Tag Archives: Hollywood

You’ll be howling at sheer brilliance of The Wolf of Wall Street! Here’s why… #film #review #filmreview

10 Jan

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After you’ve picked yourself up from your chair following the three plus hour rollercoaster ride of entertainment that is The Wolf of Wall Street, you’ll reflect (for hours, possibly even days) on what this film contained before coming to the inevitable conclusion that Di Caprio and Scorsese have a) the best bromance in Hollywood, and b) that The Wolf of Wall Street really is a modern day masterpiece.

Unbelievably, this is a true story and follows the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 36 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden.Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 10.35.59

Now this all sounds like thrilling, serious stuff, and of course it is, but cleverly intertwined with this is the knowledge that Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his merry band of stockbroker men, lived the most zany, outlandish lifestyle that really does only exist in the movies until their time is up.

Martin Scorsese is back to his very best in this punchy screen sensation that reminds us of the great and the good films from the late 1980’s and early 90’s. It’s hard not to describe this as Goodfellas meets Wall Street where DiCaprio plays our modern day Gordon Gekko to perfection! Although The Wolf of Wall Street is not for the feint hearted (it contains lewd behavior, copious amounts of drug taking, full frontal nudity and enough swearing to send your granny to an early grave) you cannot help but love and laugh through every minute of it!Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 10.34.43

Proving he’s the most qualified and under awarded man in Hollywood history Leonardo DiCaprio pulls off another stellar performance as Jordan Belfort, from the wide eyed rookie stock broker taken under the wing of Rothschild Bank to the greedy owner of his own unorthodox company, we see a true transformation of character right before our eyes, that will have us laughing and crying at the same time, and secretly urging him to come out OK in the end.

Jonah Hill again is perfectly cast as Belforts’ sidekick Donnie Azoff, the ‘loveable douchebag’ who supports his colleague and mentor to the end (sort of) and is often happy to remain the brunt of the jokes and rakes in the rewards of living this lavish lifestyle laid out for him. Margot Robbie is a surprise as the trophy wife Naomi Lapaglia who dons a fantastic New York accent and bombshell look to not only bring Jordan Belfort to his knees in lust, but to also secure her place as Hollywood hot property. Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 10.33.48

The only downside to The Wolf of Wall Street is that there are some excellent cameos throughout that you just wish would have hung around longer. Jean DuJardin plays the shrewd and straight talking Swedish banker who appears in the latter part of the film, and is a world away from his silent Oscar winning star in The Artist. But the real master cameo performance is Matthew McConaughey as Belforts’ first boss Mark Hana. In only a fraction of screen time, he captures the essence of the craziness of life on Wall Street in the late 80’s and hooks Di Caprio’s impressionable character onto the biggest drug of all, money. Its outlandishness will have you howling in your seat with laughter and re-creating a certain ‘chest chant’ for days to come!Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 10.35.11

The Wolf of Wall Street may be sexist, brash, punchy and full of what was wrong with the world pre-crash, but you’ve got to admit once watching this film, that they had one hell of a ball in their work hard, play hard lifestyles. The costumes, the humour, the references and the brilliant acting all captures this era perfectly, and with this creates, as previously stated, a modern masterpiece, three hours promises to whizz by like three minutes and you’ll be grinning and laughing all the way home. This film really has set the bar for 2014.

4.5 Stars

She loves films and she likes to talk about them ALOT – so here’s her brand new showreel! #presenter #showreel #talent

5 Dec

Becks presenting 5

Hi folks,

Firstly as the year is drawing to a close, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone for all their support of both my presenting work and blog (s) this past year. Its been really exciting with even more opportunities to look forward to in 2014. I really have been a lucky old so and so!

Because this year has been so fruitful, I’ve met and worked with some amazing people, its that time again where I need to update my showreel and let you all see the fun work I’ve been doing on your TV and computer screens.

As always, if you know someone who might benefit from using me as a presenter or a Film Critic, then please do put them in touch. All my details are on the ‘About Me’ page.

There are plenty more reviews to come, including The Hobbit (yes geek excitement is boiling), Anchorman 2 (stay classy) and of course everything that is heading to the bright lights of awards season! So please do keep following this blog, keep sharing my reviews, following me on Twitter and I’ll keep the film information coming right to your door/computer screen!

But for now, here it is in all its glory… my brand spanking new showreel!

