Hello and welcome to a new series of podcasts where at the moment is called Top 5. In this series of episodes Myself is where I have a guest on to talk about their top 5 favorite films.
In this very first podcast I am joined not only by one but two guests. Both formally from the inaudible early days of the podcast. Both co-founded formally Generic Movie Blog it’s Kat Moir @kathrynmoir and Jamie Huggett @jamiehuggett
We go through plenty of action films as and are amazed that Kat hasn’t seen many. We talk about things like Oldboy, Terminator 2, The Raid, Meet Joe Black and Mrs Doubtfire.
Perfectly fine is a phrase I say a lot. In fact I get mocked for it on the podcast i do however its all I have when it comes to Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit. Yet another reboot, Jack Ryan is a character that three actors has taken on across four films, the last one was another origin reboot with Ben Affleck which failed to start a new franchise so here we are again. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it stars Chris Pine as the CIA Analyst who has a knack of getting in out of his depth. In the opening fifth-teen – twenty minutes that could have easily been cut out, we’re given the Jack Ryan origin story that explains he became a marine who because injured on duty. While in hospital he gets recruited by secret government type Kevin Costner as well meeting his future wife Cathy, (Keira Knightley doing an impressive american accent). It’s not that all his stuff isn’t important to the plot but its cut at such a fast pace to get to the main plot that it messes with the rhythm of the rest of the film. Also its nothing that can/could be explained throughout the film anyway.
The plot sees the young Ryan working in the stock market while secretly undercover working for the government. Looking for signs of any possible terrorist attacks, he notices something fishy in the Russian stock market that leads to a dastardly plan to distort the American marking leading to another depression. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is a pretty average thriller as it aims for a light Jason Bourne that makes you miss the grit of Patriot Games or the fun political tension of The Hunt for the Red October. Perhaps I just earn for Harrison Ford 90’s Ryan and that makes my opinion biased, however it aims in-between two things. To be smart weighty and dumb and throw away, and it just doesn’t gel together. Branagh does an admirable job in the directors chair making it look slick and handles the action well. His Russian villein also nicely handled. It’s not often you have a bad guy who has a character that is fully rounded with an actual engender other than world domination and he plays it wonderfully without the use of lips. Pine is charismatic as ever and although he plays Ryan true to the score, he never feels like he’s taken ownership of the role. Costner is solid as the go to trusted government official buts its even he fails to make much of an impact. Knightley’s role of Cathy is given a lot more to do here which is nice to see. She plays well off Pine and she does . The decision to get her into the action is well-meant as that role is never really given much to do. In here it comes across as a tad silly and unbelievable, feeling like a retread of True Lies.
I hate to be down about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, I wanted to have fun with it. At a time of awards season, its seems like a nice fun alternative to period costume dramas. Due to the lack of pacing the film feels dull in whole sections and overall is missing a certain bite that would kick a things in gear some what. Most of all, this doesn’t feel like a Jack Ryan film. I guess it doesn’t really matter as they’ll be another reboot ten years from now..
There is nothing like the thrill of seeing a new Martin Scorsese film. Re-teaming with his new muse Leonardo Dicaprio making it their fifth film together, based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort The Wolf of Wall Street is about, a stock broker convicted of fraud crimes due to stock market manipulation, tells the tale of a man discovering sin on all leaves and loving every minute of it. It has got some heat of recent from being unsympathetic to the victims of Belfort’s antics while relishing in his dirty deeds, however this is Scorsese jumps straight in to Belford’s shoes and so doesn’t reflect that because Belford doesn’t himself. This is also why it seems to feel intoxicated by all the sex and drugs and the lifestyle onscreen but yet still mentions the humour making Wolf of Wall Street a dark satire. Marty is on full Goodfellas mood that feels both nostalgic and fresh all at once with an energy that is kinetic.
Packed full to the brim with great performance most of all the central one from Dicaprio going full throttle, firing on all cylinders keeping the momentum going from the extremely long running time. Embracing the chaos he is the heart and soul of the film whether you like that heart or not. Jonah Hill is plays Belford’s right hand man Donnie who with his huge white teeth is gloriously loathsome. Arguably more out of control than man who he looks up to, hanging on his coat tails, he reminded me with is curly hair and repulsive attitude of Sean Penn from Carlitos Way. Kyle Chandler is great as the FBI agent who desperately wants to take him down and Margot Robbie as his trophy wife is perfectly solid in the role but is given very little to do, which is kind of ironic as that is all she is to Belford anyway. Matthew McConaughey nearly steals the film with his one scene towards the beginning. Essentially seducing the main character and showing him the ropes of how to a corporate thieves. It’s a stand out scene that sums up most of the film within the first ten minutes of a three-hour film and that lays the problem with The Wolf of Wall Street. IT’S TOO DAMN LONG. Sorry for stating the obvious and for typing it in block capitals but it’s what lets down an otherwise excellent film.
It a common problem with films based on a real life person, it tends to have a responsibility to be as truthful as possible with a narrative that isn’t concise and flowing as if it was entirely fictional. Its a unfair criticism I know, but biopics tend to be all about the performances with individual stand out scenes without a well paced narrative. Just a sequence of events and The Wolf of Wall Street, with all its crazy drug fuelled escapades and sex parties, is no exception. It boils down to a fun watch but overstays its welcome by quite some time. Of course there is a lot to go through, but it all gets messy when you’re introduced to the female lead an hour into a film. With lavish weddings, shady deals and Jean Dujardin hiding money in a Swiss bank accounts while running from the law, I was just waiting for it to reach its conclusion and that’s never a good thing..
So we have finally arrived at the end of the saga. The first time I’ve ever watched the series in chronological order.
Join me @CinemaTronix and Scott @Celluloidical as we sit down and finish things off with Return of the Jedi. With a few audio interference sadly (bloody mobile phones) and a few annoying sneezes (bloody dust) we talk all over the last of the Star Wars film (until 2015). This is the one with the most childhood memories for us and with hands down the best emperor momologs.
Scott also talks about Lando’s costume change that didn’t happen, I disscuss what use C-3P0 has anyway and we discover the joys of Ewok subtitles…… enjoy.
It’s commentary time again and this time and Chris (@CinemaTronix) and Scott (@Celluloidical) take on what is mainly seen as the best film in the series. The Empire Strikes Back.
This is the film that feels the least messed with but we still find time to moan about the prequels and do stupid impressions. Plus Chris wonders if Empire had more action in it, it would indeed be the better film.
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So with a bit of a break of over a month but we’re back with the Christmas period behind us and Jade (@CelluloidAK) gives her run down of her top movies of 2013, not before discussing her number 1 film Escape plan.
Escape Plan is the monutenus film where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone co headline the same film. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, who gets hired to be put in prison to escape out of them to find the flaws within the system. He gets offered a multi-million dollar deal to break out of a top secret prison that is supposedly escape-proof. Things go south when the warden (Jim Caviezel) is not who he seems and must turn to fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) and plan to escape together.
Chris (@CinemaTronix) also chips in on some of the films he likes in 20013. It’s great to be back a hopefully a lot more will follow.