Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies DVD Review: Legend (2015)


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Tom Hardy is a strange fish as an actor. Famous for being almost incomprehensible in “The Dark Night Rises” and almost equally incomprehensible in his co-starring role in “The Revenant”, it’s sometimes really difficult to get a sense of his true abilities. Here in “Legend” he gets to show what he’s made of…. Twice! Hardy plays both roles in the story of Reggie and Ronnie Kray, the infamous gangsters who ruled across large parts of London in the 1960’s.

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Pushing the term “Best Man” to its most extreme interpretation. Wedding day for Reggie Kray.

The film tells the story of the rise of the duo, focusing in particular on the wooing by Reggie of Frances (Emily Browning), the local girl who fell in love with and then married the hoodlum. Reggie and Ronnie – whilst both undisputed ‘bad uns’ – were as different as chalk and cheese. Reggie was all for semi-legitimising the business, running deals through his socialite-heavy clubs, and gaining higher-level cover by inveigling his way into control of political contacts such as Lord Boothby (a delightfully oily John Sessions).

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“I had garlic last night – can you tell?” Emily Browning and Tom Hardy (as Reggie).

In contrast, Ronnie was an out-and-out psychopath with a malfunctioning ‘off’ button and no button at all marked ‘self-control’. An open homosexual – something far more shocking in the ‘60s than it is today – Ronnie was a medicated loose cannon that even Reggie had trouble controlling. Gathering a posse of ‘boys’ around him (including Kingsman’s Taron Egerton) Ronnie blazes a trail of bloody violence against rival gangs with little regard to the consequences.  

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Sharp suits but not from Kingsman’s. Taron Egerton and Tom Hardy (as Ronnie).

On the side of the law was Nipper Read (“Dr Who” re-booter Christopher Ecclestone) as the dogged detective trying to find something – anything – to pin on the brothers.

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A compromising photo for Nipper Read (Christopher Ecclestone).

Hardy manages to convey each brothers’ idiosyncrasies so well that you quickly forget that this is the same actor playing both roles. It is only in some of the more interactive scenes (such as a fight between the two of them) that the illusion fails apart somewhat and where acting twins would have made for more convincing footage (unfortunately Jedward were unavailable!).

What makes Hardy’s performance as Reggie particularly memorable is that for much of the film – and against your better judgment – you end up rooting for Reggie and wishing him to ‘succeed’. (This is more by way of comparison against Ronnie’s truly abhorrent behaviour than against any absolute measure of ‘good’).

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British songstress Duffy letting loose in the Kray’s club.

Browning is also compelling as the love-lost Frances, getting deeper and deeper into a world she has no control over and having to act to extremes of both love and fear. Also worthy of mention is the portrayal by David Thewlis (Lupin from the Potter films) of the Kray’s financial advisor Leslie Payne: a man who knows he has the financial respect of the twins (at least Reggie) but is always sailing a dangerous course between kowtowing to them and criticising their actions. 

Written and directed by Brian Helgeland (“Payback”), this is an intelligent British thriller, reflecting a visceral view of the criminal underworld of London in the ‘60’s. Overall, its an enjoyable watch that perhaps – Hardy aside – doesn’t quite live up to its potential. A note however for the sensitive viewer: this is a very (very) violent film in places, and a couple of the scenes in particular are hard to watch. 

 Fad Rating:  FFFf.    

But What Did You Think?  Do You Agree With My Rating And Comments?  Please Let Me Know By Commenting Below! 

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Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies DVD Review: Sicario (2015)

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“This is the land of wolves now”.

Sicario (‘Hitman’ in Mexican) is well worth your viewing time. The ever-reliable Emily Blunt excels here as FBI agent and hostage specialist Kate Macer. After a gruesome discovery in Phoenix, Kate becomes an idealistic fish-out-of-water in a complex CIA mission, run by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) against a notorious Mexican drug cartel. Key to the mission is Columbian-born Alejandro (Benicio del Toro): a man with a tragic past that directly guides his future. To tell more would spoil what is a dense and complex storyline that evolves in a most satisfactory manner.

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Kate and Reggie getting their just deserts.

The acting is superb, with Blunt giving a career-best performance (sadly overlooked by the major awards), Josh Brolin being convincing as the war-weathered CIA man and Benicio del Toro delivering his best stone cold killer in gripping style. His Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination is well deserved, albeit for the maintenance of a fairly standard and chilling expression. Finally a name to watch for the future is London-born Daniel Kaluuya as Macer’s black FBI colleague frustrated at being sidelined as a ‘spare’ by the task force. 