 

 

Still out at the cinema and worth seeing Drinking Buddies @DBmovie @oliviawilde @MrJakeJohnson @AnnaKendrick47 #film #movie #review #LFF

15 Nov

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Drinking Buddies is set in and around the working and running of a brewery, where Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are co-workers. She’s in a relationship with a wealthy older man (Ron Livingston) and his fiancé (Anna Kendrick) is keen to get their wedding plans moving along. Their friendship is very strong and they have a lot of similar interests, such as the beer they produce and they both share similar playful senses of humour. Their lifestyles revolve around drinking with their co-workers, and for the audience its hard to know whether or not what they share is friendship or something that little bit more.  Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 15.27.20

The film is directed and produced by Joe Swanberg and is an honest and real depiction of friendships and relationships amongst late twenty-somethings. There is sexual tension, tomboyish playfulness and blurred lines around the line drawn between men and women who just enjoy each other’s company. The drama you witness within Drinking Buddies feels real and void of any “film like” over- dramatization; no dramatic realization that one person is with the wrong partner, and no overly thought out inner battles over whether or not each character should be with one another. Some would say it is exactly how you or I would deal with the various situations that present themselves – sit on them until absolutely necessary then apologize profusely! – With the right balance of humour, relatable trials and tribulations of modern day relationships and that awkward feeling where you’re pretty sure there’s underlying sexual tension between you and a friend – this film manages to capture issues that often burden the general public more than anything and yet depict it in such an enjoyable way.

Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are incredibly believable as the lead characters who share this surface based brother/sister /best friend style friendship; and a lot of this is to do with the heavily improvised scenes which not only make the audience feel like they’re catching a glimpse through the keyhole of a group of peoples lives but also help you to dispel any potential distaste towards Wildes beautiful and likeable girl next door persona. You can understand why Luke likes Kate, she’s one of the boys, and is always the one up for some fun. What you do question within this film is why there isn’t any suspicion or doubt from each of their characters other halves. Their tactile approaches to each other can be a little hard to swallow sometimes and yet you’re still routing to see if they eventually take the brave step to cross that all important line.Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 15.27.36

What these characters represent is often the realistic approach to potentially something better suited to ones self. Its clear to the audience that Luke and Kate would be perfect for each other, yet they never dare to do anything more than think about it. You will leave this film questioning whether or not there are regrets about someone or something that you have had the opportunity to pursue in days gone by, and having taken the safer option, maybe regretted after.

What the director manages to do with Drinking Buddies, is give its audience a glimpse into the days of the lives of people not so different to you and I, everyday jobs and simple pleasures that we all have, essentially, life is a simple construct and sometimes its not really worth the complication. With this in mind Swanberg delivers a film that is fun to watch, quirky in its own right and most importantly get you thinking. Its style is simple and poignant, so wont be everyone’s cup of tea, not much happens throughout, but what does happen manages to get you routing for those you’re watching, laughing at similarities that you most likely will see in yourself, and leaving hopefully with a smile on your face.

Drinking Buddies is still out in selected cinemas, so catch it if you can.

4 Stars

Halle Berry takes the worst call of her life in #TheCall #film #review #movie

18 Sep

Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 09.09.47A gripping thrill rollercoaster of a ride, The Call is an interesting insight into the world of the Los Angeles 911 emergency services.

Starring Oscar winner Halle Berry as Jordan Turner a veteran 911 operator, we watch her journey as she takes a life altering call from a teenage girl played by Little Miss Sunshine herself Abigail Breslin. Not only does this call mean Jordan has to try and guide this girl to safety, she also has to confront a killer from her past and overcome her fears.Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 09.09.37Cut back and forth between the abduction and ‘The Hive’ (the department for 911 emergency assistants who work away like busy bees) the audience are taken on a tense ride and education as to what it really means to be a 911 operator. Making judgments between protocol and human instinct is a fine line in lifesaving situations, as we see through this film. Halle Berry is back to her finest in the majority of this film, as she showcases a mix of emotions that make the audience empathise with the difficult job she is faced with. Just like her character we understand the stress of the job and the natural (probably female) instincts that she has when faced with a child being abducted, and the consequences that lie ahead should Jordan as the operator put a foot wrong.

We also see a fantastic performance from Abigail Breslin as the victim. We follow her day as a normal girl shopping in a mall with her friend, and then once left alone, gets drugged, abducted and thrown in the trunk of a car by her kidnapper. The most tense and exciting part of the film is the interaction between the victim and Jordan. From the trunk she manages to make a 911 call which initially goes through to a rookie who finds herself way out of her depth and then gets passed on to Jordan. From this point on, you as the audience find out some really clever tricks to try and get yourself rescued from a kidnapping, using everything you can find to discover where you are travelling to, what the car looks like and most importantly anything you can do to pop open that trunk and jump out.

