One of the stars of Movie 43 (sorry but it happened) Richard Gere is back in a drama about a billionaire while having financial trouble, finds himself in a car crash killing the woman with whom he is having an affair, leaving him to abandon the burning car and cover his tracks. When it comes to high powered business men, Gere is the man of choice. He has the perfect mix of being cold and calculating and still have the ability to add on the charm when needed (as Pretty Woman proved). Directed by Nicholas Jarecki, Arbitrage feels very much like a character peace with a tone that matches Gere’s own coldness.
With sold support from the likes of Tim Roth as the detective keen to nail him to the scene of the crime, Susan Sarandon as his knowing wife and my favorite new up and comer Brit Marling as his daughter working in her dads business questioning the crack and holes as the lies mount up.
The film has very few surprises as it wears it’s heart on its sleeves featuring all the twist and turns as you expect , however Gere is as solid as the lead and Roth is very enjoyable as the cop who is desperate to take down Gere’s high ranking hot-shot to prove the point that no one is above the law..
Walking into Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, I didn’t have the greatest of expectations with a troubled production that pushed the release date back and with memories of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter that had alarm bells ringing. So sat in my seat in brace position, ready for the worst and what preceded was 88 minutes of perfectly functional gory fun.
The premise is a great idea. Hansel and Gretel after their encounter with a witch as children, (as the title suggests) make a career of hunting green woman with pointy hats. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star as the brother and sister duo and have fun strutting around the set, acting like they own the place with made up 18th century shotguns. Director of Dead Snow, Tommy Wirkola first mainstream Hollywood film is by the numbers but still maintains the squishy gory with a 15 certificate where you’d expect the studio to cut down the blood and the F-Bombs for a 12a, so it’s kind of satisfying to see this being unapologetic.
Peter Stormare turns up (as you oddly expect him to) as the pissed off sheriff who is not happy with the two bounty hunters stepping on his territory and Famke Janssen has fun hamming it up as the head witch blowing things up and splitting people in half. A few things could have been better however. The story feels like it could have done with a re-write and the dialog feels clunky, but for a bog standard evening at the flicks, you could do a lot worse..
Cowabunga dudes…… As fait would have it, in the light of Megan Fox announced as starring in the new Michael Bay produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, presumably as April O’Neil, the new podcast is out about the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. With returning special guest Martian Deer, we also talk Oscars, Kevin Smith Cloud Atlas and Song for Marion amongst many things.
The whole movie is on YouTube here
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The new film Paul Andrew Williams is a pure example of film that has a simple story and tells it well. It’s a unusual u-tune for the directer after making home grown british horror/thrillers such as the slapstick gore fest like The Cottage or the uncomfortable insanity of The Children. This is the sort of film were you would feel more comfortable taking your grandmother to that could grow to be a british classic. It tells the tale of Arther, played in fantastically grumpy fashion by Terrence Stamp, who wife Marion (Vanessa Redgrave)is terminally ill. Set in his ways, he is more concerned about caring and protecting him fragile wife who is more concerned on living in the time she has left and is taken to singing in the local seniors’ choir much to Arthers annoyance who believes Marion should be resting. When his wife health worsens, Arther makes a promise to take her place and sing a solo in a local concert.
Stamp can do grumpy like no one else and balances it with just enough vulnerably that doesn’t feel too pushed or contrived. Gemma Arterton is just a little bundle of joy and loveliness as the leader of the choir who likes to add a modern touch, teaching them about heavy metal and doing the robot dance. It is a role that could easily verge towards being irritable but Arterton is very naturalistic that it’s hard not to fall in love with her. Featuring solid support from Christopher Eccleston as the son who supports his mothers desire to live and Redgrave is great as always. What really makes Song for Marion a success is the real heart beneath Stamps performance. It is a very typical story of someone who has closed themselves off from the world finding his way to embrace it once again but by the time you reach the pivotal song of the title that he sings live in one take, you hard pushed not to be moved..