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Kate wasn’t convinced with her new ‘Haemo’ shampoo, whatever the adverts said.

Equally praiseworthy is the epic cinematography of Roger Deakin (“Skyfall”, “No Country for Old Men”) which is also Oscar nominated. Remarkable landscapes of the Mexican border are supported by breathtaking helicopter/drone shots of the CIA convoy of black vehicles in one of the tenser moments in the film. Outstanding (for both direction, editing and cinematography) is a scene set in and around a tunnel that is the best satellite/night vision scene since the ‘electronic battlefield’ in “Patriot Games” in 1992.

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Roger Deakin’s impressive cinematography makes for some memorable images.

The Oscar-nominated music by Jóhann Jóhannsson (so good with “The Theory of Everything”) is of the atonal electronic variety, undoubtedly effective in conveying the film’s mood but difficult to compare against the more obvious Oscar nominations from the likes of Ennio Morricone and John Williams.

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The dictionary definition of a Mexican Standoff.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (who specialises in single named features) this is a tense, intelligent and thought-providing film that does nothing for Mexico’s tourist industry but a lot for Trump’s presidential campaign!

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Del Toro, a dish best served cold.

Often brutal, this is not an easy film to watch. But it is a highly intelligent watch, requiring your full attention throughout, and is deserving of a place among the best films of 2015. Recommended.

Fad Rating: FFFF.

But What Did You Think?  Do You Agree With My Rating And Comments?  Please Let Me Know By Commenting Below!

 

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies Film Review: Zoolander 2 (2016)

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In September 2001, a comedy classic opened in cinemas. Unfortunately, thanks to Al Qaeda, noone went to see it. Albeit coming in second place for box office in its opening weekend it drew in a paltry $15M and went on to do a feeble $61M worldwide. Ben Stiller must have been fuming. Fortunately, DVD sales and word of mouth brought with it a post-release revenue stream and its positive reputation.

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Ridiculously good looking… and Penelope Cruz isn’t bad either!

Now, 14 years later, the team are back in Zoolander 2 (or 2-lander). Conscious of its history, the film starts with a hilarious spoof on 9-11 (too soon?), when Derek Zoolander’s ‘Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good’ in New York collapses into the Hudson with devastating personal consequences.

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Stylish in defeat. ‘Old’ Derek and ‘Lameé’ Hansel

Wind forwards to the present day and both Zoolander and his equally ridiculously good-looking colleague Hansel are both living reclusive lives away from the fashion world. In terms of the ‘plot’ that brings them back into the real world, its all pretty incomprehensible – a loosely linked set of components:

  • There is a string of assassinations of pop stars, starting with Bieber (never too soon), all of who die pulling a Zoolander pose;
  • There is evil fashion guru Mugatu (Will Ferrell), incarcerated in a high security fashion prison (an enormous thimble with associated needle!) but plotting with his fashion-house accomplice Alexanya Atoz (Kristen Wiig) to find the fountain of youth. (This plot riffs rather clumsily on a ‘Da Vinci code’ theme);
  • There is Derek’s search for his estranged son; 
  • All tied together with Valentina Valencia (Penelope Cruz) as the ex-swimsuit model cum Interpol agent (Fashion division) trying to get to the bottom of everything. 

Like I said, incomprehensible.

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It will come as no surprise, dear viewer, that Ben Stiller had a hand in writing this script!

The film is absolutely stuffed full of cameos. Some of these are hilarious – Kiefer Sutherland’s in particular, channelling a gay Jack Bauer. Many others are ‘stars’ largely unknown to non-Americans and/or dedicated followers of fashion. Unfortunately too many times in the film the cameos have the effect of bringing the comedy/action to a grinding halt, particularly in the finale.

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All for one and one for all. Cumberbatch, a long way from Sherlock and Khan.

On the plus side, the film is gorgeous to look at (and here I’m not JUST talking about Penelope Cruz in a red-leather bike suit). It appears at times to be more like a Bond film with its swooping location shots, sharp editing and clever camera work. It also successfully riffs, Austin Powers-style, on the tech-changes that have happened since our heroes have been absent from the world: small phones are now out; huge iPads are in! And (for me) the 90’s ad for ‘Aqua Vitae’, with Zoolander and Naomi Campbell, was the funniest thing I’ve seen at the cinema in a long while.