Breslin shows here that she has matured from a child to young adult actor seamlessly. Matching Halle Berry’s ranges of emotions, you watch her go from despair to sheer determination to get herself out of this situation alive. It’s this that makes the first three quarters of this film so engaging to watch…Screen Shot 2013-09-18 at 09.10.03

…And then, sadly, in the last fifteen minutes or so, the film takes a tumble, so prepare yourself for this. After an hour and fifteen minutes of an intense, edge of your seat adrenalin filled thrill ride of a film, The Call sadly falls into the depths of B-Movie status and takes a route so completely left field of the original plot its not only difficult to watch, its also totally disappointing. It’s a shame that the film leaves you with such a sour taste at the end, it had so much promise, but there is still the opportunity to remember the immense film you had watched just before this semi-car crash.

Regardless of it’s ending, The Call is still very much worth a watch. For the majority, it’s an intelligent, intense and exciting film with great performances.

The Call hits cinemas on the 20th September 2013.

3 Stars.

 

Missing the Fass? Well he’s back in the new trailer for The Counsellor #film #filmtrailer

20 Aug

Fass fans fear not, he’s back in this slick looking tale of a lawyer (Fassbender), who finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking.

From Sir Ridley Scott, The Counsellor stars Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt

Enjoy!

 

Are Hollywood Blockbusters in Crisis? I give my opinion on 5 News Talk Live with @nickduncalf #film #filmcritic

20 Jul

Incase you missed it yesterday, I was on 5 News Talk Live with the brilliant Nick Duncalf talking about whether or not the film industry (that has an unprecedented 20 films over the $100 million mark out this summer, 6 more than last year) are headed for the ‘dud’ zone.

What do you think, are we headed for a disaster movie of our own? Is there too much choice out there? What have been your highs and lows of the Summer movie collection?

Let me know in the comments box below….

Enjoy!

Welcome to the Punch – Film Review @welcome2punch

14 Mar

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Eran Creevy ups his game tenfold following his impressive micro budget debut with Shifty. Now backed by executive producer Ridley Scott, and with a considerable amount more money behind him, Creevy demonstrates what he can do when he’s playing with the big boys, in an impressive but not quite perfect classic cop chase style film.

Welcome to the Punch stars James McAvoy as Detective Max Lewinsky a man on a three-year hunt for ex criminal Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong). After hiding in Iceland, as you do, Sternwood is forced back to London when his son gets involved in a heist gone wrong. The East End battle begins.

The opening of Welcome to the Punch shows London in an impressive light, a drawn out motorbike chase through the back drop of Canary Wharf atScreen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.08.51night, makes London look like its had the $10 million Hollywood effect sprayed across it, and I have to say, it looks stunningly beautiful and certainly sets the tone for this fast paced, well acted and glossy film.

McAvoy is strong as the lead character, and once again shows off his versatility as a disgruntled, scarred and determined officer, focused on nothing other than to get his man. Mark Strong is a fantastic counterpart to McAvoy’s good guy, he’s understated and calm, so you can’t ever quite read him correctly, and this plays out for the audience who spend the majority of the film trying to work out if he’s a “bad guy gone good”, or if its just one big double bluff?! On the filp side, rising Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.19star Andrea Riseborough is sadly one of the more forgettable characters in this film, as one can’t help but feel that she is under-utilized throughout. She’s a supporting character, but sadly with not a huge amount to do or for us to care about, which does not bode well three quarters of the way through, and is perhaps one of the biggest shames about this film.

On the upside, however, There’s a fantastic array of dark humour throughout and the use of well known cameos such a Jason Flemyng and Jason Maza who have no more than a few minutes on screen, still throw is back to Creevy’s Shifty days and provide a warm and nostalgic reminder that this is a great British film.

Another great point about this film is that although the setting and style of delivery is very much London in feel, you can’t avoid seeing Creevy’s influences from much further afield. His love of Hong Kong cinema and John Woo can be picked up easily in the fight sequences, particularly the Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 11.10.58hotel gun shooting scene, and this is a refreshing move forward for this film, it widens the field and its homages remind us of some great films that have come before it, and that Welcome to the Punch is paying a considerable tribute to them all.

Overall, this is a strong offering from Eran Creevy. Having major acting players like Mark Strong and James McAvoy involved does take this film up a notch, but Welcome to the Punch has managed to break a number of barriers in terms of British police based film making and visually looks as stunning as a multi-million dollar Hollywood film, but maintains the level of dark British undertones and humour which helps it to stand out from the crowd. It may not be perfect, but its enjoyable and very much worth a watch.

