Oblivion is set 80 or so years into the future on a post apocalyptic Earth. Tom Cruise plays Jack (again) a former marine commander and one of the last remaining men on the planet. His job is to act as a maintenance mechanic, repairing faulty Drones. The Drones are armoured airborne machines that patrol earth protecting it from scavengers using up the last of earths remaining resources. Things, however, get complicated for our hero when a beacon brings down a ship, carrying a surviving female. Who is she? Where’s she from? And just why does the Cruiser find himself trying to help her?
MTV’s influence has since inspired most of postmodernism within television and film, boasting a style over substance technique for the younger audiences. What Spring Breakers has done is take that motto to make one of the most stylish films that attacks the approach. It is hypocritical in a way but that’s the purpose. This attack on it makes for a very confusing film but not in comprehension, but whether one likes it or not. This confusion is throughout but even more so after you leave the cinema, thinking about how hollow the viewing was yet there’s an enjoyment to it. It’s a bizarre feeling of confliction and affection. That bad ending doesn’t really help either.
The Place Beyond the Pines comes after Derek Cianfrance‘s last outing, 2011’s heart-breaking anti-romance Blue Valentine that breaks people. The story of a couple at the beginning and end of their relationship with no coverage of the seven year gap. It was intimate, it fixated on them as a couple at their birth and their death. It’s one of the most real films that one can experience especially if you’ve had a similar experience that it can leave you completely harrowed for days and days. The Place Beyond the Pines is a much bigger film, scope and budget wise, considering it follows in an episodic fashion of three different stories that are linked as it passes from one to the other. This episodic direction makes it much harder to advertise it correctly and it hasn’t really; it seems like another cops and robbers but it’s far from it.
Side Effects has since witnessed Steven Soderbergh announce his retirement from film citing problems with executives, producers and a lack of respect to filmmakers. This, being his swansong, is a loss to cinema as this is a great film by Soderbergh who had now seemed a lot more stylish, more comfortable with directing. Trailers have painted this in different ways for different people with their own interpretation of what the story would be like, already trying to guess the ending but to not guess makes this film a much more thrilling ride. One with all the highs and lows of drugs – prescription or otherwise.
G.I. Joe‘s first outing on the big screen wasn’t a masterpiece or anything close to that. A film based on toys was always going to be a difficult thing to do and with that challenge in mind, it made a commendable effort to make it not so terrible. Although the first was filled with problems, it can be said that it was still a good bit of fun to phase out and watch. The first succeeded from its inherent silliness by even casting Marlon Wayans and Brendan Fraser to add some good comic relief in the action pieces and melodramatic world domination plan of the Cobra Commander. This has all been replaced with an attempt to become a dramatic effective piece when the audiences don’t want that. But more than that it can’t handle it: it doesn’t have the writing, direction or anything to pull it off.
Oz The Great and Powerful finds scepticism ripe because Disney’s live-action output can be described as a bit of a failure lately. John Carter bombed, Prince of Persia bombed, Tron: Legacy sort of bombed. It seems a commonality for them all to bomb but when Raimi stepped up to the plate to develop a prequel to the 1939 classic film more than the novels by L. Frank Baum, everyone seemed to notice and go to it with a bit more respect. What seemed like a cash in has turned into a good film and that could be because of Raimi’s return to form after the annoying Spider-Man trilogy. Sam Raimi has lavishly created a luscious, wondrous fantasy land that you feel a part of.
Fast paced horror with well executed gore. Director Fede Alvarez and his team have delivered a worthy addition to the Evil Dead franchise that should please fans of the original and the genre in general. Everyone else, approach with caution.
The Fall of the Essex Boys takes us back to Rettingdon for another take on the triple murder of drug dealers. It may sound very familiar but, for once, it isn’t. It isn’t a standard British gangster flick that glamorises the murderers, the drug lords, the psychopaths, but instead shows them in the light they truly deserve, showing you the dark, dirty-handed ways that they didn’t even think was wrong nor care about. They were dirty psychopaths that would injure, hurt or kill anyone to get what they wanted without even a hesitation. A generation so disturbing that one of them stabs a man for flirting with his girlfriend. A truly scary look into the thoughts of some of the most messed up people that could roam around freely, causing as much havoc as possible.
Les Miserables the musical at last gets the big picture treatment. Sometimes it can be hard to find the words to effectively describe films. Others you passionately love enough to gush on romantically about how fantastic every minute detail of it is. Others you loathe so much that the hatred spills out of you with every acidic word spitting its disapproval on the page to warn others. Then there are the middle-films. The films you neither dislike nor like. The films that sit in the middle with no real adequate description of something average bar the word average. Les Miserables is that sort of film and it could be summed up with a two and a half hour recording of “mehhhhhhhhhhh” with the exclusion of Anne Hathaway’s I Dreamed a Dream being the only fantastic moment.
No matter how much you see Kevin Bishop around, it’s hard to get the memory of him in The Muppets’ Treasure Island out of your mind. This film does try quite hard to distance him from the childhood film that birthed the comedic actor, going from a Muppet helper to a murdering cycling policeman who gains notoriety and fame for his vigilantism. Where it’s a bit heavy-handed with the social commentary with characters all seemingly agreeing with his ways and few, if any, questioning them until the third act, it’s a bit weak with challenging the vigilante. It could be a comment on how extreme it has now become; it comes off more as a bit shallow in the writing.