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Ferrell had fallen asleep in the tattoo parlour and now he was pissed: he’d only come in for “Mum” on his arm.

Whilst it was enjoyable as a long-overdue return to these characters, some of the jokes were more miss than hit. While it’s fair to say my wife enjoyed it enormously, I found it rather more tepid. An opportunity missed. Given that we were the ONLY people in the cinema on a Wednesday evening watching it, it has appeared to be a miss at the box office as well: in a curious case of history repeating itself, it’s opening weekend box office was also $15M.

Fad Rating:  FFF.

But What Did You Think?  Do You Agree With My Rating And Comments?  Please Let Me Know By Commenting Below!

Posted in Film Awards

One Mann’s Movies Special: The 2016 Academy Awards – Will Win; Should Win

After my decent effort (11/17) of predicting the 2016 BAFTA awards, it’s time to look at the BIG one: the 2016 Academy Award presentations to be made next Sunday, February 28th. So below you will find my predictions as to what/who I think WILL win (considering how normal Hollywood biases apply) and what/who I think SHOULD win the coveted Oscar.

I’ve specifically excluded many of the minor categories since I haven’t seen enough of the films  (though that probably doesn’t stop the voters!). So excluded from the list below are: “Animated Films” (though “Inside Out” gets my vote for “Animated Feature” – and won); “Documentaries” (although ditto for “Amy” for “Documentary Feature” – which also won); the “Shorts” category and the “Foreign Language” film category.

I’m also ashamed to admit that I’ve still not got to see a small number of the films in the list: “Trumbo”; “45 Years” and “Straight Outta Compton” (I’ve marked these in the lists with an asterisk).

Can Bob-the-Movie-Man do better with my Oscar predictions?  I’ll repost this blog with the results on the night!

[Note: I’ve changed my mind on the Best Supporting Actress award – I reedited this BEFORE the event – and no DeLorean involved!]

Now updated with the results!  

My score was 12/18 which I’m quite happy with.  Just didn’t see the Mad Max technical love-in, and certainly DIDN’T see or approve of the Best Film award.  

 

Best Film

Best Film Composite

  • Brooklyn
  • The Revenant
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Big Short
  • The Martian
  • Spotlight
  • Room
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Will Win:  The Revenant.  Should Win:  The Revenant

Did Win: Spotlight.  (Sorry, but that seems a travesty given the flow of the other awards. #nothappy).

A solid nominations list, this shows its been a really good year for film. Two films missing from the list (imho) are “Carol” and “Ex Machina”, which I would probably swap in place of “Spotlight” and “Bridge of Spies”. It’s unlikely that “The Martian” will win, since the Oscar seldom goes to a Comedy or Musical (LOL – see here).  I think the “Revenant” is done with such verve and style it should win on the night.

 Actor in a Leading Role

Best Actor composite

  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo*
  • Matt Damon – The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Will Win:  Leonardo DiCaprio.  Should Win:  Leonardo DiCaprio.

Did Win: Leonardo DiCaprio.

Surely to God this must be DiCaprio’s year mustn’t it?  If he doesn’t he’ll just have to grin and ‘bear’ it!

Actress in a Leading Role

Best Actress composite

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years*
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Will Win:  Brie Larson.  Should Win:  Brie Larson.

Did Win: Brie Larson.

This is a wide-open category. Perhaps the surprise is Charlotte Rampling’s nomination ahead of Alicia Vikander for either the “The Danish Girl” or “Ex Machina” (surely leading actress roles!!).  Cate Blanchett might get it, but it would be wonderful if young Ms Larson snatched it to match her BAFTA win for her excellent performance in “Room”.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Supporting Actor composite

  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy – The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Will Win:  Sylvester Stallone.  Should Win: Mark Rylance.

Did Win: Mark Rylance.  (Hoorah! – head over heart).

Hmm.. this is a tricky one, since the award really should go to Rylance for his quiet yet mesmerising performance as the Russian spy. However, there is an emotional symmetry behind the Academy recognising Stallone for his Rocky reboot and – I rather fear – that heart might rule the head on the night.  It was a good performance by Stallone, but…

Actress in a Supporting Role

Supporting Actress composite

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Will Win:  Alicia Vikander.  Should Win: Rooney Mara.

Did Win: Alicia Vikander.  (#delighted!)

