The Gambler 🙂

G

RATATOUILLE (2007) Perfect Words For All With Big Dreams

Ratatouille (2007, Peter Sohn, Emile
Ratatouille (2007, Peter Sohn, Emile

I’m not even particularly passionate about cooking but Ratatouille is very much ‘up there’ as one of the best animated movies. Considering that it comes from the same family that created the Toy Story films, this should be no surprise.

Who can resist the beautiful tale of a rat with an all-consuming passion for cooking?

Now, I’m not suddenly saying that I like rats. I find the real life furry, long tailed beasts absolutely terrifying. But the magic of animation means that the most seemingly hideous beasts can be made to look more beautiful than anyone could’ve ever imagined.

Ratatouille (2007, Patton Oswalt, Remi
Ratatouille (2007, Patton Oswalt, Remi

As you can see from these pictures, there’s cuteness, definitely plenty of cuteness. Cuteness mixed in with comedy and the occasional action sequence, making for a super animated fantasy adventure.

Ratatouille is  an inspirational tale. The sort with the types of positive, encouraging and lifting messages I’m sure I’ll never tire of hearing.

Happy Ratatouille 🙂

G

THE IMITATION GAME (2014): Alan Turing, Benedict Cumberbatch… 2 British Greats

The Imitation Game (2014), Benedict Cumberbatch
The Imitation Game (2014), Benedict Cumberbatch

Oscar nominated for his moving portrayal of real life computer scientist, mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst, Alan Turing; Benedict Cumberbatch is an Actor whose work I must pay much closer attention to from now on.

His version of Turing, an important man in the history of Britain, especially during the Second World War and how it came to end when it did is brilliant.

Directed by Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game is a thrilling biographical drama that grabs you from the very beginning. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud in several parts, thanks to Graham Moore’s Oscar winning screenplay.

The Imitation Game (2014), Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley
The Imitation Game (2014), Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley

You’re also bound to chance upon feelings of gratitude for the times in which you live – whatever your background. Reason being, when you think about how things actually transpired for Turing in the very end, it’s worse than a great shame. Particularly considering the importance of the work he did in serving his country.

One of my favourite moments is the opening dialogue of Tyldum’s film. Reason being,  it happens to be exactly what I want to say to people I watch movies with – as the voice of the movie. It’s basically what every film commands from audiences that sit down to watch.

The Imitation Game (2014), Benedict Cumberbatch
The Imitation Game (2014), Benedict Cumberbatch

If you haven’t already watched The Imitation Game and you want said opening dialogue to remain a surprise, stop reading now.

‘Are you paying attention? Good. If you’re not listening carefully, you will miss things. Important things. I will not pause, I will not repeat myself and you will not interrupt me.

You think that because you are sitting where you are and I am sitting where I am that you are in control of what is about to happen. You are mistaken. I am in control, because I know things that you don’t know. What I will need from you now is a commitment. 

You will listen closely and you will not judge me until I have finished. If you cannot commit to this, then please leave the room. But if you choose to stay. remember you chose to be here. What happens from this moment forward is not my responsibility. It’s yours. Pay attention.’

Happy The Imitation Game 🙂

G

BEYOND THE LIGHTS (2014): Whatever’s In Your Heart, Do That

Beyond The Lights (2014), Gugu Mbartha-Raw
Beyond The Lights (2014), Gugu Mbartha-Raw

Firstly, I love the name of the female star of the Gina Prince-Bythewood directed Beyond The Lights. If you didn’t already know, It’s British actress Gugu Mbartha-Raw.

The pressures of fame and success as a female in the music business is an important aspect of this carefully handled story – which also stars Minnie Driver, Nate Parker and Danny Glover.

As I watched, I found myself reminded of all the times that famous and wise musicians have emphasised the importance of surrounding oneself with ‘the right people’ –  people who tell you the truth and those who absolutely have your best interests at heart.

Beyond The Lights (2014), Gugu Mbartha-Raw, Nate Parker
Beyond The Lights (2014), Gugu Mbartha-Raw, Nate Parker

There’s also a great message about personal truth and how it can be difficult to accept, but more often than not, when it finally is, therein lies the beginning of a journey toward one’s own version of happiness.

Sometimes being selfish is the only way. Especially since it’s from love of self and learning of / knowing one’s value that you have the strength to do what deep down you know you must.

Watch it because you’re curious about what the world of such a story can be like and because you want to know if and how the protagonist comes to fair under the pressures of both fame and her own personal truth.

Happy Beyond The Lights 🙂

G

BOYHOOD (2014): A Different Kind Of ‘Coming Of Age’ Film

Boyhood (2014), EllarColtrane
Boyhood (2014), EllarColtrane

Incase you weren’t already sure of what Richard Linklater’s Oscar winning film is about, It’s all in the title. To clarify, the audience is essentially invited to witness the life of an American family over 12 years and through the eyes of a young boy.

The story begins from childhood and continues to the point said boy, Mason – played by Ellar Coltrane, becomes a college student. Unsurprisingly, the film is nearly 3 hours long. The only time the length bothered me was within the first 30 minutes – the point after which things did become more interesting.

As a result of the movie being filmed over the extended period of 12 years and with the same actors, the technical and narrative achievement is notable. Additionally, the profound sense of realism – the kind not often found on screen is one of the key reasons Boyhood is quite celebrated.

What is also refreshing  about Linklater’s movie and style is the nuanced performances. There is no over explanation of everything. The audience is trusted to think and reach their own conclusions.

Boyhood (2014), Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater
Boyhood (2014), Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater

What I enjoyed most about Boyhood is the relationship the two main siblings have with their parents, particularly Mason’s interactions with his father (Ethan Hawke). The conversations they have and the father’s responses are just the kind of thing one would hope for.

Watch it because even though the title is Boyhood, the film also has something to say about motherhood, fatherhood, family and life in general.

Happy Film Loving  

G