The Last Stand – Premiere Footage

24 Jan

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Did you miss out on the chance to see Arnie in Leicester Square earlier this week? Well fear not! I have just the premiere footage for you! Take a look at this fab video showing all the cast and crew in action! Looks like a fab night and the film is meant to be a lot of fun!

Also, loving this retro illustrated poster! How cool is that! The Last Stand hits cinema screens on the 24th January (TODAY!!!) so get your butts into action and check it out at your nearest cinema!

Here’s a little bit of info on the film…

Action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his much-anticipated return to the big screen in Korean action-suspense director Kim Jee-Woon’s hard-_DSC9028.NEFhitting US directorial debut, THE LAST STAND.

After leaving his LAPD narcotics post following a bungled operation that left him wracked with remorse and regret, Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger) moved out of Los Angeles and settled into a life fighting what little crime takes place in sleepy border town Sommerton Junction. But that peaceful existence is shattered when Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega), the most notorious, wanted drug kingpin in the western hemisphere, makes a deadly yet spectacular escape from an FBI prisoner convoy.

With the help of a fierce band of lawless mercenaries led by the icy Burrell (Peter Stormare), Cortez begins racing towards the US-Mexico border at 250 mph in a specially-outfitted Corvette ZR1 with a hostage in tow. Cortez’ path: straight through Sommerton Junction, where the whole of the U.S. _DSC9869.NEFlaw enforcement, including Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) will have their final opportunity to intercept him before the violent fugitive slips across the border forever.

At first reluctant to become involved, and then counted out because of the perceived ineptitude of his small town force, Owens ultimately rallies his team and takes the matter into his own hands, setting the stage for a classic showdown.

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in THE LAST STAND. Directed by Kim Jee-woon and written by Andrew Knauer and Jeffrey Nachmanoff, THE LAST STAND also stars Forest Whitaker, Eduardo Noriega, Rodrigo Santoro, Johnny Knoxville, Jaimie Alexander, Luis Guzmán, Peter Stormare, Zach Gilford and Genesis Rodriguez. The film is produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (the TRANSFORMERS series, RED, GI JOE, SALT).

All is not what it seems – UFO review

20 Dec

 

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Nowadays, when you think of a low-budget British film, you’d normally associate the term with some form of Hackney based, gang culture film not too far from the likes of Kidulthood, or My Brother The Devil. That genre is slowly declining and new ambitious film-makers are stepping outside of that particular box to try their hand and something new, and sci-fi film UFO provides a refreshing break to that mold.

Director Dominic Burns brings to the big screen a small budget sci-fi movie with hints of Transformer-esq effects in this tale of human survival during an invasion of those not of our kind. The great thing about this film, and perhaps the misleading element from the poster is that the story is not directlyScreen Shot 2012-12-20 at 11.44.51 about ghoulish looking creatures from a universe far far away, but more about the reaction from humankind amidst tragedy, invasion, and imminent destruction.

To show a sample study of how the world may react, UFO focuses on a group of friends who, after a night out on the tiles awake to find that the end is nigh. Lead by Michael played by Sean Brosnan (the look and sound-a-like to his father Pierce) this small group of friends take under their wing Carrie (Bianca Bree – the not so look or sound alike to her father Jean Claude Van-Damme) who after a one night stand seems to have become Michael’s latest squeeze and an immediate addition to their circle of friends. The film follow’s how each of the characters react to the present situation and to each other at a time of crisis, and as the story unfolds, even within their close knit circle, things really aren’t all what they seem.

You have to commend this film for its bold storyline and yet intimate portrayal of its characters. This is a character study and not a Hollywood action film. The aliens are secondary in the plot, but you can understand the distributors point of view as to what marketing would be more likely to put bums on seats. Where the budget has been spent on the effects, you will see that they are well done, and carefully thought about, and not just a gimic to behold.

The director has also thought carefully about the portrayal of certain heightened sequences, such as the supermarket in Derby where the cast manage to break in through a side door to stock up on supplies before the rest of the public. In the same breath in which you think the characters would take as

The UFO premiere in Leicester Square

The UFO premiere in Leicester Square

they burst through the doors and quickly gathered what they needed, the audience follow them in what seems to be a ten minute tracking shot which never leaves their side. This helps keep the tension at an all time high as you seem to be in there, experiencing every moment with them.