When is an actress “Supporting” rather than “Leading”?  Surely the main female in any film must be the “leading” actress? Clearly the Academy thinks not, else 3 of these 5 wouldn’t be there (and arguably that’s 4 out of 5 since Mara is a co-lead).

This is another really tough category to predict.  I was ‘gobsmacked’ to see Winslet take the BAFTA for this category, but without the positive British momentum perhaps the flow will head towards Jason Leigh for her brilliantly over the top performance for Tarantino. However, the two actresses I would really like to see recognised in this category are Alicia Vikander (for either “The Danish Girl” or “Ex Machina”, both equally good) and Rooney Mara – my personal preference – just exquisite in “Carol”.

Cinematography

Cinematography composite

  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario

Will Win: The Revenant.  Should Win: Carol.

Did Win: The Revenant.

Another category stuffed with films with memorable scenes.  I think the voting for this will go with Emmanuel Lubezki’s epic work on “The Revenant”, but my personal choice would be the ‘quietest’ of the five – Edward Lachman’s beautifully rendered view of 1950’s America in “Carol”.

Costume Design

costume composite

  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Should Win: Carol.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

The BAFTA went to Mad Max ahead of more ‘obvious’ British candidates, so I will put my money on that for this category.  However, I would still view Carol as so gorgeously decorative that it deserves to win.

Directing

Director Composite

  • Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant 
  • Room – Lenny Abrahamson
  • Spotlight – Tom McCarthy

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.  Should Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Did Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Iñárritu will surely win this for “The Revenant”… or I’ll go and eat a raw bison liver.

Film Editing

Editing composite

  • The Big Short
  • Spotlight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • The Revenant

Will Win: The Revenant.  Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

I’d personally have dropped “Spectre” into this category, if for nothing else than for the apparently continuous ‘tracking shot’ in the first five minutes. I think this will go to “The Revenant”, though it’s difficult to tell whether some of the extraordinary scenes were down to editing or special effects or a mixture of the two. Nothing contributes to an action film like the editing, and for me Margaret Sixel deserves this award for delivering a literally high octane experience like no other this year in “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

Make-Up and Hair Styling

Hair composite

  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out a Window and Disappeared*

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road

A curiously light category:  no Carol? no Brooklyn?  I’ve only seen two of the three, but Mad Max is the one that stands out.

Music (Original Score)

Music composite

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Carol
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: The Hateful Eight.  Should Win: The Hateful Eight.

Did Win: The Hateful Eight.

It’s wonderful to see Carter Burwell’s music for “Carol” recognised in this category (overlooked at the BAFTAs). This year saw the return of two titans of the film soundtrack world:  John Williams with “Star Wars” and Ennio Morricone with “The Hateful Eight”. For me, Morricone’s score was the most impressive and he should follow his BAFTA win with the Oscar.

Music (Original Song)

Song composite

  • “Earned It” – Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray” – Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song #3” – Youth
  • “Til it Happens to You” – The Hunting Ground
  • “Writings on the Wall” – Spectre

Will Win: Writings on the Wall.  Should Win: Manta Ray.

Did Win: “Writings on the Wall”.

There’s no telling where the Oscar might go on this one… with Lady Gaga in the mix with “Til it Happens to You” and Sam Smith’s hit (loved and hated in equal measure).  My personal favourite is the moody “Manta Ray”.

Production Design

Prod design composite

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

I recently watched Mad Max again… and it is a masterpiece of design and organisation, with filming in the Namibia desert in conditions almost as extreme as “The Revenant”.

Sound Editing

Sound composite

  • Sicario
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Should Win: The Martian.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

(What’s the difference between Sound Editing and Sound Mixing?  There is a good explanation here.  But it always seems a little greedy that the subject gets two of the awards!)   As a non-technician, I will probably get this wrong, but Star Wars has a long held tradition for its ground-breaking work in sound. I thought some of the dialogue in “The Revenant” was incomprehensible, but I suspect it might still win!  For me, “The Martian” is the one where I noticed the sound design most prominently.

Sound Mixing

Sound Mixing composite

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: The Revenant.  Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Again, I will probably get this wrong, but the BAFTA for sound went with “The Revenant” so I will follow that lead.

Visual Effects

Visual composite

  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Should Win: Ex Machina.