Yippee ki yay mother-hubbards, John McClane is back in the 5th instalment of the the Die Hard franchise with the daftly titled Good Day to Die Hard. (What happend to just numbering your sequels). This time he travels all the way to Russia to team up with is reluctant son Jack (Jai Courtney) who is on a secret mission for the CIA to evacuate a political prisoner who is in possession of incriminating evidence ageist a high ranking Russian government official. I would try and go into more details about the convoluted plot but despite its attempts at twists and turns it falls flat on its face as it’s just an excuse to get to one big shoot out to the next as Willis sleep walks through the role. Witch is a bit odd as you would think that he would be a bit more enthusiastic in the role that made in the star that he his.
Die Hard 5 or Live to Die Hard Another Day or whatever you want to call it suffers from the lack of attachment. Who could fall asleep mid way through and while trying to figure out whats happend only then to wonder weather you care or not. I feels very much like a video game, mowing down faceless bad guys as thing crash into other thing with everything exploding in the process, witch can be fun in it’s own right but is it true to Die Hard?
What made the first Die Hard so great was McClane’s vulnerability. Yes he jumped of buildings but there was sense of danger that had at least one foot in reality. Now it seems that he is super-human, being resilient to radiation ans can withstand two major car crashs that would kill anyone else and walking out unscaved. If that was in any of the first three films, yeah he would have survived but he would at least be seriously injured. It is to be expected I suppose after seing him hanging of a fighter jet in the last one. Another reason that made Die Hard great as the villains. Hans Gruber was the greatest bad guy in the greatest action movie. Here the villains have no real character or memorable lines, it’s a big no-no in an action film. You need a decent villain to boo and hiss to give the hero something to route for. Directer John Moore does his best as the action scenes create plenty of carnage but his held back for a 12a certificate. The lack of blood shad is not surprising nor does dampen the proceedings, however it feels like he clearly wanted it to be more adult. To sum the film up you only need to look at Die Hard’s main catchphrase which is a curse word watered down and edited to plaster on adverts, and they don’t even have the balls to say it for real. That’s the problem, this film has no balls.
Join me @TheChris_Byrne , @mysocalledbrain and @pandadeer for the 5th instalment where we talk about Michael Bay’s The Rock. We also talk about the new Die Hard film as well as Beautiful Creatures Justice League and more Star Wars amongst other things.
What exactly is a zombie? That is what I find myself asking when watching Warm Bodies. While I am pretty sure of what I consider zombies being taught by the movies of George A Romero, a reanimated corpse that has only the basic function to feed on human flesh, but what if a zombie could change? What if a zombie still had a heart that could develop feelings and could even fall in love? Well it couldn’t, zombies are dead, however you must suspend that reason of logic if you are going to watch what is essentially the zombie version of Romeo and Juliette.
Staring Nicolas Hoult as zombie R who despite being dead and no memory of his former self, can still a think and deduce a lot about his environment. When searching for human brains to munch on, he finds the daughter of John Malkovich’s leader of the human race, Julie (Teresa Palmer). Falling in love with her instantly, he saves her from being eaten alive and starts to change slowly into something that is more human. Based on the novel of the same name, it’s an original idea that once you go with it, is quite entertaining and charming. Director Jonathan Levine does the great job of not taking things too seriously and no apologising for its concept. Hard-core fans of the zombie genre might scoff at the notion of a lovey dovey romance between a girl and a corpse, but I can’t help be think that R is just anther step forward from Day of the Dead’s very own Bub..
Featuring a heavy supporting cast of with the likes of Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, and Olivia Coleman as a marriage counsellor who needs her own relationship counselling, it bounces along at a jolly pace. Although dissipate the likeable cast, the jokes are very hit and miss and the film feels lost and confused much like its central characters. Steven Merchant pops up now and again doing the thing that Steven Merchant does as the friend who makes uncomfortably offensive comments, but is only there to for comedic purposes and does in no way serve the plot. It is only by the end where it finds its point, but by then it just seems like a reasonably humorous sketch show segment. A nice idea but not one that is not substantial to carry a feature-length film..
Here is the latest instalment of the podcast where we just chat about anything from Django Unchained, Midnight in Paris The Oscars and anything in-between.
Next time we will be discussing The Usual Suspects as well as any news and current releases. If you would like to take part in the show we will welcome you with open arms. Just tweet me @TheChris_Byrne or email firstname.lastname@example.org