In addition to this, the fight scenes are excellent, with one standout showdown between Michael and a police officer. Again, like the single tracking shot through the supermarket, you as an audience member get a sense of tension throughout this sequence, which in places almost verge on becoming ultra-violent. The choreography is commendable here and you definitely get the sense that this is a real fight, where the characters are getting naturally exhausted, and don’t just keep going for the sake of it. In a strange way, this section is probably the most natural bit of acting you will see throughout the film.

Unfortunately the problems that do arise in the film, are not anything to do with its ambition or technical ability, it’s with the performances. The beginning of the film seems like a warm up until the actors can really settle into their roles and even then, you just don’t quite believe them. Bianca Bree is the most natural in delivery and reaction, you believe her in most instances, and for a leading lady in this case, less really is more. Sean Brosnan allows you to forget that he served in the army at a high level as he loses the assertiveness of a commanding officer until he is provoked for a fight scene or the like, and his imbalance is somewhat problematic. However,

Director Dominic Burns and me at the UFO premiere

Director Dominic Burns and me at the UFO premiere

sadly it is the support cast that for me let this film down. The drunken scene at the beginning lacks maturity in its performance, and feels contrived and over acted plus the difference between relatively new on-screen actors and seasoned professionals such as Sean Pertwee and Jean Claude Van Damme becomes very apparent when their cameos appear on-screen and in an instant steal the show.

However, that being said, its great that a film maker like Dominic Burns is taking chances on unknowns and mixing them in with more experienced performers. I’m sure the actors will watch and learn from their performances here, and go on to do bigger and better things, and I’m a great believer in British film nurturing new talent in all shapes and forms.

So if you are planning on watching UFO when it hits selected cinema. Enjoy it for what it is, an ambitious project from an ambitious film-maker who has created something away from the expected low-budget British film genre and pushed the boundaries of budget and technical ability. For all its faults, it’s an enjoyable, engaging film, commendable on a number of different levels.

 

Jogging in the Sunday heat with Johnny English Reborn…

5 Oct

Who needs to be excited about Bond 23 finally getting studio sign off (again!) when we’ve got the top spy in London town. Oh yes after 8 years of waiting, he’s back and with the biggest international opening of a film for Rowan Atkinson, Johnny English Reborn most definitely arrives with a huge bang!

Last Sunday – in the blistering October heat (I cant believe I just wrote that) I applied factor 30 suncream (even more ridiculous) as I eagerly awaited the start of my first major red carpet event. It didn’t disappoint. From around 1pm the crowd on the opposite side of the carpet were chanting for the comedian in what can only be described as a glorious geek off of fans dedicated to the British king of comedy. The atmosphere was buzzing in Leicester Square and for the film crews lined up in the press pen, let the elbowing begin!

Before the talent arrived I was graced with the presence of Cheska from Made in Chelsea, I can say for this job its a bonus if I watch trash TV, so in this case I was more than delighted to talk about the trials and tribulations of “London’s upper West side” – however to the crews beside me I could have been speaking in tongues for all they knew, Spencer, Caggie, Yah’s and Rah’s made no sense what-so-ever and for me and good old Cheska, we could have been life long pals – totes! But on to more important matters…

For my first ever film premiere I was delighted to see how receptive, enthusiastic and informative the stars of the film are – yes I know promotion is part of the job, however, it also makes my job easier when actors are actually really interested in their film and not just working the PR machine for the sake of it. One shining talent that I did speak to was Posh Kenneth from Skins AKA Daniel Kaluuya. He was genuinely funny, cool, in ore of his more established cast members and humbled by landing a role quite as big as Agent Tucker. Also a delight was Steven Campbell-Moore – he plays the Prime Minister in the film and was really open and honest about how little research he did into the role – made me chuckle!!

The big stars of the film Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Dominic West etc all graced the red carpet too, but as they are incredibly sought after we have such minimal amounts of time with them we never get to ask enough questions. I was desperate to get an answer on the rumours of a fifth series of Black Adder and to find out how Dominic West was doing in Othello, plus seeing if Gillian Anderson’s kids would be allowed to watch Johnny English at such a young age. But the nature of the beast is that those stars are pretty busy so it was one question only if that.

So here you have it, a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon meeting a comedy legend, some well versed actors from a little old place called Hollywood, some great new UK talent and of course the odd reality star that just couldn’t keep away! All in a days work I say!

Thanks for reading, Johnny English is out in Cinemas on Friday here’s the trailer to give you a taster of what’s in store, so do go check it out!