Did Win: Ex Machina.  (#delighted-to-be-wrong)

“The Revenant” had some astonishing (yet subtle) special effects in it, so good to see it nominated in this category.  I ‘m not sure the vote will go the same way as the BAFTAs here (“Star Wars”), so I am going to plump for “Mad Max” to win this one. But my love would stay with the beautiful and sensual realisation of Eva in “Ex Machina”.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Adapted Screenplay composite

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • The Martian
  • Carol
  • Room

Will Win: The Big Short.  Should Win: The Big Short.

Did Win: The Big Short.

One of my favourite films of 2016 so far, largely down to the excellent and entertaining script adapted from Adam McKay’s book.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

screenplay original composite

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton*

Will Win: Spotlight.  Should Win: Ex Machina.

Did Win: Spotlight.

The BAFTA went to “Spotlight”:  one of the films (and I seem to be in a minority here) that I was disappointed with.  Though not very “wordy”, I would go with “Ex Machina” for this.

 


There’s nothing more contentious than movie awards!  No you agree with my suggestions?  Who else do you think was robbed by not being nominated this year?  Please feel free to comment below!

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies Film Review: Deadpool (2016)

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The LOL-worthy Deadpool spoof poster for Valentine’s Day.

How the hell do you review a film like Deadpool? It’s almost in a category of its own.

Ryan Reynolds is no stranger to superhero pics: he played the disappointingly limp “Green Lantern” in 2011 and before that he played this character – Wade Wilson – in “Wolverine: Origins” with Hugh Jackman (who is the butt of one of the many in-jokes in this film). Reynolds, as heir to Bradley Cooper as the pretty boy of Hollywood, has never really found a break-out role but here, hiding behind a face that looks like “an avocado had sex with another, older, avocado”, he achieves true stardom: a franchise that looks like it could run and run. And he is very good in it too.

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Are you feeling lucky? Well are ya, punk?

In this ‘origins’ story, told partially in flashback, Wade Wilson, a fairly unpleasant mercenary bad guy “who gets paid to f*** over worse guys”, has some bad news from his doctor. He tries to do the honorable thing by up and leaving tart-with-a-heart Morena Baccarin (Brody’s wife from the first series of “Homeland”) to go in search of a way forward. The superhero cure is offered by semi-super Ajax (Ed Skrein) but comes at a price (cue the guacamole) making it difficult for him to return to his lover.  (Erm, so not a great morale boosting story for any burn-victims then?)

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The shapely and talented Morena Baccarin, (largely) keeping her clothes on for this one.

Let’s start with the script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick – two of the guys behind the highly entertaining and anarchic “Zombieland”. “Deadpool” sticks its tongue firmly in its cheek from the spectacular opening titles (the Director is described as an “overpaid tool”) and the script bounces from great comic line to great comic line almost without a pause. As an example, Ryan says he wants to live until 103 and then die… “just like Detroit”. LOL.

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Stinging comments in the rain. Reynolds stars as Mr Pool, Dead.

Stan Lee cameos aside, some of the Marvel films can be quite po-faced and serious but this one comes from the more comic “Ant-Man” end of the stables. In general the script is highly disrespectful of the Marvel world it inhabits, with shots being fired at various sacred lambs, particularly the X-Men. As such, I’m not quite sure how some of the true fan-boys, (those who wear spandex under their day clothes), might react to this. The film makers are pissing on their ‘reality’ – albeit with love – from a great height here!

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Deadpool is shocked by the lack of dental package offered by the X-Men recruiter Collosus.

In mood it is like the bastard child of a genetic experiment combining the genes of Spider-man, X-Men, Kick-Ass and Kingsman. As a viewing guide, if you really didn’t care for the anarchic and violence-laced humour of these last two films then in all probability you really won’t like Deadpool. 

I personally thought it was great fun, and a blast from beginning to post-credit end. The movie breaks the fourth wall shamelessly – something I often hate in a film – but gets away with it and even has the kahunas to have Reynolds address the fourth wall by making a joke about breaking the fourth wall! Audacious!

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Brianna Hildebrand, hilarious as Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Still not smart enough to fill the car up.

However, my positive feelings are tinged with a feeling that we, as the audience, are all being ‘had’ to a degree. The whole thing is a bit overly smug. If Blackadder was writing this he’d describe it as being directed by Smug McSmuggerson, the king of Smugland.  A recurring joke is the low budget afforded the movie, and we get hit over the head with that multiple times. It’s all a little bit too knowing. The director is actually Tim Miller, and this – extraordinarily – is his feature film debut. But the guy clearly has class – this is off the back of him winning an Oscar no less for his animated short film “Gopher Broke”.

