Category Archives: No Spoiler Reviews

MINIONS (2015): For Their General Adorableness & Super Joy Inducing Qualities

Minions (2015), Stuart, Kevin, Bob (Pierre Coffin)
Minions (2015), Stuart, Kevin, Bob (Pierre Coffin)

Minions is the film I had been waiting and hoping for ever since I saw the first Despicable Me (2010) movie. It was clear for me even then that the minions were the ones I wanted more of.

After spending time dreaming about a minion focused movie, I’m glad to confirm that any fears I had about the end result not being as good as hoped were a complete waste of time.

Directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin and written by Brian Lynch, my favourite thing about Minions besides the adorableness of the yellow, banana loving and happiness inducing beauties is the fact that this time, the audience got to know more about the minions. You learn more of their story, from how they they came to where those blue dungarees to the different personalities of the three main minions, Stuart, Kevin and Bob.

Minions (2015), Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), Bob, Kevin, Stuart (Pierre Coffin)
Minions (2015), Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), Bob, Kevin, Stuart (Pierre Coffin)

I haven’t yet met anyone that doesn’t enjoy the minions, though I’m certain that they exist.

I love them so much that I’ve been known to yelp with delight and at head-turning volumes at the sight of them. I was caught off guard with tens of minions plush toys in a busy mall. Looking back, it was quite embarrassing, but who has time for embarrassment, really, when lots of minions soft toys are right in front of you?

Minions (2015), Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), Herb Overkill (John Hamm)
Minions (2015), Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), Herb Overkill (John Hamm)

The film isn’t perfect in the traditional sense but it’s hugely loved nonetheless because it doesn’t need to be nor does it need to follow all the traditional rules.

Watch Minions for a fun adventure that’ll leave you with a sizeable smile on your face, praise for the ending and a prayer for an even better next instalment, should it make sense.

Sandra Bullock is great as super villain Scarlet Overkill. Jon Hamm Allison Janney, Michael Keaton, Pierre Coffin, Steve Koogan and Jennifer Saunders provide some of the the voices that bring the other key characters to life.

Watch it and laugh and smile.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

YOUTH (2015): For The Wisdom In The Stories & The Spectacular Audio Visual Feast…

Youth (2015), Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel
Youth (2015), Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel

The music and cinematography in Youth are the first things you’ll notice. Then comes the the dialogue and highly accomplished acting talent in the shape of Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Jane Fonda, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano.

Youth reminds me of part of the reason why film is such a great love of mine. How through film, all the different forms of artistic expression can come together and be enjoyed, all in one place and in a whole new way.

As I would advise anyone before viewing a movie, watch only when you’re in the right mood for a particular genre of film. I fear that should you not be in the mood for the drama/ non-action/ non-thriller that Youth is, you may judge it unfairly.

Youth (2015), Rachel Weisz
Youth (2015), Rachel Weisz

Youth is the type of film that will likely leave you with plenty to think about; from what constitutes a good friendship, the cost of becoming one of the best in your field, to the things in life that drive us and the unexpected outcomes of the friendships / relationships in our lives.

There is so much to take in that by the end you’ll get the feeling that another viewing needs to happen soon, if not immediately. Writer / director Paolo Sorrentino’s movie is two hours long. As such, ‘immediately’ is probably not the best way to go. 

Youth is wise and smart. It’s funny in parts, though not a comedy. It’s also officially my favourite Michael Caine film.

I really loved this Youth but embarrassingly, I knew very little of the rather accomplished Sorrentino’s work beforehand. I’ve since reviewed his filmography and The Great Beauty (2013) is now on my watch list.

Time for me to think about when best to visit Switzerland, because the visual feast that is Youth definitely has me sold.

Happy Film Loving

G

CHILD 44 (2015): Tom Hardy Shines, As Expected

Child 44 (2015), Tom Hardy
Child 44 (2015), Tom Hardy

Child 44 is a Stalin-era Soviet Union crime thriller directed by Daniel Espinosa.

Based on Tom Rob Smith’s best-selling book of the same name; Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel and Joel Kinnaman are the stars.

My main motivation for watching the movie isn’t reading the book because  I haven’t, but the intriguing story. Particularly Hardy’s role as a determined investigator of a series of gruesome child murders. Murders that are taking place during a time when the powers that be refuse to admit that murder is even a real thing.

I wanted Child 44 to be as thrilling as the trailer hinted. However, I did find myself wishing for a quicker pace, a shorter film, less distracting accents and an overall better/more thrilling execution.

All the lacking elements aside, Hardy’s performance is good and one of my favourite things about the movie. The other is the ending and the tension filled scene on the moving train.

Child 44 (2015), Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy
Child 44 (2015), Noomi Rapace, Tom Hardy

You may be compelled to watch Child 44 because you’ve read the book and or you’re a Tom Hardy fan. One who wants to see how he was able to deliver a notable physical and emotional performance, in spite of the questionable Russian accents. To that I say, follow your curiosity. I did and I have no regrets, I just simply wish that the general result had been better.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

PIXELS (2015): For The Fans Of The Games…

Pixels (2015), Michelle Monaghan, Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage
Pixels (2015), Michelle Monaghan, Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage

Pixels is a  comedy/ action / sci-fi that’s directed by Chris Columbus and stars Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan and Peter Dinklage.

The first trailer for the movie didn’t look great. Though the second was an improvement, my conclusion after sitting through the movie is that I’m just not the target market.

I used to play Pac-Man growing up but never enough to call myself a half serious video gaming fan. It’s those who love and/or loved retro video games like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Tetris, that will get the most out of Pixels. For everyone else, there are a few funny moments but, overall, ‘silly’ might be a word that comes to mind.