In summary, with curious timing, a surprise summer blockbuster while there is still ice scraping of windscreens required. 

Fad Rating: FFFF.

But What Did You Think?  Do You Agree With My Rating And Comments?  Please Let Me Know By Commenting Below!

(Note: Below is the Red Band trailer – viewer discretion advised).

 

 

 

Posted in Film Awards

One Mann’s Movies Special: 2016 BAFTA Awards (Will Win/Should Win/DID Win)

BAFTA

OK – so it’s that time of year again, and time to put the proverbial member on the block and nail my predictions to the wall for the 2016 BAFTA awards, which will be presented in London this evening. In traditional fashion I’ve predicted, for the main categories, what/who I think will win (considering how normal industry biases applied) and what/who I think should win (as if you, dear reader, give a damn what I think!).

I do find it perennially annoying that BAFTA choose to follow the Oscar buzz by nominating films that were not actually released in the UK until 2016, but (with a few exceptions like “Trumbo” and “Sicario”) I have managed to see most of the films (I’ve marked those I haven’t seen with an asterisk).

For this reason I also haven’t suggested any winners in the ‘Shorts’ categories (though why isn’t Pixar’s fantastic “Lava” nominated in the Animated Short category?); in the “Documentary” category (although I greatly admired “Amy”) and in the “Outstanding Debut” category (although I would be bitterly disappointed if Alex Garland didn’t win that for directing “Ex Machina”).

Note that the category pictures are lifted from the BAFTA site, and each picture is a hotlink back to the relevant BAFTA nomination page where you can go for more information.

Now updated with the results and how well I did! Fad score =  11/17.  B+

Best Film

BAFTA - Best Film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Revenant
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Big Short
  • Carol
  • Spotlight

Will Win:  The Revenant.  Should Win:  The Revenant

Did Win: The Revenant.


I have a lot of time for most of the films in this category, perhaps with “Spotlight” (in my opinion) being the weakest of the five. I think the Revenant is done with such verve and style it should win, but Carol also stands a good chance I think with the British voters.

Outstanding British Film

BAFTA - Outstanding British Film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 45 Years*
  • The Lobster
  • Amy
  • Ex Machina
  • Brooklyn
  • The Danish Girl

Will Win:  Brooklyn.  Should Win:  Ex Machina.

Did Win: Brooklyn

The diversity in this category makes it a really difficult call. I hear great things about “45 Years” and “Amy” was an outstanding (and poignant) documentary. It would be great for Brooklyn, as a hidden gem, to score an award and I think there might be enough love in the Academy for that to sway the vote. But I have to stick with one of my top 3 personal film of the year with Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina”.

Leading Actor

BAFTA - Leading Actor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo*
  • Matt Damon – The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Will Win:  Leonardo DiCaprio.  Should Win:  Leonardo DiCaprio.

Did Win: Leonardo DiCaprio.

This is surely a shoe-in for DiCaprio. Although noone is going to beat Jean Dujardin’s award in 2012’s “The Artist” for the fewest lines of dialogue by a winner, DiCaprio if he wins would probably come a close second!

Leading Actress

BAFTA - Leading Actress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Maggie Smith – The Lady in the Van
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Will Win:  Maggie Smith.  Should Win:  Brie Larson.

Did Win: Brie Larson.

Another wide-open category. If I was voting for a body of work, I have a lot of love for Alicia Vikander who turned in both “The Danish Girl” and “Ex Machina” as strong contenders for the acting role last year. While I think the British bias might see Maggie Smith home on this one, I’d personally call out Brie Larson’s moving performance that completely carried the excellent “Room”.

Supporting Actor

BAFTA - Supporting Actor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Benicio Del Toro – Sicario*
  • Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation*
  • Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Will Win:  Mark Rylance.  Should Win: Mark Rylance.

Did Win: Mark Rylance.

This is a bit tricky since I’m blindsided with two of the performances in this category (was “Beasts of No Nation” ever released in UK cinemas or just on Netflix? In which case it is a dubious nomination in my eyes). Despite leading the nominations I don’t think it’s going to be a good night for “Bridge of Spies”, but my money is on Rylance for this award. A simple yet mesmerising performance as the Russian spy.

Supporting Actress

BAFTA - Supporting Actress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
  • Julie Walters – Brooklyn
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Will Win:  Julie Walters.  Should Win: Rooney Mara.

Did Win: Kate Winslet.

Oh my, this is another really tough category to call!  Jason Leigh might be spitting blood (again!) if she doesn’t win this for what was the best thing in “The Hateful Eight”. I have already spoken-up for Alicia Vikander in “Ex Machina”. But I think the British vote may go Julie Walter’s way for her delightfully comic performance in the sleeper hit “Brooklyn”. My personal vote would be for Rooney Mara, just exquisite in “Carol”.

Director

BAFTA - Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
  • Todd Haynes – Carol
  • Ridley Scott – The Martian
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant 

Will Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.  Should Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Did Win: Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Whilst Todd Haynes might be a contender for “Carol”, I think you would be foolish to bet against Iñárritu for his outstanding example of ‘method directing’ for “The Revenant”.

Animated Film

BAFTA - Animated Film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Inside Out
  • Minions
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Will Win: Inside Out.  Should Win: Inside Out.

Did Win: Inside Out.

Though it has been accused of plagerising the concepts used from elsewhere, Inside Out was a massively inventive and well-executed film, just missing my top-10 list for the year.

Cinematography

BAFTA - Cinematography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario*

Will Win: The Revenant.  Should Win: Carol.

Did Win: The Revenant.

Another impossibly difficult category to call. The camera work on “Bridge of Spies” was brilliant and “classic-Spielberg”, and the impossibly energetic action scenes in “Mad Max” must have been a nightmare to film. I think the voting for this will go with Emmanuel Lubezki’s epic work on “The Revenant”, but my personal choice would be Edward Lachman’s beautifully rendered view of 1950’s America in “Carol”.

Costume Design

BAFTA - Costume Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Cinderella
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Will Win: The Danish Girl.  Should Win: Carol.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

If you saw how I dressed, you’d know I know absolutely nothing about Costume Design!  But I think the academy will want to push at least one award in the direction of “The Danish Girl”.

EE Rising Star

BAFTA - EE Rising Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • John Boyega
  • Taron Egerton
  • Dakota Johnson
  • Brie Larson
  • Bel Powley*

Will Win: John Boyega.  Should Win: Brie Larson.

Did Win: John Boyega.

“Rising Star” is a rather odd category, since Brie Larson has been regularly acting in feature films since 1999!  This one is voted for by the public, so (in the absence of Daisy Ridley’s nomination in this category, which seems bizarre) I think the popular tide will run in John Boyega’s direction for his role in “Star Wars”. But the clear winner amongst these should be Brie Larson for her impressive performances in both “Room” and “Trainwreck” during 2015.

Editing

BAFTA - Editing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant

Will Win: The Revenant.  Should Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

I’d personally have dropped “Spectre” into this category, if for nothing else than the apparently continuous ‘tracking shot’ in the first five minutes. I think this will go to “The Revenant”, though it’s difficult to tell whether some of the extraordinary scenes were down to editing or special effects or a mixture of the two. Nothing contributes to an action film like the editing, and for me Margaret Sixel deserves this award for delivering a literally high octane experience like no other this year in “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

Make-Up and Hair

BAFTA - Make Up and Hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

Will Win: The Danish Girl.  Should Win: Brooklyn.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Again, not a category I can claim much expertise in (“I’m looking increasingly like my Aunt Mildred” – Hugh Grant, “Love Actually”).

Original Music

BAFTA - Original Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Hateful Eight
  • The Revenant
  • Sicario*
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: The Hateful Eight.  Should Win: The Hateful Eight.

Did Win: The Hateful Eight.

I don’t know the score to Sicario (though was impressed by Jóhann Jóhannsson’s previous work for “The Theory of Everything”). This year saw the return of two titans of the film soundtrack world:  John Williams with “Star Wars” and Ennio Morricone with “The Hateful Eight”. For me, Morricone’s score was the most impressive, and I think the Academy might agree.

Production Design

BAFTA - Production Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.  Should Win: Bridge of Spies.

Did Win: Mad Max: Fury Road.

Everything about the depiction of East Berlin in “Bridge of Spies” seemed spot on to me, although the production in Mad Max was mind-bogglingly realised and the more obvious choice.

Sound

BAFTA - Sound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Should Win: The Martian.

Did Win: The Revenant.