Pixels (2015), Toru Iwatani
Pixels (2015), Toru Iwatani

The best part in the movie besides the soundtrack and what the creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani screams in the trailer? That would be the last twenty minutes of the film, particularly the Donkey Kong phase. Tune in if you absolutely must. I did because of I’m a fan of Gad, Sandler, Dinklage and Pac-Man.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

TOMORROWLAND (2015): There Is Something I Liked…

Tomorrowland (2015), Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy
Tomorrowland (2015), Britt Robertson, George Clooney, Raffey Cassidy

When I saw the trailer for Academy Award winning director, Brad Bird’s latest sci-fi, Tomorrowland, I wasn’t particularly wowed/ hugely interested. That’s probably because it looked like a kids sci-fi, which it kind of is. Still, I was a little curious, especially with George Clooney as one of the stars.

The future of humanity, optimism and time travel are key themes in Tomorrowland. Its main character is an optimistic teenage science enthusiast played by Britt Robertson. Unfortunately, for reasons I’m not quite certain of, I found myself not really able to connect with Robertson’s protagonist. Not to say that the character’s positive outlook and general optimism didn’t sit well with me, or that it isn’t correct. It’s likely that the general story just didn’t provide the necessary elements required or provide them in the right way (if at all) in order for a connection to happen. It could also be that I’m simply not the target market.

I do have a favourite thing about Tomorrowland and that is the meaning behind the story about ‘feeding the wolf’. Beyond that, Bird’s film just feels like a long winded and not particularly well structured way of saying one thing about the importance of optimism and creativity, especially as it pertains to the future of our planet and everything in it.

Watch Tomorrowland if you absolutely must. However, if you’re just not that curious, the following is a SPOILER / quote of  the feeding the wolf story that I mentioned:

‘There are two wolves and they’re always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. Which wolf wins…? Whichever one you feed’

Hugh Laurie, Raffey Cassidy, Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn also star.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

SOME KIND OF BEAUTIFUL (2014): Not Perfect But There’s Something I LIked…

Some Kind Of Beautiful (2014), Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek
Some Kind Of Beautiful (2014), Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek

Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba star in Some Kind Of Beautiful. A Tom Vaughn directed drama/ romance set in England and LA.

Some Kind Of Beautiful is unfortunately not the most well executed movie I’ve seen recently. Its ills include the dialogue, general execution – particularly the lines delivered by Malcolm McDowell and aspects of the story that just don’t make sense to me, in terms of the character’s motivations or lack there of.

I tuned in firstly because I was in the mood for an onscreen romance. Secondly I wanted to watch a movie that wasn’t too demanding of my attention and lastly, I love Salma Hayek, a gifted actress and all round very smart woman.

There are things I did enjoy about Some Kind Of Beautiful and they include the soundtrack, the relationship between the sisters and the sunny LA location. I love to travel, you see. Even when I have to do it using mainly my imagination. 🙂

Watch it if something about the movie strongly appeals or if you really, really must.

Happy Film Loving

G

SAN ANDREAS (2015): For The Visual Effects and…

San Andreas (2015), Carla Gugino, Dwayne Johnson
San Andreas (2015), Carla Gugino, Dwayne Johnson

Directed by Brad Peyton; Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, and Paul Giamatti are the stars of San Andreas – that California earthquake movie you may have heard about over the summer.

You may also have heard that the visual effects are breathtaking and they are. However, the thing I enjoyed most is actually the unique father daughter relationship. San Andreas isn’t a bad movie, there’s just nothing that feels particularly new about it, therefore making it feel not quite as epic as I’d hoped.

San Andreas (2015), Art Parkinson, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Alexandra Daddario
San Andreas (2015), Art Parkinson, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Alexandra Daddario

Some random things came to mind as I watched:

  • On account of all the dust, running, falling and screaming, how much fun was being an extra on this movie, really?
  • I honestly don’t recall the last time I saw such excellent mother/ daughter casting.
  • You’d have to be blind not to notice Alexandra Daddario’s eyeballs. If you’ve seen the film, I know you noticed!
  • I better be careful because I don’t know anyone that would come and rescue me at a time when the traditional emergency services cannot. But then again… you never know. Just don’t rely on it, of course. But still, you never know…

If by this point you’re still curious, watch it for the impressive visual effects and all else that appeals.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G

DOPE (2015): For The Cleverness, Comedy, Music & Style

Dope (2015), Kiersey Clemons, Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori
Dope (2015), Kiersey Clemons, Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori

Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons play the three main characters of rick Famuyiwa’s letest, Dope. Blake Anderson, Kimberly Elise, rapper, A$ap Rocky, Zoe Kravitz and De’aundre Bonds make up some of the key supporting cast.

I’ve watched several of writer/ director Rick Famuyiwa’s films in the past. One of them being The Wood (1999); a movie similar to Dope in the way that it’s a comedy/ drama that tells the story of high school friends growing up in one of America’s toughest neighbourhoods, Inglewood, California.

The beauty with Dope is in the complexity and cleverness of the story, the vibrant cinematography and the way Famuyiwa’s film feels like a celebration of the smarts of the high school geek.

Considering where the film takes place, naturally there are some tense and hair raising moments. Moments that will have everyone that has never lived in a similar neighbourhood counting their lucky stars.

Dope (2015), Zoe Kravitz
Dope (2015), Zoe Kravitz

The good news is that Dope manages to remain positive and an authentic and fun film experience. One that steers clear of becoming far too grim.

Yes, you’ll probably feel grateful as you watch, but what you’ll remember most are the colours, the funny and clever script, the positive / uplifting music and the seldom celebrated smarts of the geek.

Watch it because it’s good.

Happy Film Loving 🙂

G