Given most of the dialogue in “The Revenant” was incomprehensible, I think it would be a crime if it won for this!  Other than that, I think all the other nominations in this category are good, but I would call out “The Martian” as the one where I noticed the sound design most prominently.

Special Visual Effects

BAFTA - Special Visual Effects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ant-Man
  • Ex Machina
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Will Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Should Win: Ex Machina.

Did Win: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

It’s nice to see “Ant Man” nominated:  for me, one of the more unexpectedly enjoyable films I saw during 2015. Again, a difficult category to call, but I would expect the Academy to want to recognize the British talent that goes into the Star Wars franchise again. My money would go with the beautiful and sensual realisation of Eva in “Ex Machina”.


 

There’s nothing more contentious than movie awards!  No you agree with my suggestions?  Who else do you think was robbed by not being nominated this year?  Please feel free to comment below!

Posted in Film Review

One Mann’s Movies Film Review: Dad’s Army (2016)

DA-poster

As someone in his frisky fifties, I am old enough to remember the arrival on our British TV screens of the original Dad’s Army back in 1968. I can still remember my dearly departed Dad with tears flowing down his cheeks at the antics of this motley crew of (mostly) old folks as they confronted the (mostly imagined) Nazi hoards. Now nearly 40 years after the last episode premiered comes another big screen version (a spin off film with the original cast came out in 1971).

For those reading this from other parts of the world that may need a little more explanation, Dad’s Army refers to the British Home Guard – a group of old timers from the First World War and/or those otherwise unable to serve in the active fighting forces in World War 2. The Home Guard were to be the last line of defense in an invasion of the UK.

The plot of the new film is paper thin. It’s 1944 and the Nazi’s are desperate to understand the invasion plans of the Allied forces. They dispatch a spy – Agent Cobra – to the sleepy seaside town of Walmington-on-Sea to try to dig out the truth. At the same time, an attractive journalist in the shapely form of Catherine Zeta-Jones arrives in the town to do an article on the Home Guard unit, stirring up passions and relationship-disruptions as she goes. And that about sums it up! (Now, you’d have to be pretty clinically stupid after watching the trailer not to work out who the spy was going to be, and fortunately for the film this is not a secret that is left to outstay its welcome.) 

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Jones the butcher, slipping a crafty sausage to the Zeta-Jones

As a standalone film it’s a pleasant enough watch, but in the end a bit of a damp squib. It really only works as a strong dose of nostalgia for the characters from the original series. So the key demographic for this would be those over 50 or children under 12 who may also enjoy some of the farcical and knockabout humour.

Many of the cast are perfectly suited to their roles, as caricatures of the original cast. Toby Jones plays the pompous Mainwaring; Bill Nighy is the spit of Le Mesurier as Sergeant Wilson; Michael Gambon makes a fantastic Private Godfrey; and Blake Harrison (from “The Inbetweeners”) as ‘Stupid Boy’ Pike. Toby Jones in particular excels in getting across the character of the puffed up and self-important Mainwaring.  The quality of his acting is nicely brought home by a blooper shown over the end credits involving a mobile phone: Jones stays perfectly in character as he lambasts Private Godfrey.  

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Seeing double – the new cast of Dad’s Army
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The originals and best – the original cast of BBC TV’s Dad’s Army

It was also truly fantastic to see 84-year old Frank Williams reprise his role as the vicar. With Ian Lavender’s cameo, one of only two of the original cast members to do so.

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Frank Williams (left) as the Vicar in the original BBC TV Series

The one cast member that really didn’t work for me was Tom Courtenay as Corporal Jones: an excellent actor, but not a good fit for this part. Jones (in the guise of Clive Dunn) was at the farcical comedy centre of the original series, but here all of his lines fall as flat as deflated blimp. 

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Mainwaring and a load of old bull.

The script manages to fabricate opportunities for most of the cast to utter their classic catchphrases, with some more successful than others.  There is also a lack of chemistry between some of the cast, with the Mainwaring/Wilson class war not really working well: a classic line about Wilson speaking Latin falls to the floor like a dead weight as a result.

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Dumbledore letting his hair down: Michael Gambon stars as Private Godfrey.

Directed by Oliver Parker, this is one mainly for the older fans of the TV Series. It’s probably a 2-Fad film, but the extra Fad I give this one is for the heady dose of nostalgia and good memories from my youth.

Fad Rating: FFF.

But What Did You Think?  Do You Agree With My Rating And Comments?  Please Let Me Know By Commenting Below!